Friday, May 4, 2012

"Cottage Sweet Cottage"

Josh has been attending a campground since he was a kid.  The people there are like family as his family has gone at least one time each summer since he can remember.  His parents inherited a cottage on the campground years ago.  I went along with his family to this campground every year since 1992 (or maybe 91?).  It has always been one of our favorite places to be and has since become one of our kids favorite places to be.  When they think of summer...they think of Mechanic Falls.  It's not summer until we go there.

The cottages here were built a long time ago and are quite...well...rustic:)  There's really not much to them.  Some need more work than others.  Some have running water, some don't.  It really doesn't matter as there is a bath house located a short distance from most of the cottages.  It's considered a luxury to have sure is handy:)

In the past we have gone and stayed at Josh's parents cottage but as our family grew we quickly OUT grew their cottage.  We soon moved to sleeping in a tent which was easier and fun for our family.  During times when we stay for a few weeks at a time (which does happen) we borrow someone else's cottage..which has worked wonderfully for us.

For years and years...I think even before having kids or being married, Josh and I have had our eye on one particular cottage.  It's just our favorite on on the property.  It was owned by a family that spent many years there as well and raised 5 girls who spent their summers there as well.  We sort of thought that this cottage would never leave the family.  We had talked about potentially buying other cottages, but we just didn't want any of the really we didn't talk about it all too often.

Being members of the campground we got a letter updating us on some things...of those things, the cottages that are for sale were listed.  Sure enough..the one cottage that we LOVE and thought would never be for sale was listed!  As it turns out, this family was spending less and less time here and has another cottage at another campground that they spent more time at.  Their kids don't live close enough to want to keep it either so they were offering it up at a price we couldn't refuse!  Josh called right away....and the rest is history.

We have finally officially made the deal with the previous owners who were thrilled to be selling the place to our family.  Almost like keeping it 'in the family' for them.

Our kids are beyond excited about this and can't quite get over the fact that after all these years they get to call it "our cottage".  Ethan named it "cottage sweet cottage" and I think that name will stick!  We are already planning 3 good weeks there this summer, plus a long weekend and then any other chances to get there we will!  We headed there to check things out for the first time a couple weeks ago.  It was cold and rainy out and the cottage has been closed up all winter.  It was warmer outside (in the 50's) than it was inside...but that didn't stop us from totally enjoying our time there!  We got a little space heater that kept us warm and otherwise just made the most of our first night!

We are counting down the days until we can get there again!

The kitchen...

View of front door from kitchen.

View from front door

View from kids bedroom

Our bedroom.

Kids bedroom from our room

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What's this?! A blog post?! Yep it is!!

I've been relating to a quote that I hard at a marriage conference recently.  A friend was speaking and related the different phases of marriage something like this...

When you first get married life is like a slow dance.  As you start to have kids it turns into a waltz and as they get older and more involved in things it's more like a fast dance....and then there is the time when life is like an all out mud wrestle!

I feel like we are in the "mud wrestle" phase of life right now!   Our daily schedule is one that hectic, to say the least.  I can sum it up though.  Ethan, Luke and Owen are all in football.  Jessalyn is playing softball.  I am playing in a womens flag football league.  Josh has youth group.  Josh leads worship at least once a month and I play drums usually at least twice in a month.  He is teaching a class at LCS and Sunday well as preaching more often.  Oh..and I am in the middle of p90x..a workout that takes just over an hour 6 days per week!  Nevermind the daily chores of keeping up with this household and school related activities...piano lessons, a 9 month old and a 5 year old (at home) etc.  It just seems like we never stop!  

I saw a little saying today..."I'm too blessed to be stressed".  I thought that was a good to remind myself of daily, or even hourly!  This is a GOOD busy.  We are happy and enjoying all of the blessings that God has given well as just our overall health to be able to keep up with this type of lifestyle.  

I'll give a quick little update on everyone..with pics:)

Jessalyn (11) is seriously an awesome kid!  I've heard all of the possible horror stories of the "tweens" and honestly, I've sort of been dreading it because of these stories.  So far, Jessalyn has been a joy.  Of course, she comes with her fair share of hormones but with patience and understanding of this and mostly her fatigue level, we have learned to expect her rare outbursts and inability to handle certain situations.  Really though, more often than not she has a great handle on her emotions and this phase of her life.  She is thriving in school and sports and her music and is just keeping active and busy as much as she can.  She's maturing quickly...but still hanging onto her giggly, silly and funny self, which I hope she does forever!  She recently passed the babysitters course..which is a big deal for me!  She's already a pro...and the best big sister ever! Right now her main activity is softball and she is doing very well.  We figured out that it was catching that was causing her foot she is sticking right at 1st base and not having any issues.  One of her coaches put it this way "Jessalyn could catch an ice cream cone in the dark" he is very confident in her stretching/catching skills at first base.  The season has just started and she's already had her fair share of awesome catches.  Here are some pics....

Ethan (9) is growing quickly.  I feel like we JUST bought him new jeans and they are already starting to look short for him.  Of course, he's not growing wider at all..just taller and skinnier!  Hes in the middle of flag football and loves it.  It seems that his physical ability is finally starting to catch up to him and he is surprising us with new skills each day.  He loves to play outside with friends and brothers...riding his bike, making forts etc.  He's still very much a 'gamer' and loves his video games too!  He loves to read and is currently enjoying the Series of Unfortunate events.  I believe he's on the fourth book.  He also is quite intrigued by learning about the Titanic.  He is a GREAT big brother, often putting his little brothers first (although, not ALL the time:).  Although most wouldn't know this about him, he LOVES to talk and at home it seems like he is talking nonstop.  He's very funny and is the one that is guaranteed to get the biggest laughs out of Truett.  I don't have any football pics yet..but will soon!

Ethan also LOVES to be the first to experience new things with Truett....

Luke (7) is still as crazy as ever.  He loves to climb and attempts to get as 'high' as possible anywhere he can.  He is very strong for his little body.  The boy has some serious guns...and a 6 pack too:)  He loves to work out and I find him lifting my weights and doing push ups and pull ups whenever possible.  He is a hard worker.  He also LOVES to read and is in the middle of reading the 'wimpy kid' series (I know..I know..).  He is showing some interesting characteristics....where he sometimes just likes to do his own thing.  He has lots of friends and can get along with other kids, but sometimes just chooses to play on his own.  He seems to need his alone time more than the other kids do.  Luke is also enjoying football, this year on a team of his own (rather than being on a team with Ethan).  Luke is the one that likes to snuggle with Truett and hold him when he's fussy or feed him when he's hungry.  He seems to be more of a comforter to Tru...rather than a comedian (like Ethan).  It is just interesting to see how they each develop different relationships with each other!  He recently got his hair cut...a spike, which perfectly suits his personality!  

Owen.  (5) Oh...Owen:)  Owen is trying to find his new 'place' in the family!  He LOVES Truett and has adjusted to not being the baby nicely, but not without some hitches along the way.  He finds that he has a hard time keeping up with the older boys, but doesn't have that "baby" card to fall back on.  He has great ideas (in his mind) that Ethan and Luke just don't want to hear.  Owen is SUPER excited for kindergarten, which I think will be great for him to find his own friends and place.  He's a smart little guy who also likes to talk NONstop!  He cracks us up on a daily basis with his comments and randomness.  He really comes out with the most random things...and follows them up with hysterical contagious laughter!  He has the BEST laugh.  He is also loving his first year of football and doing really well!  He's got some natural talent as he jukes and runs through defenders.  I think it has to do with all the practice running from his brothers!  He really loves his big sister and finds himself wandering to her room in the middle of the night to snuggle:)  She's great about making him feel welcomed there:)  Owen is a GREAT help with my photography...he's the 'go to' for standing behind me to make people laugh:)

Truett.  My sweet little Truett.  I honestly, could hardly imagine life with another baby and yet he has fit in so naturally and is just a plain awesome kid!  He's 9 months old and went from strictly nursing (every 3 hours and more at night), sleeping in my bed, fully weaned, sleeping all night in his own bed, crawling and pulling up in like 2 seconds.  It's crazy.  He's a super happy guy who is quite easy to manage.  He's learning boundries now that he's on the go but is so far an OK listener.  He LOVES his siblings and especially his "dada".  He doesn't seem to have quite as much fearlessness as Luke, but I do see a lot of Luke in him.  I could be wrong, but my bet is he will be walking by 10 months.  We'll see:)  

I have been LOVING the flag football league that I'm in.  I am on a team with a group of other super fun ladies and we call ourselves the "stingers".  I look forward to our game night and practice night and could play football every day if I could.  I managed to land a pretty sweet QB role and am having fun learning the 'ins and outs' of that position.   I'm also half way through the 90 day p90x program.  Definitely seeing some crazy progress in strength and toning.  I'm starting to doubt that I'll ever lose all of that extra baby belly....but there's definite improvement!  Overall it's a great program and I just feel healthy...which is an absolute blessing!  

Oh..and our family bought a cottage at Mechanic Falls....maybe I'll write a post about that on it's own...but until then, here's a pic of our 'home away from home'.  Otherwise known as "cottage sweet cottage":)

Other random pics...

Wow.  That took a long time.  So long that I've run out of time to actually edit this I'm posting it as is.  Here goes....