Good-bye Summer

Only 1 more day until school starts back!!!  Yay!!!!

Y’all, I might have overdone it this summer. Hmmm, Israel, Washington, D.C., trips back and forth to my parents’ as well as Alan’s parents’ house, camps, and the beach!!???

Who does that?

It was wonderful, and yet it was also like eating way too much at an all-you-can-eat donut buffet.

I definitely over-packed this summer with fun activities.

Lesson learned. Schedule more down time. Of course, next summer is a moving summer, so all bets are off for that one.

Daniel with his Vacation Bible School goo.

Good-bye, somewhat-dear summer.

You’ve actually over stayed your welcome. It’s time for fall to arrive. You were a well-behaved summer, the most exciting summer I can remember. There was so much rain that the temps stayed out of the 100s. Thank the Lord for that. We will remember you fondly.

But I need regular life to become more…well, regular…again. So please take a coat with you as you go because last year winter never showed up for work, so it sort of felt like you never truly left us. We’re hoping that won’t happen this year. I happen to like winter.

Goodbye dear summer, thank you for reminding me how much work referee-ing 4 youngsters all day long is when it’s raining outside every blessed day. I do love reminders, but really it is time for you to go.  You really must be leaving. Australia is waiting for you.

All right, hon, you go get cooled off now. Send us some of that rain this winter in the form of snow.

Shut the door, and lock it. I over planned this summer, and I need it to end now.

School supplies are purchased, Open House was last night, and the big day is so close I can taste it.

We received an email the other day saying that the first two days of school will only be half-days, so no school lunch will be provided. I still have to feed them lunch. But I’m not going to let that kind of negativity drag me down, y’all. I bet if I leave ’em up there until 3 with granola bars in their backpack they will just think I got confused……

Kidding. I’m kidding. I will behave.

In all seriousness, we DID have an incredibly fun summer with no mishaps that I can recall. That in and of itself is enough to make anyone thankful. Plus, we went on about  3 different vacations. Amazing.

Yes, this summer actually was quite Disney like.

Here are a few photos of the highlights:

Still one of my favorite places in the world: Destin

Jesus hugging a soldier statue, at a church in Destin.

Some of you will be proud to know that Joshua always makes sure we go to church while on vacation.

 

This is the first time we let them stay up late enough to watch the movie at the pool. It’s always 8:30 before the movie starts, so that it will be dark, and in the past we always had babies.

 

Us in Jerusalem. Wait. Jerusalem? What am I whining about? Best summer ever!!!!

 

Alan’s cousin married one of the most beautiful brides I’ve ever seen, and their wedding was in this incredible building that used to be a Catholic Church.

We danced!

Nonna and DaddyO took the kids back to the hotel around 9, and Alan and I stayed out dancing until 10 or so!!! There should be more weddings. It was so fun to be dancing. More people need to get married and hire a deejay, and then invite us so we can dance.

They danced too.

Also, we taught the boys the YMCA song/dance on this trip.

my clingy sweetheart John David…This boy defines clingy.

By the way, those are the BEST high heels ever. I’ve had them since 2007. I wore them when I walked down the aisle at Amy’s wedding, 9 months pregnant. These are my official wedding shoes.

Just think, in 2001 this was a family of 4.

Washington, D.C. was a bittersweet trip because it made us miss D.C. all over again!!

Hanging with our friends at the Lincoln Memorial

Caleb has studied this giant Megalodon mouth for YEARS, and we finally got to see it in person. *Dreams coming true*

A beautiful day for touring the National Mall

The Capitol

Caleb’s birthday lunch at McDonald’s. Yeah. We’re fancy.

We gave Caleb his choice of places to go on his birthday in D.C. He chose our old neighborhood pool.

Birthday supper at Dairy Queen.

Caleb’s favorite birthday gift…..a Star Wars space ship to build. Anyone who knows Caleb knows he’s a hard core Lego fan.

Movie time with my boys that day my back didn’t work.

It looked this awesome for an hour….and then the strawberry juices ran, and strawberries started sliding off the cake. I just can’t make pretty food!!

The Ultimate Bubble Bath

Family Game Time

Nonna and Aunt Janet took the boys to see the Noah’s Ark replica.

…..and the Corvette Museum

Meanwhile, Sam’s started selling MY FAVORITE gluten-free bread. All other store-bought versions are disgusting. I love THIS stuff.

a house that Caleb built

Hard at work to earn money for a Nintendo Switch. It may take them a while, but they are off to a good start.

 

Yes, okay, this might have been the best summer ever. While I cherish the memories, I have now regressed to “Oh it’s raining, and it’s the last day of summer….Just watch t.v. all day…Yeah, sure, play 3DS too.”

So it’s definitely time to go back to school. Some of the boys were even wishing school was starting back today! Me too, y’all. Me too.

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2a time to be born and a time to die,

 

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 

3a time to kill and a time to heal,

 

a time to tear down and a time to build,

 

4a time to weep and a time to laugh,

 

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 

     Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

 

 

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Rookie Army Wife: 3 Misadventures in Oklahoma

When I arrived in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, we were basically living in a hotel room, albeit a super nice one. I was there for all of a week before we flew back to Alabama for Christmas.

Our measly month together in Oklahoma was kind of a blur, but there were a few things that happened that I have not been able to live down.

Three incidents to be exact, okay maybe 4 or 5…geesh I was full of mishaps that first month, but there are three I’d like to share!

….We’ll just skip the story of our first huge fight when Alan was following me, and I missed the correct exit, my cell phone battery was dead, and Alan breezed right past on to the next exit. Let’s just say I threw the mother of all fits. Alan had quite a firecracker on his hands.

 

The first misadventure happened on our loooooooong car trip from Alabama to Oklahoma after Christmas.

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Shopping and Shedding Pounds in Tel Aviv

My fit friend Julie. It was like Israel boot camp, but I could not have asked for a better person to tour with.

When I talked to Julie the week before our big trip, she mentioned that she enjoys walking, and she hoped to walk everywhere in Tel Aviv.

“Perfect, I love walking!” I said.

But then, as I got to know Julie better, I began to realize we weren’t exactly on the same level with the physical fitness. Yeah, she walks, and she runs, and she exercises.

She’s what we call fit. Super fit. I’m what we call….not fit.

My gut closely resembles this Israeli statue…

 

He’s cute, isn’t he?

I could not have found a better person than Julie to tour Tel Aviv with. We were already acquainted well enough that I felt comfortable with her, and yet we were new enough of friends that there was no arguing. Ha!!!

Besides, Julie is awesome. She is laid back, intelligent, sensible, down to earth, and an excellent conversationalist, which is perfect because I often have a super hard time thinking of what to say. She also was better than me with figuring out where we were and how to get where we were going, which is important in a foreign country!

Go ahead and laugh. You know I have no sense of direction. And maybe you THINK I talk a lot, but inside I’m working hard to think of all those words.

This is the street in Tel Aviv that runs along the beach.

Tel Aviv Boot Camp

We had a routine that worked well. Breakfast and supper were free at our hotel, so that was what we ate. We had a late breakfast, skipped lunch, and then there was 4:00 tea time at our hotel, with snacks. Then there was dinner at 6pm.

So yeah, we just skipped lunch everyday. We didn’t save any calories though. They fed us so well at the hotel, we weren’t even hungry at lunch.

 

Tel Aviv Beach

Alan and I did a little walking on the beach together too.

The Shopping

You know I’m thrifty, and Julie is too. I’m so easily influenced by who I’m hanging out with! I didn’t buy all that much, but we did walk around tons of shops and markets.

We went into Israel expecting to barter for everything. People had told us we would need to barter, and yet, that was not what we found. Maybe it’s just different in Tel Aviv, but most everywhere we went the shop owners and workers said, “No, we don’t do that here. It’s just one price.”

I bought these Coca-Cola in Hebrew shirts for my 2 biggest boys.

I scored this entire outfit at the Shuk for only $100 shekels…That’s like $35!!

Funny story:

First of all, several different people asked Julie and me if we were from Germany. ???!!?? Germany? No! America!

I found that odd, kind of funny, but also sad, considering Israel’s history with Germany.

But the funny story was the sales guy we met at the Shuk, where I bought that exercise outfit.

He was an unusually friendly young Jewish man, probably around 24 years old, a cute, small guy. What I didn’t realize at first was that he actually lives in Miami, but he was in town for an event and helping his dad in their store that day.

“Where are you from?” he asked us, after explaining the day’s sales to us.

Each time people asked, I found myself not knowing what to call our country. Isn’t that hilarious? United States of America is sort of a mouthful. So sometimes I said America, and sometimes I called it the U.S. or the United States.

That was not a sufficient answer for anyone that asked. Every single questioner actually wanted to know what state we were from.

I move every 2 to 3 years, so my new policy is to be from wherever I currently live.

This particular sales guy laughed when I said “America,” and said, “Well, yeah, I know, I mean I didn’t think you were from Germany!”

Julie and I looked at each other, mystified. Well, the rest of the country seems to think we are from Germany, and even this guy referenced it, so clearly their history left scars.

But he knew we lived in the States because he’s been living in the U.S. himself for several years.

 

We bought this from an arts and crafts fair in downtown Tel Aviv.

So we explained to the sales guy where we were from. He said to Julie, “You look like a runner!” Then they talked about running and swimming…Funny…no one ever asked me what sport I participate in……hahahahaha…

I was shopping for a cute exercise outfit, so I picked up Larges, but I’m usually borderline on sizes, so I was glancing around for a fitting room.

“Oh, you don’t need a large!” this sales guy had all the answers…”This stretches, see? You need a medium.”

Flattering, but I actually didn’t even need to try on the pants. I’m 5 foot 6 with enough hips for all 3 of us standing there. I require the large, and I’m thankful I didn’t take his advice.

Shirts are a different story. I have to try on every shirt I buy.

There I was, in a foreign country, trying on a shirt, in a storage closet, in an outdoor market area (The closet had walls. The store did not.), with Julie standing guard in the OPEN doorway, with the super talkative young sales guy, waiting outside the closet. He was waiting to “snap a photo (of me) and put it on Facebook.”

Laugh. Out. Loud. “Yeah, you are not putting this on Facebook.”

I was in such a hurry to be done with the process that I bought the shirt, without being sure if it fit well or not because I didn’t want to look in the mirror long enough for him to get a Facebook photo.

Why do I care about him taking my picture? I’m a blogger for crying out loud. Yeah, well, I’m a vain blogger who carefully crops out all chubby bits before posting pictures online, and me in a spandex work-out tank? No way was I putting that out there.

That sales guy was hilarious. He talked to us all the way out of the store, as we left, and invited us to come back and see him tomorrow.

I never did make it to the Dead Sea, but I did buy this soap at the craft fair, which was made from Dead Sea Mud.

Gotta love mud.

This was another character that we met.

 

Okay. Sorry it’s all mirror-backwards, but look how hard it is to read a receipt in Hebrew and shekels!!! If it weren’t for the numbers, we wouldn’t even know it was backwards.

That receipt was from a group dinner. Don’t worry. We didn’t spend anywhere near that much.

 

Ah! I can’t wait to go back someday.

 

P.S. I lost 3 pounds.

 

At the Dizengoff Center, a shopping mall exactly like you’d find in America, I found MY store. Yep. April is a cosmetics store.

Julie and I averaged about 9 miles a day, over 20,000 steps. We were sweat-soaked each day when we made it back to our hotel room. If you go for a week, you need to pack like 14 outfits.

By the time the trip was over, I had definitely built up my endurance. I’ve been sure to get in at LEAST 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise everyday since we got back, so this trip was a grand success, in more ways than one!

Be sure to check out my last post on Tel Aviv to learn more about this bustling city!

 

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