Friday, August 31, 2012

Rays Of Sunshine


Welcome to our Friday series, Rays Of Sunshine.  Today, our ray of sunshine is Vicky!  Vicky is a stay at home wife & mother, has the voice of an angel, and a smile that will light up the room.  She is seriously one fun-loving gal that you just want to be around.  So, grab your rainy day morning drink of choice and meet Vicky as she gives us a small glimpse into her life.

Happy Friday! My name is Vicky and this is a day in my life! My thanks to the ladies at Circles of Sunshine for asking me to contribute this week! I am a full-time stay-at-home mom/wife and have been for most of the last 15 years. I have the privilege of taking care of and loving these guys…

                      Aren’t they a good looking bunch?! 
I also homeschool our youngest son so our typical day involves stuff like this:
                           which leads to fun field trips like these

and classic moments like this!

                                                               Good. Times.

As you can see, unlike the previous writers for the wonderful Rays of Sunshine series, I am in a later stage of life.  Our kids are 14, 18, and 22 so my husband and I are experiencing a new phase of life which seems to be a little slower, allowing us to savor and enjoy the sweetness of our relationship with one another and our kids.  Gone are the days of diapers, spit up, middle of the night feedings and, sadly, cuddly kiddos sitting in our laps begging us to read a book “one more time”…at least, until we are blessed with grandbabies! J
I know all moms my age and older say this (I remember hearing it when I was a young mom), but it is true; I miss those diaper days!  I wish I would have slowed down and enjoyed having small children while I had them.  I know that those are also hectic days and not always easy to appreciate when you’re in the midst of them but if I could give one piece of advice to young moms as the mom of two teenagers and a young man it would be to slow down.  Stop and take advantage of your kids wanting to spend time with you while they still have time for you.  The laundry, dishes, and floors can wait…they’re not going anywhere…but spontaneous moments of play and cuddling with your children are fleeting. 

Now, in the spirit of being an older mom with older kids, I am going to veer off the beaten path a little and share with you guys a not-so-typical day (well, weekend) in my life.  My days aren’t nearly as active and interesting as you younger moms and wives so I will share with you a day (okay, weekend) that is much more interesting!  Is that okay with you guys?!  Good!  Let us begin.
One thing I have learned to do better as the years of wedded bliss have gone by is to effort to invest more time in my marriage.  When our kids were younger, it seemed the last relationship in my life that got my time and attention was the one with my better half.  Thankfully, I have been blessed with a very understanding and patient husband. When our kids were little, time by ourselves was rare and the saying “few and far between” would fit how often we actually got away together.  As our kids have gotten older, we have been able to not only get away more often as a couple but actually leave the kids by themselves to take care of our pets and house.

After a difficult summer this year, my husband and I both agreed that we needed a weekend away, just the two of us, in order to relax, reconnect, and rejuvenate our relationship.  We left our youngest son, animals (we have a boxer and our youngest has laying hens), and home in the care of our oldest son and started our weekend away together.  For me, every morning, whether at home or away, begins with a hot honey and cinnamon drink.
I am not a coffee drinker (unless it tastes like candy) but even if I were, I would still start my morning with this concoction.  I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis a couple of years ago and was looking for an alternative to traditional medicine for arthritis pain.  My mom-in-law sent me an article about the wonders of taking the combo of cinnamon and honey daily.  I gave it about a month of drinking it every day, twice a day, and began to see a difference in the amount of ibuprofen I was taking.

I rarely take ibuprofen now and I usually only drink the honey and cinnamon in the morning.  For anyone interested, the drink consists of 2 tbs. of local honey and 1 tsp. of cinnamon in hot water. 
So, I started my first day of our weekend away with my cinnamon-honey drink then packed up the honey and cinnamon with the rest of our stuff for the weekend.   We hugged the boys, patted the boxer on her head, and jumped in the car.  Before leaving town, we stopped here
to gas up the car for our drive into the Ozarks to the cabin we rented for the weekend.  What an appropriate name for a gas station store and the beginning of our trip, huh?!  J

The weather was lovely as was the scenery on our drive to the cabin so we had to stop and take some pictures.

We are NOT professional photographers…I know, hard to believe, huh?!  In fact, we’re barely amateurs, so please forgive the quality of these photos but you get the idea.

After a mere two hours and some-odd minutes of driving filled with good music, uninterrupted conversation, and lots of laughter we decided to stop at a local restaurant in the town of  Jasper reputed to have “the best coconut cream pie in the state!” 
You should definitely check out them out if you’re ever in Jasper.  The burgers and fresh cut fries were pretty tasty too!

After filling up on a delicious lunch and ordering a piece of coconut cream pie to go, we loaded back into the car to drive the few extra miles to our weekend cabin.  The cabin, My Blue Heaven, is located on 125 secluded acres.  The first thing to greet us after we drove through organic blueberry fields was this lovely, long driveway.  The driveway led to a beautiful cabin set in the clearing of a valley, surrounded by hills.


We carried our belongings inside, put away our groceries, then we explored the cabin.  In a word,


We then explored the surroundings outside of the cabin; equally as gorgeous.

There were many relaxing pursuits available to us including 
bird and deer watching which we did from the back deck, losing track of time.

Feeling ourselves beginning to unwind, we decided it was time to make supper.  My thoughtful husband had the foresight to ask a friend to smoke some baby back ribs for our supper that night so I wouldn’t have to cook.  He also made his grandma’s cole slaw and brought baked beans. Told you he was thoughtful! 

After a delectable supper, we decided to take advantage of the seven person hot tub that was adjacent to the back deck.  See it there on the bottom left?
Ahhh…just looking at this picture makes my muscles relax!  It was wonderful to let the jets and hot water work away any remaining tension as we watched the sun set and the stars begin to come out (yes, we stayed in the hot tub that long)! 

Feeling lulled by the night sounds of crickets, we decided to take our relaxed selves inside where we watched A&E’s Barter Kings on satellite TV until we could barely keep our eyes open.  As is our practice, we ended our night by crawling into bed and praying together before drifting off into a peaceful slumber.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
The remainder of our weekend was spent in pretty much the same languid way although there was a hike down to the river which borders one side of the property and a brief walk to check out a smaller cabin located about 150 feet from the main cabin.  The smaller cabin is never rented out to anyone but the people renting the main cabin for the weekend if they need extra space.

Although this was not a typical-day-in-the-life post, I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless.  I have already given you guys advice as an older mom but I would like to leave you with advice as an older wife.  Try your best to make special time for just you and your husband.  It is important to the health of your marriage.  It is also a good example to your children to see you valuing your relationship this way.  Even if you can’t get away for a whole weekend very often, even once a week outings to grocery shop or get a coffee is a step in the right direction.  I think the younger wives I go to church with do strive to have weekly “dates” with their husbands and I am glad to see that they do!  They are much wiser than I was at their age about making time for the marriage relationship.  A happy, healthy marriage means a happy, healthy family! 

I hope that you guys have a blessed weekend!