Saturday, July 28, 2012

You were so special to me!

On July 25, 2012, my grandmother had her 81st birthday. I was able to spend about 10 minutes on the phone talking to her. The very next day, my grandmother past away. My life was definitely unique being born to parents ages 16 (mom) and 18 (dad). I have experienced a lot about life that my own children hopefully will never have to experience, EVER, but as much as I have coveted those who have had a "normal" childhood, I cannot complain about my own. Those experiences have provided me with opportunities that produced growth in my life, somehow, someway.... tangent.... sorry.

Few things in my life were consistent and constant. VERY FEW. One of those things was the love for my grandmother. She was so special to me. She was truly the only grandparent I've ever had a relationship with AND if it wasn't for the distance (separated by states), I know we would have had a "normal" grandparent/grandchild relationship. We kept in touch through the telephone though. We shared a special date together, February 9th (my birthday and her anniversary to my grandfather).

A breast cancer survivor which included a radical mastectomy, she has endured it all. Recently, she was diagnosed with another cancerous tumor. We knew that her age, the cancer, and time was against her, but after speaking with her on the phone, on her birthday, I thought for sure she had a few more weeks (maybe months... 2 at the most) to go. I am not sure it has really hit me yet. This is the first funeral I will have attended where it has directly affected me personally. I covet your prayers.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to spend an evening with her at my sister Ashely's wedding less than a year ago. I am holding on to the last hug I gave her and will cherish it for the rest of my life.

"Mema" or "Grammy", as I liked to call her, had 19 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

I will always love you grandma!

"Where In The World Is...KRISTIN?"

To avoid a horrendous 9 hour drive, to New York, via CAR, for my grandmother's funeral, my husband was gracious enough to bless me with a plan ticket. I left Roanoke at 11:09 am. Upon arriving to Charlotte, NC, my flight to New York kept getting postponed due to weather delays. I was supposed to leave Charlotte at 1:10 pm. Delays went as follows:

2:30 pm
3:00 pm
3:30 pm
3:45 pm
4:00 pm
4:30 pm
5:00 pm
5:30 pm
6:00 pm


FLIGHT CANCELLED. The delays were due to weather, but the cancellation was due to the fact that the "crew" of the aircraft went home. SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!?!!!!!!!!!!!! Us Airways offered me a hotel room and transportation. Darren wanted to meet me back in Charlotte and spend the night with me, but I chose to stick it out and go with my original plans to attend my grandmother's funeral.

So where am I? I'M STILL IN CHARLOTTE, NC at 8:24 pm.
I did have the opportunity to speak with a young girl, age 20, for several hours, who was traveling to Uganda to share the gospel at 11 orphanages in the area. That was a good way to spend some of my time. I have also been able to get in the Word, face time my kiddies, and eat (which is a bad thing because BOREDOM has forced me to eat things I DO NOT WANT TO EAT, but cannot resist.) I've also witnessed many tears and much cursing. I even just witnessed a man being removed from an airplane because he is "slurring". I feel like I am living a small nightmare, but thankfully, I have remained calm. I am just terribly lonely and missing my family.

I leave Charlotte, NC at 9:52 pm and arrive in New York at midnight. AHHHHHHHHH! I could already be in NEW YORK had I driven. Oh well. God is sovereign. He has a reason for this, right?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Darren Falls OFF Of A Water Slide

For some reason, Tyson was a little uneasy, at first, about riding the large water slides at the Great Wolf Lodge. I told him "If mommy can do it, you can do it!" So... I rode the "Howlin Tornado" FIRST with Darren before Ty did.

As if leaving our 3 children, at the bottom of the water slide, to wait for us, was not nerve racking enough, AND THEN Darren falls off of the water slide. It was thrilling and incredibly scary for me all at the same time!! I think Darren recovered from the fall QUICKLY thanks to his speedy reaction time. We laughed about it for a long while.

Tyson Rides the "Howlin Tornado"

Tyson shows daddy how it's supposed to be done! Even the 7 year old could hang on correctly AND didn't fall off. LOL!
I made sure to bring my waterproof case for this vacation to ensure I capture all of the water park fun!

Lilah and Jax's Reaction To Their FIRST REAL Roller Coaster Ride - VIDEOS

It was extremely hard to video record and protect both my child and my cell phone all at the same time ON TOP OF holding on for dear life. This is NOT a kids roller coaster. It was a real roller coaster. Lilah and Jax loved the thrill so much, they asked to ride it over and over again. I was most impressed with my little man, Jax, because he is normally the wimp!
You can certainly tell, by the red and sweaty faces, how hot Carowinds was that day! The receipt on our dashboard aka our parking pass, literally turned black from the sun shining in on it. I believe it was 97 degrees that day. OUCH!

Carowinds Amusement Park

Aside from "The Great Wolf Lodge" and some shopping, we also treated the kids, on our last day of vacation, to "Carowinds Amusement Park". We didn't really know how intense nor how large this park was until we arrived.

Carowinds is 398-acres of property filled with all kinds of amusement type rides and is situated on the border of North and South Carolina. In one section of the park, you can snap a photo of yourself standing in both North and South Carolina simultaneously. It's pretty neat.

This park had more roller coasters than I have ever seen... 10 to be exact (that I could count). They were very, very intimidating looking. Darren rode two coasters, alone, because we couldn't leave the children unattended. Honestly, I was thankful for it because I am not the "thrill-seeking" type. Lilah and Jax, for the first time, rode a down scaled, yet REAL version of a roller coaster (not a kiddie roller coaster). They handled it incredibly well and loved it so much that they asked to do it over and over again. I have some great video footage of them riding on it, that I will eventually post.

The pros of this park during this visit were:
1. NO LINES.... literally NO LINES
2. It caters to people of ALL ages.
3. The price of the ticket includes your entrance into their brand new water park as well.
4. It's HUGE.

The cons of this park during the visit were:
2. The ticket cost is pricey in my opinion, but NOT if you are used to paying Disney prices, even still however, well worth the money because the fun NEVER ENDS.
3. The park is soooo large, I personally think you need to go two days in a row.
4. Pack lots of snacks, food, and water. ONE water bottle cost $6.00.

The park was so large that we were unable to finish exploring it, even though we stayed at the park from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. We plan to go back again one day when it is not so hot. The park is only open from March to November. I would love to take the kids in March or May for their birthdays!!!!

Enjoy the photos. Double click on the album to view it in a larger format.

Our Visit To The Great Wolf Lodge - Charlotte, NC

Last weekend, Darren and I wanted to do something a little different from the usual. We knew we wanted to go to Charlotte because we've traveled there without the kids, in the past, and always found ourselves saying we desired to bring them along one day, not to mention, there is so much to do in Charlotte. This time around, we had a few things planned that were definitely KID FRIENDLY. First up, we stayed one night at "The Great Wolf Lodge". The Great Wolf Lodge adventure begins in their massive, 84-degree indoor water park. We splashed the day away in over 80,000 square feet of water-packed excitement, including jaw-dropping slides for thrill seekers or zero-depth entry areas for little ones. Outside the water park , the fun continues. We played in the arcade, bowled in the "no shoe rental" policy alley, grabbed a wand and battled a dragon in MagiQuest and treated the kids to some ice cream before gathering our family in the Grand Lobby for nightly fireside story time, the perfect ending to a Great Wolf day.

Our experience there was very pleasurable. It was non-stop, kid friendly, age appropriate fun. Some of the things we did NOT get to take advantage of were putt-putt, kids "scoop" day spa, the fitness room, and the arts and craft room. We did make sure to visit their on-site Dunkin Donuts for an iced coffee though. :)

If you've heard of this place and are considering it, I give it two thumbs up, especially for kids 10 and under.

Enjoy viewing the photos.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"BUT MOM... Everyone is doing it!"

Ugh, I dread those words AND I know it's coming soon. While on our long weekend vacation, we allowed Ty to get an ink tattoo (temporary).
Getting a "Tat". At least Tyson was wise enough to get something "noteworthy"... the Cross.
My close friend Ashely and I had lunch with her husband's grandmother. After leaving for lunch, she called Ashely and asked, "Ashely, why would Kristin let Tyson get a tattoo. What is she thinking?" I guess it looks real :) That's good news for Ty and bad news for ME!

Dance Camp.... Day 2 and Day 3!!!!

This has been ONE craaaaaaaaaaaaaazy week!!!! Up everyday at 5 am, to prepare myself, and my little ballerina for Dance Camp in Blacksburg. I am so happy I took advantage of this groupon deal. It's been great to have Lilah experience this at a discounted price before we commit on a permanent basis. I'm pretty sold though :)

I am sharing the driving responsibilities with two of my best friends. Today was my day to drive, which meant, I was also responsible for packing the girls lunch. It was a pure joy to spend the morning with 4 precious, little girls. On the way up to Blacksburg, we spent the morning talking and singing praises to our God. Enjoy the video clip and the photos.

Friday is their last day at Dance Camp. I am excited to watch their little dance recital. I'll try to record it so you can see all of their hard work from the week. You can see from the video clip how tired these little girls are.

"Ballerinas at Work". DO NOT DISTURB.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lilah Takes Ballet, Tap, and Gymnastics

Vivian, Kate, Julia, and Lilah are signed up for a week of dance class at "Dance Tech" in Blacksburg. They are learning how to do ballet, tap, and gymnastics. It's insanely adorable seeing these sweet girls in their ballet attire. Lilah borrowed a leotard from the dance instructor, but mommy bought her an insanely cute PINK leotard, tutu, and tights of her own for tomorrow. I realllllllllllllllllly hope this is something that we can do on a permanent basis. I did this as a little girl and I loved it. Call me bias, but to me, she looks like a little ballerina. :)
Lilah tries on her ballet shoes.

Vivian, Julia, and Lilah getting ready for dance class. (Where's Kate?)
Group Hug!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Out of Sight, Out of Mind....

Missing my little sis!!!!!
(Darren snapped this photo with his iphone. It's not a clear picture at all, but I LOVE IT! Sadly, it's the ONLY picture Whitney and I took together during her visit. WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE WE THINKING?)
Whitney, you left one week ago today. I still looked for you in step class this morning. The first few days the house seemed so lonely without you. I can't put it any better than you... "I'm sad about leaving, but I suppose reality isn't designed to give you what you always want." The Lord knows best!!! We will hope it is in His will for Whitney to be near us in the future.

"Dead Bones Got Up AND Walked"

On the last night of VBS, the mascot competition was very similar to an American Idol contest. "Ezekiel" and the (4) "Dead Bones" were the judges. The two competing mascots were to choose 4 adult contestants from the audience to be a part of their performance. They had 20 minutes to coordinate a dance routine to the song "Dead Bones". "The Golden Boy" chose Jill Higginbotham, Erin Carroll, Jonathan Murphey, and Brett Williams as his "dancers". Darren's performance was TOP NOTCH. He really impressed the judges. The announcer even said that he thought our church choir definitely should consider Darren to be on the choir team. ENJOY! Double click, on the words "youtube", on the video, to see it in larger format.

Saying Goodbye To Baseball Season

This baseball season was a HUGE success. Darren (along with Pastor Nick and Jeremie Shelor) did a remarkable job coaching these children. So well, that the season ended with"STORM" being undefeated. Yes, I am bias, but the God's honest truth was that our team was "that" team that NO ONE wanted to play. I vividly recall, the second game of the year, the other team's coach walked off the field because he expected Darren and the assistant coaches to make their players NOT give 100%. The other coach thought the boys' baseball talent was unfair.

We had the team's banquet at our club house/pool last week. Darren gave a speech about each player's strengths as he passed out their trophy, which read, "Coach Pitch Champs 10-0".Afterwards, the boys' ate cupcakes and took a swim in the pool.
I have enjoyed this season of baseball, but I think football is a little more exciting to watch. Football starts on August 6th. It's bitter-sweet. I know it's good for Tyson. It gets his energy out, it teaches him teamwork, and give him the camaraderie with his friends that he longs for daily, but it also means that Darren (coaching again) and Ty (as well as myself and the twins) will be on the football field 4 nights a week. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What will happen when Jax starts to play too? Bye-bye routine/structure. :(
I set up a few decorations in the clubhouse to make it feel a little more like a celebration. I reused a few items from Ty's sports themed party. The trophy table was covered in faux grass and had the referee fabric behind it, displaying the team's uniform.
I loved the teams logo this year. STORM! The cupcakes surrounded the team's hat.

These were homemade cupcakes. Destiny was watching the kids the day I had to make these, so she was kind enough to get started on the cupcake itself. She also cut out little fondant circles so I could come home a put the detail on them (replicating a baseball). I had limited time to finish these up, so it was nothing fancy, but the boys enjoyed them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Visit To The Roanoke Star

Before Aunt Whitney left to go home, we asked her what kind of things she had hopes of doing, while in Roanoke, that she hadn't gotten to accomplish yet. Her answer, "Well, we always seem to take a trip to the Star and we haven't done that yet!" It has been years since we traveled up to the Star with Aunt Whitney, at least 3. SO, we fulfilled her request. It was a scorching HOT day, but we packed a lunch, toured the view, took a little hike or two, and enjoyed the fresh breeze as we drove back down the mountain with our van windows all the way down. Aunt Whitney's request was simple, yet fun, not to mention a tradition. Other than the extreme temperatures, my only complaint is that I didn't take ONE picture of Whitney. She LOVES snapping photos, so she had my camera the entire time. These photos are compliments of Whitney.
We packed a lunch and ate it on the TOP of the mountain :)

The boys found some BIG BOULDERS to climb on.

"Boys, you better get down from there."
I like to describe her as "Sweet-n-Salty" or "Sweet-n-Sassy"
On a walk/hike down some trail near the Roanoke Star.
Lilah thinks Jake is her boyfriend. YIKES.
She doesn't leave this poor kid alone.

Tyson's friend Jake loves being a "big brother" when he's with our family.

A beautiful detail captured on our hike.
The view from the Roanoke Star.
Lilah enjoys being high up on the Star City's slide.
We found our state bird... the red cardinal.

Lilah was wiped out from the heat. She fell asleep within two minutes of getting into the van.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Toothless x 2

Tyson is finally on the path of loosing his baby teeth. I was so happy to be able to witness the loss of his second tooth in person. The first tooth came out when I was out of town with my"Sensational 6." The second loose tooth has been bothering him for several days. He was at a friend's home on Monday and even asked his friend's mommy to pull it out for him. When he got home, we decided to try the old fashioned way of pulling teeth... tie a string to the tooth, tie a string to a door, and slam the door. I thought it was just a myth, but evidently, Tyson and Darren believed otherwise.
First step, tie dental floss or string to the tooth.
There it is. All ready to be tied to the door.
We were all laughing because we couldn't wait to see the end result.
Second step, tie the dental floss to a door.
Bam!!!!!!!!!! Slam that door. Sure enough the tooth popped out. Darren and Ty were amazed that the tooth popped out so quickly.
And there it hangs, literally by a string.
Tyson was so relieved.
And proud.
We don't do the tooth fairy in our home. Instead, we will have a scavenger hunt with tons of clues. If Tyson is successful in following the clues, he will find a heap of cash at the end of the hunt :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saleece Noelle Turns 3!!!!!

On July 2nd, Saleece turned 3. We were invited to celebrate with her at the Children’s Marble Museum in downtown Raleigh. We have been there before and were looking for an excuse to go back. It’s a really incredible museum. The museum has two massive, massive, massive, floors filled with ALL KINDS of exhibits and explore type fun for children. Saleece had a princess themed party! She shared cake and ice cream with all of her friends and then each family was able to explore the museum at their leisure. children learn best through play and discovery. The exhibits and programs are designed to build imagination through self-led exploration of new ideas and experiences. I didn't snap photos of EVERYTHING the museum had to offer. It was too busy and way to hectic trying to keep up with my three kids, who always desired to go in different directions :)

Saleece is such a sweet girl! Her and Lilah are like two little peas in a pod. We are thankful that God added her to our lives. We love you “Leecie”. Happy 3rd Birthday!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pool Fun At Poppy and Cee Cee's House -Videos

A Visit to Poppy and Cee Cee's Home!!!!

Last weekend, we traveled to Raleigh in honor of my sister Saleece's birthday! The party wasn't until Saturday, but we arrived on Friday and started the "party" then with all kinds of fun. Upon arriving to Raleigh, we met Carlene at this place called "Frankie's Fun House". It was truly the most incredible place for kids AND adults. It was like the largest Chuck E. Cheese you've ever been to. Frankie's had both indoor and outdoor fun, but it started to rain so we were only able to enjoy the indoor portion. After Frankie's we headed over to New York Pizza and then the kids got to enjoy yogurt at one of those new, hip Yogurt places that are opening up everywhere. Lilah, Jax, and Ty always enjoy being with Salene and Saleece. It was nice to get away after our 5-day power outage. Cee Cee is very hospitable and welcoming!!!!! We look forward to our next visit. Maybe even before the summer ends?

Enjoy the photos of our Friday night fun!!!! To see the photos in a larger format, please double click on the photo album below!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Welcome Baby Daniel Joseph Tobin!!!!

Approximately ONE week earlier than expected, baby "Daniel Joseph Tobin" aka "Trip" (because he's a "3rd" ~ named after his grandpa and daddy) entered the world.

My sister, Ashley, gave birth to him NATURALLY (owe) without choice. She had been feeling contractions for several days, but was just working through them. Her and her hubby went to a birthday party tonight, and after being there for a short time, Ashley realized, "it's time!"

They headed to the hospital, were there two hours, and my sister knew that it was time to push. Already 10 cm dilated, Ashely gave it ONE BIG PUSH and bam.......... "TRIP" arrived. Incase you're wondering, "Trip" stands for "Triple".

My sister is my hero. LOL! She gave birth naturally. OWIE! But I quote her, "Oh I wanted an epidural. I was screaming for it, but it was tooooo late!"

I was able to speak to her on the phone just a few short hours after the baby was born. Ashley sounded WIDE awake, perky, and showed no signs of pain. Shew!!! What is it with these women named Ashley/Ashely. They are incredible.

Baby Daniel Joseph Tobin weighs 6 pounds. 3 ounces born on July 14th.
Born 1 DAY before his MOMMY'S Birthday ~ July 15th.

We can't wait to meet him!!!!

Plain and SIMPLE.

This boy is ALL CRISAFI.

IF you don't know what that is... SHAME ON YOU! You obviously don't know me real well.

4th of July Snidbits

The 4th of July this year will NEVER be forgotten, BUT not because we attended our 4th of July Annual beach trip like normal, or because we did anything overly spectacular, or even because the fire works were great. RATHER, it was the day we received our power back after 5 whole days without it. It was bitter-sweet. "Huh?" you ask? I can admit now that I was secretly praying we didn't get our power back until July 5th because I didn't want to spend the 4th of July emptying our two refrigerators/freezers filled with stinky/dead food. You don't always get what you wish/pray for though.

As the news broke that our power was back on, we were immediately filled with immense responsibility. We had to clean my in-laws home from top to bottom. Then we had to clean our own home, as well as the two refrigerators/freezers we own. When we were threw with all of that, all I wanted to do was shower and go to bed, but I knew the kids and Aunt Whitney would NEVER let me forget that it was the 4th of July.

We took the family to the State Fair. Oh, the fair.... It's always hysterical going there. It's hot, sticky, expensive, smelly, dirty, and best of all, filled with all kinds of people that you seem to never see anywhere else. Unfortunately, my camera lens died after three or four shots, so the pictures are very scarce.

We were able to let the kids ride about 6 rides each and watched some of the fireworks, but Darren had to return to work the next day, so we ended the evening earlier than normal :(
In honor of celebrating our FREEDOM, Aunt Whitney and Ty made an American Flag cake together. This was a tradition that I used to have with my mom every year. It's neat revisiting these traditions with your own children.
Posing for a photo before beginning. I can't wait to frame this photo.

Cracking the eggs.

Checking out the directions. "It's hard to concentrate on baking when you are baking with a 7 year old." LOL! She didn't really say this, but it's true.

They used red and blue sprinkles inside the cake batter to make it more festive.
Sadly to say, MOST of US are on "diets" so 95% of this cake was thrown out.