Sunshine State

As I see the rain steadily drip outside of the window, and crane my neck to watch the ominous grey clouds gather and lay low on the horizon, I settle back in my seat and remember what I affectionately call “Sunshine State.”

We don’t get down to Florida all that often, but that makes it an even bigger treat when,  after the long hours in the car, we finally cross the Sunshine Skyway bridge and breathe in the salty sea air.  A couple of weeks ago, Mom, Elise and I were blessed to be able to by-pass the car ride and fly down to Florida instead.  Elise and I had never flown before, so it was serious case of broadening our horizons (no pun intended😉 )  When we boarded in Virginia, the thermometer had slowly crept up to 40 degrees {NOT promising}.  But when our plane finally touched down in Tampa and we disembarked, we were greeted by a wave of 80-ish heat.  Oh, that’s when I knew that summer was right around the corner:)

Though we mostly spent our time relaxing – depending on who is defining the term😉  – we were also able to do several fun things together, including frequent ice cream stops, fishing, fancy dinners on the waterfront, touring Naples {including a lovely historic pier with Dolphins❤ } and last but not least, parasailing.  That was a blast!
I think I was probably the most adventurous party member, trying everything from alligator tacos, to grouper reubens.   Mmm …. makes me hungry just thinking about it!


There now … I wanted to add some more photos to this post of our grand adventures, but WordPress is telling me that I have maxed our our blog space.  *cue the tears*    I’m going to try to resolve that as soon as possible, because I would be so sad if I couldn’t post anymore on our blog!

Until then …. Just know that we had lots of fun😉

Winter Highlights

It’s been kind of cold around here, lately.  I know – surprise, surprise.  But considering that Christmas Day was worthy of short sleeves at a high of 73 … well, these 20-something temperatures seem freezing.  Winter might have come in mildly, but it is going out with a bang!

In between work schedules, we older kids were able to make some fun memories this past winter.
One huge hit was skiing.
When we first heard of the opportunity, there were some mixed reactions.  I was very enthusiastic about trying it for the first time, but I was also slightly nervous.  Dad encouraged us to go … but he also gave us some very pointed instructions and shared some of his best – and worst! – stories with us.   Other friends heard of our planned adventure, and they all added their two cents worth of the do’s and don’t’s.
Opinions differed slightly, but everyone agreed on one thing – beware of ski lifts.

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Oh boyyy.   I pictured myself tripping, getting hung upside down by one leg all the way back up to the top, or breaking my nose for the third time.  {Don’t even ask! It’s embarrassing😉 }   Elise and Lydia didn’t seem to be as concerned, but then again, they don’t have the track record that I do.  I have a special relationship with the floor/ground that can accurately be described as …

Mom:  “What was that noise?”
Me:  “Oh, it was just my shirt hitting the floor.”
Mom:  “It sounded a lot heavier than that!”
Me:  “Er … well, I was in it.”

You might be just as glad, as I was relieved, to find that all members of the skiing party made it home safe and sound with no broken bones.  Praise the Lord!
Our consensus? We’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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Most of the group is pictured above.  The few that weren’t?  Well, they were trying to get the most out of their ski tickets by using the last 5 minutes to zip down the hill just one more time😉

About a week or so later, still on a snow high, we decided to hit the ice.  We took some friends who had never been before, and seeing as we hadn’t been on the ice for over six years, it worked out quite nicely!  We touched up our skills and then taught the rest the basics.  What fun that was!

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I’m sorry for the poor photo quality.  Somehow, the GB size was affected when I transferred them from my phone to the computer.

We also had plenty of little, daily times together.  15 minutes here, 20 minutes there.  Just enough time for a few laughs and a little bit of fun.
I love the big adventures.  They appeal to my sense of freedom and independence, and besides, I am quite the risk taker.😉 But lately, God has been showing me that often, those short times are the ones that will hold a greater place in my heart.  They seem insignificant at the time, but in retrospect, they have helped shaped me and make me the person I am today.

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And now that I’ve shared our wintery photos, I’ll let you know that today it was 55.  Spring is right around the corner!

Numerical Problems

We haven’t blogged in a while, but that doesn’t mean that our lives have been boring.

No siree.  When one is part of a family of twel … oops, I have to get used to writing thirteen now.  Or wait … should it be fourteen?  Or eleven? I’m confused, so maybe you can help me.

We were twelve people.  Then Elijah got married, so depending on how you look it at, we are either eleven people or we are thirteen.  But then, one night around the dinner table, Elijah quietly slipped me something tiny and soft and told me to pass it around the table for everyone to see.
Baby socks.  Nothing new around our place.  Growing up, we found baby socks everywhere – behind the washing machine, under the sofa, in the closet corners.

The little kids looked at it queerly, shrugged, and continued eating.   But the rest of us knew.
As it turns out, we already had some STRONG suspicions, and those cute, common-place, nothing-is-out-of-the-ordinary socks were just the cherry on top of the cake.   Dinner lingered on as we all asked lots of questions and beamed at each other from our seats.

And now you tell me.

Are we eleven, twelve, thirteen, or fourteen?

I can’t decide how to write it, and after all, I guess it really doesn’t matter.

All we need to know for now is that we serve an awesome God who takes pleasure in blessing us and we are very thankful!  :)

I’ll endeavor to keep you updated, but wordpress informed me that our blog has used up 99% of it’s space.  I’m not sure what to do about that.  Any wordpress users who have been there, done that and are able to give me some advice?

Thank you in advance:)

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Grab Your Partner

I promise you, we aren’t always running off to dances😉
I know that lots of my recent posts have run along those lines … but honestly folks, we don’t get the opportunity to dance very often.   That’s why, when we do, it’s a pretty big deal:)

Going to the Alexanders Old Fashioned Barn Dance is definitely one of the highlights of our year.  This time around, we brought a crowd along – Elijah and Faith, as well as several other families.
Seven of us young girls carpooled and it made for lots of conversations, laughter and singing:)

As for the day … I don’t really have adequate adjectives, so I will just let the photos tell the story themselves.  We wouldn’t miss this for anything!:)

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The Lumberjack competition for the men and few-brave-women was a highlight:)

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After the pie contest winners were announced, everyone got to taste the yummy pies:)

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What a joy to fellowship with friends!
What a joy to fellowship with friends!

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Many thanks to all who helped to make it such a memorable day!