Thursday, January 26, 2012

BIG OL RV TRIP Day 25..Last Day in Paradise..

WHY, you ask do I have my especially sad, (may I add very tan) sadface on???

It is because as I write tonight, THE FINAL packing up of the RV is being done..Bikes being disassembled, the wheels off the stroller, the pups outside fence taken down, evening candles blown out and packed away and the outside carpet all rolled up and put away...with only the outline remaining.. 
All kids and laundry scrubbed clean of the chlorine that has soaked them for the last 3 weeks.
It was a wonderful time for all of us..Let me just say that 25 days has FLOWN PEOPLE!

Packed Even MORE FULL than our physical things in this RV are THE MEMORIES that will pack our minds and hearts FOREVER! A special family time making more blessed memories than we even deserve. We are thanking God for it all. For allowing The Captain this time off, for allowing me to be able to homeschool our kids, for new friendships made, for sunshine & rainbows and fish and even for the stressful times. YES, OF COURSE there are stressful times with 9 people together NON STOP for 25 days! I just love my family so much and still remain in AWE of God's plan for us to have 8 children! BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE!

Here are the 2 gals I was blessed to hang with during our stay. Neither one of which was turned off by the number of children we have..

I took this pic yesterday during a 5 minute rainstorm we had. MORE PROOF that God is all around us, sending that rainbow to remind us of his promises to us. 

We will start making our 5 day journey home tomorrow and this trip is just more than I could have asked for. It just was..

I must go wipe my tears away now as we head BACK TO REALITY :)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Big OL RV TRIP Day 22-23 Unwanted & Wanted Guests!

I'll start with the unwanted guests. These guys roam ALL OVER the KEYS and ALWAYS HAVE. They DEFINITELY have their days and nights mixed up for they COCK A DOODLE DOO..All.THE.TIME. I will admit, I will miss their craziness when we leave.

Went to the local WINN DIXIE and HAD to get these SHARK fruit snacks! 

All nuzzled in watching Dolphin Tale! 

T finished a swewing project today. Love this little owl camera case she made! 

We had CUMPNEY tonight. It was our new friend George's 50th birthday so we celebrated with them and another family and had the most AWESOME ice cream cake. 

Enjoying the cake!! 

There were 18 of us all together  for the party!
Here are all the kiddos! 

The END IS NEAR. I may cry. I honestly don't miss home.. I love it here.. Only 3 more sleeps and we will be heading home...

SO SO SO thankful for this time with our kids, SO SO thankful for the uninterrupted time with The Captain. I will miss our "alone time", sitting outside just talking to each other.
SO SO thankful for the walks outside, the beauty of God surrounding us at all times.

Can't WAIT to come back next year!

Monday, January 23, 2012

BIG OL RV TRIP DAYS 20-21.. Groundhog Day?

Our internet has acted up so I am behind again...

Yep, VERY USED to our days here in Sugarloaf Key. Groundhog Day routine has set in..
Woke up day 20 with our new friend and neighbor Wade visiting as Bean "whittled" with his new wood working set in his coon skin cap..

Since it IS the weekend...NO SCHOOL means plenty of time for playing play doh!

Then it was time to get our squid bait and head out to fish. NOTICE Bit But still in his KUNGFU PJ's..

Have I mentioned, I have ALWAYS LOVED to fish...Could sit ALL DAY and do it.. I got pretty blessed today to catch enough for MY supper. I'm proudly holding my RED SNAPPER!

Little did we know that this GORGEOUS Little number caught by Bean was an endangered species so we had to throw him back.. UNLESS we wanted to pay $600 to keep him.
 Isn't he cool? LOVE THE BLUE STRIPE & squiggles!

Sisterly LOVE!

The Captain cleaning our catch with the AWAITING PELICANS VERY CLOSE!

While gutting the fish-it was super cool to find a WHOLE SHRIMP in of the fish bellies!

Feeling like Groundhog Day to you yet?

These guys are always good free entertainment for us. Shortly after I took this, they both fell right out of this tree. WILD!

Lolli found a couple new obsessions..One was trying on Beans new Flippers and playing mermaid. LOVE baby mermaids!!

She even did well walking in them :)

The Captain bought Lolli her own small bag of Doritos..
This is what happens when you tell her to say "CHEESE!"

The Captain felt I was big girl enough to take Bean and AwBell night fishing..So I did.
We caught 2 fish..You know th $600 ones? Yep, had to throw em back. It was still fun taking em off the hooks myself and we enjoyed it. We also got the pleasure of seeing a HUGE SEA TURTLE and SEVERAL Stingrays cruising around. HAPPINESS!

The next day The Captain got the bright idea to buy the kids ONE POP to share.. Bad..VERY BAD Idea. Talk about an all out brawl. We RARELY give our kids pop so this was nuts! BUT..THE BABY WON!

On day 21 after our RV church service and weekly laundry duties were done,  we headed to...WELL YOU KNOW WHERE!!
 Lolli's new obsession was our empty water bottles..

Then she did this to all that were NOT in the pool.

MyMy striking a pose.
So precious!

WyWy doing a flying dive!

All that swimming wears the 2 little ones out fast! 
Here they are on the bottom bunk watching a movie and nuzzling in.

He loves his new woodworking set and is quickly realizing it is HARD!!
He has started carving on Coconuts instead..

He made these 2 mini boats out of coconuts complete with seats and oars.
Pretty inventive right?

Little brother carved his own version..

Although our RV has 3 TV's, we ONLY watch them at bed time and each evening a different child gets to pick one show or movie for all to watch. Keeps it fair!

We are ALL enjoying LESS time "PLUGGED IN" to all electronics! And being More plugged in to nature and each other!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Started out the morning of day 19 with a 2 mile jog/walk around the campground and back and forth on the fishing bridge. There is just nothing like smelling that fresh sea air, watching the fisherman hard at work and soaking in all GOD'S CREATION! Snapped a pic of this pelican as I trotted by! Waking up to 70 degree weather each day makes it MUCH EASIER for both The Captain and I to MOTIVATE to get out and get moving! We take TONS of walks each day all over the campground (in the background of this pic).

We did our school work, ate lunch and headed to... YEP YOU GUESSED IT... THE POOL :)
The Captain got me this virgin pina colada topped with whipped cream!
Almost as sweet as the sleeping babe on my shoulder.

Some of the boys hanging by the hot tub. SO FUN to meet new friends! 

And all the girls using their snorkeling masks and gear in the pool.

We spent about 4 1/2 hours there today.
Plenty of time for lots of naps..

We had supper and headed to the campgrounds S'MORE NIGHT!
WE LOVE FREE! And all headed down for one. 

Truthfully, we have had them EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT since we have been on our trip. 
Surely all that sun while I lay by the pool each day will help MELT all of that chocolate and marshmallow AWAY RIGHT? 

We ended our night by putting Lolli to sleep, putting a movie on for the kiddos and sitting in the lawn chairs outside the RV talking and sharing this yumminess as we destressed! 

We love to sit outside and watch the other RV's pull in and talk to EVERY single person that walks by. The majority of the people here are older/retired and very friendly.

A sweet lady came up to us tonight and wanted to tell us how well behaved our kids are. I told her "you don't see what happens when the RV door closes". LOL. It is SO NICE and encouraging to hear as we feel like we are pretty loud and obnoxious to be around with the size of our clan at times. God knows just when to send the right people along to encourage you!

HARD TO BELIEVE only one more week here... By this time next week we will be driving home. SAD FACE!!! It has just been an awesome trip! I will check in with you all tomorrow!


Thursday, January 19, 2012


Good news for YOU!! After this post... YOU ARE ALL CAUGHT UP!!!

We are now spending our 6th night here at THE SUGARLOAF KEY KOA. It has been THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WEATHER!! Between 75-80 degrees every day. When we wake up each day it is already around 70 degrees! I'm LOVIN IT!!! Below is our first glimpse of the ocean as we entered the KEYS!

Witnessing God's beauty as we were surrounded by water on both sides of the highway! 

It was SO NICE to arrive at our destination! We are LOVING this place!
Before we got here I made ONE FINAL Wally World run and stocked the RV with what I AM HOPING will be all the food we will need for 13 days EXCEPT for eating one meal out. This takes a LOT of logistical planning due to the extremely small freezer and fridge.
The sign welcoming us, surrounded by palms..AHHHH! 

Our site once it was all set up the next day. It is smaller than what we had at Disney but still very clean and adequate room for our tribe. Instead of being on blacktop, we are on tiny gravel. Its not bad. We have trees around us and LOVE the sunshine in the mornings and shade in the afternoons.

We had our own church service in the RV on Sunday a.m. with some praise and worship and then headed to GUESS WHERE? LOL! Right after we got there we witnessed something cool that ALL the kids (to include our new friend Wade) couldn't keep their eyes off of.. 

I guess maybe I should have paid attention to the sign with THE BIG IGUANA on it as we pulled in to the campground.  YEP, these ladies and gents roam freely and don't mind swimming with you in the hot tub OR the pool. It can get flat freaky! They only hang around for a bit though and trust you not to hurt them. We did witness a little fighting between to males and that was NUTS! More learning, learning, learning on this trip! 

They have a REALLY AWESOME little fenced in dog park here at the KOA for Pixie and all her friends to hang in! 

She really dug it! 

The pool is very nice and always kept clean and heated year round! 

Monday morning school was IN SESSION! We have done our school each day since we have been here to keep caught up. We are NOT where I wanted us to be but I am trying not to stress it. They are learning SO MUCH with life experiences that I focus mostly on the 2 older ones and making sure their lessons are done. It IS nice to have a routine.. EVEN IN PARADISE!! 

There are a couple crafty dudes that live here in the campground during the winter. The fella below weaves hats and bowls (modeled by T) in about 20 minutes. MAN they are cool. I will share his friends talents in another post.

Here is the view of all the RV's lined up from the Marina. Ours is the very farthest one away. We have no neighbors on one of the sides and it is nice. 

Most of us love to fish and couldn't wait to fish in the ocean for the first time. ALL KIDS have caught a fish before except MyMy so our focus was on her catching on on our first trip. 

The Captain snagged our squid for bait from the marina right here at the campground and we headed UP! 

To this fishing bridge. It was a short walk up the hill to the top. 

Awbell was the first one to snag a fishy! 

And strangely enough she wanted to give it a smooch before we threw him back in! 

Leave it to me to catch the poisonous, snorting, 4 toothed PUFFER FISH..EW! Super ugly dude! Bit But wondered why the little fish had "BOOBS" OH MY! LOL 

We go to the pool and LOVE IT! We have had ZERO rain or cold! 

Yesterday a BIG THING Happened in our lives.. Bean turned into a teenie bopper right before our very eyes! He is FINALLY old enough to have his first virgin Pina Colada! I know its rough but someone's gotta have their birthday on the beach!

He wanted to go out to the beach and jump on that water trampoline in the background. The kids did some exploring on the beach first. The beaches are not like the sugary white ones we love but they are rocky and have coral and lots of fish! STILL A BEAUTIFUL SITE! 

Here most of us are out on the tramp! The ocean water was pretty cold! 

Had to share this precious random cuteness! 

He wanted to go out and eat REAL seafood for his birthday so we got dressed in something other than our swimsuits (which by the way for some of us are FALLING APART from overuse) and headed out to dinner! 

There were EXACTLY 13 of us out to dinner for the 13th b-day at MANGROVE MAMAS. Our family and the Holmes family from Cape Cod! Their son Wade and our kids have become fast friends! The dinner was amazing! ALL LOCAL SEAFOOD!

Our new friend GEORGE gave Bean a big gift! 
(Its REALLY his business card..FOOLED ME!)

He enjoyed his Mahi Mahi and LEGIT Key Lime PIE!!! 

Us and the teen! 

And today is Bit But's "WHOLE HAND" birthday.. We started out by trying to get MyMy her fish.. 

Bean got one....I got one... 

Then PRECIOUS MYMY got HER BABY FISH named fondly after her.
She examined ANNMARIE then sweetly threw her back in the ocean!
SHE was SO GENUINLY happy, twas sweet to see!

Bit But chose to have his 5th b-day pic taken by a boat!

He got a kickboard, squirt gun and a little tub of play doh for his big day..... $15
AND he got to spend his JANUARY BIRTHDAY AT THE POOL.....

I made a cake for the boys to share and we had it tonight!
SOME HOW I lost the candles I packed!
SO THANKFUL that MYMY gave me this candle for Christmas that served as their birthday candle! 13 &5!  

Bits thought it was super neat to go to WAL MART (aka the tiny convenience store here at the campground) and get all the kids a surprise push up pop to go with the cake! He however, chose a Hagen Daaz chocolate ice cream bar for himself-my kinda guy!! The kids all SCREAMED when he got them out of the bag!! 

Here we are with our BABY BOY on his 5th birthday! HE is SO ORNERY! We told him to hold up 5 fingers for his picture and he held up 2! We laughed SO HARD when we saw this picture!

SO.........PEACE OUT until my next post tomorrow~!
WHEW..I'm so happy to be at CATCHED UP!!