Wednesday, July 30, 2014

So Worth It

It is Wednesday morning and I am dragging.  I have a post-vacation hangover and we are in the midst of Vacation Bible School at church.  I am working in the Critter Cafe along with an awesome friend, Susan Kilby. We get to reinforce the bible lesson with their snack! 

Our theme for the week is Weird Animals-where Jesus' love is one of a kind.  A local animal rescuer has blessed us each night by bringing a different weird animal for the kids to experience.  The first night it was a large tortoise!  Here is Hope bravely touching him!
Posing with the big tortoise.  Hope has loved VBS this year because it has been a preschool reunion of sorts.  She and David both are loving every minute of it.
They love rotating around the stations, but their favorite is the opening and closing in the sanctuary each night where they sing and dance to all these great VBS songs.
Last night Mr. Handy brought a Burmese Python for the kids to experience!  Yikes-it was a twelve feet long!  The kids loved it so much. I can honestly say I have never taken a selfie with a python. 
Sweet friends! 
Kyle as a youth helper has run the worship board for opening and closing and has helped me in the critter cafe. 
Getting their praise on!
Our mission project for the week is to raise money for clean water in India.  The kids can bring in change and then they can put a blue balloon in the "well" hoping we will fill it up by the end of the week.  The beginning of the week the well had brown paper in it to signify "dirty" water and now through the change from the kids we are changing that brown dirty water to clean water for kids in India.  Here is Hope putting her change in the bucket and her balloon in the well.  It is amazing how digging for a well for a village in India can be so life changing because they will no longer have to travel to get clean drinking water. 
Hope making her Weird animal in the critter cafe!
Last night Mr. Handy brought a Burmese Python to VBS!  Ginger and I got brave and held him!  WOW!  I was trying to be all brave, but it totally freaked me out that you could feel him constricting around you! 
Hope even got brave and help hold Reggie the python!  This is one of my favorite weeks of the entire summer!  VBS you are exhausting, but oh so worth it!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to Life, Back to Reality!

Sadly our vacation has come to an end and we are back home in Virginia.  I will say after camping my large, fluffy bed felt pretty good last night.  I am tackling the laundry mountain already and we are already planning our next adventure camping. 

David has been independent and strong-willed since he turned ten.  He is sowing his oats so to speak! We passed by the photo op with the Hershey Kiss and I told David to get his picture taken with the kiss so maybe some of the sweetness will rub off on him!  ha!
Life is not perfect, but sitting on the monorail looking at these three blessings I was thankful to God.  With a scan coming up the thought crept into my head several times wondering if the cancer is back and this time next year instead of planning our next family vacation we will be back in treatment.  I know I need to have faith but it is always a real threat.  Cancer is so sneaky like that.  August 8th is his next scan and we would appreciate your prayers:)

Watching these two jump like maniacs on the bouncing pillow was a hoot!  It was huge!  This boy was bouncing crazy around David and it did worry me about his kidney.  He then bounced right into David and I freaked for a minute.  Then I saw the kid attempt to apologize but David was giving him a mouthful.  We need to temper this down, but Mike and I both chuckled that it was nice to see him take up for himself.  He is going to need that quality down the road.  Our friends locally are always so nice to David and know him so well that he is often coddled amongst friends, but here these kids didn't know him and he held his own. 
Hope loved loved loved the little kid-sized lounge chairs by the pool.  She said "hey Mom I look like GG!"  Jellystones totally rule for families.  Everything is catered towards kid and parent fun in a relaxed environment. 
I lost count how many times our kids played putt-putt.  Mike was the king and won the most, but I will admit that on the last night I whipped him good.  Have I mentioned how competitive we are?
Our last night we headed into Strasburg to hit the outlets and to eat the best ice cream ever.  Kyle bumped into this "fake model" and his arm fell off!  It was so funny. Both boys bought a couple of new outfits and hope bought some head bands:)
I could sit here and look at vacation pictures all day long, but the laundry mountain is calling my name and I need to prep for Vacation Bible School at church.  I have been looking forward to VBS since last year and me and my kids absolutely love it.  Our theme this year is Weird Animals and it is one of the best themes and lessons I have ever seen.  I will be cooking and serving snacks in the Critter Cafe with a dear friend tonight!  I am as excited as my kids are!  Here is the santcuary where we decorated last weekend. 

I love being involved in Children's Ministry at church.  It will move me to tears tonight to see a whole room full of children dancing, singing, and praising God with all their might.  Kyle is now a helper and will be helping run the worship board for opening and closing.  It never gets old to teach children how much Jesus loves them! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Parks and Rookie Campers

 We are having a ball in Pennsylvania and the kids are already planning a return trip to a Virginia campground with friends soon.  They have loved this experience. 

Last night we enjoyed the campground.  We cooked our dinner on our grill, made a fire for smores, and enjoyed putt putt.  There are so many activities here that are apart of your nightly fee which means that this is one of the few places where parents can walk around without a wallet!  Ha!
They have loved the putt putt so much!  We get pretty competitive in this family so here is David blowing his ball into the hole!  Ha! 
Last night Kyle and I were enjoying the last few embers of the fire and I listened to my Mike tell Hope and David an awesome, yet far-fetched bedtime story about the Hokie Bird and Santa Claus. They were roaring with laughter and I was smiling around the fire thankful for a man that can get silly with his kids.  Here is also a picture of our cabin. 
Big Daddy cooked us supper last night over the grill. 
Dave with Boo Boo and Ranger Rick!
We have also ventured into Amish country bcause I am obsessed with their lifestyle.  It is awesome to see horse and buggies share the road with cars and trucks. 
We loved Hershey Park.  I could do a whole blog post on why we choose to go to amusement parks  with a child with disabilities.  They were amazing to David and we had such fun.  Here is a pretty view of the park and the countryside from the tip top of the ferris wheel. 
My four on a medium sized roller coaster.  Here they measure you and assign a candy bar name to you based on your height.  Hope measured as a Reese Cup which meant that there were several roller coasters that she could not ride because of her height.  She was so tired one night and desperately wanted to ride something she couldn't and she started crying "I am really not a Reese Cup, with my pony tail I really am a Hershey kiss!"  It was so sweet and funny. 
Here at our campground and at Hershey they fully celebrate Christsmas in July!  Wow!  Christmas music everywhere and decorations!  Here is David with his hero-the Hershey bar!
We also spent a few hours at Dutch Wonderland.  Hope loved Princess Brooke and went to her storytime. 
Chocolate World!  Wow that place never gets old.  We splurged on lots of chocolate and goodies. 
Dave's purchase-a one pound Hershey bar!!! 
The boys on the antique cars at Dutch Wonderland. 
The sky rider!
My crew in front of Dutch Wonderland.  We were impressed with Hershey Park and Dutch Wonderland!  We are loving this area and this trip.  Do we have to come home?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Whole New Experience!

We are loving our new experience of camping while on vacation in Pennsylvania.  Let me be clear that we are not roughing it at all.  Our cabin has air conditioning, a clean and private bathroom, and a TV.  :)

Before we arrived we stopped at Gettysburg.  This is such an ongoing joke with many of our friends, that Mike loves this history stuff and I suffer through it:)  I did think this Virginia monument at Gettysburg was very cool.  Each state has their own monument and ours is very beautiful. 
David has a little bit of an obsession with Abraham Lincoln.  He watches videos about him and reads books about him.  He knows probably more than I do about Abe.  Here is a statue downtown Gettysburg of Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address.  Love our little history dork like his Dad. 
I did not appreciate all the history stuff, but I did appreciate a beautiful landscape from the battlefield. 
After we suffered through the history stuff (just kidding) we made it to our camping resort.  We have a lot to learn to be veteran campers, but we love this place!  The first stop was the waterpark for the kiddos. 
The huge waterpark was a big hit with all three!  The boys loved the basketball goals in the water, the water slides, and all the water spouts everywhere made for a nice way to cool off.  It was very hot here yesterday with a huge thunderstorm last night. 
After the storm moved out, we tried our hand at a campfire!  It was hilarious watching these rookies start the fire:) 
We have a fire pit, picnic table, and grill outside of our cabin.  The kids loved smores last night.
We went to bed with our bellies full of gooey smores! 
Here is our cute little cabin!  It has enough beds for us alll.  David wanted desperately to sleep in a top bunk but when it came time to really go to sleep he got scared and ended up in bed with us! 
We had an early morning this morning because the kids were so excited.  There is so much to do here at the camp resort.  Playgrounds, jumping pillow, putt putt, lazer tag, movies, activities, and much more keep the kids entertained.  They were playing baskeball this morning before 9:) 
Hope was so excited to get to feed the fish with Boo Boo this morning.  :)  Bless her heart.
I personally feel a million  miles from home and that is a good thing.  I love relaxing with my family and watching them have fun with all the activities here to do.  With our day trip to Hershey and Chocolate world planned we will never fit in all the activities that the kids want to do.  I am just thankful for a slower pace and time with my loves.  The smores and a great dinner at a local restaurant last night were just icing on the cake.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ties that Bind

The last few days have been a wonderful reminder to me about what is truly important in life.  Besides our walk with God, our friendships and our family are truly vital in our life. 

We have been blessed with some amazing friends that enrich our lives.  Friday we met up at the Bristol mall on a rainy day to eat lunch and bounce on the inflatbles. It was wonderful to let our kids play while we moms sat and laughed and caught up.  We believe in laughter being the best medicine for anything and I always come away with sore ab muscles from laughing!

 My grandfather (who passed away almost four years ago) had eleven siblings.  Eleven!!!  There are only three remaining of the original Wright family and last night in Radford we had a family reunion because my grandfather's brother, George, "BB" was in town from Texas.  He had a rough winter with his health and he really wanted to come home to Virginia this summer for perhaps his last visit on this side of heaven.  When he walked in my heart jumped because he looks identical to my Pawpaw who died.  Here he is addressing the crowd of about 31 at yummy Sal's restaurant. 

David sang the blessing for the crowd to begin eating. 
Here is Aunt Louise who is in her nineties!  She was so tickled at how cheeesy her dinner was! 
"BB" and his wife Shirley came from Texas which their two girls-Julie and Cathy.  Here is Julie sharing some of her memories from traveling from Texas to Virginia in their station wagon as a child. 
When it was time for the family pictures, David escorted Louise to her seat for the pictures.  He is almost as tall as Louise is.  She is in wonderful health for her age and lives very independently and is an awesome driver!  She is my hero!
Of the original eleven Wright children, there are three remaining.  Louise (on the left) lives in Radford,"BB" lives in New Braunfels, Texas, and Dollie recently moved to Gloucester with her husband to an assisted living facility near her daughter.  They have not seen each other in four years. 
Here is a picture of the children of the original eleven Wright children.  We are missing many in this picture, but it was great to see everyone. 
The whole crowd of us totalling 31!!
 My crazy kiddos with GG! 

This picture makes me kind of sad to look at, but here is the last time this crew got together four years ago when" BB" made his last trip to Radford from Texas.   This picture was taken exactly one month before my PawPaw (in the white shirt) passed away due to COPD. 
Whenever siblings that are in their eighties and nineties get together you often wonder if this will be the last time that they will see each other on this side of heaven.  Dollie and BB have both had health scares over the past year and we are blessed that they were able to make the trip from Gloucester and Texas to be together for another visit.  I know my Pawpaw would have loved every moment of last night's get together and seeing his siblings, but thanks to Jesus and his promise of Heaven goodbyes are never permanent. 
Leaving the restaurant last night, we held hands and sang Blest be the Ties that Bind as a family.  It was precious witnessing the reunion of three remaining siblings that are up there in years.  It touches my heart that "BB" wanted to come home one last time to see his siblings and that most took the time to travel short and long ways to have a family reunion.  Blest be the Ties that do bind.