Hobbies

hobbies

I love hobbies, and I love seeing how each of my children have different hobbies that they enjoy.

We do a lot of different things around here. Work pays the bills and can be very satisfying, but there’s something about a hobby that inspires people. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find a hobby that becomes your work, but even if you don’t, you still need a good hobby.

Hobbies are the spice of life. We have a wide variety, and I’ve noticed everyone has been very active with their hobbies around here lately.

 

3 hobbies in one pic: badminton, hanging out with friends, and RVing. I love it all.

Okay, no, actually, I think I’d be incredibly nervous on an RV. They look fun, but I don’t know. I’ve never done it.

He dressed up as a Star Wars character. I told him, “You might want to change because you have to go inside with me to pick up John David, and there will be lots of kids there. But you can wear that if you want to.”

“Yes! Yes! I want to wear this!”

….And then we pulled into the parking lot, and he chickened out. I had to stand and wait for him to pull the costume off. He had his regular clothes on underneath.

This is the same kid that went to a basketball game in full Batman costume, so I didn’t put it past him to wear the storm trooper outfit.

There’s something special about baking cookies with your mom. This was an activity my brother and I did a lot when we were growing up, and I’m so thankful we did because I was well prepared to spend my life in the kitchen feeding all these boys!

I found this shirt at the local farmer’s market. Does shopping count as a hobby? Well, supporting my favorite baseball player does, and I don’t mean Bryce Harper. I do mean my Daniel.

This is a hobby I was completely unfamiliar with until Caleb came along. I don’t even care to learn really, though I’m sure eventually I will, for Caleb and Daniel’s sakes. Amy was a good sport and played with the kids.

Reading has always been one of my personal favorite hobbies.

Testing phase of his parachute. No, he didn’t jump with it. He didn’t make it for a person, he made it to send down small things.

Caleb is my inventor. Does your family have an inventor in your ranks? He never ceases to amuse me with the things he creates with paper, tape, and staples.

When they put a suction cup on a toothbrush, this is obviously what that’s for.

When I see this, I know that my inventor is busy at work, and I’m also thankful that he hasn’t lost my tape yet. I can never find my tape. You see why.

My stapler was also missing for like 2 months.

Dynamite

They are so different from me. I have never invented a single thing in my life. When Joshua came home with that diorama book report assignment, I wanted to cry. April doesn’t make things, at least not inedible things.

50 worms. All made by him

We had an agreement. He can play Playdoh as much as he wants as long as I don’t have to make things. He makes the things.

Chalking Woody

Drawing on his toys is his passion in life. I kid you not.

Now this is a hobby I WILL be joining them on this summer. Yes, I can’t wait. Totally serious.

a Caleb creation. This wasn’t even a set. He designed this himself. He is a Lego and video game genius, in my humble, motherly opinion. Haha!!  

And oh, how I love to sit or walk and marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. Stand in awe of God. Creation restores my faith when I am down. 

That photo was taken at Yosemite. Every nature lover needs to eventually make it to California.

What about you? What are your hobbies? Any other slip-and-sliders out there? 

 

 

10 Months After the Move: Joy, Legos, and Hair in My Trashcan

his very first school picture

We have now been back in the South for 10 months.

I’m not fully adjusted yet. It takes me a year to adjust, and it takes 2 years for me to be fully attached with roots and friendships and all.

Until then, you settle for small talk, you get out as much as you can, you accept every invitation you can possibly accept, and you make the best of it. Also, it would be helpful to study a few maps.

I have been car shopping. I did some in-my-crazy-dreams looking at this Escalade. Laugh. out. loud.  I just wanted to see inside it.

The boys love it here. I don’t mean like it. I DO mean love it.

They regularly ask me if Dad could please just work here forever.

Their favorite thing about life in Georgia is their school. They all have made friends in their classes, their teachers are nurturing and way more patient than I would be if I were teaching them, and their brains are growing by leaps and bounds.

Such a relief!!!

The moving part makes me sad for them. We still have at least a year left here, and Caleb is already talking about how much he will miss his friends. This is a truly seasoned and wise military child.

Double trouble. They begged to sleep together that night.

I’m loving being back close to family. It makes it all worth it to me. Aside from that, living here is still growing on me. I do have a few friends and many aquaintences though, and I LOVE my MOPS group.(Moms of Preschoolers)

 

He’s obsessed.

Moving is getting less and less lonely as the months progress.

I have something that can get me past any issue. I have love. I have Alan and my boys. I have a couple of friends, and I have Jesus joy.

I’m telling you that Jesus joy is a thing. When I sit and pray and meditate on the Bible, this peace and joy fills me that is overwhelmingly comforting. There have been times when it was harder to get to that, but I am there now. I feel like I’m getting back to myself.

Caleb laid out all their clothes so they would be dressed alike for church.

I want you all to know how adept I am getting at actually keeping a PLANNER!

Yes! It’s funny. After being a fairly non-structured stay-at-home mom for 11 years, going back to working is a huge adjustment. Bear with me. As I get more organized, I know I’ll be a better blogger too!

The boys are all as hilarious as ever. Joshua has become impressively responsible with his studies. He is now taking tennis lessons too, which he enjoys.

Yes, I am living the glamorous chauffeur life.

The Eyeball villain from the Lego Batman movie

Caleb came up with the idea for his school to have a Lego creation contest, and his principal was so kind as to actually go along with that. So Caleb keeps building and destroying creations, in search of the perfect Lego entry for the contest.

In other news, Daniel now has 100 sight words, and he is so excited to go to basketball camp this summer. Actually, they are all going to basketball camp, all except JD. We are only doing day camps this year, though.

I will never live down sending them to that church camp last year where Caleb got bullied, and Joshua kept a countdown of the hours until they got home.

Sigh. You do your best. Some ideas work out less well than others. I’m their mother. I think they are turning out perfectly. Love, love, love these guys.

These 2 LOVE dressing alike.

John David has been walking around here singing the songs he has learned at preschool. I was most impressed with the way he sings the months of the year and the wheels on the bus.

Oh!!! And did I tell you that we had visitors from our California days???

Aiden was their best buddy back in their poison-oak catching, bike riding, baseball playing, woods exploring, mischief-seeking California days. 3 peas in a pod right there.

“Mom, can we get a dog?” No. After 11 years of cleaning up poop, that is not happening.

Mr. Tom has a lot of jokes, so he is JD’s favorite.

the lovely Amy and Tegann

 

Daniel occasionally gets up to some of his old tricks.

I pulled open the trash can the other day and saw THIS, but then I felt bad because he said he only cut it because it was in his eyes….yeah….you may call that a fail, but I call it raising one seriously resourceful boy right there.

You know, I’m just trying to use the power of positive thinking. It’s working.

bed time stories with, as JD says, “the best Dad ever!!”

Let me leave you with a couple of funny stories from the 3rd grade.

“Today at lunch, Monty turned SO RED because he chugged so much hot sauce.”

…..Well, I’m impressed…

“Today at recess, everybody wanted to play with Cory’s fidget spinner, but he wouldn’t share with anyone, so we all started chasing him. And then we all had to walk laps because they thought we were playing tag,” my son said, as he giggled to himself and shook his head.

Another great day in the 3rd grade, unless maybe you were Cory, and a pack of fidget spinning-wanting 9-year-olds were chasing you. Haha!!!

He is now a champion of designing your own Lego vehicles. I wish he’d kept this one together because I thought it was perfect.

So yeah, we’re almost settled in.

When we first moved in, I had such moving depression I had trouble remembering to smile or speak to people, and I had to start researching Bible verses about joy.

I’m happy to report that I’ve moved far beyond that now. Every wall has a corner. I have turned mine, and that feels a lot like joy.

Happy kids. Joshua set the record on all the basketball arcade games they had.

“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Amen.

 

Our Morning at Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Legoland Discovery Centery

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

We all had to see how much we weighed in Lego bricks.

If your kids have never been to Legoland Orlando or Legoland in Southern California, you should totally just tell them this is Legoland and never have to book the larger vacation. They’d probably be totally satisfied.

Of course, we actually did go to Legoland California, and I wrote about that here and here. Our boys are obsessed with all things Lego, especially our younger 3, so these vacations were the perfect fit for us.

This year we saved $$$$ by staying local for Spring Break, and Legoland Discovery Center was the perfect fit. The boys knew going into it that this was not going to be like the theme park. It’s more of a play center, and they saw a commercial for it on one of their Lego movies, so they were all happy.

We are firm believers in managing expectations. Give them low hopes and over deliver. That, my friends, is the key to spring break happiness.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

mini Atlanta, built out of Lego bricks

Legoland Discovery Centers are scattered throughout the country, in many of the bigger cities, and this was our first time to visit one. This particular one is located in a large shopping mall, deep into Atlanta.

By the way, Atlanta traffic was not nearly as aggravating that day. We miraculously managed to keep our car moving forward, not sitting still, the entire time we were on the road.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Every kid in the place was quite impressed with the Lego Braves baseball field.

We booked in advance because that saves you a few dollars on each ticket. When you are a party of 6, a few dollars on each ticket adds up fast.

I also found this deal on Dealspotr. It will give you a free child ticket with purchase of adult ticket, and it expires April 30, 2017.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

There are several Lego-building stations.

When you book in advance, you also choose a time to arrive. We did that because we didn’t want to drive all the way over there and then the place be full and have to wait in line. We waited in no line to get in, and we waited in the shortest lines ever to go on the rides. That makes this non-line-waiting-Momma very happy.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Check out Daniel’s stylish new, overpriced bomber jacket.

Did you know that these bomber style jackets are in this spring? Yes, indeedy, but the only one of us to own one is Daniel because he was so cold the morning of Legoland, and it was his BIRTHDAY, so we went into one of the pricey mall stores and bought him this cute jacket.

It wasn’t cold once we got inside Legoland though, so he didn’t even get to wear it that long. But that’s okay. No one should be miserably air-conditioned cold on their birthday.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

This shuttle has a count-down and then goes up a foot.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

How cute is this tiny Lego NASA control room?

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

not happy JD–We had given him the Lego man kit, but he wasn’t happy until it was built.

As soon as we got in, JD began to ask to build Lego men. JD’s interest in Lego is pretty much limited to just the men at this age. All of our 3-year-olds have been that way.

But JD took the request to the level of whiny, repetitive begging that will put your teeth on edge. All the building stations are for bricks, not tiny men.

After listening to his tale of woe for a solid 10 minutes–I mean it could have been 5, but when you are listening to a toddler in despair 5 minutes feels like 45 minutes—-Alan said, “Well, I wanted to wait to give them their men until we get home so they don’t just lose them.”

“What Lego men? Is that what’s in that yellow bag? Our admission tickets came with Lego men???”

“Yeah, but I mean it’s just like this policeman. I don’t know…”

“Alan, pleeeeeaaaase. I cannot keep listening to him saying ‘where’s the Lego men? I want to build Lego men.’ over and over again. I can’t.”

So we went on our first ride, a really fun one where you shoot the Lego bad guys with a little light that blinks, just like at Disney World, and that kept him completely distracted.

After that was over, we gave him the one Star Wars Lego man in the bag. He doesn’t even care about Star Wars, but he was so happy to receive a Lego man it didn’t matter. He was content the rest of the day. Yay!!!

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

all 4–It’s rare for me to get all 4 in a shot. How cool is the giant Lego Merlin?

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

You can’t go wrong with the giant playground.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Daniel, running through the giant playground. Hmm. I guess he wore that jacket longer than I realized.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

See his little hand clutching the Lego man? Happiness came with our ticket. If you have one of these guys, go ahead and open the yellow bag and give them their Lego man.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Selfie with Mom—or just Mom selfie…no one else seemed to notice. But you know I’m happy when I’m taking selfies. This was a fun morning. Of the 3 rides, 1 was actually a 4D movie, which I enjoy. Some kid activities are torture. This one was not; however, we also don’t have a baby anymore, so I’m less stressed than I used to be at these places!

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

This started out as JD building a tower. Joshua decided to help out his little brother.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Pretty soon the tower got pretty tall.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Everyone joined in.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

They were collecting blocks from everywhere.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

and it just kept getting taller

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

and taller

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Until it was as tall as Dad!

And the little boy who started the tower in the first place (JD) was long gone, up in the pirate tower shooting a cannon over and over again.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

You might say we felt like successful parents for a good solid 2 hours there. 😉

That’s why family outings and vacations are so important. You get out of your house, away from your screens, away from your friends, away from your JOB, and you have no choice but to focus on each other for a little while. You have fun together, which strengthens your bond as a family.

I hope you all get to go on a few good family outings or vacations this summer. We did this and we did Calloway Gardens this Spring break. I’ll tell you all about Callaway on a future post. Did you know that Alan actually proposed to me at Callaway?

We also spent a ton of time chillin’ at home, with a lot fewer cares than we normally have. I wrote about that in Part I and Part II of my Spring Break 2017 series. We enjoyed those days too. Who can go, go, go ALL the time? That’s plain exhausting.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

We did everything there was to do at Legoland Discovery Center, except for eat at the snack stand. Instead, we went to Johnny Rocket’s right across the hall.

We did everything in 2 hours, and everyone left happy. Everyone. Oh, and of course, we made time for the Legoland Discovery Center Store.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Batman!!!!

I zipped through the store picking out a little box for their Easter baskets, yeah, it’s going to be an awesome Easter, and then I parked myself on a bench outside the store. Anytime I go to Lego anything with Alan and the boys, I spend time sittin’ on the bench. I don’t see how they manage to fill up that much time gazing at Lego sets.

This was a perfect family day out for us. It was such a breeze sticking to day trips this Spring Break, rather than a big vacation. Come back this weekend for Spring Break Part 4: Callaway Gardens! My new favorite spot in Georgia!

 

 

Fun Times Photoblog

IMG_1847

This week is our Spring Break. Wahoo! That’s something to celebrate! I have about 5 billion goals to accomplish and all of 5 days to do it in. Mostly, we are prepping for the big move. It’s three months out, but hey, that’s like three weeks in Mom years.

I could tell you what’s been going on around here, but I thought it’d be more fun to show you, so today’s blog is a photoblog:

 

Raynaud's syndrome

My Raynaud’s syndrome has been acting up lately. 

 What happens is that the blood vessels constrict when you’re cold, cutting off blood supply to the extremities. First, the finger tips go purple and then they go white and extremely numb. I suppose I should start wearing gloves. This would happen to you too if you were freezing in Alaska or something, but this happens to me if I’m even in a building with too much air-conditioning. My cold threshold is crazy low. No worries. We’re moving back to the land of sweat and mosquitoes. 

IMG_1819

The other day I put Daniel down for a nap. He’s five now, and he rarely ever naps, but sometimes he gets so sleepy and grumpy that I deem it a must. This was a must-nap day. However, once he was upstairs all quiet and alone, he got down and had a BALL playing in the hallway with cars and who knows what else.

As I came up the stairs, I heard that classic boy-running-to-bed to pretend to be asleep sound. Because apparently he thinks I’m deaf.

IMG_1824

 

Now that Caleb and Joshua are too tall to fit into any of their costumes, they have taken to putting these size 8 superhero costumes on JD and Daniel. Who needs pets when you have little brothers?

IMG_1827

This is a Velociraptor.

IMG_1836

Woody and Buzz.

 

IMG_1843

Because finding gluten-free pizza was one of the happiest things that happened this week. It is a big deal.

IMG_1844

Don’t tell Daniel these are weeds. I think he is the sweetest thing in the world, always bringing his momma flowers.

IMG_1846

One of my neighbors gave the boys a bag full of snacks, from the “Easter Bunny.”

IMG_1847

Dan painted this at Cubbies this week. He even said, “I put blue on this side, and red on this side, and put it together to make purple in the middle!”

IMG_1848

Daniel made this “shapes” bird-house at home-school this week. We do preschool at home two days and regular preschool three days.

IMG_1849

Dan took his new Star Wars ships everywhere the last couple of days.

Actually, he’s already broken one ship. He explained, “Mom, that’s because he was shot in battle. Mom, that’s why he’s broken. He’s supposed to be.”

IMG_1852

People are always giving us stuff! Our homeschool umbrella school director gave this set to Daniel, and he LOVES it.

IMG_1853

But someone really should follow Dan around all day with a vacuum cleaner.

Guess what I did yesterday…..

IMG_1855

Oh, yeah, I took my birthday money shopping. It was GRAND. (No, I did not buy a cooler. I keep that in there to hide the large amounts of Easter chocolate that I’m saving for some special people.

IMG_1856

And guess what I found near the stores??? SONIC!!! I didn’t know these existed in California.

That afternoon I also took Caleb to a Star Wars-themed birthday party. She themed it out so well, y’all. They got to fight Darth Vader, hop on a tree-stump obstacle course, shoot a Star Wars ship with Nerf guns, and last but not least, they threw pine-cones at these clone troopers:

IMG_1857

I totally wanted to play this party game. The kids were not able to pop them all, so the adults DID get a shot at it. It was fun!

IMG_1858

close-up

 

 

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend as well. We have basically zero plans for Spring Break, other than to catch up on all the work we have to do, but that’s okay. Even work can be fun when you tackle it with the right attitude, with a little happy music playing, of course.

(Enchanted move clean-up scene: You gotta watch it.)