Beach Trip and Man World

We had the awesome blessing of going to the beach last weekend. We packed up the BRV and strapped numerous floating devices to it inside and out. Jake was a wise man and volunteered for duty on Thursday. Duty shifts are 24 hours without much sleep which meant an early departure from work on Friday am. We were able to hit the road sometime after lunch time. We splurged on 9-chick-fil-a sandwiches, 1-three strip chicken and 5 medium fries. We took a stop at Man World along the way. The other, less brilliant name for Man-World, is Bass Pro-Shop. After suffering in the parking lot watching all manner of men and gear parade in and out of the World for an hour, Jake and our young-man crew re-emerged and we hit the road again. Thank God! 

We arrived at Dam Neck around 6 something.. I think. We were vacationing and the clock was optional. Dam Neck is a Marine Base. I bet you couldn't guess that. Our cottage was right on the water. I kidd you not. $150 per night and we were there. On the beach. Free access to one of our favorite places on earth, a beach! We were so pleased. The cottage was equipped with a kitchen, a full living room with a fire place, 3 bedrooms and a huge bathroom, plus laundry room. Crazy goodness. 

I am going to try to explain to you the debacle my cameras have put me in. The one on my iphone has completely fried. Colby dismantled the phone and tried to fix it for me. Then my nice camera is freezing up and refusing to focus. I can manual focus. But, for some reason the camera is now absorbing all kinds of light if I use it outside. So the pictures I took were white.. like lightening. I had to add the dark filter to even recognize who was in my shots. Some of the photos look kind of neat, but all in all they are a sad reminder to me that a camera purchase is lurking in the future. 
 I used my long lens to take this of Jake. You can see how close our stairs to the water were. 
 Our cottage had an outdoor shower.. all for us!
 That's the cottage behind Jackie. Not the best shot, but you can see how nice it looked.
 There's my stud! He had so much fun riding waves. I was so pleased to see him so excited!
 Some of my sweet babies. 
 Seriously. I nearly split my bad rib rolling at the lump of coal in Libby's swimsuit. The swimsuit is one that Jackie wore and Louisa wore and you get the point. It's old. Libby managed to gather some sand back there. Funny.
 This is where the camera goes wild. Cool effects, but not what I was hoping for.
 Hey Haze!
 She loved the sand and the freedom I gave her exploring the beach.
 Nothing like a slow dance with daddy on the deck.
 Rocking chairs to nap in. We were in an earthly paradise for sure.

 I kept wondering why Jake was wearing a shirt with the plural of Van on it. Was he sending me a message? Is there more than one red van in my future? What does this mean? 
 This is what Hazel really looks like. She's not a black and white cartoon.
My sweet and crazy boys. The youngest and oldest. I am so blessed to have such troops in my home!

The beach was fun. Man World required a second visit on our way home. This time I went in to check out the store myself. I couldn't believe the things I saw in the store. It was like a zoo. Creatures mounted all over the place. Weapons abounded. Men up and down the aisle. The girls and I were wandering around trying to find something pink. We discovered a bottle of spray that was called.. Deer Sexual Attractant. Brings the Buck to you!. We were super weirded out.  We then fled and found a small jewelry stand. Intentionally placed near the check out counter. You know, for the man who has filled his buggy with weapons and odd sprays, the man who's hoping to not have to return all of those odd man items once he gets home. He can easily spin the jewelry stand and choose a pink stone bracelet to add to his cart and all will be well with his sweet little lady. She won't question his purchase, she won't care what that odd smell is, no she will be swooning over her new pink bracelet!

Man World... Strange World.


Organic is too expensive?

For years I've wanted to go organic with our food. However, the price of organic food versus the price of having a large family hindered my choices. Every now and then I'll grab something organic and think, hey! we're not eating chemicals. How delightful. But then, another month will pass by and I'll have the same problem as the month before.. the grocery budget doesn't add up. Rats!

Well, thanks be to God for giving us the opportunity to enjoy some organic meat. We have been dining on organic meat stew, organic italian food, organic steak, organic breakfast sausage, organic italian sausage, organic ground round, etc. All of this glorious organic food is from the blessed hands of my archer husband. He shot and killed a buck last Friday night. Don't get squeamish... the same method of skinning and stripping the buck is used on our black and white mooing creature friends all across america. The buck was free of course.. Take into consideration that deer are free range, they eat grass and produce from flower beds.. Seriously, it's awesome. We are learning so much about venison and how it's processed. Jake hauled in 36 pounds of venison once the cleaning of the buck was done. We have loved it. What's also interesting is that deer are extremely lean. So lean that it's best to process the meat with some added fat.

Anyway. We are thankful for the venison. It's organic and it's free... mostly. The costs of the equipment; bow, arrow, license, tree stand, will be absorbed as Jake shoots more game. Such fun. We are hoping to get a turkey as well. Though they are difficult to find. You have to dress like a turkey and make mating sounds hoping a wild turkey will come to you. Sounds kind of intimidating to me. Joking. You don't have to dress like a turkey but you do have to make calls and the turkeys do come to you. Very strange.


Libby is 7!

On September 30, 2005, God handed us our 5th child, a girl. She has been such a delight to us ever since her simple, sweet birth in our home 7 years ago. She was born in the quiet of the evening on a Friday, during date night. The Yankees and Red Sox were playing ball and Jake was enjoying a beer watching the ball players go at their sport. I hadn't been feeling well that evening and was feeling rather emotional.. we now know this is a clear indicator that I could be in labor. Anyway, I had been watching the game with Jake and decided I needed a bath. Not to bore anyone with labor details, Libby was born about 15 minutes later. She was born so peacefully and sweetly that both Jake and I forgot to note the time. When the midwife arrived about 30 minutes later, again not sure of the time, she asked what time Libby had been born. We looked at the clock and it was 12:25ish am. We laughed and thought, well we don't know. Is she a September 30th baby or an October 1st baby. We decided we would say September 30th. There you have it, Libby Lee's sweet day of birth. 

Here we are 7 years plus 7 days later because I'm late blogging. We had a grand time celebrating Libby. 

Here is sweet pea with her pinata, notice how she chose an ass. This was particularly funny to us because she's such a princess type girl at heart. 

It didn't take but 3 swings for her to completely decapitate the poor little pinata. 

Notice that even though it's Libby's birthday, the sin of everyone's heart dominated and she was the one who was shoved out of the,  "grab all the candy you can fit in your pockets fest."
 After recovering from the disappointment of not getting to the goods first, Libby's siblings graciously shared their treasure trove of sugar with her. We headed inside and ate a fantastic meal of ricotta and proscioutto stuffed shells, salad, and french bread. We dove into present opening after the dishes were cleaned up. Upon opening the first gift, Libby squealed with immense delight and ran to Jake's arms.
She is still a perfect fit.

Hazel figured out a way to climb the table and had a blast thrashing around in the wrapping paper.

Not to steal the birthday post from Libby, but I couldn't help but post this picture. Colby charmingly swept little miss Cruz off her feet and then stuffed her in a box. She wasn't pleased.
 The birthday cake Libby chose was a white one with a ballet pink shade of buttercream frosting.
She was pleased and so was Sally Northpole (Libby's bitty baby. Pole has been affectionately added to North by those in Libby's family who love to tease her about Sally's last name.)

Yup, one blow and those candles were out. We delight that her lungs fill so well with air. After all the the asthma issues she's had, it's a welcome site to see.
Libby Lee, we love you so much. You are a delight to every person in the Reynolds home. You are adored by many more outside our home too. May you grow to laugh as much as you do now. May you always sweep the crowd with that precious humor of yours. We love how God fearfully knit you together. I am so thankful that your daddy was the first person to hold you. Happy, happy birthday little one!