Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September & Beginning of Fall

September has been a great month.  
We've had wonderful weather and several fun places to visit.
 While in Georgetown one weekend, we spent a lot of Saturday at Evans Orchard.
...pony rides, a corn maze, the playground, yummy food and more...

The next day , Jeff's sister invited us to attend a UK Alumni fall festival event with them.
There were lots of games, a hayride, pony rides, a petting zoo and more...

It was a great afternoon.

We also recently made a visit to one of our favorite local spots , Lost River Cave.
In addition to the cave itself, they have short hiking trails, 
a butterfly house and a playground they enjoy. 
They even have some nice spots to take a break :)

We made it to our first WKU game and the boys got to 
go down and spend some time on the field with Daddy during warmups.  
Later, they welcomed the team a few minutes before kickoff.
We got to watch a big win too.

Halfway through the month Luke wrapped up baseball and 
Sydney started volleyball early in the month.
Her team is the Orange Crush.  She is really enjoying it.

October, here we come....

Thursday, September 24, 2015

St Louis Labor Day

We hit the road over Labor Day weekend for some fun family time.  The last time we were in St Louis, it was 2010.  We were with the Linn's.  Sydney was 3, JJ 1 and Luke was about 5 months away from being born!

We were so excited to take them and fit in as much fun as possible over a 3 day weekend.  We stayed at a Drury hotel, which they declared as the best hotel ever.....they had free popcorn in the lobby and served both breakfast and dinner :)  They also had a nice indoor/outdoor pool where you could swim back and forth. 

Other than fun at the hotel, we hit up the zoo:
 Their zoo is something else.  We stayed from 8-late afternoon on 
Saturday and still did not get to see everything. 
Some of their favorites were the elephants, monkeys and the train ride.
It was  HOT (high 90's) but great day!
After a quick refuel at dinner, we headed for Forest Park to ride a paddleboat at sunset.
We had never done a paddleboat ride as a family before.
It was a hit!
...and beautiful.

On Sunday, we headed to Purina Farms for the 
morning and the St Louis Science Center for the afternoon.

It was our first visit to Purina Farms but they had many animals to see.  
Luke even milked a cow!
The highlight of the exhibits there is the amazing dog show.
Their dogs flip, dive, catch frisbees on the run and much more.
Their favorite thing was watching the dogs dive into the pool.
They would've watched the show over and over again, but it was time to move ahead.
We enjoyed an afternoon at the Science Center and their first IMAX movie about Whales.

After a night to swim at the hotel, we knew Monday was coming.  We had time for one more stop before we needed to head home for work and school.

We spent Monday morning at Grant's Farm.
 There are so many neat things to do at Grant's Farm...the tram ride 
through the huge wildlife preserve to the animal show, elephant show, 
a chance to feed baby goats, and birds very close up, and even ride on a camel.
It is a wonderful family place.

So glad to have made these special memories with Jeff and our kiddos.
St Louis was a hit and they want to go back!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grandpanther Breakfast

Plano's annual "Grandpanther" breakfast is something my mom (and dad) have really wanted to do for a long time.  I was SO happy that it worked out for them to attend with S and J this year.
They enjoyed breakfast with lots of other Panthers and Panther grandparents.

 It was a wonderful morning for all four of them.
And I know it made Sydney and JJ feel very special!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#11's Baseball Season

Since he was 2 (maybe sooner?), Luke has been wanting to play on a sports team.  He would talk to us about lots of sports including soccer, football, basketball, golf, baseball...
We decided that he could play soccer or baseball this fall, and he chose baseball.

He is , without a doubt, the cutest little baseball player I've ever seen:)

He played on the Rivercats.

Practice started in late July ...

and games started by mid August.
I told him to have fun before he went out on the field for his first game,
and he told me "don't forget to cheer for me." 
I did not forget :)

He was the youngest of the 12 on his team,
playing with/against mostly kids in Kindergarten and some in 1st grade.
That did not stop him from doing a great job.
One of the other parents asked me halfway through the season when he was going to be 6.  HA-I had to tell them that he wasn't even 5 yet. 
Lukey got to bat twice in each game and got a hit at least once in every game but 1. 
He got two hits in two of his games.

He also made several outs playing third base, and stopped several balls playing shortstop.  He learned to tag the base and was so fun to watch.

One of my favorite memories of his season was watching him wave "bye bye" to the umpire one of the times he was up to bat and didn't get a hit. 

#11 even had some special guests make it to see him play this season:
That was very special to him.

Here is a video of his first ever at bat.
And one other time...

And a clip of him playing catcher...

He really had a lot of fun and already says he wants to play again in the spring. 
He also talks about many others sports so we will see....
Daddy was an assistant coach and Luke loved that part of it.  One time he told us he didn't want to play baseball when he was a grown up because Daddy couldn't be his coach. 

(Daddy has already been soccer coach, basketball coach and baseball coach-what's next?)
Way to go #11.  I loved watching every second of your first baseball season.
Excited for your next adventure.
You are awesome and we love you.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Summer of Fun at Holiday World

It was a great summer of fun at Holiday World!
A little boy who was so scared of Holidog and his crew in 2014 is scared no more!

  Last year, big brother JJ barely missed the minimum height for the big roller coasters but HE WAS READY this summer to take them on.  First he tried the Raven with Daddy and Sydney, then onto the Legend and next trip the Voyage. 
....Still can't believe he does this one!

He rode with Daddy most of the time, but managed to get Mommy on some with him as well.  This was the Legend.  He really enjoys riding them!
The little rides are still a big hit too.

I'm afraid it's the last summer for my princess on some she has enjoyed every year.  She is getting ready to pass the maximum height on a few like the Indian River canoes...
 I love that she still enjoys the little kid things so much.

Holly was able to go to Holiday World with us 2 times this summer
as they have a kennel inside the park for her.

It was a great time this summer at Holiday World.  Until next year...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Rest of Our Summer

One of the best blessings this summer was the opportunity to spend a few days at the beach together.  We left early on a July Thursday morning and returned home Monday evening.

For the first time, the five of us went on a dolphin cruise:

We were also so fortunate with beautiful weather and wonderful days at the beach,

 evenings at the beach, 
 and nights around the hotel. 
.S'mores at the fire pit is always a hit. 
It was a precious family time and a great memory of summer '15.
As Sydney says, "We are beach people."
Our time at home this summer was such a treasure as well.
It's nice to have some extra time for little things, like cooking meals or making special treats together without having to rush.
I feel like a lot of these little things will be the big things to them someday.
JJ loves to make pizza with me,
 and Sydney and I are always trying something new.
On the last day of Jeff's work conference in Nashville, I took the opportunity to take them to Opry Mills for a day of fun.  We shopped for some clothes, and then treated them to Rainforest Cafe.  They each had some spending money saved that they used at Build a Bear.
We said goodbye to three fish (on the same day) this summer and became a one pet family.
That one pet got plenty of attention this summer.  They all three adore her:

I was unsure about adding a dog to our crew, but she has mostly won me over too.
We spent the night of my birthday at Holiday World and ended the night with fireworks.
We enjoyed lots of pool days,
and several long family bike rides (minus Holly!).
Our longest ride was 7 miles, but there were several others too.
Luke had his turn to spend time at Nana and Buddy's house.
 He had so much fun-picnics, riding the golf cart, playing games, fishing, and just being the boss!
 When we made it in for the weekend at the end of his visit, Sydney and JJ also caught a fish!
Buddy knows a great fishing spot on the golf course where they bite quickly.
Football fan fest is always in August, and our kids really look forward to it.
.....bouncies, autographs, popcorn and ice cream, balloon animals, face painting all in one spot-hard to beat!
This event marked the first time Luke finally decided that
 Big Red was okay and was not going to eat him.
SG, JJ and I took advantage a few nights of Luke's practice being at the park too.

One thing they looked forward to all summer long was going to the Smith's for the world's longest slip and slide.  I'm positive it isn't, in fact, the world's largest....BUT it is huge and pretty awesome!
The date had to be pushed back a couple times but I'm sure they would tell you it was worth the wait.

Daddy caught me at 37 in August ! 
We love celebrating birthdays together.
It's been a great summer, and I can't help but realize I'm sad to see it end as fall inches closer.
I sure am thankful for all of the time I had with all my crew.

Until next summer...