Monday, August 14, 2017

Cousin Camp & 34th Birthday kids best friends! They adore their cousins SO much! So, I hosted "cousin camp" at my house! I made matching shirts. We played flag football, ate smores, wrapped houses, made a huge pallet, and snowcones for breakfast! It was so memorable and a highlight for our summer!

All the parents came over to celebrate the family summer birthdays. So, I made dinner, then we kicked out the adults for cousin camp time!!! My dad loved seeing the joy!! This is a big cousin camp was needed. Dad's health is declining, Chad and Veronica are moving to Brownwood, Tx, Sam is going to college, Jake is starting high school! It's just a big transition year for everyone. So, we had one last cousin gathering before the changes! Our neighbor, Tess, wanted to join the fun. So, I made her a tshirt and she joined cousin camp! The more the merrier!

We made smores on our firepit table. Then, loaded up the back of Scott's truck to go wrap houses. We wrapped Beau and Kate's house! When we were done, I rang the doorbell. When they answered, we yelled "you've been cousin camped!" Then speed off in Scott's truck! The kids thought this was hilarious! Then, we made a huge pallet. Scott told some stories then they crashed! Seriously, not one peep! All night! They were tired from all the fun! Bright and early, we made snowcones and egg tacos for breakfast!! Yumm...breakfast of champs! Hey, it's cousin camp...where a kid can be a kid! I love this picture of my dad and Chad!! Chad moved to Brownwood (near Fort Worth) to start his new job as a PE teacher! He always wanted to live in the "country!" Veronica is going along with it, but she needs to finish out her teaching contract here! So, they will be making weekend trips for a while until Veronica and the kids move too!

My 34th BIRTHDAY!!!! I woke up to 9 kids on my 34th birthday...the perfect birthday morning! Cousin Camp was on my birthday, and they were all eager to sing to me in the morning! Faith Ann and I got a manicure and pedicure...her first one, which was adorable! Then, I got a massage!! That night, Scott and I went to Escalantes with the kids for dinner! They sang to me, and the kids loved my birthday hat!!! It was a simple birthday...filled with family and fun! Perfection! The best way to ring in another year!

In other news...Hunter lost his top tooth! Around 11pm on my birthday...he walked out to the living room with a bloody smile! He was so excited! And, more big news....I now have a monthly fitness column in Absolutely Memorial Magazine!!! This was my first month, so it was kind of an "introductory." I am looking forward to the future months! SO much has blossomed from my leap of faith the day I decided to let God guide me on my fitness journey! Doors keep opening, I keep saying 'yes' with a grateful heart, I keep giving the glory to God....and I keep on this path with a smile, excitement and a love for fitness! What a big year 34 is going to be for me! I am excited and grateful!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

We jumped on a plane and headed to the Virgin Islands! Scott's sister, Macy lives in St. Thomas. So, we went to visit Macy, Drew and cousin Kinsley! It was the trip of a lifetime. We didn't bring any technology on the plane, not necessarily intentional, we just didn't think about it since the kids rarely play on technology. Well, it was a straight flight and they did lots of seat switching and playing I-spy! Haha! Maybe they are learning a lesson of boredom and self entertainment rather than gluing their face to a screen? Maybe?? Even though that is not a planned out parenting technique of ours, it seems to be a reoccurring lesson that they are learning, which I am okay with! Regardless, we landed and all eager to start our vacation! We went straight to the beach! Swam, ran, rock climbed and had dinner on the beach! Amazing start to the week!

The next day we headed to Coki beach. We got there early and set up under a tree that had hanging branches. Perfect place for nap time...where Faith Ann definitely took a long nap! The beach was gorgeous!!! The kids played all day. Built sand castles, made sand chairs to sit in, searched for shells and snorkeled. They fed the fish dog bones, which apparently fish love! Faith Ann wanted no part in that, ha! So, the boys had a blast while sis and I played in sand! I was SO excited to do the FLYboard! It is a rocket board that literally shoots you out of the water! Powerful jets of water shoot you up while you balance in the air. It was amazing fun! The higher you get, the harder you fall! Aside from the powerful falls, I could have done that for hours!

We headed back to Macy's to take super fast showers! They live "the way of life there." No A/C, a tank for water. So, they ration their water use. Which means, SUPER fast showers for our crew of 5. I would get in the shower and Scott would rotate the kids in...I would slap on shampoo and turn off the water while I scrubbed their hair and bodies. Then, water back on for a quick rinse! Made me appreciate our Houston showers a bit more, but what a great experience for the kids to understand the logic of water use. We went to Taco night at a local restaurant. Live music, fresh fish tacos, and the kids ran and danced until the sun set!

The next day was full of more glorious beaches! We started off at Sapphire Beach in the morning. It was breathtaking! I enjoyed the environment of it too! Very lively with the restaurant and bar, yet cozy! More snorkeling and some R&R for me! Faith Ann made a friend, and they played for hours. They didn't know each others name, so they just called each other "Susie!!!" haha! We then ate at a pizzeria and headed to Lindqist Beach. All the beaches are equally as beautiful but each one has a different "feel." I loved getting to explore them all! Afterwards, we headed to Drew's office to walk down to the marina for dinner.

The next day may have been my favorite! We rode the ferry to Saint John. Trent loved the ferry ride! Macy took us to a hiking trail...I just loved having her as our "tour guide!" She did an amazing job, thinking of everything! So, we hiked about 20 minutes...then the trail opened up to the MOST gorgeous beach I have ever seen! Solomon Beach!! The only way to get to it is by hiking or boat. So, it felt like a secluded gem!!! I could have stayed there for days! Hunter saw a stingray while snorkeling, Trent drank coconuts off the tree and Faith Ann jumped waves.

Then, we headed back to St. Thomas. Macy dropped us off at the pirate museum. The boys, especially Scott, LOVED this! The museum was filled with artifacts found off the beaches we were swimming in! There was even a real pirate roaming the museum for pictures, which the boys could not get over! Then, we rode the tram to Paradise Point for happy hour. The kids loved the tram ride, and the view from the top was to die for! The tops of trees, the endless ocean view! Wow! We enjoyed a drink then Drew picked us up on his way home from work. We enjoyed dinner on Macy's balcony, with the best view in town! It was so nice to visit and enjoy dinner while the kids got to absorb it all in!

The next day, Macy set up camp at Magens Beach. This was Scott's favorite beach of the trip!! Macy set up a hammock, tent, chairs, music...we were set for an unforgettable day! We paddle boarded and had lots of cuddle time! Faith Ann cuddled/slept with Macy while Scott and I took the boys and Kinsley paddle boarding. There is so much to see and explore! Trent wanted to paddle board ALL the way to an anchored yacht! So, over 20 minutes of paddling, I made it! The captain of the yacht joked that he may have to rescue us on my way back, lol! It was pretty far out there! But, we made our way to the side of the island where I could stand. So, Trent ventured up some rocks and found his "secret place" that he called "Trent rock." So we stood on "Trent Rock" and talked about how much fun we were having! The pictures from this day look like postcards! So clear and beautiful!

We took one last picture with "Monteverde" written in the sand! We WILL be back to that exact was just too amazing! Then, that night, Macy was on kid duty while Scott and I celebrated our anniversary. Macy picked out the perfect restaurant!!! We saw sea planes land and a gorgeous sunset! We sat and ate for 2 hours! The power went out that night at Macy's, which apparently happens fairly often. Drew told stories to the kids on the balcony and they played games!  Boy, do those fans make a big difference! We were hot!!! But, still slept great because we were all pooped!

It was a trip we will never forget! It was a learning experience for kids and probably the most memorable part of their summer! It was perfection! I look forward to going back to visit again. As summer wraps up, I can confidently say that this trip takes the cake for summer 2017!!! We love St. Thomas!!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Happy 5th Bday Trent, Happy 12 Year Anniversary

July 16th is the day that I celebrate the two most gentle hearted boys in my world! Happy 12 year anniversary to Scott, and Happy 5th Birthday to Trent. There is no other way I would want to spend my anniversary than to celebrate our sweet Trent. God made him extra special. He is so tender, thoughtful, giving, funny, athletic, FUN and so much more!
We decorated the hallway with banners so that Trent woke up to a birthday fun! Trent woke up so excited and ran out to the living room. We got him his own snocone maker! Football gloves and blow up boxing gloves!! Then, we got him a blow up water slide!!! It was already blown up and ready for him to play on!!! His party was on his birthday so we used the slide for his party! They were in their bathing suits and playing on the slide at 8am, haha!

Trent wanted a "silly string, water, monster truck party!" SO, I got 75 cans of silly string, 600 water balloons, water slide, sprinklers, pool and Monster Jam decorations! Instead of cupcakes, Trent wanted candles in a snocone. So, I ordered snocones from his favorite "Bahama Bucks." Cousin Ally scooped up all the snocones and we sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Trent is in love with "Double Daves" pizza! So, we ordered their pizza rolls and chocolate pizza....yummmmmy! He has great taste. I also made a fruit salad with his favorites....blackberries, strawberries and green grapes! He was on cloud nine and very very happy!

 Our yard filled with Trent's friends and family. We had a huge silly string fight and water balloon fight, which was SO messy!!! Scott and I were right in the middle of it all, having a blast. Then, I gave all the kids a bag to fill up with all the mess! A prize went to the kid who got the most stuff in their bag. They cleaned up most of it! I made a "5" out of the silly string cans for the centerpiece and sticky hands were the party favors, which I thought was creative since Trent is now "all 5 fingers!!"

We used his new boxing gloves and the baby pool was the "boxing ring." We got some great laughs! Cousin Ally and Jake were big helpers and had fun too!! It was a fun party. A wild party. Yet, a simple party! Filled with laughter, good food, and adorable kids! Sweet Trent impacts everyone he meets. He is so genuine and kind. He is a wonderful, patient and thoughtful friend. It shows because everyone was so excited to celebrate Trent!

12 years of marriage! We are "officially" celebrating soon when we go to the Virgin Islands. But, Scott picked up dinner after we put the kids to sleep. We ate and talked for a long time. We talked about our past, future and how wonderful our present is! The rest of the weekend was filled with more Bahama Bucks snocone trips and a fun bootcamp! Scott and I threw spears into hay and weighted bucket carries. Rather than filling them with dirt, we just put the kids in the buckets! That was a serious workout. It is so fun that exercise is a family event for us. We all love spending the active time together. The kids are always right behind us, mimicking our every move! The last 12 years have blessed me beyond measure. We are grateful for where God has led our journey so far, and excited about what is in store!!!