Sunday, July 31, 2011

Uncle David & Aunt Amanda's New Home.

Out of no where, I decided to pack up the kids, alone, and take a short trip to visit my brother David and his family. They recently moved from D.C. to Richmond, VA after David put in for a transfer request. He's an FBI agent and I think every 5 years he is allowed to ask to move, if he chooses.

We were invited to their 2nd son's 1st birthday party next weekend, but I thought it would be nicer to spend better quality time together, at their house, without the hussle and bussle of all the party chaos. We arrived on Friday about 2:30 pm and returned home Saturday around 3pm. My children were excellent both there and back in the car. It certainly helps that the drive was only 2.5 hours long.

David and Amanda live in a brand new home. The neighborhood is very beautiful and quiet. We spent our time mostly inside the house, allowing the kids to reconnect and play together. The weather was extremely hot, so later, after dinner and ice cream, the kids made the most of the 108 degree heat wave by using the irrigation system to cool off.

I am thankful that my children were able to spend some time with their cousins. I remember as a kid, those were some of my favorite times and as an adult some of my favorite memories. Unfortunately, due mostly to distance, they haven't made too many memories with each other, but I think it's embedded in us... you just know who your blood is and reuniting/reconnecting took no time at all.

David and Amanda, thank you for allowing us to visit on such short notice. Your home is gorgeous!!!!! Happy 1st BIRTHDAY Michael!!!!!!!!! Enjoy a few of the photos from our trip OR you can view the entire album at the bottom of this post.

Grandma's Gems!

Last Thursday, when Granee joined us for a "pop in playtime" at Pump it up, she brought Lilah a special surprise. Granee cleaned out her jewelry box, gathered all the small earrings that would fit Lilah's ears, and passed them down to her. Lilah may be a little too young to grasp the beautiful gift that this is, but I am not. There's nothing more special, to me, than receiving a gift that was once a grandparent's.

Granee, we will cherish these beautiful earrings. Every time Lilah wears a pair of these special earrings, she will be reminded of YOU!
We placed them in Lilah's jewelry box that she received for Christmas last year.
Lilah wore one of the pairs of Granee's earrings, today, to Church.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tough Mudder Group Enjoys A Day At The Lake!

Darren and a group of guys from our church (Aaron Fernandez, Toph Blankenship, Andrew Cundiff, Jeremie Shelor, and Jonathan Murphey) are training for the "Tough Mudder." Every Saturday, they meet at 6:30 am to train for it. Aaron has them doing INTENSE stuff. On top of an 8-10 mile run, they perform various obstacles/workout routines. Darren comes home WIPED out. Check out the youtub video on "Tough Mudder" to see exactly what these guys will be up against.
Last Saturday, the guys left Roanoke and headed to Smith Mountain Lake to train. They ran in the dead of the heat and then decided to swim miles and miles, cooling off, in the lake. Later the mommies and children met up with their hubby for a fun-filled day at the Lake.

Lisa's father owns this lake condo. He has a ton of fun amenities that add much adventure to the lake experience: a paddle boat, a jet ski, and a pontoon boat just to name a few. Aaron and Lisa were gracious enough to host this event. They ordered Quiznos Subs, had a cooler filled with drinks, and treated all the kids to ice cream. It was a very relaxing day. The fellowship was wonderful and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.

We look forward to cheering these guys on in October!!! Their team name is, "We Might Not Finish!" After all of their hard work, I have NO DOUBT they will finish this 10 mile obstacle coarse. Enjoy the pictures from our day spent at the lake!!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Granee's Gone WILD At Pump It Up!!

Last week Granee called to arrange a playdate with Tyson, Lilah, and Jax! We preplanned to spend Thursday together and chose to do it at a “Pop In Playtime” at Pump It Up! The kids are always filled with tons of smiles at these events, but I knew they’d be even happier with our guest (Granee).
We met Granee at the Tanglewood Mall and headed to Pump It Up. The kids spent over 1.5 hours jumping and running around. Granee joined in on the fun too! We’ve been joking since we left there that “Granee’s Gone WILD!” She had never been on the Pump It Up slide before so she had NO idea how fast it went. BOTH times she went down, her skirt flew almost over her head, revealing her “granny” panties! LOL! Beware this post is a little "X RATED", ha ha, not really. We were so thankful for her presence but even happier that she joined in on the fun. After Pump It Up, Granee treated us to lunch at McDonald’s.
The day was filled with many great rewards: some material and some much greater than that. Granee showered us with her presence, her time, and her laughter. She also treated us to lunch, gave the kids some “back to school” spending money, and as usual a bag of skittles. This is a tradition they do every time we gather together. The kids really anticipate it.
Later that night, we met Grandad and Granee at Katie’s Ice Cream Parlor for a sweet treat. Grandad was so kind to treat everyone AND then we got to take a peak at his new red shiny car that he bought after having to replace his old car, from being in a terrible car accident, in Myrtle Beach, a few weeks back. God was so gracious to keep them alive!
Thank you Granee for a special day! Until next time....

“Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren.” ~Author Unknown

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the day or you can view the ENTIRE album below.

"Woah! Granee, hold your skirt down! Your granny panties are showing!" :)
Josh and Ty having a blast together!
Jax finally manned up and braved the slide.
Granee fell after a FAST trip down the slide.
Lilah made her feel better by giving her some sweet kisses.
Mommy's TURN. Good thing I didn't wear a skirt. Who knows what that view would have looked like!
I love HER smile!

Grandad was jealous of the fun Granee had that day, so later that night we met them for ice cream. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pretty In PINK!

I'm really into "firsts" lately. I've been dying to paint Lilah's toe nails, but when I've asked her if I could do it, she hasn't seemed interested. The other night, I asked again, and she said, "yes!" I whispered in her ear and said, "Come on, let's leave these boys behind and go do something girly together!" She giggled and allowed me to whisk her away. We weren't even halfway up the stairs and I could hear Jax and Ty running after us.

I told the boys to leave us alone and to go be with daddy and I locked the bathroom door. They refused and sat outside the bathroom door asking us all kinds of questions.
I gave Lilah my basket of nail polish and told her to take her pick.
She chose a hot pink color.
But then spotted the black. You can see the wheels turning in this photo. I'm certainly glad she didn't pick black. I wouldn't have allowed it.
Her sweet toes BEFORE they got painted.
Mommy paints the piggies.
AFTER the tootsies were painted.
We let the boys in AFTER I was done painting her toes. One thing I am SURE no one knows about TY is he LOVES, LOVES, LOVES watching his mommy and sister get "dolled" up. He is also pretty obsessed with doing his sister's hair. So when I told him we needed something to dry his sister's nails, he ran away and came back with a fan. I'm a little fearful he may want to be a beautician one day :)
"Thanks bro-bro!" Lilah dries her nails.
I couldn't resist. I did her nails too.

She was like a littlle PRO!

Lilah was "tickled pink", lol, and couldn't wait to show her daddy. Unfortunately, daddy's response was.... "looks trashy!" :( And he followed it up with, "A little too Jonbenet Ramsey for my taste." I think she looks pretty in pink!

Tyson cannot wait for the next time we do this. He said, "Next time sissy has to paint her toes green!"

Bringing Back A Favorite!


It used to be a favorite game of mine as a child. I introduced Tyson to it when he was about 2 1/2 years old and he played it for a few years, but he hasn't opened the game since the twins have been born. Life's been a tad BUSY! :)
I gave the kids the idea to pull it back out while I cleaned up dinner.
I thought this was such a sweet moment to capture their little hands AND BIG hands playing the game!
I taught them how to play the correct way and that worked for a little while, but then the BIG kidS had to switch it up a bit. Whatever the switch up was, it created a ton of laughs.
This was Jax's version of getting his hippo to eat a marble. He placed the marble RIGHT in FRONT of his hippo's mouth. Tyson wasn't real happy about this because he is MR. COMPETITOR!!

After his hippo grabbed the "staged" marble, Jax would get so excited and yell, "I did it mommy!"

Before this post, I walked over to our game closet and counted well over 40 board games that we have for these children. YIKES! It will be a GREAT closet to send them to when they are a few months older and can really grasp how to follow the rules.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Saving It For A Mid-Afternoon "Snack!"

Today the kids went to the movies with Allison while mommy got a much needed break. As you probably have seen, every time I take them to the movies, I let them fill a snack bag of candy up to take with them. Beats paying $4.00 for a .50 cent box of skittles. Any whoooo, today, after Lilah woke up from her nap, I spotted her sweet innocent baby and a "mid-day snack" attached or rather STUCK to it. YUCK!!!!!!!!! We were wondering where the gum disappeared to during the movies.

Thank GOD for Goo Gone and a washing machine.

PS. Notice that "Baby" also has an addition to her "attire". I was swapping out Lilah's earrings the other day and I notice she had also picked out some earrings for her baby. It calmed Lilah down knowing that "baby" didn't cry when she was putting earrings in her ears. So I let her keep them in. So sweet and so cute, I can't take it!

Gamers At Play!

Obviously Lilah and Jaxon have NO idea what they are doing! BUT... whatever helps allow me to make dinner in peace is FINE by ME!

Touching Tuesday

Words cannot explain these beautifully touching photos!
She holds the key to her daddy's heart.
And he is the "apple in her eye!"

Butterfly kisses!

The boys were tucked away in "BIG brother's" bed, so Darren and I decided we would let Lilah come snuggle with us since she was all by her lonesome. Darren shut his bedside light off and said, "I never get time alone with Lilah. I just want to spend this time with her!" Ah- it's melt my heart moments like these that make all the CHOAS worth it!

A Trip To Paradise - Day 5

Day 5 was beyond bitter-sweet. We were so, so, so, so sad to say goodbye to Paradise Island, Bahamas, but we genuinely were psyched to see our children. Darren and I both agreed that we didn't feel like we left anything unfinished at the Atlantis. As a matter of fact, Darren said, "I'm not sure we will ever be seeing this place again!" I was really torn when he said that. Part of me agreed, but the other half of me was heart broken to think we would never revisit the place we once said "I do!" at. I think that it would be really neat to experience the Atlantis with our children on our 20 year wedding anniversary. Tyson will be 16. Lilah and Jaxon will be 12. Those are PERFECT AGES! Only time, money, and cost will tell if that will EVER work out.

Next year, Darren and I will have been together for 20 years (we started dating when we were 15 1/2). I wonder where we will go to celebrate this huge milestone :) Or an even bigger question, I wonder who will step up to the plate to watch our three kids. LOL!

4th of July - 2011

For the past 6 years, we have made it a family tradition to go to Myrtle Beach for the 4th of July. It just sorta “stuck” after we did it three years in a row. I am so thankful to have such a gorgeous beach condo to visit whenever time allows.

This summer our beach trips have been very infrequent. The only reason for this is because Darren and I went to the Bahamas. He doesn’t have a job where time off is accrued. I wish he had that privilege. I guess there are definite pros and cons to owning your own business. Either way, we are appreciative of the times we have been able to go this summer.

This trip started out with a flat tire in Greensboro. By the grace of God, we were in a very busy city (Greensboro, NC) on a very, very, very busy road that had over 10 tire places to choose from. When we walked into the tire shop though, it was closing in ten minutes. Needless to say, on a Friday, at 5:50 pm, the employees were less than happy. Oh well!!!!

We arrived safely and did something out of the norm for US and our routined life that we live. Instead of going straight to the condo, we started our trip’s adventures at 9:50 pm, by getting the kids an ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. THEN, we unloaded the car and began unpacking. Tyson MUST unpack as SOON as he arrives. He is so my child. He even organizes the pantry at the beach condo like it’s organized at home.

The 5 days we were there were spent either at the pool or on the beach. One of the days we treated the children to a fun day at Myrtle Waves. Of course we did mounds of eating out, YUMMY!!! As usual, we always explore Broadway At The Beach as well as Barefoot’s Landing. At Broadway, we witnessed a fun/live/free show put on by a man who reminded me of someone who would try out to be on “America’s Got Talent”. The kids really loved it!

We ended our stay with FIREWORKS: both viewing them and partaking in them! All three kids did sparklers, but it was really interesting to witness their difference in personalities while holding them. Ty the daredevil, Lilah even kill, and Jax aired on the cautious side! I guess it would be quite the BORE if they all had the same persona.

We are thankful to God that he has placed us in the country were we are FREE. Free to speak, FREE to live, and especially FREE to worship HIM!

Enjoy a few of my favorite photos from our trip OR you can view the entire album below. It's your pick!

One of my favorite pictures is this one below. This will one day be a faint memory, so I had to capture it. I am sure when I look back 20 years from now at this photo, I will be in tears thinking about how much I miss my children being so little and how I took their precious years from granted. BUT for now, I am in tears at the "pain" going to the beach with 3 kids creates. LOL! It's just SO MUCH STUFF!!!!!!! THERE AND BACK! And the sand.... UGH! I could make a blog post about my big issue and annoyance with sand. LOL!!!!! There are some that don't want a spec of sand anywhere near them. AND THEN, there are some that let their kids burry them in it.... JODY. EWE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She's my giant KID friend. How we are so close is BEYOND me. Jody = GIANT KID, Kristin = OLD LADY