Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eli's Seventh

My lion hearted seven year old.  He thinks of others.  He loves well and expresses it without reservation.  He is a collector of all things, most recently of sand dollars. He loves to build with Legos and draw and create. He follows his big brother but is slowly starting to make his own choices even if they involve choosing to spend his birthday money on a stuffed animal (something big brother would never see the value in doing).  He is reading well, but he isn't willing to admit it yet.

We are so blessed to have him in our lives.

This is how the we spent celebrating.

The morning began with presents mostly picked out by big brother.

Then the requested breakfast of banana chocolate chip muffins and bacon.

And lunch at his favorite spot - Rubios

Then, jumping with friends

(yes this is horribly out of focus, but it is what I got - so it is what we are going to use)

And baby sister continues to believe she is a big kid

Finally cake and celebrating at home

Then, the very day after his birthday, he was able to go with daddy to Birmigham on a business trip.

He has grown into such an amazing boy. Can't wait to joyously march through another year with him.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin, Oh My!

Uncle Matthew, Aunt Elaine and Baby Evie came to visit last week.  We were excited to have this time with them.  Right now they are only about 3 1/2 hours away and we are grateful they were willing to take the time and make the drive for a visit!

Upon their arrival we hurried off to the beach.

Which is what's appropriate when you are thirty minutes away from sand and sun.

It was sunny and not too windy for just long enough to enjoy the-baby-allowed-amount of play time.

It would have been a perfect trip had poor Evie not gotten car sick on the ride home.  It is a pretty curvy drive through the mountains.  I have several memories of my brother not making it through car trips and it seems as though his daughter has inherited this trait. But aside from the baby losing her lunch it was a great trip (sigh).

The next day they joined us for a park day with our friends.  Aunt Elaine bought the girls matching outfits and the cuteness was almost unbearable.

And this outing did not end with baby throw up  - so everybody won.

I tricked them into taking a date night out so I could have some alone time with Evie.  With the right combination of the color crew and her evening milk we made snuggly peace.

They wanted to go to the zoo and we had never been. The San Francisco Zoo was great.  It was clean, well maintained and had a great variety of animals. We will be back for sure.

(Lydia's first zoo visit)

All Colin could talk about was seeing gorillas when we were making our morning predictions.  And boy did we ever see gorillas. It was a great exhibit with many active gorillas.  But most importantly, a tiny baby gorilla.  The Best Ever.

A family meeting. I feel like they were discussing the quality of the human exhibit for the day.

We might have been a disappointment.

And there was great playground where the littlest among us got to express their independence.

Or stay close to daddy, whatever.

(this is my baby brother, y'all.  and his baby. how is this reality?)

A napping koala, yes please.

Even Colin wanted her to stay sleeping.

It is worth noting that my sweet sister-in-law, Elaine, was taking all these trips with her busy twins in her tummy (due early summer).  So long story short she was willing to buy train tickets for the boys if that meant sitting down for a few minutes.

It was an absolutely lovely outing with happy children, perfect weather and fun for all.

We wrapped up the day with greek food for dinner and big hugs all around.

The next morning they stopped by IKEA (who doesn't?) on their way out of town and made it home safely.  We are already planning our next visit down to see them!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Post-Vacation Reality

We made it home from our Disney vacation on a Saturday night.  The plan was to spend Sunday relaxing and resting from a busy vacation.  The point of that information is that we didn't leave the house at all on Sunday.

Monday morning Walker woke up with a fever.  The fever moved into a cough and he was pretty miserable. Tuesday morning I took him to the doctor to rule out strep (he has only had it once and it was horrible for him). The diagnosis was just a virus.  Then the durn thing made the slow move through the all kids.  Monday - Walker, Wednesday - Lydia and Eli, and Finally Friday - Colin.  So everyone was coughing and I was dosing out the tylenol and motrin for seven days.

Now I am super glad that it was a rather mild sickness, but we were house bound for an entire week.  Gosh.  That is a long time for these busy adventurous kids to be trapped at home.

So when the fevers broke and the coughing calmed, we headed out and and didn't look back.

There was park hopping:

And big brother's making sure sister got her turn on the slide:

{Now this picture would be perfect if that was Eli in the middle, but it isn't.  Just some stranger.  No matter, I still like the capture.}

And the perfect beach day with friends from around the corner and all the way from Canada.

And these little legs marching through the sand.  I can't even.

And a mid-week outing with daddy? What a gift.

And that beach trip was so fantastic we tried again on Sunday.  It was windy so we didn't say for long, but the kids still had a fun.

They dug holes and made fortresses to keep the wind at bay.

{Even if they had to wear fleece jackets while working away.}

I'm grateful for the days out, even more so when we have had a stretch of time at home.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Then and Now - Disney Style

And a quick look back, because ultimately Disney trips are not about the rides or the food or the characters.  It is about forming these family memories.  Placing anchors on these "things we do."  That will bring to mind our togetherness our shared experiences and hopefully tie our childhoods to our parenthoods and hopefully to our grandparenthoods.





And just for kicks at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom




2008 - Apparently the only family shot we took on the entire trip.  I cannot believe there is no entrance shot. Sad Momma.

Until next time! So glad to have the memories with my favorite people in the world.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Year in Pictures

When Aunt Ally gave me a package of the once-a-month stickers for baby pictures, I laughed.  I predicted there was zero chance I would follow through with this concept.  Fourth kid, homeschooling, moving, and so forth.  But this baby has wooed us all into doing unexpected things, including the once monthly photo sessions that turned out to be fun for all of us. So here are Lydia's monthly pictures for her first year.  It really is amazing how much she has changed.  Gosh this baby...

Lyida - 1 Month

Lyida - 1 Month

Lydia 2 Months

Lydia 3 Months

Lydia 4 months

Lydia 4 months

Lydia 5 Months

Lydia 5 Months

Lydia 6 Months

Lydia 6 Months

Lydia 7 Months

Lydia 7 Months

Lydia 8 Months

Lydia 8 Months

Lydia 8 Months

So she turned 10 months the day after Christmas.  It is the one month I didn't make the sticker thing happen.  Considering I did this with zero of the boys, I'm gonna go ahead and count eleven out of twelve months as a victory. So this shall stand as her 10 month picture.

So much happy! Cannot wait to see this next year unfold.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Disney Snacks

Because everyone has their favorites and we are certainly no exception.

What are your favorites?

A Dole Whip Float

A Mickey Ice Cream Bar

R2D2 Popcorn

The only turkey leg worth it (chocolate covered rice crispy treat)

Lollipops that are unfinishable

And many more unphotographed treats.