Tuesday, January 08, 2019

This Boy Turns Five-This Momma Cries!

"Momma!  The Northern Lights!!!"....He's always thinking he is seeing the Northern Lights...LOL!

It feels like the end of an era.  There will be no more babies.  Jacob is no longer a baby...at all.  Okay...so maybe he is still on the young side.  And the eve before his birthday I reminded myself that the fact that he is growing up is very very good.  I have so much to be thankful for!  My little children growing up is as it should be.  Letting go...and accepting the changing of seasons is where my heart needs to rest.  (And I'm remembering what Henri Nouwen said ~one of my favorite authors~about letting go...we let go with open hands in a posture to not just let go of what we ought not try and keep but also with open hands to receive whatever our Father wants to give us!)

We headed to celebrate at our favorite spot.  We call it the "stone table"---a high meadow clearing at Little Mulberry Park, and thankfully just minutes from our house.  We took along the birthday boys' requests...a rocket to shoot off and hot dogs to cook on our little camping stove.  The wind made everything harder and after one shot of the rocket, it was gone forever.  (okay the thought just went through my head "yeah, just like Jacob's baby years...."  ---stop it dramatic self!)

We are so blessed with our boys...growing through the seasons with them.  I noticed a "W" on the stone ground with a bit of shock... "Boys!  There's a "W"!" Thinking about our last name.  They all laughed and said, "Yeah mom, have you never noticed the W, E, S and N around the stone table!?"  Well, no I hadn't.  Anyway, the W for Walsman is cool in my book.  Or maybe W for going West.  Walsmans....West...A dream we think about from time to time...moving out West, buying a small ranch, raising horses and boys together...I suggested this evening maybe we could just move to North Georgia...it's beautiful there too!  (our home that we bought here in Auburn we found out recently is zoned residential...so unless we were able to change that, we can't have horses here!) 

Back to Jacob...and his birthday.  The boys played hide and seek tag, lots of giggles and fun.  We watched deer grazing along the edge of the meadow near the forest as we walked, bags slung over shoulders, towards the parking area.  I'm thankful for the many boys in my life and for our great God who leads us all...

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Our Trip to Sanibel Island

With us homeschooling (sort-of) this year, we planned a trip to the beach in late October, thinking that would be such a great time to go.  No crowds, lower prices, not so hot...perfect!   "Not so fast George Banks."  (Know what movie that line comes from?  I'm pretty sure it's Father of the Bride part 2.  Part 1 and 2 used to be my favorite movies...I haven't seen them in years now!  Should watch them again!) 

So....during the school year part...plus Veritas Classical Schools...equals...super hard.  I spent the couple weeks prior to our trip trying to help the kids get their work done ahead of time so they could take a break on the trip.  One weeks worth of Veritas work is PLENTY, trying to add more, downright insanity.  Without going into detail, it was so stressful, that combined with just getting ready to leave town for a week and packing, I had a headache for the first 5 days of our trip.  I've never had that prolonged of a headache that Ibuprofen wouldn't cure.  A trip to a massage therapist 5 days into the trip finally did the trick.  Apparently, muscles in my neck were all bent out of shape.  So trips during the school year because we are homeschooling?  Not so much. 

No crowds?  Cooler weather?  Oddly, these two things combined made me (and my 14 year old) feel like we weren't on vacation.  Weird, huh?  But I'm totally serious.  I don't really have an interest in traveling to the beach again when it's mostly deserted.  If it's just Steve and I, sure that's great, but with the kids--they like playing with other kids!  That's a highlight!  And admittedly Steve and I love to talk to new people!  :)

Oh, the other downside was that althought there were no kids at our condo, there were some retirees staying below us, so we had to be on our best and quietest behavior.  Ah'hem....five boys?  Quiet!  Recipe for a stress induced headache in and of itself!  Note to self-stay in a single-family dwelling next time if at all possible!  We almost got kicked out of our condo because I didn't realize the max was 6 people....our extra child put us right over the edge.  So added money and pressure to be on our best behavior.  (to our chagrin, the folks below us gave us a box of cookies at the end of their/our stay, because they didn't hear a peep out of us the whole week!  Miracles happen people.)

But at any rate, it was still a great trip full of memories for us and the kids! 

Shelling is great at Sanibel so the kids enjoyed lots of hunting :)

There is a large wildlife refuge on Sanibel, in fact a large portion of Sanibel is a devoted refuge for wildlife.  It's called the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.  Pretty interesting name!  We drove through one day and the next rode our bikes.  That was probably my favorite thing we did on the trip. 

Mangrove crabs--super cool.

On our way out of the refuge, the kids got to see an endangered turtle species!  I'm momentarily blanking on the name of this turtle.  Help!

These pictures are a good description of Jacob right now...see his fist balled up in the last picture!  He is 3 1/2, going on 4, and has found his voice and opinion about all matters concerning him or others.  He runs into life and grabs all his can get!  And if you tell him no...watch out!  You might just get punched in the nose or slapped in the eye (true story, he has done both to his precious momma this week).

It's at about this moment that Samuel starts saying "It's stinging me!  It's stinging me!"  Dear Samuel, it's not smart to pick up jellyfish :)

I couldn't take my eyes off this sunset!  It was SO SO beautiful!!!

5 little ducklings all in a row....

Fishing by the bridge between Sanibel and Captiva islands on the last night of our trip was the highlight for the boys.  Maybe for Steve-not so much.  Pesky little no-see'um insects bit him up like crazy-he has been itching from the hundreds of bites the past week since getting home! 

My dad recently told me he hates it when someone tells him to have a "great day".  If they would just say, "Have an average day", that would be so much less pressure.  I probably should approach vacations with that same type of attitude.  Isn't that the way it is with all of life?  Sigh... 

Just about anything is hard in a fallen, sinful world.  Vacations included.  But where sin abounds...grace abounds all the more!  (Romans 5:20)  I'm so thankful for a God whose mercies are new every morning, even mornings on vacation!  And thankful we are able to to take trips and explore God's beautiful world.