Gulf State Park 2019

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JKLMN on the road again!

JKLMN is on the road again! Today we left Hot Springs for one last summer adventure before school starts in 2 weeks. We are on our way to stay at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This is a trip we’ve been wanting to take for a while. We all love the beach but we’ve always stayed in condos. Johnny has been looking at and researching RV parks on the beach for several years and this one is at the top of his list.

We have not had a chance to go on a “family vacation” yet this summer since Johnny, Kira and Logan went on a mission trip to Croatia and Macy and Noah went to the beach with Nanny & Papa. So, we decided at the last minute to book a site and head to the Gulf. Here we go!!!

Sathurday, July 27, 2019

We left out a lot later today than we would normally leave for a road trip. Our normal schedule is to try to be on the road at daylight. However, this time we didn’t leave until around 2pm. Macy had a birthday party to go to. She has been talking about going to this friend’s party since May so there was no way we were going to mess that up with this last-minute trip we scheduled.

The week leading up to this trip has put several obstacles in our path, most notably that Johnny’s truck decided to have all it’s service engine lights come on. Thank goodness the dealership was able to quickly diagnose the problem and make the repair (and all under warranty, thank goodness). So, today when we went to leave and his truck wouldn’t start we were just a bit peeved. Thank goodness we quickly figured out that someone had left the key on all morning and it had just drained the battery so a quick jump start and we were back in action.

Today we traveled only around 4 hours, 250 miles. Travel was uneventful, other than Noah’s bladder seems to have shrunk over this past year. Potty breaks are not your friend when you travel with an RV. We are currently parked at Ameristar RV Park in Vicksburg, MS. We’ll be up early tomorrow ready to hit the road and get to the sand and waves.

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Ameristar RV Park in Vicksburg, MS

 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What a day! We started it early this morning in Vicksburg, MS and ended it looking at the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores, AL.

We packed up and were pulling out of our site in Vicksburg by 7:30 am. We are not ones to dilly dally. Once we are up, its time to load up and hit the road. Thankfully it was an easy day of travel, no issues at all.

Our fun started when we got to Mobile, AL. We told the kids we had a surprise for them. We have driven by the USS Alabama Battleship multiple times but we’ve never been able to stop. Today, we pulled on in. The boys were super excited, Macy not so much. It was definitely worth the stop. Johnny and I had not been since we were each teenagers so it was like new to us too. If you are ever in the area, it’s worth stopping. You can see as little or as much as you want. We just toured the battleship today as we only had about 2 hours to spend there. There is also an aviation museum, a submarine and multiple aircraft scattered on the lawns for viewing.

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USS Alabama Battleship

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Once we finished our tour of the battleship it was time to drive our final stretch into Gulf Shores. We spent the afternoon getting our camper & site set up, unloading the truck and then exploring the park. We even took a bike ride all the way to the Gulf State Park fishing pier and watched people fishing for sharks. We didn’t know it until we got here but its Shark Week!

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All setup and ready for the week!
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About to walk onto the Pier

We are now settled in for the night. The kids all crashed as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Tomorrow…BEACH DAY!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Today was Beach Day!

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One of the things we are discovering that we love about Gulf State Park is the variety of things to do. There are miles and miles of walking/biking trails, a Nature Center, Pool, sports courts & of course the beach. Today we decided we wanted to start our week at the beach. Included with our campground stay is free access to the beachfront here at the park. It was a beautiful day to soak up the sun. We spent almost 6 hours playing in the sand and waves, reading in our lounge chairs and Johnny & Logan got in a nap or two.

We left the beach around 4pm and headed back to camp to clean up and get ready for dinner. Tonight we chose to go out and enjoy one of Gulf Shores classics, The Hangout. It has a live band playing, lots of games going on for kids, a big playground and of course food. Noah made friends at the foosball table, Logan enjoyed listening to the band and Macy got a new hair wrap.

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We finished off the night checking out a couple of the dozens of souvenir shops. We have started a tradition of getting a sticker and a magnet for the camper from every place we visit. Of course, the kids had to pick up a few fun things too, including an alligator head that Noah insisted his daddy needed!!

Overall, it has been a fantastic day. Once again everyone is exhausted but they have all gone to sleep with a smile on their faces.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Johnny started out today with a 6.5-mile run. As he said on his Instagram post “Epic morning run! Saw plenty of rabbits, birds, swallowed about 1,000 mosquitoes, and even saw an alligator!!!” Yep, he saw an alligator but he definitely enjoyed his run. Gulf State Park offers some fantastic running and biking trails. There are so many to see, we haven’t even touched the surface of them. I was supposed to get up and go with him but I wasn’t feeling well (more on that later…).

 

Our first item on the agenda for the day (after JB’s run) was an interpretive beach walk with one of the park rangers from Alabama State Parks. It all started out ok but then it took an interesting turn really quickly. I had not been feeling well at all. I was up most of the night with some terrible heartburn. It just continued as the day started. I was popping antacids like crazy. I just figured it was the super spicy sauce I had eaten at dinner the night before. As we were walking along the beach I started feeling very achy, then very nauseous and light-headed. I remember handing the camera to Logan, then walking to Johnny and saying “I feel like I’m going to pass out”. Well, apparently I did pass out because the next thing I remember was waking up laying in the sand with Johnny holding my head. Needless to say, EMTs were called in and I had to be checked out. We figured out that I was actually dehydrated. I’ve never experienced true dehydration, it was awful. When I look back on the last few days I’ve realized that I was drinking maybe half of the amount of water that I normally drink. Then I’ve been outside in the sun and doing a lot of physical activity. It all just came to a head this morning. I didn’t let them take me to the hospital, instead, we came back to the camper and I started drinking what felt like gallons of Gatorade and water. After resting and a couple of naps I felt like myself again. I gave Johnny and the kids a pretty good scare, I never want that to happen again.

Tonight we grilled some burgers and chilled for a while at camp. Then we did some geocaching. Johnny even risked life and limb to find one. Geocaching is so much fun, it’s basically a treasure hunt on your phone. The kids were ready to give up on one but Johnny was determined to find it and he was successful!!

 

We finished our night hanging out at the pool. We all needed a good swim and they were doing a movie night. The kids got to float in the pool while watching Shark Tale. It was a nice, calm, relaxing evening.

 

 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

We have had another fun day here in Gulf Shores. We started the day with a 6.61-mile bike ride around some trails here at our campground. I don’t want to sugar-coat this, taking 3 siblings on a 6-mile bike ride has its challenges. Noah has been begging to go on a “long bike ride” all week. He was so excited and ready to get moving.  It only took about a mile for him to decide it was hot, his legs and arms hurt and he wanted to stop for a drink about every 5 minutes. Johnny and I just took turns in the back of the pack with him. Not only did he want multiple water breaks but every time he saw something that caught his eye he wanted to stop and explore. It was hard to keep him moving. Macy and Logan on the other hand just wanted to fight with each other. We had already put Macy in a bad mood by making her wear a helmet for the ride. She was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see her face. Logan, of course, picked up on her mood and chose this time to start picking on her. From that point on the fight was on. There were times on the ride they were literally playing bumper cars with their bikes. Thankfully, by the end of the ride, they were tired of waiting on us trying to keep Noah moving so they teamed up with each other and started navigating the trail together by themselves. Overall it was a fun ride. Hopefully, before we leave we can do the other big loop around the lakes here.

We headed out to the beach around 11am, after our bike ride. I personally love the beach days. Sitting in a chair, listening to the waves crash on the shore is the most relaxing sound to me. We spent most of the day at the beach. Noah built the “Great Wall of China”, the rest of us read our books and relaxed.

This evening I made everyone get dressed up to head out for the dreaded beach pictures.  Picture day has never been anyone in my family’s favorite time, much less beach pictures when you are trying to capture the light at just the right time. I can say, though, that tonight was probably the best my family has ever acted during pictures. Everyone was ready to get in position when we said move, they smiled, laughed and even got along with each other. The end result was some amazing family pictures.

Tomorrow is our last full day here. We haven’t yet decided exactly how to spend the day but I’m sure we’ll make the most of it.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

We had a day packed with sun and fun today. We started our morning with a 9-mile bike ride. Yep, 6 miles was not enough yesterday so we had to go further today. This time we went the opposite way and did a loop around the big lake, then over to the fishing pier to check out the Shark Week activities. The kids did fantastic, only a few complaints but mostly just enjoyed the ride. We have now biked most of the trails here at Gulf State Park. There are a few smaller shoots off the big loops that we missed but we did all the major trails.

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Bike riding may have worn us out for a short time but after some rest and showers, we were ready to tackle the next part of our day. We headed out for a late lunch/early dinner at the FloraBama Ole River Grill. The food was fantastic (way better than The Hangout) and it was neat seeing a place that is such a major part of the culture at the Gulf Beaches.  Once we finished eating we drove on to Pensacola, FL to watch a Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball game. The team says they have the “Best View in Baseball” and I would have to agree. Their stadium sits right on the bay in Pensacola. It is a gorgeous view and you get a wonderful breeze coming off the water. We all had so much fun at the game. We love watching baseball and there is just something about the smallness of minor league games that I truly enjoy. Logan spent the evening asking questions about the hierarchy of making it from the minors to the majors. Macy spent the evening analyzing what plays she should make as a 3rd baseman during each at-bat. Noah was there for the snacks and souvenirs, LOL!

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We cheered the Blue Wahoos on to a win then made the hour-long drive back to our campground. Tomorrow we pack up and head back home.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Well, we are packed up and driving home. We were all sad to leave behind our carefree week of outdoor fun but the real world is calling and we have to go home. The kids start open houses and band practices next week and then school starts the week after. Here we go, back to the daily grind. I am so glad we had the chance to take this one last trip before our busy schedules keep us running again.

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Packed up and ready to make the drive home.

Spring Break 2019

Lake Ouachita State Park

JKLMN is spending Spring Break 2019 camping at Lake Ouachita State Park. We are literally within a 30-minute drive to home. Living in Hot Springs means we are only a short drive away from many, many fantastic camping spots. Actually, people drive here for a vacation from all the surrounding states. We are blessed to have this right here in our own backyard.

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We have not camped at Lake Ouachita State Park in at least 20 years. I actually believe the last time we camped here was when JB and I were just dating. We camp most often at the Core of Engineer parks on the other side of the lake, most often at Brady Mountain. The State Park campground here has recently been renovated and it is now one of the nicer ones on the lake. We thought it was about time we spent a week here.

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20+ years after our first camping trip together to Lake Ouachita State Park

Saturday, March 16, 2019

We have NO PLANS for the week. We want to fish, hike, bike, read, watch the fire…just relax in general. Today we managed to do all of this.

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My plan for the week, relax & read.

I started the day with a 3-mile run exploring the campground. It was a slow, cold run but I felt good after. The minute Logan woke up he went straight to the bank of the lake and started fishing. I don’t think we’ll see much of him this week, he’ll spend the entire week fishing.  About mid-morning we decided to take a ride on the boat to do a little fishing along some other banks. Fishing with JKLMN is always interesting We didn’t catch any fish but we did catch the boat, the fishing tackle bag, and a buoy.

 

Nanny and Papa joined us for the afternoon. Once they arrived we headed off for a hike. We hiked the 4 mile Caddo Bend Trail. It was definitely an adventure. The scenery is beautiful. I love hiking along the lake. Macy and Nanny spent the ENTIRE 4 miles complaining but they made it. Logan, Noah and their friend Cannon ran way ahead of us for most of the hike . They were having fun checking out dead trees, rocks and sticks. We were all exhausted when we finished but we made it!

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Johnny and Logan spent the evening out on the boat fishing. Macy, Noah and I spent the evening reading and watching the fire. I think we will all sleep well tonight.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY and Happy 12th Anniversary to my sister and her husband!!!!

Today has been a beautiful day. The weather so far has been fantastic, sunny, not too hot and not too cold…just right. My parents, sister and her 2 kids came up to visit us today. One thing that is great about vacationing close to home is that all our family can come to spend time with us.

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Look at these love birds!

We played a mean game of Uno (Memaw rigged it for our nephew Carter to win, LOL), then tried some fishing. Let me tell you, fishing with 4 kids under the age of 9 is an adventure. I’m not sure there was any real fishing going on. Johnny and Big Daddy spent most of their time untangling lines. Thank goodness the kids grew bored with fishing fairly quickly. We spent the rest of the afternoon grilling burgers and chilling by the campfire. Good food and family makes for a great afternoon.

Johnny, the kids and I finished the evening exploring the lake looking for the perfect island for the boys’ “Survival Challenge”. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes. Then we read by the campfire for a while before bed.

Monday, March 18, 2019

I feel like this morning was ages ago. We have done so much today. I finally managed to get my lazy bones out of the bed around 8am, by that time Johnny had already been up for a couple of hours and enjoyed watching the sunrise. We started the morning with a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon. Let me just say, breakfast on the lake is always MUCH better than breakfast at home. There is something about cooking outside, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature waking up.

We finished breakfast, cleaned up and then had to make a quick trip into town. We were running low on a few supplies (milk & firewood) so we decided to get that trip out of the way. A few stops later and we were back at camp ready for action.

Johnny and I started the afternoon with a little run. He kicks my booty every time, even though I run 2-3 times a week and he only runs a few times a month. Once we finished our runs it was time for some geocaching!

Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt. There is an App you can use that tells you where all the cache’s are in your area and it gives you clues on how to find them. Macy started out not very happy about being forced out of the hammock and onto her bike but by the time we found the last cache, she was having a good time. We found 5 today in all. We’re hoping to find some more when we do another hike in the next day or so.

Tonight I am exhausted. We’ve had our dinner (grilled pork chops, YUM), relaxed by the fire and had our showers. I think now it’s time for reading in bed until I fall asleep with the book on my face.

Goodnight!

The rest of the week…

Well, here I am 4 months later finishing this blog. I guess we were having so much fun the remainder of the week, or I was just too tired, that I never finished writing about the week’s events. Here are some things I can remember.

  • We did more biking, hiking, and boat riding
  • The kids found large limbs to use to make walking sticks. Giving the kids an ax & machete to do their work was scary but they’ve got to learn to be independent.
  • The boys did their “Survival Challenge” on an island along with our friend Jason Vincent and his son Cannon. They had tons of fun and Noah is asking to do another one.
  • Macy and I threw the softball ALOT!
  • We all learned how to play dominoes.
  • The week was so much fun and a great break to reenergize us to finish the school year.

We already have reservations to do it again next Spring Break!

Croatia Mission Trip 2019

This year we’re embarking on a mission trip to Croatia. We’ll be teaching practical English classes to the residents in Ogulin, Croatia. Kira, Logan and myself are going along with three other people from our church. Macy and Noah will be spending time with grandparents this week. I’m going to try to blog throughout the trip. Come along

Lucky 13

Here’s a video from Logan and I shooting trap together the day after his birthday.

How in the world is Logan 13 years old already? We celebrated his birthday this week. It’s pretty neat to see how much he has matured in the past year. Every year on his birthday, I also tell Kira, “Happy Mother’s Day”. Because on this day 13 years ago, we became parents for the first time. Oh, we were sooo naive and young. Just like everyone that has a child for the first time. As I am also getting ready to turn 40 this year, I guess I am even more emotional than usual. I just like to reflect back on the past 13 years and think about all that we have accomplished and experienced as a family. Let’s highlight some of those.

I can think about so many other things, but I just highlighted a few. I remember saying to Kira in 2016 that we only had about a 5 year window to experience some great summers with our kids before Logan gets really busy with school/band in the summer. That’s why we decided to pack up and hit the road to Disney and to Yellowstone. Oh how the time has flown. Sometimes I wish I could go back to that first day that we brought Logan home. I remember the feeling when we walked into the house for the first time as a family. I remember looking at Kira and thinking “What do we do now?”. I think we’ve done good K. Let’s keep it up.

Here’s a video that I made for Kira when Logan was 2 or so.

Great American Adventure Trip Itinerary

Great American Adventure Trip Itinerary

Day 1: 

Hot Springs, AR to Wakeeney, KS (approximately 660 miles, 14 hours)

Campground: Wakeeney KOA


Day 2:

Wakeeney, KS to Colorado Springs, CO (294 miles)

Campground: Garden of the Gods RV Resort

Activities: Garden of the Gods; Manitou Springs


Day 3:

Sight-Seeing in Colorado Springs, CO

Activities: Pikes Peak; US Olympic Training Facility


Day 4:

Colorado Springs, CO to Casper, WY (351 miles)

Campground: Casper KOA (technically in Bar Nunn, WY


Day 5:

Casper, WY to Yellowstone National Park (293 miles)

Campground: Fishing Bridge RV Park (located in Yellowstone National Park)

Activities: Set up camp; hike to Natural Bridge; Yellowstone Lake


Day 6:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone

Activities: Old Faithful, which included a hike through Upper Geyser Basin & a walk through Old Faithful Inn; Hike to Mystic Falls; Grand Prismatic Spring; Continental Divide


Day 7:

Sight-Seeing in Jackson Hole, WY & Grand Teton National Park

Activities: Scenic float trip on Snake River by Sands White Water; walk through downtown Jackson Hole; drive through Grand Teton National Park, stopping at Visitor Center & Jenny Lake.


Day 8:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone & Cody, WY

Activities: Grand Canyon of Yellowstone; Hayden Valley; Mud Volcano & Dragon’s Breath Cave; Drove to Cody for the Cody Nite Rodeo


Day 9:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone

Activities: Mammoth Hot Springs (drive from Fishing Bridge took us through Hayden Valley, Tower Falls & Roosevelt Tower); Roosevelt Arch; Norris Geyser Basin; West Yellowstone


Day 10:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone

Activities: Drove through Lamar Valley & to Northwest Entrance


Day 11:

Yellowstone National Park to Custer, South Dakota (439 miles)

Campground: Custer’s Gulch RV Park & Campground


Day 12:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota

Activities: Wind Cave National Park; The Mammoth Site; Custer State Park; The Needles Highway


Day 13:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota

Activities: 1880 Train; Mount Rushmore; Crazy Horse Memorial; Walk through downtown Custer


Day 14:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota & Wyoming

Activities: Devils Tower National Monument (in Wyoming); Deadwood, SD


Day 15:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota

Activities: Wall Drug Store; Badlands National Park


Day 16:

Custer, SD to Rock Port, MO (627 miles)

Campground: Rock Port Riversedge Campground


Day 17:

Rock Port, MO to Hot Springs, AR (528 miles)

My Journey to Health

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1st pic, Jan 2019; 2nd pic Jan 2018

Last January I made a decision that it was time to take control of my health. I had reached my heaviest weight ever and I did not feel good at all. I was feeling terrible both physically and mentally. Honestly, it had gotten to the point that I could not even sleep well as I could not get comfortable in any position due to the extra weight I was carrying.

I weighed in at 237 lbs. I am 5’7″.  While I have always been a bigger person (big boned as my mama always said), I was well over where I should be have been at this point. How did I get here? Why was it so hard to change this? I kept asking myself these questions in the months leading up to finally deciding to take charge.

So, how did I get to this point? I have spent the last 13 years of my life having babies, working a sedentary job and concentrating on the needs of my kids. This led me to eating fast food on a regular basis, snacking all day long (especially on sweets) and getting absolutely no exercise. The pounds come on quickly with that kind of lifestyle.

I started my journey on January 1, 2018. I know, very cliche, new start, new year but I was determined. On January 1, 2018 I started by getting on my treadmill and starting a Couch to 5k program. What that did was give me motivation and accountability. I have a bit of a competitive nature in me and when my phone would ding at me that I needed to run, that spurred me into action. So, getting moving was the first step.

The second step was changing my diet. I knew immediately that starting some fad diet or trying to starve myself (as I had done in the past) was not going to work. I just needed to slowly change my eating habits. That’s what I did. I started by cutting out snacking and completely cutting out any kind of soda. Then I started working on my lunch habits. When you work in an office and have an hour break for lunch, it’s so easy to run down the street to pick up a burger, tacos or whatever other fatty place awaits. Instead, I started packing my lunch. They were still not always the healthiest lunches (even now my favorite is a frozen chicken pot pie), but they were much better than Taco Bell. Now, I did not completely cut these out, there are still times that I have to pick up something but it is much, much rarer than what I was doing. I also discovered that by working out, I paid way more attention to what I was eating. I did not want to “ruin my workout” by eating something bad a couple of hours later. Basically, it made me more aware and that led to better eating habits.

I have seen slow results as this year has gone one. Some weeks I saw big successes, some weeks were a struggle. Slow and steady weight loss was what I was looking for and that is what I have seen. It has taken me a full year to lose 30 lbs. Also, I still can’t RUN an entire 5k. However, I am working out by doing a 3-5 mile run/walk at least 3 days per week. That is far beyond what I was doing a year ago which was a 1-1.5 mile run/walk 3 days per week.

My goal was to hit 200lbs by the end of 2018. I was on my way to that, but the holidays kind of got in the way (imagine that!). I did more cheating and less working out in the last month just due to the busyness December brought with it. I ended 2018 at 206.6 lbs and down one pants size. I feel better now that I have in several years.

Now, it’s time to set new goals. I am starting off 2019 at 206.6 lbs. My goal is to be at 175 lbs by Jan. 1, 2020. I plan on adding more body toning to my workout routines. I have really concentrated on cardio this past year. I plan on continuing that but adding a weight workout on the days in between. I will also continue watching my diet. The goal this year is to cook healthier foods for my family while also working toward getting my entire family more active with me.

Here we go, bring on 2019!

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My steady trend down (until December)

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I ran 226 miles in 2018!

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019!!

GOODBYE 2018!!

2018 has brought both highs and lows to our family. How has our year gone? Let’s see…

January: Johnny and I went on our first cruise! You can read more about that here. Now that we are a year away from that cruise, I am more than willing to try another one. This time maybe with family and friends. Also, Logan went through the month of January and most of February with a broken wrist. He has stayed off the pogo stick since then! We also finally ate at Debra’s Restaurant (a little inside joke with JB & I). January was also the start of my journey to get healthy, more to come on that.

January 1
Logan had a broken wrist to start the new year.

January 2
We finally ate at Debra’s! (I bet they have a good breakfast)

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Our first Cruise

February: I turned 37 and Logan turned 12. We decided it was time, well maybe not time but we gave in, and got Logan his first cell phone.  Logan also joined the Lake Hamilton Trap Shooting Team. He has fallen in love with the sport and is very ready for the season to start again.

February
Logan’s 12th Birthday!

March: Let’s see, what happened in March??? I had to look through pictures on my phone to remember. (Seriously, my phone camera roll is as good a journal as anything). It looks like we started the month with our Sunday School classes annual Chili Cookoff, that is always a fun event. Logan had his final cotillion event and was super happy to be done with anything having to do with cotillion. March 10 brought us the annual Adam Brown 5k at Lake Hamilton School. Our whole family participated, though I was dragging Noah across the finish line at the end. Then we ended the month with our Sunday School class annual Easter fellowship. Let me say, I love the support group our Sunday School class provides.

March 1
Adam Brown 5k

April: We started April out with EASTER! What better way to start a month than with the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior??? Our Easter Sunday always consists of church in the morning then going to my cousin’s house for a BBQ with our family. Once the Easter celebrations were over we headed straight into Baseball and Softball for Noah and Macy. They both had great seasons, both of their teams won their leagues. April ended with my last baby having “Wizard of Oz Day” at Lake Hamilton Primary school.

April 1
Easter Sunday

April 2
Easter Sunday BBQ

April 3
Wizard of Oz Day for each kid when they were in 1st Grade

May: May brought us Logan’s first ever Trap Shooting tournament. He did really well for his first time in a tournament. We also got to open our pool and started what would be a very fun summer of swimming and hanging out on the back deck. Macy finished her piano lessons for the school year with a recital and the all the kids finished the school year with good grades. The month of May also brought us a wedding for my baby cousin Drew. We ended May with those baseball and softball championships for Macy and Noah.

May 1
Trap Shooting Tournament

May 3
Macy’s Piano Recital

May 4
Drew and Alli’s Wedding

May 5
Baseball Champions!

May 6
Softball Champions!

June: We started our fun summer months with Vacation Bible School. That is always a big event for me as I had been the VBS Director the previous 2 years. This year I took a step back and was just in charge of registration. It was a very fun week. Then we started full prep for our BIG RV trip that we would leave for at the end of the month. We also got to celebrate Noah’s 7th Birthday and Johnny and I’s 16th Wedding Anniversary. June was a month of fun, fun, fun.

June 2
Noah’s 7th Birthday!

June 1
Johnny & I on our wedding day June 22, 2002

July: EPIC, that is how I would describe July. This month took us on a trip through 8 states and over 5000 miles. You can read all about our Great American Adventure here. We made it back from our trip in mid-July, just in time to celebrate Johnny’s 39th birthday and spend the rest of the month relaxing.

Yellowstone entry
JKLMN’s Great American Adventure

August: Back to School! August always means back to school and back to schedules and routine. I did take the kids on one last adventure before school. We spent a day at Mid-America Museum where they got to do all kinds of hands on science and walk through the Dino trail. August also meant celebrating Macy’s 9th birthday. Unfortunately, August also brought great heartbreak to our lives. Our friend, Brian Speers, passed away suddenly. Johnny and I had both grown up with Brian and he actually is the friend who set us up many, many years ago.

September: In September we started a Community Group in our home. It is just a gathering of several families from our church (though all are welcome). We spend the time eating, talking and doing a short bible study. It has quickly become one of our favorite nights of the week. Honestly, September was mostly just getting through the daily grind and continuing my getting healthy journey (you can check that out here).

Sept 1
7th Grade

Sept 2
3rd Grade

Sept 3
2nd Grade

October: October was a month that brought more heartache, our friend, Heather Pitts, another friend we had grown up with, passed away suddenly. It’s been so hard to believe that 2 friends, only 39 years old, left this earth so early.  We can only look to God and trust in his ultimate plan through these events. October also meant deer camp prep and Halloween. I think Noah had the most fun at Halloween this year because he got to be Zed the Zombie.

November: November means deer camp and Thanksgiving. We also started November with a Robotics Tournament for Logan. He has been taking several Computer Science, Coding and Robotics classes at school and has enjoyed every bit of it.  We had a fun deer season, though it was a pretty wet and nasty one. Thanksgiving was spent at my parent’s house with a delicious, traditional meal.

December: Oh, December! One of our busiest months of the year. It was full of Christmas parties, band concerts, choir concerts, busy work days and Christmas prep. It is always fun though. For me, the last several months have brought a lot of traveling and stress at work. I was looking forward to December and a few days off around Christmas. We enjoyed all of the celebrations and then took a spontaneous trip to Branson after Christmas. You can read all about that here.

Overall, this year has been amazing. Though the end of the year brought a lot of heartbreaks, the first 8 months of the year were amazing. Now, I’m ready for 2019!!