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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Collins!

This little Elsa-lovin' fool is 3 now!!!  I had a hard time the week she actually turned 3 (her birthday is January 22nd), because my baby is not really a baby anymore!!  However, I am also so very excited.  She is such a "kid" now, and so fun - when not in a moment of drama or theatrics.  Pap and Tappy sent this Elsa doll and jewelry and also a hat in the mail, and that smile was genuinely how excited she was to receive them!  Her teachers at nursery had pulled her hair back pretty tight, but the smile was worth it so I am moving past it.
I didn't get it together enough or in time to have a party for her this year.  My reasoning (besides laziness and the Christmas season thrown in) was that she is just turning 3, and likely won't remember.  She will make up for it with future parties, I am certain, and this is the last year she won't know.  On the actual day of her birthday, we took Turner to school and headed to Build a Bear at the Galleria for our pal Ella Kate's birthday party.  I let Collins decorate an Elsa bear, and she didn't realize it wasn't her own party because her BFF Sims was right there with her.
I love them!
After they built bears, we all headed to the food court for cookie cake and a carousel ride.  I just kept telling Collins happy birthday.  All day she said "I 3 my birthday", but held up the number 4.  Oh well, close enough.  
Then, this motley crew (plus Read) stayed around to eat Chick-fil-A lunch and sing to the birthday her "party"  She didn't know otherwise, so we went with it.
 Cheapest "party" ever.  Glad we pulled it off, and I think Heath would have liked to have been there, if only we would know this would morph into her birthday party.
John Burke did question why we had a 5 candle.  Oh, details.  Again, a thrown together celebration involves buying a cupcake in the Galleria and borrowing Ella Kate's candle.  Collins was none the wiser and had a ball!! I love her for that!!
Eating her birthday cake
That night we met my parents and Derek for Mexican, because Princess LOVES cheese dip and we thought it was only appropriate
 To keep the boys from pestering me about a party for her, and cluing her into a party, I kept telling them we had a surprise planned for Saturday.  Turner could not care less, but John Burke was hooked on guessing what it was.  We told them at breakfast at Chick-fil-A, right before we headed downtown.
We were heading to the CIRCUS!  Ha, Collins didn't really know what that meant but knew real animals were involved and got excited too!  She even let me pull her hair back that day, which she NEVER does!
They each got to pick out a sparkly circus toy, which I have since hidden for future circus attendance because they were like 18 dollars each!!!
All 3 kids were mesmerized.  We all were, really.  The animals, the colors, the clowns, the tight ropes.  So exciting!!
This was as far as we made it.  We loved watching the acrobats on the tight rope stack 3 high!!  So cool!  But then, both boys were begging to go to the bathroom and Collins stayed back with Heath, just in time to have an epic meltdown in our absence.  Luckily, intermission was right around the corner and we convinced the kids that it was our stopping point and made a run for the car.  An hour or half or so was plenty and they had a ball!

I can't believe our little Collins girl is 3!  She "no baby, she big girl" Also, she is very particular about her name and does not care for nicknames.  Only "Col-LINS!" as she says it.  She loves to laugh, loves to play, loves her "appy juice" (which is actually Cran-Pomegranate, but that is how she rolls) and her lovey, Beary.  She will not go anywhere without him and that is just one indication of her strong will.  She loves Daddy "to the moon and back" or "moo-back", but has been in a fierce Mommy stage lately, which I have a love-hate relationship with.  She is pretty laid back in nature and her teachers say she obeys at school, which I am proud of her for but surprised.  She is going to be very opinionated, but on random things.  Sometimes she is a typical third child and loves to go with the flow.  Her brothers are her favorite things in this world, especially "Shon Burke."  However, he knows JUST how to make her slap him in the face, that little instigator.  Thank you, Lord for my 3rd little angel, who I still look at and am shocked she is a girl!!

New Year's in Tampa

One of the big gifts that we gave the kids this year was a trip to LegoLand in Orlando.  Last year when we were at Disney, we kept passing signs for it, and it was on my radar.  So when it was announced that Auburn would play in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, we (well, more I but Heath was a good sport) decided that we would go to the game with Heath's family and stop off at LegoLand for a day while we were down there.  Turner and John Burke each got a Lego watch from us, with a map taped on it of the park.
A picture from the car ride - it got a little loopy, but it wasn't bad
Here we are at the entrance of the park.  It was drizzling outside, but luckily stopped as soon as we got in!!
These guys were pumped!
We called Heath's sister when we got in the park.  Somehow we didn't get a picture with her the whole time?!  But, we met up with them.  I offered to hold baby Missy while they rode the ride with Cameron.  Well, someone did NOT care for that and gave me this look.
Death stare, and this picture is nicer than it was.  I tried to get it in real time, as she was whimpering "Hold you, Momma!"  Jealous much?!  So Heath got to hold the newborn, and she was so quiet and adorable!!
There was a safari that went around animals made of Legos, and it was very cool.  The boys were so excited because they were tall enough to go without an adult.
A Lego zebra and a Lego lion behind it
There was also a ride like Dumbo at Disney, but you had to pedal it to make it fly. 
Einstein's face made of Legos - the park is full of cool things like this
There was a building you could go in and build cars and then there were several tracks to race them down
All the kids loved this!
 This was a race.  Jonathan and Heath and Turner were in a fire truck, and they had to pump themselves all the way down and back to make it roll.  Then at the end you had to shoot a water hose at a Lego villain and race back.  They took it very seriously, and beat the other cars.  Of course.
And there were test tracks for 3-5 year olds and also for 6-13 year olds where they could get a "driver's license" and race around a track.  Collins waited right until the car opened up before she bolted away crying, but John Burke and Cameron still did it.  The boys all thought it was fabulous!

 In one certain area there were city scapes made of Legos that were fascinating.  I care very little about Legos, and found it all really neat.  So, if you have a chance to go here in the future, do it!  There is a water park, but it was closed for the winter.  I wouldn't mind heading back there another time.
 Collins was too small to ride one of the roller coasters.  Kelly and Heath took the big kids to ride that, and Jonathan and I took Collins and baby Missy to try fried apples, which were quite tasty.  Then, Collins and I found a 2-story carousel.  There were fireworks on in the background (they do a 3-D fireworks show with glasses, but we just watched it in plain 2-D), so she got a spot right away.  Great ending to a fun day, and about 10 minutes later it started pouring as the park closed.  We ran to the car and headed to Tampa.
The next morning we ate at a fun restaurant in Tampa for brunch with the whole family, and then our family and Kelly's family headed to the Tampa Zoo.  It was great!

It was bigger than the Birmingham Zoo, and had fun rides to do for free - once you bought an admission ticket.  We love carousels in our family!
Yes, we were representing our Auburn clothes because it was the day before the game
 They had 2 things that stood out to us that we don't have - a roller coaster (which I didn't get a picture of, but Collins was just tall enough to ride) and penguins!!  Aren't they cute?
Posing in front of the penguins - one of our last stops before we headed back to the room to rest up, since it was New Year's Eve
 We met Frank and Tambry in a suburb of Tampa called Ybor City for a parade featuring the Wisconsin and Auburn teams
 The glasses looked like 2005
 We loved the parade!  The bands, the was so fun!!

The weather was unpredictable that week, but we had on long sleeves that night and it ended up mild, so we were able to hang outside for a long time.  John Burke and Frank made it until the end of the parade, and gathered tons of beads!!  We found a restaurant/bar where we could still see the parade and had dinner out there.  So fun!
This cracked me up.  Long day and night, but on the way home Collins was playing with a little battery-powered car that climbs.  It climbed up in her hair and got stuck and tangled in there.  It was hilarious.  Luckily back at the hotel, Tambry had a little pair of scissors and cut her free!  We crashed and I woke up near midnight our time to see fireworks out of the hotel window.  So festive!
The next morning we headed to our friends' house with the kids.  Bradford and Anna graciously offered their house and had a sitter for these wildcats.
Baby MK was taking a nap, so there were 6 little Auburn tigers in all
Here we are at the game - again with the unpredictable weather.  It started out a little cold, then drizzled a little, then bright and sunny!
 The view from our seats - I could actually tell what was going on, but probably because my kids weren't distracting me
Sadly, the boys didn't behave the babysitter very well at the Boney household, so we had to skip out before dinner.  We were all so exhausted and grabbed a quick dinner (near Nordstrom, which I was dying to shop at!) and headed back to the hotel.  They were able to snuggle with Pap and Tappy for a while and then we headed to bed.  The trip was wonderful, and a nice way to pass the holiday.  The car ride back ended up being 11 hours straight because we hit some rough traffic heading back up to Alabama.  It was definitely worth it, though.  Happy 2015!!