We have had SUCH a fun summer!! So much sunshine, swimming, playing and family togetherness, including 3 kids fighting like little animals sometimes. But it has shown me that I have little kids now, no more babies...and it has been a fun adjustment! I should have blogged since May, so I am going to sum up summer in photos so we can move on to school starting on Tuesday. I don't want to forget how much fun we had!!
We started the summer with a trip to Orange Beach with the Starr family - here is GiGi with 5 of the 7 grandkids
Sweet cousin time - I love that our kids are so close in age and have so much fun together
Uncle Derek is SO fun - the kids loved playing in the ocean, sand, pool, dock - all of it
We are lucky that he came with us and was way more willing to get in the water every time than Lindsey and I were :)
On Memorial Day, my aunt and uncle had us over to their fabulous house in Ono Island. For the second year in a row, they hosted a treasure hunt for the kids and we were able to swim and jump and catch crabs and ride on the boat. A dream for all of us!
the treasure chest attached to a buoy
Such a fun Memorial Day with Barbara and Jim and family!
Restaurants with playgrounds at the beach work best for our party of 14!
Luckily there was an indoor pool at the condo when it rained, and Pop Pop was so fun to swim with...until an unfortunate incident involving a fire alarm. This guilty fool still claims he didn't pull it, but I guess we will find out in Heaven what really happened.
John Burke panicking at the sound of the fire alarm and the panic of everyone in the whole building having to evacuate until the fire department came. All I saw him do was touch the emergency phone box at the pool, but the timing was too convenient when the alarm went off.
The fire department seemed to think it was pulled a floor down, but I think John Burke learned his lesson...I hope. He yelled "Fire!" in the middle of the Chick-fil-A playground later that day, so maybe not. That child!!!
That experience earned all the adults a drink at our favorite place in Orange Beach
So much fun with all the cousins
Collins one night at Tacky Jacks - we successfully wore her out and she slept upright all through dinner. I did not hate it.
The kids and I stayed with Mom and Dad through the next weekend because Heath was out of town and flew in to Pensacola to meet us. We found a random cosmic putt putt golf course in the mall while waiting for Heath's flight, and we had so much fun!
Heath's dad, Pap and Tappy bought a lake house this Spring and we were able to go down there a good bit this summer. We had such a fun time watching sunsets, eating at Chuck's marina, visiting friends at nearby lake places, riding the orange Gator, jumping off of the dock, riding the boat and skiing! So many hours outside at the lake - perfect for us!
We officially wore the lake out and I am so proud of the boys for skiing. They definitely love the water!
I would say the boys' favorite thing of the whole summer was going to Day Camp at Camp Briarwood. They had THE BEST time. This was their group - I didn't see them much that week. I dropped them off at 8:30 and picked them up at 3:15, and they were thrilled to be outside swimming, shooting bb guns and bows and arrows, canoeing, hiking and singing and learning more about Jesus. Can't wait for them to go back next year!
Another highlight in June was when John Burke caught up with Turner and passed the swim test at Lifetime. This meant he could go farther than 10 feet from me and have more freedom, so I was cheering him on the most! He tried it 6 times and finally found the courage to get to the other end of the pool. He is my only child who shows any caution (or fear) in the water, and he swam like a fish all summer.
My favorite people on Father's Day. We also said goodbye to my parents that weekend before they traveled to Alaska for 3 weeks for their 40th anniversary
We loved the Itty Bitty Magic City at the McWane Center all summer
and playing outside as much as we could before the heat melted us.
John Burke's favorite thing in the afternoons was watching the "builder mans" finish the house across the street from us. I should know the construction men by name for how many times they have dragged him out of the house and yard for me.
We live too close to Doodle's not to enjoy it all summer too
A play date with my high school best friends and our 11 kids - so fun!
We spent the 4th of July weekend swimming with friends at Hoover Country Club and watching fireworks
and then headed to the lake with friends
We filled the boat up for sure
In the middle of July, GiGi and Pop Pop returned from their trek to Alaska and brought us all some sweet t-shirts. We were very glad when they came back!!
Then we headed to the beach one more time, this time to Panama City. This year we took the kids to Shipwreck Island. So many childhood memories there for Heath and for me, and I think we found a new tradition for the beach.
No big deal, just a 15 foot drop. So fun that they begged to do it again. Collins is a "big guhl" now - "I BIG and I Collins!" is one of her favorite phrases. She is sort of unpredictable - sometimes shows no fear, sometimes doesn't want to let go of me. But on this zip line, she insisted she could do it and didn't look back. I was glad!
We met some friends at the Alys Beach splash pad and had some donuts and then met one of our favorite babysitters who has been working in Seaside all summer.
On the way home from the beach, we stopped and stayed for a day with Lindsey and family in Greenville. So fun to play with them and spend the night - though I had to separate mine out around 10 o'clock because sleeping was too important to me, and not so important to the kids.
What would we do without cousin time?? Especially in the summer
Then it was time for our annual trip to the mountains. We headed up to Highlands, NC with friends for the 4th year in a row and it was such a nice break from the heat and humidity here.
Turner and his best friend H
the younger siblings
Top of Whiteside Mountain
We hiked each day, but this year we thought the kids were ready for Sliding Rock. We had a ball, minus an incident with a grown man slipping and falling down the rock into an unsuspecting Collins and throwing her backwards into the water. I was a very responsible mother and could not stop laughing, once I saw Heath right by her and able to catch her in the water.
Our favorite waterfall
I didn't take many pictures, but we also found a beach area to hang out at this year for several hours. The kids were in heaven...the adults didn't venture into the "beach", but enjoyed watching.
On the way home, we stopped to see cousins Hazel and Ellie in Atlanta and wished Hazel a happy first birthday. More fun time with cousins!
The last couple of weeks we have been kissing summer goodbye with trips to the pool (so many hours spent there this summer both at Lifetime and at my parents' house) and we even went to the zoo and Cullman Aquatics Center. So fun. Also, I took Kate, Morgan and Collins to get manis and pedis. Hilarious and they loved it. They sat much quieter than Turner or John Burke ever could.
Check out this slide in Cullman!!
and a lazy river
and a high dive
They let any age go down these slides, so Collins and Sims took full advantage. Collins even went down backwards and giggled and giggled.
Goodbye sweet summer! I sure do love summer, and hate to see it end, but time for school to start! Watch out world, Turner is going to first grade at "big school" and John Burke will be in kindergarten at Covenant and will go 5 days a week for the first time. Collins will be in 3K, and is very content spending as much time with me as possible. Which I love...most of the time. My babies are growing up, here comes Fall!!