Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Happy Birthday

That's just what this little boy had!
Happy 7th birthday, Jonah!
"Turning 7 is a BLAST!" was the theme he came up with, so we searched the internet for pictures of bomb cakes, and he decided on the one pictured above. Thank goodness for local bakeries and people who have the talent to make cakes. Amen?!
It turned out great, and we had a BLAST helping him celebrate turning 7. He asked for a tether ball pole for his birthday. That's right, you read that right...a tether ball pole!
It has not arrived, but I will certainly post pictures when it does.:)
Today ended our weekend plus one day of celebrating bithdays. Today, as I ate a cupcake at Jonah's party at Incredible Pizza, I wondered if it might be possible to overdose on birthday cake icing.
Good grief! I'm gonna have to run extra miles or put some extra time in on the elliptical for this!

Saturday, we picked up 2 mom's cake and Jonah's cake. We surprised my mom with a birthday dinner at McAlister's with friends.
Somehow the cake slid and the left side was a little "smushed". Oh well, it still tasted great!

I think she was surprised:)

Jonah was born on Mom's birthday, so we celebrated her birthday Saturday night and then Sunday, celebrated Jonah with a dinner at Mimi's house around the pool.
I was so proud of John Owen because he took all of his money from his jar and bought his brother a birthday present. It was completely on his own initiative! We snuck away to Wal-Mart Friday night under the "disguise" of going to buy some school supplies, and he made his purchase for Jonah. These two are so close...John Owen knew exactly what Jonah would like.:)
And Jonah loved it!

Jonah opening his gift from his big brother.
All in all, I'd say he had a great birthday!
I am so thankful for this little boy that God gave me 7 years ago. He brings me joy everyday!
Happy birthday, Jonah!
We love you soooo much!

Summer Camp 2012

Right before we left to go to the beach, the park ranger at Fort Pillow in Henning, TN, who just happens to be someone I went to school with many moons ago, told me that he was doing a summer camp this year at the park. He asked if my boys might be interested. We checked it out after our beach trip, and I started thinking wonderful thoughts of my boys getting out and exploring the woods and doin' all kinds of fun, educational stuff!
Then I read that if your child was under the age of 10, an adult would have to accompany the child. My thoughts quickly shifted to, " I really want to do this? I know Jan can't miss three days of work to go with the boys. If they go, it will have to be ME going with them. An 8:00-4:00 day is a long day to be at Fort Pillow!" (Just sharing my true thoughts with you there.) I began picturing myself in the woods, and thinking that it was JULY and it was HOT!! Do I really want to do this? I did have babysitting options for Mary Claire, so that wasn't an excuse I could use. Darn it!:)
Now, let me just say that I have never been one to be afraid of doing something adventurous or getting dirty or sweaty. I actually like to hike and do all kinds of outdoor things. So, it didn't take me too long to wrestle with the thoughts racing through my mind before I decided YES, we would do it TOGETHER! Momma and her boys off on an adventure!

Wednesday morning, we got Mary Claire "situated" with a little help from my dad, and we were pulling out of the driveway by 7:30 a.m. And yes, I did stop for my large Diet Coke (with ice) before leaving town. Woods or no woods, I was not to be denied my Diet Coke. :)

The night before, I had packed our bag with 3 different types of OFF! (for the bugs), a change of clothes for everyone, 2 towels, band aids, stuff for lunch, water bottles, hats...oh brother, I can't remember what else. I took one wrong turn because I thought I was going the right way and didn't think I needed my GPS which made us a little late arriving. But that was o.k. We quickly got started with some cane pole fishing!

And yes, I showed them how to bait their worms on their hooks:), and I gave thanks that I knew how to bait a worm so that I could show my boys how it's done. After fishing, we set our sights on CANOEING!! This is the only picture I took because I was not about to take my phone in the canoe with me. Too risky! It was my boys' first time to canoe, and I have not been in a long time! We had alot of fun! We saw carp and a ton of turtles.

After canoeing, we played a game of kickball and then headed to the museum to cool off and eat lunch.

After lunch, we enjoyed some leaf art! Nice, cool thing to do inside.:)

Jonah liked the miniature model of the Fort Pillow area.

We finished the day with a compass course in the woods right outside the museum. That was going pretty good until we we were told to get out of the area we were in because they thought we had stumbled upon a skunk den! John Owen and I thought we smelled something...We never saw one, and I am just glad we didn't.
The next day, we canoed on Sullivan Pond again where we spotted a snake and said hello to the turtles again.
Then we hiked over a mile and a half on a trail in the woods. Yeah, we were hungry and ready to rest after that! We had to cut Thursday a little short because I had to get back to town to get ready for a surprise farewell dinner for some friends. And the fact that we were under a HEAT ADVISORY made it an easy decision to leave after lunch.
Friday, Jan was able to go with the boys, and they invited some friends, David and Lewis Lofton.
Canoeing in Cold Creek was their adventure Friday morning! John Owen and Lewis even jumped in after they finished canoeing! Then lunch and a buzz saw craft. The afternoon featured the Birds of Prey exhibit, so Mary Claire and I loaded up and drove over for that. All of the children got educated on snakes,

and birds!

Who's that camper under that fishing hat?

It's Mary Claire!:)
Maybe she'll be ready next year!

It was a great summer camp!
Did I mention it was FREE?!
 (Well, if you don't count the gas we spent driving back and forth, right?) 
We are already looking forward to another adventure!:)
By the way, for those living in the area, Fort Pillow Historic State Park has a facebook page where they will post any upcoming events. If you are interested, just "like" them on facebook and find out what's coming up. Your next adventure awaits you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Swim Team 2012

The boys' 2012 swim season is winding down with this week being the boys' last official week. This year, the Tunica Swim Championship will be held on Jonah's 7th birthday, July 15th. For a couple reasons, of which I won't elaborate on right now, the boys will not be competing at Tunica this year. They have done great this year and showed wonderful time improvements, nonetheless. They both say the breaststroke is their favorite. :) Notably, they both completed their first IM which is a 100 yard swim including the breaststroke, freestyle, butterfly and backstroke. (25 yards of each)
Thought I'd include some pictures I have managed to snap and share them:
John Owen at first swim meet

Jonah before his first swim

I think that would be John Owen!:)

John Owen doing the backstroke

"Talking things over" with Miss Marcy and Hyatt:)

I think he's ready!

Look at Jonah go!

Taking a break with Daddy

A little dive action by John Owen

And Jonah's ready to dive off of the platform!

John Owen and Mr. Erik cheering someone on while Hyatt adjusts his goggles.:)

There's my big boy, ready for some swim action!

It's hard to believe they have been a part of the swim team for 3 years now. Wow! Time flies.
Jonah swam his first race as a 4 year old, almost 3 weeks before his 5th birthday. I will never forget how nervous I was the first time he swam down the lane.
Mary Claire is 4 now and just started swimming with very little to no assistance, so who knows? She just might join the team next summer!?
I think swimming is so good for their bodies and helps strengthen their muscles. Plus, it's a good activity for the hot summer days, right?
Thank you to our coaches, Mrs. Nora, Miss Marcie, and Mrs. Lisa!
Thank you for your time and patience:)
Just keep swimming...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beach Vacation 2012

As you can probably see from the previous post, I did not spend any time posting from the beach this year. I completely gave in to the rest and relaxation! As if vacation with 3 young children is really rest, right? :) Plus, I left the cord I needed for downloading my pictures from my camera at home...hehe. So, in pictures (Beware! There's quite a few.) and a few words, here's our Beach Vacation 2012.
 Beautiful skies after our only and very short-lived rain from Tropical Storm Debby.
 Red flag still continued to fly for Sunday and Monday, but the warning was completely lifted by Tuesday morning.
Still enjoyed the sand even though we couldn't get in the ocean right away. Got our "glow gear" for walking on the beach at night!

 Ah, yes...the Hangout!! A must-go-to in Gulf Shores! Note: Try the Fish Tacos.:)
 Laugh if you must, but this is one of our traditions...Souvenir City, AKA "The Shark's Mouth".
The children just cannot resist the hundreds of Made in China treasures that await inside. Before we walk in, we have to snap the obligatory photo with the shark's teeth, and then Jan proceeds to give them clear instruction on the $ limit they have to spend on something. This year, we walked away with some colored stones for Mary Claire which she calls her "jewels" (one bag full for $4.99), and two boogie boards for the boys. As you will see in the next few pictures, the boys made good use of the boards for the rest of the week.
 Look who's ready to dive right in!
Looks like somebody enjoys naps on the beach as much as I do. :)

Feeding the fish at the marina in Orange Beach. We ate at a wonderful restaurant named Gratzie's. (An Italian Seafood place)
(Want another food suggestion? Everything we ordered was good, but the crabcakes were the BEST!!)

 Mimi and Daddy Nick
 As we finished our dinner, a boat docked right below where we sat on the covered porch and one of the guys yells, "Hey! We caught a bull shark. You guys wanna see it?" Yep, and there it is...all 7 feet and probably about 500-600 pounds of a bull shark!!
 Jan helped the men get the rather heavy fish on to the table you see in the photo and managed not to get the shark's blood on himself. A couple of others were not so lucky as some slipped in the blood pooled on the dock and at the base of the table. They said they caught the shark about 3 miles off the shoreline. The kids got to touch it and look at its eyes up close. What an experience!!
My three sea-goers!

Mary Claire keeping an eye on the ocean.

Our message in the sand this year...always in our hearts, minds, and prayers.
Go, Lucy! We love you!
Muscle Man #1

Muscle Man #2 :)

Both my muscle men with their boogie boards!
Let's catch some waves!

John Owen chill-axin' in the sand chair he made.
Mary Claire sinking her hands in!

Somebody loved going out to ride the waves with Daddy:)

While Jonah caught some wave action!

John Owen running back for more waves! I kept calling him "Surfer Boy" 'cause he was really good at paddling out and waiting on just the right wave to ride.

Fun in the sand!

Jonah(6 yrs.), Mary Claire(4 yrs.), and John Owen(9 yrs.)
Fort Morgan, Alabama
June 2012

Mary Claire and Mommy on our last night at the beach

My three babies!
We had a wonderful week together at the beach!
 It was hard to leave this place that we love so much.
Thank you, God, for a safe trip and time enjoyed together. I look at the ocean and sand, and I marvel at Your work in nature. I look at these people in these photos, and I marvel at Your goodness. I give thanks a thousand times over for all the blessings You give daily.