Thursday, August 18, 2016

1st Day of School!!

Luke, Pres and Harris were excited to learn they were together
The summer flew by, and it is hard to believe the kids are back in school!  We love Shades Cahaba more than anything, but I would be lying if I wasn't a little worried about Preston's second grade teacher.  Sadly, it is our only grade where there are a couple of "non-perfect" teachers, so I scheduled a conference with our principal and vice-principal back in June.  They were so kind to give me 30 minutes of their time while I described each of our big kids, their strengths and weaknesses.  They asked questions about friends, and I trusted that they would make the perfect choice for my children. 

Carmen, just one of the sweet girls in B's class
The worry crept up again right before class lists were posted, but I was very relieved to learn who they each received!  Bennett got Mrs. Harden, a 10 year veteran who loves Math and is a mother to two young children.  Preston got Miss Anderson, a brand new enthusiastic, God loving teacher!  To top it off, they both have awesome kids in their classes....some old friends and some new faces.

We are a little over a week into it now, and I am still excited about their upcoming years!  Bennett has already made two new friends, something that warms my heart.

Nene and Poppy were here for their first day!



4th and 2nd grade

B and Mrs. Harden

Miss Anderson with P

1st day of Two's!
For one week, Walker remained at home....bored and anxious to return to school too.  But his day came on Wednesday, and he was ready!  He was excited to explore his new room at All Saints, and seems to be very pleased with his new teachers (as I am).  So here's to a TERRIFIC new year with 4th grade, 2nd grade and Two's!!

the infamous red door

Ms. Malisa and Ms. Kristie

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Walker's Date with Say Say!

dressed and ready for Say Say
We are blessed to live in the same city with all of our siblings, nieces and nephews.  Our children have good relationships with all of them, and get to see them all somewhat frequently.  However, Sara has a special place in our heart because she has traveled with our family and babysits the kids often, which has allowed her to forge a special bond with them.  They love her, and can feel her love back.  This past week Sara asked if she could spend some time with Walker before he returned to school, and she went back to work.  Sara decided to take him to the zoo, and he was so excited!  He spoke about it for several days beforehand, and was dressed and ready to go the morning of their date.

I caught him standing at the front door at 8am, looking out the window awaiting her arrival.  When she finally pulled into the driveway, he ran out to greet her.  I thought that they would just hang at the zoo for a couple of hours, but she went above and beyond!  They saw all of the animals, and did everything....from riding the train, the carousel, feeding the giraffes, eating lunch there AND playing in the splash pad!  To say that Walker had a blast is an understatement.  He is still talking about it, and I know he loved having her all to himself.
he was brave until he got up close





"the snake is this big"

pure joy!
What a wonderful way to spend his last day of summer break!  We all love you Sara, but Walker's face in the last picture sums up his feelings for you!  Thank you for spending so much time with him...he was worn out!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer Swim Concludes


swimming breast
This summer marked another successful swim season with Homewood.  Though each of the children moved up into new age groups (Bennett to the 9-10 year old girls and Preston to the 7-8 year old boys), and they had two different practice times, it was still a fun summer.  The children participated in whatever duel meets they were in town for and practiced daily.  They love swimming with their friends during the summer, and rarely complain...which is nice for us.

Though they took a couple of months off in the spring (April and May), they picked up almost where they left off, and improved their times during the summer.  Bennett's competition is much more stiff, so she wasn't able to qualify for Senior County, but getting personal best times is all we ask for from both kids, and she had some this summer.

breast stroke is her favorite stroke 
Preston did great in his age group, and had a successful conclusion to his summer, qualifying in all four strokes for Senior County.  Though he only placed in two events (a relay and individual 25 yard butterfly), we are extremely proud of him.  He had personal best times, and pushed himself really hard.  Thankfully Nene, Poppy, Uncle Brian, Christian and Lucy were there to witness Preston getting personal best times for 25 yard butterfly, 50 yard free and 25 yard back.  He got his 25 yard breast best time and his relay second place award the day before.

What a great season!  We are taking a few weeks off, and starting again in September.

Ready to kick some booty!

Relay team - 2nd place!

Daddy is his biggest fan!



Selfie on the pool deck (I was volunteering down there)

Ready to get best time!


Loving to show off for his cousin!

His reward for a good meet!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

One Last Hurrah Before School

the beach gang
August in Alabama is awful!  Horrific heat, afternoon showers followed by balmy air with nothing going on for the kids.  So as the sun continued to heat up Alabama, we continued to hide inside with the air conditioning blasting.  We were fortunate to be invited to go along with friends to the beach, so we jumped at the opportunity for one last hurrah before school started back.  Packing for the beach has become our forte this summer, so we loaded up again and drove to 30A.





Parents Night Out



Fortunately, the weather and water were just perfect at the beach.  Yes it was hot, but not unbearable when one is hiding under a tent and getting a breeze off the ocean.  The kids did a lot of swimming, some fishing, played kickball, hunted for ocean wildlife, and invented a new game..."net ball' (think lacrosse, but with nets and a soft ball).  They had a ball together, and got along fabulously....as did us parents!

One day we even had a bunch of other friends over for the day.  The kids played hard all day, we ordered pizza to the beach and stayed out late enough to watch the sun set.  It was great to sneak away one last time before school starts!  Thank you Fletcher and Leah Smith for the invitation!

navy seal push-ups

Brooke, me, Leah, Kathryn and Lee

crazy boys

beach sunset with friends
lazy mornings


A.Mazing Sunset!

4
W finally held the fish after it died



lunch crew at Stinky's Fish Camp
baby black tip shark (little thing was strong)!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Smith Lake with the Bantas

Brian and Shannon extended an invitation to our family for a long weekend at their lake house over the 4th of July weekend.  It was a change from our normal weekend with Steve's family, but our children were excited to try all of the water sports and spend several days with their cousins.  Thankfully the weather cooperated with us for our stay, and we spent a lot of time on the water.
Every emotion displayed here!

They were great hosts, letting us spread out and teaching our kids how to do everything.  The kids started off tubing, and it escalated from there to knee boarding, stand up knee boarding, wake boarding and finally skiing.  Preston caught on pretty quickly to it all, and wasn't afraid to try anything.  Bennett was more timid, but enjoyed the stand up knee board and gave wake boarding her best shot.  Preston and Christian even jumped off of a huge rock into the lake several times!  Walker was finally brave enough to float in the lake with his life jacket, but his highlight of the weekend was helping his Uncle Brian drive the boat.  It became his favorite place on the boat quickly!
finally happy in his life vest
"Captain Walker"
Preston wakeboarding

Bennett kneeboarding




catching some air!
Of course there was even more fun had at the pools in their neighborhood, relaxing in their hammocks, and just hanging out.  Everyone had a buddy....even Walker.  Their neighborhood, Silverock Cove, is filled with young families so there were children everywhere.  Brian and Shannon, along with Reed and Melanie Nitto, seemed to know a great deal of them too. 

The girls enjoyed baking a cake for the festivities on July 3rd with Melanie, and the boys had a ball helping light fireworks for the big show later that evening.  There was a little down time in the afternoons, but we otherwise stayed pretty active until we pulled out late afternoon on the 4th.






That tongue...always out!


Walker loves Lucy!



Thank you Brian and Shannon for sharing your beautiful home with us!