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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What Andrew Got For Christmas...


   
A big brother T-shirt! We got it in size 4 so that it would fit next fall when our new baby arrives!!!! It doesn't really look that big on him right now though, does it?

We hadn't told the girls yet, we put the T-shirt in Andrew's stocking and let them figure it out :). We are all super excited!!! Well, I don't think Andrew and Bethi quite get it, but the rest of us are thrilled :). 


The baby is due August 25th, another fall birthday! Unless Baby is early (which I'm not counting on this time!) that will be six out of seven birthdays within a space of six weeks! August 25th is my mom and dad's anniversary and the day before Lee's and my birthday, that would be a neat birthday gift!


Lee has given his blessing on planning our first home birth.  More research to eat up my computer time :). Things seem to be going really well so far this time. I love going into a new year knowing it will bring a new baby!


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. ~James 1:17

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Super Savings Saturday

   I know that my blogging has been a bit sporadic lately. One of the many reasons is because I have been spending a lot of my online time researching frugal spending/living. It isn't terribly time-consuming it is just that once you start surfing these websites it's hard to stop! So, I thought I would share with you a bit of what I've saved and learned. It has become a hobby for us. Don't laugh!!! Go out somewhere next week, get paid to walk out with your "purchase", and see how much fun it can be for yourself ;)...

   Lee calls CVS his new best friend ;). It is far and away the best for deals on a regular basis! Walgreen's is pretty great too. Here is what we got last week. CVS required multiple transactions (the products on the far left starting at the baking soda is Walgreen's, everything right of that is CVS).



From CVS we got...
10 bags of cough drops
4 bottles of Robitussin
6 8-packs of energizer batteries
3 boxes of tissues
2 bottles of Beano
9 cases of some energy drink
1 bottle of mouth spray
2 bottles of mouthwash
2 bottles of Tums
1 Physicians Formula (mineral based make-up) lip color
1 Physicians Formula blush
1 Physicians Formula eye shadow
and
1 Physicians Formula foundation
From Walgreen's we got...
4 boxes of baking soda
1 box of business sized envelopes
1 box of regular sized envelopes
5 candles
2 rolls of Reynold's wrap aluminum foil
and
4 boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea (2 Gingerbread Spice (our favorite winter drink!!!!!), 1 Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and 1 Candy Cane Lane, we haven't tried either of these last two before)
Now, here is the fun breakdown of what we got it for :)...
The original price of the items comes to $228.16.
On top of sale prices we used the following coupons:
$3.00 manufacturer's coupon per bottle of Robitussin
$5.00 CVS coupon and a $1.00 manufacturer's coupon per package of batteries
Free box of  tissues CVS coupon per box of tissues
Try me free CVS coupon per bottle of Beano
$1.00 off manufacturer's coupon per mouthwash
A few $5 off $25 and/or $2 off $10 CVS coupons, depending on the transaction
A Walgreen's coupon for the envelopes, candles, aluminum foil and tea
We stacked the Walgreen's aluminum foil coupon with a $1.00 manufacturer's coupon on one and a .75 off the other which meant we made a penny off of one and paid .24 for the other
And a .45 cent coupon on two of the teas
After using Extra Care Bucks (ECB's) we spent about $22.07 out-of-pocket...but it gets better than that :)!
We have a rebate for the Tums and one of the Physicians Formula make-ups, we'll get back $23.57 in rebates. In the end we will be paid $1.50 cents for everything you see here :)! Now, tell me that's not fun ;)!
But, it gets even better than that we spent $77.45 in ECB's and earned $90.83 in ECB's so we made $13.38 in ECB's (these are like cash that can be used at CVS but they do expire like a coupon) and $1.50 for our bank account after we deposit the rebate checks, all-in-all we will have been "paid" $14.88 cents for this product :)!!! We also got three more $5 off of $25 coupons that printed off onto the bottom of our receipt.
   Now, we won't be using all of this. The Beano we got because we didn't have to pay for it and we know someone who does use it so we picked it up for them. The energy drinks we got to roll-over some of our ECB's that were about the expire but I'm sure we'll find someone who would like a free energy drink. The Robitussin brought us overage (we were paid $1.02 to buy it and it rolled over some of our ECB's) but we have a regular pharmacy of medicine stockpiled after months of doing this and we don't even like taking medicine unless the situation becomes absolutely unbearable so we will likely be keeping an ear out for someone else who could use it (anyone know if this sort of thing can be donated anywhere?). But, other than that we will likely be making use of the rest of it ourselves. I thought I would add, the out-of-pocket at Walgreen's was about $11.00, it was the ECB's at CVS and the coming rebates that "paid" for Walgreen's...and then some! CVS is the best, though on rare occasions we have gotten "paid" to shop at Walgreen's!
   Kroger can have some good deals at times too but it is getting harder to get them there because they have decided to allow no more than two internet coupons at a time. Lee stopped in for me the other day and picked up...
1 Daisy sour cream (free with a .50 coupon doubled)
2 packages of yeast (.10 each after two .45 coupons were doubled)
2 boxes of Jolly time popcorn (these were on sale for a dollar each so we earned $1.00 overage after using two $1.50 coupons)
Lee also brought home some ice cream to celebrate our overage, heehee ;).
A couple of months ago we got a coupon for a free Edward's Pie, actually we got two as an apology that it took them so long to get our rebate completed (wasn't that generous of them :)?!). A couple of weeks later Kroger had their Edward's pies buy-one-get-one-free. We figured we would end up paying about half of the price of one pie because of the way Kroger does their BOGO but we actually only paid $1.27 for four pies.


  

Publix is usually my favorite grocery store for good deals. They seldom have absolutely great deals (I don't remember ever getting anything for free) but they consistently have some pretty good deals across the board so I think that makes up for it. This last week we got...
1 brownie mix
2 SwissMiss hot chocolate mixes (Lee loves the dark chocolate!)
1 Land'O'Lakes stick butter
6 bars of cheese
6 boxes of Ritz
4 rolls of Jimmy Dean Sausage
2 boxes of fruit snacks
2 bottles of Juicy Juice
12 cans of Del Monte veggies
The original price of the items would have been $88.49 but after store sales, $18.28 in manufacturer's coupons and $1.80 in store coupons our total was $35.52 out-of-pocket, a savings of $52.97!
   

We've gotten some fun deals at Target as well. Stacking store coupons with manufacturer's coupons just before Thanksgiving we got 4 boxes of Stove-top for only .04 cents each! And bags of M&M's for .50 cents each! 

  

 I've also gotten some great deals, including overage on Totino's pizza rolls, at Bi-Lo but I can't find my last receipt right now to share. When I go on Sunday to pick up a paper I will pick up a couple more boxes of pizza rolls because I've got more coupons :).
   Lee goes right by these places on his way home from work so I am really blessed in the fact that he loves to do this, he loves the looks on the cashier's faces when he leaves the store with a bag full for a quarter, and he doesn't mind shopping. This saves us the gas money and our children the experience of being carted all over Columbia! I will make out a list and get all of the coupons ready and then Lee will usually make a quick ten minute stop at one store or another three or four times a week, more often if the deals are awesome, like when he was getting $50 glucose testers for free with a manufacturer's coupon AND made $20 in ECB's for buying them 
(remember, these can be used like cash at CVS) . He did that deal several times. We made a lot of ECB's off of them and he was able to bless a couple of the older ladies at work who needed the strips that come in the machines. Lee has people come into his store using coupons all of the time and while they are trying to figure out how best to put them to use he's been known to humbly suggest, "if you use............you'll save an extra.......". He gets a twice a year employee appreciation 40% off shopping spree (he manages a Christian bookstore)and the last one was just a couple of weeks ago, we love books :)!!! And where else could we have gotten a DVD like Vision Forum's A League of Grateful Sons  brand-new for 40% off and no shipping :)?!


We've already started our list for our little "spree" next spring ;).
  
Some of my favorite sites for finding these deals are:


http://deals.families.com/grocery-stores,f474

http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums/ (search for your local stores on their site)

And of course Crystal's frugal spending/saving blog:
http://www.moneysavingmom.com/  :)

Some great sites for finding printable coupons are:
http://www.coolsavings.com

http://printable-coupons.blogspot.com/2005/10/grocery-coupons.html

http://www.couponbug.com/gmsa/CentralRegister.asp?NID=15&logErr=1001

http://print.coupons.com/couponweb/Offers.aspx?pid=13306&zid=iq37&nid=10

http://www.wow-coupons.com/grocery.php

This link is great for finding coupon codes to use online:
http://www.couponcabin.com/index.htm

 When I find a really great deal I will go online and order multiple coupons so that I can stockpile from here:
http://www.thecouponclippers.com/index.html
I also routinely order coupons for eggs and milk and other things that we use whether or not they are on sale. Eggland's Best eggs are always the most cheap, hormone free, from all natural/all-vegetarian fed chickens when we have a coupon, when they are on sale somewhere they are usually more cheap than generic! I usually just stock up on these sort of coupons when I am ordering coupons for a specific deal and make sure I get enough to cover our regular needs through to the expiration date.

 You can find a list of discount/salvage stores here:
http://www.discountgroceryandmore.com/discountgrocerystoredirectory.html
I haven't been to one of these in years but we used to live near one and you could get some really great deals there, you just have to be careful to inspect your items well before you buy them.

Here's a neat article on when you can typically get the best deals on certain things:
http://www.crosswalk.com/finances/1357347/

Now, where do we store all of these great deals? Well, that's a whole other post ;)...

For more fun blog entries on saving money visit Crystal's Super Savings Saturday :)!

Have a blessed day serving your family for the Glory of God, my friends :)!


Friday, December 7, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

We had a lovely Thanksgiving. We started the morning with a yummy traditional breakfast of a maple twist  coffee cake, and we listened to a teaching on CD about the pilgrims while we ate. This was Andrew's first Thanksgiving maple twist breakfast...


I think he liked it :)...


Then it was time to start working on the meal! Bri and I had done as much as we could the day before while Tori blessed us by keeping the little ones entertained whenever they weren't "helping". Here is Andrew the day before Thanksgiving kneading some dough while Bethi stood by offering some "pointers"...

   

There was still plenty left to do on Thanksgiving. Lee made the turkey again this year. I have NEVER made a turkey. Ever. And Lee does such a wonderful job I highly doubt I ever acquire the skill, heehee. This year he added seasoning and it was beyond wonderful! We set the table with our special holiday dishes, my mother sent this set of dishes with me when I married. I don't think I have ever eaten a holiday meal at home off of any other set of dishes for as long as I can remember, they are very special to a sentimental person like me. After we had gathered around our table that evening and thanked the Lord for His goodness throughout this last year Lee started getting the Christmas tree ready to decorate and I helped the girls get as much done in the kitchen as possible, then I went to rescue Lee from the two littlest ones so that he could get done ;). Lee had accomplished all but the lights the day before which Andrew had found quite tiring...

   

When we were finally ready to decorate, the children gathered around while I unpacked the ornaments and they ooohhh'ed and aaawww'ed as if they had never seen them before...


Andrew had to get a closer look...


He couldn't quite figure out how to get them to "stick"...


Yes, he is always finding a reason to climb...


It use to frighten me when he would climb around on the couch and on stools, etc. But now that he has graduated to climbing on top of the dining room table I've gotten over the "little stuff" ;). A little perspective is always good :).

A couple pictures of my big girls...



There have been some really rough roads to travel this year but through it all God has always been there making straight our paths.  He has truly been so good to us. Our lives are full of the blessings of God!


I pray you all have a very blessed Christmas season remembering the Savior  Who came to earth, was born and died, that we might live.






Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~Philippians 2: 6-11

Bethi's Favorite Things About Thanksgiving...

The leftover's ;).  Here is Bethi snacking on turkey the day after Thanksgiving, we found that she loves turkey!


And her corn husk doll that big sister Bri made her after they had prepared the corn on the cob together for our meal...


Bri is such a good big sister! I am so blessed by her care for, and her delight in, her little siblings! Bethi was so pleased with her "dolly" but it met with a sad demise a few days later. Those things happen with a little brother in the house ;)...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sand'n'Sun

   Yes, I realize that the Christmas season is upon us with the supposed cold and snow, etc., that goes along with it (not that we're likely to see any of it here in sunny South Carolina), but I am still playing catch up! Remember that trip we took at the end of August and the additional pictures I was going to share :)? Well here they are, finally...






   Note the absence of a certain little boy in most of these pictures. He wasn't feeling very photogenic that day. Lee had me get in a few pictures with him (see my avatar) just so we could get some and I'm so glad he did. Now I can remember with a smile that that is me with allll of my children.

Have a blessed day in Him!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sticky Fun!

   I didn't really mean to take a break from blogging. For a while I just didn't have anything I cared to share that wasn't baby/miscarriage related, but I also didn't really want to dwell on tiny Micah's short little life here so publicly so I just stayed away. Now lately we've all been taking turns being sick! It appears we may be in for another round. I hope I'm wrong! All in all we are doing pretty well. I am surprised and flattered that anyone still comes by here after my prolonged absence! Thank you all for your prayers and your patience.
   We made some caramel apples one evening about a month ago. These are old pictures but they are so cute I just had to share :)...

Bethi's first caramel apple...

Andrew's first taste of caramel apple...

He actually stole a bite of Bethi's but she was very sweet about it and even offered to share after she saw how happy it made him :)...

He got to finish mine off himself, he thought that was great fun...

Can we say "sugar crash"?


May the Lord bless you as you make memories, especially in the small moments, today!



Saturday, October 20, 2007

Closure

   I got a negative hpt and the other health issues appear to have cleared up without any sort of surgery. The last couple of days before I got a negative I felt really awful physically! I think it was my really messed up hormones trying to right themselves.
   Lee and I named the baby Micah and we bought a tiny New Testament and had the baby's name engraved on it as a reminder that we don't have our child here with us any longer but we haven't "lost" our baby. As one lady pointed out, our baby is more found than we are right now! Our little lamb is safe in the presence of Jesus himself.
   Thank you so much for all of your prayers. This has been a tough time, but God is good and the support I've felt from so many of you, my sisters in the family of Christ, has been such a sweet reminder of the compassion He has for us.




Thursday, October 11, 2007

Perspective

   This time last year I was a sleep-deprived, constantly nursing, living-in-a-fog mother who didn't have to look too hard to find evidence of the house falling apart around her! When the question would come up, "Are you going to have any more?" or "So, are you done yet?", we would answer that we would love to have as many as God would be pleased to give us but what we really meant was that we would love to have as many as God would like to give us as soon as we felt like we were up to it again ;). While the thought of decades of waking up every morning at the same time to take my temp (along with all of the other fun stuff that constitutes "natural" family planning) didn't really strike me as pleasant, it didn't seem quite as overwhelming as the thought of a baby every year.
   By about Christmas time we found ourselves at a point where we realized that our actions in this area just weren't lining up with our beliefs. Did we believe that God was the author of life? If He cares for the sparrows and clothes the lilies of the field, would He not provide for future children that He chose to author? Did we believe that God opened and closed the womb or not? Would God ever give us a baby we *shouldn't* have had?! Of course not! Oh, you can be sure we did the math ;). I could very possibly have nearly twenty fertile years left and nursing has never really given me much of a break before. At a baby a year... well, that adds up very quickly! Nevertheless we felt that the decision that best fit our beliefs was to give it up to God, to offer my womb as a "living sacrifice" and to get ready for baby number five who would surely be on the way in the very near future! I remember one day when Andrew was about three months old and I (once again) hadn't gotten a shower by three 'o' clock in the afternoon. I wanted more children, even many more children, but I was feeling so overwhelmed right then and I asked God to please give me at least 18 months between babies. My fertility returned the day Andrew turned nine months old, an unbelievably long break for me, and I just knew we would be expecting a baby by the end of that month and I was even looking forward to it. Well, the month passed, there was no baby news and I was convinced that He was in charge. After another month passed I began to realize that I had been ungrateful for the ease with which we have always conceived when I had prayed for a "break" and I prayed again thanking God for the gift of the fruit of the womb, both present and future gifts. Lo and behold, just a couple of weeks later I *knew* we had been blessed with a baby. Soon afterward I also knew that things weren't quite going as they should. I hadn't even tested yet so I did, to confirm what I already knew, and that started the roller coaster that was the month of September.
   I feel as if I have lived on the computer for the last month. I have researched every aspect of miscarriage imaginable. I didn't know that you could bleed for *months* after a miscarriage if you decide to go it naturally. I didn't know that your cycle won't return until your hcg levels return to zero, and that that could take months as well. I never knew that you could have pregnancy symptoms linger so long, which makes you feel like you are going out of your mind as you consider the possibility of a misdiagnosed miscarriage which happens often enough that there is actually a forum at www.misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com dedicated to spreading the message that Doctor's aren't God so don't do anything permanent (like a D&C) until you are convinced there is no alternative. My own mother was diagnosed with a miscarriage though she was still pregnant (she likely miscarried a twin). I have to admit that stories such as these have kept me hesitantly hopeful, especially now that the bleeding finally appears to be stopping and yet my numbers still haven't returned to zero (I've been monitoring them with hpt's) and I am still experiencing pregnancy symptoms.
In my head I knew that in giving this area up to God and opening ourselves up to receiving many children it was likely that we would eventually have to give one up before we were ready, but in my heart I don't think I really believed it. To be honest I still find myself holding onto hope that just maybe it was this or that and I will one day wake up from this nightmare and still be pregnant, stranger things have happened. But, I have come to the point where I realize that my God still reigns. If this is what He has for me right now I can accept it. It is very sad to me to think that I will never again have all of my children together with me here on earth but I also know that all of the days of my life were known and written down by my Father before even one of them had yet been and that I do not walk this road alone. I don't have to sit and let this consume me, as is so tempting to do, but rather, even this can be used to strengthen and grow me into the wife, mother and daughter of God that He would have me to become. While I would never have chosen to see life from the perspective of a mother who has miscarried I can already see that this experience has produced fruit in my life. I look at my children and I realize that they were once just as vulnerable as this baby was. What a miracle that they are here with me now! And yet, even today I can't be guaranteed that they will be with me forever. How urgently that makes me feel the importance of making every moment count with them! I am now eagerly looking forward to more babies no matter the spacing. As unlikely as it is, I would gladly have twenty more children if the alternative is no more. Besides, I hear having babies keeps you young ;)! Also, I will now have even more compassion for others who have traveled the road of pregnancy loss.
I know I have been on the receiving end of many of your thoughts and prayers and your comments, emails, phone calls and other correspondence have been a tremendous blessing to me. Christine, a dear friend and frequent commenter here, sent me a beautiful card and a handmade bookmark in remembrance of our baby. I have put that bookmark in my Bible as a reminder of what my Savior has carried me through and as a reminder that my citizenship is not of this world, I will see my little gem one of these days. Thank you so very much Christine!
   As I have already mentioned, we aren't through this thing yet. There are still some issues and I'll likely have to make an appointment to figure out exactly what is going on. If you feel so led, I would really appreciate prayers that there are no problems that require surgical intervention. I am emotionally and physically drained and so ready to feel "whole" again. My dear husband has been so patient with me, he is truly a blessing!
   You know, the Bible never says, "And God cursed _____ and _____ conceived...". On the contrary, being fruitful is always portrayed to be a blessing, even while being held in slavery and captivity in pagan lands. This baby was a blessing no matter how short its tiny life ended up being and baby number six will be a sweet, eagerly accepted gift as well. Lord-willing, I'm really looking forward to someday being a sleep-deprived, constantly nursing, living-in-a-fog mother once again ;).

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Birthday Boy

We have a one year old in the house again! Andrew turned a year old yesterday.
Wow! I can't believe it has already been a year. How I wish life came with a pause button.
Here he is one year ago...


And now just yesterday...





Got something for me to fix, Mom?



It was a day full of thankfulness for this little blessing and the delight he has been to our family.
Praise God for His good gifts!

Bri turned ten (double digits!!!!) on the 12th, things were kind of messed up around then, as you all know, but she was really sweet about it. Andrew's birthday was yesterday, it was so much fun to decorate in blue for a birthday this year! Tonight we traded in the blue decorations for pink and we will celebrate Tori turning six tomorrow!!! After that life should calm down for a little while.

I want to thank you all for your prayers and encouragement during this time. It has been greatly, greatly appreciated. I am still dealing with some of the physical aspects of the miscarriage, which is a hard reminder to live with, but I'm doing a bit better emotionally. I will update more on that later, but right now I wanted to be sure to share this joyful celebration of Andrew's birthday with you all before time got away from me again and he turned two ;)!

Have a blessed day, my friends!

The Cake

This is Bethani "helping" Mommy decorate Andrew's birthday cake...



Lee had the idea to decorate it as a little drum :)...


Andrew was mesmerized by the candle ;)...


Now for the fun...





I think he liked it :)...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Please Pardon Our Mess...

Site under construction.
Husband going crazy.
Signed-
The Husband

If you see a problem please let me know.
I think I have fixed everything but I am not sure.
-Lee

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blessed Be the Name of the LORD. ~Job 1:21

Just wanted to let everyone know that my last blood draw showed that my
numbers were dropping pretty dramatically. Our baby has died and our family
has a new little tie to the heavenly kingdom, where all of God's children's
citizenship truly lies. I look forward to meeting our tiny treasure one day.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers, we can still greatly use your
prayer support. I'll update more later but right now I'm going to go curl up
on the couch with my remaining treasure of children.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Praise and a Prayer Request

I was hoping to wait and share our happy news after all of this "stuff" was over but I am really feeling in need of prayer right now.
With a heart full of gratitude to our heavenly Father, I feel honored to announce that we have been blessed with Baby Blessing #5!
Unfortunately there have been some complications :(. Here is the short version, as of tonight I have been bleeding for twelve days with no end in sight and my hcg numbers have only risen 60% in the last 48 hours (which I have read in my research can be normal). I am ecstatic that they have risen at all! I had been preparing myself to find that I had miscarried. Between the bleeding and the lower rise in my hcg numbers the doctor is wanting me to come in for another quant count tomorrow and if he isn't pleased with the rise he wants to treat it as an ectopic pregnancy. This seems to be a bit premature to us as most resources are saying that you can't really even diagnose an ectopic pregnancy until an hcg of about 1500 and we are only at about 250.
If you feel so led, can you please join us in prayer for a very good rise in numbers when we go in tomorrow and for the bleeding to stop. Also, we need prayers for wisdom in how to handle this doctor if he continues to be so aggressive. Please pray that God would pour out His peace on our whole family, this has really been quite the roller coaster ride for all of us! And lastly, I would appreciate prayers, on the off chance that it is ectopic, that God would supernaturally intervene and move baby where he/she needs to go, nothing is impossible with our God. The same God who cares for the sparrows is watching out for our baby who has more value than many sparrows.
Thank you so very much!

For with God nothing shall be impossible.~Luke 1:37





**************************************************************





Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.








But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.




~Matthew 10:29-31

Monday, September 3, 2007

Remember...

...this post where I listed three possible reasons to move?
Well, Lee caught #4 running down the hallway earlier this evening...


We are considering driving up to North Dakota during our trip in the Spring to show the girls where I lived as a child. My hope is that Lee falls in love with the area and decides to move up there and start a sunflower farm...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

More Vacation Tidbits and Pictures...

If you haven't seen the first post of our recent trip to Savannah, Georgia you will want to start here.
The first couple of days Tori would ask every couple of hours, "Are we going back to the Inn yet?". Just staying in the hotel was great fun as far as the girls were concerned. I'm not entirely sure why, they do this at home all of the time ;)...

 

We took our new "Moody Family books", a series written by Sarah Maxwell, to start while Lee was in his meeting (As an aside, these books are great!). The plan was to spend the day relaxing and recouping in the room and having nearly nothing to do all day but read aloud. At least that was the plan until everyone woke up and I realized that the jumbo package of diapers was still in the van, thirty minutes away! After the initial feeling of panic I thought, "OK, no big deal. We'll just walk over to the gas station right next to us and pay way too much for a very small package of diapers. Now remember, Savannah didn't appear to be too keen on children ;). Had I thought of that before we left I would have figured that this would be the first gas station I have ever been to that didn't carry diapers. Still not panicing too badly I remembered seeing a CVS *just* down the road so we started out. Everyone was hot, barely awake and we hadn't even had breakfast yet because I had thought we were just running over to the gas station. We finally get all the way down to the CVS only to find that they weren't open...as in just built, looked completely functional, but apparently it wasn't quite yet. Now, I panic ;). Frustratingly enough, there are other gas stations in view but I wasn't quite desperate enough to drag all four little people across the interstate. The only thing to do was to go back to the room without the coveted diapers and try to figure something out. We stopped back in the gas station on the way back by and I got everyone a chocolate milk and myself a cappuccino because, trust me, we needed it. Upon arriving back at the room I surveyed our meager belongings keeping an eye out for anything that could be fashioned into a "nappie" and my eyes fell upon the flannel blankets. Remembering this post from Tammy of Tammy's Recipes I thought what a great chance to try it out ;). Worked great by the way, even without diaper covers and safety pins, the little sewing kit in my purse came in mighty handy though ;) I now have a whole new appreciation for my diaper pins! I may even start a little collection of old blankets to make diapers out of. We were down to one more blanket when Lee got back to the room. As soon as he arrived I double stocked the diaper bag and even put a couple in my purse ;)... Then we headed back to the beach to redeem the day. As we trudged through the sand we discussed the necessity of being sure that..."On Christ the solid rock I stand", because, "all other ground is sinking sand...". Lee got some precious pictures of the little ones while we were there but they are all on his camera so I have to wait to share. Lee took the girls out into the water, skirts and all ;)...it was the first time being out in the water for Tori and Bethi and Bri was too little last time to remember. We really need to look into more efficient and modest swim wear. You should have seen Bri's face later that night when Lee reminded her that there are sharks in the ocean ;). When he mentioned it to Tori she said, "I know.". When he asked how she knew she said, "Mommy told me they live in salty water and I tasted the salty.". Eeew. A couple of the shells we picked up were still occupied, oops. We named them Pearl and Oceanus ;). 
Among other things during our time there, we saw the church that the writer of Jingle Bells was employed at as the music minister when he wrote the well known carol, we saw the church President George Washington went to when he went to Savannah and cannons that he gifted Chatham county with after the Revolutionary War. We saw a lot that John Wesley preached in and walked for a while in the path of Sherman and his troops during his famous "March to the Sea". On the last day we took a picnic lunch to Forsyth Park and Lee and Bethani chased the girls around with Spanish Moss ;). 


I had told them this story behind the saying, "Good night neighbor, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!", so they were doing their best to stay away from the stuff ;).
Andrew is becoming such a little boy :)! He kept running off to go play in the dirt...



and he was trying so hard to come to his big sister's rescue ;)...



While strolling through the park I pointed out to the girls that we were pushing our baby though a park that has seen generation after generation of mothers pushing babies in strollers (or "prams"). That struck me as neat.
Just before we left for home we stopped at Old Fort Jackson, the oldest standing brick fort in Georgia that was in use from 1808 to 1865.

 

I would greatly recommend you make this a stop if you are ever in Savannah! They are just now really trying to build up this piece of history so in a few years it may become more tourist centered but when we were there we were able to amble around at our own pace. If we hadn't known better we could have reached right out and touched many of the artifacts! It was just wonderful. There is an ironclad ship sunk just off of the banks (the Confederates sunk it on purpose to keep it out of the hands of the Union soldiers) and several of the exhibits in the museum were artifacts brought back up from the ship. There were plaques hanging in many places and they took quotes out of letters written by soldiers who had been stationed there during the Civil War. One plaque that was hanging on a bunk in the holding cell said that the baker had been incarcerated for selling liquor. A quote from a letter written a few days later mentioned that the baker had been let go because they just "couldn't get along without him" in the kitchen. Sooo funny! The moral of that story? If you want to get away with anything, be the cook ;). After a quick peek in the gift shop where we picked up really neat realistic looking copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States, we hopped in the car and headed home. The children and I slept most of the way ;).
The whole next day we were all kind of dragging...


And I think we are still in recovery mode. I finally caught up the laundry last night and we'll be back to school tomorrow. It was such a sweet blessed time of togetherness and memory making. Lee and I celebrated our birthdays last Sunday and this trip was a great birthday present :). 
Thank you Sweetheart :)!!! We love you!