Midweek Progress: Vacation Pics, Unplugging, and Movie Night

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Hey everyone! Yesterday I posted about the ‘Summer Slide‘ but I really want to post these vacation pictures. I really hope everyone had a great a Father’s Day weekend as I know we did. While we didn’t see the Altamahaha on this trip we did make some really great memories. (The Altamahaha is a local legend dating back for centuries.)

altamaha_ha__georgia_s_river_monster_by_kway100-dbb62tj.jpg

Picture from: Deviant Art

It was a little stressful and chaotic getting ready for the trip but we all managed to survive. We went to the Altamaha Regional Park in Brunswick, GA. We stayed the weekend in one of their rental cabins while some of my family stayed in tents. I wasn’t quite brave enough to do this with so many kids in tow.

The park does have some great facilities including a large bathhouse, a store, covered picnic tables, and a playground for the kiddos when they aren’t swimming. Our cabin had a large bathroom, a kitchen, a living room with a couch and full over twin bunk bed, and a bedroom with a full bed. Not a lot of space so it was quite cozy, almost like being at home. The cabin had the basic kitchen essentials like a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and a coffee pot (yay) plus a small TV.

Outside we had a picnic table, a grill, and a place to put a tent. On Saturday we had a cookout and set up a couple more tables under a canopy. We also set out plenty of citronella candles and tiki torches as the bugs were quite atrocious. But let me back track a little bit.

Last week I had dealt with several things that were stressing me out. One of which was the cyberstalking stranger. I decided to ‘unplug’ for the weekend. (You can read more about the benefits to unplug with this book, this one, or this one about how it affects our children.) We didn’t pack anything electronic, with the exception of our phones, nor did we bring a DVD player. I did keep my phone nearby as we had a variety of family coming and going but I didn’t take anything with pockets so it wasn’t on me at all, unless of course it was stuck into my ‘other pocket’ where I happened to have lost the cabin keys on Saturday.

This in itself made a big difference in my stress level. I never checked my social medias, emails, or anything with the exception of texts the whole weekend. Whew! I never realized how much time our gadgets take up. Even now my notifications on most things are turned off. As the publicity chairman for our square dance clubs I do need to check emails and page messages a couple of times a day though. The down side was that I didn’t get a lot of pictures.

It also improved a lot of communication between everyone and encouraged the kids to be a bit more social. Some of my kiddos are very social by nature but there are a couple who would rather sit and play a game then make new friends. One of the kids did grumble a bit as he wanted to play on a phone or watch TV but he was the only one to voice his complaints. The other kids played board games, Connect Four , or wrote in their notebooks when they were inside. When it wasn’t raining, yes the gloomy weather seemed to have followed us, they played outside the cabin.

A good portion of the day Friday was spent packing the van, picking up big sister Olivia, driving, dropping off big sister, a quick rest break, stopping by a job site for Mr. Awesome, followed by more driving and many many “Are we there yets?’. After arriving at the cabin we quickly unloaded and set to work assigning tasks and setting up house. We then went where any modern day camper goes…to Walmart which was about 20 minutes away. Not what I wanted to do but I was outvoted.

After returning we had some grilled chicken, pasta salad, and chips for dinner. Everyone was super excited, of course. They settled down a little after a shower and then we had some surprise visitors. Well, it was a surprise for the kids when big sister Ana and her husband showed up. They played some games before going to bed.

The next day was full of family, food, and fun! We had three of my sisters show up bringing tons of food, more friends, and a jet ski. Before eating we all walked to the river for a little bit.

It was so peaceful and calm. The kids played for a few minutes before we all headed back to eat. After eating and cleaning up a little bit we walked back to the river.

The kids had a blast but Mr. Jacob was so super excited. He learned to swim rather well and was so proud. He wore himself out and was so ready for bed that night.

Some of the other kids rode on a tube down the river. I was tempted but my last experience where I ended up in the river kept me from doing so. I know they had a blast by the looks on their faces.

Everyone had a great time on Saturday. After we went back to the cabin we all got showers and a snack before they went out to play a little corn hole while I straightened up and got ready. Once the kiddos were down for the night I left them in the care of Mr. Awesome and headed to spend time with my sisters.

We had a great night talking and reminiscing. We stayed up the whole night. There was a little bit of crying at the end. I know it will be awhile before I get to see them again but we also cried about some memories. This park was one of the favorite places for our younger brother who died in 2010. While we enjoyed our time together we also miss having him with us so it is bittersweet.

It was a great weekend but with this many kids we always expect the unexpected. There were a few issues that arose which I think just goes along with being a parent and especially with being a special needs parent. As an ‘unofficial stepmom’ I can say that there were several issues that we will be working on in the near future.

All in all everyone had fun and some great memories were made. We left Sunday to head back home but with plans to return and maybe spend a whole week. The unpacking went quickly and the kids got back to playing with their toys that they had forgotten about over the weekend. Life has quickly settled back into routine, some good and some bad, with the exception of the electronics. The kids have not had them out much at all except to do some school work on.

Monday we had our regular club dance in Jacksonville. I was still exhausted and so sore. I guess from all the packing, unpacking, and walking we did.

Tuesday was spent catching up chores around the house for most of us while one lucky person went fishing. I did manage to make a grocery run to replenish some much needed items.

That evening I did a bit of school planning and Mr. Awesome surprised me by placing the order for the items I had placed in my Amazon cart… so now my phone has been nonstop with shipping notifications. I’m getting a wee bit excited for our next school year.

Then Wednesday, that was yesterday right?, was spent doing chores. After lunchtime big brother Amaury came to pick up Joey and Jacob. The boys were so excited to be spending the night with him. It was a surprise for them but Mr. Awesome had a big surprise for us as well.

He took us out to eat at Moe’s where we learned that kids eat free on Wednesday’s. Then we went to Lowe’s to browse and pick up a few things he needed. I also got something for me that I’ll post about soon. Afterwards we went to the movies.

We watched the Incredibles 2 which was a really good movie. (If you haven’t seen the first one you can get it here.) I had a couple of concerns as far as the seizure warning but I did fine other than having a headache afterwards. The kids really enjoyed it and ate their fill of popcorn.

We stopped at Walmart on the way home as Mr. Awesome had remembered a few things he needed. After browsing, walking, and buying more than what we came in for we headed back home where I slept very well.

The week has been somewhat productive as I do have a start on my school planning. I still have some scholarship  paperwork that I need to get submitted as well as a newsletter and club updates I need to work on. All of the bills are paid so that’s a plus right? Oh, that reminds me, I did have a surprise check for just under $40.00 from some affiliate marketing so I want to thank you all for that. It was just enough to cover a lab bill for $35.00 that came in on the same day and leave me with a little for the bank account. Little by little I will get these doctor bills paid.

As far as cleaning and decluttering go there hasn’t been a lot of progress this week. The clothes have been washed and put away along with the dishes and the bathroom is fairly clean but don’t look at the floors, please! I haven’t even looked at the FlyLady missions until just now. They include some of the following for the Master Bedroom, Bathroom, and Closet:

  • Gather trash, old magazines, and junk mail in these areas
  • Clean up any clothes piles
  • Wash towels, rugs, and shower curtain in the bathroom
  • Clean up the closet floor
  • Donate two pairs of shoes
  • Clean off the nightstands and dust
  • Declutter the top shelf in the closet

We don’t have a master bath or closet at the moment so I just do what I can where I can. I had planned on cleaning out our main closet this week but I had not planned on being so sore. I’m talking major fibro flare going on right now! It will get done soon though as the boxes I have piled up with supplies for organizing the closet are getting on my nerves.

Another area that I really wanted to have finished before now was the homeschool supply area. This definitely needs some attention as I have a variety of items coming in that will need a home. After some careful debating about what books I need to get rid of Mr. Awesome has kindly offered to build a new book case or two but where to put them? Small space living definitely has its challenges and requires some creativity and imagination.

I guess I better finish up now so that I can possibly work on the homeschool area before the two little guys get back. Once the arts and crafts cabinet gets opened they will have a field day.

I hope you all have a great day!

Well, I guess I wasn’t fast enough as I hear the stomping of little dinosaurs coming across the porch… they sound so excited!

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