"Do not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems. Do not be afraid to make a commitment, to face hard work and sacrifice, to choose the paths that demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication. Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love! Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm."
"Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey."
~ Papa Benedict XVI

Monday, July 19

On the Road Again

The kids and I have headed back to Nina and Papa's for a week or more.  Daddy is working hard down at Memaw and Grandpa's.  The trip up was fast ...much faster then expected.... and we arrived safe and sound, after a few nights visit with friends.

That's one thing we have been so blessed with, children that travel well. We have no game boys or PPSs.  We have no movie screens or portable DVD players.  And i love it just that way.  There is a crate full of library books and a basket full of our own books.  We have books on tape (well, CDs now) and music...and each other.
It saddens me to see how much into daily life technology creeps for all of us.  The time traveling is really a breathe of fresh air.  (rereading this later i see i need to add 'the time spent traveling'...anyone catch that? Though time traveling in a van with a full load of kids and stuff would definitely make for an interesting trip!)

So what are the kids reading these days?  Boxcar Children, Cam Jansen, Redwall, Dora, Cars, and Little House on the Prairie.  Notice the tv/movie infiltration early on - you can't escape.  But there is Peter Rabbit, The Zoo, and Bible stories as well.  Plus tons of other titles i will not bore you with yet.
As for those books on tape, Mr. Revere and I,  and Ballet Shoes.  Unfortunately we did not get to hear either one on the trip up as the noise level was unusually high. We'll try again on the trip back south.

I have a couple of pictures we'll post later, i'll wait until after we bathe the dog ...yep, you read that right! That should bring in an interesting assortment of photos! : )  Little does Bella know we're coming for her! (this ought to be good.....)

Wednesday, July 14

Blog Names

Well, i tried to beat the question ... everyone was being so polite and not asking where the names came from or why they even exist, but someone finally asked before i got to answering the question. 

So for all of you who do not know ..... (which is many of you)...

The kids have a Great-aunt (she's great of course, but Great as well).  Aunt Pat is Free Cherokee and a clan Chief.  In Cherokee society, women are leaders and decision-makers. 

When we visited my Aunt and Uncle, Aunt Pat gave each of our children an Indian Name.  Those are what you see here.
Our oldest son is Running Buffalo
Our second oldest son is Strong Arrow
Our oldest daughter is Star Feather
Our youngest son is Spirit Walking Bear
Our youngest daughter is Smiling Butterfly

The picture below is from that day.  My cousin and his children were with us as well.  They received names from Aunt Pat too.












I decided to use their Indian Names as the children like them, and to help keep their privacy. 

The names fit the children really well... and they are well loved. 
Thank you Chief Spirit Shadow! We love you!

Saturday, July 10

The Birthday Boy

Spirit Walking Bear turned 5!















He requested an Ironman birthday .... which is kind of funny considering he really doesn't know who Ironman is, nor will he see either movie any time soon...but he had a great day.  He was treated to lunch by his Aunt and Cousin. (He had been waiting since March when his big sister had been treated for her birthday!)  Then he had to suffer through a short quiet time and wait for dinner. 
After dinner is when the rest of his birthday joy showed up...

Notice Smiling Butterfly trying to open a present.... that is not hers.
Spirit Walking Bear and his cousin, reading the card his cousin made for him.
An Ironman shirt...
mask, flashlight, figure, AND stickers.  Some monster trucks (for the monster truck 'stadium' his brothers are building him), and a build-it-with grandpa-or-daddy bird feeder.

 
The cake was a surprise....and Ironman.
Now that we are 5 we think we can cut our cake....
and serve it too!
He did a great job!
It was a fun day, we all had a nice evening and now we have a 5 year old in our midst. Scary!
Happy Birthday Spirit Walking Bear!

Friday, July 9

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

The 4th of July.  What a wonderful day for our nation.  A day when so many come together to celebrate...without the division of my thoughts vs yours.  We are one nation under God. 

Where else in the world do you have the RIGHT to LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS?  You gotta love America. 
And yes, there are many things you don't have to love about it, but the reality is its just a great country, founded on principles so strong, faith and hope are at their root. 

We celebrated our country's birthday in a rather quiet manner this year.
We started our day with Mass.  A Marine carried in the American Flag while we sang the National Anthem.  Then, once Mass started, we sang a multitude of beautiful patriotic hymns - what a wonderful way to start our day!

And it was a day.... full of life, liberty, and the pursuit of fireflies...its simple but its happiness.

Red, White and Blue...

Sparklers?  Really?
This may not be too bad....
Can we do this every day? (yes, she asked for sparklers for a couple more days!)
And the fireflies....
The end of the day.
We hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3

Lemonade and Ice Pops

Well they finally did it.  Star Feather and Spirit Walking Bear held their first lemonade stand ...and pop shop.  Unfortunately they chose the coldest NC summer day i have seen in a long time.  A beautiful day mind you, but not a typical one.  No humidity, no 90 degree weather (or higher), few bugs.  I sat wrapped in a blanket for the 1st hour or so.  They did a great job. 

They made fliers that the kids distributed on thursday to all the mailboxes on this street and the one behind us.  They made signs for each side of the table (with help from Memaw who contributed post-it letters).  They made Lemonade and froze ice pops.  They recruited everyone to help out in some way...












...and then they waited












....and waited












.....and waited.













But we all know, patience is a virtue .... and it does pay off ...literally in their case!













So what did they do next?  The only logical thing......


They ate the profit!

Friday, July 2

Taking a Break

Before i go into pictures and such i must say, people always question my sanity when i take all the kids by myself to the beach.  They say on vacation mom really isn't on vacation.  Well, i disagree this time.  Being without a home of our own for 11 months now, the week at the beach was wonderful.  We were able to just be ourselves. We are very thankful for the opportunity to take this time and look froward to doing so again some time soon.

So how did our week go?















It was a relaxing, calming, change from the usual - or in our case the not so usual.

This is the view from the balcony.  We are on the NC shore between Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle.


We found that most every day we were up and at the pool when it opened at 9:30, but sometimes there was some down-time before then.  I happened to remember to bring a thing or two to do besides watching tv and movies. 
This particular morning the kids put together the cut out animals their Aunt and Uncle gave them for Christmas.  By the time the pool opened we had a whole zoo in the kitchen!











We took some time to take a few fun pictures of the kids....





Uh.......


Funny Faces!

Fish Faces?


Phew, made it through that group!

Below is the second night Dad was with us.  We had sherbet ...in cones?  (notice the sunburned boy near the front? ...that's another story in and of its self.)

Dad even brought our telescope!  And we managed to find the moon! ; ) Ok, so it was our first try with the thing and its a bit more technical then we were ready for.  It belonged to Dad's Grandmother so we are learning as we go.  We did find a star or two as well - next time we'll find more!

Our last day we hit the beach for a bit of boogie boarding. 

Smiling Butterfly and i took to the blanket and tried to stay away from the sand surrounding us.
We also made it to the pool one last time.....

And were a bit tired by the time we left.

We had the chance to see grandparents (as my parents and 2 youngest brothers headed down to Florida) and aunts and uncles. 

We had a wonderful week!

We learned/remembered how to swim, played in the sand, read on the balcony, listened to the sea, watched movies, visited a maritime museum, visited family, burned our feet, built a sand castle, visited Camp Lejeune, collected sea shells, and just spent time together.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Graham! 
We had a great time!