Fun In The Sun

We just returned from a fun filled family vacation at the cabin. Many thanks go out to my husbands family for making our time with them so much fun. This post is dedicated to my father-in-law and his wife so they can share in the many photos we took from our time with them.

“The Cabin at 10 Acre Woods” is a favorite place for my family. We have spent many vacations there and when we’re not all able to go back we’ve sent our children to spend time with their grandpa in the summer’s. Life moves at a slower pace when we’re at the cabin. We rarely look at a clock or worry about the time. We just sit back, relax, and have fun!

The kids love to spend time in the lake and that is where much of our time is usually spent. The cabin sits on 10 acres with 1000 feet of waterfront on a spring fed lake. The water is crystal clear and refreshing to swim in. Launching the floating dock out into the lake is always a fun adventure. My three boys took on the task this year and had a blast doing it. Here’s a few photos of the launch and anchoring it down so they could jump off it.

Here's our three boys as they push it out into the lake to begin the process.

Once the dock is pushed away from the shoreline the kids scramble to get into place so they can begin paddling it out farther into the lake. James had the easy task of enjoying the ride while his brothers paddled them out into the lake.

Getting ready to paddle...

I love this photo of my boys. They had so much fun taking the dock out into the lake so they could jump off and swim in deeper water.

I love this photo of my three boys!

Jeffrey decided to be the first to jump in so he could test the depth of the lake to make sure they’d moved it out far enough into the lake. Big brother,  Jonathan, dropped the ladder so Jeffrey could climb back up. I love this photo because it actually looks like Jeffrey is walking on water…

Jeffrey wanted to be the first to jump off!

James decided to be next to jump off and didn’t waste any time jumping in. Jacqueline, Jim and Patricia all made their way to the dock rather quickly as well.

James has no fear of the water and jumped right in! A big thank you goes out to my niece, Tiffany, for spending the last two summers teaching James to swim stronger and better. He absolutely LOVES swimming now!

Knee boarding was one of the funnest adventures this year. My daughter, Jacqueline, could hardly wait to go! She had spent time at the cabin last year with her cousins and knew how much fun it was. She was amazing and it was so much fun watching all of her crazy expressions as my husband tried to make her task more challenging. After Jackie had her turn she decided to show her youngest brother, James, how to knee board. He had never been before but learned very quickly. He amazed all of us with how quickly he was able to get up on his knees. Here’s a few shots of their adventure.

Jackie just had to show off a little…

Enjoying a sweet ride.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jacqueline as she maneuvered all over the lake…

Loving the ride.

Jackie decided to stay in the water as she taught James what to do. Little did we know that she would end up staying in the water for much longer than she planned. James got up so quickly that we had to leave her in the middle of the lake as James cruised around on the knee board. Thank goodness she had her life jacket on and there weren’t any other boats on the lake. James had a blast smiling at her as he cruised by, multiple times, as we took him around the lake.

Teaching her little brother how to knee board.

Here’s James in the water getting ready for his first try…

Learning the ropes from his big sister and getting ready to begin.

Here is James as he just begins his first run. One minute he was laying down and the next minute he had jumped up onto his knees. My husband and I kept looking back and forth at one another saying, “Did you see that?” We were shocked he got up so quickly.

So excited for his first turn on the knee board.

Here’s my little boy enjoying the ride…

Absolutely LOVING this new sport.

It’s usually pretty warm at the cabin so the kids spend lots of time in the water. My oldest daughter joined us at the cabin and brought my granddaughter with her. Ady had lots of fun checking out the water! Here’s a few photos of the kids and the lake.

Ady checking out the water for the first time…

Jess had fun dipping Ady's toes in the water to get her used to it before putting her legs all the way in.

Ady getting knee deep in the water…

I love how excited she is. She was giggling at the new sensation of standing in the lake and feeling the soft sand on her toes.
A few of the kids are patiently waiting for Grandpa to come take them inner tubing. I love how peaceful and still the lake is in this photo.

Jess & Ady watching as the kids take off inner tubing with Grandpa…

Sitting on the dock watching as the kids take off to go inner tubing with Grandpa.

This was one of the first photos I took at the cabin. The kids could hardly wait for their first dip in the lake…

This is where we spend a great deal of time swimming.

Here’s a view to the south of one of the docks showing the various boats kept on the property for enjoyment. I realized after reviewing all my photos that I didn’t take a turn in the paddle boat this year. I love going out in that and peddling all over the lake. Oh well…there’s always next time.

Just a few of the many fun things to do on the lake.

Here’s a view looking north of the dock showing the shoreline. The water seemed a little higher this year as it came all the way up to the grass & trees. Normally when we go there is a few feet of sandy beach along the shoreline…

One of the days we spent at the cabin the weather was a little on the chilly side. My father-in-law decided to head outside and chop up some wood to stock up for the winter. Jessica, Jonathan and James decided that sounded like fun and followed him outside to help. Little did they know that the weather would turn wet and they’d end up finishing in the rain. They were all great sports and didn’t seem to mind the rain at all.

After spending some time watching his older brother chop wood, James decided he wanted a turn. Grandpa was kind enough to find a saw for him and took some time teaching him how to saw off some of the smaller, lower branches on the nearby trees that could be used for kindling.

Jonathan helped chop up a lot of the wood and then he and Jessica loaded it all up into the wood shed. Yes, they got a bit wet…

I love this photo of my father-in-law! The kids had so much fun working with him to chop up the wood.

Are you wondering what the cabin looks like? Well, here are a few photos of the cabin and the property surrounding it. It’s so peaceful here that I always feel like I could spend my entire summer here. My father-in-law and his wife bought the property years ago and have spent a great deal of time improving the property and the cabin over the years. When my oldest two kids would go back to spend summers with them it was just a tiny one room cabin that they built by hand. The original cabin is still part of the house today. They added the larger section about 10 years ago along with indoor plumbing and electricity.

Here’s a photo of the cabin and deck.

Here’s a view of the side of the cabin showing the smaller section, which is the original, hand-built, cabin. It has a screened in porch facing the larger main deck today.

A huge deck surrounds the south and east sides of the cabin offering plenty of space for BBQ’s and relaxing. They have fabulous lighting around the outside in the trees and down the railings of the two staircases.

We had a couple of huge campfires at night and made S’mores one night (which were delicious I might add).

Our vacation time at the cabin would not be complete without our family photos taken on the stairs. We do this every time we go and its fun to see how the kids have grown over the years.

Here’s Grandpa Jack and the kids.

Here’s my family. Everyone is here except my son-in-law (we missed you Ryan!).

Jim and his dad…

I can’t forget to include some photos of the rest of our extended family that we saw while visiting.

Here’s Jim and three of his siblings.

Here’s a photo of my husband and our two daughters and granddaughter.

I love this photo of Jacqueline and my granddaughter Ady. It seemed that every time I turned around someone different was carrying Adalynn in the pack. Fun times!

My wonderful husband. This photo was taken as we were cruising up the Mississippi river on a paddle boat.

Jim and I on the boat on the Mississippi river.

Two of my beautiful nieces. We had so much fun spending time with them and their parents.

Jackie and her aunt Kathy. Jackie actually had no idea that Kathy was behind her when I snapped this photo. Kathy saw me getting ready to take it and quickly leaned down to get in the picture. Jackie was so surprised when she turned around after and saw Kathy so close. It was actually quite funny!

Mary Kate was FABULOUS with Ady and spent a great deal of time playing with her while we were visiting them. Ady loved every minute of it too!

My sister-in-law, Ginger, and my niece Kelianne.

My oldest son, Jonathan.

The spectacular view from my sister-in-law’s (Kathy) house. I LOVE her view!

My post would not be complete without a few more photos of my kids and granddaughter…

My youngest son was thrilled to find this fountain after our cruise on the Mississippi River. As soon as I’d snapped this photo he immediately took off his shoes and cooled his feet off in the water.

I think James started something because pretty soon everyone was taking off their shoes and dipping their toes in the cool, refreshing water.

James was thrilled when his Uncle Pat let him ride his motorized scooter! When we went for a walk that night he rode it right along beside us the entire way. He thought that was the coolest toy ever! Thanks Pat for sharing your toy with him.

My two youngest boys had fun swinging with their niece on the porch of their Aunt Kathy’s house. Jeffrey spent many hours curled up in this hammock chair reading a book. The temperature was perfect out on the screened porch and the view was spectacular.

Uncle Jeffrey and Ady

Here’s James and Ady taking their turn in the hammock chair. James was making sure to hold her in safely so she didn’t fall out.

This is one of my favorite photos of Adalynn. The colors are so vibrant. She sure was a great sport and so happy the entire time. I kept telling my daughter that she was blessed with the perfect baby! Ady was always happy and smiling for everyone.

Adalynn had lots of fun hanging out with her Grandpa Jim. Here she is sitting on her grandpa’s lap out on the deck at the cabin.

Even though my son-in-law wasn’t able to come with us on this trip he was always just a phone call away for my daughter. Here Jess is talking to Ry on the phone as we hung out on the porch of Kathy’s house. Good Food, Fabulous Family & Lots of Fun!

My two daughters and my niece spent a quiet afternoon hanging out with me on the porch. Much needed “Girl Time”. Ady had fun hanging out with the girls.

I snapped this tender photo of Adalynn the night before we flew home. She had crashed on my bed and was sleeping so peacefully that I just had to take a photo. She had a fun filled busy week and was all tuckered out and ready for a good night sleep.

Well, that’s about it for my photo journey of our vacation. I have literally hundred’s of photos that I took but thought I’d share these so that our extended family could see some of the pictures from our trip. I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Thank you to all of our family who made this trip so much fun! We Love You!!

Traveling Full Circle – Then Stepping Outside

Choose a path that will lead you forward. Hold firmly to the truths you know. Make sure you choose the "RIGHT" path. Only you, and God, will really know what that is.

I feel as though I have come full circle in many ways. What exactly does “full circle” mean? Well, if you imagine a circle, and you begin at any given point on that circle, and move in one direction, eventually you will end up in the same spot you started. How do you jump away from that circle and move in a new direction? First, you have to recognize that you are moving in a circle and STOP.

Once you have stopped, assessed where you are and where you’ve been, you can be purposeful, and gracefully step outside the circle and create a new path. This is where I find myself today.

You know that old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” well that is absolutely true. Often, when we tap into the minds of others, we realize that we truly “don’t know what we don’t know” until we ask the right questions. Suddenly, our minds are enlightened and we learn and grow in ways not possible before.

I know that I have not been posting on my blog daily like I first intended to do. However, the past couple of months I have been experiencing a great deal of growth intellectually and spiritually. My mind has been flooded, day and night, with new inspiration, thoughts and ideas, that have moved me down a new (but also old) path. New because I am seeing things differently this time and my mind and heart have been enlightened to new ways of doing things. Old because the basic mechanics are the same.

The past couple of years I have spent a great deal of time reflecting and observing, not just on my own life but the lives of those around me. Recently, I have spent a great deal of time “stepping outside the box” so to speak, and asking questions of others. My questions were purposeful. As I dug deeper and deeper into conversations, I began to see and understand things from an entirely new perspective. My eyes have been opened and my vision is much clearer.

It seems as though each and every day I am surprised by something new that I learn. As I embark on this new (yet also old) journey, it is with new eyes and clearer vision that I see the path before me. This time I will not be traveling in a circle, this time my path is straight and moving in one direction only. That direction is forward.

Stop and ask yourself these questions:

1. How can you find out what you don’t know?

2. Are you asking the right questions to the right people?

3. Do you ever feel like your traveling in a circle? Doing the same things over and over again, getting the same results?

4. If those results are not the results you want, then how do you step outside that circle and achieve the results you want?

5. Are you achieving the results you want in the job/career you’re in? If not, why?

6. Do you keep traveling in the same circle? Maybe your career choice is the right one but you keep traveling the same course because you refuse to take off the blinders and see things from a different perspective. Or, perhaps there’s a different path altogether that you should be taking.

7. When was the last time you stepped outside the circle and evaluated your progress? Are you moving forward or backward? If you’re moving in a circle does it really matter? YES, it matters! You have to GET OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE and choose a path. Preferrably one that moves you forward.

Take a few moments, right now, to sit back and think about the direction your life is moving. Are you moving forward, backward, or in a circle. We are always moving in a direction, the question is, “What direction are you moving?”

Eating Can Be Exhausting!

I had to laugh today when I received this photo of my granddaughter via text. Eating can be so exhausting when you’re little. At least she fell asleep with a full tummy.

I remember the days when my children would fall asleep in their high chair, or even at the table, with their face in their plate. This picture brought back so many memories that I had to laugh.

Do you ever feel this way after you eat? Have you ever fallen asleep at the table? I know my children have. Usually when it happens it is after a long day of playing hard. That’s when I know they’ve had a great day! Their little bodies just get tuckered out and no matter how hard they try they just can’t stay awake. Oh, to have that luxury of drifting off to a deep, sound sleep and having someone carry you to bed.

I’m so glad that my daughter and son-in-law captured this sweet photo for me today! It makes me feel like I’m a part of her daily experiences even though I’m in another state.

If you have little children, take a moment to snap a photo of something in their everyday routine and send it to their grandma or grandpa. Trust me, it will make their day!