So Auntie Lauren brought a fun craft for all the cousins to work on....ROCKS to paint!!!
Did you know its a "thing" now, to hide painted rocks for others to find? Yup!
Plus, its totally great entertainment! FOR HOURS........
You'll need flat stones, home depot or lowes have bags of them, acrylic paints in different colors, brushes and sponge brushes are fun, paper plates, paper towels, and a paint pen if you want to do any kind of writing or tiny detail work.
We have some good artists in the family! Who KNEW?! ;)
So we've been talking about doing this so long, and now its done, and it was a BLAST. We'll do another batch as soon as we have some time to get supplies.
We are calling it, "RV Oilers Rock"!
Hahah, get it, ROCK?
No really, like a stone......from the RV Oilers......painted and hidden.......
An RV Oilers rock.
Ok, ok, we hope you think we ROCK, too! ;)
We are putting #rvoilersrock on the backs in hopes that people will find them, photograph them and share to social media with our hashtag.
We can hide stones ALL OVER the country as we travel!
Eeek, so fun, right?! I hope one of YOU finds one someday! :)
Many, many Florida trips ago, a tradition was started....
Saturday morning breakfast at the local Amish restaurant, Der Dutchman.
Amazing breakfast buffet with all the fixins: biscuits and gravy, grits, mush, oatmeal, hashbrowns and hashrown casserole, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, french toast, pancakes, fruit slush, fresh fruit, muffins, homemade donuts,
Are you drooling yet?
Here are some pics from years ago:
So when Saturday rolled around, we knew this was an important memory maker, even if dad wasn't feeling 100%. Chad and Lauren were still in town for the weekend, so it just seemed like the right thing to do, to all go and enjoy our tradition.
Somewhere over the years, a photo tradition was started, on Der Dutchmans sweeping staircase. I had to keep telling myself, surely this wasn't the LAST chance for a staircase photo, so I wouldn't burst into tears. We took cousin pics BEFORE food, while they were unloading Papa from the car, and saved the big family one for AFTER.
I can't find them all, but I unearthed a few staircase pics....
If love could keep someone alive, this guy's living forever.
And less we get too serious, we had to take a silly photo too.
Love these goofballs so much!
Hey guys! Did you all have a good Thanksgiving?
We enjoyed a nice day over at Drea and dad's house, eating, cooking and eating some more. We decided to set out a bunch of snacks at 11 and eat dinner at 4 or whenever turkeys got done.
There was SO. MUCH. FOOD.
We attempted not one, but TWO turkeys this year. A traditional roasted one doused in butter and fresh herbs and veggies..... Auntie Lauren, who is usually quite squeamish, got right in there! ;)
Turned out beautifully!
Second turkey was done outside by my step sister Ashley's boyfriend...check it out! Oh man was it ever GOOD!
Destiny and Avery requested REAL whipped cream for the pies, so I put them right to work on that. A chilled bowl and beater, a pinch of cinnamon and some vanilla and we had ourselves some GOURMET whipped cream.......
It was nice enough to eat outside, so we filed through the line then went out to the lanai.
There is much to be thankful for......
Some days, when Papa has doctors appointments, its just easier if we find something else to do.
There are lots of cool things to see and do here in Florida, so we headed to the 10th annual Chalk Festival, AFTER a stop at our favorite place.
Nokomis groves is an orange grove that makes their own soft serve ice cream, and holy cow, is it ever good! Orange pineapple is the BEST.
We arrived at the Chalk Festival, not quite sure what to expect. It took place on the run ways of the local airport. Here are photos from last year so you can visualize it:
The first thing we wanted to see, was the 3D drawings. WOW, were they ever amazing!!!! I am going to put side view and front view side by side here for you so you can see how LOOOOONG they really are until you stand directly in front of them.
Some of these I didn't "SEE" until we looked at the photo, crazy right?!
I took A LOT of photos, as did my husband and kiddos, so brace yourself.....
After the section of 3D art, there was some squares of pastels too.....and an area where the kids could draw on the wall and ground.
Get better Papa.....
Such a fun day!
We have settled into our life here in Florida. The RV park is stunning and has an incredible pool, putt putt mini golf and like I said, is so super close to dad and Drea's house. What a blessing!
We do school in the morning, go say hi to dad sometimes, eat lunch, swim at the pool and head back over for family dinner....
The kids just like to be near him.....they read or color quietly. The tears come at bedtime, when they process the day. I am thankful they allow those tears and emotions to flow out, its healthy for them and we know the Lord bottles those tears up in Heaven.
Papa loves having his head rubbed with fractionated coconut oil and essential oils. We use frank, copiba, peppermint, lime, white fir and lemongrass with great results!
One day we took the kids out to eat fresh sea food and see the sunset. It's amazing what walking and sitting on the beach can do for your weary soul.....
I needed to be reminded of a Creator who loves me, who loves my dad, and who wants the best for our family. Who wants to see dad prosper and live a long life on the earth......
What an incredible artistic Father we serve. The author and the finisher, the beginning and the end.
Thank you, Jesus!
We are soaking up every moment with dad as we adjust to our RV life again. It was way smoother than I imagined it would be after being in the apartment so long. We are all so happy and settled and every single one of us, at one time or another has said, "I am so happy we are back in the RV!"
My brother Chad, and sis in law, Lauren came down kid free and spent the weekend down here. It was so good to see them!
Papa is joining us for dinner each night. He is such a trooper!
Everyone knows that when the door is closed to Papa's office, its time to be quiet and let him rest. He sleeps a lot, and that's good, that's when his body can knit and heal.
So we play games and read.....and enjoy the nice weather!
Grammy took us to this HUGE, amazing library! Oh how we love paper books!!!
Playing games with Aunt Torrey and Uncle Daniel
At night we hang out on the lanai and chill by the fire. The weather couldn't be more perfect!
Good byes are never easy.....
I had to snag this photo of Chad and dad holding hands and just visiting a bit before he left to go back.
I knew he wouldn't love his posture, so I told him to stand up straighter and I'd take it again.
Chad being the goofball that he is.....delivered!
Laughter is really good medicine.....
It's amazing how one call can alter your whole day, week, plans...all of it.
Tuesday, we got a warning call from my sister in law, that my dad wasn't doing really great. She said, just be on stand by, in case you have to jump and run. She was sweet, but real with me. I was at lunch with my family and two friends, and hung up bawling. It's so hard to be far away from your loved ones when things aren't good.
If you recall, my daddy has been through ALOT this past 3 years. Fighting successfully lung cancer, brain cancer and then spine cancer. He has beat 5% odds and walked out of the hospital a medical miracle more times than I can count.
He is using essential oils to support his body during this process and he is a picture of health! Very active. We love traveling with him and my step mom and he even stayed with my kids for 2 weeks in Kansas while we were at convention.
We have made several tearful trips to Florida, thinking it was a good bye, when it was a miracle show. Like from ICU to home in 3 days, overcoming 5% success rate and more, from lung surgery, to massive saddle pulmonary embolisms to brain surgery.
God is still in the miracle business and daddy is living proof!
We had been spread out in the apartment with plans to stay through Christmas, so to pack the everything back into the RV, do laundry and gut the fridge in less than 3 hours, was nothing short of a miracle. We had friends and family come over to help make it happen. So thankful!
RIGHT as we were standing out in the road loading the last laundry basket, Dale gets a call, and goes white as a sheet. He turns to me with tears streaming down his cheeks, and says we have to go NOW. My step mom, Drea, called him bawling. Things were not good, she was scared we weren't going to make it in time.
We RAN into the house, shut off lights and our precious friends gathered in a circle around and prayed over us. I am SO SO blessed to have these kind of people in our lives! (Thank you, we love you all!)
We were pushing hard to get down in time, so after 2 long hard days without stopping, it was time to stretch our legs. The travel morale greatly improves when we do this! Georgia has a really nice rest area, so we pulled over and enjoyed some fresh air. The leaves were STUNNING!
So the trip down was not without troubles, and we found ourselves on the side of the road after a giant BOOM! I thought something was coming through the floor of our bathroom. For the first time in almost 3 years, we blew a Coach tire.....
Miracle of miracles, we were quarter of a mile from a tire store. Second of all, instead of paying $1000 to have it fixed on the side of the road, we were able to limp in.
And even bigger miracle, they had not one but TWO, new tires to sell us. Most of the time, tires like this run $400 plus EACH. (When you replace one tire, you replace two or they are uneven, due to tread difference, who knew? Not me!)
Proof the Lord is always with His children, the tires they sold us had been on another truck for ONE WEEK, so they sold us BOTH for $400 and threw in some extra parts for the busted airline,
We continued on our way and realized about Gainsville Florida, we had a problem. When the tire blew, we must have also blown one of the air ride air bags and we were VERY VERY crooked the rest of the trip.
I took this shot once we got to the RV park, and had dropped the trailer off in parking, and unloaded car.....no wonder we felt like we were in one of those crazy houses at the state fair! :)
Another miracle, is that this beautiful RV park just a few miles down the road from Grammy and Papas house, had an opening. As you know, its peak season here in Florida for snow birds!
We quickly set up and jumped in the car to go see Papa. Lo and behold, he was out on the porch getting some Vitamin D and fresh air. Oh, it was SO good to hug his neck!
So let me catch you up, 3 weeks ago, on the way to dinner with friends, dad couldn't speak. He tried but nothing came out. Drea recognized the symptoms right away and had him pull over and took him to the hospital, where they determined he was having multiple seizures.
They saw cancer on his chart and chalked it up to brain surgery several years ago, and told us we were lucky it hadn't shown up before this. They sent him home. It just didn't add up. Why would this just FLIP so suddenly?
Several times they ended up in the hospital, and several times they got sent back home, as all tests came back clear. He's had headaches since this past summer, just not this bad. They amped up to the point of curl up on the floor, rocking and holding his head and violently vomiting bad. Brain scans came back clear and all this continues to be a mystery.
A week later, his motion has declined to the point of a cane or he tips over, and his speech is quite slurred. At times he forgets what he is saying, or gets frustrated because the right words don't come out at the right times. He is such a joyful communicator and keeps us in stitches with his funny remarks and stories when we are together. I know this is hard on him.
Now we have morphined up Papa, and no answers,
We are in the Lord's waiting room asking for a miracle! Will you join me?
We are getting antsy to get back on the road again, but have decided to have our first Christmas here in the apartment! YAY! What can I say, the fire is SO cozy and there is just something so exciting to think about Christmas in our new place!
Sophie thinks its TOO COLD. Hahahah!
I just have to show you this because it made me laugh and laugh...
We have a no shoes in the house rule. I am so happy to see that Avery's baby, Alivia, is also obeying those rules .
Cutest. Thing. Ever.
While we are here, we decided to go ahead and lay concrete out back while it was nice and cool. The kids could hardly stand to do school, they kept migrating back to that big window to watch.
If you can't beat them, join 'em.
We did a study on concrete and how its made instead! ;) And then on to regular school once they were done pouring......
They begged and begged to make hand prints. Seemed like a good idea to me!
They decided Sophie was part of the family too and needed her print:
So I have been thinking and thinking about how I am going to pull off Christmas in the midst of a very colorful retro apartment. I think green, brown, red and my normal tree colors will look awful!
I started searching for orange, blue and white decor instead, and because we are planning to leave for a few weeks to go to Georgia for Thanksgiving with my family, I thought I'd cheat this year and put up the tree BEFORE Thanksgiving to we can enjoy it a week now, and 2 weeks before Christmas.
There is nothing I love more than designing new Christmas tree themes!!!! After that I get bored of them, and that is why I saran wrap them all decorated, and store in the barn, so I just fluff and dust after this first year. BAHAHAHA!!!!!!
I had great helpers shopping at Hobby Lobby and decorating back at home:
I am SUPER happy with how fun it turned out!!!!
And its so cozy at night when the lights are off. I think that's my FAVORITE part of Christmas decorations. Cozy nights and mornings without other lights one......
I still feel a little guilty for decorating before Thanksgiving, but I am thankful for a new apartment to get to decorate, so that counts RIGHT!? ;)