Monday, August 10, 2015

Untaken pictures

There are so many moments not photographed that I want to forever remember. Some moments are gone in an instant that are beautiful reminders of the blessings in life. During those times that are so special I find that by the time I get my camera to snap a quick photo...that sweet "moment" has vanished. That is why sometimes I just stare and soak it into my memory because I don't want to miss it. I don't want to miss a thing.

Like the time the 2 youngest kids were sitting outside in the beautiful sunshine in the late morning. It was one of those sweet moments that will be cherished. They were working on finishing their lunches. As I walked up to the table from the garage I could see their adorable legs swinging back and forth in pure delight. THAT is the picture I have in my mind. Their legs unable to touch the ground because they were so small in those big patio chairs. Giggles were heard and their smiles were obvious. 

Or the time the youngest picks up her baby and rocks her so gently. So careful not to drop her. Her kind smile says that she truly loves that baby as if it were real. And I have no doubt in my mind that one day she will be one fantastic Mommy.

Another very special moment is when Daddy gets home and the "Daddy is home" "Daddy!!!" can be heard throughout the house. And they run to the door to be the first to see him. His face shining with humbleness at the importance of himself. Just as he is, even if it is slightly dirty from working hard all day, they give him huge hugs and try to help bring his lunch box upstairs. And almost every time it falls down the stairs. They laugh.

Moments of my boys together are some of my favorites. When I see them sitting together as close as can be on the couch, I love it.

Like when my amazing Dad in-law takes the two youngest grandchildren on a 4 wheeler ride. All 3 of them with big smiles on their faces! Going slowly around and around the path and very carefully.

Or when all the kids are together walking in the beautiful sunset. Rays of sunshine dance across their bodies and I think how perfect a picture would be if only I had my camera near me.

These are only some of the very special moments that I will never forget. They are etched into my memory forever. The next time you are rushing to get your camera....take in the moment, be present not to miss it.

Jamie :)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Favorites: Sunny Summer fun

I can't believe August 1st is tomorrow! July has been such a fun and hot month. We honestly couldn't have asked for nicer summer weather. I'm going to talk about some of my favorite summer moments lately for Friday Faves!!

I'm linking up with Erika for...

1.) It has been so much fun swimming this summer in my Mom in law's pool. Troy is loving the pool this year and will jump onto the mattress with me close by. So grown up!

2.) We've found a total of around 6 frogs this summer. And this boy loves to find them and keep them :). We still have our sweet little turtle. We've gone bug hunting a couple of times, too. Great memories! I have found that the very best memories are made doing such simple things :).

3.) This sweet girl is loving her fancy dress up shoes! It sure is cute listening to the 'clickity click' noise on the hardwood floor. Music to my ears ;).

4.) My sister and her kiddos came to visit a couple weeks ago. The cousins get along so very great! I love watching them together. This particular day we did some fishing and some unexpected jumping off the dock into the water. Fun times!!

And afterwards we were able to enjoy some yummy pizza and ice cream! 

And these cool mustaches were a favorite for the kiddos. All the kids got one to wear. 

5.) This is what summer is about. Playing in the mud with trucks getting nice and dirty! I say a dirty kid is a happy kid :)!

6.) We have been meaning to go to the Library this summer. So on this hot day it was a perfect excuse to be inside getting some books. Our local library has the cutest corner for kids with a beautiful outdoors mural on the wall and tons of puppets to play with. 

Had to stop by and let Troy use the phone. Haha! At first I asked him "Do you know what that is?" :) 

7.) I'm so proud of these kiddos! They built this amazing "house" fort all by themselves. The older cousins hammered the nails in. And they even made mud concrete to keep the posts stable. With a little help from Grandpa ;)  I just love them so much! And their creative minds!

8.) We went to a water park this past week and Austin passed the swimming test to go in the deep water. I was so happy for him! And he grew in courage. As much as I love my kids being little I enjoy seeing them face their fears as they grow up :). My Mom took this picture as we were heading over there together. And I remember thinking "I wish I could've gotten a picture of us walking over there." So thankful she did that without me knowing. 

Have a great weekend!!
Jamie :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thankful Challenge//Giveaway

I started reading this amazing book "One Thousand Gifts" By: Ann Voskamp. My sweet sister gave it to me for my birthday and it was one of the very best presents to be given. In it the author speaks about writing down 1,000 reasons you are thankful. Since reading it I've been sounding off things I'm thankful for...from the moment I wake up until the time my head touches the pillow at night. And my friends, it has CHANGED MY LIFE! It makes waking up much more easier, too. :) One of the secrets to living a happy life isn't just living a thankful life it's living a thank FULL life and taking note of each thing. To actually fixate on each particular reason I'm grateful every single day is deeply humbling and satisfying. Simple things that I hadn't given a second thought have given my life more meaning with this new habit. Allowing God's perfect plan to unfold by being more aware of His gifts is making me grow stronger. We have been given countless beautiful gifts from God. Everywhere we look there is something. Just looking out the window and seeing the beautiful texture of the trees each being completely different. And looking up at the gorgeous blues of the sky with big white fluffy clouds that vary in size and shape. Looking into the eyes of your child so pure and loving. Listening to the laughter of your friend. Tasting the sweetness of fruit. So many gifts to see, feel, hear and taste. As well as so many moments to treasure.

Here are just a few of the things I have become more grateful for:

30.For the sun that allows natural light to shine while I'm reading outside

 31.For cold water in my kid's kiddi pool that feels so refreshing on my hot feet

32.For the calming sounds of the birds high in the sky

33.For a cool breeze that brushes by me in the heat of the day

34.When my child grabs my hand to show me something special to them

 35.For the sweet taste of refreshing watermelon

36.The joy that a baby turtle brings

37.Beautiful wildflowers that bloom in the field with no special attention

38. The smile of a stranger at the grocery store

39. My Mom's kind and beautiful eyes that brighten as she sees her grand kids together

40. Being able to read The Bible any time of the day and anywhere

41. The quietness of the house at night while all are sleeping

42. Pretty butterflies that Troy can always spot and run after to catch

::::The MORE thankful we are the MORE fully happy we become::::

I encourage you to take the "Thankful Challenge" with me!! Each day write down in a journal 5 (or more) things you are grateful for and do this for 200 days to meet our goal of 1,000 things we are thankful for. And it doesn't even have to end there :). I have a new journal I've dedicated to this. I've been waiting to use it, almost as if saving it especially for this. And how fun it will be to look back on in years to come. Writing down the gifts we are grateful for is key. I love this book so much that I'm going to send one person her book. Just comment below or "like" my post and I will randomly select one person to receive her book. I can't wait for you to be blessed with her Godly wisdom! The drawing will end this Friday at 11:59 pm. I will then contact the winner. 

Have a great day, Jamie :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cragun's Resort Summer '15

Such a fun trip we had 4th of July weekend. I told my hubby "Now this is our kind of a vacation." Cragun's resort had so much to offer for our kids. We were able to stay there and just walk down the path to eat and enjoy activities all day long. I highly recommend it to those with or without kids.  I'll recap some of our favorites from the trip!

We arrived around 6:00pm. The boys sure were happy to see that sign! I didn't get any pics of the outside of the resort but it was beautiful. Click HERE if you want to check it out. Think brown/white with turquoise accents and lots of beautiful bright pink flowing flowers. Gorgeous sight!

Here is one of the paths to follow.

Here's part of Gull lake and to the right is where we kept our boat on the dock.

Such a cozy feeling it had all around.  

The first evening there we got some food and hung out on the deck. Here are 2 of my handsome men :).

Here was one of the hungry birds ready for some fries. Troy had the BEST time feeding them and giggling like crazy because they chowed down a whole fry. Haha! It was fun entertainment!!

We got a bag of duck food for a quarter and had some fun feeding the ducks after. I love watching them so happy doing something so simple :)!

The next morning we had a delicious breakfast buffet. It was scrumptious!! And we got ready to do some boating and fishing. Gull lake is HUGE with so many areas to fish. The kids sure enjoyed the boat ride. Troy loves going fast! 

Austin was ready to get those fish! He had tons of bites in the beginning. We finally realized that his line was messed up. Once it was fixed, he was reeling in the sunnies and a nice bass. 

Happy fisherman!

This kid caught 2 bass right in a row and reeled them in all by his big self. Big brother was proud of him!

Bass #1
Bass #2

And Daddy caught a nice one, too! Great fishing on Gull lake.

Mama caught a little one! After my husband took the picture, he was like "You always do that face and hold the fish like that!" And now that I see "the face" he is 100% correct. It is just how I roll :) He tried to get me to hold the fish inside his lips but I just can't do it. Not, yet anyways.

We played on the beach for awhile. Frisbee was a favorite. The kids swam and swam some more. We even met some sweet friends.

This cutie pie fell asleep. 

Time for some walking and supper. 

And playing pool. The boys were taught how to play by Dad. And Austin really enjoyed himself. The indoor pool was also in this giant room. 

After supper we went to the rec room. And it was huge! The upstairs "deck" had a running area. Troy and I ran around twice and were tired out afterwards. I was thinking that so many "firsts" were on the trip. Austin's first time playing pool, tennis and volleyball by the beach. 

The next day, July 4th, the big boys did some golfing in the morning. The resort package included a 9 hole course for each of us. But since the rest of us weren't interested, Billy and Austin did the 9 hole twice and had a total blast together. They even rented a golf cart. 

We went to the beach which also had a playground in the sand. And I had the most beautiful view :). 

Then we went to the outdoor pool when they opened. There was a kiddie pool that was just right for little kids. 

That afternoon we signed up for the horse-trolley ride. The "driver" was so sweet to talk to and has been giving these rides for many many years. He said he has a farm and loves his horses. He even gave out suckers to the kids on the ride. Such a nice man. 

We had reservations for supper at the Hungry Gull Restaurant. We told Austin he could  order anything that he wanted. He chose.....the Walleye. Most expensive thing on the menu :). And he was a champ because he ate the entire thing. I didn't even get a try. The food was amazing and the service was spot on. 

It was the street dance in the evening. Austin and I noticed the sumo wrestling suits! He wanted to do it bad. So, like a good Mother, I did it with him. :) It was so much more difficult to get into the suits than I imagined. But with some extra help we were ready. 

They went down the inflatable slide over and over. 

And loved every second of it. 

After we played beach volleyball Austin put the suit on again with someone his size. Troy was laughing because Austin fell down. And he might have also jumped on his big brother, again. And afterwards Austin said "It didn't count" because he was in the suit. :) Brothers.

The fireworks that night were gorgeous and so close! We sat in a big field and were handed out a TON of glow sticks. It was a beautiful night. 

The next morning we had a yummy breakfast and headed home. 

Such fun memories together! :)