Category Archives: summer

Laguna Beach Trip 2015

Whew, we just got back from a week at the beach with some of our best friends the V family.  We are exhausted but had a BLAST!  We rented a house with its own pool that we found on the Vacation Rentals By Owner site, and it was practically perfect for us.  The only improvement I would have made it a larger dining area.  A house that can sleep 12 but only seat 6 to eat does quite work!  But once we got to the house, we dumped our bags, let the kids jump in the pool for a bit, and then we headed to the Back Porch to eat dinner.

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Back Porch

We spent as much time at the beach and by the pool as possible and ate most of our meals in the house.  Their middle son T has autism, so avoiding the big crowds of people and long waits was a must.  This house was perfect for cooking, and they even had a grill in the back for grilling up some burger, hot dogs, and fresh seafood!

Beach Grilling

The water was calm and crystal clear our first day there, and the kids soaked it up!

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Beach Pool

We usually spent the mornings as the beach, came in for lunch, and then spent the afternoons at the pool.  Our house was across the street plus a block from the beach, so it was a bit of treck when you’re talking about dragging all the chairs, floats, toys, towels, etc.  Our second morning resulted in some whining from all 5 of the kids (including the 16-year-old) due to some salt- and sand-induced chaffing in the swimsuit areas.  The kids spent more time in the chairs until we got some Vaseline on them and they were good to go.

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Beach C and D

The waves were rockier the rest of the week than they had been on our first full day, and that was a little disappointing but we still had fun in the water and on the sand.  There was a pretty large drop off from the sand to the tide which made for easy burying!

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Beach burying Bubs

Our last night there we visited Pier Park in nearby Panama City Beach and enjoyed some of the rides after taking some family pictures down on the beach.  The V family’s turned out much better than hours, but it is what it is.  (We desperately need professional pictures done!)

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Somebody got a little silly during his photo shoot so this happened!

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The day we left we got all packed, got the house ready to leave, and headed to Sharky’s for an early lunch before heading home!  Yummy!

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We had a blast spending time with these close, precious friends and look forward to another beach trip in the not too distant future!

Princess Splash Pad Fourth Birthday Party

I’ll admit it–B’s last birthday party spoiled me.  I have always had my kids’ birthday parties at our house.  BUT when we had B’s 6th birthday party at our church and I didn’t have to clean the house, well let’s just say I was sold.  No more parties at my house, thank you very much.  So when I started questioning C about her party, and she liked the idea of having it at our local splash pad, I was all in.  She wanted a princess theme, so I was able to find these adorable invitations on etsy that fit perfectly with her desired theme.


Obviously, the décor must be pink, pink, and more pink.  So I grabbed some pink table cloths and balloons and called it a day.  I picked up some little princess wands and foam pirate swords from Hobby Lobby and tied them to the little bottles of bubbles that I found a Party City and set them out for favors.

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I kept the menu VERY simple:  pizza with a few healthy fruit options, cupcakes, and ice cream.  I snapped the picture before we got the pizza, so the table looks a little empty.  I did several cupcakes–half chocolate half vanilla–with pink frosting and stuck some little princess picks in them.  Sadly I forgot to get a picture.  I don’t know how that happened.

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The party started with the kids playing out on the splash pad.  This was good for about an hour and a half of entertainment for the kids and required 0.00 planning on my part.  SCORE!

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After plenty of playtime, we brought all the kids in for lunch, the singing of “Happy Birthday” and cupcakes and ice cream.

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As soon as they were done eating, the kids were ready for the opening of the gifts.  Queue the herd of kids gathered around the birthday girl “helping” her open her gifts.

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This was a super fun and CRAZY easy party.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take nearly enough pictures of it.  We are so blessed to have had our sweet girl with us for four whole years.  We look forward to many, many, many more years with her blessing us!

Swimming with Friends

We were invited to go swimming yesterday with some friends at a pool they are members of and it made for a fun morning.  B has loved E since he first laid eyes on her about 3 years ago at play group, and they have been fast friends ever since.  Typically, we meet up with E and her little sister C at Burger King for lunch.  (I am not a huge fan of BK but it is the ONLY restaurant in town that has a playground.  We desperately need a Chick-Fil-A.)  So we had an enjoyable morning playing in the pool, snacking, and eating popsicles.

We still have a few days of summer left before we jump back into the school year, so we plan to soak up as much fun with friends as we can.

The Busiest Summer EVER

This has without a doubt been the busiest, craziest summer our family has ever had.  Hence the major lack of blogging on my part.  So this is my attempt to play catch up.

After our beach vacation and VBS, we had one day as a family–one whole day where no one had to be anywhere or do anything.  So we went to “Memom’s pool.”  Memom is a sweet lady at our church who lets us use her pool whenever we want.  We usually go at least a dozen times a summer, but this summer we only went once.  ONCE.  I still can’t believe it.  So we packed a lunch, put a watermelon on ice, and headed to Memom’s.  We spent the morning swimming and noshing on watermelon.

Then B had his first dentist appointment.  It did not go well–cavities in all 8 molars.  But he was a champ at the dentist, and I was super proud of how well he did.  For those who know B, they know that he will do anything if he is distracted by tv.

We have an appointment to get the first pair of teeth fixed and we will go from there.

The kids and I set a goal to read 100 books this summer, and we are still working on it.  But our local library had a summer reading program and set a goal for each child to read 25 books.  We got it done by the deadline and turned our forms in.  The kids got Frosty certificates for Wendy’s and ice cream cone certificates for Burger King.  We went right then to Burger King for ice cream.

That is a short and sweet recap of some of what we have done this summer.  It certainly doesn’t cover all of it, but there it is.

Weird Animals VBS

Last night ended a really fabulous VBS.  Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures, but I did get a few.

This was C’s first year participating in VBS and she had a blast–once I could convince her to stay and not cling to me all night.  Both kids had a wonderful experience learning about Jesus’s love.

I was in charge of the Critter Cafe aka the snack room.  It was pretty busy in there, but I managed to snap a couple of pics of the kids making their “Masterpiece Munchies” on day 2.

On the last night, the kids had fun sharing all they had learned with their families by singing songs and answer questions about the Bible lessons.

 It was a fun week, but boy am I glad it’s over.  I am exhausted!

Beach Pictures 2014

As I mentioned yesterday, we took some family pictures on the beach when we were at Palm Beach Shores.  It was a bit of a production since B is going through a major thunderstorm phobia phase right now.  And it was cloudy and starting to thunder softly when we went out to take the pictures.  So he looks kinda scared in all the pictures.  So here are a few of the decent pictures and a humorous story regarding the happenings during said photo shoot.

After getting some shots with the beach in the background, we decided to pose with the dunes in the background.  So we found a good one and sat down.  I notice the little white flower on the dune, but it looked innocent enough, so I sat–right down on it.  And on my heavens, did it hurt.  That thing had tiny little thorn and spines that stung like a jellyfish–right on my ‘upper thigh’ area.  Then when I went to get myself off of the flower, I stuck my thumb on it which also got stung.  I managed to smile for a couple of more pictures, but honestly I was ready to get back to the room and find out what of condition my ‘upper thigh’ was in.

Of all the pictures we got that day, this is my favorite.  A little cropping and it was perfect.  I do love a good beach picture.

And with some hydrocortisone cream, my backside is good to go.

Edited to add:  After being home for a few days said rash decided to come back for an encore.  But with another week of hydrocortisone cream, I am good to go again.

Palm Beach Shores Vacation

We are back from a week-long family vacation with my parents, my brother and his wife, and I am exhausted.  But we sure did have a good time!

We left pretty early the morning of June 28 with cars loaded down and ready for the 8+ hour drive to Singer Island, FL.  We stopped for lunch at a Chick-Fil-A outside of Jacksonville where the kids could run off some energy on the playground, and then we finished the trek to the lovely Marriott Ocean Point Resort in Palm Beach Shores, FL.  The kids slept for a little bit, and for some strange reason, I love pictures of my kids sleeping in their car seats!

 After getting settled in our room, we headed out for dinner at Johnny Longboats, a really fabulous restaurant with even more fabulous desserts!  While there, the Hubs spotted an old friend from the youth camp we used to attend in high school who was dining there with her family.  Small world!  After dinner we stopped at Publix for a massive amount of groceries to feed 8 people for a week!

We were up bright and early the next morning ready to hit the beach!

Up until this point, C had had limited beach experience, and she was not too impressed.  After getting sand in her mouth a couple of times, she looked at me, pointed at the ocean and said, “They need to clean that out!”  HAHA  Needless to say, it was not long before we were headed back to the pool where we spend most of our week.
It started raining shortly after lunch which cut our afternoon outside a little short, but we had come prepared with lots of games and decks of cards to keep us occupied.  We got showered and dressed and headed out to dinner at Carmine’s Crab Shack.  It was a huge disappointment, and I do not recommend it.  After dinner, I took a couple of pics of the kids being silly.

We put the kids to bed and stayed up playing cards.  A couple of hours after going to bed, the Hubs came down with what was either a mild stomach bug or food poisoning as he was up most of the night sick.
Monday, the kids and I hit the pool with my family while the Hubs stayed in bed recovering from the rough night he had had.  That morning, I discovered that my brother’s wife A had also had some stomach issues the night before, but not to the extent of the Hubs.  So, we enjoyed the pool again, went up to the room for some lunch, and once again it started to rain.  We rested, played more cards, and then headed out to dinner at Jetty’s.  Jetty’s was definitely the ‘fanciest’ restaurant that we ate at while on vacation–it is a lovely place right on the bay.  The Hubs snapped this adorable pic of the kids and me at the table!

Sadly, it rained all.  day.  Tuesday which meant it was time to find something to do.  My brother J and his wife A headed out to shop, my mom and dad stayed in the room and rested, and the Hubs and I took the kids to Cool Beans, an ingenious indoor playground/coffee bar!  They had a blast, and we enjoyed the delicious lunch!  If I thought I small town could handle a business like this, I would open one in a heart beat!  It was truly a stroke of brilliance!

Socks were required for everyone entering the play area, and since I had packed exactly zero pairs of socks, we had to buy some.  The Hubs spotted these at the Urban Outfitters and thought they were hilarious–as did I!

After a morning of fun and an afternoon nap (for the kids), we headed out to Guanabana’s–a lovely outdoor restaurant right on the bay.  Patio tables under a canopy of palm trees provided for the perfect dinner setting–until it started to rain again and we had to make a run for it!  Here we are post rain:

Wednesday was a gorgeous day, so we were back out to the pool soaking up the sun!  There was also a small 9-hole putt putt course on the property which B loved.  I am pretty sure he played at least a dozen rounds of mini-golf while on this vacation!

One of the highlights of the vacation for me was that the kids learned how to play Uno while we were there.  They love to play games, and they have parents who both grew up in game loving families, so it was high time they join in the fun outside of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders!
We enjoyed dinner at the Juno Beach Fish House which was quaint spot that looked like it was frequented by the locals; it did not disappoint.  I even managed to snap a pic of the Hubs and me before heading out to dinner.  We have some how managed to not get many pictures of just us since the kids were born!

After dinner and putting the kids to bed, the adults enjoyed a guys vs. girls round of CatchPhrase.  And the stakes were high–the losers had the cook breakfast for the winners.  Sadly, we ladies lost, but I sure did enjoy that breakfast Thursday morning–even if I did have to cook it!

We enjoyed another gorgeous day of fun in the sun, then we headed off to another delicious dinner at Johnny Longboats.  We all decided that it was good enough for a repeat!  Another round of silly pics of the kids (where C was not feeling it apparently), and then if was off to bed before our last full day at the beach.

We were able to spend a delightful July 4th lounging by the pool, playing half a dozen rounds of mini-golf, and we were finally able to get the kids back to the beach after they deemed it less than desirable on our first day.

While the kids were napping and the Hubs and I were enjoying our last afternoon on the beach, my mom grabbed my camera and snapped some pics of the lovely view from our balcony.  The property was really beautiful and was complete with anything you could need to complete your vacation:  at least 2 pools that I saw, hot tubs, shuffleboard, the aforementioned mini-golf course, and a small splash pad for the kids. I will say that I found the splash pad to be a bit dangerous.  I failed to get a picture of it, but there was a playground in the fence with the splash pad.  Wet kids + a metal play structure = lots of slipping and sliding.  And I saw two kids get hurt on the splash pad, one of which was C who ran right into one of the metal poles which left her bruised on her right hip, shoulder and cheek.  It also meant a visit from the resort’s medic who was super friendly.  But anyway, here are the pictures mom took:

Before dinner that night, our immediate family headed down to the beach for some family portraits (more on that tomorrow) then we headed out for a yummy dinner at the Sailfish Marina and Resort.  This might have been my favorite meal of the week.

We got all packed up the night before and headed out early the next morning for the long trek home.  We stopped in St. Augustine for some quick outlet shopping, had lunch at Cracker Barrel, had dinner at another Chick-Fil-A and finally got home around 8:30 that night.

I had an absolute blast with my family at the beach and can’t wait for us to take another trip together!

Fun Park Visit

Several nights ago while bathing the kids, I asked them to tell me somethings they wanted to do over the summer.  While some of there requests were rather odd, several of them were great!  And one of them was a visit to the Fun Park in Albany, GA.  We live close enough for it to be a morning trip, so we headed out for a day of putt-putt, bumper boats, go-carts, and ‘playing arcade games’ (which should read ‘the kids sat in front of those race car video games and thought they were driving them even though we had not put in any money–we are enjoying their naivete while we can).  Then we grabbed lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings before heading home for naps.

C and I took this awkward selfie and Buffalo Wild Wings, but I thought it was kinda cute!  It was a fun morning.  Some of the other items on their Summer To Do List are:

  • Go to the park
  • VBS
  • Go to the beach
  • Read 100 Library Books
  • Go to the Riverquarium
  • Swim
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Go see a movie

We are hard at work on reading the 100 library books, and honestly we have had a blast doing it!

First Day of Gymnastics

Not only is C taking swimming lessons this summer, but I also have her enrolled in gymnastics with out local recreation department.  Her first lesson was tonight, and she said she had a fun.

She was at a slight disadvantage because I never put her in the parent and tot class where many of the girls who are C’s age have already learned the basics.  There was only one other little girl in C’s class tonight, and she had taken gymnastics before.  But C caught on quickly and had a ball.

Honestly, I wasn’t super impressed, but I keep reminding myself that it was only the first class, and it will probably get better.  So, we will see if gymnastics is something she continues or if we will switch to dance.  I do know that I sure did enjoy watching her try something new!

Swimming Lessons for C

C had her first swimming lesson today, and I predict that she will be swimming all over the pool like a fish by the end of the summer.  She did amazingly well, especially considering how clingy and whiny she was in the pool last summer.

Now B took lessons from Miss K last summer, and this year C is taking lessons from her little sister (who will also be known as Miss K on this little blog).  We love both Miss Ks, and they do a phenomenal job with my kids!  B is still jumping off the side of the pool, but isn’t brave enough to jump into the deep end again like he was doing last year.  I give him another couple of weeks and he will be flying off the diving board again!

Good job, sweet C!!