Bedtime Stories, Smores, and Parades – seven places I found joy in the chaos this week

Every week I like to take a moment to showcase the moments that brought me the most joy. Sometimes they are awesome activities and other times it’s a sweet moment between the kids. There are always moments that can fill us with joy if we choose to see them with a thankful heart.

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What a fantastic week of vacation! We traveled the six hours to Micah’s parent’s house because it’s a great place to hang out. They currently live on an acreage almost in the middle of nowhere so we can run around yelling without disturbing neighbors, stay up late to see the stars, drive around on a four wheeler, and spend lots of extra time outside. Plus the best part – all the family time! 

The other reason we went down is because his parents are selling the acreage. They move toward the end of the month so we decided to make the journey now to help with lots of the packing and clean up. Fourteen years in one place plus nearly a decade of doing foster care for teens in this home means there was an abundance of leftover items to go through. We sorted through attic storage, hauled wood, cleaned out the workshop, started filling a dumpster and trailer, and began packing boxes. We were so happy to help knowing that we can’t be there for the actual move. We are excited for them but there is a feeling of sadness wrapped up in this move for everyone in the family. We’ve all made lots of memories at their home including our wedding! So despite some tears at the end of the week as we drove away there were still so many moments of joy. 


1. Bedtime stories by (phone) flashlight

Our oldest niece (she’s 5.5years old) spent the night with the kids and Grammy read them all a book in the dark. I loved seeing the four of them gathered around and listening so intently. 


2. All the cousins!

It’s not very often we can get the entire family together anymore because we all live spread apart but we planned early and got all of us together one last time at the “farm.” All eight cousins got to run and play and be incredibly loud and wild together. 


3. Extra special 4-wheeler ride

We worked on cleaning out the furniture in the basement and after all the extra hard work was done the couch got pulled out. The kids were begging for a ride so we piled 6 of the 8 grandkids (one was too little and the other was off in the front yard) on the couch in the trailer and Micah and his brother walked along side. The kids got a HUGE thrill and we got work done. Yay!


4. Visiting Great-Grandparents

Micah’s great-grandparents (his mom’s parents) live not to far from his parents so we took a morning to stop in and see them. The kids are always thrilled because they know Grandma V always has cookies in her cookie jar and we love watching the kids interact with their family. Cade was not in the mood to take a picture at the end because I had the gall to take him to the bathroom before getting ready to leave. I’m such a terrible mom! But at least we have this great picture, no matter the moods of the kids in it. 


5. Cousin makeovers

Micah’s mom used to be a Mary Kay consultant and as we were cleaning out different areas of the home we came across a bin full of her old products and samples. We took the sample case and let the two girl cousins give each other make overs. They LOVED getting to doll each other up and took such care to pick out colors and apply the make up just right. These are definitely to be used for graduation boards down the line!


6. S’mores

We made smores three or four times this week around the fire. We lit the fire solely for s’mores. It was too hot to really sit around it so we would make it after dinner and only build it large enough to quickly get embers for roasting marshmallows. I like my s’mores with peanut butter cups rather than regular chocolate – yum!


7. Parade!

We’ve started the second leg of our vacation road trip to see family and now we are with my side. Their local parade took place on Friday night so we all wandered up to the parade route to wave at my sister riding in the fire truck and collect lots of candy. The kids were EXHAUSTED by the time we made it home but they had so much fun at their first parade. 


Where did you find joy this week? What are your favorite things to do for a large family gathering?


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