Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Fantastic Giveaway!!!!!!!

This Giveaway is Closed.  The winners are Casie Brothers and Wendy Quinley.  Congratulations!

I have no photo to share or great announcement, oh, wait, I do have a great announcement!  I'm going to do a Giveaway!!!!!  I feel so blessed where the Father has me in life right now.  I've been through a lot in the past several years in my marriage, with my health, with relationships.  I know how life can really wear on us women.  Thankfully, he gave us man to be our support, our encourager, our leader.  I'm so very blessed to have a man that is all of that for me!  I once heard it said that when we are down, that is when we cry out to God for help.  And when we are up that is when we rejoice and praise Him.  But what if we reverse that, and when we are down, we rejoice for the trial He is taking us through for we'll be better when it's over.  And when we are up, we use the strength we have to lift up in prayer those who are struggling.  I feel that is how I've been lately.  In a constant state of prayer for others that I know are having some bumps in their life road.  So, since I have been gifted with something that can help lower the stress levels, I want to offer that to someone out there who is really struggling.

A 1 hour, full body massage is awaiting someone in need!  Here's where you come into play.  I just read this morning with the children in Proverbs where it talks about not praising yourself with your mouth, but rather letting others praise you.  So, I want to hear your stories of a woman who is in need of a moment of relaxation to massage away a little (or a lot) of stress.  It could be your mom, your sister, your neighbor, your friend, or someone you don't really know, but you read about her in your local paper.  Maybe you live far away, but you know people around the LaGrange, IN area that could be nominated.  It's going to take a little effort on your part.  Not an easy, fill out this form and enter the giveaway.  Put some thought into who you could bless with something like this.  Please don't make your email to me too long about the woman you would choose.  I will review them and as a family we will vote on who deserves the massage the most.  If I could, I would throw in a few names of ladies I think could really use one.  But maybe, if the Father works it all out, the ones I'm thinking of will be emailed to me.

So, pick a lady, email me by May 15th why you think she is deserving of a relaxing massage along with her email or some other way to contact her if she wins, and then wait for the announcement on May 17th (that's our 16 year wedding anniversary!)  Remember the deadline for entries is May 15th.  

Email all entries to thebovees49091 at yahoo dot com.  Be blessed as you seek to bless someone else with this opportunity! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Vacation- Days 5 & 6

Day 5 found us waking up in Savannah, Georgia.  We actually had rooms just down the hallway, but were able to get adjoining rooms for the nights after that.  The rooms were nice and again this hotel had complimentary breakfast and a pool.  It also had a coin operated laundry room for guests, which was used often by us. 

We weren't real sure of what Savannah had to offer.  Remember the guys planned this trip, so everything was an unknown.  : )  This was Sunday, so we were able to park at the visitor's center for free.  We grabbed up a handful of brochures and asked about certain places we were interested in.  We grabbed a map and headed back to the van to figure out our plan for the rest of that day.  It was a cloudy day, but the rain held off until later on.  Phil wanted to check out a jewish synogogue, so we followed his lead and started walking through the city to find it.  What a beautiful city!  It was nice that the city was so beautiful making the walk enjoyable.  We put in some good walking that day.  We did finally manage to find the synogogue, but it was closed.  We took note of when it was open, so we could come back.  Upon arriving at the synogogue, my flip flop broke.   It's the reason we ended up walking all over the city.  I'll finish that story after you see some pictures.  

The city of Savannah is scattered with these square parks.  Every few blocks one is located.  It makes the city have such a peaceful and relaxed feel.  The large trees, the fountains, the benches, the light posts, and people just sitting enjoying the day or walking leisurely through really make this a welcoming area. 

This is the entry way into a house.  The way the houses line the streets have a beauty of its own.  So, my flip flop breaks, and I am walking barefoot through Savannah.  On our way to the synogogue I notice a couple blocks away a real pretty park, so we head that direction.  It happens to be one of the parks that we had read about and were wanting to visit.  We decided it would be the perfect place for our family pictures later on during our trip.  There was a special event going on, so there were lots of people around.  By then we were all pretty hungry, and after we watched the event going on, it started to rain quite nicely, so we headed in to the cafe that was there to get some food.  Still barefoot, Jonathon decides that he should find a place where I can get my feet covered again.  It really wasn't a big deal to me.  But after getting directions to the nearest Kroger, we set out to find some flip flops.  Well, after heading to a rough area of town and me feeling uneasy, we realized that Jonathon was leading us the wrong way.  So, Casie took the map and turned us around so we could find it.  No flip flops at Kroger.  But they gave us directions to a Family  Dollar across the park where we had already been and down a few more blocks.  So, we headed back that direction.  Still raining and barefoot, we finally made it there.  Another bad part of town, but I got some sandals and made it out with no injury to my feet.  Everything happens for a reason, but I'm still trying to figure out why all of that happened.  Well, at least we got some good exercise in. 

Back to the hotel for the kiddos to swim and relax before the next full day. 

Day 6 was full of adventures.  After reading through some of our material from the visitor's center, we decided on a few things that we all really wanted to do.  The first stop was to be the Tybee Lighthouse on Tybee Island.  It was sprinkling again this day, but at least we were able to be inside.   
We all made the steps (I forget how many) to the very top to see out over the ocean and view the island. 

Benaiah sat on this step of one of the houses on the grounds of the lighthouse because he wanted to watch the guy mowing the lawn.  That was his highlight of that stop.  : )

From the lighthouse we walked across the street to where an old fort was.  This was also part of the tour, so the children got to see some interesting things that went along with that as well.
This was taken from on top of the fort.  Alegra thought the lighthouse would look neat from that view. 

The lighthouse ended up being one of our children's favorite stops.  It was worth our time.  We were all getting hungry, so we set out to find a kid friendly restaurant.  We were suggested a couple places from the volunteer at the lighthouse, so Casie checked out reviews of those places.  We were actually in the parking lot of one of them, but after seeing the prices, we decided to try something else.  She found another restaurant that was located on our way off of the island, so we decided to give that one a try. 

Coco's was a typical restaurant on the water.  Located along the canal, it was brightly colored and decorated with tropical/fish decor.  We were greeted and seated in an empty restaurant and by a waitress who was not happy that we were there.  There were a few people in the bar area, but in the actual restaurant area, we were the only ones in there.  It was nice for our large group, but it caused us to wonder why our waitress was a little short with us upon realizing that there were 9 children and 4 adults.  After getting seated we decided that we needed to leave one of our Almond Joy candy bars with her, because she clearly needed a little joy added to her life.     

We had good food and the children all behaved well.  The service was okay, but we could tell that our waitress just wasn't okay with us there.  By the end she asked us one of the usual questions, "Are these all yours?"  Why, yes they are.  : )  Then one of us asked her if she had children.  Her answer was quite interesting, "No, I steer clear of children".  What?????  Well, no wonder she wasn't excited about our 9 children coming in for her to serve.  : )  In the above picture you can see them coloring on pages.  They all decided to color their pages for "Tiffany" our waitress.  So, when we left, we put all of the coloring pages, complete with written notes from some of the children, an Almond Joy candy bar, and some extra tip on the table where Elli and Alegra sat.  It was full of goodies for our waitress.  We watched as she came across her gifts and she smiled with surprise.  There's more to this story, but you'll have to wait for days 7 and 8 post.    We did want the children to understand that just because someone is having a bad day and doesn't treat us kindly, doesn't mean that we can be rude back to them.  We should spread some joy to them because they may be in need of that.  Please do read the rest of the story coming up in a few days when I get that post done. 

So, we were all full and left the restaurant.  Not having any other plans we decided to stop at this little parking lot that had a trail that lead to the water.  We thought we would just check it out for a short bit.

We ended up finding fiddler crabs along one of the banks.  They were everywhere, poking their heads in and out of the mucky ground.  Phil decided that he was going to get down there and try to catch one.  He did, then put it up on the cement for the children to see.  It eventually just ran off the cement and fell back down into the water.  But was very interesting for the children to see.

Those things look slow, but boy oh boy can they run fast on dry ground.  Watch out for those pinchers. 

After that stop I suggested a state park that wasn't too far away.  So, we headed that direction.  It was later so the nature center was closed, but we were able to walk on one of the trails, which is where we learned some interesting facts about the spanish moss trees.  The children enjoyed the walk too, looking out for snakes, birds, seeing more fiddler crabs, seeing hermit crabs and their tracks, and just enjoying a lovely walk.

We finished up here and headed back to the hotel.  Of course there was swimming to be done by the children.  I knew that swimming was a big part of their trip, so I thought I better get some pictures.  But the pool room steamed up my lens on my camera, so I wasn't able to get very good pictures there.  Did get a few though. 

I think it might have been that night that we had a late night Applebees run for food too since we ate a little bit earlier, and because someone was craving a cheeseburger.  Hmmmm.......

Another full day on our trip, fun had by all, and some good learning experiences, historically, in the science world and in the area of human relations. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 Vacation- Day 3 and 4

Day 3 started out with breakfast at the hotel, then we loaded up on the hotel shuttle and headed to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum not far from our hotel.  We learned about our shuttle driver and his family.  I often wonder how many people really engage in conversation with those kinds of people that they are in such close proximety to (taxi, shuttle, bus drivers etc). 

We arrived at the museum with a short amount of time to kill before needing to head south on our journey.  There were many, many different kinds of space memorabillia hanging from the ceiling and all throughout the building.  Our first stop was waiting in line to get in one of the planes and the chidlren's story time.  I sat with a few of our little ones, which was nice to have something to occupy them for a short bit.  There was a story, then a little craft, then some fun play with an airplane.    

His take off was pretty wobbly.  I don't think he'll be a pilot when he grows up.  : )

Some of the children waiting their turn for the chance to try their hand at flying and landing a shuttle.
In their seats and getting all the instructions on what to do before take off.
It was a near perfect landing!  Good job!

Happy Birthday Eliyahna!
I think this shuttle was the best part of the museum.  It was incredible to see it up close.  Amazing brains that put something like that together.
While waiting for our shuttle driver, Phil took the time to tell a life lesson's story.  He is such a great story teller!  His stories are enjoyed by all of us!

After getting left a little late, we were back on the road to continue our vacation.  Next stop was in Littleton, NC to have dinner with a friend that Jonathon and I went to school with, Stacey (Gay) Simms.  Plans changed a little, so we met her at a house closer to the highway.  Thanks for dinner, Stacey!  We all enjoyed the visit, and the children enjoyed meeting her children. 
Looks like they all had fun doesn't it?

We made our stop at a hotel late that night.  Our next stop is a town where Phil spent some of his childhood years.  The plans were to have a picnic with friends at the park.  We stopped at a store to pick up some picnic food, and I had to take a picture of the vehicles.  See all the green stuff on the red truck?  That's pollen.  The vehicles, the road, everything was covered in green powder.  I've never seen anything like it.  After being at the park for a bit, my body started feeling it.  Achoo, Achoo, Achoo!  Glad Zeky was a little smarter and took an allergy pill first thing in the morning when we first noticed it all.     
We arrived at the park and spent the day playing, visiting, and relaxing in the sunshine.  What a great day!  One of the most relaxing days we had on the vacation.  The guys played some tennis and frisbee golf, while the ladies watched the children play on the play ground.  Everyone had a great time!  And we met up with one of Phil's friends from way back.  Good times!
A little baby snapping turtle the children found.
On this trip my children learned that they LOVE monkey bars.  Blistered hands were proof of that.

It's great to meet up with those you see once in a blue moon.

Next stop was to tour the town and find some of Phil's fondest spots where he told us of stories from his youth.  Yes, he was super excited about this, and it really was fun for us to share this with him.

This was the house he lived in and was about the age that Zeky is right now.  The house was empty and for sale, so he walked around quite a bit and looked in the windows.
Bonus of the day!  He found this cement pad that had his sister's and his initials with the date etched in it.  Those kinds of things are super priceless....as is his pose here.  : D

And since we're on a kick of pictures of Phil, I thought I would throw this one in.  I don't know when this picture took place, but it represents a great deal of our trip.   Jonathon must have Red Vines when he's on vacation.  We think it's crazy, but nonetheless, it makes him a happy traveler.

After all of the exciting memories relived by Phil, we headed on out.  Our plans were to go visit a couple other people in the Carolinas, but it was beginning to wear on us having to load and unload luggage at every hotel stop, so we decided to just keep moving and head to one of the main destinations, Savannah, Georgia.  It was a late night of traveling as we had quite a ways to drive to get there, but we made it go quickly with a movie for the kiddos, then most of them fell asleep (except for the cute one in the picture above), and then some amazing singing to get us the rest of the way there.  Was a fun evening of reliving our childhoods in visits to Phil's town and singing some of the oldies.  Great memories for all!

Arrived at hotel in Savannah.  Swimming pool to make the children happy, adjoining rooms so the littles could wonder back and forth, complimentary breakfast so we can eat before we head out sight seeing, and a laundry room, because with all these kiddos, there's always laundry to be done!  Definitely wasn't a vacation from having to do laundry.  But that's okay.