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travel

a new year a new leaf

So I came on here to write about how the irony of rocking out to Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic¬†(wow that was a crazy video I missed with no MTV as a kid) down the highway in my mini van full of children made me grin like an idiot. To show our pictures of the kids seeing snow for the first time, actually taken with the real camera! To just generally gush the gratitude I feel at the amazing gift of a virtually free vacation in a time when it would not have happened otherwise.

Then I opened chrome and WordPress was not one of the 6 most recently viewed webpages….again. When I was doing my yearly goals this January (December is too crazy, I give myself all of January) I put the blog on there, again. Cause really if I’m going to do something, I want to actually do it, not just feel guilty about not doing it. However, I know from experience that something vague like “the blog” is never going to inspire anything more than guilt over inaction, I need something specific and measurable.

HELP ME PLEASE! Those of you that read this or any blog, how often do you like them to update? Is once a week often enough? Everyday good or too much? Anything in particular you are looking for? More writing? Less writing, more photos? Recipes? Acrobatics? Magical robots that cook and clean and do laundry? OK I already know the answer to the last one is YES! I feel like I’ve been out of this writing world for so long I don’t know what’s what anymore. So help me set my 2015 blog goal, it’s only mid February and hey there’s always time for a fresh start right? ūüôā

But I’ll still leave you with some photos so I can procrastinate on our adoption photo book just a little longer! Why of why do I do these things to myself, le sigh.

He'd actually seen snow before, his one up on the big kids. But this is the first he'll remember :)
He’d actually seen snow before, his one up on the big kids. But this is the first he’ll remember ūüôā
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You can barely even see the snow in this pic, but trust me, she could
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He was so pumped
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Also my 6 year did this. She wasn’t even big enough to go up on her own, but she owned it. I was shocked (shouldn’t have really, this is so her) and asked the guy if this was normal, he said he’d never seen a kid her size run them all so easily. I ‚̧ her.

something old, something new, something borrowed, something purple!

Time for an update! it’s been too long, I refuse to check how long, we’ll just leave it at too long.¬†

So the half-marathon. It is upon us! Saturday morning (if you can call that ungodly hour morning) I will be voluntarily waking at a time I vowed to never see again, to pay someone, to run, for 13 miles.¬†Pretty sure that cinched my spot in the looney bin, but I am looking forward to going crazy. I hear it’s fun there, and the company is fantastic.

Onto further, much further, things. Remember that post oh 4 years ago maybe, when I said I was going to Korea?¬†It’s finally happening! Like tickets purchased happening. This very month I will be freezing my booty off with my sister half way across the world, I am super excited, a little bit terrified, and partially prepared (I have a passport, what more do I need? No, really, tell me, what more do I need? International travel tips welcome!) South Korea here I come!

Been driving the van for a bit, finally past¬†the selling the old car, registering the new one saga (which I really should post about, because OH M GEE, beauracracy is a bitch). It was a little weird driving so high up at first, I adapted faster than I expected. I cannot believe I love it so much. A van full of kids is just way more awesome than a car full of kids, and now I really need more kids. I have extra seats people! Also I can fold down and shuffle so many seats I can fit just about anything in there. It drives like a car, which I was not expecting, I can even make tight turns, like U-turns, not that I have had to make any of those…

On to¬†cute little babies. I am watching one, extremely part time (like a few hours a week), for a very sweet neighbor of ours. Can I say it is NOT helping the baby bug. He is so cute and so sweet and so EASY. I also have that van, with the space…

And now for a totally inconsequential factiod, I am going to attempt the purple hair, again. I still love my teal/blue/green depending on what section you look at, which is good, as it may not be totally when I’m done. With any luck it will be purple for the race on Saturday!

So I end this post with a challenge. Can you figure out what the old, new, borrowed, and purple items are in this post? Can you? I don’t know what they are, but I look forward to seeing your creativity shine!

let the search begin

I know a few of you are aware of our transportation saga, well really my transportation saga, as it only effects me, during the day, when I have four children in my home. Now that we have decided to homeschool, I am effectively house bound. I can, legally, in the state of Florida, fit four children in my Gallant. However, the research on what happens to a child in the front seat during an accident has me extremely wary as to where we go and how we go, no highway for sure. We live in the burbs, with three exits to the highway within a mile of our neighborhood, we take the highway virtually everywhere. So save Publix and a few friends that live out here, we don’t go out. Those friends are probably getting sick of us, and we’ve started to go to Publix so often they know us by name!

We’ve been saving for a van for years, little bit by little bit. But when the homeschool discussions started ramping up again last year we began to save in earnest, cutting everything possible and squeezing blood out of stone for food. With an amazing amount of grace, an unexpected and mostly returned security deposit, and raises for both of us we’ve managed to hit our money goal 4 months sooner than expected. And there was much rejoicing, yay! (Please tell me someone caught the Monty Python reference…)

We have just contacted MATS, an organization that helps find vehicles for individuals with certain jobs (missionaries, mission staff, teachers, church workers, etc.) to help us find a vehicle. I am so grateful to have someone else looking 1) because even though funds are finally available, time is not and 2)they do all the mechanical checks for you to make sure its reliable. I am feeling super better about this process already. Now if they can just fill our impossible wish list, within budget, miracles can happen right?

I’m almost free! Yippie!

Oh and side note. When the four car seats are spread out in the van, I will only have to buckle in one kid, count it one, and she can already do half herself. So excited.

redefining chunks as awesome!

My parents recently got back from visiting my sister in Korea. She sent home with them two of her favorite teas. This is one.

Don’t let the little floating things fool you, it is amazing. I was initially unsure if I was supposed to eat the chunks or not. I mean generally speaking, here, in America, chunky stuff in your tea…not a good sign. But who am I to question another cultures’ custom? So eat them I did. Turns out they were walnuts, and I now have another favorite tea. Thanks Kristi!

that my dear, is what you call ironic

Posting two days in a row, something must be wrong. Wow, you’re good. I write to you today from the Low Country urgent care center in South Carolina. We had planned this trip before everything happened, and though my initial reaction was to hunker down and cancel the trip, we decided instead that it was perfect timing, just what we all needed right now.

All that said, near the end of our drive last night I felt like I had something stuck in my eye. I kept rubbing it and it wasn’t getting better. It was late, I was tired, I went to bed. As usual my sleep was quite interrupted, with every one my eye was getting more painful, more watery feeling…

Ok looks like we are going to finish this from the wal-mart pharmacy line. Side note: small town urgent care centers, though expensive are very friendly and surprisingly quick! Yay for no wait!

So if you’ve read the blog for the better part of this year you are probably already having flash backs of endless sheet washing, chasing down little children to administer drops and the sickness that will never die. Yes, that’s right, I woke up on the first day of our mini vacations with…

Pink eye.

But that’s not the ironic part. Since we had just recently gone through this here¬†and here, I have drops already. I’ve had them in my purse for months. The irony is, 3 days before our trip I switched purses, and those drops did not. That my dear, is a 200 dollars piece of irony. Your welcome.

the tags you never want to use

As I was tagging my last post I was reflecting on the funeral tag I had created. How morbid of me to even create such a tag, as if that was going to become a standard feature of my life in the future. Then I noticed, well it is fairly large…and it will be again.

We lost two more members of our family this past week. I kept meaning to update you all right away, but honestly the shock of it all has absorbed my life into some kind of time warping sponge and spit me out almost a week later not really knowing where I am or what’s going on. Last¬†Friday¬†night Neil and I passed out mid conversation shortly after the kids were in bed. When we groogily woke circa 2 am Neil had a txt that his Great Grandpa Ding had passed away while we were sleeping. Fast forward 36ish hours and you’ll find our little family in the car on the way home from the Science Center when I¬†receive¬†a call from my mom, my cousin Andrew was just found dead in his bed.

Welcome whirlwind. We are now experiencing both ends of grief, the appropriate, lived a full life, will be missed type and the what the hell just happened, you were to young to die type. Both suck.

We were grateful to be able to send Neil off to his Great Grandpa Ding’s service in Michigan, were he participated as a pall bearer. He said the funeral was very well done and honoring to his Grandfather, he’s glad he went, and also glad he was just able to see him this past summer.

Details are still rolling out on Andrew, we don’t even know how he died yet. But I do know since his family is still in Michigan, they are not holding the funeral here. They flew his body to Michigan yesterday and I dont’ think I will be able to attend. I will still be there via facebook however. This is the first loss we’ve had where the deceased and a large portion of the family were active on facebook. It’s a whole different world. If you don’t see me on facebook much for the next few weeks, it’s because I don’t want to be hit in the face with grief at every turn. It’s cathartic for me to read all the memories from everyone, see all the pictures coming out of the woodwork, and interact with the family, but I can’t be in that place all day everyday (like you’re used to seeing me on facebook). I’ll be taking a bit of ¬†break.

I’ve included links to the obituaries if anyone is interested. Completely incomplete descriptions for two people with such full lives and large impacts, but it will at least give you an idea and a picture.

Andrew McClain

Edward Daily

Funeral #6 and #7 in just over two years, now on the books. sigh.

flying solo with two

So I’m halfway through this Neil and Grant’s Michigan vacation. I must say this has been easier than I thought. I’m not sure I could put it better than a status I had a few days in “I feel like I’ve been training for a marathon, but I’m only running a 5k.” Our family seems like it’s always in marathon mode, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s hard, but rewarding.

Right now, it’s just easy-going. The kids are happy getting more mommy time, I’m happy the house is clean most of the time, I’m not having to cook, I’m caught up on laundry (it is amazing the difference two¬†fewer people makes!), and in true introverted style I am having fun by myself.¬†The amazing thing is how different it was when we only had two.¬†Certainly¬†didn’t feel like easy-going, something to be said for heavy training.

I do miss my men, we all do, but through the amazing iPhone we were able to video Skype the first three days, which was absolutely wonderful and adorable to see Grant so excited. Now that they have reached their destination of the middle of no where, Neil can’t get a strong enough signal for video, boo.

Anyway, I’m knocking on wood. 4 days to go.

sexyback11 update and the boys are gone

First order of business, sexyback11. Lost 1.5ish pounds this week! yay! I say ish, ’cause it’s not a digital scale and really first thing in the morning I can’t see exactly where that line falls, and I am certaintly not going to weigh again later in the day. Anyone whose’s ever been on a diet should know that’s just craziness. I only worked out twice with my x-box trainer, but I swam with the kids and played kinect adventures with Grant so I’m saying I hit my goal. Eating out, well we ate out for father’s day and then again tonight. I’m not counting father’s day, so we’re good. Man I am good at justifying, bend a little here, stretch a little there, and it’s all good, scary.

In other news. Neil and Grant are off on their grand Michigan adventure, I will not see them for real again for 10 days. I’ve never been apart from either of them for that long. I’m feeling very mixed at the moment. Jena was not to pleased we left daddy and Jacob screamed half the hour ride home because he missed them so much already…or the sun was in his eyes…it’s really hard to tell at that age.

I have grand plans for us three (or just me) left at home, beach trips, blogging everyday, catching up with all my friends, play dates, reading a couple books. Since my head has only been able to process that there is one less kid to take care of it hasn’t really processed that there is also now one less adult to take care of the remaining two. All this free time I think I’m going to have is most likely going to end up being a joke, but for now it staves off missing them, so I’ll keep it thank you.

Grant wanted to take a picture of us before he left, which I thought was sweet. Here it is.

vacation

Dear Vacations,

Vacations you rock. I may venture to say you make life worth living. There are those that would feel that is taking it to far so I suppose it could be modified to say at the very least you make living life feel possible again. You take the lead out of my step and the knots out of my neck. Your ability to turn our 2:3 adult:child ratio to a more favorable number on the adult side is a win in all directions. I’ve even found myself enjoying the weather, the formly deplorable, hot, humid weather. I’ve been told it is still hot and humid, but when you’re at the beach or sailing, it just feels right. Maybe that’s what hot and humid was made for! I’ve had an¬†epiphany! I hearby declare all hot and humid days must be spent at the beach or on a boat. Vacations I feel you will support.

As much as I’d like to continue this tribute to you, I must desist. I am obligated to continue to enjoy myself, and right now I feel like sleeping. So as I know you would want me to do, I am off to bed. Carry on with your awesomeness. I will be with you again tomorrow.

Joy

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