Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cousin swap

Last summer, we had Avery stay with us for a few days.  This summer, she invited Whit to stay a few days with her.

Cutie patooties

We met Ryan and Destinee half way to make the swap. It was a Sunday after church and we decided to meet at a park.  Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate.

But that didn't stop Caroline and Mason from playing on the playground.
And getting SOAKED.

It was good to see Ryan and Destinee, even if it was just for a minute.

Whitney had a FABULOUS time spending the week with her cousin.  They went to the movies, painted their nails, visited a splash park, jumped a lot on the trampoline...basically just had a blast together.

After their few days of fun, Destinee and I met in the middle again, this time at an awesome science center where we played for a couple of hours before heading our separate ways.

NC cousins crew
They had a fabulous butterfly exhibit.
They would spray nectar on your finger and you could
get the butterflies to climb right on.

Caroline cracked me up because she wanted SO badly to hold one,
but then would freak out when she got close.
She settled for "petting" a few of them on their wings. 
Our other favorite part was the touch tank.
Sting rays and sharks!
The sting rays would swim right up and let you touch them.
The sharks were much more shy,
but Brandon did get a hand on one of them.

This guy was coming all the way out of the
water to say HI to B-train.

C's fear of butterflies did not translate to sting rays.
She had no problems reaching in to touch them.

She decided this one was coming up for
a kiss and she puckered up!
We also had a good time in the building area
 with GIANT foam blocks

and moon sand.

Destinee and I are already scheming a way to visit this place again!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our SVU Getaway

Nestled in the mountains of southern Virginia is a beautiful little school called SVU.

  Gorgeous, right?

Andrew and I especially loved this statue.

Some people call SVU the BYU of the east because it has similar standards and teaching methods. But it's A LOT smaller.  Well, every year they host an education conference and invite awesome Mormon speakers.

How have we not heard about this for the last ten years???

When we DID hear about it, Andrew and I really wanted to figure out a way to get there.  OK, I really wanted to get there and I hoped Andrew would come along.  Things like this are NOT easy to swing when your nearest immediate family member lives two thousand miles away.  So....that's when you turn to friends.  I was able to work out a kid-swap for the weekend with Chris and Tiffany.  Woo hoo! It was close to our anniversary, so we decided to call it an anniversary getaway.

Andrew and I celebrated our 16 years of wedded bliss...

in a dorm room.
With twin beds.
Sooooo romantic. :)

The first couple speakers were a total infomercial to convince us to send our kids, grandkids, and neighbor's kids to SVU.  I was beginning to wonder what I'd gotten us into.  After that, the rest of the conference was wonderful.  We were spiritually fed.  We heard from Julie Beck, Marlin Jensen, Ron Bartholomew (Andrew's seminary teacher in jr. high) and others.  We listened to beautiful performances on the piano and violin as well as vocalists.

 And we got to watch "Babes in Arms," a cheesy but fun musical play.  Well, Andrew watched most of the play.  He got called out in the second act by Chris letting us know that Brandon had split his lip open pretty bad on the trampoline and did we want him to get stitches.  (Convenient that our dentist friend was watching him.) These decisions are not easy based on cell phone photos alone, but we decided against the stitches.  I *think* it was the right call.

During our breaks, we'd sneak out to these chairs and soak up the sun for a minute. We were trying to pretend we were on a cruise.  Didn't last long, though.  :)

I'm still trying to decide if I want this to become an annual tradition. Sitting in metal folding chairs for hours on end is ROUGH on Andrew's back.  And we had to miss the kids' last day of school, which was OK this year, but some years that won't work.  I guess we'll see how it works out next year.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Another birthday

I had a fun birthday with an extended celebration.  Love that!

The weekend before the big day, Andrew took me out to a new restaurant.  It's called Pastabilities.  It was perfect.  I had yummy pasta with pesto and pine nuts.  It rocked.  And it was very affordable, too.  We'll definitely be eating there again.

There was a cool sunburst behind us, but the picture
doesn't quite do it justice.
(Sidenote:  I got in trouble with my eye doctor for wearing my contacts too much.  Boo.  So I had to wear mostly glasses for three weeks.  Hated it. Now I'm back to contacts, but can't wear the kind that I sleep in anymore.  So sad.)
Afterward, we played a little tennis.  Even with a bad back and a healing ACL, Andrew still kicks my bootie. I'm a good sport, so we still have fun.  :)
Andrew had a work conflict on the actual night of my birthday.  He felt terrible about it, but it couldn't be avoided.  So he took the kids and me out for dinner the night before.  I picked Qdoba.  I'd been craving some delicious Mexican gumbo.  It hit the spot.

 For dessert, Caroline and I both used our Cold Stone
birthday coupons. More yum! 
Not sure why I look like I'm sneaking my ice cream in this shot.

Then, on my REAL birthday, Caroline made me breakfast in bed.
 A little bowl of dry cold cereal.  :)

Andrew and the kids wrote notes of things
that they love about me and hid them around the
 house for me to find.
 So thoughtful!
 The van had the most notes.
Very appropriate.  :)

I came home to find this in my yard:
 Happy. Birthday. Show. Pony.
LOVED it.  So grateful to have good friends.

When Andrew finished his business conflict,
we had a little family party at home.

The kids picked out cute, thoughtful gifts.
And Andrew got me new photo editing software!
I'm still getting used to it, but LOVE it so far.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Whit's end-of-year fun

Whitney has loved her "tumbling and trampoline" class this year.  She likes her classmates and her fun teacher. She missed her official end-of-year exhibition, so I just snapped some photos of her last class. I love the still shots on the trampoline.

High five for Coach D.

She had a such a great year in 3rd grade. It's hard to see it come to an end.  With three best friends in her class and two great teachers, I don't see how next year can be any better. Caroline and I got to join in on the fun of her end-of-year party.  We got rained out, so enjoyed some indoor games and food.

A little limbo

W's teacher demonstrating the beach relay

Go Whit!

I thought I was going to help with the party.
Didn't realize that meant I'd have to strap on the
giant sunglasses, too.

Getting ready for a little Duck, duck, goose.
Run, Whit, Run!

Caroline felt like SUCH a big girl.

This was a fun game I'd never heard of:
Jump the River.
You move the ropes further and further apart
 and see who can make it over.
 Whit should get bonus points for style.

That's quite the river!
 Whit was voted Most Artistic by her classmates.
That made her day!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Caroline's whirlwind couple of weeks

Holy cow.  This girl has been busy!  And as a result, I'VE been busy.  Like, making-my-head-spin busy. The-dishes-never-get-done busy. And I-can't-wake-up-in-the-morning-because-I'm-exhausted busy.

But Caroline just smiled and enjoyed every minute of the busyness


When I handed her preschool director my very last tuition payment she told me it was time to have another kid.  Hmmmm....I don't think that's how it works.

Two of her teachers, Miss Appleburg and Miss Adams.
We'll miss them!

I got a glimpse of how they play "Super Girls and Bad Boys."

It involves lots of hugging on her little crush. Yikes.


We've had bad luck with group swim lessons in the past, so I talked Natalie into letting Finley take semi-private lessons with Caroline.  They are making great progress!  But not actually swimming on their own yet.  (Darn!)

She chose Chick-fil-A for her birthday dinner.


LOVE her reactions to her gifts.  Priceless.

She decided to have her party at Chuck E. Cheese's.
We had it at 11 am on a Tuesday.
It was like I had rented the place for a private party!
We were the ONLY ones there for an hour an a half of the two hours.

She had a great time playing games and eating pizza with her friends.



She has been looking forward to her recital for MONTHS. She loves ballet and is such a cute little dancer. Her class had a Peter Pan-themed dance this time.  LOVED the Wendy costumes.

Class pictures from dress rehearsal.
What a bunch of cuties!

 Ready for the show!

 A great actress.

This isn't our video, but C's the tall one on the far side of the screen:
 One of my favorite parts was when Caroline danced right out of her shoe
and the little friend that followed behind picked it up for her.  So sweet!

I love this cute little jump.

Her curtsy.

Happy to have Audrey and Miss Angie there.

We LOVE Miss Shelley, 
ballet teacher extraordinaire.
(And an awesome Tinkerbell, too!)


Caroline's other love: gymnastics.  At the end of her season, they let the parents out on the floor with cameras in hand.  Woo hoo!


This girl is flexible and strong, which is apparently what coaches look for in a good gymnast. :)  She was invited to try out for the pre-competitive team at her gym. And she made it!  So, this will be our first venture into competitive athletics.  She started this week.  It's pretty intense. They have those girls doing push-ups and chin-ups.  And she hasn't even started kindergarten yet. 

The surprising part for me?  She loved it!  I hope the enthusiasm lasts!

Wow. That was a LONG post.
And I have two more kids. :)