Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Anniversary-13 years

Today marks the anniversary of a journey I began 13 years ago. I have to admit looking back, I was young and in love. . and I was a baby. (not the way I acted, but in age, just a mere 22 years old!) It was the height of the Atlanta Summer Olympics and the day after a bombing in centennial park. The world was spinning, but for us it stopped for a short while, as we married in a rock chapel in a quiet, peaceful place in the middle of the woods! (Frost Chapel for those of you who live in my town)

Looking back, now with many life experiences under my belt, I see myself then and I had NO IDEA what God had in store for our marriage or our spiritual purpose as a couple. Even in the prayer my father prayed over us as we knelt in front of him when he married us, he prayed, "Lord give their marriage a spiritual purpose". 13 years later, here we are serving HIM in a ministry side by side. God had such big plans for us. Oh how I crave to instill in my children, you have so much more to your story.

My man is like no other, (don't we all think that?), and he is completely devoted to me and our children. What I love most about him is his words of affirmation he has for me. It is not unusual to find a special letter from him penned by hand in which he always finds a new way to tell me how he loves me. There is no other for me, and it is a crazy, surreal journey God has brought us on. In some ways I still feel like that 22 year old woman who had no idea what God was planning behind the curtains of my life. Can't wait to see what the next 13 years bring!

Even though today is our special day, J arranged all the details and whisked me away to Atlanta Friday evening for a quick dinner at Chops! Let me just say the Filet and Lobster would not have been in our budget 13 years ago! It was so awesome to be alone with my hubby after our busy, whirlwind summer. We had uninterrupted conversation and I think that was the most meaningful part of it all! Included a few photos J took on his phone. We just wanted to document we actually had a date ALONE and a newborn baby, plus 10 other kids at home!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ann Claire's first Bath!

I am several weeks behind on my blog entries. This happened the night we got home from the beach, so we are way behind here. Once we were home and had our fun little bath tub, we got her in there as fast as we could. I thought these were great photos that captured her true feelings about being bathed. (Now, she loves it and doesn't even make a sound)

Good Times!

Back to the Beach

Well, I was interrupted on my blogging for a few days, so back to our beach trip: The 2nd half of our trip consisted of a few days spent in SeaCrest, FL with good, family friends. Little J is great friends with their youngest son, and the other kids get along great as well. PLUS, it helps we have found great friends in their parents. Our friend, L's parents own this house and it has provided for many fun memories through the years. We love, love our time we spend with this family each and every time we are all together. We felt so blessed to be able to add to our trip by being invited along. I have added a few photos from our time there.
Great buddies! I thought this one was precious, so calm, THEN:

The got a little more daring with the surf!

The rest of the gang enjoying an evening on the beach!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Am I in the Twilight Zone?

It is 8:29 PM and ALL, yes, ALL the children in my home are in a bed. They may not be fast asleep, but it is VBS week and they are pooped. Our day consisted of arguments, tears, whining, and complete discontent. So. . . even my teenagers said they were heading to bed too. So. . I was just wondering as I sat in a quiet house with daylight outside, Am I in the Twilight Zone. This is too good be true. Ann Claire better sleep good tonight too!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Each year on our vacation the kids and J enjoy that our beach subdivision includes a lagoon that is salt water. That means that the family can hike out to the neighborhood dock and enjoy fishing with dad and Papa. This year, as many years in the past, the best fishing is done at dusk.

The story goes that the kids were fishing and J got a bite. Before he knew it, his entire rod got a jerk and low and behold, this is what was on the end of it! True story!:

A rare incident, this is a saltwater crocodile! Yes. It was about 6 feet long and wouldn't give up. Although the night of fishing was over, as he wouldn't go away, it made for a very good fish story!

More shots of fishing:
Getting the lines ready with Aunt Jen, loved the sunset behind them!

J and J, my two men. Love it!

The family's new friend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Beauty from the Beach

It has taken me over a week, but life is finally settling back into a routine, and I can now post some photos from our beach trip. We had a great time away, and most importantly, lots of rest! This was a "different" beach trip, as we kept telling the kids. Most families with a newborn baby would never attempt a trip to the beach, and we were all lucky we got to go! The kids were very flexible and understanding about missing out on some family traditions we usually do at Gulf Shores, they just enjoyed the view, like we did!
Enjoy our memories!:

Ann Claire enjoying the front porch of our beach house with her Nana. This was one of her few trips outside!

One of those rare moments I didn't want to miss photographing!

M. E. is one of those girls that LOVES BABIES. She always finds one in public when we are out and socializes with them, and she has TONS of baby dolls, strollers, and their gear! You would think that M. E. herself has had a baby as much as she loves Ann Claire, just look at her face when she holds her!

An attempt to dress the kids alike and head out for a fun dinner. Ann Claire didn't actually go, she and her daddy had a date at home. I love J's expression!

Ann Claire with Nana and Papa. We could not have made this trip without their support, cooking, and extra hands! Thanks a million to the grands!

The kids enjoying a hermit crab race at our traditional night out at Calypso's Joe's. Notice M. E's face, she was a little grossed out!

Another rare moment of togetherness, enjoying the boats at San Roc Cay Marina. How sweet!

A quick stop at the state park to take a snapshot in the sand dunes. If you could only see what it took to get this shot! Sweet Ann Claire, she never opened her eyes to see the sand!

I love my little man!

M. E. never misses a moment to over-dramatize!

When did S get so big? You will have to check out her own, new blog.

No comment needed!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Everyone is Home-Life is Good!

I wanted to let everyone know that we are all home-safe and sound. 6 kids have been away at summer camp, 4 were with us at the beach, and 1 was away at college orientation. Whew, does that equal 11? Yes.

Time off is given to J and I each year while the kids go away to summer camp for two weeks. We have learned through the past 6 summers to leave home. If you stay, you work. . so we go. As I was recuperating from giving BIRTH, our 1 week old and I headed out with family to find a quiet place to recover. This year we headed back with J's family to Gulf Shores, AL.

We have spent the past 3 summers in the same house that provides a lagoon as well as an ocean side for beach play. In the middle of the subdivision is a community pool, as well as a nice circular neighborhood for the little ones to ride on their scooters, etc. My awesome MIL (mother in law) provided yummy meals such as chicken casserole, steaks, burgers, you name it, we ate it. All I had to do was get better, feed the baby, and relax.

The second leg of our trip was spent in Seacrest, FL with close family friends at her parents beach house. What a blast! I think my friend, L, held Ann Claire more than I did which was a relief for a weary mommy with less sleep at night.

Ann Claire is such a good baby, and I must say was quite a trooper. She has really hung in there and unfortunately for her, her birth fell at a time that was planned way before we knew about her. . our TIME OFF. We would not have missed it for the world, so she had to come. Thank goodness she got here in time to go!

J did a fabulous job of tag teaming with me and the others kids had a blast as well. The other 6 kids had a fabulous time at camp and just came home today. ( you don't even want to see our dirty laundry piles!) M had a blast at her orientation as well and has talked our ears off about her class schedule, new roommate and all the joys her new college experience will bring.

LIFE IS GOOD. Thank you Lord for a wonderful time away and bringing our family back together safely!

(I hope to post vacation pictures eventually!)