Monday, July 31, 2017

More Summer...

Our summer days are dwindling away fast. Our minds are definitely gearing up for back to school (more on that later), but we've been having fun and making the most of the time we have left!
Here's a little of what we have been up to...
Of course we have spent time up at the pool...

Brooklyn and Parker went to camp for a few days before we left for the beach. They were first time campers and absolutely LOVED it!
And Jake enjoyed a few days of log rolling camp with his buddies...
(He LOVED log rolling camp! Who knew log rolling was so fun!?!)
Matt took the big kids to the Knights game! He gets tickets through work every once in a while.
They ended up going on a beautiful evening and really enjoyed their time at the game!
I took the kids to the Greensboro Science Center one day too!
They were celebrating Shark Week, so they had lots of cool activities for us to do!
We all had our favorite exhibits, but touching the stingrays was super cool!
This was our first visit and we had such a great time! It was a FULL day of fun and the perfect day trip for us!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Baby News!

 We are thrilled to finally be able to share our secret!
We are expecting BABY #5 at the beginning of February!
We are so excited to grow our family!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Summer Week at Surfside Beach 2017

We just got back from our annual family vacation to Surfside Beach!
This was our 28th year making memories at this beach! I can't imagine a summer without a visit!
(This year we were lucky enough to see a huge rainbow over the entire ocean! It was gorgeous!) 
Every year is much of the same...sun, sand, swimming and lots and lots of smiles! That's what makes it so great! We have lots of sweet and simple traditions that were started years and years ago and we love experiencing them every summer!
Here's just a bit of what our week looked like...
Jake loves the beach! I love watching him just doing his beach thing!
He got a new boogie board last summer and couldn't wait to pull it out again. 
He rode so many waves that by the end of the week Matt had to duct tape it together to get him through!
He also tried a little skim boarding. This is still super tricky for him, but I LOVE watching him try!
And my dad brought his metal detector again this year, so Jake spent some time one afternoon treasure hunting up and down the beach!
Brooklyn is a beach bum too! She played hard all week and was completely worn out by the end!
Her eyes were red and her cheeks were sun kissed!
She spent some of her beach time playing in the sand...
but really LOVED the ocean this year!
She spent hours in the ocean each day and had fun boogie boarding too!
 I have to say though, her most favorite part of vacation is just playing with her cousins!
She loves to be with them and they all just have the best time together! So glad they are not only cousins, but the very best of friends!
Parker played hard all day long and slept hard each night! He was also worn out by the end of the week from all of his beach fun!
He got a gift card for his birthday that he had been saving so that he could buy a boogie board for the beach this year! He couldn't wait to try that thing out! 
(Love that big grin!)
Parker definitely wanted to keep up with the big boys!
I really had to watch him out in the ocean! He wanted to go as far out as he could to catch the biggest wave out there! Once he would ride one into shore, he would run back out for more!
When he wasn't in the ocean, he had fun digging in the sand. My brother Steve would dig a DEEP hole for the kids to jump and play in and Parker would hide out in there and play for a good long time!
Parker also loved hunting for shark teeth! He found a couple this year and thought that was so cool!
I have to say though he always loves to catch minnows! 
That's probably his most favorite beach activity! 
The boys love to see how many minnows can be caught during the day!
My sweet Emery did such a great job this week! She was so sweet each day on the beach! We only took her in one afternoon for a nap! She was a beach champ!
She loved to splash in the ocean, find angel wings with Al, and play in the deep hole!
Her fun sandy shoes...
The best thing though was watching this girl boogie board!
After watching the big kids for several days, she decided that it was her turn to ride! She took her board out and after a few tries she turned into the boogie board queen! She just kept going back for more and more!
She honestly couldn't get enough!
She did not want my help and kept telling me to move so that she could get ready for the waves!
I think she's a beach bum like the rest of us!
We usually get to the beach each morning around nine and stay out until supper time! It's an all day event for our crew! Everyone can enjoy the ocean, the shady umbrellas, or pool as much as they want!
My kids love the pool just as much as they love the ocean!

They are such good swimmers and got even better throughout the week...especially Emery!

There is always plenty to keep everyone busy throughout the day! Because there are so many of us, there is always someone around to play with!

And there is always a good game of cornhole, spike ball, or bocce ball going on...
Of course we took a few silly photos!
Our bucket picture...
And this is a favorite...
After a FULL day on the beach, everyone is content to just stay close to the condo each night.
We only make one exception when we head to the Yum Yum Shop for ice cream...
and to the pier to shark watch...
(We saw LOTS of sharks this year! Yikes!)
It's such a wonderful week and a very special summer stop for us! The memories made and the time spent with each other are true treasures for sure!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Sunflower Challenge

Towards the end of Brooklyn's school year, her class did a unit study on plants! They learned all about what plants need to grow and how plants provide food for people and animals. They did several hands-on experiments and even received a take home assignment too...
Brooklyn was challenged to grow her own sunflower from a tiny seed to a blooming plant at home! It was all part of the "Earth's Birthday Project's Sunflower Challenge". We both knew exactly who we needed to help us with this dad! He was more than willing to help us with her fun homework assignment!
Several weeks have gone by since we first planted the seeds and little by little her sunflowers grew! Every time we stopped by for a visit Brooklyn would check on her sunflowers! She had several that took off and some grew close to eleven feet tall!
We took her picture by one of the flowers and we will be sending it off to Santa Fe, New Mexico! She is supposed to receive a special surprise in the mail for participating!
It was such a fun project for her to do and something extra special that she did with her Puppa!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cousin Camp 2017

This past Friday we held our 3rd Annual Cousin Camp! This has become a summer highlight and something we look forward to each and every year! We love to be together and make memories that will last a lifetime!
We began Cousin Camp a bit different this year. I thought it would be fun for us to find a place to do a service project together. I ended up getting in touch with the gentleman that runs the food pantry at our church and he was so excited to put our cousin crew to work!
We helped Mr. Charlie clear out the pantry and get things organized. Then we divided the kids up and each cousin had a station to work.
We ended up filling over one hundred bags full of food to help feed the people in and around our community!
It was the perfect service project for us to do and I loved that every cousin (biggest to littlest) could participate! It was my most favorite part of camp!
After we finished up at the food pantry, we headed to Mimi's for a picnic lunch! We filled our bellies and then got ready for some CrAzY FuN!
We started this year's game time with the tricky lifesaver challenge...
Each player placed a toothpick in their mouth and had to pass their lifesaver down the line of cousins!
After all of the lifesavers were eaten up, each cousin got a Fruit by the Foot. On the whistle, each player raced to open their wrapper and eat their treat without using their hands:)
Then we moved things to the "Big Backyard"!
We pulled out the parachute for a bit...
And then did a few relay races with watermelons...

Then things got a little bit messy!!!
Each cousin had to try and open a banana...using only their feet!
And everyone always loves getting Mimi and Grandma in on the action!
This year everyone got a few spoonfuls of chocolate pudding to either catapult or paint on Mimi and Grandma! 
They are such good sports and the kids think this is THE BEST EVER!
We finished up game time with a few water games...
 Each cousin had a t-shirt frozen and then had to race to thaw it out anyway they could and be the first to put it on! I think Brooklyn might have been the winner for this game!
The grand finale was SO MUCH FUN!
The cousins weren't quite sure why we had a kiddie pool filled with water...until we brought out LIVE minnows and dumped them in it!
It was boys vs. girls as they raced to catch as many as they could with their hands!
This game was so much fun, and while the minnow count was close, I think the boys pulled out the WIN!
We finished up camp with a favorite summer treat of ours...
and some refreshing pool time...

My kids are lucky to have MANY cousins! We are so thankful that some of them live close by and that we can have a full day of summer fun together!
We hope that more cousins will be added throughout the years and that Cousin Camp will be a tradition that we can celebrate for many summers to come!