Back From The Beach:(

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We are getting back in the groove of normal life after coming back from our trip to Orange Beach, AL.  I’m gonna start by saying, I’m pretty sure I could go to the beach like 3 times a year!  It’s so sad when we have to leave!!  AAAAaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!  I hate it!!  We haven’t been to the beach in TWO YEARS!  My beach chair had DUST on it!  I need not let this happen again…  I was a tad bit nervous about traveling with our little Moonpie.  He did great though..of course:)  The drive there from our house isn’t all that bad.  We left out super early so we could beat the co-razy traffic and the kiddos can sleep a little.  Did our plan backfire this time…possibly but that’s okay:)photo (19)

Besides the normal things that keep our older kids happy like tablets and of course their ds, I like to bring along an audio book or two for a long drive.  Since we were going to the beach, I packed The Cay – By Theodore Taylor and Island Of The Blue Dolphins – By Scott O’Dell.  What would get you even more excited about the ocean?  Listening to books that involve the ocean, that’s what:)  Wherever we are going, I try and pick up an audio that goes along with the theme of the trip.  And by “pick up” I really mean, check out.  Oh my gosh!  Go to your local library and get them for free!  (stepping off soapbox now)  By the time we listened to one book, made a couple of pit stops and changed a couple of diapers it was time to be sightseers for the first time.

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USS Alabama – Mobile, AL

We made our first real stop at the USS Alabama in Mobile, AL.  I’m pretty sure my husband would spend our entire trip in the ship if he could. Crawling down in the belly and all over the top of the ship is a favorite activity.  Plus, it gives us all a chance to get out for a couple of hours and stretch our legs.

Once we got back on the road, it was a short drive made longer with all of the other beach crazed folks flocking to the coast.  After navigating traffic, picking up awesome Papa Rocco’s Pizza for dinner and applying the brakes more than the gas, we made it to our condo.  This year, we stayed at The Enclave.  It was a perfect small condominium (only 10 stories) that didn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but we didn’t go for that anyway.  All we needed were enough beds for our party and a pool for those who are not ocean water inclined.  Voila!  After unloading the van and making a quick trip down to the beach, the gals and I made a mad dash to get groceries before we were left eating chip sandwiches and buttermilk.  Day 1 was in the books.2015 06 13_7874_edited-1

Blue Angels Air Show – June 10, 2015

Our week long trip went by in a blur of events.  We went to the National Navel Aviation Museum…twice…  We wanted to see the Blue Angels and it rained their first practice out.  We went through the museum and then decided to head out to Pensacola Beach.  We had never been there and let me tell ya, it is beautiful!  If you have a fear of bridges, you may want to skip this excursion though:)  EEK!  Also, just because dolphins are painted on huge holding tanks, it doesn’t necessarily mean there are any inside.  Way to fool a country girl, Pensacola Beach Water Department!  Anyway, after taking our little mini trip we went back the next day to the museum to see the Blue Angels and they were great!  They always put on an awesome show!

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National Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola, FL

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Fort Morgan, AL

Fort Morgan, AL is another place we had never been to.  We made the trip to avoid rain in our area and I’m so glad we did.  It was sunny and beautiful at the fort.  Such a cool place with perfect picture opportunities!  Everyone loved exploring all over the fort and I loved taking pictures of it all.  For sure a place we could visit again.  A place we won’t visit again…Mexico Lindo’s in Orange Beach.  Don’t go there…just don’t.

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Fort Morgan, AL

One of my most favorite things we did was go to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.  It was a little on the small side but you got to get up close and personal with all of the animals.  I got to hold a baby kangaroo!  It just snuggled down and licked my finger:)  AWE!  Our daughter, being the tomboy that she is, wanted to hold the python and alligator.  I just shook my head.  That girl!  Perfect photo op!

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Our last night we had photos on the beach!  Who doesn’t love that?!  My husband, that’s who…  Getting everyone together for a family picture is always a struggle for us.  In order for everyone to remain happy for our beach picture, this time I let the outfit choice be my husband’s decision.  What was his pick you ask?  Razorback shirts and jean shorts.  Turns out, taking pictures on the beach of a rival team whilst wearing Razorback attire wasn’t a problem at all.  I thought we’d get heckled but I’m pretty sure that the majority of folks on vacation were from Arkansas.  In fact, I got my id checked at the Aviation Museum and was asked if there was anyone left in Arkansas because he thought they were all at the Museum that day.  Disaster diverted:)  Could I stop there and just be happy with the pictures we had? NO! Why? Because, isn’t it my job to torture them?  They were troopers though and I appreciate that!

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After eating at one of our favorite places, Live Bait, we went back to the condo and played “The Great Refrigerator Clean-out”  Not really a fun game.  Actually, it was kinda depressing.  Time to pack everyone up and pray everything fits in the van.  Boooooooo  Hiiiiissssssss!!!!

Everyone had a great time and I for one can’t wait to pack up and do it all again.  Where to next time….we shall have to wait and see:)

Remember!  Travel light…because you never know what you’ll need to haul home from a junk shop:)

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Snow Books For A Snow Day

Winter has decided to show up and it seems to be making up for lost time.  Snow always makes me want to put some comfort food on the stove and curl up with a good book.  I’ve decided to share some of my favorite children’s books about snow/winter.  Some of these jewels will warm your heart while others will give you a chuckle.  In no particular order, (except for the first one) here are my selections for you:

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1.  A Little Bit Of Winter – by Paul Stewart.  Hedgehog and Rabbit have been friends for quite a while.  Winter is coming and Hedgehog is about to hibernate.  Rabbit is pretty torn up about not seeing his friend for months on end.  Hedgehog doesn’t understand what the big deal is about winter so he asks Rabbit to save him some.  Hedgehog wants to know how winter “feels”.  After Hedgehog goes into hibernation, the sorry continues and shows how dull Rabbit’s life is without Hedgehog.  Rabbit figures out a way to save some winter for Hedgehog and the results are rather comical.  If you like this book, make sure to pick up, The Birthday Presents.  It is super cute too:)

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2.  Snowmen At Night – by Caralyn Buehner.  Have you ever thought about what your snowman does while you are snug in your beds at night?  Why, they have ice cold cocoa, play baseball and go sledding, of course.  The rhyming text in the story just flows and before you know it, the night is over and so is the story.

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3.  Waiting For Winter – by Sebastian Meschenmoser.  Deer tells Squirrel about winter which makes Squirrel determined to see what winter is really like.  He has to think of creative ways to keep himself awake and doing so, he wakes up Hedgehog and Bear.  Well, then they all have to start looking for snow and Hedgehog is the first to find a “snowflake”…it’s actually a toothbrush…  Totally funny!  Cracked me up!

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4.  Winter Is the Warmest Season – By Lauren Stringer.  This book tells all about how Winter is warm.  From drinking hot cocoa and wearing fuzzy boots to being read to in front of a warm cozy fire.  AAaaaahhhh makes me need a nap:)

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5.  The Lamb Who Came For Dinner – By Steve Smallman – Wolf was mad because he had to eat vegetable soup AGAIN!  Then, what does he hear?  A knock at the door and opening it, he finds a little lamb.  Of course, he lets the poor lamb inside but he can’t eat a frozen lamb so he has to warm her up.  After warming her up, feeding her and rocking her to sleep…we are only on like page 6.  Get the book.  Read it.  You’ll love it.  The end:)

Now go and get some fuzzy socks on and some co-razy tights, snuggle down and let the snow fly:)

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Lunch Lady Land

lunchLunch Ladies!  This series just confirms my theory that the lunch ladies always had something up their sleeves.  I always thought this, back in the day.  The series follows two tech savvy cafeteria workers as they fight crime in their school.  They have a spork phone for cryin’ out loud!  Anyway, whenever they see something suspicious they hit their secret hide out and hatch a plan.  Using the newest gadgets, they solve crimes and protect Thompson Brook school.  Super funny…and mysterious:)

P.S. You’ll want to start with #1 Lunch Lady And The Cyborg Substitute by: Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Germ-X Anyone?

My love for Scaredy Squirrel has gone on for years now!  Just as my older kids were about to grow out of his awesomeness, along comes the next generation.  I can’t wait to share these books with our new little bundle.

Scaredy Squirrel’s life is pretty bland…because he never leaves home.  He is seriously scared of everything under the sun.  Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt is hilarious!

Scaredy Squirrel has a plan for just about every situation that could possibly happen to him.  He is prepared for shark attacks, poison ivy, and even green Martians.  He quickly learns that for every Plan-A you need to have a Plan-B as back up.  Sometimes, Plan-B is better than Plan-A.

There are several Scaredy Squirrel books and once you read one, you’ve got to have them all!

Mama Drama

Trying to space out kiddos is tricky business.  My husband and I wanted more than two children but it didn’t look like it was going to happen.  Surprise!  Being pregnant and having a 13 and 9 year old was never the plan, so I was a little bit nervous.  After we got over the shock of finding out we were expecting a little bundle, I went into freakout mode and started worrying about how things were going to pan out between the baby and our older kids.

One night, I was reading in bed and contemplating our future life as new parents.  I could only think of how our kids were going to react to the baby.  Would they be helpful?  Would they be mad about how their lives were turned upside down?  Would the baby ever be as close to them as they are to each other?  All of these things and more were running around in my brain and then, I look over and see my precious husband making shadow puppets on the wall with my reading lamp.  At that moment, I knew things were going to be alright.  It was official…I was going to have 4 kids.2014 07 16_2440_edited-1

Fast Forward a few weeks.  When we found out what we were going to have, I knew one of the kids wouldn’t be happy at all because our son wanted a brother and our daughter wanted a sister.  We let them spray each other with silly string and when they saw that it was blue, our son was super excited.  Our daughter acted as if she were excited and then started crying real tears.  Lesson learned here is that we don’t always get what we want.  In the end, females are outnumbered in our house.  Really though, I think our daughter will not ever want to relinquish her crown as princess.  She now loves having a brother and can’t wait until he gets bigger.  Hold on sister, time is going to fly by fast enough.