Different Accomodations

*Day 17 of 31 days of Traveling & Living Overseas with Kids

**All stories are true.

With our larger size family and the desire to continue to save money

in the hopes of adopting again,

we look for safe and clean living quarters in any country we visit.


One website we like to check out is Airbnb.com.

We’ve used it in Israel & Spain and love it when it works out!

We get more space for sometimes less money than a hotel!


We’ve stayed in a few swanky hotels sometimes to offset our grungier stays or for safety reasons.


We’ve camped in the desert in Jordan.

But I have to admit, this is the nicest camping I’ve ever done!


And we’ve stayed in a few not so great spots, like this one,

where the shower had missing tile that went into the airducts.

And the previous hotel a bathroom wall fell on me,

it wasn’t our favorite stay and I assume that’s why I didn’t take a picture!


We spent the night in a cave hotel in Turkey which was lovely!


We’ve made memories of 2 nights in a riyad in Morocco

which reminded me of a hostel type setting.  IMG_6515


Friends have kindly offered for us to stay with them as well

which has helped in our kids having playmates & more toys!

I have enjoyed staying in all these locations for various reasons,

but always my bed at home is my favorite spot!


Old fashion games without water toys

We brought our goggles, puddle jumpers, one young lady’s swim cap and found some empty disposable water bottles.


We had the entire day to burn and with a swimming pool and imagination and lack of toys, we dived right in. 

Mermaid imagination happened.

The kids dove for coins.

And played swimming under the bridge. (The bridge being my legs…)

When the kids tired out, we whipped out audiobooks and relaxed in the shade. 


With water came an ice bucket that provided an hour of fun for the littlest.

And when we headed out, we rung this little lady’s hair because the hair cap couldn’t keep it all dry.  It was a fun pool experience! No rules like no running, or no glass bottles or not yelling. Just silliness and sun!

I feel like the Absent-Minded Professor

I have brilliant ideas…just I’m typically 2 steps behind and late.


I may have some creative juices in me but they are pushed behind the daily to-do’s and maintaining schedules.


Pinterest can sometimes push me into guilt but also it can provide examples and countless ideas.


I would love to bring more creative fun into our family but at what cost? More stress? More expense? Less sleep?


In a couple months I’ll have some breathing room before the big move.


So channeling my Absent-Minded Professor side, I embrace repentance, a slower-thinking mind, more cuddles and grace for the now.

Before & After Hawaii

When we left for Hawaii, we were pasty, ready for a change and hoping for a few challenges!

First full day in Hawaii

First full day in Hawaii

Although there are 100 reasons why we were excited about this trip,

one was to encourage the kids to get out of their comfort zone.


Tan-less baby

 In a relaxed setting, the kids were pushed out of their comfort zones to try

new things,

eat new foods,

and meet new friends!


The girls with their matching tattoos & paler complexions.

Hallmark overcame his fearful impression of the ocean and waves.


Once she got heated up, Joyful would leap into the water

and remembered how to swim (from 2 summers ago)!


Joyful finding new ways to get sand everywhere.


About the halfway point of our trip

Mother’s Day was celebrated in Hawaii with some delicious chicken and waffles and these munchkins!

I was pushed out of my comfort zone by running with my brother in law’s military group.

Intimidating and fun!


Joyful was able to get over her sandy issues and delight in the grit.


Batman and boogie board

The last week of the trip, Hallmark would adventure out into the ocean by himself to get water.

He even would grab a boogie board and go out with the Third.


A true adventurer

We also acquired some sunnier skin tones and beachy sun-bleached hair!


The babies at the beach being goofy.

The kids had their first motorcycle ride with Uncle J.


Hallmark looks a little uncertain on the motorcycle.


Joyful is always ready for a motorcycle ride!


The Third happily ready to go!


Hallmark was given the privilege to row our boat with our ever exciting guide.


The kids also learned about spear throwing.



We hiked Diamond Head too!

Trying Hawaiian shaved ice was a new experience and certainly an easy way to win over the kids to trying new foods!

Trying Hawaiian shaved ice was a new experience and certainly an easy way to win over the kids to trying new foods!

We left refreshed, pushed to new limits and thankful for the love of our family!

Are you intentional with getting your kids to try new things?

If so, how do you encourage them?

What sorts of things do you have them try?


When Praying Gets Routine

I had gotten into a rut. Praying the same prayers. As if it were just rote memorization but not actual communication to my Lord, Guider of all life.


After reading two books, one on praying and the other on living to abundantly bless those with our excess I opted to do a praying experiment.


I didn’t have grandiose plans for the short experiment but was curious to see where it led.

I realized I had some excess time that I could funnel into prayer time instead of Instagram or blog reading/writing time.


Starting with 5 minutes on the first day, I prayed and added 3 minutes each subsequent day.

I was curious if my ever distracted, multitasking mind could handle praying for long periods of time.

I was curious if this alone time would boost my relationship with my Savior or leave me even more “bored”.


Just as some days are mundane ones, others are filled with new experiences. I found the prayer time similar to daily life. If I was focused and seeking time with God, the prayer time sped by. Likewise if I was tired, I’d easily get distracted or fall asleep.

I left the experiment wanting more. More prayer time, more quiet moments in His presence, more earnestness to seek Him. I long for asking big prayers and seeing big answers.


I learned that:

1. A prayer journal is really helpful.

2. Recording my prayer list helped me stay on task.

3. Adding Scripture verses to various prayer points gave me beautiful words that I could really understand and ask forthrightly.

4. Starting a timer on my phone gave me total freedom to pray and be in communion with Christ knowing I had set aside the time and made the time priority.

5. During my longer prayer times, I found my days flowed better. I was content and peaceful. All my concerns I had already laid down at the feet of Jesus. All I needed to do was wait; listening and watching for the answer.


I worked up to an hour but felt led to stop when I noticed I had to multitask to complete the allotted prayer time within a 24 hour period before falling sleep.

After asking my husband for wisdom on when I should end the experiment and we mutually agreed that it was probably the right time to end it, I had to battle guilt.

My sinful heart loves to accuse me of giving up for the wrong reasons, heaping coals on my head reminding me how human I am. So I have prayed in the short quick moments in the day that I wouldn’t bow to guilt.


Now that I have been able to digest this experiment, I hope to build in a little more blocked prayer time into my daily routine.

Did you know Martin Luther prayed for at least 2 hours every day? I may not have the fortitude of Martin Luther but surely I can chisel out 15 or 20 minutes in the early quiet to talk to my King.


And I recognize that there will be seasons of my life where even those few precious minutes will need to be elsewhere.

Praying to the Prince of Peace has given me the direction to the flow of my life.