Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vacation - Day 2

Sunday morning we got up early and headed across the street to Breakfast at Teena's (one of the restaurants at the resort) before heading to the water park. Since people were lined up out the door there and we wanted to be first (or close to that) in line at the water park, we went to Jason's Cafe for a biscuit instead. We enjoyed our breakfast, and then headed over to get in line at the water park. We weren't first in line, but we were the second family there and our bracelets were numbers 7, 8, 9, and 10. We were able to get two lounge chairs (which were really just a place to put our things - we never lounged) in a wonderful location at the entrance/exit of the lazy river and just over "the bridge" from the kiddie area. I didn't get any pictures of us in the lazy river or the wadding pool/kiddie area because I was participating in those things and my camera is not water proof. However, I did get pictures of Craig and the kids on the 3 story water slide before putting my camera in the locker.

Drew and Mikayla watch as their daddy comes down the slide. To slide, you had to pick up your tube and carry it three stories up (the slide actually launches from the side of a parking garage). Once seated in your tube, you begin to make your descent, curving your way down into this splash pool. Drew started up the stairs with Craig 3 different times and each time he walked back down the stairs to me. Finally after watching Craig enter the splash pool all of those times, and watching other children come down, Drew decided he was going.

You can tell from his face that Drew had a blast coming down the slide his first time! As soon as he got out of the pool, he grabbed his tube and headed up the stairs again.

Mikayla decided she wanted to go down the slide too, so Craig had her ride the tube with him. She was all smiles until they landed in the splash pool and she went under. She was upset because Craig didn't tell her to hold her nose and she got water in it. She decided she didn't want to slide again, and instead enjoyed the lazy river, and especially the wadding pool (where they had two smaller slides - one that Mikayla LOVED) the rest of the time.

Drew, on the other hand, couldn't get enough of this slide, and we pretty much had to pull him away from it.

After spending about 3 hours in the water, we decided to head up to the room for sandwiches. Inside the water park they had ladies who would wrap/braid hair and Mikayla wanted to have a wrap. I was excited for her to have one as well because it seems like only yesterday that I got a wrap in my own hair. I, too, had been on a beach trip, but it had been my senior year of high school.

Mikayla picked light pink, dark pink, and purple as her colors - does that surprise anyone? Here she is just getting started.

And...almost finished

There also was a lady there doing tattoos and Drew had to have one (not real of course, but Drew wants one like his daddy's). He decided on the Batman logo and watched as the lady got started spraying it on.

All done - he was so afraid that it would come off he wouldn't move it - ha.

These posts are becoming very long, so I'm going to begin breaking up the days. Look for part 2 of day 2 coming soon...

2008 Family Vacation - Day 1

Friday night, we went to Ron's to eat with Poppi so that we could tell him, Mimi and Jennie (who were working) goodbye before we left for vacation. Drew and Mikayla laugh with Poppi and talk about the beach. Poppi was asking them how much money they needed on vacation.
The house was clean, the car was packed, and we were headed to Myrtle Beach Saturday morning. Mikayla was asleep quickly after leaving the house, while Drew was relaxing comfortably watching his movie.
We stopped in Bishopville to see Craig's brother, Jason, his wife, Angel, and their two girls Belle and our new little niece Ella on the way. I wish I had gotten pictures of Drew and Mikayla playing with Belle - they had so much fun! Ella slept the whole time we were there, but we still peaked in on her and she is so cute!! Craig enjoyed spending time with his brother and checking out all of Jason's "toys", while I enjoyed talked with Angel and her mom, Denise. We stayed there about 2 hours, but we were enjoying ourselves so much that we really weren't all that ready to leave. Drew and Mikayla were even trying to talk Belle into coming with us. She went and got her "swimmies" and told her mommy she was going to the beach. She decided she would stay home when her mom reminded her that she would be going by herself with us.

When we first arrived at the beach we went to Ocean Lakes while waiting for check - in time at our hotel. We rode the golf cart down to the ocean, visited with Nana, Papa Fred, Uncle Chris and Trey. I also got to see one of my students from last year.

We were excited to check-in and let Drew and Mikayla see the on-site water park at the Sea Mist Resort, our home away from home. They eyes grew wide when they saw it, and they were ready for fun after a long drive! Craig checked us in, got the keys, and we were off to unload the van. After unpacking, we donned swimsuits and went in search of the children's activity pool that the Sea Mist Resort also advertises. We didn't make it to the activity pool, but we found a nice indoor/outdoor pool instead. Craig plays with Mikayla as Drew swims more in the deeper part of the pool. I wish I had gotten a picture of the whole pool to show the little "canal" (to the left) that got progressively more shallow and ended in a "kiddie pool" or the walkway that separated the pool from the hot tub. This picture does show how the pool is part indoor and part out.Drew squirts water on daddy and sissy.Mikayla swims to the steps. She no longer needs a float, and we are so proud of her!

Craig and Drew play in the pool. Craig doesn't like water near as much as me and the kids, so it was a lot of fun seeing him play in the water with them!

It proved lots of fun as we swam for about 2 hours and then headed up to get ready for dinner and a trip to the grocery store to stock our kitchenette.
After returning from the grocery store, Craig and I were ready for bed after not getting a lot of sleep the night before and then driving/riding the whole day. Craig and Mikayla went right to sleep, but Drew and I stayed up a little while longer watching fireworks over the ocean from our balcony. Mikayla and Drew get ready for bed after a long first day - they can be such sweet siblings when they want to be!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fun in the Sun!

We came in from the beach this evening and I can't wait to post about our vacation. I will be getting pictures and a day by day commentary up beginning tomorrow...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

House Cleaning

Since our family is leaving for vacation on Saturday, I have spent the week cleaning house and preparing for our trip. We had already cleaned out a lot for our yard sale so that made the cleaning I've done this week easier (or not - easy is not a word I usually associate with cleaning). Has anyone ever noticed how hard it is to clean with children around? Don't get me wrong - I love my children dearly and I will accept a messy/cluttered house in order to spend precious time with them. As the song says "you're gonna miss this" meaning the time our children are little, not time spent cleaning a house. But, I want my house to be in order when we leave because I know everything that will await me when we return (unpacking, more laundry, preparing for the beginning of the school year, etc.).
My children have a hard time staying entertained while I clean - probably has nothing to do with the fact that they have been the center of my world since the day they were born. It is so easy for them (and all children) to get into mischief when adults are distracted. On Monday, while I was cleaning in the kitchen Mikayla asked to get in the bathtub. I agreed and helped her run a little bit of water and went back to cleaning the kitchen (all the while keeping an eye and an ear on her of course). While she was in the tub, Drew was anxiously awaiting his turn. I told him after I washed Mikayla's hair she would be ready to get out. I walked back into the kitchen and could hear them laughing and playing and just thought Drew was keeping her entertained while she waited on me. Wrong - I walked back into the bathroom to find them both in the tub, and it was filled with stuffed figures and baby dolls. More cleaning for mom...
Then on Tuesday I was folding clothes in the living room and noticed how quiet they had gotten - when it's quiet always go to check. I walked into Mikayla's room to find them both innocently watching TV. For some reason her blankets were all pulled out into her floor. Upon further inspection I found that the floor was wet and after questioning them found out they were using the blankets to dry up bubbles that had been spilt. More laundry for mom...
Then on Wednesday, I go to hang up some of Mikayla's clothes in her walk - in closet only to find that it is no longer "walk-in". They had pulled her stuffed animals from the shelf and baby dolls from her chest and Drew had even brought in some (lots) of toys from his room to fill the closet. When I asked what they were doing he tells me they were making a boat. I'm so glad my children are creative, independent, and seem to have healthy imaginations. I'm just thankful that today I was able take 2 steps forward without taking a step back to take care of something else they had "uncleaned" while I was cleaning - if only tomorrow goes just as smoothly...
I have managed some major cleaning this week even with all of the "backstepping":
Bathrooms clean - check
Kids' rooms clean - check
Laundry complete (well until tomorrow anyway) - check (those who know me well would think this was a miracle in itself)
carpets shampooed - check
Kitchen clean - check
Living room clean - check
When I say clean, I'm not just talking about the usual weekly cleaning- this is more like spring cleaning with closets being cleaned out, etc. Craig cleaned out my van tonight after he got home from work. With the exception of our bedroom we are squeaky right now. If only it would last...

It's All About the Shoes...

This past Saturday we had a yard sale - our first in over a year. We mostly had children's things (imagine that) - clothes, toys, shoes, etc. We did fairly well at the sale since baby/children's things tend to go quickly. I enjoy having yard sales as you get to talk to so many different people and those who know me know I love to talk. Since we still live in the community where I grew up, many times during our yard sales I will also see people that I haven't seen since high school. It also gets me excited about cleaning out my house. I never knew it was possible for a family of four to have so much stuff!

Now, I said I enjoy having yard sales, I don't enjoy the preparations or the aftermath near as much. It was also a little more difficult this time because Drew and Mikayla would find things they didn't necessarily want to sale. Drew would say "mom, why are you selling my favorite toy?" When I laughed - because I would think if it were your favorite you would play with it at least once a day - it only made him more upset. Mikayla pulled a couple of stuffed animals out of a box and took them in the backyard to swing. I guess she thought "if I have them back here, no one can buy them".

I missed the funniest part of the whole day. I had to leave about 10 o'clock to register Drew to play soccer again this fall. While I was gone, Craig said a mom and a little girl came up and Mikayla noticed her shoes right off. The little girl had Hannah Montana shoes just like Mikayla's shown above. Craig said Mikayla started crying as the mom and the little girl were leaving. She started screaming "she has my shoes, daddy that girl taked my shoes" while the little girl and the mom kept looking back at her. Craig said I guess she thought y'all are selling all my other stuff, and now my shoes (that I love). Even though Craig kept reassuring Mikayla that those were not her shoes, she didn't believe him until we came inside to get ready for Joy's party. When she saw her shoes she smiled the biggest smile and said "I'm sorry" with relief! I can't wait to share this story with her when she is older!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Joy!

Drew and Mikayla were invited to the Swim Center Saturday to help celebrate Joy's birthday. Mikayla has danced with Joy the last three years and, even though Joy turned 11, Mikayla adores her.

I had not been to the Swim Center in years - my brother and I took swimming lessons there when we were little. We would also go often, just to swim in the Olympic sized indoor pool. I have very vivid, fond memories of those times. If I had taken Drew and Mikayla anywhere for swimming lessons, I definitely would have chosen there. As it happened, I taught both of them to swim myself in Mimi and Poppi's pool. When we got there and I realized I had forgotten my camera, I was so disappointed. We were in a rush to leave in the middle of our yard sale (Craig stayed to continue with the sale - read about that soon) and I walked right out of the house without it.
Mikayla was her usual cautious self when we arrived - not wanting to get in the shower (at first) to rinse off before going into the pool area. Once we were in the pool area, she was really worried about the "swim test" which she did not even need to take. This is a test children have to pass in order to swim in the deep side of the pool or jump off of the diving board. Once she realized she didn't have to take the test, she was very comfortable swimming on the shallow side of the pool. Drew couldn't wait to take the swimming test so that he could jump off of the diving board (which is a good bit higher than Mimi and Poppi's). I remember taking and passing this swimming test when I was a child myself, but I remember that it took me more than one attempt to pass it. I wasn't sure if Drew would pass on the first time, but I was hoping he would. To pass the test, children have to jump into the pool from the side of the shallow end and swim all the way across to the other side without putting their feet down. Drew passed on his first attempt - and his smile said it all. I was so proud of him, and couldn't wait to watch him jump from the diving board. He loved it and stayed in the deep end most of the swimming time. Mikayla spent most of her time swimming in the shallow end with her friend Jadyn and Joy traveled between the shallow side of the pool (where the little ones were swimming) and the deep side of the pool (where the bigger kids were).
After swimming, we headed into the party room for cake and to watch Joy open her gifts. Drew and Mikayla had a wonderful time at Joy's party and both mentioned about having their birthday parties at the swim center next year. Even though it is reasonably priced and it would take a load off of my mom and dad to have it at the Swim Center, mom and dad said not to waste our money. I'm glad they feel this way because Drew and Mikayla surely LOVE it!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Yesterday, we helped to celebrate my daddy, Poppi's, birthday! We took him to Ron's to dinner where Mimi and Jennie were working. Drew and Mikayla even requested the band that plays there on Friday nights to sing "Happy Birthday" to Poppi. They came to our table to serenade him. I'm not sure I've ever seen his face so red - Drew and Mikayla couldn't stop laughing. Although, mommy thought it was pretty funny too!! I couldn't ask for a better daddy, and I'm grateful that he is so involved in mine and my children's lives. He is a kind and honorable person, and I'm thankful that he and my mom raised me to be the woman I am today. My children absolutely adore him, and wouldn't know what to do without him. Happy Birthday Daddy - We Love You!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Squirrel, Mom!

I have been at the District Office all this week working on our first ever District Instructional Fair all this week. Since I didn't go today, I decided to take Drew and Mikayla to lunch. We decided (well they decided) on Jason's Deli - mainly for the complimentary ice cream, I think. I love the salad bar and sandwiches there so of course I agreed! After they finished their lunches, they were treated to a bowl of ice cream. Today they chose chocolate and vanilla swirl instead of their usual chocolate. I was enjoying some fruit and yogurt for dessert when Drew looks at me in all seriousness and says "this squirrel sure does taste good". Smiling I look up and say "what tastes good?" - thinking I had just misunderstood. Both Drew and Mikayla repeat "squirrel"! Laughing I tell them it's swirl not squirrel - not the animal that runs across yards and streets. Neither of them seem to believe me and it's just so darn cute, I don't press it! They keep me laughing daily - my angels!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fun With Bryson and Breanna!

Since I didn't have class last Friday, Drew and Mikayla did not go to daycare. Instead, we met Nanda, Bryson, and Breanna at McDonald's for lunch and the kids played on the playground while Nanda and I chatted. After playing awhile, we brought the kids back to my mom and dad's house and let them swim for a little while! We had so much fun and can't wait to get together again soon - maybe after golf one Tuesday!
Bryson, Drew, Breanna, and Mikayla play "basketball" in the pool as Aunt Jennie looks on.

Mikayla and Breanna check out the water temperature. They look so much alike - and they act like sisters!

Drew and Bryson play "volleyball" as Mikayla watches. You can see the top of Breanna's head sticking over the float if you look carefully!

Still Here

Last week, I participated in a graduate class as part of our district's Literacy Cohort. Drew and Mikayla were thrilled to go to daycare and see some of their friends that they had not seen all summer! They are both now in the after school building, and they love that!! They also are allowed to take toys in the summer, so they didn't mind going at all. Mommy was grateful because I hate having to take them to daycare in the summer - but I'm one step closer to a pay raise!! It also provides a little break almost directly in the middle of summer. We haven't gone anywhere this summer (yet), but we have been busy nonetheless!! We are planning to go on vacation in the next couple of weeks!! I, for one, can't wait!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Love You, too!

Summer is for a lot of things with sleeping late being one of them, and we have been doing a lot of that (well until this week - more on that later). On one of these said mornings Mikayla was still asleep on the couch even though Drew and I had been up for awhile. After a little while, Mikayla raises up and says "I love you, mommy!" to which I reply "I love you, too baby girl". Then she laid her sweet head back down and went right back to sleep. She couldn't sleep another wink until my sweet girl had told her mommy she loves her!! Precious, I tell you!

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Song to Call My Own!

As you may remember, Drew got a guitar for his birthday. Last night, he comes into the living room where I was working to finish a grant for my classroom. He was supposed to be sleeping or getting to sleep anyway, but I surely couldn't be angry when I heard him begin to serenade me. He began strumming his guitar while singing words from a piece of paper - a song he had written just for his mommy! A simple song indeed, but this mommy couldn't have been more proud or teary eyed at the sound of my boy singing his love for me from a piece of paper where he had written the words himself!! My heart swells just thinking about it!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy Birthday Drew!

I can't believe that my little boy is seven years old! We spent the afternoon over at Mimi and Poppi's celebrating. Drew had asked Mimi if she would make him an "old fashioned chocolate cake" for his birthday, and of course she agreed. Drew enjoyed spending time with his Mimi, Poppi, Aunt Jennie, Uncle Jonathan, B.J., Grandma, and Grandma Nell. We played the Wii, ate some dinner, opened presents, and enjoyed cake and ice cream. Drew also played a lot with some of his new toys: Power Rangers (from Mimi and Poppi), a Skateboard (from Mommy and Daddy with helmet coming from Mimi and Poppi and pads coming from Uncle Jonathan), a new Wii game (from Mimi and Poppi), water guns (from Aunt Jennie), a guitar (he got money from Grandma Brannon and decided to spend it on a guitar), and some Transformers wall puzzles (from Uncle Jonathan). Grandma Nell brought him a "goody bag" and some money.

Drew also received several phone calls wishing him a happy birthday and cards in the mail - Grandma Cheryle, cousin Lauren, and Aunt Jennie were all on the answering machine this morning wishing Drew and happy birthday and Nana called and talked to Drew tonight.

Thank you to everyone who made our little guy's day so special!!! He sure is a special boy to us!!Drew had a wonderful birthday, but Mama is not crazy about this "getting older" part!!
Drew loves his uncle Jonathan - and he acts a lot like him too!!
That's Poppi's girl!
Drew gives Grandma a hug as she heads home - it is wonderful having her right across the street from my mom and dad!
Mikayla watches as Drew blows out 7 candles on the cake Mimi made for him.
Poppi, and Jennie get ready to watch Drew "practice" riding his skateboard - in the house!
Poppi tries to show him how it's done!
Mikayla plays Drew's guitar - she wants a Hannah Montana one for her birthday!
BJ and Jennie are wonderful, and my kids absolutely love them - especially BJ (haha Jennie).
My mom (Mimi) and my Grandma Nell (her mom)

Mikayla watches as Drew opens one of his presents. She never asked to help open them, but she was just as excited as he was to see what was inside. She was sooooo sweet about it!
Sooooo Poppi and Mimi decided she needed a present to open of her own. These were both water guns, so mommy asked Mimi and Poppi where mine was to protect myself!!
Mikayla looks on as Drew opens some of his Power Rangers.

Happy Birthday Drew - We love you, and we hope you had a wonderful birthday!!!

Happy Fourth of July (a little late!)

I love this picture. This is Drew (you can't really see him) having fun with two sparklers. You can see that he was moving them in circles.

We spent the fourth over at Mimi and Poppi's enjoying time as a family. My sister had to work (she waitresses at a BBQ restaurant) and then she had to help run the BBQ booth at the Red, White, and Blue celebration so she wasn't there. But, Mimi, Poppi, Uncle Jonathan, Grandma, and our family enjoyed eating the traditional 4th of July food (for us that is hash, BBQ pork, hot dogs, baked beans, etc.). Drew, Mikayla, and I also went swimming for awhile, played the Wii, and then enjoyed more "4th food" for supper. Then as darkness fell we all went outside for some fireworks. Mikayla is not crazy about fireworks (or any other loud noises) so we didn't spend much on fireworks this year, and instead decided to enjoy others' from a distance. We did however have some "poppers", sparklers, and snakes for the kids to enjoy. Poppi also had a couple of spinners that were colorful, but didn't make a lot of noise that we enjoyed. This is a lot different from how my family used to celebrate Independence Day (we used to have a HUGE cookout/swim party where all of our family and friends were invited), but we are enjoying it just as much!
Poppi looks on as Drew "shoots" a party popper.
Drew and Mikayla watch a "snake" grow with Poppi.
This is how Mikayla spends most of her time when it comes to fireworks - ears covered. Poppi was trying to convince her that these weren't that loud.
Poppi moves Drew (and his sparkler) away from the pile of fireworks.
Poppi helps Mikayla have fun with a sparkler. After we left we rode up to the lake to watch more fireworks and she really got used to them. I was very surprised - she didn't want to leave when it was over.

Friday, July 04, 2008

So Funny!!

Our kids are so funny and it is fun watching them grow into such different personalities! Drew is our rounder who is "all boy", and Mikayla is our girly girl who is bossy and sassy at times. They both are very sweet and most of the time play well together, but they also fight at times like all siblings do.

Drew is more independent, our fearless child, where Mikayla is more cautious. They both like to cuddle giving hugs and kisses, but not so much in public anymore for Drew - especially at school! They both are very strong willed and hardheaded - I'm not real sure where that comes from (ha). Drew is more likely to apologize for his mistakes and move on, where Mikayla tends to hold a grudge (isn't that what boys and girls do...). Drew is all about math and science, science especially. If it crawls, flies, roars, or hops he loves it - he even says he is going to be a scientist one day. Mikayla is all about reading and writing. She walks around constantly with a notepad and pen/pencil or a book. She always asks us to read to her (Drew very rarely does) - she says she's going to be a teacher when she grows up.

They say the funniest things too! Drew is the great big brother, always telling Mikayla what to expect in certain situations, protecting her, and helping her learn new things. His new favorite phrase is "I'm serious", as in I'm not kidding this time. He is quite the jokster always wanting to make people laugh so I think this is his way of letting us know he's not trying to make us laugh - he's being serious. He usually says this after we laugh or smile at something he has told us. That makes us laugh even more!
One of Mikayla's new things to say is "my bad" and she uses it in context so we can tell she knows meaning. I'm not sure where she picked this up because no one else in our house says this. I'm not sure if this is something she picked up from other kids at daycare, or if she's heard my sister say it, or some of the older kids at church. It is funny hearing her say this although I've never really liked hearing people say this before - I prefer "I'm sorry". I have also heard her say "you think?" which makes us laugh coming from a four year old. She seems to pick up on sarcasm easily and will use it just as easily. For example, one of the youth girls was helping with our preschool group at VBS and during recreation one night she was telling one of the little ones to run. She then said "or not" under her breath (or so she thought) when the child still chose to walk. Mikayla repeated these exact words to another child not two minutes later. All we could do was laugh.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Feeding the Ducks

Last night we took Drew and Mikayla to the landing to feed the ducks (er geese). I couldn't believe how close Mikayla let them get to her. Drew had more fun sliding down the rocks and getting his shoe stuck than actually feeding the ducks, I believe. One of my favorite pictures of the two of them! Drew even had one take a piece of bread from his hand.
I like this picture too, and you can really see Mikayla's new "do" in this picture. She really looks like a "school girl" now.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Welcome Baby Ella!

Our second niece, Ella, was born this morning to Craig's brother Jason and his wife Angel. She weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces and was 20 inches long. Congratulations to Jason and Angel and big sister Belle, and welcome Baby Ella! We are so happy to have another sweet niece!! Angel holding Ella! Thank you Nana for sharing these pictures -I think this one is great!
Big sister Belle looks on as Ella sleeps. Belle turned 3 in April, and I'm sure she will be such a great big sister!
That's a proud daddy right there - Craig's brother Jason holds his second daughter! I think she looks just like him! Drew and Mikayla can't wait to meet their new baby cousin, and Craig and I can't wait either!

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage