Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Family Vacation 2013 Part 3 - From Maine to Wisconsin!

I'm sitting here feeding Liam his breakfast (he eats almost everything by himself, but oatmeal notsomuch), and decided it's a good time to put out the third and final installment of our family vacation adventures.

We got most of our packing done Thursday evening - it was so nice to put clean, folded clothes into the suitcases instead of trying to separate what was left clean from the mass of dirty laundry!  Wednesday morning, we finished up the last few things and headed out, leaving my parents to a day of peace and quiet.

From the moment we hit the east coast and I remember Tim Horton's, I wanted to make sure we stopped there once while we were out there.  So Wednesday morning breakfast it was!

The coffee was good but I was disappointed in their selection.  (I miss Caribou *sniff sniff*.)  The food was pretty good but a tad overpriced for having to feed a family of six.  Still, it's something I've wanted to try literally for at least 10 years, so I got that out of my system.

And then we were off to Boston!

We started off by driving all over the city, looking for a specific parking garage near the USS Constitution, because I knew that would be one main thing Randy would want to see while  we were there.  We finally found the parking garage, after a fascinating driving tour of modern and historical Boston.  We spent a good amount of time looking at the Constitution and the other sights in the harbor, including the museum gift shop, where I got each of the kids the Freedom Trail book that lists and discusses all the sights along the Freedom Trail.

Two views of the USS Constitution:

The cityscape from the harbor:

Cannons from WWII:

The kiddos:

Upon leaving the harbor, we decided to take the pedicabs across the bridge.  That was quite the experience.

Once we disembarked from the pedicabs, we decided to take the alternate trail, since the main trail was packed with tourists.  Some of the highlights were the Old North Church, the Copp's Hill Burial Ground, and a lot of old buildings.  We walked what WAS the shoreline in 1775, which is now several main streets and even juts up into the city farther down.  

It was very cool for the kids to see some things they have studied this semester in US History, particularly the Revolution, which is what we focused on during the last couple of months of school.  

Compared to everything there, I felt like we saw very little, though we were in the city for several hours.  It's definitely a trip we will have to take again!

Wednesday night, we stayed in a hotel in Swansea, MA, 20 minutes from the Providence airport.  The kids enjoyed having the hotel pool to themselves all evening, and everyone slept well and rose early to head to the airport.

We had an almost 3 hour layover in Cleveland, and once we hit Milwaukee, we had to take a shuttle out to where we had left our car.  Then we had a 30 minute drive home.  By the time we pulled into our garage, it had been a very long day of travel.  I, for one, was very glad to be home in my own bed with my own pillow :-).

Friday, June 21, 2013

A "Little" Surprise

I still have one vacation post to write, but it's time to pause and make a little announcement.

A couple of you already know, and a couple more of you may have guessed.  For the rest of you, here it is:

Liam is about to become a twin!

As Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story:

In early April, Randy and I received information from Liam's previous caseworker about a little girl on her caseload who was going to need to be moved soon, as she was about to be referred for TPR and was with a foster family who would not be planning to adopt.  I had mentioned to her in the past that I hoped we would be able to add one more child in the future, and she wanted to know if we were still considering that, so she could have us looked into as a potential resource for Baby Girl.

There's a process that has to be followed when looking to place a child in general, and especially when placing a child with an adoptive resource.  As we waited (somewhat) patiently for the process to occur, I checked in regularly with the CW to see how things were coming along. 

Eventually she was referred.  To another family.  I never received "official" word that she was being placed with the other family, and I didn't pester the CW for it, because in all honesty, I didn't want the official rejection.  I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, but I knew that God was watching out for her, and I decided to simply pray for her, her safe-keeping, and her future.

When I didn't hear anything more, I assumed she was being moved to the other foster family.  I moved on mentally, simply saying a little prayer for her whenever she came to mind.

Last week, we got a phone call from the CW.  Baby Girl's placement fell through.  She had a couple of visits with them, and on the visit that was supposed to continue into official placement, they decided they couldn't do it, for personal reasons.  CW went to pick her up and asked Placement what she should do; they asked her to see if we were still interested.

So we'll be starting visits with her next weekend.  She is two months younger than Liam; so I will have the boy-girl twins I've always wanted :-). 

More to come as we continue on this wonderfully crazy journey :-).

Family Vacation 2013 Part 2 - Fun Times in Maine!

**Wedding pictures will be coming to FB only. 

Once we got through the wedding, we had a family vacation to focus on!  I had been doing some research for a couple of months prior to vacation, and came up with several fun activities for us to do while on the trip.

For our Sunday adventure, we headed down to Cape Elizabeth with my parents to visit some lighthouses and a lobster shack. The kids all ate their first lobster!

Here is the first lighthouse we saw.  The kids enjoyed skipping rocks into the inlet of the Atlantic Ocean:

Here are the second and third lighthouses we saw, as well as a couple of other interesting items:

I also got some really cute pictures of the girls with my mom, but I don't get to post those here.

Our Maine adventure for Monday was something Randy has been wanting to do for a long time, and was the ONE thing he wanted to make sure we did while in Maine.  We went on a whale-watching cruise in the Atlantic.

Here are some pictures from our beautiful two-hour drive up the coast of Maine to Bar Harbor:

Here we are having our snack in the park before getting on the boast for the cruise:

Here are some pictures from the ship we were on for the whale-watching cruise:

Acadia National Park:

The mountains on the coast:

Unfortunately, I don't have any other pictures from the cruise, because Liam and I then got seasick and spent the rest of the trip sleeping (Liam) and trying unsuccessfully not to throw up (me).  Before falling asleep, though, Liam threw up all over me and a little bit a second time on Randy.  It's going to be a long time (like forever) before he or I go on a boat again.

Randy and the big kids had a blast and ended up seeing 6 or 8 whales, some seals, and some puffins.

By the time we got a couple of things from the gift ship (including a new shirt!), stopped at a McDonalds to clean up a little better and change shirts, got the kids some supper for the car ride back, and settled in for our two-hour return trip, I was just glad the day was over.

My parents had picked up some live lobster while we were gone, and made us a yummy lobster dinner, after Liam and I had a shower and all the kids were in bed, of course.

I was very thankful that we had planned for Tuesday to be a day to relax.  Mom and I found a laundromat and did some laundry.  On the way back, we picked up Moody's whoopie pies for the kids (little and big).  It was just a generally laid-back day.

All in all, our time in Maine was very enjoyable, and no one could deny that it was an adventure!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Family Vacation 2013 Part 1 - The Wedding!

The Maine event.
The Big Bash.

My baby brother got married!!!

My sweet little brother, whom I still sometimes see as ten or twelve years old, is now a married man - of nearly a week! 

AND I have a fabulous new little sister, Hallie, whom I adore.  

Yes, yes: on with it.

Our first couple of days in Maine were spent on the wedding.  After spending our ENTIRE Thursday traveling, we arrived at Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, Maine, late Thursday night.  We stayed in a rented house with my parents for a week, which went really well and was enjoyable for all (yep, you read that right!). 

Friday started off with a trip to the grocery store to pick up a few things to keep at the house, and proceeded with lunch with my aunt and uncle, and rehearsal preparations.  The girls and I were in the wedding party, and I tried to do as much as I could to help with rehearsal and wedding prep.  So prior to the actual rehearsal, I met up with my new sis and the other bridesmaids, and gave everyone amateur French manicures.  Then we all headed to the sweet little church where the rehearsal was held.

Rehearsal went smoothly, and was followed by a tasty rehearsal dinner at a nearby restaurant.  That, in turn, was followed by a good night's sleep by all!  (*snort*)


Saturday morning began almost as Friday night ended, for several of us at least.  I know the Bride and Groom kept some late AND early hours; and though I thankfully got some good sleep during the night, Liam had us out of bed much earlier than we intended to be.  

Pre-wedding prep had the girls and me at the church at 10 a.m. along with Hallie and the rest of the bridesmaids for hair and makeup. 

Before heading upstairs to the sanctuary, I made sure I had several Kleenex in my hand along with my flowers!

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful, and I was grateful I had plenty of tissue, since I used it all - especially when the Bride and Groom read each other the vows they had written themselves.

The ceremony was followed by pictures, which I can't wait to see!  The reception was awesome and tons of fun.  My brother sang his new bride a song he had written himself, which of course made me cry even more.  Hunter made a new friend in Hallie's youngest brother, and my girls had a BLAST rocking it out on the dance floor.  I got some good pictures and a super cute video.  (Sorry - you won't get to see it all here.)

The groomsmen decorated Kevin's car, and a sendoff ended the big day.  

It was a beautiful day, and I am so honored that I got to be a part of it.  I wish my brother and new sister all the best, and know they will have a very sweet life together.  Looking forward to watching them grow together as a married couple in Christ!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Breakfast Green Smoothie

I had a very yummy green smoothie for breakfast this morning!

1 cup frozen mango
Handful of fresh raspberries
3/4 cup raw broccoli
1 whole leaf of kale (no stem)
Protein powder (I used 2 Tbsp hemp protein powder)
Sweetener (I used 2 Tbsp Stevia in the Raw)
Coconut or Almond milk to desired consistency (I used both this time because I ran out of almond milk!)

Place ingredients in blender in the order listed and blend until smooth!  

If you would like to see the nutritional information, you can go here: Mango Broccoli Green Smoothie