Sorry for the delay. For any who were wondering after my last update on Monday the 29th what happened, it has been a whirlwind since then! We received a phone call at 11am on Tuesday the 30th that we would be closing at 3:30pm that same day! The last I had heard on Monday was that we may be delayed a week because they thought we might be in a flood zone (we aren't) and would need to get another survey ordered! Argh! So I hadn't really started packing very much. Well in 12 hours with 6 people plus Nicole's friend, Morgan, and her mom (what a life saver!), we packed virtually the whole house in one day! The next morning, on the 31st, Tim went and got a moving truck with his friend, Tom, and with him and Nathan's friend, Josh, and some other friends (brothers), Steven & Daniel, we packed that truck up in a flash. Tim's friend David and his 3 sons came towards the end and helped us finish loading the truck, and then everyone caravaned to our new house to help us unload! We were done by like 6pm that day, and Tim even worked that evening! Our landlord let us wait an extra day to turn in the key so we could go back and clean (so we can get our deposit back!!), so we spent the whole next day cleaning! My friend Marie showed up with lunch and a helping hand, thank God, and a truck because it turns out the odds and ends we left on Wednesday that I thought were just 1 car load were actually a car load plus her truck load! :-)
I have a confession to make. I really didn't want this house. I thought it would be too small. I felt badly for Nicole because she has a to share a bathroom with the boys, and she's always had her own bathroom (well, except for the year we spent in the RV with 1 bathroom!). I can't explain it, but I just couldn't get excited about it. It wasn't that I didn't have a peace about it being the right place for us - I just didn't think I would like it. But now that we are here - I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I had been praying the whole time that if it was not God's will that He would put a block in the way (which is really easy to do these days in this housing market!), and I was very surprised when we actually closed. It just goes to show, God knows what we need WAY better than we do! The first morning we woke up here I had a joy I can't even explain. The next morning was the same thing! And that 2nd morning Tim said he wanted to go around the house with all six of us, room to room, and pray over each room that it would be a blessing to all who entered, etc. It was such a special prayer time for all of us. Very cool!
So a little over a week later brings me today. My mom's 80th birthday! My parents and sister drove up to celebrate (and to see our new digs), and we just had the BEST time together! I'm so grateful for my family! Here are some pictures from the event. The first is of mom skyping with my brother, Dan. The 2nd is of the birthday girl just looking cute . The next pictures are self explanatory (well, with the exception of the cat - yes we obtained a kitten a few weeks ago - isn't she the cutest?!):
There is a verse in the Bible that I have been meditating on all week: Ps 16:6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
On top of all this, when we sold our house and went on the road 3 years ago, we were on a TV show called Daytime where they interviewed us about the whole experience right before we left. Well just this week, the producer contacted me and said they were wanting to do a follow up segment "where are they now"? with us, so we are scheduled to be on their show on Sept 18th. Well, maybe we'll just be taped then - I don't think they are a live show. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on that!
Thanks to all who prayed for us and have been such a blessing to us. We are eternally grateful. God bless!
It turns out the pictures from our July 4th in Port Charlotte were indeed on Nicole's camera, but she had left her camera at her friend's house. She just recently got it back, so now I can post those pictures from our 4th of July that I promised in my last post! Nicole had fun taking pictures of Nathan and Nicholas goofing around in the pool. First we have Nathan laying back and chilling out, and then Nathan with the t-bow:
We always knew Nicholas was a great kid, but now we know we can walk on water!
And finally, my mom and Tim had fun tossing the football, while Christy & I just enjoyed hanging out together:
And just to prove Noah was there, Nicole captured this rare photo of him:
Last week, the kids were in a local missions camp at our church. They had a fantastic time going to various local missions groups and helping out during the day, and then they had the opportunity in the evenings to do things like bowling, boing jump center, adventure island, and laser tag! It was such a great experience for them, and for me, it was the first time in 15 years I was home alone or only with Tim in our house for that extended a period of time. It felt like I have had a curfew for 15 years that was temporarily lifted! :-) Anyway, it was a great week to be had by all.
HOUSE UPDATE: The only downside to last week was that we never closed on the house - Argh!! Wells Fargo has been dragging their feet and dragging their feet. We have been on and off the phone with them all day, contacting managers, their executive 800 complaint line, etc. We're supposed to be out of our rental here in 2 days, but the Title company doesn't have the closing documents so we can't even be sure when exactly we can close. We were thinking it was definitely going to be Friday, and then we thought today, but it is already 3pm so that thought is slipping away. So hopefully we can close sometime tomorrow, and then move on Wednesday because we need a full day to close. Please be praying for us in this! Will update more soon!
This past week was a birthday party for my 80 year old 2nd cousin in California. She is my my mom's 1st cousin, and one of her best friends growing up. Tim and I and the kids were able to visit her last summer when we were out west for our family vacation, and I just fell in love with her! I had communicated with her sporadically throughout the years, and probably met her when I was much younger, but I felt I was really able to get to know her last year. So when I received the invitation to her party, I was very torn. I wanted to go, but knew it would be expensive. After much prayer and encouragement from 2 of my best girlfriends and Tim, I decided to go, and I'm SO glad I did. I had always wanted to meet her kids (7 of them!), ever since I found out they were on Family Feud probably 20 years ago. They are an awesome family! I saw pictures of my mom when she was a teenager that I had never seen, and old photo's of my grandparents as well! I learned more about my family history than I ever thought I would know, and had just a sense of belonging that truly surprised me. Here is one of the pictures of my mom (on the right) and her cousin, Joanna when they took a trip to Chicago in 1951:
Don't you just love it?? Here's a picture of me and Joanna this past Wednesday:
And then there's the family photo that I was included in (bottom right) taken at Joanna's birthday party. Joanna is towards the middle in the blue and white dress - isn't she pretty? She sure doesn't seem or act 80 years old!
It was such a great experience - I'm SO glad I went! It's been pretty busy since I landed back at Tampa airport on Thursday morning around 7am. We have 11 days until we close on our house, but we still are waiting on the commitment letter from Wells Fargo! Supposedly we will get it tomorrow, so please be praying for that!
Tonight our church had a family night with the movie Wreck It Ralph. So since it was family night we thought, hey, we're a family! We should go! :-) We had a great time, and even took a picture on the red carpet:
I was going to put pictures from our 4th of July time in Port Charlotte, but I don't know where they are! I think they're on Nicole's camera, but it's late and she's asleep, so I will just have to wait and upload them later. Suffice it to say, we had a very lovely visit, as always! Speaking of being late, I'd better hit the hay! Hope y'all had a very blessed weekend!
I just realized I had NO pictures of Tim as well as Noah in my last update, so I thought I'd start out this update with a picture of both of them. On Tim's birthday, he wanted to go to the YMCA as a family and play a new sport he and Nathan have been getting into called pickleball! It's kind of like tennis and ping pong played with a wiffle ball on a basketball court (makes sense to me!) - it really is a lot of fun and a good workout! Check out Tim in action:
That night we went to the Rays game for his birthday and watched them win against the Orioles! A great time was to be had by all! :-)
The week after Tim's birthday my good friend, Dawn, was given a night to stay at a house on the Weekie Wachee river, so we had a girls' weekend (Friday and Saturday) with our daughters. We had access to 2 kayaks and 2 floats, so we tried tying the floats to the back of the kayaks and letting the girls get in the kayaks and try to go up the river with us in the floats. Oh my gosh - I SO wish I could have had a video of it. I haven't laughed that hard in AGES! To make a long story short, we were all paddling our hearts out and literally going nowhere because the current of the river was so strong, but then it took us like another 30 minutes just to make it back to the dock and get out! All the while, people were paddling by us left and right looking at us like we were complete idiots (I felt like saying, "Thanks for the help there, Florence Nightengale"!) Actually, I don't know that I would helped us either - we looked pretty pathetic! :-) Sorry we have no pictures of that, but we do have a couple of pictures we took on the dock later that day:
The next day was Father's Day, and Tim has been saying he wants us to get chartreuse shirts and get pictures made in them. Well, we were able to get some chartreuse shirts for him, and we did a quick demo shot with them on. We also gave him his favorite candy, twizzlers, with origami flowers (that Nicholas taught each of us to make) perched on top of each strand of twizzler and put into a vase to look like a bouquet. It wasn't even anything we saw in a magazine or anything - the idea just kind of evolved as we talked about giving him the twizzlers, and I have to say, it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself! :-)
That brings us pretty much up to date! One more thing I should mention is this cool thing that has happened over the past couple of months regarding marriage ministry for us. We taught marriage classes for years using materials from Intimate Life Ministries that we just loved. We had always wanted to partner with them in some way, but when our church went in a different direction and started using other material for the marriage classes we just put that desire on the back burner. A couple of months ago we found out about Intimate Life holding a pastor's conference in Clearwater beach, and to make a long story short, we were invited to participate in that and subsequent follow up sessions with the pastors and church leaders who attended the conference (I was just on a skype session with several of them tonight). This weekend we are helping out with another training session with these couples, and we are just so excited to see so many doors opening up in this arena! So please be praying that we would be wise to step through the doors we should and close those we shouldn't, but right now, it all seems like a wide open door that we're excited to be going through! Thanks for joining us on our journey and any prayers on our behalf are most appreciated! Blessi
Almost 3 years after selling our house, we are taking the plunge back into home ownership (reference exhibit A to the left here). I have to say, it feels very weird. I have truly enjoyed the freedom of being completely debt free over the past 3 years, not to mention the time saved from not having to fix things and maintain a lawn, etc! But we have a contract on a house, and we still got an awesome interest rate despite everything going up lately. Our closing date is set at 7/25/13, so hopefully that should give us plenty of time to get packed and ready to go! But enough about the future, let's talk about the recent past!
So, let's see how fast I can bring you up to date! In March, Nicholas' flag football team won the championship, so we have a couple of pictures from that day:
A couple days later, the kids thought it would be a good idea to make their own popsicles using juice, cups, and butter knives as their handles. They were actually pretty good!
The next day we left to go on a camping trip for spring break with about 40 other homeschoolers!! That was the last trip in our RV (can we have a moment of silence, please?), and we had an awesome time! We didn't get many pictures, though. Nicole took a few of Nathan chopping wood, which he did a fantastic job of keeping our firewood supply going! And then she took one of Tim and me sitting by the campfire, and that's about all we got! Unfortunately we didn't get any of Nicole and her friend Morgan getting lost kayaking on the river for a couple of hours (thankfully we were able to track them down from a road that was near the river and direct them back!). Here's a couple photos we took:
The campground was about an hour and a half northwest of our house, and on the drive back home we came upon this intersection that makes me cringe every time I see it:
How'd you like to live on that street - Roach's Run?! What were they thinking? Doesn't that just give you the willies thinking about it? "Yeah, I live on a street where roaches have the run of the place!" I don't think I'd even want to live on Pleasant Plains. How do I know if the roaches wouldn't meander over to check out life on the Plains? No thanks!!
But I digress. Our next big event was another teenager in the house getting a driver's permit! Yikes! Here's the picture that is becoming a rite of passage marker in our family:
April didn't have much activity in the photo department in our family. Towards the end of the month, Nathan got a wild hair to go to the beach, so our whole family loaded up and drove to one of our favorite beaches, Fort Desoto, and spent the day. Again, not many pictures were shot that day, but here is one of Nathan & Nicole:
This takes us to May. We started out the month participating in the National Day of Prayer event at Yankee Stadium (their training facility) in Tampa, and a couple days later attending the baptism blow out service at our church with some 450 people taking the plunge! Tim helped out in the dunking, and it was just amazing seeing so many lives changed by the Lord.
Nicholas participated in another sport with the homeschool group (basketball), and his team came in 2nd place of all the teams!
They won that trophy 1 week before Nicholas' 14th birthday - can you believe he's 14? Time is flying! Speaking of flying, Nicole got a picture of Nicholas flying to the basket during his basketball birthday party at the YMCA. She also captured a few more photo ops for the momentous occasion (see below). We even played 4 square where yours truly got in on the action:
A good time was to be had by all! :-) And then a couple weeks later, for Memorial weekend, we travelled up to North Carolina to visit our dear friends who have lived there now for about 8 years. They just bought a farm and moved in a couple weeks before we arrived, so we helped them continue to unpack and get things organized. Below you will find a few pictures from that trip. Nicole and Nicholas chilled out in the back on the drive up. There's a picture of me getting ready to tackle their 3 storage facilities. Then there's a shot of one of their chickens that I think is so cute! Nathan was working hard, but also playing hard (what work day wouldn't be complete without a dunking contest, complete with trampoline to catch more air and hang time?). :-) And finally Nicole with her 'peace out' pose:
Well, I thought I'd be able to take you up through June, but I am wiped out and must go to bed. Stayed tuned for a June update, where you will catch a rare sighting of our 3rd born (camera shy Noah)!
I remember the first time I was introduced the world of blogging with the blog of a friend of mine. I would go and look at her blog and realize she hadn't posted anything since the last time I read it and feel so disappointed. What's the point of having a blog if you don't update it every day!! :-) Now that I have my own, I totally understand - there are MANY reasons I don't post that regularly. Just a couple of those reasons are: 1) our regular schedule seems pretty boring and not 'newsworthy' so to speak. 2) our regular schedule is so packed and affords little time to update! But since it has almost been 2 months since I have updated, I'm sure I can come up with a few things to say.
I do have to say, January just flew by! The 3rd week was significant in that Nicole spent a whole week with her best friend from kindergarten, Morgan, and her family at Rendevous, which is an event where people get together and enact living and dressing as they did in the 1800's. It was a fantastic experience for her, and she's already making plans for next year. Here are a couple of pictures from her time. Check out the washing her hair in a bucket thing! :-)
That same week, our church flew Tim and me out to Dallas for a conference with some others from our church, and I even got to see my brother and sister-in-law while we were there! Very cool! Then a week later, we went down to Port Charlotte where my brother, my aunt, my neice, and her boyfriend were all in town so we had a little mini-reunion. My mom brought the wigs out and we had a blast goofing off with them!
Two weeks later - it was Valentines Day!! I worked 9-1 on Valentine's Day, and Tim worked 1-9, so he planned ahead, avoided the crowds, and took me to lunch the day before at a tea room in our town. We had the BEST time - gold star to him! Here's a picture from our time there.
This leads us up to the present. Three days ago, early Thursday morning, we loaded the triplets up on a bus with a bunch of other teenagers and chaperones, where they drove to Tallahassee and spent that day through yesterday presenting bills, voting in committees, and just experiencing the way government operates. It was such a great opportunity for them! Both Nathan and Nicole's bills made it on the docket, and Noah won an award! Nicole even had the opportunity to present her bill, and Nathan was chosen as a page and loved it! I am so proud of them! Wait until you see these pictures - they look so grown up! I feel like breaking into the song, Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof!
Nicholas has spent the weekend at a church youth retreat, and Tim and I spent Thursday night and all day Friday and Saturday conducting a very powerful marriage intensive, thank you, Lord! So we were all very busy, but doing things we love to do! We will be leaving in a couple of hours to go pick up Nicholas at his retreat, and then tomorrow starts another week. I hope and pray the beginning of your year has been great, and the Lord is blessing and keeping you in Him. Blessings to all!
Lots of cool stuff has been happening in the Gregory household since my last update at Thanksgiving. First off, we have Nathan getting his driver's permit! I did not want to try teaching 3 teenagers at once how to drive, so I told Nathan he could go first, and then about 3 months later I plan on allowing Nicole to get hers, and then finally Noah. And then it will be time to start with Nicholas not too long from that! But Nathan is doing a fantastic job driving. In the few short weeks he has had his permit he has driven on pretty much every major road around here except for the Interstate. I've only had a couple of near heart attacks because he really is a great driver! Here he is, fresh out the shoot of getting his permit, and ready to take the wheel!
Nathan has this cool feature on his ipod gen 5 that he bought recently that takes panoramic photos. But he figured out if he took part of the picture with somone in it and then had them move to where he was taking the next part of the picture and then do that again, it would look like the person was amazingly in the same picture in 3 different places. He had his friend, Josh, and Nicholas do this while he took a panoramic shot of our home decorated for Christmas. Pretty cool, eh?
The next milestone of this month was my birthday. And it was a milestone! Tim surprised me a couple days before my birthday with a few friends at dinner at Macaroni Grill. That was SO much fun. I hadn't laughed that hard in ages - my cheeks were hurting! It was so great to have our friends the Perrella's there, and one of my very best friends for over 25 years, Holly, and then the biggest surprise of all was my best friend from college (yes, we still keep in touch!) and her husband who drove in from Orlando! I had such a great time! The pictures didn't come out so hot, but here are a couple that were taken:
Two days later (1 week before Christmas) was my actual birthday. My friend, Holly, and I drove down to Port Charlotte to visit my parents for a few hours while my family stayed behind to put the finishing touches on their birthday gift to me. They weren't ready when Holly and I got back in town, so I decided to start my Christmas shopping! Yes, I waited that late to start! But it all worked out, so I had 1 week of stress instead of months of it (at least, that's what I keep telling myself!). :-) Anyway, I came home and Tim cooked a scrumptious dinner and then I sat down to open my gift. It is a beautiful photo album filled with pictures that all make me smile! Each kid took 5 pages and filled them up, front and back, with pictures of their choosing. I absolutely love it! I also received some birthday cards from friends and family that made it very special. Here are some pictures:
Another milestone this month was a good friend of mine who used to be in our Singles Sunday School class that we led almost 20 years ago finally got married, after all these years, 3 days before Christmas. Here's a picture of Tim and me enjoying the reception that night:
The next day (last Sunday) was absolutely crazy! We were home for maybe 30 minutes from 8:30am until 8:30pm! The first thing we did was help out at our church's Jingle Jam service Sunday morning. I drove the truck pulling the hay ride, Nicole helped serve goodies, Noah was a greeter, and Nathan helped with parking. I think Tim spent his time chasing after Nicholas. :-) We only got one picture that morning, but it's a great one of Nathan helping with the parking - someone lent him that awesome hat! He had a great time!
Then it was time to race home, grab some lunch, and head out with some neighbors we had invited to the Bucs game. We only had to buy a few tickets, because the rest were free (they were running a special)! Nathan and Nicole were even able to invite their friends, Josh and Meghan, to come with us. Unfortunately, the Bucs played horrible and we lost, but there was a free concert after the game by the Newsboys, and many people accepted Christ! Right before the band came out, Noah ended up standing right next to the lead singer of the Newsboys, and he held out his hand to shake it, but the guy put his arm around Noah and gave him a quick hug. That made Noah's day! After the concert we helped move all the speaker system and stage things off of the field and into an 18 wheeler that they were driving back to Nashville that night. Needless to say, when we got home around 8:30pm we were exhausted! Nathan did another of his panoramic shots after the game while we were on the field for the concert. This time, it's Nicole and Meghan who look like they cloned themselves to be in 3 different places on the same picture:
The next day was Christmas eve. We attended the Christmas Eve service at our church in the afternoon, and then came home and Tim and I made a wonderful Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans dinner. The kids were amazed since I've been basically a vegetarian for the past 8 years or so and they didn't remember me ever making ham before. They absolutely loved it! I used an old family recipe of whole cloves stuck all over the outside of the ham and then Vernors ginger-ale poured over it and then baked until done. So simple and so delicious! I didn't eat any of it, but everyone else ate a ton of it! After dinner and watching It's A Wonderful Life, we put the kids to bed and then Tim did last minute shopping and we did last minute wrapping, and we finally fell in bed around 3:30am! :-) The kids tried really hard not to wake us up, but I heard them scurrying around whispering about 8ish, and Tim finally roused around 8:30. So we had a fun morning watching them unwrap their presents. Here are a couple of pictures of that:
Two days ago (this past Saturday) we made a trip down to Port Charlotte and had a very nice visit with my parents. My mom went out with the boys and played football - it was SO cute! Tim made a wonderful dinner and then we packed up and headed home. Here's a picture of my mom out there playing with the boys:
Last night we thought we would try to get ready for the New Year by staying up late, but after watching Chronicles of Narnia on TV, everyone pooped out around 11:00pm. Here are the pictures to prove it:
We've had a wonderful day cleaning the whole house, and then my sister popped in for a visit on her way back to Port Charlotte from visiting her daughter in Orlando. She and I had so much fun going through some old pictures and videos that her other daughter had digitized and put on a external hard drive. It was so great to spend that time with her. Tonight we will play, pray, and stay up as long as possible to welcome in the New Year. We wish you all a very Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family!
We've had a great month, and we have so much to be thankful for! I'll start off with our Anniversary. Tim and I celebrated 24 years of marriage - where does the time go?? We are so thankful we are not only together after all this time, but really together! He arranged a bed and breakfast for us in Lakeland where I went to college at FSC, and we had fun not only reminiscing about the last 23 anniversaries, but also a little about my college days. We took a walk around my campus, which was recently rated in the top 10 (I believe) most beautiful campuses in the country, so that was really nice. Then that night we went out to a quaint restaurant voted #1 in Lakeland by tripadvisor. The couple running the place were from Romania and Turkey, and they made you feel like family. It was a really great way to celebrate together! Here are a couple of pictures from our time there:
The next little saga I have to share because it was such a God thing. I had asked our landlord if we could have a new kitchen sink and faucet (our sink was chipped in many places, and our faucet was two-toned where they had replaced the sprayer with one in ivory where the rest of the faucet was white, plus the top of the faucet was broken off). Well, it was a no-go from the landlord's point of view. But then, a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from our landlord saying she would probably need to replace our mailbox because it had become an HOA violation. I told her I had actually tried to wash and scrub it a couple of months ago, not because it was an HOA vailoation - I wasn't even aware of that - but because it needed it, but I couldn't seem to get it clean. I suggested we have Tim try it and I would let her know. Well, he got out there and 2 hours and 2 brillow pads later, the thing looked brand new! I emailed her a picture and told her she didn't have to buy that mailbox afterall, but again asked her for a sink and faucet. She shot back, "Get me some prices". So I went on Home Depot and Lowes websites and woe - had not idea sinks were that expensive. So I went on Craigslist, and low and behold, a sink with a faucet and sprayer was just put on Craigslist that morning not 2 miles from our house for only $100. The landlord approved, so we went to go pick it up. The guy selling it had this awesome testimony of how God had healed his wife of breast cancer (when the doctors did a final sonogram before removing it not only was the cancer completely gone but the titanium marker they had placed in there was gone as well!), and healed him of bitterness he had held against a colleague. We had our own little worship service right there in his driveway! So we brought the sink home, Tim installed it and it looks fantastic! Look at the old sink (which this picture doesn't show how really nasty it was) and the new one. (The old one we stuck out on the curb with the curb alert on Craigslist and it was gone in an hour!)
Then, last Friday we celebrated the triplets' 15th birthday! It actually started Thursday night. Nicole told her girlfriends she did not want any gifts this year, and anything they would have spent on her she asked them to use it to buy gifts for the Crisis Pregnancy Center (her bible study leader has been involved there for years and gave her the idea), and then she asked her friends to volunteer with her Thursday night for a couple of hours there to help organize things and do whatever needed to be done. Her friends enthusiastically supported her desire, and we had a great time together hanging out in the Center's shed organizing donated clothes and other items. Then Friday was an all-family day together. We did our traditional birthday breakfast at Denny's we've done the past few years since they give you the Grand Slam free on your birthday, and then came home and put together cards and gifts since we all kind of waited until the last minute to do that. Then we went and played putt-putt, and came home to a chicken parmesan dish the kids had requested Tim make. Then it was time for cupcakes and presents. The triplets were very generous with each other, giving each other gifts in a way they really hadn't before - it was great to see them loving each other like that. Then Saturday Nathan had a few guys over that Tim took to the park to play football and run around like crazy men. :-) They got home around 5ish and Nicole's girlfriends came over. We had a pizza/dessert/games party extravaganza! We had a lot of fun playing tons of games (check out the donut-on-a-string eating contest between Nathan and Noah below), and Nicole's girlfriends still brought her gifts even though she told them not to, so I thought that was so sweet. Here are some pictures from some of the events:
It was a great birthday celebration! Nathan will be getting his permit as soon as he finishes a drivers ed class. I told the triplets we would be doing permits one at a time. Nicole can get hers in about 3 months and then Noah 3 months after that. They were all cool with that, so I'm thankful for that!
This past Monday morning Tim took Nathan & Nicholas to the Perrella's to help them fix their dock. Well, they left our house pretty early so as not to wake the rest of us up, so they went to McDonald's for breakfast (after stopping by the Perrella's to find out they weren't ready to start yet). They went ahead and went into the restaurant to eat, and Nathan made a fatal mistake with his retainer that he had forgotten to take out before they left the house. He put it on the tray! Argh. Monday night he went to go put his retainer in and realized what had happened to it. Tim and I were thinking about going dumpster diving the next morning, but a call to Nathan's orthodontist, Dr. Hess, revealed that he offered him a one-time grace for a 2 page written paper on how he lost it and a bag of non-perishable food items for a local food bank. Wow - gotta LOVE Dr. Hess! Those retainers usually cost hundreds of dollars! We stopped by on the way down to Port Charlotte on Wednesday for them to do an impression on his teeth and picked up the retainer (they had it on a hangar outside their office) last night on the way back home! Amazing!
And finally - Thanksgiving! So much to be thankful for! As I said above, we drove down to Port Charlotte on Wednesday, spent the night, and then came back home last night. We brought the turkey and all the trimmings, and Tim and I made a really nice meal, if I do say so myself! :-)
The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS, so we spent time sitting out on their pool deck overlooking the canal - so refreshing! Then my mom got a wild hair - literally! She brought out her hat box of wigs - like a dozen of them! And we all had so much fun trying them on and cracking up! Don't laugh too hard at the following pictures:
What a riot! Tim was going for the stern rocker look - I think he accomplished his goal! :-) Actually, he said it looks like a cave man in a bad mood! Too funny. Today - we are putting up Christmas lights - woohoo! Hope everyone is having a great weekend with friends and family! Blessings to all!
I was going to wait until the end of the month to update this blog, but I feel like updating now, so I will! :-) Let's see - the first weekend of the month saw Tim and Nathan and Nicholas taking a trip up to North Carolina to camp on cliffs and hike in the woods. They had a fantastic time, while Nicole and Noah and I enjoyed the place to ourselves. The first thing I did right after they left was clean up the house, and it stayed clean until they got back! :-) Just sayin'. That Saturday night Nicole and I watched a 4 hour Pride and Prejudice movie while Noah read 3 books in a series. We stayed up until I think 1am. It was great! The boys weathered some rain Friday night, but I believe Saturday night was nice. Here are some pictures from their trip:
That next Wednesday was my Dad's birthday, so I went down on Tuesday (I work on Wednesdays) to hang out with him and my mom, and I got to see my sister when she came home from work, so that was really nice. That Friday was another Cross Country meet for Nicholas, and he came in 3rd again! I've been running with him during his Tuesday evening practices (well, more like running WAY behind him towards the end of all the runners on his team), and I'm starting to really enjoy running! I've always literally hated running, but there's something so freeing about a sport you can do pretty much any time you want to. Just this past Friday, while the boys went to the YMCA, I just walked outside my house and started running! Love it!
A few weeks ago the Lord put on our hearts to help this single mom we know who is working really hard to provide for her children and take care of everything. So last Saturday we spent about 9 hours at her house with her and her 3 children doing everything from yard work to organizing to installing a digital thermostat and a keypad on her garage door to dejunking her computers and installing security software. It was a blessed time - we all thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm so proud of the kids because they worked their little hearts out the whole day! It's amazing when you don't own your own home (we are still renting) how it can free you up to do something like that. I remember when we owned, every Saturday was pretty much filled up with mowing and maintenance. It never ended. I kind of can't believe we are still renting when we could buy, especially at a time like this when the housing market is so low, but we continue praying about it and can't get a peace about buying at this time. Plus, we are really enjoying being completely debt free!
The next day Tim and Nathan and Nathan's best friend, Josh, had the opportunity to go to a Bucs game, and they had a blast! The Bucs won, which made the day extra special. Here's a picture of the 3 musketeers themselves:
Two nights ago Tim and I went ballroom dancing together for the first time since we left on our trip in June! It was so much fun, but we realized we are quite rusty and need to work on remembering many dance moves we've forgotten. We can't really afford lessons right now, but the couple who own the Fred Astaire dance studio told us to come every Friday if we want for their free dance party, so we're hoping to be able to do that more often!
I just want to say I was very proud of the kids yesterday. The triplets had a Youth in Government meeting from 10am - 3pm where they had to dress up in business attire and participate in a government type of atmosphere where bills were presented and elections of officers were accomplished. I stayed and watched for a bit and was so proud of the way they conducted themselves. Meanwhile, Nicholas was at my boss' house with his son helping them cut apart a tree that had fallen and died in their backyard, and Tim was at the Perrella's helping them put on an extension of their dock to their floating dock. We have been trying to sell our RV and found a place up in Pasco County called Park and Sell, so I drove the RV up there and waited for Tim to pick me up. The problem is that a 15 - 20 minute job with the dock (so he was going to follow me shortly after I left) turned into a 2+ hour job, so I ended up hanging out at the Park and Sell for a couple of hours. Not my idea of a fun Saturday, but I had brought my computer and was able to get some stuff done for Tim's business while waiting, so not a total loss. Anyway, after Nicholas worked all day outside and the triplets worked all day at the Youth in Government function, they came home and proceeded to do their Saturday chore of cleaning the whole house. I never heard one complaint - they just got on it and got it done! So, I just wanted to brag on them a little bit!
Well, this is a lot longer than I had expected - I guess I'm just in a talky mood today! I'll leave you with a picture of the triplets all dressed up in their business attire! They're getting too old too fast!! Their birthday in less then a month away, and they will be driving age - yikes! Hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend!
Well, this month has been quite eventful. For one thing, we have Nicholas in a private Christian school this year. It was a little nerve wracking to take him out of the homeschool environment after so many years, but so far, it seems like the very best thing for him! He has matured incredibly in the past month, and watching him take more responsibility for his own work has been very encouraging. The teachers absolutely love him, and he is simply thriving in this environment. So that has been a huge answer to prayer! He also got involved in a Cross Country team, and has been effortlessly blazing past everyone. He had his first meet a week ago, and would have come in 2nd out of probably 30-40 runners except he got a cramp in his side which slowed him down to 3rd place literally just behind 2nd place. Here are a few pictures from that event (when the coach says to 'warm up' he takes that 'up' part literally! :-)
The triplets have a full load of classes for this first year of high school, so they have kept extremely busy with those. They are taking a Biology class locally once a week, a government class every other week, and Nathan & Nicole are taking a Worldview class once a week. Their math and English are really the only 2 classes they are doing completely at home, so while it is a little bit of running around, it isn't every day and I think they are enjoying the outside classes a lot.
Another event occurred this past Sunday evening while Nathan was playing basketball at church just before the youth service started. He went up for a shot and somehow caught his finger in the chainlink part of the basektball hoop. He sliced it pretty badly, so I went ahead and took him to the After Hours clinic just to be sure he didn't need stitches. Thankfully, he didn't, but he's going to need a few weeks probably for the thing to heal. He took a picture of it with his iPod touch, so it isn't the greatest photo, but you can get the idea:
I've also had the opportunity to go down to Port Charlotte and visit my folks a couple of times this month, so that was really nice! Sorry, though - no photo's from those visits. I'll try to get some next time. And then a friend of mine had the opportunity to get away on an overnight, so she invited me and Nicole to join her and her daughter at a hotel on the beach last night. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! We stayed at the Sirata Beach Resort on St. Pete Beach, arriving at around 2:30pm yesterday and staying for a good 24 hours, hanging out even after we checked out. I slept from 10:30pm to almost 9am last night!! I haven't slept that long in YEARS! We had a really nice time there! I'll leave you with a few shots from our visit: