Showing posts with label FatherWinter. Show all posts

Happy Birthday, S.

Good morning, everyone!  Today is my friend, my partner, my ace boon coon, my get on my nerves but I love him anyway, my challenger, my motivator, my friend, my lover, my children's father, my soul tie, my man of God...my husband's birthday!



Weekend Recap: Birthday Behavior

Hello everyone!  I hope your week has been absolutely amazing!  Mine was rainy and cloudy and blah looking outside, but SO much fun and enjoyable for the family.  Sunday was S.'s birthday.  We decided that we would do a private date night on Saturday with just the two of us and then celebrate with the family on his actual birthday.

EscapeQuest

I had quite a few ideas of things we could do for S.'s birthday.  He's big on new experiences and I was all game for some small thrill events like hot air ballooning or indoor sky diving.  It turned out the weather was forecast to be too yucky for ballooning.  The nearest indoor skydiving facility was an hour and some change away and our childcare arrangements couldn't cope.  So, I was thinking...what do we do.

Fortunately for me, S. has had an interest in trying out the Escape Rooms that have been so popular in the area.  We looked on Groupon for any deals and sure enough there was a pretty good one for a couple wanting to do the adventure.  We purchased, called and made an appointment, and were booked for the same evening.

We arrived at the Escape Room and were very impressed.  The lobby by itself was awesome!  Because the attraction has such a shroud of secrecy, I won't share too much about it, but we were paired with two other couples to solve a buried treasure riddle.  Oh my goodness!  We had so much fun!  Unfortunately, we didn't figure out the last riddle in time though we were SOOOOOOO close!  UGH!  But it was still a great adventure.

Happy birthday!



Wishing my amazing, awesome, sexy, handsome, hard-working, good providing, God-loving, God worshipping, God-following, wrapped around his daughters' fingers, our son's buddy, my HUSBAND, my MAN...a VERY GREAT  BIRTHDAY!!!!

Love you, S.!

Vacation Recap: Embarkation and Port Departure- Part 2

Embarkation
Happy Father's Day!  It really was the perfect day for Embarkation.  FatherWinter made the suggestion for a cruise this year and it seemed perfect that we were leaving on a day meant to honor fathers. FatherWinter was in a great mood and decided to share it by encouraging Superbug to wake up :)

Daddy jumping on the bed to wake Superbug


After gifting FatherWinter with Father's Day cards and getting ready for the day, we were off to the Port to go cruising!

Superbug had several great memories of the trip.  One of his favorite was driving to the port and seeing the ship as we approached.  He talked about it quite some time after we were actually on board.

Approaching the ship

Approaching the ship

Once we arrived at the port and paid for parking, we went through the boarding process.  We were pleasantly surprised that, though there were already quite a number of people, the lines were moving quickly.  After having all of our documents processed properly and posing for our Sail and Sign Cards which served as currency on the ship, we were ready to go.

Superbug is ready to board the ship

Taking the escalator to the gangway

Preparing to board
Superbug was very excited to cross the gangway onto the ship.  Our sister and brother (in love) were already on board, so we went straightway to their cabin to say hello.  After a brief conversation and catch-up, FatherWinter and I took the kids to our cabin and placed our luggage, which had been bought to our room, inside.

The cabin was a very nice balcony cabin with an upper berth for Superbug and a pullout for Honeybee We stood outside on the balcony taking in the sights and then decided to grab a bit to eat!  (Our family loves food).  Despite their being so many of us (4 adults and 6 children), we were able to find a booth section rather quickly.  The men went to the buffet line for the moms so they could bring back plates for the kids.

The food was absolutely delicious and everyone was very satisfied with their meals.  Being done, we all went to the top deck to take in some of the sights of the port before leaving. It was such a pleasant time up there.





Taking in the sights from the  ship

Somewhere over there is our car

Cousin time
 We knew our time would be a bit brief there as the ship had to prep for the muster drill.  The drill is like a fire drill for a cruise ship.  It preps the passengers for what to do in the event of an emergency requiring passengers to access the lifeboats and/or prep for an abandon ship order.  The safety briefing that accompanied the drill was a bit long, but the information was important.  I didn't mind at all.

This was our second time on the Carnival Victory, but our first with children.  We were interested in hearing how things would be done with and for them in the event of an emergency.  All of that was explained including the actions that would occur should the children be in the youth clubs while the emergency was declared.  Children under the age of 12 were all given wristbands that coordinated with their muster station.  They wore those bracelets during the duration of the cruise.  Even my 9 month old nephew had one attached to his ankle.  It gave a good feeling knowing the kids were so carefully considered in the cruise.

After the muster drill was over, the family returned to our previous activity of viewing the port sites, but this time we were also excited to see us towed to sea.  FatherWinter and I had never departed from this port before.  It's funny the comparisons one makes in their minds.  I think I might have an aesthetic preference to Miami only because you are leaving by the highway and people are more inclined to wave.  (It kind of makes you feel super special).  However, the port workers were very kind to wave goodbye, as were some of the passengers on the cruise ship we were departing.




Pretty soon, we were out on open water and were ready to head for a day and evening of fun.  We went to a show and then decided to check out the kids club.  I'd already registered the children prior to boarding the ship, but SisterWinter (that's FatherWinter's sister) had not.  We took all the kids in and allowed the younger ones to play in the club to get acclimated before we would have to return later.

They loved it.  For the rest of the cruise, all I had to do was sing to Honeybee let's go pla--a-ay".  She would giggle and sing it back.  Then would anxiously go to the cabin door ready to leave.  The staff was awesome to her and called her "cutie pie" which is now a new word in her vocab.  The older children also enjoyed the club for the most part.  They enjoyed the activities and made some new friends.  After registering the kiddies, we walked around and caught a show, caught an early dinner, and enjoyed some of the endlessly fun activities. Superbug asked if he could hang with his cousin for a while in her cabin with Sister and BrotherWinter and we were glad to let him hang out with family.

That left us with Honeybee and entertaining her.  No problem.  We got her dressed for bed and posed for a few selfies.





Soon, it was time for Honeybee to call it an evening.  FatherWinter and I watched the NBA Finals in our bedroom until my tummy started growling again.  Superbug, who'd returned to our cabin by then, joined me for a jaunt upstairs where we searched for, found, and claimed cheese and pepperoni pizza.

Without a doubt, it was a great day.

-WinterMommy

Vacation Recap: Freeport, Bahamas-Part 3

Welcome to Freeport


When we woke the next morning, we were greeted by the the inlet of Freeport.  Because we wanted to give the kids a chance to experience the cruise and didn't want to overdo it with activities, we decided not to do excursions this time.  We decided to go out an explore the harbor on our own.

There were plenty of shops and eateries available.  We walked the main drag and enjoyed looking at all that was available to see.






-WinterMommy

Vacation Recap: Formal Night and Nassau, Bahamas-Part 4

No lengthy explanations needed here.  We enjoyed beautiful singing, lots of fun activities, a beautiful beach (Tiki Beach Hut), and tons of great beverages and food.  It was a great time!  There are plenty of other pictures, but I thought I'd keep some just for us :)  We hope you have enjoyed journeying with us.  We will talk to you soon!

Singing and dancing for love

Formal night fun







-WinterMommy

Vacation Recap: Road Trip to the Cruise Port! Part 1

We're back!  Oh my goodness, what a wonderful vacation we had!  I have to admit that I was more than a little nervous about taking the kids on their first cruise, but I needn't have been.  They loved it. FatherWinter and I are already discussing doing another one when Honeybee is just a bit older.  For this first one for the kids, it was really nice.

The Drive Down
FatherWinter and I decided that it made much more economical sense to drive down to FL for cruise embarkation than it did to fly.  Round trip flights for a family of four are not inexpensive.  Buying gas for the car and going down just seemed to be a much better option for us.

Our original plan was to leave at 5AM, but some challenges had us leave about 7AM instead.  The kids were pretty excited about a new adventure and were all for pre-trip photos before our departure prayer.





After we let, the kids were sleep pretty quick.  As was I.  FatherWinter took first drive and we slept for about four hours and then stopped for breakfast at the local Shoney's.  This is sort of a tradition for our family.  When we do long road trips South, we stop at Shoney's for a good breakfast buffet. This one didn't disappoint and after a quick meal, we were on the road again.


Several hours later, we arrived at our hotel and were so excited to just to stand up lol.  We grabbed a bit to eat and then met up with FatherWinter's sister and brother in law and their kids.  The older kids went to the pool and played all evening.  I went straight to bed with Honeybee.  We were exhausted!

-WinterMommy


Weekend Recap: Of Seminars and Family

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  It's been great for us thus far.  Last night, Superbug and I had a Mommy-Son night.  Since last month sent us bowling, we opted for free movies!  Yep.  Thanks to discounts and movie packs, we were able to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
Photo courtesy:  youtube.com
It was a pretty good movie.  But I have to say he enjoyed it more than I.  I give it a 3 out of 5.  But, we had a great time watching it together and that is all that truly counts :)  After the movie, Superbug asked for dinner at Burger King.  I have to laugh at this because of all the places we could possibly go, he wanted Whoppers.  Sigh, I'll get him in the habit of enjoying real food sooner or later lol.  In the mean time, Superbug has hinted that he wants to do laser quest next time.

When we arrived home after our Mommy-Son night festivities, we found we were home alone.  There was nothing wrong though.  FatherWinter had some family members who were coming in from out of town for one evening only.  He and Honeybee joined them with NanaWinter for dinner.  When we arrived, they hadn't quite made it home yet.  That just meant Superbug and I sat down and conversed about a few more interesting topics--school, life, our upcoming cruise (8 more days!!!), and vacations to see NanaNorth.  Soon, it was time for him to call it a night and I was left to my own devices.  (That's code word for sleep lol).

Today, Honeybee and I went o our church for a Women's Ministry seminar on Domestic Violence.  It was very informative and sad to hear the statistics.  The representatives from the local organization were wonderful though.  They are actively seeking volunteers and I think I may want to sign up.

After the seminar was over, our original plan was to go to the Food Truck festival about thirty minutes North, but it was so very hot that I didn't think it would be a good idea to walk around outside for three hours in 70+% humidity.  So we have been at home enjoying family.

I will catch up with you all in a few days.  Have a great evening.

-WinterMommy


Weekend Recap: A Night with the Stars

We had an awesome experience at church on Saturday evening.  Our music ministry decided to honor those who have shown faithful and committed service from past and present members.  They decided to do so with a formal black tie affair complete with red carpet and announcer.  It was a wonderful service.  It really was.  It was also outside the norm.

There was scripture and prayer, but there was also video tributes, gospel songs, spirit moving mime ministry.  It was just amazing.

Superbug and I

Honeybee and FatherWinter

Our family
I was even one of the presenters of the evening.  The award I presented honored four seasoned ladies in the music ministry for their grace, nobility, strength, and wisdom.  They had no idea.  There was a video montage and everything.  Again, it was just a great evening.

One of the really cool things about this evening was, in addition to being a great event to praise and worship God, it have me an opportunity to check off one of the items on my 35 while 35 list.  In the list, I wanted to be able to dress for a black tie affair.  I honestly didn't think I would have the chance to do so before I turned 36, but I was so thankful that God gave me the desires of my heart.

I'm hoping I can knock a few other things off my list and create another to knock off in July.  I hope everyone has a very great day and be blessed.

-WinterMommy

An Anniversary Post: Four Years Later

Four years ago today, I stood before God and loved ones and promised to love FatherWinter with all that was in me.  I promised that I would honor him and love him.  I promised I would be an encouragement, a motivator, a lover, a confidant, and a friend.  I had no idea that those words would be tested every single day.

Four years and forever to go...

In writing this blog post, I searched others.  I wanted to see if any of the posts would be like mine, unfiltered, unadulterated, just real.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that several were.

In the four years that FatherWinter and I have been married one to another, we've experienced some really great and amazing highs and some pretty awful and devastating lows.  There have been times when I have been so filled with love, joy, and affection I couldn't stand it.  Then, there have been times when I haven't been sure I wanted to walk the path anymore.  Times when I doubted if the effort was worth the tears.

There have been times when my very faith has been tested, times when I have spent more times talking to God than to my own spouse (not that there is anything wrong with that).  That's just what it is.  BUT, and I emphasis that BUT, we are still here--together.  My husband has been my sounding board.  He's been honest and direct and no nonsense.  He's been playful and silly and annoying.  He's been strong and caring and sincere.  He has been the absolute best and the absolute worst.  He has been mine and I have been his.

Marriage is a commitment.  It really is.  I remember seeing family members who had been married for decades, a century and beyond.  I remember seeing in their elder years how close they were, how affectionate, how sweet and loving.  I remember thinking in passing it would be nice to have that it I ever got married.  As I got older, I remember some of those same family members telling me that their place of serenity wasn't achieved overnight.  They even shared stories of gross inconsideration that I would gasp at in disbelief.  They laughed about it in latter days, but in their youth; those inconsiderate moments were no laughing matter.

I imagine all marriages have experienced that in some way or another.  Mine is certainly no different. I can certainly say I'm blessed to be married to FatherWinter and I love him very much.  So what has four years of marriage taught me?

I am stronger than I was four years ago.  I know that I am capable of handling a lot.  I know that I have the ability to contribute, to motivate, to produce, to succeed.  I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I know the attributes of a Godly woman and a Godly wife and I strive to achieve them everyday.  That being said, I still have a ways to go before I'm satisfied with the process and truthfully pray that satisfaction never comes.

I still get butterflies.  Call it what you will, but when my husband walks into the room with a sleeveless T-shirt and jeans, my heart flips.  When I see him playing with our children and rolling on the floor with his nieces and nephews, my heart melts.  He's still handsome to me.  I still like his smile.  I still want his arms around me. I still get butterflies.

I am more than a wife and mom.  I have learned in the four years that I have been married, and the nine (almost ten) that I have been a mother that sometimes I need me time.  I mean I really need it.  If I don't get it, I get cranky and frustrated and burned out and not fun to be around.  I'm getting close to that mark right now and am secretly planning an early evening escape one day soon so I can just spend some alone time with me, myself, and I.  FatherWinter has told me on numerous occasions that I need to take care of myself and I plan to do that.  It's a great thing when you have a spouse who recognizes that.

Everything isn't for everybody.  I have learned in my four years I can't vent to everyone.  I used to call on mom when FatherWinter would 'wreck my nerves'.  I had to stop.  When the nerve wrecking ended and FatherWinter and I were all hugs, kisses, and compromises, mom would still remember. While she has never been mean or nasty to him, I realized the possibility existed that her opinion of FatherWinter could change based on a miscommunication or simple disagreement.  That would be unfair.  So, I have learned to keep a lot to myself.  If I do need a human outlet, I go to the same trusted happily married friend who can let me vent, but hold me accountable for my part in whatever it is I'm venting about.  And she has been phenomenal.

Finally, the fun stuff....



My favorite moment as a wife.  It's pretty obscure, but I think my favorite moment as a wife was when we were on our way to our first anniversary trip.  We were at Miami International Airport preparing to go through security before leaving for our anniversary cruise.  There were a lot of people in the security queue and the TSA agent was separating people and placing them in lines to attempt to make the queues process faster.  FatherWinter and I were walking through the long line to get to the queue buildup when the guard allowed me to pass, and then very quickly, tried to send FatherWinter to a different line.  FatherWinter stated "no" and continued to move forward behind me. The agent looked ready to get nasty, but FatherWinter said. "that's my wife!"  in a soft even tone I hadn't heard before that brooked no argument.  In that tone, I heard "the woman in front of me is my wife and I will protect her.  I'm behind her because I have her back.  I'm protesting being separated from her because I love her and if I am separated from her, I won't be able to protect her as I desire.  So, I will not be separated from her."  Of course he didn't say all of that, but it's what I felt and it was one of the few times I've ever felt his protection so palpable.  It was a favorite moment.

What I hope our next wedded year will bring.  Pregnancy.  Unity.  Love.  Smiles.  And lots of date nights.

4th Wedding Anniversary Tradition Gifts.  Fruit/Flowers.  This should be easy lol.

Happy Anniversary, FatherWinter.  I love you very much.

-WinterMommy

Vacation Butterflies


We are officially BOOKED for our family vacation! This year FatherWinter and I decided to introduce the children to a cruise! Oh my, we thought it was an amazingly awesome idea. So much so that we asked FatherWinter’s sister and brother in law and their kids if they wanted to come as well. They said yes! I have to admit I like traveling together with them. They are not afraid to step out of the comfort zone and try new things. They came with us last year to Florida and I really did enjoy their company. Plus, their children are neck and neck with Superbug and Honeybee. We knew there would be a lot for everyone to do—both separately and together. Not only will this be the kids first cruise, but also my sister and brother in law and their family. So, I’m really hoping for a great time.

Photo courtesy: Carnival.com
I’m really excited about that there are kids camps throughout the day that allow the adults to have some alone time while allowing the kids to play together in all sorts of fun activities. I also love that there are so many different food choices that everyone’s palate will be satisfied. It’s pretty safe to say that I am more than a little excited about this trip. BUT (and of course there are buts), I am admittedly nervous.

I really want the kids to enjoy themselves. I really want FatherWinter and I to enjoy ourselves. So, I’m scouting everything. I’m trying to research everything. We’re riding down in a huge RV that will allow everyone to get there at the same time. We’re proposing leaving late night so that the kids will be sleep most of the time. It should take about 12 hours to get to our destination. Then, we arrive on board, grab something to eat, and then have a little down time before heading to muster station training.

Then we’re off! I can’t wait to see Honeybee and Superbug’s faces as we pull off and wave to everyone. I can’t wait until they have their first realization that they are on a moving ship for a week! I am so extremely excited about this journey!

But, admittedly, I have a few butterflies. I am really searching through these blogs and forums on what to pack for Honeybee. She has eczema. Are there any special extras I should take with us because of the sea air. I want to create a cool “to do” kit for Superbug while on vacation. Maybe a “scavenger hunt” of things to look for on the trip. I want nice pictures and fun memories. What is Honeybee has a tantrum? What if the kids get motion sickness? What if they get homesick? Sigh.

Then I can’t forget Superbug. I really want him to be happy and enjoy his trip as well. Time to sit down with him and ask him what he is most looking forward to? Does he even understand what will be on the cruise? Eeek! Yep, we have about 70+ days to get it together lol….not to mention my weight lol.

Here’s looking forward to great fun and wonderful planning!

Talk to you soon!

-WinterMommy

Christmas funs

Hi everyone!  I apologize for falling off the map.  It's been pretty uneventful in our household though we did just celebrate an awesome Christmas.  There is always something so great and special about spending time with people you love and celebrating the true reason for the season of Christmas.  (We even bought a Happy Birthday, Jesus cake).

Christmas is an a great time for our family.  This year was the first one where we were able to celebrate with our Honeybee as a legal (official) member of the family.  No worries about pictures that my mother couldn't take because of confidentiality agreements.  No plans for social worker visits.  No.  This time we just enjoyed spending time with each other.

We started with Christmas Eve.  Every year FatherWinter's family has their annual Christmas Eve fellowship.  There's tons of food, gift exchanges, and fun memories.  This year, because NanaWinter is ill, we decided to host the event at our home.  Enter 24 people, massive amounts of food, special memories for NanaWinter, and a great time that didn't end until 3AM Christmas morning!



FatherWinter and I still had gifts to wrap, so we were up for another two hours wrapping and placing gifts.  It was a great time, but meant we were exhausted.  No one moved until 10AM Christmas morning.

I like to do Christmas brunch.  So I made our Baked French Toast Casserole, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Cinnamon Rolls.  A really great meal but I felt a little twinge in my stomach that was a foreboding of things to come.

Fast forward to 3PM and we still hadn't opened gifts.  To his credit, Superbug was very patient.  He knew there had to be a good reason.  He was right.  A bit later Superbug's birth father, FatherPharoah came to visit.  For the record, I love his visits.  They are a testament that blended families do work.

FatherPharoah came and he and FatherWinter embraced.  We all chit chatted, caught up on life, and then began opening gifts so that FatherPharoah could be present for all the gift unwrapping.  I think that's an important time and Superbug was so pleased to have him there.  Then Superbug gave FatherPharoah a gift he'd purchased for him (thinking he would mail it to him).  As always, his timing was perfect  FatherPharoah loved the gift Superbug gave him.

After gifts were opened, we invited FatherPharaoh to go downstairs and have a yummy meal from the feast leftovers.  The fellas then played a few games and then it was time for FatherPharaoh to visit other family members.