We switched things up a bit this year, and decided to go to Gulf Shores (Fort Morgan, to be exact) instead of our usual trip to Destin. It's closer and cheaper, and with 7 kids 7 and under, we don't get out much anyway, so it was perfect! We had a house right on the beach, which was wonderful with kiddos. With Lowen still taking two long naps a day, and Lyla being older and independent and thoroughly entertained by her cousins, we actually had lots of relaxing time on the beach, reading and visiting, and enjoying God's beautiful creation! We soaked up time with family, ate really well, had a treasure hunt for the kids, as well as a water balloon fight, read lots of John Grisham, played Balderdash, Upwords, and Bananagrams, celebrated my mom's birthday with a fun dinner out complete with live music and dancing, and my favorite part...did blessings for each kid. Every child had a night to go around and let everyone share all that they love about them and all the qualities they see God's blessed them with. My parents defined this blessing as "thinking well of someone, and speaking well of someone." It was such a special time to lift these children up and celebrate the amazing job God did when He created each one of them. After each blessing, we laid hands on them and prayed over them. Talk about ministering to a Mama's heart!!! These kiddos are blessed, for sure, to be born into this family and to have the grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles that they have!!
So, grab a cup of coffee and get cozy because here are LOTS of pics of our time together....
(copying Julia trying to feed the birds...thankful one of those birds didn't snatch her up!)
(I can just hear her sweet little voice saying "hi!" as she waves to anyone and anything she sees.)
(singing and playing contently in her own little world. Love.)
This was Lyla's face the entire time during her blessing...staring intently at each person talking, taking in every single word. My heart seriously could barely take it. Such a sweet, special time!!
(Olivia missed her school program while we were there, so we all got our own private show. Love Lyla's face watching her. And loved all of Olivia's cute songs and dance moves!!)
Lowen suckered everyone into sharing their ice cream with her. :)
Dance party on the deck!
My sweet Mama pulling out all the lunch goods, once again. Such a servant, this one.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for such a wonderful week!!!
(This next post are pics my sister took that I couldn't figure out how to put on the blog other than in this random slideshow, so as if you haven't seen enough pics, here are a few more...)