Texas Adventures

I’ve been trying to stick with publishing my posts on Fridays but last week I skipped out on account of family vacation…

I’m a huge fan of the beach and the rest of my family could do without, but since I subbed a lot the past school year I decided I’d put my earnings toward a family vacation to South Padre Island in Texas, like it or not.

First off I looked into us flying but since Texas is a huge state and there’s so much to do I didn’t want to fly and miss out on some points of interest that are on the way to South Padre. Therefore, we collectively decided to drive—about a 17 hour drive from where we live in Nebraska. Gulp.

On Father’s Day (early morning) we finished packing our bags and food (and way too many pillows and blankets) into the back of our SUV and by 5:30 A.M. we were on the road.

OUR ITINERARY—

Sunday: Drove to Waco, TX (about an 11 hour drive). Stayed the night in a hotel.

Monday: Hit up Magnolia Market around 9 A.M. Stayed a few hours. This was a reasonable amount of time to spend there. Note: The earlier you go the less packed….

Afternoon—drove the few hours to San Antonio, arrived around 3 P.M. Checked into the Drury Inn and Suites, right along the river walk. Walked the river walk, would’ve eaten at one the charming restaurants but there was a boat parade happening that evening so everything was shutting down at five this way seating could be put up for locals and visitors to watch the parade. This was totally fine though because our hotel we stayed at serves a nice complimentary meal each evening so we headed back and enjoyed chicken Alfredo and lots of other goodies and sat at a window in the dining area where we had a good view of the river walk with the boat parade taking place. Amazing!! Loved it!!

Our hotel, Drury Inn and Suites-San Antonio
Riverwalk San Antonio, TX
Boat parade

That night…I stayed up through most of the hours taking care of Warren who was sick with some sort of flu bug and praying the rest of us wouldn’t get it! This wasn’t part of the itinerary! The poor guy started getting sick on Sunday when we were driving down to Texas and I thought it was just carsickness but it messed with him the first three days of our trip, we managed to get through though!

Tuesday: 9 A.M. Walked to the Alamo in San Antonio (a fort used in the 1800s during the Texan/Mexican battle). Spent about an hour there. Free entry if you’re touring it on your own.

Headed the few hours to Corpus Christi. Arrived in the afternoon and went straight to Whitecap Beach after checking into our hotel.

That evening we ate at a Cracker Barrel (which was the only time we ate out, our food costs for the entire week was under $200 for everything. We relied on a cooler filled with sandwich making supplies, gogurt, string cheese, apples, grapes etc and then I’d utilize the mini fridge/freezer at the hotels to keep our food fresh and cold and I’d refreeze ice packs, worked like a gem). After supper we took the kids to play miniature gulf at Treasure Island Golf & Games. My husband “putt” the rest of us to shame!

Wednesday: In the morning we headed to the USS Lexington (WWII aircraft carrier museum). Spent a few hours there, pretty interesting piece of history to tour.

Afterwards we drove the three hours down to South Padre Island where we finally put in some rest and relaxation time for the remainder of our trip. After checking into our condo we hit up the grocery store for meal essentials to cover the next few days. The beach was about a five minute walk from our condo so we made our way down there that evening.

Thursday: Drove the island’s main road to check out the place and found a beach where we could drive the car and park right next to the water! The best!!!! Bucket list check off right there! The kids collected tons of shells!!

Friday: Walked down to the beach to watch the sunrise. Visited Sea Turtle Inc. (an organization which rehabilitates & releases sea turtles and provides permanent residency for sea turtles that may need it). Super sweet place!

That afternoon my oldest daughter and I took up the chance to do a little shopping…and we definitely found and bought SOMETHING(S)…eekkwhich I will share about in my next post because this one’s already way too long…

Saturday: Dear old (and very long) Saturday…our day began shortly after 4 A.M. My husband was pumped and ready to hit the road home-bound! The original plan was to drive a long but comfortable amount and then stay the night somewhere toward the northern part of Texas and finish the drive up on Sunday morning…but Saturday came and our homebody selves were all ready to be back home. So we drove, and drove, and drove some more and my champion husband safely pulled our little SUV filled with precious cargo into our driveway shortly after midnight.

Vacation time is good. Texas was a blast. But you know the old-age saying, ‘home is truly where the heart is.’

Home Sweet Home. Such is true with life, as Christians we enjoy the adventure of our earthly life but bank on the beauty and reality of a ‘Heavenly’ Home one day…

Sweet weekend blessings everyone!!❤️

A Solid Foundation

Last Saturday my husband and I ventured out to his great grandparent’s retired farmstead to cut firewood. Since I’m no Paul Bunyan I let Nate do the wood cutting and in the meantime I went and explored, (no worries I helped carry and load the wood later). This is probably my third time throughout the past ten years nosing around this particular property…but for me it never gets old. I feel like there’s always some new little nook or cranny just waiting to be stumbled upon or observed. And safety precautions….well out there you just have to enter at your own risk…

Seeing all the antiqued equipment and many dilapidated structures is proof enough that the work in those days was no doubt extensive yet the idea of it creates such a desirable nostalgic feeling deep within me.

Continue reading “A Solid Foundation”

Autumn Updates 2019

Whew! It’s been a while!

After that last (deep-thought) post I wrote I’ve honestly just had to take a break and continue to work on myself—my mental health, my heart—and I can honestly say I feel sooooo amazingly good. I’m in a good place right now—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ll share more on this in a future post but right now I just want to share (with y’all) some other fun updates happening in our household currently.

Nate and I had our 15 year anniversary/fall party last month and had over sixty of our family and friends show up! It was a ton of fun! We probably should’ve had it catered because I felt like Nathan and I were so busy with food prep, etc. that it was hard to visit with everyone. I had a lot of people tell me in the days following that they had such a good time and that fellowship happened — regardless of how unorganized I felt like it was; I guess I was the only one who noticed.❤️

Continue reading “Autumn Updates 2019”

In Honor of 9/11

***If time is an issue don’t even read my blog post, just go straight down to the video and be sure to watch the whole thing; it’s an incredible testimony of a man (pilot) who was originally scheduled to fly the first plane to crash on 9/11.***

When Nate and I first began homeschooling our kids we attended an annual homeschool conference every Spring. We had some best friends who would also go and we’d all make a long weekend out of it, enjoying adult company with one another. Some of our best memories have come from those days.

During the time that we’d spend at the actual conference I’m pretty sure the guys found most of their entertainment counting the number of pregnant women and sneaking catnaps hoping us wives wouldn’t notice. Each year the homeschool conference would host a guest speaker and to be honest some years were better than others depending on who was speaking, so I could actually understand the catnaps — but when Nate snores it’s loud…and in a room filled with scholarly people it’s embarrassing and not acceptable regardless of whoever’s speaking.

One year a husband and wife, Steve and Megan Schneibner, shared the stage and gave advice from their own experiences as homeschool parents of eight. As a couple they travel extensively — teaching on marriage, parenting, and discipleship and have authored several books and studies. I recall their talk-sessions as humbling, motivational, and filled with wisdom and if I remember right their talks even held my hubby’s interest!

But what has stuck with me the most was Steve’s remarkable story; I’ve attached a video — an interview where Steve describes the direct impact 9/11 had on his life.

***Info collected from familyconferences.org***

‘Steve Schneibner feels like he is living on borrowed time. He was initially scheduled to fly AA flight 11 on September 11, 2001, the first of four planes to be hijacked on that fateful day. Through a divine set of circumstances, Steve was bumped from that flight the night before by a more senior pilot…’

Schneibner’s strong Christian character and Biblical worldview make his experience an inspiring, heart-warming testimony to his faith. The video interview is about ten minutes long — well worth the time and honor to the 9/11 event.

I hope you’ll take time to watch!!❤️

Oh This Ladder! (Poetry)

If you read my post last week you know that I acquired a ladder that my dad used to use for his construction business—it’s not just any ordinary ladder—it’s rustic and wooden, and has a lot of wear and tear.

This was super exciting for me because my dad has been gone for nearly twenty years…meanwhile this ladder has just been hanging out in his retired garage…BUT I salvaged it! Continue reading “Oh This Ladder! (Poetry)”

Even If it’s ‘Silly Yak’ (part 1)

Last week I posted with the celebration of my daughter’s second blood test coming back “normal” after previously learning that the first test was abnormal, with iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss as the key concerns. I blogged about how worried I’d felt over my girl during that time of waiting before we could see the pediatrician to find out what was going on. I struggled in trusting God yet I remained in His word and in prayer. And then after we met with the pediatrician and later received a call saying the blood work came back normal with the second testing I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Here’s what I didn’t mention in that blog post though, because it was never a possibility in my mind, I’d already mentally crossed it off..the pediatrician we saw last week suggested we run an additional test for celiac disease which would take a few extra days to get results back. Meanwhile during that waiting period I had blogged celebrating God’s work of healing with the thought of a clean health status for my girl because the blood results were now good.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the celiac disease term, if not, here’s a quick run down: celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely) leads to damage in the small intestine and difficulty digesting food. If left untreated it can also lead to other autoimmune disorders and complications…and in the state of California someone probably thinks it causes cancer—that’s my own thought though. (I was born in California so I’m justifying that comment.)

So last Friday the pediatrician called with a spoiler alert—McKenzie’s celiac test results had come back and they were positive…sidenote: Did you know that when you use talk-to-text on your phone to say celiac it’s more than likely going to translate as ‘silly yak’ or ‘silly act’? Just a little random, useless knowledge for you!! Continue reading “Even If it’s ‘Silly Yak’ (part 1)”

When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It

This isn’t the post I intended on writing this week, but when I see God working it prompts me to write and share!

My younger daughter, McKenzie, had been sick the past few weeks off and on…headaches, fevers, tummy aches…

The first time it happened I chalked it up to nothing other than the flu and when it showed up a few weeks later I thought ‘ok here we go again.’ After a few days though, when no other family members were getting sick, I began to worry. I loaded my girl up Friday morning and took her into the clinic and asked to have blood work done.

Poor girl, but a mama just knows.248B519C-E29A-4D80-AA81-DAD2BE5532DE

The blood tests came back with abnormal results and the physician grew concerned and referred us to a pediatrician a few hours away…the biggest concerns were weight loss and iron-deficiency anemia. They needed to know what was causing this. Our appointment with the pediatrician was set up for Monday afternoon.

Goodness, I don’t do well with waiting and wondering but I’m fantastic at worrying!! It was an incredibly looooong weekend and the anticipation of that appointment was killing me. Honestly I bet I gained a hundred new gray hairs over worrying and would probably be a perfect candidate to join the “Golden Girls” if they were still casting members, not only because of the gray hair but my dramatic flair too!!

While my girl was experiencing flu-like symptoms I was sick with my own: panic attacks, trouble breathing, pacing…I was a big, hot mess! I think that’s what my husband was getting at when he finally said, ‘Alicia, I don’t understand you; you’re such a strong person, but the minute trouble comes you let Satan right in and you don’t trust God!’ 

Ouch!

He didn’t say it with any sympathy either, it was just short, not sweet, to the point, and just what I needed to hear! But it didn’t change my frame of mind at the time either. Continue reading “When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It”

Be Strong and Courageous

My husband and I are adding to our family…

again…

in August! 

And I’m having mixed feelings.

Just to clear the record, I should mention, this won’t be our very own child…instead we’ve accepted the offer of hosting a foreign exchange student next school year. When this was first planned I was fairly excited, but then I quickly determined I’d rather bury my face until June of 2020…

March has been a rough month for our family and maybe that’s the reason for my recent, negative approach about this whole thing.

It was a long and cold Winter, and Spring hasn’t really sprung in the midwest (even though the technical date is here)…so we wait in anticipation of warmer temperatures and lively shades of green to make their grand entry into our part of the world.

With that, I’ve had stir-crazy kids with wild attitudes, who are seriously overdue for some outdoor play time.

The end of the month brought sad news as we lost my husband’s grandpa. He was such a sweet man—thirteen children he and Grandma Beverly have so you can imagine their numerous grandchildren as well. He always knew each of the grandkids by name and wanted to take them home as his own whenever he saw them at family gatherings. Grandpa Witt will definitely be missed by all of us.

During his last days he was really suffering, but we all knew he was Heaven-bound whenever God would call him home—now he’s pain free and with Jesus, which makes it so much easier to grieve.

So why am I bent out of shape about this new (and hopefully sweet) young gal coming to live with us for a whole school year??? Well it has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me, and my family, and our sass-tudes!!!

Selfish sounding, I know, but…

Here I am, not even four weeks past my “lemur-post”, which included that little lesson on self-control and ‘gently’ handling one another’s differences..and umm, I’ve already failed in following that lesson more times than I can count since hitting publish on that particular post!😔

As my kids’ attitudes have flared this past month, with arguing and competing against one another, so has Mama’s. I’m exhausted. I’d like to say I can just Martha Stewart everything and deal calmly and rationally with their disagreements but I’ve carried an unruly tone in my voice when lecturing them.

I get disappointed by their behavior, then more disappointed by my response in dealing with it, and honestly I’m afraid we’re going to frighten this poor Russian girl off…I have it all mapped out in my mind—she’ll spend a few weeks here, determine we’re nuts, we’ll fail to show her an amazing Jesus, she’ll secretly pack her bags and then drag them across a few corn fields to the nearby rural airport and take the first little puddle jumper over to DIA, heading back to Russia in a mess of tears and an extra baggage fee of regret!!

So there you have it, I’m worried that we’re gonna scare her off before she even gets a chance to know us. Continue reading “Be Strong and Courageous”

Come As You Are

Last month during worship-time at our church, the praise team asked the congregation, “if you could only sing (or listen) to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?” We were then supposed to simultaneously speak out the title of the song. I heard someone say Revelation Song, another said Jesus Loves Me, while others stood temporarily speechless.

I was one of the mute ones…

That’s a loaded question and it would take me more than a two-second prompt to come up with a reasonable answer. In the days following, I’ve thought a lot about it.

There’s so much good music out there and the idea of narrowing my choice to one song overwhelms me in a thought-provoking way. To really constrict it down I think a person has to self-evaluate, consider what season of life they’re in, and then select what speaks and resonates within their heart.

Years ago (as an early teen) I probably would’ve chosen something from Janis Joplin. I loved her raspy voice, and belting out Me and Bobby McGee to the top of my lungs always felt so powerful. Continue reading “Come As You Are”

A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?

I’m assuming my kids are no different and share a common enthusiasm with other like-minded boys and girls—the electronic obsession!!??

These kids of mine would eat, drink, and sleep electronics if my husband and I allowed it, but thankfully for the sake of healthy living we’ve put a cap on their amount of exposure.

As a family we circled up in the living room about a year ago to hash out a plan or schedule for electronic time. That might sound over the top, but seriously it was necessary and has actually been pretty beneficial.

Here’s what we came up with: Continue reading “A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?”