Friday, July 23, 2010

Bedtime Fun

We’ve been teaching Ellie some good old fashioned hymns at night before we go to bed. This is in part because James and I love hymns and also because of our heritage in the Church of Christ and our love of acapella singing. Ellie has learned several by heart already, and what’s been fun is that Emerson is joining in the fun as well. We captured two of their favorites as well as some other fun videos. It might take a few minutes of your time, but if you’re an Ellie and Emma fan it’s worth it.

 

 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Smart Marriages – Orlando

James has a conference that he needed to attend for his continuing education. This year, it was in Orlando. We decided that we’d all go and make a pseudo-vacation out of it. I admit that I was apprehensive. I was nervous that having two young girls in a small hotel room without the comforts of home might be worse than just staying home with them without James. I’m so glad I took the chance, because I had some precious moments with my sweet girls.

I’ve been working a lot this last year, and Ellie has definitely started to notice and comment on it which breaks my heart. I’m so glad I had several days mostly alone with my girls. We spent a lot of time at the pool and had a lot of fun. I posted on Facebook that we’re so blessed by how well our girls sleep in alternate environments. I was concerned that we didn’t have a suite and that the girls would have to nap in our open hotel room. They did fantastic. They went to sleep quite easily both at nap time and at bedtime and allowed me to just hang on my computer. We did have some issues with Emerson falling out of the bed on the second night (poor baby!!), but other than that, they slept just like they do at home. Yea!!

We decided to drive through the night on both ends. Call me crazy (ha!), but I was also nervous about this. The girls again did great. We made a bed in the back for whichever adult wasn’t driving, and we tilted the girls’ chairs back as much as possible. They both slept really great on the way there. They were up for about an hour when James and I switched, but it wasn’t bad at all. They weren’t even that whiny – crazy, right?!

We arrived pretty early on Thursday, but the hotel was nice enough to let us check in early. We spent some time at the pool and then took a nice long nap – all of us. We then learned that our friends the Drydens were also in Orlando. How fun to get to meet up with them at their hotel for dinner/dessert. My camera was on the wrong setting, so ignore the blurriness. Here’s proof we saw them, though:

06_11_2010 032

That’s the kids looking at the little alligators at the Gaylord. Ellie also treated Amy to some amazing princess stories. Perhaps too many, but Amy was sweet enough to listen attentively anyway. :)

Here’s another photo we took on the way out:

06_11_2010 041

On Friday, James was at his conference all day. I took the girls to the pool and we spent a fun 3 hours there. They’re both swimming like fish since their swim lessons, and I’m so proud of them. I was so busy making sure no one drowned that I didn’t take photos at the pool either. Here’s how nice it was, though:

exteriorPool_med

Ellie is getting old enough and outgoing enough that she even makes friends. She met a couple of sweet girls and played with them a lot. It was fun to watch her be so social and interact.

There was a banquet on Friday night, so James and I got a very expensive Kids Night Out sitter who came to our hotel room and took the kids out to get ice cream downstairs while we went to the banquet. We took advantage of the 4 hour minimum and came back and changed and headed out to the hot tub after dinner. It was a nice date night, and I loved getting some QT with my Buddy.

Saturday, I took the kids on the nature trail at the back of the hotel. It was basically stroller off-roading, but it was good exercise for me. We then spent another several hours at the pool. James was able to skip his late afternoon session, so we headed over to Universal Studios’ CityWalk to have dinner at Margaritaville. It was fun, and the girls got some princess hats as their souvenirs:

06_11_2010 043

Sunday was our hardest day since we were planning to leave after James got done at 5:30. Check-out was at noon, though, so I had to pack up the car on my own with the girls that morning. We still went and spent another several hours at the pool, and I was completely nerdy and we all took showers at the outdoor kiddie pool shower. Ghetto – I know. We couldn’t drive 18 hours without showers, though, right?! We showered in our suits and then went to the rest room to change. We grabbed some ice cream, and then we went to a mall to burn the rest of our time until James was done.

I’ll be honest and say that the few hours at the mall were not fun. We had lots of whininess and a few mommy mistakes, but we survived and were super glad to go get James and grab some dinner and get on the road again. Our return trip was again successful – both girls did great again. (Can I just say that I LOVE our DVD player?!) We made it home around noon and the girls are now in bed for the night and the last load of laundry is going. I’m so glad we got to go, and it was a great time to be reminded that I’m super blessed by a fantastic husband and two precious little girls.

Baby Nash

In the middle of our out of town company and our trip to Orlando, my friend Brittney was in the middle of her own even having her second sweet boy: Nash Baylor Poe. We went to see the sweet little man on our way out of town on Wednesday morning and here are a few photos. I agree with the consensus that he’s of course adorable and quite resembling of his big brother Quinn. Can’t wait to spend more time with you, Nash!

06_11_2010 025

06_11_2010 026

06_11_2010 028

06_11_2010 029

06_11_2010 031

Cornwells Visit

Some of our very best friends – the Cornwells – came to visit us on Monday and Tuesday of last week. The visit seemed really fast, but we loved every minute. They arrived on Monday afternoon and we enjoyed some time in the pool and took all the older kids to see Toy Story 3 (thanks to some last minute babysitting by Cookie and Crouchburger – thanks again!!).

The Cornwells have 4 kids: Reagan (8), Ryan (6), Riley (4), and Reese (1). That resulted in 10 people being under our room, but it was a ton of fun! Here’s Emma and Reese taking a bath together. How cute are they?

06_11_2010 007

And here’s 5 of the 6 kids brushing teeth in one small bathroom:

06_11_2010 010

Here’s James reading the Bible story to everyone on night 1:

06_11_2010 012

And we weren’t sure Riley would be a fan of sleeping in the room with the girls. She put up with Ellie, though, and it seemed to work out ok. Check them out:

06_11_2010 014

On Tuesday, we all went to Hawaiian Falls water park. It was a lot of fun, and we open and closed the park. Lori and I took the little ones back for a quick nap, but it was definitely a successful day.

06_11_2010 018

06_11_2010 021

06_11_2010 022

06_11_2010 023

Next time, we hope they can stay longer, but we loved our time with them. We’re blessed in that we’re all going to Disney World together in January. Can’t wait! I’m encouraged that the kids got along well this trip, and so I’m sure being in a 3-room condo in Disney will work out well, too. Ellie literally cried when they left. Even though we left for a trip to Orlando the same day they left, Ellie asked about when she could see Reagan again for several days. So cute!! I pray despite the distance that our kids will be close friends forever. Good friendships don’t come along every day, but ours with the Cornwells is one of those life long friendships that we’re super grateful for. Love you guys! Thanks for coming!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dad’s Birthday

My dad’s birthday is actually on July 7th (tomorrow). We’re leaving town to go to James’ conference that day, so we celebrated on Saturday July 3rd on his boat instead.

I’ve been having some fun with cake decorating lately, so I volunteered to make his cake. It of course melted once we got it to the boat, but it looked pretty cool for a few minutes before the heat got to it. It was white cake with almond buttercream frosting. I used marshmallow fondant for the blue and red stars. It was my first time working with it. Definitely not easy, but I think it came out looking pretty cool.

Before assembly (in case we had a travel disaster – wanted proof that it looked ok):

06_06_2010 152

The final product:

06_06_2010 155

So, there were thunderstorms in the forecast for July 3rd. Here are a few photos from our beautiful afternoon in both the rain and the sun:

06_06_2010 156

06_06_2010 157

06_06_2010 159

Ellie was dancing in the rain

06_06_2010 160

The rain just washed over the lake. It was beautiful.

06_06_2010 164

Then God graced us with a fantastic rainbow. If you look really hard, you can see the faint double a bit to the right of the base. Gorgeous, right?

06_06_2010 166

How cute is she in her Tommy shoes?

We had a great time, and I hope Crouchburger had a great day, too. We gave him a super fun gift from all of the kids and grandkids. It’s a digital photo frame that connects to wi-fi. It has its own email address that Jen and I can email photos to. How fun is that?!

New York

Last week, I had a one day training in New York. I took the opportunity to fly out early on Sunday morning and spend some time in the Big Apple. My best friend from elementary school lives there, and she conveniently had her baby on Friday before I arrived. She was still in the hospital in the Bronx but welcomed my visit. So, I hopped on the Subway and pretended I was a local as I made my way to see her sweet little Evan. It was so great to get to be there for such a special time in their lives.

06_06_2010 140

06_06_2010 141

While I was there, I texted my cousin Hunter who also lives in NY to see if he was free to meet me for dinner. He was able to meet me for a late dinner after church which worked perfectly. We went to a cool little restaurant and bar called Rare. It was good food, and we had a great conversation and had fun connecting. Thanks for hanging with me such short notice, Hunter!

06_06_2010 142

And then on Monday morning, I was awakened early by the garbage trucks. So, I decided to walk up to Rockefeller Plaza and check out the Today Show. I got to see Al Roker:

06_06_2010 144

06_06_2010 145

And I saw Matt Lauer, but he was a little too far away to get a good photo. But one of their guests that day was Taylor Lautner. He came out to greet the crowd. I was sort of in the back, so I didn’t speak to him or anything, but I did get a somewhat decent photo:

06_06_2010 148

Then, I went to my training. No too much excitement to report on there. Not a bad trip for just one day, though!