Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Friends with lake houses!!!

It's great to have friends with vacation homes!! We love getting to be the guest! Early in the summer we went with our friends, the Clark's, to their cabin on the Spring River in Arkansas. It was one of the most perfect settings. A river you could almost walk across, a swift enough current to have a lot of fun, and some perfect rock islands in the middle to spend the day playing, fishing, swimming & kayaking!!

Shooting the rapids
 Fun on Rock Island

 Gabe's catch! He caught 1 sunfish & 2 bass.

Ansley attempting to surf behind the Johnson's boat at Wilson lake.
Going in!

 They LOVED jumping off the 2-STORY BOAT DOCK!!
 Playing with lots of kids at the Waggoner's lake in Scottsboro.
 Amelia cautiously enjoys the water :)
 Getting ready for Mr. Clint's wild ride!

Like I said, it's great to have friends with lake houses!! We hope we're invited back next summer ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday(s)!!

Contrary to the fact that I did not post the children's birthday pictures, they did indeed grow a year older this year and we did indeed celebrate them!

Ansley kicks off our birthday year with her January 22 birth date. You never know what kind of weather Ansley will have on her big day. When she was born, we were snowed in for a week. On her first birthday it sleeted and we had icy roads. On her 2nd it was beautiful and sunny and in the 60s. At her 3rd it was an average day in the upper 40's to low 50's. 4 &  5 followed the same pattern. January 22, 2010 started like any other January day in Alabama. It may have been frigid, it may have been on the warmer side. I can't remember which it was, but I do remember that the opposite weather rolled in at about 5:30p.m. Just in time for her birthday party. As I headed to Kidventure, it was sunny but started a strange kind of rain. 10 minutes later when the first party guest arrived he enlightened me that a rather large rotating cloud was hovering above the building we were in!! YIKES! He was so right, and it was pretty amazing. By the time Christian arrived with the kids and fellow party goers trickled in, we had a full blown funnel cloud moving across the city. We were in a great location (seeing that it was headed away from us) to take some great pictures!

The party did indeed go on. As a matter of fact, some people were glad to be there because they had no power. In the end quite a bit of damage was done. Several injuries, but if I recall correctly, no fatalities.

It was a huge party with all of her Kindergarten class. I'm not sure where the pictures are...I'll have to do some searching.
School celebration :)
I cannot believe another year has gone by and we have hung on to those signature curls. Sweet girl, I must admit you are growing up! (insert sniff) You are still wildly independent, need your alone time, and  you are so helpful around the house. You take precious care of your baby sister and tolerate your brother quite well. You truly are an original! We love you so much!!!

March 31st, 2010
Amelia wanted a "Bubblegum" party this year, and boy did we deliver!!
Oh my. Is all I could say when this was inflated!

I found someone to make an incredible cake! I was not expecting it to be this great!
She gets a little overwhelmed every year when we sing "Happy Birthday".
 Our staple birthday treat every year. The same lady did the cookies in the back as did the cake. They were incredible!

Another smashing success of a 3 year old party :)

I have always thought that children change more between 2 & 3 than any other age.  Thankfully this is true for Amelia. I never had a child to experience terrible 2's...but Amelia Jane did!  We complained that she was impossible, ornery, persistent, difficult, monstrous,  and probably a whole other string of adjectives. But I must say that she has become the most loving, grateful, sweet, precious, adorable sweetheart I've ever known. She says "kank-you" for every meal, snack or nice gesture you give her. She wants to hug, kiss, stare into your eyes, and rub and pet you to death. (us & the cat!) Gabe & Ansley simply adore her and we all spoil her rotten. She's definitely got a way to your heart! Love you sweet Mil!

GABE 8!???!! NO WAY!!!

Now I officially feel old. 
May 7th, 2010

Gabe celebrated by inviting 3 great friends over after school. Brandon, Aiden & Jack Henry. All very nice, polite, well behaved young boys. But when they were all together....let me tell you, "wound-up" was an understatement. They played football in the back yard. Yes, full tackle. They played a little Wii. Then we cooked out & headed to the ballpark for a Huntsville Stars game!

They had a great time. Not sure which they liked more...the game, or the concession stand!

Gabe you are still smart as a whip! Can't keep a book out of your hands. You have great friends who respect you. You are full of a thousand questions! You have learned to speak to adults and have a conversation with them. You adore your sisters and love hugs, kisses, and cuddles. For these things I am thankful!! We are so proud of you and think you are right on track for a very bright future. Keep up the good work big man. We love you so much!

Even Daddy got a cake this year. A Tres Leches cake. Oh. My. It was rich & yummy. It was my kinda birthday cake. The kids each made him a card. 37 & still a looker! I think we will keep him! At least for another 37 years. Happy Birthday to the best Daddy ever!
That's a quick wrap up on birthdays. Christian & I don't do a whole lot of celebrating for our own birthdays usually and I hope that changes one day when we are not smack worn out from parenting. Although, I must add that I will be posting about hanging out with some of our besties, the Hirst family on my birthday weekend. Good times!


Seeing that it is almost Fall Break  {Santa Rosa Beach here we come!!}, I could only find it appropriate to share Spring Break !? Better late than never!!

Last March about 7 days before spring break, our good friends The Waggoners called and asked us if we wanted to join them on a 7-day Caribbean cruise!! It is very uncharacteristic of us to:
A. Be spontaneous
B. Take a luxurious Vacation
C. Spend Money
D. All of the Above!

But we did it and had such a great time! 7 days flew by. The kids were awesome travelers. We can't wait to do it again someday!

We left at 6pm on Friday after work and drove through the night to Miami! CRAZY! But we made it safely and it was worth it!!
Leaving Miami's South Beach...

Our Ship, The Norwegian Pearl:
There was so much to do without even leaving the ship. The kiddos loved swimming, sitting in the "kid hot-tubs"when it was chilly,  visiting the "Kids Club", playing shuffleboard, basketball, rock climbing (!), seeing nightly shows, and not to mention unlimited cookies & ice cream!!!! --which was my personal favorite!!

 Kids playing shuffleboard on deck
 The giant slide!
Gabe on Rock Wall!!
Reading in our awesome ocean view lounge beds! And Clint & Leah snoozing...

In our cabin... {note that look Amelia is giving!}
Me & my sweetie...

Our Island excursions included Samana at Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, Tortola and unfortunately our last stop on Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled due to rough seas :(
 At Samana, we found a friendly little guy who took us to our own private beach! For a brief moment as we traveled 45 minutes over a mountain by dirt road, we worried that we may never return to our cruise ship...leaving civilization with a complete stranger is probably not recommended.
but it would not have been a bad place to be deserted :)

St. Thomas...beautiful. Opted to tour this day instead of beaching it. We visited black beards castle instead. time probably will take the beach option.
 The kids all got "keys to the island" and loved Black Beard' castle!
 Group shot :)

Locals...eek! Just swaggerin' around...


You have to rinse the sand off somehow (!!)
Whale siting!!
One of the kid's favorite things was to come back in the room at night and see what kind of towel pet the housekeepers had left behind. They were so awesome!
I'll be the first to admit how reluctant I have ever been to go on a cruise, but I must say, it was one of our best week's ever!! 

I'll leave you with some beautiful sunrises...