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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Highlands trip

Last year, our dear friends planned a fabulous trip to the mountains and invited us to come along.  We had a ball, and we were thrilled when they were brave enough to plan it again!  You see, they are very organized and together, and we are not usually accused of that in this family:)  Well, Heath maybe, but not the rest of us...
Turner and his bud enjoying the view at the top of the mountain
Happy hikers on a snack break
Last time we stayed in Franklin, North Carolina.  This time we decided to stay in Highlands just to be closer to the trails and action.  While I am not very outdoorsy, I always love to tag along with people with a plan.  They made it so easy - they picked the place back in the Spring, the weekend, etc. and then we met before to talk about food, logistics, etc.  Very unlike me, but my friend inspires me.  Also last year we made the rule that it is an all casual trip - so we don't pack anything except play clothes, workout clothes and pajamas.  Done, done and done!
"Big kids" watching a movie.  Short lived.
And their wild siblings
Better picture of the "babies" - who aren't really babies anymore.  Looking big eating with everyone at the table
It was so relaxing!  I should live life more organized - it was great to get up there and not have to think about meals.  We shared breakfasts and dinners (took turns), and lunch we were on our own.  I usually develop a nervous tick without going to eat for several days, and this year we went to a delicious lunch at Carolina Barbecue so I got my fix.
Best family pic I could get with the lighting...I took my big camera but never took it out of the cabin
We hiked at least 2 trails a day and made sure to make use of the parks around.  The dads took the older boys while we stayed home as the babies napped.  (So I got a nap both days:)).  And at night, we would feed the kids around 5-6, get them bathed and in bed, and then we would eat adult meals and play cards at night.  Fabulous.  And it seemed like a good balance - so fun watching the kids and enjoying the day with them, and then fun adult time at night - without them!
Let's just say John Burke wasn't quite ready for the whole hike every day.  Wimped out a couple of times.  Ugh.  Luckily Daddy has been doing boot camp lately:)

Playing cards on the porch - not nearly as fun as our adult game of Spades.  Which unfortunately the boys won repeatedly:(
My favorite picture.  We hiked down to a waterfall, and of course my boys wanted to swim.  Luckily they compromised with just taking shirts, socks and shoes off.  The water was freezing - a man just behind us was in a full wet suit with his dog.  
We were even able to swing by and visit cousin Ellie for lunch in Atlanta on our way home.  One more weekend of our summer - it has been fun and carefree.  Now I am waving the white flag, and we are all ready for school next week!!  Thankful for one last GREAT trip with great friends to close out our summer!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

PCB 2013

Last week we got home from a great week at the beach!  We went on our annual beach trip with our friends the Bennetts, and this year we stayed at Heath's dad's condo in Laguna Beach, or technically PCB!  It was great, and the Bennetts stayed next door at Splash - which is fun because it has an indoor water park, lazy river, splash pad.  Perfect for 1-7 year olds like we had:)
Jami and I are smiling in this picture because of our precious friends on the left, Lauren and Sarah.  They were our babysitters last year at the beach and graciously agreed to join our wild crew again!

We had great weather (ahem, not like 4th of July!!) and this was the first year my kids could make it for semi-long stretches on the beach 
Even this little diva (who is going through an awkward stage with her hair...and sadly I am a "boy mom" trying to learn)
Heath and Jim drove down Tuesday and all the kids LOVED playing with the daddies in the ocean.  This is the first year the Henderson family primarily did the beach instead of the pool.  We are not scared to go down to the beach and never see the sand, just hang at the pool, but we grew up this year! And Turner thought the ocean WAS the pool and he was a fish.  He could have stayed in for hours and hours and hours.
One really fun thing we did this year for the first time was a Pirate Cruise!  The last time we were at the beach, Heath's cousins' kids went and we heard it was a hit.  They were right!!
Jami and Jim and Heath and I took the older kids - luckily we were able to leave Collins and Sims back with Sarah and Lauren.  I don't think they would have had the best pirate experience:)
It was a 2-hour cruise and we all had fun.  The captain asked the parents to sit back and relax on board, and promised they would entertain the children.  Done and done!
They mopped the deck, had sword fights and water gun fights, sang songs, practiced the chicken dance (which John Burke continues to relive), had face painting and tattoos, shot cannons, etc.

Constant entertainment!
We even had some dolphin sightings!
The best thing was a treasure hunt.  There was a map they had to follow all around the ship that eventually led to an orange buoy in the water.  "Jake" - one of the pirates on board, led them all in a line for a "heave, ho" until the kids pulled out the treasure chest themselves.
The adults were equally fascinated
And then the kids got to go around in a circle and pick out their doubloons and treasure.  So perfect for our little pirates!  Highly impressive and a fun cruise for the adults, too.
Another fun thing was the date night we took to George's at Alys Beach.  We had always heard great things, but none of us had been.  It was so delicious and relaxing and entertaining to hang out and talk without our precious children.  It happened to fall on July 31st - our anniversary.
Happy 9 years!  I love you!
Did I mention we love our babysitters?  Sarah with my boys at the "dive-in" movie one night.  Writing this I am realizing we did a lot more organized activities than we have in the past, but our kids are getting older and are always on the go.  The little turkeys!
On Friday, Pap and Tappy came down and spent the weekend with us.  We had a great time playing and hanging with them!  Here they are talking Pap's ear off at breakfast.  They were nice enough to let Collins sleep in their room, so they got to bond with her even extra time:)
Shameless with his Tappy
Pap was even a sailboat captain and took the boys on a fun sailboat ride with Tappy, Heath and Jim
So so fun!  
And Pap let each of them "drive" the boat - a little boy's dream
Jami, Sarah, Lauren and I sacrificed and stayed back and watched with these 2 cuties
Such a peaceful and wonderful week as a family and with friends.  What a blessing - I thought I would be glad to be home, but I would go back in a second!