Saturday, February 23, 2013

Simple Days

Life is amazingly good when it's simple and amazingly simple when it's good. ~Terri Guillemets

First up, I have changed the way the "follow by email" link (to the right) works. Unfortunately, that means that my sweet friends who were receiving email notifications of new posts, will no longer receive those notifications. I'm sorry. Please re-subscribe, if you feel so inclined. Another way to keep up with new posts is to "like" This Abundant Life on Facebook, again, if you feel so inclined.

While I'm at it, "thank you" to those of you that are reading this. I love this little space and the opportunity it affords me to be creative and reflective, and I love sharing my heart with you and making some new friends in the process. I appreciate you taking the time to spend with my little family, and your sweet words of encouragement.

Ok, now for some big news! Do you notice anything new and exciting in the pictures below? Um, yes. That's right! My little guy has been belted. And he could not be more happy about it. He's closing on his six week karate commitment, and wants to continue on, and so we shall.

Check out that split! And dear kid inches from my son's head, please do not pass gas.

Some days, homeschool looks like this...

...but most days it doesn't. Most days Grady and Lilly play (loudly) in the living room (making large messes with as many toys as possible) while I do Bella's teaching, and then I teach Grady while Bella is (quietly) doing her seat work. Today everyone was settled and still, working quietly. It may have been a dream.

And another new and exciting first... big boy is writing his name! In August, the day before we started school, Grady was most looking forward to learning to write his name.

I love how little sister tries to help big sister do her work, and big sister tries to teach little sister how to write letters. I'm thinking about retiring.

As much as I love all the fun and exciting things we have been up to lately, I sure do love simple, quiet days at home. Today we played Legos, and wrestled, and made homemade pizzas. And it was good.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Vicarious Vacationing

So (as you may know) my sister and her boyfriend and his two kids are all here visiting from Denmark, and we are spending as much time with them as we can. I started thinking today about how much I'm enjoying their vacation. It's been almost like a vacation for us too. Before Becky even got here, we had planned several "definites" that we wanted to do while they were here. Things like eat crab legs at Dixie Crossroads, go strawberry picking, and go to the beach were on our list. Also on the list was breakfast at The Old Spanish Sugar Mill and canoeing at De Leon Springs State Park.

My mom had given all the kids a pair of sunglasses before we left. As you can see, mine did not want to part with them. We made pancakes at the table, and added blueberries and strawberries. Eating delicious all-you-can-eat whole grain pancakes is a good idea before canoeing, for extra energy and all...

After we ate, we checked out the super cold 72 degree spring with our piggie toes. Jens actually went for a swim, but the rest of us were not so brave.

Eventually, we were off, on a wild canoeing trip... well, maybe not so wild, but it was fun. We saw an alligator, a few manatees, and lots of birds. The temperature was cool and breezy and the sun was bright. It was a perfect day for being out on the water.

Oooh, this girl of mine. She started out the trip saying "I don't like boats, mama" over and over and over. And I don't think she was lying. I definitely got the impression that she doesn't like boats...

The rest of us had a great time however.

Hellooo, baby!

Oh, how I love these two!

Our list of "things to do while Becky is here" is quickly becoming complete, and that makes me feel just gloomy. I think all we have remaining is a "famous Buckman grill-a-palooza" (or as Grady says a "gorilla-frooza") which will be next week while they stay with us for a few days. I'm so thankful for the time that we've had with them, but my heart is so sad that it's so short. I guess that's why it's so important to make the most out of the time we have, whether it's with someone we see once a year, or with someone we see everyday. We never know when it will be the last time, right?

On that happy note, we are off to enjoy a day of "normal" every day, non-vacation-ish activities.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strawberry Pickin' 2013

The other morning, we woke up bright and early (which is pretty much the only time to wake up with five kids in the house), and made a giant breakfast. We had pancakes, and eggs, and bacon, and sausage, and fruit. We have been so happy to be spending time with my sister and our new friends.

After breakfast, my mom busted out a cabbage patch surprise for the girls and an alligator for Grady. This woman LOVES gift giving. Like she is serious about it. As in, every time we see her, she gives the kids something to wear, or something to play with. Anyway, each of the babies looked like it's new mama in hair and eye color, with the exception of Grady's, of course. 

We packed up the kids and a lunch and headed to Oak Haven Strawberry Farms in Sorrento. This was our third year visiting, and I think we will make it a once a year event forever.

The lady at the register made the mistake of telling the kids that they could sample "a few" while they picked.


All gone!

After we were finished picking, we paid, and then went for a hayride and played on the playground.

We grilled hot dogs over the fire, and had lunch. (It should be noted, in the past we have always brought our own hot dogs to grill over the fire, and eat there. They have since added the rule that no outside food can be cooked over their fire... They made an exception for us, "just this once, but in the future"... we will be bringing sandwiches.)

We finished the afternoon with a strawberry milkshake, and headed home making plans of all we could do with our $40 worth of strawberries. (That's a lotta strawberries!) They are open through the end of March, if you'd like to go. Just make sure you call ahead for picking dates and times.

Happy Wednesday to ya!