Friday, May 30, 2008

How could I have forgotten to mention this?!?

Joseph got me a great gift for graduation! Isn't she beautiful?!?

A first for me

I am doing something that I haven't done in well over a year. Joseph and I are getting away for the next 24 hours without any kids! We are so excited!!

I have to admit that I have never left the kids for any significant time and never left the girls for more than a few hours. When Caleb was a year old I left him for a couple of days and then again when he was 2. And then I left both boys to go to a Weekend to Remember when Caleb was 2 and Luke was 6 months old. That was really hard, but so worth it. And then when Caleb was three I left him with our friends the Ziggy's to go house hunting, but brought Luke with me. And I think that is the last time that I have left the kids outside of having the girls.

Yep, it is time.

And I have to admit that I wish that it were longer. But we made the decision that this trip would be a family trip and then in 3 years, when Joseph is done with residency, I want to do something big. Very big. And without the Darlings.

But, until then I am excited to get away with my love for a little reprieve from the drama Darlings. And I know that they are in great hands with my mom. We are coming back in time for gumbo tomorrow. And we all know how I feel about gumbo.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Mad generations

Joseph's parents and grandparents came from Alaska for graduation and to hang out with us afterwards. We were all so excited to see them since it had been almost a year since we had last seen them.

His parents have adopted 3 little girls and it was sweet to see my kids playing so well with them. They loved the babies and were really a great help with all my kids.

Another family joined us on our vacation!

We had another family join us on our vacation at Solomons and they were a huge hit with our kids! H-U-G-E hit!

We found this little family of swans right in front of our beach and once we started feeding them bread, they camped out here for the rest of the time we were at the beach. The kids were completely enthralled.

Aren't they beautiful?

Just some cute pictures of my kids at Solomons

Aren't the girls getting big?!?

Ella with her new shades that the Zigs got her.
The boys pretending to kayak. Caleb with his busted up face. His daddy was playing Frisbee with Caleb and I guess his face got in the way. Daddy heard about that one...

The girlie's first time drinking from a cup!!!! Hip, hip, hooray!!

Mad/Ziggy Vacation

Our amazing friends, the Ziggy's, went on vacation with us and as always it was a blast. We have had two other family vacations with them, one to Colorado and one to Alaska and have many great memories together. Mike and Amy were in our wedding and we had our first 2 kids within months of one another. They are treasured friends and watching our kids grow up together is a treat.
Here are some pictures of our time at Solomons Island...

Elise feeding Lily Kate and Amy feeding Ella. Bottle time was a big deal and there was always someone around who wanted to feed the girls.

Mike on the grill

Sweet Elise

I LOVE this picture of the 4 friends!

My Amy, her sweet baby and I enjoying another amazing sunset!

Solomons Island

After graduation, we went to this adorable little town called Solomons and stayed at this wonderful military resort. Joseph and I had taken the kids there a couple of years ago and had so much fun and thought it was a great place to take the kids back to. And it was! This time we called ahead, way ahead, and reserved a 5 bedroom cottage. It was beautiful.
The next couple of shots are of this awesome wrap around all weather porch that overlooked the beach. It was a great place to watch the sunset at night and have quiet time in the morning.

Above is the view from the dining table.

Joseph's parents and grandparents were in a cottage just down from us. Theirs was equally beautiful.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It feels like we're home

Well, we made it to my mama's house! Yesterday was our longest day in the car and the most painful yet. Oh, it was painful. Luke was terribly behaved, Caleb marked his territory all through Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, the girls were let out of their car seats for a total of 1 hour and slept even less than that all day and we got stuck in a traffic jam caused by 2 semi trucks colliding. By the time we rolled into a hotel it was 11:30 pm we had been on the road for 14 hours and we were all beat.

It was our first time driving at night and I had high hopes that my kids would go to sleep, but oh-no...those boys are not car sleepers! I had no idea what to expect the kids to do when we got to the hotel so late, but they were all awesome. They just laid down and went to sleep. Little Darlings!

Today started out rough. The boys needed a break from one another, so we moved everyone around in the car. Luke came up closer to us (so much easier to get to him when he was disobeying) and Lily Kate went back with Caleb. The difference that moving them made was amazing. Much better for all of us!

We are now at my mom's and it is good to be home. Especially this home!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We never did make it to Roanoke!

We are leaving the great state of Virgina today and I have to admit that I was impressed. It is a beautiful place with so much to do. Yesterday we went to the Natural Bridge and it was pretty amazing! I have pictures, but since Lovey is already showered and giving me the are-you-going-to-get-out-of-bed-and-help-me look, I will have to post them later.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On the road again...

We start the end of our trip tomorrow and I am so sad about that. This vacation has been amazing and I really am sad that it is almost over and that we have to go back to the real world. There were some stressful moments but that is to be expected, after all, we have been traveling for over 2 weeks with 4 young kids. When we are home and all is "normal" there are stressful moments. But the kids have done amazingly well and the girls have surpassed my most wildest dreams on our travels.

When we first told people that we were going to drive the 26 hours to DC for graduation, everyone just laughed at us. People thought we were nuts. (Especially because initially I was going to drive it by myself with the kids - that would have been insanity!) And even right up to the night before we left, we checked flight prices thinking that perhaps this was going to be way too much on us, but I am SO glad that we decided to drive with the kids. It has been precious time together that I will never regret.

Joseph and I both have many memories of family vacations in the car. Joseph and his family drove down from Alaska to the lower 48, many times, on vacation. My dad took my brother and I all across the country for the whole summer a couple of times. And I am confident that there will be many future vacations that we take as a family in the car.

Tomorrow we head to my mom's house and will be there for 4 or 5 days before coming home. I'm glad that our vacation isn't quite over yet! And after 20+ more hours in the car I may be singing a different tune at the end!!

Uniformed Services University Graduation

This is a picture of the stage before the ceremony began. This was such a unique and special graduation ceremony because USU is a military medical school, so there was a military aspect to the event as well. The Marine Corp band played for this ceremony.

Here comes the graduates!

I have to talk about this girl here for a moment. She is in almost every picture that I took of Joseph while he is sitting there during graduation and in almost every pose, she is doing this! Waving at her family, smiling at her family and making gestures to her family. And this is what my husband did...stoically stare straight ahead. Joseph told me later on that this girl had to repeat a year, so she was probably just excited to be graduating!

Here is my love taking the Hippocratic Oath.

And he is being hooded as a doctor in this picture. One would think that at this point I would be ready to snap this picture, but this came so fast I almost missed it! Sorry it's a little fuzzy.

And above is Lovey being promoted to Captain. This has been 7 long years in coming. He would have been a captain 3 years ago if he had not gone to medical school.

This is the 3 star Surgeon General of the Air Force, promoting the new Doctors to Captain.

Joseph, his Dad and Grandpa

Captain Maddry

Some of our best friends, the Ziggy's, came all the way from St. Louis for graduation and then spent the next week with us on vacation. Any is 7 months pregnant with their 3rd child and this is the first time that Amy and I have not been pregnant together!

This is Joseph's best friend, from the Air Force Academy, Jeremy and his wife Dana. We were thrilled that they came from Delaware for the big event!! They are adopting their first child from Guatemala and will be picking her up any day now. They named her Ella!

My sister, mom, and stepdad were all so excited for Joseph and so proud of him!

And it was such a blessing to have my stepmom come and help me with the kids. She adores them and is so great with them and they love her. Things would have been so much harder without her being there and so graciously loving and caring for all of us!

Somehow I never got a picture (with my camera) of Joseph with his entire family. His mom, dad, 3 adopted sisters and grandparents came for graduation and when I looked around to get a picture of the whole crew his dad and grandpa had left to go get the car. Hopefully someone else got that picture and if they did I will post it.

If only I knew how photoshop works!

This picture seriously cracks me up! We decided not to bring the kids to graduation (I can't imagine why we wouldn't want these 4 darling hoodlums there?!) so took pictures the day before. Well, Joseph had just got his cap, gown and doctor hood, but had no idea how to put them on. (I later found the instructions discarded on the floor, but then again my hubby is not a read-the-instructions kinda guy!) Well, the above picture is what happens when the "moms" (my stepmom and mother-in-law) step in to help dress you - a completely backwards doctors hood!!!

One day, when I learn photo shop, I will blacken that out since it is the only picture that we have of the 6 of us celebrating graduation! Look past the backward hood and aren't we a cute family?!?!?

Christian Physician's Oath

Joseph got to participate in something pretty cool the night before graduation - he was involved with Christian Medical and Dental Association and they held a Christian Physician's Oath ceremony. There was a praise and worship time and then they held the oath ceremony with a reception afterwards. It was very meaningful and sweet.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Y'all wanna see a cute picture?

(This picture has not been edited in any way! It was taken from the deck of our cottage.)

Change of plans

Did I say that we were going home in my last blog post? Well, I was just kidding. Initially we were going to head to my parent's house bright and early Saturday morning, but we were having so much fun with Joseph's parents (and we don't get to see them very often since they live in Alaska!) that we decided to hang out with them and tour some of this great country.

On Saturday we went to Philadelphia and did some of the historical sights there. I was super impressed with all that we saw and with the town of Philadelphia. Great town with so much history and so many things to do. Highly recommend going there. We should have stayed there longer, but decided to head to Roanoke, VA. And there is absolutely no rhyme or reason why we decided Roanoke. Seriously, I just looked at the map and decided Roanoke. Just like that. And that is where the drama began.

Well, we took a wrong turn and got lost in New Jersey. New Jersey doesn't seem that big on the map, but it's stinkin' huge when you are lost there. Joseph and I got into a major fight discussion, that made a bad situation worse and created this 2 hour detour. So Joseph's dad decided to take a stab at getting us back on track and thought that perhaps this would defuse the situation between Joseph and I. At this point I was driving and I had a strong suspicion that he had no idea where he was. Joseph confirmed that suspicion when he finally found us on the map and we were at the bottom of New Jersey headed towards the Atlantic Ocean. We were trying to get to the magical city of Roanoke. And once again I have no idea why we are going to Roanoke, but I knew that we weren't going to get there by driving into the Atlantic.

After we finally found our way back on track (Joseph and I at this point were on speaking terms at least) and got back to Philadelphia, we sat in downtown traffic for over an hour. This was the point where we laughed at how ridiculous we both are and how ridiculous the situation that we were in was. And as a side note, this is one of the things that I love most about Joseph - we can't stay mad long and we are able to apologize and move on quickly! Needless to say, we never ended up at Roanoke and stayed at this creepy hotel in Carlisle, PA. Which brings me to my next crazy story...

I decided to try Priceline for hotels because some good friends are always bragging about what great deals they always seem to get. So here we all are in one of my favorite eateries, Panera Bread, where I decide to try to Priceline a hotel. I had already found a hotel that I wanted to stay at, but it was kinda expensive so in my mind I thought that if I asked for a 1 star hotel, then I may end up with this particular hotel that I wanted. Now, even as I type that I realize that that whole scenario makes absolutely NO sense. I honestly was so tired, worn out from driving and WW 3 with my love, that I should not have been the one making any plans for my group. To save you from hearing all the drama, I will tell you (even though I am sure that there isn't a person reading this that wouldn't be able to figure out the following) if you want a nice hotel, don't Priceline a 1 star. I'm sure you are running to get a pen to write down these pearls of wisdom.

We woke up this morning to head 4 hours to Roanoke and decided about an hour into the drive that perhaps it would be fun to drive the Shenandoah National Park on their scenic skyline drive. And this is where I confess that all these "we" decisions are really "Sab Mad" decisions. Everyone is so laid back and I'm a control freak. As soon as we got to the entrance and realized that we had to pay $15 dollars to use their highway, we should have turned back, but didn't. Instead we spent the next 2 hours going 62 miles. And once again we have failed to make it to Roanoke. Seriously people, we are averaging 30 miles an hour.

But, we are having fun with Joseph's parents and making memories that will last a lifetime. I just am not sure that Roanoke will be in those memories!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Did you miss me?...

...or better yet, did you even notice I was gone?!?

I am finally back in the land of Internet!! I seriously think I was having withdrawal. And I really was missing blogging.

We are in Pennsylvania and are going to go to Sesame Place today. The kids and our friends are already there, but I am back at the hotel with the little beauties while they get a morning nap. They are so tired and have done awesome on this trip. At home they are used to taking their naps in their cribs, during specific times of the day, and seeing friends that they know. Since we have been on this trip, they have slept in different places, at different times and many days not gotten a decent nap all day. Added to all that is that the girlie's don't like strangers. And we have been blessed with seeing family and friends that we haven't seen in a long time...who also happen to be strangers to the girl's. I feel bad for the grandparents because the unfortunate part is that the girls are just starting to warm up to them. And we are leaving them today.

Solomon's Island was fabulous!! Our cottage was absolutely amazing! I have pictures, but will post them later. The only down side was that I was prepared for the blazing heat of Texas, not the cool temperatures of the east coast! I will write more on all that when I post some pictures.

After our adventures today we are going to head back to my mama's house!! We were going to go through St. Louis and hang out there, but we decided that it would be more fun to go home to my mom's and get some TLC there and also try to get away for the night and leave the kids. While this trip has been amazing and the kids have been delightful, we would love some alone time together before he starts his Intern year.

Well my friends, I just wanted to check in and let you all know that we are doing well! Now that I am back in the land of Internet, you will be hearing from me more often!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Dr. Mad! I love you and am so proud of you!!

(This is my favorite picture of the 2 of us! My camera battery died, so I don't have a picture of him alone!!))

(I have pictures that I want to post, but have no time right now! I will post them asap. I may not have internet access for the next couple of days, so enjoy some time off from the crazy Mad House!)