I am giggling a little over here for deciding to share this period of time, but I have had very little mental capacity to do so up until now. (Insert emoji crazy face). Last April was full of so many great memories that I just had to still share. We had Easter, Devin's birthday, an overnight trip, and an exhausting, but memorable date. In addition to all of that, my sister, Danielle and niece, Sami came down to surprise the boys and ended up staying with us for three weeks!
It had only been a few months since we had moved into our new house so there was still a ton of boxes and totes everywhere. It had also only been a handful of weeks since Ralph came home to pursue different business ventures. It was just a TAD bit hectic!
Our visit with my sister and niece was packed full of hikes, baking, cooking, morning runs, mini projects for the new house, school work, the beach, Bible Study, card games, movie watching, and more.
In the middle of all of that fun, we celebrated Easter together. The year before they came down for Easter, too and loved it so they wanted to make it a yearly tradition. Ralph, Danielle, and I had fun hiding their baskets and the ones from Grammemaw who sent them down with Danielle.
Devin’s seventh birthday also occurred while my sister and niece were visiting. We hosted a birthday party with some of our friends and extended the celebration with one of his buddies, Israel, who had just turned nine. These friends have become like family. We are so grateful that they want to be a part of these special days with us.
Liam and I slipped away on an overnight trip with some of the Hancock's for a few of our kids to do a triathlon in Boca Raton, FL. It was a lovely bonding time for us all and a nice little getaway. We all love road trips! I am full of pride and even find myself tearing up when I watch Liam do these.
Also, on one of our Wild and Free hikes, Connor walked through poison ivy. Though he wasn’t affected by it, he managed to pass it onto me as I was carrying him. It just may be one of the greatest forms of torture that's ever existed. It persisted for close to a month. I finally resorted to a steroid cream grateful to be living in modern times where pharmaceuticals exist. This wasn't my first rodeo with this stuff, so I was prepared. Now people in our Wild and Free group ask me to point out poison ivy on our hikes so they don’t ever have to look like Ms. Courtney did.
My niece, Sami was able to go into Magic Kingdom for the first time thanks to her friend, Reagan whom she met through our Wild and Free group. It was a “magical” day for both her and Danielle that I am so happy they were able to share.
Ralph and I also did the Mammoth March (https://www.mammothmarch.com/) and hiked 21.5 miles. Before we signed up, Ralph had said, "looks like the perfect date." We really enjoyed the time alone together and the opportunity to talk for hours straight with no interruption. We did NOT train for this unless you want to count a couple of mile hikes with our kids.
About halfway through, we were starting to feel it. By about 15 miles, we were basically just looking at the ground putting one foot in front of the other. If we stopped, it hurt more so we just kept moving except for a couple quick bathroom and food breaks.
In the last two miles there was a severe thunderstorm, so we started to run. We wanted to finish this thing and not get picked up. We went through the finish line with barely a soul around through the pouring rain, thunder, and lightning. We managed to get a fellow hiker to take a photo of us holding our medals. Somehow she had switched it to video and there's grid lines, but we still got that photo dag nab it.
It took us just under eight and a half hours to complete it which was apparently average. I wasn’t sure by the end what was worse. Hiking 21.5 miles with no training or child labor without drugs. Ralph said, "I will never do one again!" I would. I've had two drug free births so I'm used to intense pain. ;)
Ralph's one foot hurt for a good couple of months. I had giant blisters on my heels that I didn't even know were there until my sister saw them while laying on the floor underneath me as I was resting on the couch. To top it off when we got home, Ralph said, "Court, we're only a couple hundred away from hitting 50,000 steps!" So we both walked around the house until we reached 50,000 steps because it's likely that amount will never happen again.
We made a trip to Cocoa Beach where I took photos of Sami and gave her some modeling tips. Sami is a beautiful ray of sunshine. I hope that I was able to depict that well in her photos.
(I wouldn't recommend leopard print clothing for modeling on the beach, but I am glad Sami captured this one while I was showing her posing ideas.)
It was hard to say goodbye, especially for our sweet Devin. Florida has become like a second home for my sister and niece. Sami even volunteers at our church in the kid’s area. I am grateful that they enjoy traveling down here to see us and take advantage of the overwhelming amount of things you can do in Central Florida.
It is visits like these that reinforce WHY we homeschool. The freedom all of us had, the things we ALL learned, and the bonds that were strengthened in those three weeks made an impact on all of us. It will have a ripple effect for years to come.
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