Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Juliette's birthday

When we got back from TN, it was time to celebrate Juliette's birthday. Her actual birthday was on the first day of school (which she was thrilled about), so we had her party the weekend before school started. First, we headed to the party store to get supplies. I just love this picture - what a bunch of crazy kids I have!
Juliette wanted a barbie doll cake (Kiera from Barbie and the Pop Star), so here is the cake I made her.
She's holding the doll next to it - pretty close I think.
One of her gifts was a shirt (and toy) from the movie "Inside Out".
Just a random shot of cute brothers playing....

Juliette wanted to have her party at Pump It Up jump house, so she had a great time jumping around with her friends.
It is fun for all ages, as shown here by Caroline!
Matthew found a ball, so he had fun with that.
Her whole group.
She even took time out of her jumping to help Matthew up into the slide too - what a great big sister!
They had a climbing wall that Ben enjoyed.
So did Abbey.
Ben got some serious air on that jump down the slide!
Caroline playing with Matthew.
Look at this girl having so much fun!

Juliette told me the main reason she wanted a party here was to sit in the blow up chair and have a crown on her head.  So I took lots of pictures of that part of the party!

Good job!
She declared it the best party ever (although I do remember her saying that last year - the girl is easy to please!). After a dinner out, we went home and opened some gifts.  She had a lot of fun - thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Back down to TN!

The joy of having two sets of parents living in the same place is that we get to go twice as often! We headed back down to TN at the end of the summer to spend a week with Paul's side of the family.
This time we brought Belle with us, which made the car pretty full!  Everyone did great though - these kids are champs in the car!
We made our usual breakfast stop and found a minion (or a fire hydrant) that matched Abbey!  She wanted a picture...
We got to TN and immediately began to relax, which for Matthew, meant swinging with Mama Kay on the dock.
Ben and Abbey enjoyed a relaxing time in this fun new tube!
And Daddy got down to fishing off the dock.  This time he got to teach Matthew about it too!
And dipping Matthew into the water for a little refreshment too.
Belle was in her happy place swimming in the lake chasing balls.  She did have quite an incident though.  A fishing line with some chicken liver bait on it was left out on the dock.  Well, she ate the bait and got the fish hook stuck in her throat.  Paul took her to the emergency vet, where she had to get it removed and spend the night in recovery.  Poor thing was pretty groggy the next day, but she was fine after that.  Oh Belle!
Mama Kay and Papa set up a mini pool on the porch for Matthew to play in too.  He really enjoyed splashing around in there.
And drinking from the hose.
More swinging!
Aunt Domi and family were there too!  We borrowed Madgie and Patch's jet skis and Aunt Domi took everyone out for a spin.

The boat is always a good place for a quick nap!
Juliette got into the fishing too - look at her big catch!

We also went to Ft. Loudon and toured around it.  We had never been before and it was really interesting.  The kids got into character while there too.

Matthew displaying his adorable curls in the southern humidity.
And we celebrated Juliette's upcoming birthday with a Texas Sheet Cake from Madgie.

After about a 5 year break, I got back up on water skis, but found I had become more scared and couldn't seem to stay up into the turns.  Oh well.  At least I popped up right away each time!
And there was lots of good cousin time!  One of their favorite activities each time is making boats out of logs, twigs, etc.  Abbey and Caroline look ready to set theirs for sail.
Juliette's boat!  She decorated hers with stickers to make it pretty.
Uncle Brandon helped Juliette get hers in the water.
Matthew enjoyed the boat rides too.  Of course Abbey was happy to sit and hold him while the boat was moving.
He even got to drive the boat with Papa!
And on our last day, we just had some silly fun in the water.  
Another fantastic trip to TN.  Thank you Mama Kay and Papa for all the fun!!

Good Friends!

Our very good friends, the O'Connor's, were back this summer for about 6 weeks from their expatriate assignment in Singapore and we made the most of their time here!  The kids had lots of play time with them.  It was especially nice because they only live about 2 blocks away and the kids are getting old enough to ride bikes to each other's houses (although I was nervous about it so I always got confirmation via text when they arrived!).  They all got to experience a milestone together too....their first lemonade stand!  It was a huge success as the kids made almost $100.  Their marketing was key - riding bikes up and down the streets letting people know about it.  And in the end, they gave free cookies to neighborhood kids who brought paying customers!  Well done kids!
Money Money Money!
The adults went to Ravinia one night, which is an outdoor concert venue.  We brought food and wine and had a great time!

And there was a lot of just fun backyard summer playing too!  We set the pool up and the kids had fun jumping off the swings into the pool!

Then we set up the slip and slide at the bottom of our slide, so they got going really fast down it.  
Ben had his first sleepover at their house right before the end of their trip.  He had a ton of fun and it was special that it was with them.
And before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye again.  So we had a bbq before they left.  Matthew saying goodbye to Rachael.
And Mike.
Girls (Abbey being too shy to jump in the picture).

All the kiddos!

And the men.  This picture cracks me up.  Looks like someone is running for office and shaking hands for the camera!

We had a great time this summer being with you guys and miss you again. Until next summer!