Last week we took the kiddos to our local zoo in Montgomery. George found out about a Military Appreciation day which meant free admission and lunch. Money has been a little tight since our move so this was a great opportunity get out of the house and the kids to run around.
Since we have wrapped up school for the next couple months the kids have been sleeping in which makes for an almost impossible task of trying to get to something when it opens. The kids are usually pretty good about it but they are becoming quite the night owls and getting up just isn’t fun. After some coaxing we were able to get out the door and make it to the zoo shortly after its opening.
I kept to my normal of MO of not telling them but Hubby let the cat out of the bag. The kids were pretty excited as they all have their favorite animals. The biggest being Duke who has quickly fallen in love with every lizard he sees. Plus they really do love exploring somewhere new. It does help a little that they have grown to appreciate the word FREE!
The zoo has an amazing playground with a petting zoo. There were plenty of kids coming and going. The boys ran around trying to climb on everything while the girls helped other kids play on different parts of the equipment. George even jumped into helping and praise was given for his efforts. They kids played for a while until they realized it was just too hot. The zoo was great in providing cups as well as a cooler of water for its patrons.
The zoo also has a museum. The Mann Museum reminded me alot of the Anniston Museum of Natural History. The kids were able to see taxidermy animals set in natural habitats. The also had a fun addition of a touch zone with different types of furs. The museum staff is very proud of the fact the Smithsonian has asked for the collection. A pretty big accolade for a museum to be wanted by the Smithsonian. The kids walked around and ohh’d and ahh’d at all the animals until they were ready to go. It was nice to get out of the sun for a little while but they kids were starting to get tired.
After a very hot and tiring day at the zoo I thought it would be a great idea to stop at the splashpad. The kids loved this idea and happily enjoyed a chance to cool off. They ran around until they got tired again and had a snack before we headed home. A day full of fun was exactly what we all needed.
A couple of weeks ago the older 4 and I went to have eye exams. If I am a Novice at anything in life it is getting an eye exam. I started wearing glasses when I was 7 or 8 years old. I was in first or second grade sitting in the back of class having no clue what was written on the board. We had the Lions Club or Shriner’s come to school at least once a year to do free eye exams. I think it was a case of no one believed me and thought I just wanted to get glasses like some of the kids in my class.
Jem started complaining about not being about to see certain things. She wasn’t complaining too much but I knew she would need glasses. She was the only one we thought would need glasses. We just decide to have the all get an eye exam because it had been 4 yrs since their last exams. (All except Bubbles of course.)
I was able to go in with Jem and Pippi to start the process. The did okay initially but when it came to the part where the Doctor shines lights and puts drops in their eyes they didn’t do so well. Pippi has small eyes to begin with so it made the process a little bit harder. Jem even cried. The girls all whined about getting the drops put in their eyes. I always see dilation as a good thing. The Doctor can see so much more in your eye. Because I have Graves Disease this has become even more important. For the kids it made a huge difference. The Doctor was not only able to determine that Bubbles should wear glasses again to help with reoccurring annoyances from her lazy eye but that Duke has the opposite problem. Duke’s left eye is wanting to turn out. To me it’s odd that Duke and Bubbles end up being so much alike. Anyways, Jem definitely needed glasses for nearsightedness like me. It sounds like Pippi wont be too far from getting glasses in the future.
The 3 kiddos all look super cute in their glasses and have made us truly a house of super nerds.
Monday Night we watched the movie Big Fish. We had finished the book just in time to make plans to visit the town Spectre during our fun week. This was a huge deal for me because I really love the movie Big Fish. Before moving to the Montgomery area it was one of the really fun things that we found that I got the most excited about visiting. The kids speculated about whether the fish was real not. Bubbles and Duke seemed to enjoy the book and movie the most. I think secretly Pippi and Jem liked both too.
Tuesday we made arrangements to visit Spectre. We packed a picnic and spent the morning just enjoying the quiet abandoned Spectre.I have grown to love surprising the kids with where our next adventure will be. When we pulled up to the gate the kids weren’t sure yet. They read the sign that said Big Fish and most of them got really excited. The short drive to the island reminded me so much of the movie it was amazing. Once we found the entrance to the town the kids were more excited. Big Fish was never one of George’s favorite movies but it was fun to hear him talk the kids through where we were in the movie. It was pretty kewl to be where a movie was filmed. The kids all looked up to see if the shoes were hanging on the line near the Spectre sign. Funny thing is some people have made it a point to add shoes. We walked done main street looking in all of the buildings and houses. It was so kewl to say this is where Ewan McGregor was in the Mayor’s house. Under the church live a family of goats. The kids laughed so much hearing the goats cry. Most of the buildings are falling apart. The couple that own the island have been working to repair what they can.
We explored more of the island and found Jenny’s house from the movie. Well not her house as it is gone but the pillars from her house. We also found a really kewl treehouse you can rent for events and such. The walk around the island was nice. There were a few people camping or fishing on the island. I reminded the kids that Jackson Lake Island was the second island we have visited. I want to make it my new favorite place not just because of the movie Big Fish but because of how quiet and beautiful it is out there. Please take the opportunity to visit. Donate to restoring and upkeep. No vandalizing. And enjoy the joy that Edward Bloom must have felt when he found Spectre.
That night we were very proud to watch Pippi, Jem, and Bubbles earn some badges at their American Heritage Girls Badge Ceremony. Pippi earned her Joining badge as well as crossed over to join the next level which is Patriots. Jem earned her Joining badge, Stick shifts, and Let’s talk. Bubbles earned her Joining badge and 7c’s. The three girls have worked very hard the past couple of months to earn just those few patches. They are hoping to earn more this summer to catch up with their new friends.
We recently wrapped up our final days of school. I thought with the break from the move and not taking any breaks since then we could use one. I didn’t plan for a week but George was able to take a week off from work. My initial plan was just to do a few fun educational things at home but since George took a week I wanted to make the most of it. On Monday, we decided to visit the Enlisted Heritage Hall before lunch.
The Enlisted Heritage Hall is located on Gunter AFB. The museum is filled with many great pictures,displays,and videos. George talked to the older four about some key parts of Air Force history while I did my best to keep up with Baby Kermit and Pooh. The kids really seemed to enjoy the growing museum. I was the most amused by the pictures of those who have served as enlisted airman. It was kewl to see Chuck Norris and Jimmy Stewart to name a few. We probably could have hung out longer but the kids had their fill of history. Outside there are several memorials, statutes and a few static displays. It’s an amazing tribute to the Enlisted side of the Air Force. It always makes me so proud to be able to add my name to the list of those who have served our country.
After lunch we visited our library to pick up some movies and books for the week. The kids read books so fast. Bubbles always complains about finishing her 5-6 books in 3 days and having nothing to read. For the first time in forever I had to make Jem get some books to help fight her boredom. The kids played at the playground nearby until little boys had red faces. We went home to cool down in the A/C with delicious Root Beer floats.
This has been the most successful Lent for me in a couple of years. I feel like I was finally able to fully let go and let God. This Lent felt different. I started out pessimistic about meeting any goals or guilt ridden from all the things I was doing wrong. It’s hard to explain but Lent happened when I needed it to even though I didn’t want it to.
As a family we gave up eating out. We made a special provision that if we found ourselves in a situation of needing quick food it had to come from a grocery store. You never realize how much you take eating out for granted until you give it up. Eating out is a convince for those times when I don’t feel like cooking and not always as a special treat. We did save some money but it was more than that. It was realizing that taking the time to make lunch before we went out for the day was worth it. Putting dinner in the crockpot earlier in the day when we have plans for the day became a must. It made me re-access my diet and the things I really shouldn’t eat. It was a good reminder of how blessed I am to have great kiddos who love to help make dinner.
We did not successfully finish the Mother Teresa book. It just got too hard to make sure we were doing everything. It just doesn’t fit our family. I think for us it works better to have 1 main family goal and everyone has their own personal goal. Next year we will try Lentopoly and see how that goes.
Resisting Happiness is what made my Lent so successful. It hits on the hard realities in a way that makes you want to try. They are easy tips that we all know but fight. It’s a video and a chapter in the book. There is also a study guide if you want more. I think I’ll use the study guide next time. It was that little push that I needed to do the things I keep saying I need to do. It also made me take inventory of things. The things I should do more and the ones I should do less. It got me to reach out to a friend I haven’t talked to much. I can’t even begin to express the many blessing I got from her emails. Her words were what I needed to hear. It was like I was finally listening to what God had been trying to get me to hear. I shed many tears but they helped me to heal and see things the way I once did. I was able to see what I needed to do more clearly. Thank you again Dear Friend!
We also made a point to go to confession as a family. It was one of those things that I had been missing. Carrying all my guilt as well as all the emotions from trying to be a good friend can sometimes be a lot to carry. Don’t think for a second that I will ever give up trying to help others. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying sometimes I let myself feel too much hurt and I need some extra help carrying the load. I’m very blessed to have people open their hearts to me. I was happiest to get rid of the guilt. It was really holding me back.
The other amazing thing that reading Resisting Happiness did for me was to help me to see the Facebook was holding me down. It was wasting too much of my time, causing too much hurt, and making me worry too much about what people thought of me. I am very happy to say that there is a way to download all of your Facebook data. I can still use Facebook chat and I am already a much happier person after a week of my account being deactivated. I have all the memories I was so worried about losing and if someone on Facebook still wants to contact me they can. I know that some people will try to remind me of the things I am missing but those things aren’t worth the damage they were doing. Because of letting Facebook go I can spend alot more focused time on revamping the blog as well as the other things that keep me grounded.
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