Monday, July 18, 2011

San Destin, Florida

We were lucky enough to get to spend a few days with my mother and sister in San Destin, FL while my sister attended the Mississippi bar convention. We only went down for the last half of the week, but the kids had fun seeing the ocean and swimming.
They both LOVED the beach. We built sandcastles and frolicked in the waves. The water was kind of gross, full of algae, but they didn't seem to notice. Every time they launched themselves into the water I ended up picking green slimy strings of algae out of their hair. Yes, gross. Thank you BP for your oil spill.Such a goofy kid...I've been so pleased with the kid's swimming skills. They're both taking to water like little fish. Ella is really impressing me with actual strokes. She's really mastering freestyle. Sterling is also making huge strides, swimming unassisted for about 2 yards at a time. Sterling also accidentally started diving while we were on vacation! Yes, it's a hard life, but someones got to live it.One of the activities offered to children at the convention was a build a bear party. Ella immediately chose a panda to dress, and Sterling chose a puppy.Stuffing their animals.Sterling's finished product.Sadly, it rained while we were at the beach. It rained A LOT. For 3 days. So, we spent a lot of time just hanging around the condo. Not so much fun, but the kids found plenty of ways to entertain themselves.Enjoying some giggles...Just my handsome beach bum...The following are just a bunch of pictures I took on our last day at the beach. They're unedited, but I figured the grandparents would all be anxious to see them. Warning: there are a lot! Enjoy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

June 2011

We had so much fun in April on our "mommy and me" boat trip, we decided we needed to do it again! This time the boat was at absolute capacity with 7 moms and our 9 children. Seriously, I had to do math to make sure we wouldn't sink the boat with our combined weight! Luckily for us, we didn't capsize but instead had another wonderful time.
We've been so blessed to make such awesome friend's through Sterling's therapy center, to include this amazing little girl. She's truly a miracle, a spit fire, and a favorite friend. Her mother has also become one of my good friend's. It means so much to me to know women who can relate to the challenges of life with a special child.
All the kids had so much fun playing together on the beach, building sand castles and the like.
All the mommies tried to enjoy soaking up the sun in between wrangling little people.
Grammy also got this awesome pool for her house. The kids love it so much...and so do the moms!
Sometimes our weekends are so full of boating, a girl just has to get a nap wherever she can!
We also have enjoyed pulling the kid's on the inter tubes (at very slow speeds). They were a little hesitant the first time I took them on the tube, but now they are excited to ride and think it's hilarious to watch mommy and daddy try to knock each other off the tubes.
Enjoying some time on the water...
Michael's garden this year is one of his best yet! He found the perfect spot for it in our backyard and has planted tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, watermelon and a variety of herbs. It's growing beautifully and we're enjoying it's bounty.
These are Ella'a flowers. At Easter she picked up the petunias for the living cross at church. Unfortunately in our rush to make it to church on time Easter morning, we left her flowers at home. Instead, we let her plant them, and she has been so proud to watch her flowers grow!So, we loved Grammy's little backyard blow-up pool so much we had to get one of our own! It's so ghetto, but the kids love it, and it really is a refreshing way to spend a day at home. Yes, I know we have a lovely boat we could take out if we wanted to be water logged, but what kid doesn't love splashing around in a pool? It's a quintessential summer memory!

And it's truly the perfect size for these kiddos!
We headed over to Atlanta for a doctor's appointment and to catch up with one of my long time, nearest and dearest friend's who was in Atlanta for a wedding. We spent almost everyday at Grandmere's neighborhood pool; the same pool I spent every summer of my childhood in!

It was so wonderful to catch up with Leah and her three beautiful kids. Life has taken us both in very different geographical directions, and she has settled down in Pennsylvania. This is actually the first time we've seen each other in over three years! The last time we were together, Ella and Sterling were 9 months old, her oldest was 3-years-old and her youngest daughter was about 22 months old. Now she has a new little boy who is TWO, and those girls have grown up along with my own children! It was so good to see you Leah, let's not wait another 3 years before we meet again!
Sterling fell head over heels in love with Katelyn, and I must say, he has fantastic taste! She is simply beautiful. He still has not stopped talking about Katie.
Look, we can stand in the 3 feet deep part of the pool now!
The next generation...Sterling, Katelyn, Andrew, Lorelai and Ella. The last time they were all together (minus Andrew, of course): Children are the surest marker of time.
When we returned to Alabama our neighborhood had it's annual Flag Day parade. It's really kind of cute and small town quaint. All the neighbors parade down the street with flags, ending up on the lawn of the Frank Lloyd Wright house on our street. Yes, we have a historic Frank Lloyd Wright house on our street just a few doors down. Pretty cool!

The kid's rode one of their tractors in the parade. I was a little nervous that Sterling might run someone over, but he was an excellent driver!

Enjoying some refreshments...
This year was also the first year the kid's were old enough to attend vacation bible school at our church. I was lucky enough to be their VBS teacher, so I had double the fun watching them enjoy it!

All the little 4-year-old VBS class...
I spent the whole week at VBS mixing Ella up with Kennedy, can you imagine why? It's even more confusing from behind!
We also made our first attempt at camping this month. Oh boy, what an experience! Let's just say, we didn't actually sleep outdoors and luckily, no one was seriously harmed.
Everyone enjoyed roasting marshmallows for s'mores. So much so that Sterling managed to get a glob full of fiery burning marshmallow on his back! Luckily we got his shirt off before he was burned!
The girls were all about giggling in sleeping bags. The boys on the other hand thought it was much more exciting to play on the swingset in the dark.
Telling "ghost" stories in the tent...
Father's Day was a low key event spent at home with our dear ole'dad. We started the morning off with breakfast at Cracker Barrell (his choice), then spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the backyard.
She looks so grown up here, doesn't she?

We also enjoyed our local children's museum. It's really a gem of a place, and I'm sad we don't utilize it more. It's great fun and there are endless amounts of things to entertain the kids there. I'm truly considering looking into a membership. Hint, hint grandparents? Would make a great Christmas gift!

This boy LOVED the precussion room!
We also celebrated our dear friend's Maddox and Lucy's 4th and 3rd birthdays. They truly have been their lifelong friends!
Okay, why do 4-year-olds have to make such horrible cheese faces? Seriously, it's hideous.
Ella started jazz and tap class this summer. She's at the same studio she took ballet at this past winter, and so far she seems to love it.

We also took swim lessons again with the same lady who taught them last year. Ella is just a natural little water bug. She loves swimming, and by the end of the week was swimming unassisted from one side of the pool to the other. The only problem she had this year was listening to the teacher. She spent more time wanting to show the teacher what all she could do in the off!
Her natural water abilities remind me of her namesake!
Sterling likes the water too, but he likes it more on his terms.
He did love practicing with the kickboards, and we had to buy a few for our home pool.
We've had mostly sunny days this summer, but a couple torrential rainfalls have driven us indoors. On those days there's nothing to do but grab a good book and find a cozy spot to read, I suppose!
Ella is still taking ballet this summer (in addition to the jazz and tap class). Her friend from school, Joanna also signed up for the summer. Hum, I see two little girls acting silly and not like little ballerinas!
Pretty little ballerinas. Since Lucy just turned 3, she was old enough to join the class. Ella totally big sistered her the whole time. If Lucy was too shy to talk to the teacher, Ella was her voice.

More swimming lessons. Girl can float forever!
We celebrated Maddox's birthday (yes, again!) and everyone got their own cupcake to blow out.
More swimming at Grammy's...
And playing hopscotch, or as they say it "hopth-scotched".
And of course, like father like son. Every time Michael mows the lawn, Sterling gets on his tractor and brings up the rear. I don't think I'll ever have a problem getting a teenaged Sterling to mow the grass, do you?
We have truly been having a wonderful summer. Lots of long days have been spent outside enjoying the sun and water! I love getting to enjoy summer through Ella and Sterling's eyes. It's truly like being a kid again! I love that we spend so little time indoors that we've stopped even running the A/C except for at naptimes and nights. Hey, after spending 3 broiling summers in Korea with no A/C, I refuse to ever sleep in heat again. I love that despite applying lots of sunscreen with outrageously high SPF's my children are tan and brown. I love getting to spend this time with my kids and know it's not forever and one day summers will be filled with camps that take them away for weeks at a time. And I'm looking forward to more fun in July!