Summer Vacation

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
For the last 6 years of so, we have traveled to the Seaside (30A) area for a week of beach vacation.  I have difficulty flying and we all love this area so it makes for a great family vacation.  Some years my sister and her family join us.  This year, they could not.

Since we know our family dynamic is going to change a lot next year when Will leaves for college, I told Dave that I think we should spend two weeks there this summer. We debated it for a while as we wondered about the expense and whether we would get bored.  I searched the area we stay in on VRBO and found a house we had stayed in before.  I called the owner and got a GREAT rate for 2 weeks.

Hands down this was such a great decision.  We always have fun but this vacation definitely ranks as one of our best ever. And for that reason, I will likely post too many photos.  Also, since we were gone 2 weeks (and added a stop to New Orleans on the way home) they will be spread out over a few vacation posts.

For the first 5 days, my childhood friend, Stacy and her family stayed with us.  They live in Florida so we don't see them as often as we'd like.  Our families get along so well.  Stacy has a heart of gold and she is so much fun.  She makes us all laugh.  Her girls are the kindest, most thoughtful girls you'd ever meet and her husband, Larry is so nice and easy going.  We just love being around them.


Kylie, Larry, Stacy and Kassi.  I cannot even tell you how much we love being around them.


 These photos were right before we went to our favorite Cafe 30A for dinner.

All the kids together.

We spent most of the day everyday at the beach.


Will, Kate and Kassi.
 The water was perfection.

Harry coming in from kayaking.

We brought our kayaks and the boys took them out and went fishing a bit too.

A few years ago, I bought a camera that can take underwater photo and video.
It was a fabulous purchase.
The ocean was so clear that it almost looked like pool water.



As always, there was a lot of this going on too...

Kate never stops tumbling.  She can do an aerial now but she would not try one on the beach for me.



Kate bonded with Mr. Larry.  He introduced her to the fried bologna sandwich.  She had never had one before but she is a fan now!


Harry and Dave playing frisbee in the ocean.


Kylie and Kassi, the sweetest teenage girls you will ever meet.


Kate's favorite part of the day is when the ice cream truck comes down the street right after lunch.  She starts asking at 9:30 am what time is it and when will the ice cream truck come:)  No joke!


Kate and Kassi.  Kate loves these girls so much! 
She calls them her cousins but she told me she really feels like they are her sisters.

This last photo sums up what happens when we are around the H family...


My lens was foggy as we had just walked down to the beach from the AC.  This was going to be the first photo of our first full day.  See the two photo bombers.  I love it.

More soon.

Started this a week ago....

Monday, August 24, 2015
 {Please note the boys started school a week ago. That is when I started this post.  Today is actually Kate's first day but I am just getting around to finishing the post.}

Today (last Monday) is the first day of school for Will and Harry.  I seriously don't know how this happened.  This is the oldest photo I have of them on the blog on a 1st day of school.


This was August 2007.  Harry was going into 1st grade and Will was going into 4th grade.

This was this morning (last Monday)...


Will is a senior and Harry is a freshmen.



You can tell that they were totally thrilled about me taking photos.

I kind of wish I had taken more time because these are the last "back to school" photos I will have at home of Will.

So far, high school is going really well.  Will is starting his college applications and we are all hoping he knocks them out quickly so we can just enjoy this year.

Harry LOVES his new school.  He is fitting in well, making new friends and adjusting to the academic rigor. I can say that this is the happiest and most comfortable I have seen him in his own skin in years.  It's all good. Harry even went to the high school mixer dance this weekend and seemed to have a great time.

Will drives Harry each day and I think it has been really good for their relationship.  They used to be best friends when they were younger and then naturally drifted apart though the middle school years. I can see them becoming closer again and I am so thrilled about that.

This is Will and his best friend David first day of freshmen orientation.


And this is them first day of senior year.


They went from looking like boys to looking like men.

Kate started 3rd grade today. She had a tad more patience (literally a tad) for my picture taking.



(Please excuse all of our weeds.  We need to do some yard work but it's soooo HOT.)


She got the teacher she was hoping for and some of her friends are in her class.  Kate was super excited for 3rd grade.  She suddenly looks a lot older to me in these photos.  

Our summer FLEW by.  I really have no clue where it went.  We took a long family vacation that was incredible.  Will got his wisdom teeth removed.  Kate and Harry went to camp.  I hope to catch up on blogging.  I know I say that all the time but this year is so special (Will's senior year) that I really hope to be better about preserving some of our favorite memories.  I know I will be back very soon to blog about Kate's first gymnastics meet of the season and our vacation.

I hope your children are all having a great end of summer/back to school.

July 4th ( a year late)

Saturday, July 4, 2015
So, this year is strange for July 4th for us.  We had a difficult time picking a camp week for Kate and Harry.  Harry usually goes to camp for two weeks and Kate wanted to go two weeks this year but due to an upcoming trip we decided that one week of camp would have to be it this year. Anyway, the only week they could BOTH go (due to camp availability) has them traveling home later today.  They actually arrive tonight.   We knew it was bad timing but it was all that could work with our summer plans and camp availability.

We've been invited to two parties but the camp pick up cuts into them both.  We will see how they are when we get them and we might go to one of the parties before pick up and one after:)

Anyway, I was looking back at former 4th of July posts and realized I never posted any photos of last year.  It was also a quiet 4th as the boys were at camp and Kate was the only one home with us.  That being said, Kate LOVES the little bike parade and carnival in our neighborhood and we always go.  I am sure she is really sad to have missed it this year.

So, I wanted to post the photos from last year.  I will post date them probably in a few days. It appears these are all from my iPhone.



Kate is very lucky that one of her best friends happens to be our next door neighbor.  These girls play all the time.  I went and got them all the stuff and they decorated their bikes together.





face painting + snow cones= fun

Now usually, Kate rocks the hula hoop contest.  She always wins.  Harry and I aren't too shabby either. In fact, our family often sweeps that one.  I don't have any video or photos so I am wondering if we left early.  I did find a brief video of the bubble blowing contest from last year.

Bubble blowing...


I have no clue what we did after the carnival because I obviously did not take any photos
(maybe I was having too much fun).

 And see that is why it is important to not wait a year to blog about something.

 We did have a little ice cream sundae party before bed though ( a little 4th tradition for us).


8th grade graduation, blueberry picking, camp update

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I already posted about the 8th grade dance but I don't think I posted about Harry's middle school promotion.  Dave and I don't make a big deal out of this milestone as they only went to middle school for 3 years.  If it was a 1-8th grade school (like Catholic school) I think it is a bigger deal.

Anyway, we had some MAJOR flooding in Houston in May.  Our neighborhood flooded (not our house) and many of our neighbors and some of my friends had serious flood damage.  A few people I know lost everything. It was horrific. You simply would not believe the devastation unless you saw it. As president of my Mom's group at church, I organized help for these families in looking for places for them to stay, collecting gift cards for them, delivering meals, doing laundry and lots of other stuff.  I never posted about the floods here because I was really busy at the time trying to coordinate help for the families in our church group who lost so much.  But I did mention it on FB and IG and people from all over sent me gift cards to help these families.  It was so generous and kind.  Thank you.  The families were SO grateful.

So, Harry's graduation was actually the week of the flood. The award ceremony was cancelled the day before due to flooding. Harry did get the History award which surprised us all because he is not a History buff (Will is) but apparently he knows his History.  Good job Harry! He also graduated with all A's  for the year.  I think he actually had all A's all three years.  He is a good student.

It was raining the morning of the ceremony and the graduation was very delayed.




Kate was in school and Will had final exams so just the 3 of us went to the graduation ceremony.

Without getting too specific, these types of transitions are a struggle for Harry.  We could barely get him in the car for his 5th grade graduation.  He was a little better this time but afterwards I saw it coming out.  

We wanted to take him out to lunch but he was not in a good mood.  We did end up convincing him to go for seafood  (his favorite) at Pappadeux.  We had a nice lunch.  It is hard for me to watch him go though these times. And I feel so helpless. Adjusting to middle school was extremely tough and I am praying every single day that his adjustment to high school is better.

He has attended three camps this summer (basketball, lacrosse and study skills) at his new high school.  So, hopefully he is feeling comfortable there already.

The weekend before the flood, we went blueberry picking. Let me just say that Harry is 14 y'all.  he DOES NOT want me taking his photo.  So, most of these are not of him.  I love him dearly.  He is a great kid.  But he is a teenage boy and I have to respect that.  I was just glad he came with us!


So someone on IG commented how I dressed her to match the blueberries. Ironically, we drove to the farm to go STRAWBERRY picking but we got there too late so they diverted us to the blueberries.  So, it was not planned at all (I am 99% sure she picked this out) but it worked beautifully.






There were beautiful wild flowers in the blueberry patches.








Blueberry picking was fun but (for me and Harry) the hilight of the day was on the drive home. We saw a farmer's market and this was in the parking lot....


We LOVE lobster rolls.  And they are not super common here in Texas.  So, Harry and I had to have one.  Kate opted for an all natural local made popsicle.

IMG_7284 These were so good.

The following week, we got together with our friends to bake a berry tart...




And at the risk of this post being the LONGEST ever, I wanted to give a quick camp update too.

Kate and Harry are only at camp for one week this year because we are taking a longer vacation this summer.  It is quiet without them for sure but I am enjoying the quiet.  I have taken a few naps, done some deep cleaning and enjoyed the time with Dave.  It's been good.

I do check the camp website a few times a day to see what they are up to.

At first I though Kate was spending all her time in the gym...



But then luckily I saw these photos...


Cheering on her teammates in morning competitions.


Making a cross in the craft center at free time.


Cooking oatmeal cookies.
I am surprised she is in the cooking class again this year.
 She loved it last year but I did not think she picked it this year.


All the girls were eating milk and cookies (the ones they made).  And they tried to make milk mustaches.  I think we need to work on this:)


At the Christmas is July party.


And this last one is from this morning's competition.

Ever time I see one of these photos, I want to tell her to brush her hair and put it in a pony tail!

I was not seeing any pictures of Harry at all.  That bummed me out. But then I finally saw two.


This is one of Harry's favorite things to do at camp.  It's called gaga ball or smash ball.


This is a giant funnel that dumps into a lake.

So clearly Harry avoids the camera at camp too-- not just at home:)