Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vacation Update Part Three

We've been having a blast in FL this week. Monday we will head home. Its a good thing we've had this chance to relax because its about to get hectic! I need to have a garage sale on Saturday (if ya'll have anything you want to sell, PLEASE bring it on over and sell it and keep me company!), get an estimate from the movers, start packing, organize the stuff we want to leave at this house, and the stuff we will move in the van, put out the"FOR RENT" sign, get Nolen's MD school physical form completed, work on transferring my Jazzercise franchise, mow the grass (its probably about a foot tall)...oh, sorry. I guess you probably don't want to read my To-Do List.

Back to the reflections on the last few days...
I left our Wii in Naples and had asked Dad to meet us halfway for dinner so we could pick it up. But when I started thinking about how much fun the kids had at the beach on Monday evening, I decided to go ahead and drive all the way to Naples and make a day of it. The boys had a blast AGAIN! The Gulf is usually pretty calm, but perhaps it is Hurricane Dolly that has things all stirred up. There were pretty good sized waves out there and the boys loved it! Thank goodness Brittany came with us so we could each hang onto a boy in the waves. It was AWESOME! The boys had so much fun that neither one of them ate the sandwiches I packed for lunch. I have some really pretty pictures too, but my card reader pooped out so I'll have to wait til I get home to transfer them from the camera.

After the beach we went to Dad's house to shower and regroup. Suzanne's brother, Stan, and his family are in town from Denver so we got to see them and meet their kids. I first met Stan and Cynthia when we went skiing with Dad and Suzanne TEN YEARS AGO! I can't believe its been that long! Now they have five year old twin girls! The four kids were so funny playing together. I kept joking that these kids are about the closest thing the boys have to cousins for right now. The kids played well together. The girls were definitely running the show. Kinsey was the Mom, Riley was the babysitter and the boys were the babies. It was funny to see how differently boys and girls choose to play. If Nolen had been in charge, the girls would have been Princess Peach and Rosalina and Nolen and Max would have been Mario and Luigi! haha!

(I know this is a long post. I don't blame you if you have already quit reading!)
Saturday we got to hang out with Nana all day! She is so cute and had lots of fun things planned to do with the boys. First they got to paint treasure chests with these cool squeeze and brush paints. Then Nana cooked Nolen's favorite meal, chicken on the bone (fried chicken). After lunch we all went swimming in the little pool, then they baked and decorated cupcakes! What a busy day! Nolen tried to impress Nana with his video game skills, but she wasn't too interested. We DID get a belly laugh from her during the Rabbids game when the Rabbids are talking on their cell phones in the movie theater!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Camp Sisters

My sister Brittany (maybe that's why I'm partial to Brittney Spears, even if she's a crazy mess) has been in Korea for the past year! She is home for a month before she goes back for her last 6 months. She is teaching English on a Fulbright Grant in a small town called Naju. She is super cool, much cooler than me, and an absolute genius! She has yet to take a class that was challenging enough for her not to ace it! That's right. My sister has
AND she's hysterically funny, sweet with the boys, and looking hot in her new wardrobe!

Teenagers around here joke that we are from "Cape Coma" or "Fort Misery" because we were always bored. In retrospect (and watching my 16 year old step sister, Jess) I think we were all just spoiled! We lived in FLORIDA for crying out loud! Oh, you want to go to the beach in February? Go for it! You want to eat at a restaurant? OK, which one of the 6,000 eating establishments would suit your fancy? Shopping? Pick your poison...Coconut Point, Edison Mall, Coastland Center, Tanger Outlets, Prime Outlets, Bell Tower Shops...)which reminds me, I want to go shopping one more time before I go home!) You like alligators? No problemo! The Everglades are just a short trip South on I-75. OK, well maybe that last one is a stretch, but after living in Fairbanks, AK and Enterprise, AL, good ol' Southwest Florida isn't looking too bad! In fact, I would say this town is a little TOO busy for my tastes these days! Maybe I'll reconsider when I'm 65! Haha!

But I digress. Brittany informed me that Applebees hosts, Applebees After Dark on Thursday nights, complete with karaoke! SWEET! I loves me some karaoke! So, after our trip to Chuck E. Cheese's on Thursday, we came home, got all dolled up, and met her friend Carrie at our Neighborhood Grill and Bar. It was fun to go out with my little sis and the entertainment was mostly good. I did feel sorry for some of those folks up there and no we didn't sing.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Florida Vacation (Part Two)

I feel like I haven't been online in weeks but its only been a few days! haha! We left Orlando on Saturday - much to the relief of Edward and our bank account! We drove down to Ft. Myers and picked up Brittany then traveled on to Naples where Dad and Suzanne live. We always manage to stay quite busy in Naples and it was true again this visit. Saturday night we had dinner and chatted and the kids had a great time playing with all of the toys at Val and Jean's house. Val and Jean are Suzanne's parents and they live next door to her. They have plenty of extra space so we sleep there when we're in Naples. They have two 5 year old grandkids and plenty of toys. The boys love it there!

Anyway....on Sunday we tried to go to the train depot/museum but it was closed so we went to a water park instead! It was awesome! The kids had a blast and it was very reasonably priced - especially for Naples. Grandpa spoiled the boys with ice cream on the way home. Sunday night, my step sister, Jess, watched the kids and played Wii with them while we all went out to P.F. Chang's for dinner. The dumplings were delicious! So was the Great Wall of Chocolate! YUM! Monday, I cleaned up the van, took the boys to the mall, shopped with Brittany, helped Dad build his house, took the kids to the beach and had a BBQ with the fam! See what I mean??? Busy, busy, busy! Going back to the house building...Dad needed to get the furring strips up before the AC condenser gets installed this week so I helped him snap a chalk line and then stuck around and drilled some holes with the hammer drill just so I could say I helped!

Tuesday we drove North to Cape Coral and met up with an old friend from SECOND GRADE! Amber has two little boys of her own and it was really fun to catch up with her and watch the boys play. Jacob is also five years old and an absolute FISH in the water! It was so cool to watch him swim all over the place. I was hoping it would inspire Nolen to be more adventurous, but no such luck.

Well, I think that's enough of an update for now. Time to go have some more fun!

Friday, July 18, 2008

J.J. and Kevin, Eat Your Hearts Out!

Ailee, Christy and I got to have dinner together last night. I've known Ailee since we were 10 and Christy since we were 14 or so. We had a great time! These two girls CRACK ME UP! Will you guys come to Maryland with me??? Please???

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chllin' in O-Town

Hello from Mickey's neighborhood!!! He must be rich to live around here because this trip is breaking the bank. haha! Where is the free, Alabama style fun??? Oh we found some free fun - except it probably cost $8 of gas to get there and back! I took the kids to a splash park in E Orlando, actually right off of Dean road which I lived off of during my 4th year of college...sadly that was not my last year of college, but I digress. The splash park was really cool! The kids had fun while we were there. Nolen says he didn't like it because it got water in his eyes. Max says he liked it because there was enough water there to get him wet and he says he played water freeze tag. There was even an fun soundtrack provided by a kid's grandpa that was there playing the guitar! His repitoire was expansive...everything from Old McDonald to the Hokey Pokey!

Its also been RAINING and RAINING. Apparently, its monsoon season in Central Florida! Today I promised the boys we would go swimming again which them remembered at 7:00 tonight. No biggie, I thought. I told them to get their swimsuits on and we would go. Just as we were about to walk out the door, Max said, "Its raining." And guess what. We went anyway! I sat under a towel while the kids swam in the rain. I would have taken pictures, but, it was raining! ha!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Its All About the Kids These Days...

Yesterday was my birthday, and as usual, I was a total pain! haha! The girls had been planning on meeting at a restaurant for lunch but when I started thinking about 7 women and 8 kids crowded around a table, it didn't sound like my idea of fun. So, I called everyone and asked them to come over to my house for lunch instead. That way, the kids could play and we girls could do what we do second best - EAT. The thing we are best at is Jazzercising! I ran around Wednesday morning getting chips, cupcakes, sandwiches and paper plates, picked up the house (a little) and waited for the fun! I love having my girls over! Thank you all so much for coming! I had an awesome birthday - and I have to say, I was afraid it was going to be a sad one with Ed gone and all. Nothing makes me feel so good as having great friends!
After lunch, we set up the pool and the slip n slide in the backyard. It was a little messy thanks to all the of the dirt in the backyard, but it was MUCH cooler in the shade than it would have been in the front yard at that time of day. It was actually pretty nice outside - and that is saying a lot for July!

From right to left...Austin, Max, Jackson, Ashlyn is behind Jackson, Kamryn and Abby is leaning over the edge. At one point I think we also had Madison and Nolen in there too. It was a tight fit but the kids didn't seem to mind too much. Although poor Abby went all the way under the water and had to get fished out!

Abby, Ashlyn and Madison put on a beautiful concert for us!

All of the girls playing in the boys' room! Uh-oh, they're taking over already! Watch out Max and Nolen, girls will SAY they're just putting your stuff away, but they will actually hide it. Next thing you know, you're asking, "Hey, Ellie, have you seen my lightsaver?" And she'll say, "You have a lightsaver? Nope. I've never seen it." Half an hour later, she'll find it in a new bin she bought to help you "organize" your stuff. Oops!
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Birth Order Predictor....

You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.

At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.

When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.

Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.

You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

The Birth Order Predictor

This is surprisingly accurate. I am the oldest child and my sister is 8 years younger than me. And Brittany, I didn't forget about you! The Birth Order Book says that children who are more than six years apart often act as if they are only children and display these characteristics. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you! Can't wait to see you soon!

Happy Birthday to Austin!

On Tuesday, we went to Austin's birthday party at my favorite restaurant...Mellow Mushroom! Yum! The kids had a great time making their own pizzas and eating them after they came out of the oven. I think my favorite part was seeing Ashlyn. When we first met Ashlyn she wasn't even crawling. Max used to call her, "my baby." He was in love with her and while Austin and Nolen would take off, Max would sometimes just hang out with Ashlyn and she would watch him play. Well, those days are past and now that we live in town, we don't get to see Ashlyn anymore but let me tell you...she is gonna be trouble! That girl is beautiful, Lisa! You and Toby are going to have to watch out! I managed to get a cute picture of Max and Ashlyn hugging, but as usual, the best picture got away!

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Highlights From the Fourth

Some All-American food for dinner...

Cheesing on the back of a Chinook...

Future pilots?
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He looks awfully happy in that -58! They had a 2.75" rocket sitting next to the helicopter. Nolen asked me what the rocket was for. I told him that he should ask the pilot that was standing there to answer questions. He was too shy but I asked for him and Nolen got a demonstration of how they load the rocket and how the 3 fins pop out to help it fly after its launched. When the guy let go of the fins and they popped out, Nolen jumped back. He's MY boy for sure.

They had a fun zone set up for the kids but it cost money (bummer). I bought $6 of tix and told the kids they could each jump on 3 things. They had a blast but it was overpriced and I wasn't going to buy an armband for $8/kid! Anyway, kids had fun and I got some cute action shots!

I LOVE Max's hair in this one! It looks like he has wings!

A little girl that was sitting next to us with her parents had 3 necklaces and she (so sweet) gave one of them to each of the boys! The boys had a blast playing with them while they waited for the fireworks!
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My little chicken, I mean, Nolen, did GREAT tonight! He REALLY hates loud noises so we were a little worried about the fireworks. Isn't it weird that Nolen made it the first five years of his life without seeing a SINGLE fireworks show!?! Anyhoo, he did great. He sat with his ears covered for most of it but he wasn't scared or upset. It was a great show too. I was pretty impressed for little ol' Fort Rucker. By the way, Max laughed at the first few fireworks, then he just kept saying, "Wow, wow, wow." He loved it. We had a great time tonight. I'm SO lucky that my two boys are so good that I can venture out with them like this!
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Taming of the Backyard

One sweaty Momma...

One minor injury (don't laugh, it really hurts.)...

One giant pile of refuse...

And one cleaned up backyard!

In an effort to get the house ready to rent, Ed has a long list of things that need to get done...among them, was moving this pile of tree limbs from the trimming he did a few months back. He was talking about paying someone to come move them (and do some other work) but I'm too cheap for that. If ANYONE is getting paid to move a pile of junk, its gonna be me! haha! Check please!
On the list for tomorrow...chopping down this dead pine tree...If anyone knows how to start a chainsaw, please leave the instructions as a comment. Thanks!
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