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Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

So after the craziest week of UTI’s and lots of puking, (oh, and did I mention the allergic reaction to the antiobiotics prescribed to me for my UTI?  My skin around my mouth turned red and started peeling.  It was fun!).  Anyway, after the craziness, we ended up leaving Sunday evening.  It felt so good to be getting out of there!  As we drove, the kids watched movies while Scott and I talked about everything going on in our lives.  After a couple of hours, Madison started fussing.  I turned around to see what was wrong when she puked all over herself, her coat, her clothes, and her carseat.  And just to top it off, at exactly the same time it started snowing!  Not just a little snow.  No, this snow got so thick that you couldn’t see more than 100 feet in front of you.  I turned to Scott and said, “Get me out of here!”

We drove through the snow and on down to Nashville, thankfully without anymore puking, and got to our hotel around midnight.  We were tired and got settled in quickly.  Ahhhhhhhh…sleep!

Yeah.  Sleep maybe for an hour!  Patrick woke up and started the puking ritual we’d come to know so well over the week.  He was up all night getting up every 30 – 45 minutes to throw up in the bathroom.  I was awake too, because I could hear him making these moaning noises every time he was about to throw up and had to tell him, “Patrick, go to the bathroom!”  I didn’t want him puking all over the hotel room we were sharing!

 So, about 9:00, he’d finally slowed down on the puking a bit and we asked him if he wanted to just go home or keep going to our destination, Mobile, Alabama.  He said he wanted to keep going.  We loaded everyone up in the car and gave Patrick several bags, which he most definitely used!  He probably puked another 4 times in the car before we made it to the hotel.

I have to admit that there were a couple of moments when Scott and I wondered if we’d made the right decision.  But making it to the South was exactly what we needed.  We hung out for the rest of the day at the hotel, just enjoying being in a state where the snow wasn’t falling and the sky was sunny and blue! 

Patrick was feeling better by the next day, so we ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, got directions to the beach, then went to Wal-Mart to pick up some beach necessities.  Finally we headed on down to the first beach we planned on visiting.  (It was our goal to visit 3 beaches in 3 different states during Spring Break.)  Beach number 1 was in Pensacola Florida.  

 

Needless to say, it was starting to look like leaving Ohio for the week was actually a good idea! 

 

The beach was beautiful, the sky was sunny, and even though the water was still a bit cool, the kids enjoyed playing in the sand and getting their feet (some up to their waists) wet.  We were all so happy to be there!

Nooooo!  Dad!  What are you doing to me!

Relax, Dwight!  Just adding on some muscles!

Oh, what’s wrong, Dwight?  Can’t dig yourself out of the sand?

Hey, look!  I’m a Merman!

Wait a minute!  Mermen don’t have THOSE!

Here, Bubba, let me help you out with that!  NOW you look like a merman!

We left Pensacola Beach in the afternoon, picked up lunch to eat on the way back (Whataburger!  YUM!), and took the kids to the Dollar General store where they each got to spend $2 on a treat(s) of their choice brefore heading back to the hotel to watch a movie.  Dwight, of course, found the cheapest, 100% sugary candy he could find, for 25 cents a piece, and gorged on all of it that night. 

That night was a little scary for me because my stomach started to hurt and I became a bit nausious.  I did not want to get this stomach bug.  I stayed up a bit after everyone else went to sleep and watched tv, too paranoid to actually fall asleep (as if falling asleep would bring on the puking!).  Finally, I drug my nauseated butt to bed and prayed I wouldn’t have to make a mad dash for the bathroom.  I woke up feeling mostly better the next morning.

But the question of the day was this: Was it all the candy or was it the stomach flu that made Dwight sick Wednesday morning?  He never did puke, but he was pale and obviously ill.  The plan was to go see the battleship and then head to the next beach, but when Dwight wouldn’t eat breakfast, I asked him if he wanted us to take him back to the hotel.  He nodded with tears in his eyes.  I told him we’d go do something else that day since he really wanted to see the battleship and that made him feel a little better about his decision. 

So after dropping Dwight off at the hotel, we went on down to Mississippi.  

 

We decided to check out the alligator farm, which the kids really enjoyed.

Baby Gators.  They actually all turned around a faced us with jaws wide open as if to say, “Come on in, we’d love to eat you!”

Gator head anyone?  They’re only $20!

After that, we went to our next beach.  The Gulf Shores in Alabama.   

Since we got there later that afternoon, it was a bit cooler, so the kids really didn’t get wet.  But we still enjoyed the sun and the beach for a while before Madison said she was “Ready to go.” and then turned to the ocean and said, “Bye, water!”

By Wednesday evening, we were exhausted, and unfortunately, Scott was dealing with a little bit of an upset stomach.  So we didn’t do much that night.  Poor Scott didn’t do as well as I did.  He ended up nearly puking his stomach out, but it was only one violent trip to the bathroom for him and he was able to control his urges to vomit the rest of the day Thursday.  Of course, with him feeling bad, we didn’t get to hit beach number 3 Thursday.  So, we decided to extend our stay one more full day and not leave on Friday as planned. 

That worked out for me because I was able to get caught up on laundry.  Do you know how much easier it is to get caught up on laundry when you have four washers and four dryers to use at the same time?  It was awesome!  I figured it was the time to take advantage of this opportunity since our dryer at home was broken!

Friday morning, we went to a drive thru for breakfast and then headed for downtown Mobile, where we got to visit Fort Conde.  It was free to tour the place, so definitely worth the trip! 

Maybe I should have left them there!

We went on down to our final beach that day too, in Biloxi, Mississippi. 

The trip to this beach was a real eye-opener for me.  They are still recovering from all the damage from hurricane Katrina.  It’s hard to imagine what kind of impact a storm like that can make, but seeing where they are now after all this time, it hit me just how devastating it must have been.  Driving along the shoreline, we saw the sandy beach to our left, and to our right were hundreds of empty lots where houses, hotels & casinos, and restaurants used to entertain their many guests.  Our GPS still listed all the restaurants that used to be there, but we were only able to find two.  The rest had been blown away! 

And although the beach wasn’t as clean (there was still debris being washed ashore), Friday was the warmest day of all at 82 degrees.  (We actually happened to pick the beach that wasn’t hit by rain that day too!)  The water was warm enough for us to get into and play (okay, most of us – Maddison and I stayed out of the water).  And the kids really enjoyed themselves.  We headed back that afternoon…

with sleepy kids…

And when we got back to the hotel, we did our last two loads of laundry and packed our bags. 

The plan was to hit the U.S.S. Alabama in the morning and then drive half way home.  But when we woke up late, we decided it might be best if we head on home…and drive straight home.  So we struck a deal with the kids.  We skip the battleship and go home, and within the next two weeks, we’d go to the flight museum in Ohio.  They agreed, so we drove home last night. 

And of course hit rain and traffic making our 11 hour drive a 13 hour drive.  But we made it home without anyone throwing up and got to sleep in our own beds last night.  I slept so deep, I had all sorts of wild dreams.  But it was so good to sleep so deeply. 

So we’re back.  It’s 48 degrees and raining.  I already miss the South, but at least I have the memories (and pictures) to remember our week away from the cold.  And soon enough it will warm up here too.  (Thank God!)  Let’s just hope we can avoid any further illnesses while we wait for the warmer weather!

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Okay, so on that trip to West Point.  We left early early Thursday morning (October 4th)for our 10+ hour drive…

Okay, So maybe it wasn’t so early.  See, Scott went out of town on Tuesday and didn’t fly home until Wednesday night.  There was no way I was getting all the packing and loading up done on my own.  I was exhausted, my back was still hurting, and I had reached my limit.  Everything in me wanted to call this trip off.  But, since we’d already spent so much money on this trip, we were going!

I packed as much as I could the night before and then we got up early(ish) and finished packing.  Our goal went from leaving at 7 a.m. to getting out of there by 9.  HA!

So in and out of the house we went, early(ish) in the morning, loading up the car.  Every few minutes I’d remember something we needed (like the stroller.   We CAN’T forget the stroller)!  We had so much stuff, Scott had to attach the luggage carrier to the top of our Expedition.

Finally, at 10:00 a.m., we pulled out of the driveway.  At 10:01:25 a.m., we pulled back up the drive way.  Joshua forgot his school work.  I ran inside, leaving an irritated Scott in the car because he figured that we should just leave the school work and let him do it all Sunday night when we returned.  Knowing that Joshua would be exhausted from the long trip and being that I would be the one doing the work in a mad rush helping him get the work done, I insisted that we needed to run back in the house and get it.  At this point, what’s a few more minutes?  (By the way, we probably spent more time arguing about me going inside to get the work than it took for me to actually go inside and look for it!)

So I ran back inside and found nothing.  His teacher never sent home any work.  Joshua thought that the newsletters from the teacher was school work.  So I came back out, relieved.  Scott on the other hand was even more irritated that we turned around for nothing.  We pulled out again.   Hey, at least I didn’t have to spend the rest of the weekened with that in the back of my head.

10:04 a.m. we were back in the driveway.  Scott couldn’t find his ipod player.  (The one that plugs into the car and blares all his crappy music out of the radio).  heh heh.  I thought Dwight took it out of the car when he cleaned it out the night before.  He insisted he didn’t.  So Scott ran inside to get it.  While he was inside, I found it under my mom’s seat.  HONK HONK HONK!  We are the most annoying neighbors ever!  Again…going inside the house for nothing! 

Really…we had to laugh.  Okay, I laughed.  I laughed, Dwight gloated (because he was right, I was wrong).  Scott snapped. I snapped.    We argued a bit more.  He was irritating me.  I was irritating him.  ARGH!  We’ve been at each other’s throats for days!  Thank you, Never-ending Stressful Life.

Soooooooo…Getting out of the house was such a chore, but finally, we were on the road.  The ride there was pretty much uneventful.  My mom rode with us and helped out with the kids, so that made the trip much more pleasant!  We made it to our hotel in New Jersey at around 9:30 p.m., which meant that Scott and I missed our first event.  But that’s okay.  We made it!

So we pretty much got the kids ready for bed and by 11(ish) we went to sleep.  We had to get up early the next morning!

So the next morning we got up, got ready, and headed over to West Point.  We got through security, and headed to the Memorial Service.  Since we got there early, Scott had time to mingle with his classmates.  Some of them didn’t even recognize him at first because of his facial hair!  I knew a few of his classmates.  They were in our wedding nearly ten years ago.  So it was interesting to see how much everyone had grown up!

Finally, it was time for the service.  Even though I spent a good part of the Memorial Service trying to keep Madison quiet, I was quite moved.  Scott knew a couple of his classmates who died, and when they called out the names of these men and women, the rest of the classmates stood up when they heard the name of a person they knew.  It almost gave me goosebumps to see several people stand up (and then remain standing) with each and every name that was called out.  When Scott stood up, I remembered the day he got the phone call letting him know that one of his best friends died in a car accident.  We were in Washington, living in an apartment.  It was one of the few times I saw him cry and I was left not quite knowing what to do for him.  Another familiar classmate’s name was called out.  I remember Scott finding out about his death too.  He died in Iraq, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.  All of these classmates had a life, loved ones they left behind.  Many of them sacrificed their lives for our safety and freedom.  It was an honor to be at the Memorial Service, to stop and remember them.   Finally, we all stood as they played Taps.

After the service, we hung out and talked to different people, and then went to the lunch/Class Business Meeting.  The business meeting was not planned out very well.  There were so many people sitting at their tables, finishing up their lunches and getting caught up with old friends, that you couldn’t hear a word.  You would have thought that they would have had some speakers, a microphone, and that maybe they would have dismissed the spouses and children who did not want to be present for the meeting.  But they didn’t.  So no matter how many times they requested everyone’s attention, their requests were ignored.  It was pure chaos.  I eventually ushered the kids out of there and let them play outside for a bit.  After the business meeting was over, Scott and his buddy joined us and we got to tour West Point.   Finally, the part I was waiting for!

Grandma and the kids in front of the Hudson River

Here’s my mom with her grandkids in front of the Hudson River.  We were still waiting for Scott and his friend to get out of the Class Business Meeting at this point.

West Point

They say it’s not this beautiful in the winter.  Everything, the sky, the buildings, the ground, is gray.  But on this warm October day, we were surrounded by beauty.

Beautiful Architecture

Beautiful Architecture!

Dwight D Eisenhower Statue

A statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower.  He looks over the plain where the cadets march.

Huge Squirrel

West Point Squirrels!  I couldn’t resist.  They were the only ones allowed to run across the plain!  They were also HUGE!  They need to find out what these guys are eating and feed it to the Cadets!

Funny Sign

I couldn’t resist this one either.  The “but not on a continuous basis” just got to me.  Seriously!  “We may be watching you…………………but then again, we may not…”   

Roomates

Scott and his roomy, looking down at us from the windows of their old room!  They actually went into the building and asked the Cadet to let them in so they could see their old room and say hello to us.  CRAZY!

Oh yes, and the cadet in the room right below them?  The half-naked cadet who thought we were taking pictures of him?  Nice Pose.  But seriously…just go do your homework.  We both know you have plenty of it and we were not in the least bit interested in you.  (No Offense).

Where They Ate

The Mess Hall .  It was so beautiful, pictures just can’t quite capture the beauty.  There are lots of stories about this place…lots of hazing too.  I seriously have no idea how these cadets make it through 4 long years.  The academics are hard enough, but with everything else they have to do and go through, it’s just amazing they make it through it all.  They are my all my heroes!

Thayer

Colonial Sylvanus Thayer – The Father of The Military Academy

So in a few pictures (and I took over 500!) that was day one at West Point.  It was a bit overwhelming, seeing this place and remembering the stories Scott has shared with me over the years.  I was really moved when a couple of Cadets actually saluted Scott and his classmate as we were touring the place…Scott and his classmate or no longer in the military so these Cadets did not have to salute them.  But they did anyway.  It was like there is this eternal bond and mutual respect between the grads and cadets.  One that the rest of us will never experience firsthand.  But if you ever get the opportunity to tour West Point, do it!  I guarantee you will not be able to walk through that place without feeling an overwhelming amount of pride for these men and women who’ve made it through four years of the most grueling, yet prestigious educational experience a person could ever ask for! 

Note: I’ll post day two tomorrow.  I don’t want to overwhelm you with super long posts. 

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We got back from the Carolinas yesterday afternoon.  Honestly, I think it would have been easier if I hadn’t gone!  But in many ways I feel like we were supposed to go.  NEVER in my life have I felt like I feel about that place.  I just feel like we belong there.

The moment we started driving into familiar territory I started tearing up.  I don’t think Scott knew what to do with me!  But I think he understood.  He started getting a little sentimental too. 

On Sunday, God spoke to Scott and me during the Praise & Worship at our church there in SC.  We both know that we are going to have to make some decisions over the next couple of years.  I think we are going to have to decide on what we want in life and what we are willing to give up.  Do we want to make SC our home or do we want to continue what we are doing, moving every couple of years and advance in a very promising career? 

Everything in me says we belong in SC.  I’ve never lived anywhere where it has felt like it was home.  Not like this at least.  I told Scott that in some ways it’s so hard, but at the same time, it’s so wonderful knowing that I am no longer a wanderer, or drifter.  I’ve felt like that the last 10 years as we’ve moved from place to place.  Even as a teenager, I knew I wasn’t going to stay in my home town.  And when Scott and I got married, I knew for sure that we’d never live there again.  Now I have a place I want to call home. 

We have friends who are like family, a church we love and want to help grow and serve, great schools…the list could go on and on.  Everything about it just feels right (for us), and it felt right the first day Scott and I drove into town.  I remember sitting next to him in the car, taking in the scenery.  He looked at me and said, “It feels like home.” 

It didn’t take long before Scott and I were saying that we weren’t going to leave.  God told us “never say never.”  Nearly two years later, things got crazy and Scott didn’t have much of a choice on staying if he was going to stay with the company.  Now we are in Ohio!

Yes, I know that right now, we are supposed to be here in Ohio.  And it’s not that I’m not happy here.  We have great friends, a huge house, (which is nice with five kids!), so many good churches to choose from, good schools…again, I could go on and on.  But there’s just something missing. 

And I haven’t forgotten the hard times while living in SC – the times when we felt alone or frustrated about how things were going (especially in some of the relationships or ministries we were involved in), but I suppose that if you are going to have any kind of intimacy, then frustration, conflict, and sometimes even lonliness may be inevitable. 

So Scott and I have been talking, and praying, and contemplating on the decisions we will have to make.   We have time.  But this is one big decision!  For me, it’s easy.  I want one place and one place only to raise my children.  I want them to grow up with their friends and the stability of knowing that there is one place we call home.  But I’m afraid that my husband will feel that he’s never reached his full potential.  I know he’ll have to have something to strive for, to achieve.  Maybe it’s somewhere in some sort of ministry, or with another company.  Or maybe we’ll continue moving and he’ll get to pursue his dreams within this company. 

But as we go through all of this, my dream about the train seems to be making more sense.  There are so many areas in our lives that I feel like this dream applies.  But I’m convinced that this whole decision making thing is an area where my husband is going to have to push and I am going to have to simply stand back and support him no matter what.  If we all do our part, God will take control in the end.  Right?

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Hello Carolina

We’re heading back to the Carolinas today, if only for a few days.  It will be a nice vacation.  Scott told me he had to work there for a couple days and I said, “What?!  You can’t go back there without us!”  So we are loading up the car and heading out for the 8 hour (+) drive.  It will be worth it.  I really need to get away, if only for a few days. 

I’ll bring my laptop with me, but I may not have time to blog until Sunday or Monday.  By Tuesday, I’ll be able to let you all know if I’m coming back to Ohio.  🙂  Just kidding.  Just kidding. 

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I drove my mom to the airport late this morning.  I hate it when she has to leave.  There was a time when I didn’t feel as close to her.  Maybe we both just needed to adjust to our new lives (She and I both got married the same month).  But now I feel that we are closer than ever.  In fact, I’d say we’ve grown closer over the last year than we were the first 20 years I spent at home!  She reads my blog and I feel like I can write about anything without her judging me.  Even when I’m wrong, even when I’m moody or not handling situations with my kids very well, she never ever criticizes me.  I can’t say how nice it is to have that kind of relationship, where I am free to just be me and not have to stop and wonder what she is thinking about me. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood and how hard things were growing up.  Yet I feel blessed to have come out of all of the misery I went through and have such a wonderful woman for a mom.  I mean, my husband is crazy about her.  How many men talk about how much they wish their mother-in-law could move in with them? 

So today while we were driving to the airport, my mom turned to me and said, “You and Scott really do have a good marriage, you know that?”  Now that I’m a mom, I can understand how she can appreciate knowing that her daughter is happy with her husband and that he treats her like a queen.  And to be honest, it’s overwhelming sometimes when I think about how good I have it, especially compared to how hard things were as a child. 

Speaking of my husband, he’s gone too.  He flew out this evening on business.  He won’t be gone long though.  But last night I told him, “You aren’t allowed to do this to me again!”  To leave me the same day my mom leaves!  (and while I’m PMSing!).  Yeah, maybe he was smart to leave!  (I think he planned it out that way!)

Of course, the PMSing has just started but I’m still waiting for things to happen (if you know what I mean).  Waiting is the worst.  So when Faith told me she was thinking about me and thinking that I was pregnant, ha ha, it made me a little bit nervous.  But I’m convinced she got it wrong due to her most recent post.  (Check it).  As long as she doesn’t have any dreams about me being pregnant, I think I’m okay.  Even if a woman approached me at my sister’s wedding and told me she felt that the Lord was going to bless us with another baby.  But Suzy, if you do have a dream, don’t wait to tell me until after it happens, okay?  I need to know!

So the last few days with my mom were a blast.  We went to the zoo, to the River, and had some fun hanging out, eating out, shopping and makng wontons.  Of course, the trip to Maine was a blast too.  I wanted to post some pics but I apparently need to upload them first…so I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.  Until then…

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Vacationing in Maine

So my life has been crazy lately. I really intended to get a post up on my blog before I left for Maine, but it just didn’t happen. Partly because I was too busy, and partly because I have been having problems with my computer!

Anyway, we left for Maine last Friday. Mom flew in on the 4th, joined me for the 18+ hour drive from Ohio to Bar Harbor. It was kind of strange. We started off staying at my dad’s house. I guess he and my grandpa (his dad) aren’t getting along and Dad refuses to come out to the cabin we rented for the week because of him…even if that means not seeing any of us.

But I have this thing in me that feels like I have to do something to keep the peace…and since I didn’t want to waste any of our “cabin days” away at his house (because those cabin days are truly the highlight of our vacation), we decided to leave a bit early and get to my dad’s house over the weekend. (Cabin wasn’t available until Monday).

Scott flew in since he’s limited on vacation days and we made it into Bangor an hour before his flight came in. We didn’t waste any time. We stopped at my grandparent’s house for a short visit until it was time to pick him up. (My dad and his fiance weren’t too keen on the idea of picking him up since he didn’t fly into Bar Harbor where they live). So while I was irritated that they’d allow us to spend another hour and a half in the car with five kids, picking up my husband, it worked out just as well because we got to see my grandparents for about 45 minutes.

So we picked Scott up and drove out to my dad’s and his fiance’s house. It was kind of strange being there with my mom and all. Imagine it. My mom, dad, and his fiance all in the same house and getting along and hanging out. My mom is a better woman than I’ll ever be! But I guess it’s nice that they get along and that she has forgiven and let go of the past.
They did spoil us by getting live Maine lobster, taking us to the shops at Bar Harbor, and taking us on an awesome sea adventure cruise. The time did fly by and my dad and his fiance kept us busy.
By Monday evening, we we were ready to load up and head out to our cabin at Dow Pines. My grandpa and grandma and two uncles were there waiting for us, with a fire going outside and food and drinks waiting. Ahhhhhhhhh. Food, fun, and family all together at the great outdoors.

We have a nice little cabin with a view of the lake. Two bedrooms with full-sized beds and a loft with two twins. (Two air mattresses fit right up there too). We can rent Kayaks and canoes and boats. So much fun!


So here we are…enjoying a much needed vacation and time with family. I have much more to write about, but I don’t want to spend all my time on my computer when I should be spending it with my family…oh yeah…and today is Joshua’s 6th birthday. Where does the time go?

Happy Birthday, little man. I love you. (and you are still technically 5 until 4:33 p.m. CST, so stop saying you are six!)

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My MIL was not up and running this a.m. She usually has coffee brewing and laundry going by 6 a.m. at the latest. But this morning she was in her room. She practically stayed in there all morning until Scott’s dad got out of bed and came out at 8:30.

Do you think she is avoiding us? She most definitely is doing her best to not be left alone in a room with us. She knows this conversation is coming. I thought about letting her out of it because obviously there is no need to say anything…but no way in hell am I letting her off that easy after the mental hell she put me through yesterday. I’m just not that nice.

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