Balmy morning in the south
wind blowing around - no words from my mouth

Clouds above and gray below
intermitten with a red and yellow glow

Trees swaying this way and that
Things' laughter filling the room while I sat

Tears in my eyes and my heart swells
gratefulness and praise is all I can tell

Do I deserve this, no not by what I have sewn
I am here by His grace alone

Thankful Thursday #4

I am thankful for:

31. chocolate chip cookies on rainy days
32. date night
33. Halloween candy
34. cannoli forms
35. Thing 3's tight squeezes around my waist
36. Thing 1's passion for the game of soccer
37. Thing 2's determination
38. Thing 4's witty comments that make my heart smile
39. breakfast with Natalie
40. pumpkins on the front porch

Dolphins, Dolphins and Things!

These lovely creatures were swimming by right outside our beach house

The Things were standing on a sand bar with Jared and we saw this!  Thankfully we saw other "fins" so we weren't worried.

More breathtaking dolphins out for an afternoon jaunt!

And of course these Things playing in the sand!

Another Vacation Day

I had to take a look at my pictures to see what I had missed from our vacation tales.  I missed the day we went to St. George Island.  We had researched the historic light house and thought that would be an interesteing field trip.  What I didn't realize is that in order to get to the island you have to drive over bridges.  Long, tall bridges.  On those bridges you are able to see the remnants of previous bridges in the intercoastal waterways.  What?  Remnants?  I was about to roll down the windows and inform the Things of our evacuation procedure.  I do not like bridges.  Not at all. 

Fortunately we arrived safely and returned safely, obviously.  No paperbags necessary and no evacuation procedures needed to be practiced.  Amen!

Here are photos from our day at St. George.  We attempted to tour the light house but it was closed due to the construction happening right next to it.  They are building a caretaker's museum.  We lunched at the Blue Parrot Cafe and enjoyed the beach.  There were dolphins that swam by just as we were getting ready to eat.  We could see them from our deckside table at the cafe.  We had such primo seating because Bob was with us and they would only allow him in a certain area.  They were quite accomodating though and brought him water before us humans! 

Nani photographing the Things

All 8 of us in front of the light house

Jeff, Natalie and Bob at the Visitors Center

The Sting

Who can get enough of vacation?  This dog, Bobby Jackson, can't and me either.  Presented below will be a rambling of sorts and a rather sorted collection of photographs from our day at the beach with the "sting".  We had been to this beach last year and were all looking forward to sharing the sand bar and crystal clear water with Nani and Poppi.  Then there was no sand bar.  The water was clear and beautiful and the beach equally pleasant.  However the water was riddled with lurking creatures with no brains.  Unfortunately I do not have pictures of the many jelly fish or the "sting a rays"(that is how Thing 4 pronounces stingray) or the tears that fell from Thing 2's face when she realized she had been stung.  Ouch.  That was our first encounter with the sting.  They just don't do that on those West Coast beaches.  We saw a bagillion of them at every beach we visited, at least most of the beaches we visited.  Thing 2 was not happy. Poppi also experienced the sting.  Even the owies did not prevent us from enjoying our day, without swimming though.

Nani floating

Jared preparing to float

Football action on the beach

Port St. Joe

Where to begin?  After a seven day adventure with the family I just don't know where to start.  There was the 9 1/2 hour drive, I could go on and on about that.  Something tells me you probably don't want to hear about that.  Although it was a productive time for me, I finished a novel I had started that morning.  Anyhow, I will start with the first day at the beach house. 

The first day actually began the night before with the drive and connecting point with Nani and Poppi.  We had been texting the entire drive trying to figure out who would arrive first at the house and lo and behold we crossed the same intersection within minutes of each other.  There in the parking lot of Winn Dixie our sweet reunion took place.  After almost 9 months of not seeing the grandThings, there they were, running straight for Nani and Poppi's open arms, and their open car.  Thus the drive continued.  And then we were there. 

Finally after midnight we were snug in bed safely at our destination.  And then early the next morn our vacation began.  Officially.

We spent the morning savoring our chicory coffee from New Orleans, playing cards and making breakfast.  The Things ran off to the beach shortly thereafter and inspected the lay of the land.  Good to go.  We boogie boarded, soaked up some rays, watched Bob chase the frisbee in the ocean and enjoyed playing soccer and volleyball in the sand.  The guys ran off to the store for some essentials, Red Stripe.  Oh and some other food necessities. 

We decided we could wait no longer, the oysters were calling our names.  And so we headed to Indian Pass Raw Bar.  Baked oysters, grown by the owners, with parmesan and garlic, whoa!  Even the Things were excited.  And then came the moment.  I knew it was coming.  The raw oysters.  Poppi offered the Things $20 if they were brave enough.  Dad of Things threw in an extra $5.  We had two takers, Thing 2 and Thing 3.  I showed them how to set up the delectable oyster, saltine, lemon and a dash of hot sauce, tilt your head back and go for it.  Slowly they did as they were told and then the money was handed to them.  Their sweet smiles tasted victory!  For those that did not want to partake in the slimy deliciousness there were these:

Delaney taking the plunge!

Gillian getting ready!

What a day.  For now that is all I can tell, there will be more.  Stay tuned.  Or linked.  Or connected.  Or not.

At The Raw Bar

Thankful Thursday #3

I am thankful for:

21. week long vacations with family
22. new seasons
23. finding sand dollars
24. fishing with my Dad and the Things
25. oysters
26. new adventures
27. exploring
28. good pizza
29. even better chocolate desserts
30. hope

Happy Fall Y'All!

It is fall here in Middle Tennessee that is for sure.  I welcome this season with open arms.  I absolutely love to watch the leaves turn, our mornings be crisp and refreshing and our evenings cool.  The sky seems larger and filled with stars and it just feels new.  I have so much to share about our recent family vacation, our trip to the pumpkin patch and all of life's recent happenings, and I will share, soon.  For now enjoy the new picture of the Things on the header page.  That was taken this past weekend at our local farm.  Have a blessed day and be ready for Thankful Thursday tomorrow!

Thankful Thursday #2

I am thankful for:

11. a warm cup of coffee in my hands
12. taking turns reading the pages of a new book with Thing 3
13. not giving into gossip
14. rainy days
15. only 2 sleeps until vacation
16. only 2 sleeps until I see my Mom and Dad
17. a husband that loves his siblings
18. a husband that loves his Mom
19. Thing 4 working with Grandpa Ron
20. learning and understanding more about eschatology (Thank you Beth Moore's study on Daniel!)

Thing 2 vs. Thing 3

Last Saturday Jared and I had the privelege of watching Thing 2 and Thing 3 play against each other on the field.  Who did we cheer for?  Who won?  Who scored?  Well, I will tell you one thing it was fun.  The girls took this game very seriously, and although Thing 3 was goalie for the first half her sister did not score against her.  They did go toe to toe for a ball but Thing 2 passed it before Thing 3 could take it away.  At the end of the day Thing 2's team won the match 4-0 but Jared and I enjoyed every minute of this match up. 

What a sight to see two of our Things facing off against one another.  I was concerned for our ride home after the results but the girls were rather complimentary of each other.  Of course Thing 2, being older and all, had to remind Thing 3 that she knew her team would win!

Cousin Time

Last weekend we had visitors from Cali.  Jared's Uncle Rick, Aunt Liz and his cousin's daughter, Eliza.  (R&L's grandaughter).  The Things were ecstatic about this visit beings the last time they were with this cousin was almost 3 years ago. 

What I haven't blogged about last week was that William for a brief period moved in wtih Grandpa Ron and Mema.  He spent from Sunday through Wednesday at their homestead, came home to have a sleep over with us Wednesday night and then was swooped away by Grandpa again on Thursday morning.  He rode to the lumber yard and then the airport by Grandpa's side.  He is now officially Grandpa's shadow.  Or at least for Fall break he is.  Ok, back to cousin time. 

Thursday night the Cali visitors were treated to a southern cat fish fry.  Thing 3 and Thing 4 tagged along and were not all that interested.  Friday was a day of historical sightseeing and the coveted Mellow Mushroom lunch.  The Things, the Grandparents, the Parents of the Things and the visitors.  Wow, what a lunch!  After dollars spent on toxic toys from the claw machine we headed home for a cousin sleep over.  Eliza was treated to the Vanderbilt vs. UT women's soccer game with the Things.  And then Saturday was spent at the Grandparent's homestead.  You know because they have "stuff to do".  Stuff like fishing, climbing in the tree house, fileting and frying catfish they just caught (and deciding after all that cat fish is fairly tasty), sliding down the fire pole, playing in the basement, shooting BB guns, shooting arrows and playing soccer in the grass, not to mention driving the tractor and exploring the woods.  Last but not least Jeff and Natalie made their famous ribs with homemade BBQ sauces, yummy! We ended the night with smores and a camp fire. 

Jared and I left wtih 4 Things who were exhausted beyond belief, dirty and smoky from playing around the fire and eating more smores than one little person should consume and memories for forever. 

Ten Thanks

Here is the first ever post for Thankful Thursday:

1. for leaves changing color
2. for family dinner on Sunday afternoons
3. for Things that help with chores
4. for forgiveness
5. sunrise runs around the park
6. my pregnant sister in law
7. friends that study the Word
8. for change
9. scratching Things backs before they go to sleep
10. staying in jammies until noon