Spring Break {off the beach}

As far back as I can remember, my mom always had a "no TV" rule when we went to the beach.  Now there have been exceptions for the years our time at the coast coincided with the Summer Olympics, but from my childhood, that has been the norm.

And so it continues with my family today.

We took several games with us and watched as our littles even created their own card game to entertain themselves.

Another way we entertained ourselves on cool mornings was by adding to our geocache finds.  There were three caches within walking distance from our house, so we tackled (and located) all of them.  Initially we were having a difficult time locating our first attempt, so the kids literally put their heads together to strategize.

A few minutes later (with a few clues from their daddy) we located the cache and signed the log book.

Our second cache was even more tricky and we almost gave up before we located the tiny drop box.
Thankfully there was lovely scenery to entertain while we pondered.

Then we realized it had been right before our eyes...

Typically when we are at the coast during the summer we spend our entire days swimming and digging in the sand.  At this time of year being in the water wasn't quite so enjoyable, so we ended one sunny but cooler day with a round of miniature golf at a place the kids have noticed for years.

You should have seen their expressions when we pulled into the parking lot and parked basically under the helicopter.

There were a few holes in one, a whole lot more calls of "just put down a 5," and many, many giggles. That night we finished with a meal in Calabash at the Seafood Hut...hands down my favorite place to get shrimp on the North Carolina coast.

While I still think that I'll always be a summer beach girl at heart, our week off-season was a good one.  It's possible I could now be convinced that spring is a great time to visit one of the Brunswick County beaches!


Spring Break {fishing}

Just down from our home sweet home for the week was a dock.

And where there is a dock, there are excited cries from kids to go fishing.

On our first day we didn't catch any.

There wasn't even a nibble.

Thankfully there was joy in casting.  And baiting hooks.

The second day though...that was the day!  Ian did a little research on fishing the waterway and we changed tactics.

There was a catch for everyone.

...even if some weren't so sure about this holding a fish thing...


Spring Break 2014 {Fort Fisher}

Spring break.

We were so blessed to enjoy it in a lovely home that belongs to friends of ours down on the coast.  On our first day down we got settled in, grocery shopped, gave Natalie her first glimpse of the ocean, and then had a game night on the living room floor.

Sunday when we woke up the temps were in the 40s and we were looking at a high in the mid 50s with strong wind all day.  Not exactly the perfect day for building sand castles, so we packed a lunch and headed to Southport to catch the ferry to Fort Fisher.

This was BY FAR the best $5 we spent during our entire week.  The kids were totally amazed that you can drive your car onto a boat and then get out and walk around.

And icing on the cake?  I used to babysit for a couple who now live full time near Southport.  When the husband retired from his engineering career, he decided to work for the ferry system.  As we pulled onto the boat we saw him and he ended up inviting us up for a tour of the wheel house.  My boys were BLOWN AWAY with all the steering and radar and buttons and levers.  We probably could have turned around, bought another $5 ticket to ride back to Southport and called it a day.

But since we were at Fort Fisher, we took advantage of our NC Zoo membership and had free entry into the state aquarium.  We hung with alligators,

touched horseshoe crabs,

were mesmerized by stingrays,

checked out the scuba diver show,

got attacked by a megaladon,

watched a fish feeding,

and admired various statues on the trail out.

It may have been a cold and windy day, but we made the best of it!

And topping the day off with pounds of peel and eat shrimp and shrimpburgers at Provision Company?

Well, it doesn't get much better.


a miracle today?

Have you ever wanted to be part of something much bigger than yourself?  
Well, today you could be part of Albert's miracle.  Who's Albert and what's his miracle you say?  
Glad you asked...

Albert is one of the precious children residing at New Day Foster Home, the same place our little guy lived for two years of his life.  Just to the left of this text is a picture of one of the most darling little guys you've ever seen.  He's adorable, isn't he?  Look deeply into those big brown that precious expression.  And as you look closely, you may notice that his color is just a bit off.  
No, it's not just the lighting.  He's jaundiced.  And that picture was taken months ago.  If you visit the New Day Foster Home blog, you'll see that recently his color has gotten worse.  He is a critically ill little boy.  

His miracle...

Today (on my birthday no less) could be Albert's miracle in the form of a liver transplant. As I type he is at the hospital with a member of the New Day staff awaiting test results to see if a liver that has come available is a match.  That part of the miracle was all God.  In short, organ donations are rare where Albert resides, and for an orphan to receive a transplant?  Unheard of.  
Until Alea.  Then Tally.  And then Mark followed by Reece.  
(This post will provide links to read all four of their stories.  And this post shows Albert and Mark, side by side...where you can see with your own eyes the difference this surgery makes.)
Now it is Albert's turn.  

The part of the miracle where you come in is helping to fund this transplant.  Here is how you can be involved in something bigger than yourself.  

(Unless of course you happen to have $27K laying around and want to finish providing for his surgery on your own.)  

New Day is committed to providing this life giving surgery for Albert.  But right now his surgery is not fully funded.  Just over 13 of the necessary $40K has been donated to date.  Be aware that in his country there is no "surgery today, pay later" kind of credit.  And while New Day has custody of the children, there is no such thing as health insurance for an orphan.  This amazing organization needs our help to give Albert a new lease on life.  

Will you be part of his miracle?

Even $16 ~ one dollar for each month of his life so far ~ is helpful.

If there was any financial way we could, I'd have Ian donate the remaining amount as my birthday gift to cover his surgery costs.  Of course the amount is too high, but a donation that works for us was made as my birthday gift.  
And if you wanted to give a gift in honor of my ANY amount..., well that would be the most meaningful gift I could imagine.

As the mom of a child whose life was saved by a surgery financed by others, I know how grateful his future family will be.

Consider it?

Pretty please?


Overheard...{promise me}

Kylie pleading with Maya to get better.

"Promise me we will never have another dog because I don't want to go through this again..."

It's been an emotional week...we lost our faithful companion Maya after a difficult battle with kidney failure.  The vet told us kidney disease must have been developing for some time, but she fell acutely ill just last Saturday.  
We are deeply mourning the loss of our sweet girl.  In the weeks to come, I want to try to fully capture what she meant to us (for our family if for no one else), but right now her being gone is just too raw.

Maya M...beloved family member.  
March 2005 - April 2014