Friday, July 24, 2015

Okaloosa Island - 2015

Over July 4th (Gabe & I's 5th anniversary) - we traveled to Okaloosa Island, FL, with my parents, my brother, and his fiance, Hanna. Cole, Melinda, and Nate couldn't come - we missed them like crazy! It was a 10 hour drive that I was VERY nervous about, but everything went extremely smooth & the kids did great with all the traveling! We stopped about every two hours for restroom breaks and snacks - Max kept busy on his iPod, while Callie watched movies on the DVD player. 
Neither of my kids had ever seen the ocean - so I was SUPER excited to see their faces when we arrived at the beach! Max is 9 years old - and the last time I was at the ocean, I was pregnant with Max! He didn't know what to expect, but ended up LOVING it!

We stayed in a condo called "Sea Oats 106" and it couldn't have been more perfect! We literally walked out the sliding glass door right to the pool, then just had to walk over the short boardwalk and onto the beach. 

The location was perfect and the island was quaint & family-oriented! There were no fast-food restaurants on the island, but just over the bridge (about 3 min.) - there were all kinds of fast-food, grocery stores, or anything else you needed! The island is also just 15 miles from Destin - but we never even made it over there!  
Some of our favorite places to eat on the island were Rockin' Tacos, The Old Bay Steamer, and FudPuckers. I even had some yummy drinks!

Each morning we would head out to the beach and play in the ocean all morning! The kids really loved the water - I was afraid Max wouldn't get in because of all the reports of shark attacks this summer (none where we were), but he swam more than anyone else! We spent each morning soaking up the sun - then would go back to the condo for lunch!

After lunch each day, we would spend the afternoon in the pool, relaxing, and sometimes taking naps:) It really was the most relaxing vacation I've ever been on!

In the evenings, we would do something fun for the kids and go out to eat. Sometimes the kids would want to take an evening walk on the beach. There was so much beautiful white sand and clear, blue water!!

The kids LOVE their Uncle Clay - he is such an amazing role model in their lives!

The kids loved The Gulfarium - there were lots of dolphins, crabs, penguins, sharks, birds, and alligators to see. 

I even had the opportunity to take some engagement photos of my favorite couple - I mean, come on- there is no way to get a bad photo of these two!!!

I tried to convince my family to just forget about little Odon, Indiana and move to this little island…but it didn't work! I really did want to stay - it was the best vacation I had ever been on! I will never forget the look of amazement on my children's faces when they realized there is more to see besides cornfields and 1 stoplight towns. I hope we can return to this same location some summer soon!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Those I've loved and lost...

Death is such a punch in the gut. 
One day we were getting sweet kisses on the check and feeling his soft, wrinkly skin against our faces. 
My phone was ringing and his number was showing up on the screen. 
He had his old, worn Bible clutched in his hands with his arms spread wide…waiting for a hug. 

And this isn't the first time. It wasn't that long ago that we mourned this sweet man. I don't remember a time he wasn't waiting for a visit in that old house - with the musty attic and creaking stairs. 
He would drive up to the house on his green ranger for a visit. 
He would hold my children and capture my heart with his laughter. 
He didn't say much, but when he spoke to you…you listened and took everything to heart. He was a farmer his entire life, and passed down the love of the soil to his oldest son. 

And then there is this sweet woman - who had a huge part in molding me into the woman that I am today. 
Her kitchen was always open, always filled with amazing aromas, and a sanctuary where I could learn and share in her joy for baking. 
I inherited her "worrying" gene.
Max was her pride and joy…and although she never got to meet her first great-granddaugther, I like to think that she was the very first person to hold her namesake, before I even met my Callie Catherine.
So here I am…an abundance of sadness in my heart, but memories flooding my mind on a daily basis. I will get through this - God is my strength…these three people have instilled that in me. Because of their guidance and example, my faith continues to grow and I have so much HOPE...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hello Spring!

The weather has taken a turn for the better - HELLO SPRING…and we have been enjoying the warm temperatures! We spent a couple days at French Lick over Spring Break just to get away with the kids on a mini-vacation. They loved every minute of it and swam their little hearts out!

Max has been playing lots of basketball and baseball - he is a true sports lover & wants to be playing one or the other every single second of the day! Even on our days "off," he's asking to go to the ball park or gym!

We also celebrated Easter at several family member's houses! Lots of fun, Easter egg hunts, catching-up with family, and candy, of course:)!

We also celebrated my Grandpa Beasley's 90th birthday, Max had a wax museum at school where he was Albert Einstein, and Callie had her first preschool program! It's been a busy 2 months!

May is almost here - my next surgery is scheduled for June 2nd. I am extremely anxious about it, since it is a larger surgery then the 1st. Keep me in your prayers - because sometimes my anxiety is overwhelming!

Monday, March 23, 2015

3 months and a few photos...

I don't even know where to start - it's been soooooo long! I've just been:
dreaming and thinking,
working and watching ball,
snuggling my babies and enjoying the weather,
napping and relaxing,
cheerin' and traveling,
on-the-go and blessed-as-can-be.   Here are a few photos of what we've been up to!
This was taken during the North Daviess Cheer Clinic by Amy Graber - thanks for capturing this moment, Amy!!
The Odon Sawmill was recognized in Indianapolis for being the 2014 Loggers of the Year! Congrats guys!
I went through a surgery to remove a fibroid in my uterus. Unfortunately, it was too large to remove the entire thing, so another surgery will be scheduled for this summer:(!
Max has been playing ALOT of basketball - and his team won their division at the State Championship in Salem! That little team hustles like crazy, I'm super proud of them!
 Playing in the snow in February…we had a week off of school!
 My sweeties eating out at Steak-n-Shake…they had to order milkshakes for dessert!
 Snuggling with my babies - there is NOTHING better then being a their mama!
 Taking a walk in the beautiful weather…summer is on its way!
Celebrating Gabe's birthday with chocolate-covered strawberries! Well, there's nothing like catching up on 3 months worth of life with a few photos! I HAVE to do better at staying up to date on the blog!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas 2014

Today is the first day of 2015 - seems completely impossible how fast the years are going. Christmas seemed so relaxed & magical this year. I really think the health problems I'm dealing with are making me slow down and take in each moment…just enjoy my kiddos and the magic that surrounds Christmas. We had several family parties to attend, but were able to really relax at each one & visit with the ones we love. 
Christmas Day family selfie

We spent Christmas Eve going from the Raber's, Grandma & Grandpa Swartzentruber's, and then ended up at my Mom and Dad's. 

 Callie was happy with her Frozen helmet, that matched her Frozen scooter…the only thing she asked for for Christmas!

The grandkids at Grandpa Bob & Grandma Raylene's…Lexi, AunaRay, Max, Jamison, and Callie

 My mom had a sign made for Max of a "quote" he came up with. He is super proud of it! He loves sports and making up sports quotes…he is an athlete through and through! 
 Melinda & Nate being sweet on Christmas Eve!
 Callie and Lexi Faith at Grandma Swartzentruber's!
 All the grandkids at Grandpa & Grandma Swartzentruber's - Max, Callie, Jamison, AunaRay, Reese, Lexi, Mila, and Parker
Uncle Clay & Hanna all snuggled in on Christmas Eve…

A few more days and it's back to the real world for me - back to work. I'm praying I keep this stomach bug I got yesterday to myself and my kiddos don't get it!! Yuck!
Happy 2015 - May God bless you and your families this year!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall Update

Now that we have had our first snow - I thought I better get caught

up on how Fall unfolded. I will do this mostly in photos, since that helps me remember exactly what we did:)! 

We visited Lark Ranch in Loogootee, Indiana and had a really great time! We met Nick, Jessica, Dailee, Matt, and Glenda there and there were all kinds of things to do - hayrides, mechanical bull rides, "gem" mining, horse rides, slides, bouncy houses, corn maze,   yummy food, and we even picked our pumpkins from a patch! The Lark Ranch really is a great family fun-filled place to visit!

In September we attended the annual Antique Show in Elnora, Indiana. Every year this is something that my family looks forward to - such a fun place to explore and relax! My mom, Nana Anna, has a stand there each year and sells vintage aprons and dishes. We usually spend all weekend here, just hanging out with family, camping, helping in any way, and shopping:) 

I forced Max to take a photo in front of his Elemenatry School - North Daviess. I wish I had a photo of myself at this age in front of Odon Elemenatry - I have so many amazing memories from that time in my life…but now the building is torn down and long gone. 

This beautiful couple got married this Fall - I think it's so cool because Logan is my first cousin, while Brooke is Gabe's first cousin:) The wedding was beautiful and we are so excited for them to start their life together! Callie & Max were both in the wedding…everything went smoothly & after the wedding we got to enjoy some great food & the kids danced the night away on the dance floor!

Max had a little run in with a pole while playing kickball with his buddies…crazy kid!!

We also celebrated AunaRay's 3rd Birthday…she is such a sweetie and everyone had a great time!