A Week at the Shore

We had our first family vacation at the beach this year! I spent many summers at Ocean City, New Jersey and have so many wonderful memories and traditions there. It was sweet to continue some of those traditions with my sweetheart and little ones! Being a parent at the beach certainly looks different from being a teenager on the beach. There was no reading, no sitting, no “resting” going on… BUT there was a lot of fun and laughter as I splashed in the waves with Micah, chased seagulls with Evie, took family walks on the beach, rode bikes on the boardwalk, and consumed way too much ice cream and donuts! I can’t say that vacation was physically restful, but I can definitely say it was restful for my soul! Hearing the waves crash and feeling the water rush over my feet was therapeutic. Β And seeing my family enjoy the beach as much as I do made it even sweeter.

A huge bonus to the week was getting to be with family. Not only did Micah get to spend an entire week with his Poppy, but we also got to see Uncle Sean, Aunt Emily and the kids, and Aunt Caitlin for a few days. It was a real treat to all be together. We also had visits from some of my aunts and uncles. Really good times!

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Evie and the Seagull

What’s that?

Come here!

Wait!

Where are you going??

Come back!!!

Bye bye.  😦

Kids at Play

Birthday Fun

Micah turned FOUR last week! Crazy. We started the day off with a fabulous breakfast made to order by the birthday boy himself (with a little help from Daddy of course). Pancakes, bacon, and eggs. Can’t go wrong there! Tim had been away on business that weekend before so he was able to take the day off for Micah’s birthday. What a special treat! We spent the morning bouncing around at Monkey Joe’s– that place is fun!! I will definitely be sad when my kids are too old to “need assistance” there! πŸ˜‰

Since Micah’s birthday fell on a small group family night, we decided we would just host that night and turn it into a family party. The car-themed cake and decorations were so much fun to make! We also had some cute car-themed activities for the kids to play– vehicles in the sand table for the little ones, and an obstacle course, pinata, and car maze race for the older ones. We also added in a slip n’ slide and baby pool to keep the kids cool on such a HOT day! The kids had a blast with the obstacle course. They had to obey all the traffic signs while sliding down the slip n’ slide, hula hopping in the baby pool, running through tires and around cones, and riding a race car to the finish line. After games it was time for cake and presents. Micah was so cute opening each gift and thanking all his friends. Everyone knew just what to get him– it really touched Tim and I to see each family go out of their way to make our little guy feel so special on his birthday. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends who not only care for us but for our children as well.

Micah has been busy this past week trying out all his new toys and crafts from friends and family. I think FOUR is when birthdays really start to get fun. It has been so sweet to watch Micah light up and get fully engrossed in playing with one gift after another, each one tapping into his interests and abilities.

I wonder what kind of cake I’ll be making next year… πŸ™‚

Family Fun Continued…

We spent the second half of vacation with my family in McAlevy’s Fort where my sister-in-law Emily’s parents live. They are the most hospitable people I know, always quick to open up their home to us and endure the chaos of all the cousins under one roof! We didn’t get to do as much as we hoped as a few of us got hit with a stomach bug, but we enjoyed just hanging out together at the house and swimming at Greenwood Furnace one of the days. Nora and Evie wore their matching bathing suits and were so fun to watch playing in the water and sand together. There were both very attached to Poppy, who of course loved every minute playing with them. Β πŸ™‚ The boys spent lots of time wrestling and playing cars back at the house. Liam and Micah, just 6 months apart, play so nicely together– it was so sweet to watch them work on building things together and playing with their cars. I enjoyed reading lots of books with Nora and holding sweet baby Quinn (who seems to weigh as much as Evelyn!) That boy is probably the sweetest baby I have ever met and so darn cute on top of it!

We are looking forward to spending more time with all of them this coming week at the beach! Yippeeee!

Happy Campers

We spent the week of the 4th of July vacationing at Greenwood Furnace and McAlevy’s Fort, not too far from Penn State. The first half of the week was spent with Tim’s family at Greenwood Furnace, a beautiful park with campgrounds, trails, and a lake. It wasn’t the easiest with a rambunctious 16 month old (who boycotted sleeping the first night) but we still had a really great time despite the exhaustion!

We played games, roasted marshmallows, went fishing and swimming at the lake. Micah loved being outdoors 24/7, riding his bike and swimming all day long, and of course spending time with his cousins. He was also very proud of “his” first catch while fishing…I may have helped a bit. πŸ˜‰ Evelyn enjoyed making friends with everyone at the campsite and running around non-stop. I sure wish I had her energy!! It was great to have such concentrated time with Tim’s parents, sister, and kids. We took a bazillion photos so I decided it’s just easiest to put them all in a gallery below. You can click on them to view them larger. I love how Tim captures the personalities of each of the kids in these photos! πŸ™‚

Counting Gifts: Family Photos

Instead of feeling all down in the dumps about Tim working so much (I think he will be sleeping on the couch at work tonight!) and dwelling on the stresses of our present life, I decided to practice thankfulness– by looking through our recent spring photos! My heart was happy as I looked back on the past few months, thankful to God for my precious family and all the wonderful things we are able to do and enjoy. In the midst of teething pains, colds, long work hours, and parenting challenges, we have had our share of beautiful evenings spent playing in the yard and peaceful walks out in God’s glorious creation. I have been “counting gifts” with the Joy Dare from Ann Voskamp since January 1st and I can definitely testify that “it’s the art of gratitude that makes joy possible.” When I stop to take in all the small sweet moments and the gifts given, my perspective changes. And that perspective brings me joy, not despair! πŸ™‚ Β So here are some snapshots of my joy tonight…

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