Last year, our cousins, David and Donna, were gracious enough to host our family out at their house on Lake Livingston. We had such a good time relaxing, swimming, digging for mussels, eating junk food, and just generally recovering from a very busy summer that we decided we needed a repeat.

Donna and David couldn’t be there this time, but we still managed to have some fun doing, well, a lot of the same things as last time.

We crammed our van to the gills…


{It makes me laugh because this pic doesn’t even begin to do justice to the sheer amount of stuff we took with us–all of which pretty much got used at some time or another}

…and set off for the lake house last Friday evening after Shaun finished work. One of the absolute best parts about this vacation is that is takes less than 2 hours to get from our house to the lake house.

We indulged in several things that we never do–like binge-watching HGTV and National Geographic (we don’t watch TV at home, so multiple episodes of Property Brothers and Creatures of the Deep is our idea of a treat) and eating Pop Tarts for breakfast.

Oh, and we can’t forget the Honey Nut Cheerios!evy cereal

It is so interesting  to see the differences in the twins’ personalities (there are many), but they are never more pronounced that when Miss Evangeline (aka Evy) is in one of her crazy moods. She can make an event out of anything, including eating cereal…especially when she has an audience who is egging her on.

lake livingston collage

From left to right: sleepily munching on Pop Tarts first thing in the morning, Nola’s fashion statements with goggles, our first family attempt at UNO (eh, it wasn’t a huge hit), watching a storm blow in from the back porch, trampoline time, “hanging out” on the swing, and enjoying the gorgeous views.

Of course, we also ate tons of yummy food.

vacation food

Which is great since this little guy is growing!

22 weeks

This shot is 22 weeks, and at 23 weeks now, I think I’m already noticeably bigger. Watch out!

I didn’t set toe in the lake even once, which is awesome since bathing suits and I are not on speaking terms at the moment. Also? I swam competitively for years and loved the water, but the older I get, the less interest I have in immersing myself in liquid on any kind of regular basis (unless we’re talking jacuzzi baths, of course).


I was a BIG fan of the swing on the back porch, though, and especially loved the night we watched a storm brew, complete with 20 degree temperature drops and enough wind to whip Della’s Rapunzelesque locks wildly about (they extend several inches past this shot, and I’m wondering if I shouldn’t at least consider a trim…nah).

She was fine with the wind, but this was her reaction after her brother told her to get off the trampoline or she was sure to be zapped by lightning and DIE!


Can we say, terrified? Side note: that girl can run.

Another favorite was a family walk (ahem, there might have been episodes of sprint races in there–complete with shots of me running with the twins in the stroller and Della perched on the handlebars–but they were documented too fuzzily to subject your eyes to them).


{The twins were chilling in the stroller}

Another beautiful sight my eyes beheld on this trip?

This one:


I love: 1) that my kids are old enough to participate in cleaning up and 2) that they think it’s fun.

Especially vacuuming.

della vacuuming

Of course, my absolute favorite thing of all is that we can do something like this as a family of 7 (soon to be 8!!!), and it’s enjoyable for everyone. Seriously. Pretty much nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids love and serve one another. Sometimes, I get so focused on training them and trying to correct selfishness or whininess or entitled behavior that it takes an elderly gentleman walking up to me at Sam’s and telling me how fortunate I am to have such sweet kids and how he noticed that they help each other and thinks that’s grand to make me step back and really drink in the wonder of the amazing blessings God has given me–hearing Ezra compliment Della with an enthusiastic, “Good JOB, Della! You put that pan in the dishwasher exactly right!” (No, I did not make that up) or seeing Simon reading to the twins or watching Della and the twins hug each other good morning every day.

Sure, they bicker. Yes, they hit and kick (or, in the case of this morning, throw sticks at each others’ faces…yikes!). They tattle-tale and shift blame and pout. They are very human little creatures (not too surprising considering their very human Mama). But they are also capable of great kindness, great mercy, and great love. And they never hold grudges. It teaches me so much about Jesus every day.


Sure, they’re lots of work, even on vacation, but they are so much more than worth it.

Any last minute end-of-summer vacations on your radar? Or are you already back to school? We’re not starting til after Labor Day (good thing too since I haven’t gotten all of my books in yet!), but this was definitely our last hurrah for summer.




  1. We are definately two weeks back to school and we always throw a last minute hooorahhh in right before they start! This year we just took a trip to San Francisco. I have two still at home (12,13) and a grandbaby (3). I agree they are my constant reminders of Gods amazing grace and wonder.

  2. Anytime I need a refresher on the wonder of God’s gifts and that I’m not the ONLY mother who has kids that can drive them batty at times {and I only have two teenage boys!} and needs lots of grace…I come visit your blog. I may not comment too much, but I’m definitely a lurking reader {…that doesn’t sound too creepy or anything} & just love getting a peek into your family!

    You may want to change your little comment loving paragraph – it should now read you’d consider making them your seventh kid 😉

    1. Oh! I forgot to say that I think I need glasses because when I first looked at the picture collage I thought Nola was wearing blue and green ribbons and was all, “awww! She is so cute with those rib…oh, she’s wearing goggles on her head! Still cute though!”.

    1. Well, Ezra likes the great outdoors, so we decided he could start riding on the roof. Ha! JK! It’s actually an 8-seater. We just have the seat in the middle out for the moment. It’s definitely going to be a tight fit, but I am not giving up my van with the remote controlled sliding doors until I HAVE to. 🙂

    2. I was thinking the same thing. We have a nissian NV, which is a 12 passenger and built in the some where in the south. It took a little getting use to but it has worked out really well for our family of 8. Each seat has it’s own head rest and there are no dangling seat belts are a few benefits compared to other large vans.

      1. We’ve actually looked at those, Heather, and when/if the Lord bless us with more kids, that’s probably the direction we’ll go. For now, we’re going to try to stretch our little minivan a little bit longer. It’s going to be quite the challenge because of all the car seat action we’ve got going on, but we’re going to at least try! 🙂 Good to know that it works for you, though!

I love hearing from you guys!