Friday, July 15, 2016

4th of July 2016

4th of July is usually one of my favorite holidays. Hmpf! But this year's festivities were not quite to festive. 

The day started with rain. Phooey! We got ready in our red/white/blue and headed to the parade. But, on the way the rain began to POUR down. Cam turned the van around and went back home. After about 15 min. the rain let up but most of the family didn't want to go. Party poopers!! 

So, I took Sis and George and just the three of us had a lovely RAIN FREE time at the parade. Plus, Grandma and Grandpa met us there. 

After the parade we hung out at home and got our festive food ready. Then off to our first stop of parties. Thank goodness we have friends that invite us over. We had fun visiting with the first group of friends and then headed for our second party. 

We also had a lovely time at party number two. We had a delicious dinner! Just as I finished my dinner Cam announced that we had to go. Go? What?! Already?! Hmpf. Well, I was annoyed but Cam had to work the next morning and yes he does get up early for work. Blah, blah, blah. 

So...we were home by 8:00 PM. Great! Only 2.5 hours until we could see the fireworks from our house. Tick Tock Tick Tock. Finally I couldn't wait any longer....meaning that I was too tired and the kids were bugging me so I went to bed. Poor Cam was only woke up about 57 times throughout the night with loud fireworks going off. Our city has a ban on them but apparently nobody was following the law. 

The next day the kids said they saw lots of great fireworks from their bedroom windows. I saw none. Oh the joys of getting older. 

I'll leave you with a good "It's a Dog's Life" photo. Sis was giving Rocket a "Noogie". Ha!! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mr. P is a Teen

Mr. P is officially a teenager! 13!!!! Woot!!

He celebrated a few days early with his best buddies. The nicest group of kids. And I can tell you that as boys get older the parties get easier. I fed them dinner and dessert and breakfast and then rarely saw them. They played outside and played video games into the wee hours of the night. 

Brother love. 

On Mr. P's actual bday I took the kids to a local burger place and went to the park for dinner. Cam was working. Boo! 

Then to assert his independence as a teen he went out of town for five days on a trip with his buddy. We really missed him but boy did he have fun! 

Happy Birthday Mr. P! You are smart and hard working and your recent report card is proof.....3.95 GPA with English/Literature and Math honors classes. I can hardly believe you passed me up in height this spring. You are growing like a weed...or a teenager. You are a beautiful boy...handsome and stunning. I cherish any one on one time I have with you to chat. You are compassionate and loving and that shines through in discussions of world matters. Your future is bright and I am enjoying watching it unfold. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Camping With Friends

We kicked off summer with a camping trip. Ten families from our kids' school booked sites at a state park. In all there were 26 kids! 

This was the first time we had tent camped since Mr. P was a toddler. That camping trip was a disaster! But, we were ready to try again....or at least I was ready and Cam was willing to come along. Plus, no we didn't have the extra money to rent a trailer this time. 

The good thing is that we have all the tents and camp stuff that we needed. Packing the van was a big job! We had to bring fire wood which took up a lot of room. And we brought the kids' bikes. And we needed two tents, seven sleeping bags, overnight bags, pillows, blankets, camp stove, tent shelter, coolers, food, and the list goes on. Plus, seven people and two dogs! It's a miracle that Cam and I are still married after packing that lot up. Ha! 

The destination was magnificent! We were located on a beach with old growth trees and all of natures beauty. 

Setting up camp was A LOT of work. Worth it but still I was a hot sweaty mess by the time we had everything unpacked, put up, made up and set up. Happy Hour!

The kids all slept in the big know as Taj Mahal. Its HUGE with three wings. The nice thing about not sharing a tent with the kids is that I didn't care that it was a disaster the whole weekend. And the dogs slept in there too. 

Cam and I took the little tent. We had a blow up mattress to sleep on and it was cozy. I would have slept fine except that Cam COULD NOT SLEEP. Which means that every 15 min. when he would loudly turn over and exclaim that he couldn't sleep, I too would be awake. Next camping trip he is bringing a sleeping pill. 

The tent awning is new and I loved it. We will use it lots this summer for shade and in soccer season it will be great for rain cover. 

There is nothing better than sitting around the campfire. 

Next best thing is camp breakfast. Toasty fire, hot drinks and kielbasa on the webber. Oh it's SO good.

Pancake cooking in your pjs. The best. 

Cam cannot say anything about my outfit since here he is. 

The kids had a blast at the beach. 

And they really had fun riding bikes. Those kids must have rode over 100 miles. 

From sun up till sun down they rode bikes. 

Mr. P was the big kid of the group. The next closest in age was Moses and then the rest of the kids were younger than 10. Mr. P did a great job of watching out for the little kids and playing with them. A few of the kids took a liking to him and followed him around. He loved it! What a good kid! 

Two nights was not long enough. It was long enough for Cam but not for me. Especially because packing up and heading home is only part of the work. The real work is once you're home and drying everything out and then putting it all away again. I was beat by the time we were done. This is the kids in the van on the drive home. Apparently they were tired too. Ha! Scroll up and compare the two photos...on our way and on our way home. Hilarious!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer Time

Summer has arrived! We are settling into our summer routine nicely.

But, first some catch up on the past month. It was busy!

All school year long I had worked as a substitute teacher one day a week. Very occasionally I worked two days in a week. Then the end of the school year approached and teachers were asking me left and right if I could sub for the. The end of the year brings testing and report card prep so the need for subs is high. I decided to be brave and just go for it. I ended up working nearly every day for the last five weeks of the year. Some were half days which allowed me to get Tuba off the bus on the days that Cam worked. It was a little crazy to work so much but we all pushed through knowing it would be short lived.

Turns out it went great! Cam was a huge help and picked up a few extra chores around the house. The biggest help came in the form of making lunches and breakfast! Cam was awesome! The kids were great too. On the mornings that Cam was gone they helped us get out the door on time. I kept telling them the extra money I made would be for our vacation so they had good incentive to help out.

There were a few crazy moments too. One morning Moses told me he had no clean shorts. Well, he did have clean pants but he didn't want to wear pants. I informed him that he would have to wear pants. In the car I noticed that he had on shorts. He told me he got them out of the washing machine. The load had just finished and he pulled them out....and wore them wet. Oh!! Good thing they were quick drying fabric....but ewwww!

Now summer is here and we are in full relax mode. Lots of playing and reading and summer fun going on.

In the past week we have gone camping (pics coming soon), begun swim lessons, deep cleaned bedrooms (my favorite way to start summer), celebrated a bday (more pics to come soon), caught up on yard work and paperwork and household chores, slept in and even watched several movies.

We are ready for more fun!

A few pics from Cam's sister's visit in early June.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Slice

Outside My Window -
Rain and grey and drizzly but not too cold. No wind today. I love it that I can tell how windy it is outside by looking at the trees. The trees are full of life, green and lush. The flowers are in bloom too.

From The Kitchen - Tonight some of us had eggs, and left over bacon and some of us had cereal. Exciting huh? Actually it's everyone's favorite when we all do our own thing for dinner. Easy for me too.

I Am Thankful - That our kids get to play sports (and take music lessons). It is expensive! I know it's a luxury that many cannot afford. We work hard and make it a priority to make sure they get to play...and have the equipment. We love to watch them play too. Right now it's Flag Football season for Mr. P and Moses. George is working on his TKD belts. Sis and George are taking piano lessons and Mr. P plays saxophone for the school band. Tuba is the world's best cheerleader. He doesn't care if it's practice or a game, he loves to go and cheer the kids on....even in the rain. 

Okay, at this rainy game he kept saying, "Mama, ewwwww rain", while pointing at the sky.

I Am Wearing - PJ pants, t-shirt, hoodie, sock and slippers, hair in a pony. Basically, my uniform.

I Am Creating - A big list to get us organized for camping. We are tent camping with a bunch of other families just after school lets out. It's going to be so much fun. But, there is so much to get ready! Yikes!

I Am Going - to be subbing everyday...EVERYDAY PEOPLE!!! For the next 2.5 weeks. Gulp!! We can use the extra money (had to pay for fall soccer and summer swimming, and vacation is coming up) It's the time of year that the teachers need a sub. They are testing kids and preparing for report cards. I am nervous to be working so much but I decided to just do it. Some of the days are half day jobs so I will have the afternoons to get my regular chores; make sure we have clean laundry and food to eat. And then summer break will be here. 

I have really enjoyed my sub job. It's really different than when I subbed thirteen years ago. This time around I am only working at my kids' school. So, I know almost all the kids and I know all of the staff. It makes a big difference. 

I Am Reading -  I just finished Everything I Never Told You. It was very good....and sad too. It was an interesting read. 

I Am Hearing - Cam is loading the dishwasher, Moses is putting his headphones on h
is iPod, Sis and George are talking and getting ready for bed down the hall. Mr. P is sitting next to me breathing. Rocket is chewing his dog bone. 

I Am Planning - What to wear. It fun to lay out my clothes for work each day. Sometimes I lay out two or more outfits so I can decide in the morning and then I can use the other choice the next day I work. I am getting good use out of my closet these days. Lots of my clothes only got used for church or dinner out. 

One Of My Favorite Things - My sweet Kali girl. I love this dog. 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week - I am going on a field trip with George on the beach. It's a fun trip to look at sea life at low tide. I'm glad I get to go with him and enjoy one last day off before the crazy schedule begins. Plus, we have Cheetos for our lunch. 

A Picture Thought I'm Sharing - This cracks me up. This is my Uncle Larry. He was tired and getting a bit cranky and didn't want to have a photo taken. My kids expressions are hilarious!!

I'll end with a Kairos moment:

We were driving through an intersection when we saw a man waving his arms at the traffic. As we approached I could see that he was ushering a group of baby ducks and the mama duck off of the road and into he greenbelt. It was such a beautiful sight. It really touched my heart. It brought tears to my eyes and I rolled down my window to tell him thank you. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day is one of my favorite days of the year. 

This year I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for the day...maybe a bike ride, or a hike. But, Sis spiked a fever on Friday night that persisted the whole weekend. So, I changed gears and decided we would enjoy a day at home.

Now, what is better than a crew of kids and hubby willing to do whatever I wanted to do?! Nothing I tell you. I decided we could have a work party in the yard. And...they were all for it. I have such nice people! 

My day started with this sweet boy making me a gift. He presented me with a halo and said I am "his angel". How cute is that?! 

Then I was presented with the gifts and cards the kids made at school. These are my favorite things! I treasure them. 

Cam took the kids to church and Sis and I stayed home. We decided that a pedicure was in order for Mother's Day. Well, we gave it to the dog. Kali loves this and totally relaxes and snores through the whole thing. Doggy spa day. 

Once everyone was home we headed outside to get working on the yard. The kids were awesome! We chatted and worked side by side. Yes, I worked too.

We weeded and then put in new soil. The plants are looking great!

Everyone was working hard...well except Tuba. Do you see him? I guess he's the boss and watching to make sure we do a good job. 

Cam and the boys mowed and edged the lawn. 

Even my little two are good workers. 

Sis was feeling perkier after a Motrin so she helped too. 

It's a Dog's Life. They moved around the yard and laid near me and got underfoot several times. But, they are so sweet and good company. 

Only one mishap in the day. They boys had gone to Ace to buy more dirt and the little kids were in the back yard. I had been cleaning out those big planters you see in the above photo. They are big and heavy. I rolled them to the edge of the lawn where it meets a concrete bulkhead to our driveway. It's about 4 ft. from the grass to the driveway below. I was bent over scooping dirt out of banter into the compost/yard waste bin. I was hungry and tired and as I stood up I lost my balance and fell over backwards towards the driveway. As I began to fall I thought...oh no, concrete below. At that moment I hit the compost bin and landed in it. Hard. Oh ouch on my elbow, and arm and hip. But, what a save that bin made. Much better than landing on the concrete. My guardian angel was looking out for me. I had to extract myself from the bin with the dogs watching over me. Luckily no lasting damage done other than a scrape and sore elbow joint. 

After our hard labor we enjoyed happy hour on the deck and then BBQ burgers for dinner. Great day!  
There is nothing I love more about my life than being a mom. It's wonderful to celebrate that job!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Holy Week and Pascha 2016

I have only one complaint about our new parish. It has no light. Like I said before it's located in an industrial strip mall. There is one window above the doors to the nave. And. That. Is. It. Hmpf!! So....I could NOT get any good photos. I tried. I didn't want to use a flash and since the services were mostly at night and with candle was impossible to get a good photo. 

But, I want to show what the parish looks like so here goes...with bad photos. 

On Holy Friday the kids and I attended....and Cam worked. You can see the congregation returning to the nave after our procession outside. As we enter we pass under the Epitaphios

On Saturday morning the kids and I headed to our old parish to enjoy my favorite service of the year. It's so beautiful!! It was heartwarming to see some of our friends and hug around the room. I teared up several times. It felt good to be in a familiar space. 

And the lighting at that parish is amazing! Windows! 

Saturday night was Pascha service....which started at 11:30 pm. Yes, that is late! Oh! This year we all laid down around 6:30 for a nap. I slept until almost 10:00...and it was really hard to wake up and get going. Poor George was so sleepy and not able to rally. in my house at night....not so great either. 

Once in place at church Tuba was so excited. He loves Pascha! The service starts with the priest lighting each person's candle. We sing, "Come receive the light..." and it is beautiful! 

Then we head outside to process around the church...or in our case around the parking median and back in. Cam took this photo of the empty nave. 

Tuba doesn't like to go outside and poor George was snoozing.

He slept the entire service. 

While Tuba smiled and sang and rocked. 

Here's a photo that shows our priest and into the altar. You can see Mr. P inside the door to the acolyte area. He is the only one of us that didn't nap. Tired boy!

I snapped this pic of the bay leaves. I love it that they were left on the floor from the Saturday AM service. 

After the liturgy we went to the priest's house to celebrate and break the fast. The kids were so thrilled! 2:00 AM and having a blast!

On Sunday we had our feast at the new property our parish purchased. It was the first time we got to see the inside of the building. It's a horse arena that has classrooms, restroom and a kitchen. I got to have a tour from our priest and I can now visualize what it will be some day. There will be a temporary church built inside once the permits are approved. It will be much larger than the current space. It will only take a few months to enclose the space and be ready to go. a parish we will have to raise the funds for the eventual building. That could take 10 years. Ugh! I will be working on the virtue of patience. But, in the interim the space will be big enough and it will be beautiful. 

Now back to the feast celebration. The weather was sunny and warm. Bonus! The Arena is located on 3 acres so lots of outdoor room to run and play. There was a bouncy house for the kids. Our kids loved it and bounced much of the day away. The food was delicious! We were thrilled to be back eating meat after the fast. 

The best part of the celebration was the games. They had musical chairs for kids and then adults. What a hoot! Then we did an egg toss....which Cam and Moses won. Then a squirt gun fight. What fun!! Kids and adults had a blast squirting each other. I haven't laughed so hard in forever. I highly recommend having a squirt gun fight with your family. 

No pictures from the feast. I was literally too busy having fun! 


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