The closing of another chapter...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Libraries are filled with books written about people's lives — their childhood, school age, college days, adulthood, marriage, parenthood, and so on. If our family had a book, this last chapter would have been called "It's Hard to Say Goodbye"! 

Last year during Avy and Lenny's school year, we met a family who had kids in the same classes as ours. Our kids were instant friends, but us moms didn't really get introduced until a few months later. It wasn't until after Christmas that our (the moms) friendship really took off! We realized we had more in common that we could have ever imagined. And my girls loved their mom, and her kids loved me. We started taking zoo trips together, and even had a few playdates mixed in before school ended. Of course, a few weeks before school ended she dropped a bomb on me. Her husband had been promoted and was being transferred to a new location. Crushed. Knowing our our kids loved each other, we knew this was going to be hard on all of us. 

So we made a vow to do as much together as humanly possible this summer to get the most out of their last days here in Bham. And we did just that. From the zoo to the children's museum, to playdates and lunch dates, from swimming lessons and swimming playtime, and yes, even soccer dates — we had the best summer together. And then first of August came and we had to say goodbye. 

I don't think it hit our kids when they left, but it's been a little over a week and they keep asking where Becca and Stephen are. Hurts this mama's heart, but I'm so thankful for social media and phone calls so we can keep in touch. Such a fun and memorable summer with the Reyes family. So thankful He made our paths cross, even if it was only for a short amount of time. We are praying for their new journey in Florida, and planning a visit with them soon! 

Laguna Key 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

When summer begins we see all our friends heading to the beach, but our beach vacation is always towards the end of the summer before school starts back. Sometimes I see their pictures and get a little jealous, and then I remember we will be at the beach soon enough. The summer always seems to pass by quickly!

We normally stay in Peridio Key, but this year Terry's parents opted for a bigger place — a beach house in Laguna Key. It was huge — six bedrooms, four and a half baths, and the kitchen was any cooks dream! The girls had plenty of room to run, and that's important for toddlers.

We couldn't check in until later in the afternoon, but we left out early, like seven a.m. early. The interstate starts backing up around eight a.m. where we live and it stays that way until mid afternoon. Well, we have two toddlers and one is potty trained and you do NOT want to be in the car all day long. Terry and I agree that sitting still on the interstate is the devil! So when we arrived at the beach at lunch we planned a fun afternoon to tire them out before we could check into the beach house. We ate lunch, played in the sand, watched boats going in and out of the harbor, and went to a splash pad before getting back in the vehicle so they could get in a nap before meeting up with the rest of the family.

Once we got settled in and halfway unpacked, we ate dinner at the beach house — Janino's Pizza. It was also Terry's birthday so we celebrated with a little cake, too. The girls went out with the cousins and their dads for a late night swim and then we got settled in for the night so we could start off our first full day ready to go!

We love being at the beach, but we aren't the kind of people who sit on the beach all day and cool off in the ocean. No, we would be those people who love to spend the morning at the pool, and then enjoy a relaxing afternoon before getting ready to go out to eat for dinner. I could sit and watch the waves all day everyday, but I like to do that from a window or balcony. We do love to walk on the beach after dinner, but not every night.

Sunday morning, we got up and headed out for the pool. It was a beautiful morning, but we didn't stay out long. Terry and I scheduled a beach session with a photographer we know from our hometown for late that afternoon and we wanted our girls to get a nap so they would be in a good mood. (We haven't gotten our pictures back, yet, but I'll share them once we get them in!) We left out for our beach session and met up with the rest of the family at Shipps Harbor Grill, which happens to be all of our family's favorites restaurant at the beach. Those gouda mashed potatoes are to die for! It was also my mother-in-law's birthday, so we celebrated back at the beach house with an ice cream cake.

Monday looked like a rainy morning, so just the girls ventured out to see what we could get into. We had plans to visit the outlet mall, but decided since it was so close to lunch to dine in at Lulu's instead. Avery and Hannah built a sand castle while we waited for our food, which is always good. There weren't many boats out to watch pass by, but we saw a few and a tons of birds! After lunch we ended back up at the splash pad. My girls thought this was the best thing ever!

For dinner we went to another favorite, Cotton's. They have a delicious filet, and the girls love their virgin banana "icee's" while the adults like the non virgin ones!

Once we got back from dinner, the girls wanted to go for a night time swim. I decided I wanted to walk out on the pier to capture that evenings sunset. Well, the sign on the pier says "Alligators on site, please be careful" and of course, who would have guessed that I'd actually see one on my way out! I called Terry, Hannah, and no one answered. So I called my sister-in-law, Cathy, and she answered and said they were coming out. I mainly wanted someone to stay and watch it while I went further out. I didn't want to come back and not know where it was. Well, while I was out taking the sunset pictures my brother-in-law watched the alligator eat a duck! We didn't see him (or her) the rest of the trip, but once was all I needed to know that we needed to be careful!

It was back to the pool the next morning for more sun and fun. And after lunch, we all headed out on the pier (yes where the alligator was) to do some fishing. Jellyfish were everywhere and they actually caught some fish, though none were kept.

That evening for dinner we went to Nolan's! This was my first time to dine there, and it was delicious.  Everyone ordered something different and everyone was happy with their meals. It's a little fancy for the beach, but perfect for a night out for celebrating!

This was my brother-in-laws last night to be with us on vacation so we went back out on the pier to take some family pictures of he and his family, and of the grand girls with their grandparents. While I am a photographer and love to take pictures, it is a pain in the rear end to set up and take pictures of yourself with your family. Which is why Terry and I paid to have our family pictures taken by someone else. But Hannah did manage to get one good one of our family that evening. I told the others I would take their photos if that's what they wanted. We're at the beach, so it's either sand and wind, or on the pier with wind. So they chose on the pier. Either way you're going to have wind. So all pictures have that wind blown look, cause that's the way all beach pictures are.

Wednesday was another pool morning before the rain set in for the day. When we went out to Gibley's for dinner and came home to a gorgeous rainbow!

Thursday was our last morning at the pool. We made the most of it and stayed out there until we were too hungry to swim and sun. We came back in to get ready for dinner. We tried three different places but all their wait times were crazy long, so we ended up at a new to us place closer to the beach house. Oddly enough it was called The Beach House. It was a fun place and we really liked the food. Terry said it was so good he could eat there again the next night. Ha!

That night we took the girls out on the beach for a walk and to see the sun set. It was a gorgeous night, and they loved the little waves crashing at their feet. This was the first time Little Bit actually liked the sand! She liked it so much she didn't want to leave it!

Friday! If you ask the girls what their favorite part of the beach way... they say they loved Friday more than any other day at the beach. Why? Because we went to The Track. They got to ride swings, the carousel, the train, and some spinner thing! If it wasn't so dang hot, we probably would have stayed there all day long! But we ended up running over to the outlet mall and then back to the beach house to get ready for dinner. But don't worry, after dinner we went back to The Track to finish using all our points. I promise you Little Bit rode the carousel ten times back to back. The guy running it didn't even make her get off! Ha! Dinner was at Mikee's and it was delicious! We tried a lot of things on the starter menu in addition to our main course meals. We've eaten there before and it was ever bit as good as we remembered.

No one likes to leave vacation, but our girls really didn't want to leave. Well, they really just wanted us to take them back to The Track again. While it was good to get away, it's always great to get back home. But we made a few stops on our way home. We shopped at Bass Pro and we stopped to get some ice cream at Durbin Farms. Traffic was a nightmare the closer we got home, so we took the backroads and made it home before dark!

Another beach trip is in the books. And we have a whole year to rest up and get prepared for our next beach adventure! I'm so thankful we had a week with Terry even though there were work phone calls here and there. But I'm thankful we made memories together for our little family that our girls will never forget!

July Happenings

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

If you blinked, you missed July. Or at least that's how it seemed to be for us. It was so crazy, I didn't even have a chance to blog about our adventures. So today I'm going to give you a glimpse at our crazy, fun month of July. We just got back from our beach vacation, and I'll give y'all a look at our beach days in a separate post soon!

4th of July at the lake

We love our annual lake time with our family at Logan Martin Lake. This year, we celebrated the 4th a few days early on July 1st. Terry's family made the drive over that morning and went with us to celebrate! It was a great day to spend time with family, and catch up! The weather was so nice until 6 o'clock and then the storms started rolling in. We had to get back home to get the girls a bath and put them to bed so we missed the wonderful firework show that Shannon puts on every year. Completely bummed about it, but we go to see it on facebook the next morning thanks to his wife, Susan!

Hannah came to visit

Our oldest niece, Hannah, came to stay with us for a couple of weeks in July. We were excited to have her with us, and our girls especially loved her visit. They LOVE Hann, and enjoyed every minute of our adventures while she was with us. She's a great babysitter, and we took full advantage of her being here and had some quality time just the hubs and I, twice! We went swimming, a lot! We shopped, a lot! All fun things that we girls enjoy. When we had to take her home both girls were crying because she wasn't in the car with us. We look forward to her visit next summer, and maybe we can talk her sister in to coming with her, too.

Avery's bountiful garden

Papa and Avery planted her garden late this year, and it's proven to be her best garden yet! She has three different kinds of tomatoes, two different kinds of peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, and squash! We've been handing out tomatoes to all our neighbors because they are so plentiful! I think it's slowly starting to dry up, so we will have to clean out the beds and get them ready for next summer.

Avery plays soccer shots

Last spring at Avery's school they offered soccer shots and she was crushed that we didn't allow her play. When a friend told me they were having it this summer, I jumped online to sign her up. Of course, I didn't think about it being 100 degrees outside with mosquitoes, gnats, and it taking place around dinnertime. Even though her face is solid red, she's having a ball. We have a few more classes left this summer and then it's over. I'm so glad she's having a wonderful time, and learning soccer and life lessons, too! Coach Addison and Coach Ali have been great with her, and I know she's going to miss them!

Unka B & MarMar visit

My brother and sister-in-law live in D.C. and we really only get to see them twice a year, three times if we are lucky! We try to facetime with them once a week, but it's just not the same as them being here with us. We've promised we will try to go visit them next year, we just haven't decided exactly when that will be. They came for a quick visit in July, and the girls had a ball. And, Unka B and MarMar might have spoiled them in the 24 hrs they were here. December can't get here soon enough so we can spend time with them again!

Pool days

Our pool opened up the first weekend of May and even though we are in the south, it was still freezing until the end of June. We finally were able to get in without shaking to death, and the girls LOVE to be in the water. So we've been at the pool at least two or three days a week this July. Our babies have the cutest little tan lines and are swimming so good. Practice makes perfect, right? We can't wait to spend the rest of August at the pool!

And that was our July in a nutshell. The last week and a half of July was spent at the beach. I'll have that post coming up next. 

How was your July? Our summer is flying by, but it sure is fun!


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