Thursday, July 27, 2006

The End of Our Summer Break

It feels like forever since I have updated! We were very busy last week enjoying our last full week of summer vacation (for me anyway). My first day back at school was yesterday, but school does not start for students until August 10th. We have been out to lunch with daddy since this is not something we get to enjoy during the school year, swimming in Mimi and Poppi's pool, playing with A.J., and Drew and Mikayla even helped me some in my classroom.

Drew and Mikayla love going to the school, and in fact even ask to go! It probably has something to do with the fact that there are so many "toys" there. As one of the other kindergarten teachers said, it's like an indoor playground! They were real troopers, and I really got a great deal accomplished!

Mikayla smiles pretty while we were enjoying lunch with daddy last week!

Drew relaxes on one of the beanbags in my classroom! I know it's not a great picture (it was taken with my old camera), but you get the idea!

This week, Drew and Mikayla started back to daycare. They went Monday and Tuesday so I could get a little more done in my classroom, and so that they could get back in routine since they've been home all summer with mommy! Then on Wednesday, I kept them with me again (I was missing them terribly!!). We went to Mimi and Poppi's house to swim! Mimi had called us to come over because two of her friends from work were going to be there with their children. By the time we got over there, Brandy was there with Destiny and Caleb and Mandy was there with Alexis. We were also surprised to see Becky, a longtime family friend who I haven't seen since Mikayla was a baby. The children were having a blast in the pool, while the adults (also in the pool) were mostly talking. (Ha - big surprise with five women huh?) I should have remembered to take my camera so I could have gotten pictures. Even without pictures, I think it is something that Drew and Mikayla will remember for awhile. This morning, Mikayla asked to go swimming with Destiny and Alexis!

Yesterday, Drew and Mikayla went back to daycare as it was the first day for teachers to be back to work. They really did very well this week. Mikayla got upset a little which surely didn't help mommy, but overall they enjoyed being back. Drew's class went skating yesterday, and he said he had a lot of fun. I asked him what kind of skates he wore and he told me the "big" ones (not plastic). He must have had fun (and wore himself out) because when I picked them up yesterday afternoon he was sound asleep on the floor! Mikayla has been asking to go skating ever since, so I am sure we will be at the skating rink soon!

Today, Drew and Mikayla are spending the day with mommy again (one last day before the new school year is rolling). We have spent the morning playing, watching t.v., coloring, drawing, and writing. Drew is practicing to write sentences, while Mikayla is learning to write her name and color "inside the lines". I am so proud of her as Mikayla is a long name to write. She can write the letters M - i - a - l - a legibly by herself, but still needs a little help with k and y (those are hard letters to write!) I also can't believe how much Drew is accomplishing! My little boy is not only reading simple stories, but also writing simple sentences! They are growing up so fast. We thank God every day for our little miracles, and for helping them grow!

Fun With the Youth!!

Since my sister, Jennie, graduated from high school in 2005, she is no longer considered a "youth", but because we are a small church with many of our college-age members away at college (Jennie attends USC Upstate here in Spartanburg) she is still involved in the youth program.

Last Friday night she invited the youth from our church over to her house to swim, with permission from my mom and dad of course.Jennie wanted Craig and I to bring the kids to swim too! Our youth director, Randy, and his wife Jodie have three young sons and Jennie knew they would all enjoy playing together.

Drew, Mikayla, and I headed over to my mom and dad's house Friday at 6:30 (per Jennie's orders - Ha!). My sister's boyfriend, Josh, and his sister Casey were already there when we got there. Several other "youth" arrived shortly after we did. When Randy and Jodie arrived with Wesley, Eli, and Kollin Drew and Mikayla were ecstatic. Eli is in Drew's Sunday School class, and Kollin and Mikayla are in the 1-3 year old Sunday School Class that I teach.

Immediately the children were ready to head out to the pool, while the youth wanted to stay in the house and enjoy snacks first. The children waited patiently and enjoyed snacks along with the youth and adults.

We headed out to the pool where all the guys, including Randy, had a "smackfest" with the noodles. It was all in good fun, but Randy told me Sunday morning at church he had red stripes on his back when he got home. I wasn't surprised. They calmed down once the children got in. Craig came over after he got off work, but never got in the pool. Instead, he came outside for a short time, then went back in the house to watch t.v. with my dad. Once we had gotten out of the pool and changed into dry clothes, Craig did "wrestle" with the children. They were all having so much fun none of them wanted to leave, including our two.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. We have such a wonderful youth program at our chuch, and it was nice to fellowship with them. Drew, Kollin, and Mikayla can't wait to get in the pool.

"Davis" practices his swing while the children (Kollin, Wesley, Drew, and Eli) play in the pool.

***I had more pictures to add but blogger is not cooperating - maybe I can add them later!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Afternoon on the Lake!

Mikayla has been asking get Uncle Jon Jon (my brother, Jonathan) to take her in his boat for the past week. She remembers the last trip we took out in the boat last September! She did not want to ride on it at first, but then she enjoyed riding so much she asked to go again.

Jonathan had been wanting to take Drew on his tube since we went out in September as well. I wasn't so sure this was a good idea, but Jonathan assured me that he would be fine and Drew was excited about it. So, yesterday afternoon Jonathan took Craig, Drew, Mikayla, and I for a ride on his boat. We met him at Lake Bowen, and Mikayla was very excited until she stepped on the floating dock and it swayed over a wave. She wasn't walking another step and Craig picked her up and stepped into the boat after me. This didn't bother Drew at all as he stepped into the boat like he'd been doing it his whole life! He's just like his uncle Jonathan - there aren't many things that make him nervous/scared! Mikayla again, just as she did the last time, was not happy to be on the boat when we first started moving. More than once she cried "I wanna play" and pointed to the playground that is at the landing. Once we had been going a little while she calmed down.

Daddy, Drew, and Mikayla sit at the front of the boat!
Jonathan drives the boat as Craig and Mikayla look around.

After we rode around awhile, Jonathan and Drew decided to ride the tube while Craig drove the boat. Mikayla sat with me at the back of the boat to watch Drew and Jonathan. She got a little upset again while Drew was on the tube. She kept saying "I want my Drew"! Once she saw that they were okay, she calmed down again.

Drew and Jonathan get ready to ride on the tube.

We start out slow with Jonathan holding onto Drew as he gets used to it!
Then we increase the speed little by little. Drew eventually enjoys it so much that he wants Jonathan to move his arm from around him. At one point Drew's whole body was bouncing off the tube - he was hanging on only by his hands. This made me a little nervous, but Jonathan had assured me before we started that if Drew came off the tube he would go off with him. I never took my eyes off of them just in case they fell off, but they didn't - not until we had stopped the boat and they went in for a swim. I had wondered the whole time they were riding if Drew was nervous, and what he was saying. When Jonathan had pulled them back to the boat I asked him. He said that he kept saying "I wanna go faster" and "I wanna ride by myself". I noticed Jonathan kept giving us the "thumbs up" which meant increase speed, but I was thankful that he had already told Drew that he couldn't ride by himself!

Drew sits on the tube as it floats beside the boat after their ride. He was getting ready to slide in the lake for another swim! After we loaded the tube into the boat we went to ride some more. As we approached the landing, Jonathan spotted Daddy's truck. We pulled up to the dock so that Poppi could get on. It was his first ride in Jonathan's boat, and we were glad that he decided to join us!! We had such a fun time on the lake, and we can't wait for Jonathan to take us out again! Drew is already talking about the next time he rides the tube.

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

Tuesday, July 18th was my daddy's birthday. When Drew and Mikayla woke up Tuesday morning, the first thing they asked to do was call Papa/Poppi and sing Happy Birthday to him! He was out on the golf course and didn't get to his cell in time to answer so we all sang to him on his voice mail.

After leaving Poppi his message Drew, Mikayla, and I got ready and went to Mimi and Poppi's house to swim with Aunt Jennie. Mikayla jumped into the pool for the first time without anyone catching her!! She is not afraid to go under water anymore as she and Jennie held hands and jumped from the side of the pool several times. She still is not jumping off the diving board by herself, but I'm sure it will not be long now! After we had been swimming a little while, daddy called and said he would be home in an hour or so. He wanted to give us time to get ready for dinner so that we could leave as soon as he arrived. Drew, Mikayla, and I came home to get baths while Mimi, Jonathan, and Jennie began getting ready at their house.

The tradition in our family is that the birthday person gets to choose where they want to eat on their birthday. Daddy chose Fire Mountain. Since Craig was still at work (he was very sorry he missed it), I loaded up Drew and Mikayla and we planned to meet everyone at the restaurant. We had a wonderful dinner at Fire Mountain!!

Josh, Mama, Daddy, Drew, Jonathan, Jennie, and Mikayla enjoy their meal at Fire Mountain. Everybody seemed to think that Poppi had made a good choice.
My dad's face as he realized that we had told our waitress that it was his birthday. Several of the wait staff came over to our table clapping as they sang Fire Mountain's version of Happy Birthday! They even brought him a brownie cake complete with ice cream, hot fudge syrup, and whipped cream.

After dinner, we all went back to Mimi and Poppi's house to give Poppi his gifts and more swimming! Josh and I were having a competition to see who could recover the most rings and sinking sticks/discs from the bottom of the pool. Jennie decided to join us so she could be on my team and help! It was the most fun and we even beat him sometimes!! It was also the first time that Jonathan had been in the pool this year, and he couldn't believe all that Drew and Mikayla were doing!!

We had a wonderful day spent with family, and I hope that it was a wonderful birthday for my daddy! He is, and always has been an important part of my life. When I was young, I would get angry with him because I thought he was too strict. Now that I am an adult (with children of my own) I am very thankful for the way that both my dad and mom raised me. I am able to look by now and realize that they weren't strict, they did what they did to keep me (and Jonathan and Jennie) safe and out of trouble. I feel very blessed to have the loving parents that I have, and I hope that Craig and I do just as well in our journey of parenting Drew and Mikayla!!

Happy Birthday daddy, we love you!!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hot Dog Day at the Zoo!

Today, the Greenville Zoo had Hot Dog Day. Every year in July, the zoo teams with Bilo to promote this special. There is a special children's admission rate, and they offer hot dogs and other concessions for only 25 cents each. Since it is such a great deal, we decided to take Drew and Mikayla. We go to the zoo every October for Boo in the Zoo, but they have most of the animals put up then so we were excited about being able to see the animals.

Drew and Mikayla loved the elephant!

Craig told Mikayla this looked like her and Drew. We told daddy it looked like him! :)

Drew and Mikayla look at the HUGE tortoise!

How Cute!!

Even though the zoo was very crowded and the weather was extremely hot, we had fun. It was nice to spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon as a family.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Swim Like a Fish"

Jennie and I took Drew and Mikayla to the movies again this morning to see Jimmy Neutron Boy Wonder. Then we went to lunch at Kanpai - Jennie could not believe that we went while she was on her mission trip. She loves Kanpai, so I told her we would eat there for lunch one day before school started back. We decided on today.

After our delicious lunch, we took Drew and Mikayla swimming! I can't believe how fast my babies are growing up. Drew continues to amaze me in the pool - swimming without floats, doing "tricks" off the diving board, turning flips in the water, etc.

Mikayla surprises me every day with something new she is ready to try. When Mimi and Poppi's liner was first replaced, she did not even want to get in the pool. Since our first swim about two weeks ago she has begun "swimming" by herself - she doesn't want anyone to hold her in the pool, jumping off the side -someone must catch her though because she doesn't like to go under, and now - for the first time today - JUMPING OFF THE DIVING BOARD!!! Jennie and I have to sit on floats to catch her because we can't touch the bottom of the pool and she still doesn't want to go under - but she does it!!! I can't believe how much they are learning to do in such a short period of time!!!

Drew and Mikayla can't wait to get in the pool!

Is this the same little girl who did not want to get in the pool - and then once she did, cried while clinging to mommy with all of her might?

Drew has mastered floating on his back with floats on - with floats off is a different story! He is learning though, and when he relaxes he can do it.

I can't believe my "baby girl" is jumping off the diving board!

We now call both Drew and Mikayla "our little fish"! I am so glad that both of our children now love the water and enjoy swimming as much as we do!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Drew's Birthday Party!

We had Drew's birthday party at our house last night. It was a simple party with family and friends enjoying hamburgers, hotdogs, and beautiful weather. It took Drew awhile to decide where to have his party. At first he wanted to have a pool party at his Mimi and Papa's house. This surprised me because he had been wanting a bowling party. Then, he decided to have his party at our house so his friends could play with all of his toys. There was plenty for them to do as you will notice in the pictures of the post below. I guess they wouldn't all fit in one post!

I love this picture of Mimi, Aunt Laura, Uncle Ted, Papa, and Uncle Jonathan talking while Craig cooks in the background! They found shade where they could still watch the kids play. After we had all finished eating, Drew began opening his presents!

After the Party!!!
Papa stayed for a little while after everyone else had left. Drew and Mikayla did not want him to leave so he came inside to play.

Papa tickles Mikayla!

Then, Mikayla tickles Papa!

Daddy, Mikayla, Papa, and Drew play with the Hot Wheels toy that Dylan had given him and the Power Ranger train Megazord that Mimi and Papa had gotten him.
Jennie and Josh came back after a quick trip to Walmart. Jennie had gotten Drew an outfit for his birthday (complete with a hat), and she went to find him some sandals to wear with it.
Mikayla sits with Jennie and Josh! Drew would not stop playing long enough to get in the picture.

Drew had a wonderful birthday party! The weather was beautiful (wonderfully mild day for July), lots of family and friends enjoying each other's company, and good food! In fact I told Craig that, in my opinion, this was the best party Drew has had with the exception of Grandpa and Grandma not being here! We both agreed that Grandpa was definitely with all of us today, and that Grandma would have been here had she not had to work.

Drew, Mikayla, and Dylan play in the pool! Look out world! In about 10 years these two will be driving cars!
Eating! Mmmmmmm
Drew opens his gift from Mimi and Papa!
Uncle Jonathan just got out of the "moon walk". Can you imagine that? Drew loved his Madagascar cake!
Lauren, Morgan, and Mikayla play in the sprinkler! Taking turns on the "slip-n-slide".
Dylan, Morgan, and Drew play with the "limbo" game that Morgan got him!
Mikayla, Lauren, and Carmen sit in the water on the "slip-n-slide".

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Birthday Part II

*This is a continuation from the post below.

After playing with AJ, we went inside to get some things ready for Drew's party. Drew and Mikayla helped me make the center pieces to go on the tables. We are going to put small fishbowls at each table. We will put a goldfish inside each and tie balloons around the neck of each bowl. Each child that attends the party will leave with one of these (if it is okay with their parents, of course). Today we put the "gravel" in the bottom of each bowl and filled them with water. We will get the goldfish tomorrow night so they will be ready on Saturday. I wish I had gotten some pictures of Drew and Mikayla filling the bowls with "gravel", but I didn't have enough hands. They needed my help with the heavy bag. After we finished, Drew and Mikayla watched Madagascar while I cleaned the kitchen. We had made a mess with the "gravel", but the experience for Drew and Mikayla was sure worth it.

Drew also filled all of the bowls with water.

Once those were made, we played a little longer inside while we waited on daddy to get home from work. Then we went to Walmart to get a few things, went and got some supper, and came back home to eat. Poppi came over to enjoy a cupcake with us. We have ordered a birthday cake for his party Saturday, but we decided to get cupcakes for tonight. Poppi also brought over one of the presents that he and Mimi had gotten Drew so he would have something to open tonight. They got Drew the Power Ranger Megazord he had been wanting! Drew had to have it opened of course so he could play.

Drew, Poppi, and Daddy all try to figure out how to put the Megazord together. Mommy was the one to finally figure it out. Imagine that!

After playing outside more (Poppi wanted to see AJ), we came in and had cupcakes. It wasn't long after Poppi left and Drew was sacked out in the recliner. We have had such a busy day. We hope that you have had a great day Drew! We love you and feel blessed to have had 5 wonderful years with you. We look forward to many great things to come!!

Happy Birthday Drew!

Today, our "little boy" turned 5!! I can't believe it! Where has the time gone??

It seems like just yesterday we were awaiting his arrival. Our days were spent fixing his nursery, deciding on a name (once we found out we were having a boy), going to doctor's visits, and preparing for our lives to be changed forever.

Drew has definitely changed our lives. In fact, it is hard for us to remember our lives before he was born. He has brought us so much joy these last five years, and I know he will continue to bring us joy and make us proud!

We wanted to make this day as special as possible for him without going overboard since his birthday party will be Saturday. I planned to get up early and take Drew and Mikayla to the movies to see Curious George. I was going to let them sleep while I got ready, but Drew came into the living room shortly after I was awake. He said "we gotta get ready for my birthday". I immediately started singing Happy Birthday to You, and he was all smiles. Ever notice how your children love to hear you sing even if you can't carry a tune? It's like that in my kindergarten class too! He said "thank you mama", then proceeded to tell me "I'm five!" This has become a joke with us because for the last month he has been saying "I'm gonna be 5" to which I would reply "3, you have to start going backwards".

After several phone calls from family members wishing Drew a Happy Birthday, we were ready for the movies.

Waiting for the movie to start

Drew and Mikayla watch intently. Mikayla is imitating a face that Curious George made in the movie!

After the movies, we went and got lunch and headed to Craig's work to share lunch with daddy.

Once our bellies were full we headed home to play with our new puppy AJ. We got AJ yesterday and he is not really a puppy, but he is to us. Some friends of ours have had him since he was a puppy, and they just recently got a new puppy. They found it hard to care for both dogs, so they wanted to find a good home for AJ. We were very happy to provide AJ with a good home! Craig has been wanting another lab ever since I have known him (he had one before we met). Labs are also known to have good temperaments, which is a must around children. Drew and Mikayla (Craig and Alison too) have had a wonderful time playing with AJ these last two days. He is such a good boy, and we are glad to have him as an addition to our family!

Drew throws a plastic Frisbee for AJ to catch.

Look how pretty!

Best Buddies already!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Our Fourth of July

We spent the morning of the fourth relaxing as a family. It was nice having Craig home with us during the week.

We were also able to get a little done around the house. Craig trimmed our shrubs and worked outside getting ready for Drew's birthday party this weekend, and I did some laundry.

After we napped (so we wouldn't fall asleep before the fireworks), we got ready to go to Family Fest. My uncle's church has been having this for the past few years, and it is great for families. They have rides, food, entertainment, vendors, etc. Then at night they have a huge fireworks show. We have gone to this for the past four years, and our family always has fun.

The first thing our family does when we get there is hit the rides. Drew loves these, Mikayla is not as fond of them. Drew walks across the bridge in the "fun house".Riding on the back of the roller coaster.
Drew peeks over the side of the pirate ship. He rode with a little girl that I had in my class two years ago and her sister.
This is the only ride Mikayla rode all night but she still had a ball. Check her out with her hotdog.

Drew has to get his fixed perfectly before he can enjoy!

We've ridden rides, our bellies are full, now we wait for the fireworks.

The first time we watched fireworks this year, Mikayla ended up watching them from our van (she didn't like the noise). By this time (we also watched fireworks Monday night), she was watching them in our arms without even covering her ears!

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage