Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Catching up: June and July!

"Happy birthday dear Keira"....
Keira is four!  Keira celebrated her 4th birthday with friends and family at Harris Lake Park.  It's one of her favorite parks, and we picked it because it's a great place to ride bikes....and she got her first big girl bike for her birthday!  Keira loves to ride her bike, so we wonder how long it'll be until she's taking off the training wheels.   Although it was a hot day, we had fun celebrating.  We grilled out and the kids rode bikes and went looking for bugs.  Keira is a girly girl, but still likes her bugs... so it was a bug birthday theme full of ladybugs and pink and purple butterflies!
Daddy, Mommy and the birthday girl!


Nine family tents lined the perimeter of the Willis' backyard
In honor of National Wildlife Federation's Great American Backyard Campout, we camped out in our friend's backyard with eight other families.  There were 17 adults and over 20 children (at one point...some did leave in the middle of the!).  It was a really hot day and night, but thankfully we were in the Willis' backyard, so we were able to use extension cords and box fans to stay comfortable.  We grilled out, played in the sprinklers and of course roasted marshmallows.  We had a great time, and were thankful the kids did too!   Now that the kids are older, and we know they like camping... we plan to do many more camping trips in the future.
Marshmallows and glow sticks!

Our annual trip to Brant Lake!  We started our trip to Brant Lake (in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York), with a short trip to the Engelbrecht's.  We decided to stay there Wednesday night and caravan to the lake on Thursday morning.  We got an early start (5am!), and made it up to the lake by lunchtime.  The long trip is worth it, as it's cousins cousins and more cousins... and everyone has a great time.  We were up there with Cheryl, Tyler and Nicole; Cheryl and Dave; and Tiffany, Chelsea and Nate.  Not to mention four dogs!  We did a lot of swimming, boating, tubing, and overall just having a great time.  We had one not-so-great weather day, and we went to an indoor water park (the rest of the family went to the movies).  It was nice to spend a little time with just our family of four and play together.  The kids loved the waterslides... and the bigger the better for Keira.  Unfortunately she was a half inch short of the big slides, but was able to go on the big family slide, which she did over and over again.  Liam was not a big fan, so we had to alternate going with her.  We'll definitely have to go back next year so she can try the big slides!  Keira is quite the dare-devil on the lake too.  She started out tubing with Liam, but she wanted a faster and bumpier ride, so she kept going with different cousins until the perfect match was found... her older cousin Nate!  After a week at the lake, we had a caravan back to the Engelbrecht's, and we stayed there another night before heading home.

Cousin fun on the hammock... Nate, Tyler, Nicole, Chelsea and Keira
Keira and Liam getting ready for their first tube ride
we've taken this same photo the past 3 years... I'll need to put them on here side by side

 (Keira, Liam, Tyler, Nicole, Chelsea, Nate)
Cousins weekend in Richmond!

On our way back from New York, Chris dropped the kids and I off in Richmond to spend the weekend with  the cousins on my side of the family.  The kids did a lot of swimming in Regan's pool, and playing in the backyard.  It was great to catch up with everyone, and hope that we can do another cousins weekend soon!
Kylan, Liam, Tessa, Indie, Haley, Keira and Ethan
Jen, Indie, Regan, Maggie, Debbie and Poppie

 Family in Raleigh!
Whenever I get a chance, I get a four generation photo!  My mom, Nana, Barb and Jaye came in to town for the weekend to hang out (and plan Nana's 90th birthday party!)... so I took the opportunity to get a photo after lunch.
My mom Pat, me, Liam, Keira and my grandmother Helen
Liam starts gymnastics!
Keira has been doing gymnastics for about a year now...and ever since she started, Liam wanted to do it too.  We told him as soon as he turned 3 he could try it.  Well, he started about a month before his 3rd birthday (that's when the new session started), and he LOVES it.  It'll be great for him to learn some coordination and balance for his sports career later on.  (at least we hope so!  Liam eats so much we keep telling him he needs to get a college scholarship because he's eating his college fund right now!)


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let's just cover the big stuff....April and May

(I'll cover the other months over the next few days...)

Easter on Parade... it's all about the bonnets (which the kids made themselves!)
Let's see...there was Easter.

We went to Richmond (which has become an annual event).  My sister has a great backyard, so we hid Easter eggs, had a potluck brunch and then headed to Easter on Parade.  Great time as always!

Liam decorating Easter eggs
Showing off our Easter tattoos... Barb, Debbie, Me (with Keira on top), my mom Pat and my sister Regan

Keira decorating Easter eggs
All dressed up for Easter and ready to hit Easter on Parade!
Daddy's turn!  (unfortunately we didn't get a shot of the 4 of us together)

APRIL AND MAY were the months of MANY home improvements.  We used some tax return money to re-sod the front and back yards, and paint the majority of the inside of the house (I had already painted the kids rooms and the kitchen/breakfast area and playroom).  We put in a vegetable garden in the backyard, and went to the Raleigh State Farmer's Market to get plants for it.  We planted cucumbers, several types of tomatoes, lots of peppers, carrots, strawberries and several herbs.  Some did well, and others didn't... but at least we will have a better idea of what to plan for next year.  The kids loved watching the vegetables grow, and had a great time going out with their buckets picking the ripe veggies.  The cucumbers and grape tomatoes did especially well.  (tomatoes are still doing well in September)
Before the sod went down, Chris built a large raised vegetable garden in the backyard (with Keira's management).  
Wedding bells for Erin and Marc!  Marc Evans is a high school friend of mine - our friendship continued to grow through college, and we have remained great friends since then.  We enjoyed getting to know Erin throughout the years, and were so excited they finally got married.  And what a great wedding it was!  They got married in a HUGE house in the Outer Banks (2 miles up from where the road ends... you have to drive on the beach to get there).  We stayed in the house where the wedding/reception took place, and it was a family affair.  We spent a few days playing on the beach, swimming in the pool, and living it up with the other friends and family in the house. 
Wild horses right on the sand dunes in front of the house!
Congratulations Marc and Erin!!
Party time!!
Dancing queen!

The 18-bedroom "shack" we had to spend a week at :)  Best place ever for a wedding!

The kids and I on the house boardwalk to the beach

Total slacker

So I clearly haven't kept up with the blog.  Most people have been "following" us on Facebook, so I just haven't updated the blog lately.  But then I was told I don't have many pictures on FB either, so here I am... I'm going to give it one more go to keep this updated.  :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

March Review

Maybe I can keep up with this monthly...we'll see.  March was a FUN month, and busy as always.

March 6th: The Home Depot has a monthly kids workshop, and Chris likes to take Keira for some father/daughter bonding time.  Liam and I tagged along this month, and the kids made rain gauges.  Although he had fun, we decided Liam is still a little too young, so it will continue to be a father/daughter event for another few months.   

March 9th: I had a great birthday!  A few days before my birthday, Chris spent time alone with the kids, and I went and got a pedicure.  It was nice to get away for a little while and pamper myself.  On my birthday, Chris and the kids got Indian take-out (my favorite, and a little far away so we don't do it very often!) and we had birthday cake for dessert.  Ever since I went to college, my mom has sent me a cake for my favorite, an angel food cake.  Yes, she makes the cake, packs it up, and ships it to me!  This year she sent the cake, but instead of decorating it, she sent the icing and sprinkles for the kids to decorate for me.  They had a great time decorating it with Chris and were so proud of their creation.  It was yummy! 

March 10th: The kids preschool class had a field trip to Lowes Foods.  They learned about leading a healthy lifestyle...and had a great tour!  We started out in the toothpaste aisle; then went to see the fruits/veggies (they tried watermelon and avocado); then visited the bakery (and tried whole wheat bread); the seafood department and the dairy department (they tried milk and yogurt).  They also talked about exercise and marched, skipped and hopped throughout the grocery store to the different departments.
The class in front of the veggies (Keira is holding the cabbage and Liam has an avocado)

Learning about the lobster (and getting to touch it!)

March 13th - 21st:  We went on vacation to Ft Myers Beach, FL with our friends Emily, Dirk, Ava and Jenna Shimpach.  This is our 2nd year, and hopefully it will continue to be an annual event.  Emily and I are friends from WI and our kids are the same age (Ava is 2 days older than Keira, and Jenna is a few months younger than Liam), so they are a great family to vacation with!  We rented a house with a pool on the canal, and a short walk from the beach.  It was a 12-hour drive for us, and the kids did great.  We were thankful that we didn't have the 24-hr drive the Shipmach's had though!  We spent the week relaxing, playing on the beach, swimming in the pool and watching basketball (March Madness).  It was a great time, and we can't wait to do it again next year!! 
 Beach bums Ava, Keira and Liam

 Ava and Keira hug good-bye...hopefully it won't be another year before they get to see each other
Liam and Keira get one more swim in the ocean in before we leave

March 27th: We visit Bass Lake Park quite a bit, and participate in their monthly story/craft time (which is free).  So we decided to give back to the park and participate in their clean-up day as a family.  We hiked around the park for about an hour picking up trash.  Luckily the park is pretty clean and we didn't find much trash.  Most of what we found were cigarette butts (ick!) and fishing line.  At the end of the clean-up, we all got shirts and the kids were so proud to wear theirs!
After the Bass Lake clean-up, we headed to Womble Park for our town Spring Fling.  The kids had a great time in the bounce houses, making crafts and ending the day with an egg hunt.  

Stay tuned for our April adventures!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Indie Turns One!!

My nephew Indie turned one on February 22nd, and the kids and I went to Richmond to celebrate. My mom came up on Friday afternoon and we all drove to Richmond together. Chris is super busy at work, so he stayed home to get a few things done. It was a great party, and my sister did a fantastic job with The Hungry Caterpillar theme! Indie is getting so big...he's walking now, and the cousins had fun together.
The birthday boy!

Cousins...Liam and Keira (in their butterfly wings), and Indie

Regan, Indie (enjoying his birthday cake) and Ryan

Valentine's Day

Chris and I have never been huge fans of Valentine's Day (we celebrate our anniversary and say 'I Love You' EVERY DAY!), but it's been fun to celebrate with the kids the past few years. Our neighbor had a Valentine's Day party, a few days before Valentine's Day. There were about 20 kids there (plus adults), so it was fun, but a little crazy. The kids decorated bags (below), exchanged valentines with their friends, did a flower with a heart thumbprint craft and had a potluck lunch.
I have been going to Jazzercise since October, and on Valentine's Day they had a Sweetheart Class where you could bring someone with you. They don't normally have childcare on Sundays, but they did for this class (so men could have no excuses to back out!). Chris went with me, and had a good time. There were actually a lot of men there (some people brought their moms or another friend).... and Chris did really well. He was surprised how good of a workout it was, and was still a little sore on Tuesday. :) He was a good sport, and after our workout, we went out for Mexican food with the kids for dinner.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Out and about...of course!

For those of you that know me, I'm not a stay-at-home type of stay-at-home mom. The kids and I are having a lot of fun exploring Raleigh and playing with our friends. Here's a few things that we've been up to lately.
Visit to the Holly Springs Fire Station with some of our friends. The firemen were GREAT with the kids! They gave us a tour of the fire station, showed us the trucks and put on full gear for the kids (and taught them some fire safety too!).

Explore-A-Story at Bass Lake Park is one of our favorites! Once a month we go to the park, hear stories, do a craft and then an activity outside. This month was about squirrels. After the program, it was so nice outside we went for a walk and had a picnic. Before leaving, we went in to the "animal room" and the park ranger pulled out a snake for the kids to touch and "hold". Keira loved the snake and thought it was funny it gave her a "hug" on her wrist (above).

It does snow in North Carolina! The kids enjoyed the first (and probably last) snowfall of the year by sledding and playing with their friends outside.

Keira just started gymnastics and LOVES it! In her first class she practiced handstands (left) and backwards rolls (right).

The kids Ready-to-Learn preschool class took a field trip to PetSmart. They learned about different animals and how to take care of them. They got to pet a guinea pig and two different types of lizards.

My grandmother gave us some money for Christmas, and we used it to buy a membership to the Marbles Children's Museum in downtown Raleigh. We go at least once a month and the kids have a blast! Last week there was a new exhibit open, which was a lot of fun. Liam and his friend Tucker (left) at the lemonade stand and Keira (right) making pizzas in the pizza restaurant.