Monday, August 24, 2009

Making the summer last

The week before school starts, I always try to fill the days with fun activities that we can't do during the week once school starts. So, we did the Navarre playground and splashpad our first day. We packed a picnic lunch, ate under a pavilion during a thunderstorm and fed the ducks that were taking shelter there along with us.

A ice cream social for all the St. Paul's refugees who will be in Emma's 3rd grade this year. We all transferred over to a magnet school for the arts, called N.B. Cook.

One mommy suggested having the kids all leaving, have a get together. So we combined wine and ice cream. At one point there were 15 kids in the pool. We learned really quick you can't combine a warm, humid Florida night with containers of ice cream and expect it to last for very long. Better in our stomachs than melted in the trash.

A few of the kids, after it started getting dark. It was funny, after it was almost pitch black, I remembered there as a pool light, and flipped it on. The kids were crazy!! They flocked to it, stuck on the pool wall like frogs all touching and staring at the light.

Quiet Water beach Saturday, wrapped up our fun week. On our way out through Gulf Breeze I'd been eyeing this sea turtle float hanging outside a gas station. What a cool mom would I be, if I stopped unexpectedly and got the giant turtle? And made a neat find, in a tiny bottle of salt with lime, made specially for beer. WOW, yes Robin I got you one too.

Happily surprised

They rode him till his spots almost rubbed off. Poor Emma was smooshed in the back though, on the ride home with the ginormous tube, squashed under his flipper covered in wet sand.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

There and back again

That is the other working title of The Hobbit and it seemed a fitting title for this blog. The 2,200 mile round trip journey was started by me and finished by Rick. We even had a chance to visit his old stomping grounds Virginia Military Institute. The last time we were here was 2001, 3 days after Setember 11th. It just happened to be his 5 yr. reunion weekend. Here Rick and the "happy" kids, are in front of the parade deck and the barracks.

We got the chance to see Bethany and Angela the very morning we arrived in Virginia. They are Rick's older sister's children and Emma's best friends. Bethany who just turned 13 was a huge help to me when I ventured downtown to the Natural History Smithsonian and the American History museum, ALONE, with all 5 kids, in a minivan, parking in a loading zone, hoping to God my car was still there when we returned. Here they are in the mouth of a Megaladon prehistoric shark.

Emma loves Grandma Parrish's house, because of the plethora of dress up outfits. Her and Angela make up plays and skits. Here they were an evil dragon, a little Mexican princess and a flower girl who sells vegetables.

All 5 cousins in front of a T-Rex skeleton, Reece was ok with it, but Emma grabbed my hand for comfort

The girls in front of the Washington Monument

We squeezed in a trip to Jacksonville, North Carolina to visit 2 old friends from Milton. Here at Jen's house were all our kids(minus Adeline who refused). Jen's three, My three, and Becky's two, including one dinosaur cast.

Good friends - Jackie-Becky-Jen

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Are we there yet?!?

We started our 2 week vacation on a Friday morning, when I drove the 5 hours over to Jacksonville, FL to visit Rick's sister Emily. We have made it a tradition to go see the new Harry Potter movie together. So, we headed to the near 3 hour movie, while poor Christian watched my crew. Then I drove up (alone) the 6 hours to Myrtle Beach, where we met my Dad, Annette and my grandma. Here is our 4 generation picture and no, Gwenny the poodle does not count as one of the generations.

We spent 5 days jet skiing, pontoon boating, water skiing and just relaxing in the shade of the giant weeping willows. Emma found that part of the riverbed was composed of clay, so every morning she made creations like skulls, snowmen, mermaids and letters out of the clay and let it harden in the sun. Here Reece waits his turn for the jet ski with Dad so he could tear it up. We started calling him Full Throttle Reece, since Rick and Grandpa gave him full rein over the throttle and of course his hair was blown back, going 50mph with a huge smile on his face. I thought he looked like a little beaver in this picture.

Grandpa was in 7th heaven with his grand kids

Adeline told long winded stories to her great grammy about Disney World, and princesses and riding on It's a Small World and the monorail.

Rick got out on the tubes the 2nd day we were there, and the jet skis too. So, not to be outdid by his son-in-law, my Dad got out and even threw one ski off and did it slalom for 50 feet before biting the dust.

Rick and Reece waiting to be dragged mach1 behind the boat, just to be tossed off into the water

My grandmother who is 86, with 2 of her 7 great-grand kids. I think she's amazing for 86. She even got out on the jet ski one morning and went for a 10 minute ride.

Mommy tore it up with Reece. I enjoyed jumping our own wake, but not going lightning speed. So, he chose to ride with Daddy more often b/c I must be an old lady driver.

One night we drove out to the beach and boardwalk. There was a big amusement park there called Family Kingdom. The kids loved it. Here is Adeline biting Pichacoo's ear, that Annette had won her on a guess the right color game. Emma won the fairy wings in the stroller from the yellow rubber duck game.

The kids are so used to Disney, that they don't get a chance to ever try these old fashioned rides, like the cars, the little swings and the airplanes. Poor Reece, we dragged him on the Tilt-a-Whirl, mommy's favorite ride, and I think he was sick the remainder of the night.

We took the pontoon boat about 20 miles north our last day there and braved 2 thunderstorms. Rick was smart and had us all hide under the boat cover, poor Grandma was laughing the whole time. On our ride, I learned that the Inter Coastal Waterway( which is where we were staying ) was built after the Great Depression as a means of stimulating the economy. It runs the entire length from Maine to Miami and was built to hide our barges from enemy subs out in the Atlantic.

The kids really enjoyed their time with Grammy and hopefully we can get up to see her in Ithaca, NY, one of these falls when the leaves are all in full color. Too bad Southwest doesn't fly into there. Since, this trip was so long, I'm breaking up our time in South Carolina as 1 blog and Virginia as another.