Monday, July 23, 2012

Several Years From Now

I’ll want to remember…

Aquamagreen - Patrick’s made up name for one of his favorite colors.

Convertillac - Convertible-ish car seen only in Patrick’s imagination.

Thunderhoof Lightning - The name of Patrick’s horse, also seen only in his imagination

Pinching the Tent - Patrick’s phrase for wanting to make camp.

Rocketman - Patrick’s name for the little brother he hopes to have someday. He refers to him as Rocketman and only Rocketman, not baby or brother or anything else but Rocketman.  He once asked during prayer before our dinner when God would give us baby Rocketman. Toby and I told him that we had to make sure we had enough food, clothes, toys, money and room for Rocketman before we would be ready to ask God for a baby. Patrick said there was room in his race car bed where Rocketman could sleep. He would even give him some of his clothes to wear and toys to play with and Mommy and Daddy could have all the money he's saved in his piggy heart melted at his sweet gesture of love.

Bangade - A cross between bandaid and badage, it's  Madelyn’s word she uses while playing Nurse Nancy or animal hospital.

Hallotreat - Madelyn’s name for Halloween.

The Maker - Madelyn’s name for The Baker when playing in the toy kitchen. "Mommy, you want cookies? OK, I'll go be the maker."

Umm, excuse me?! - What Madelyn says in the morning when she wakes up and hears us playing and wants to join in…"Um, excuse me? Daddy?! Get me out of here!”

I am a diamond, I am a star… - Words to a song Madelyn made up. The rest of the lyrics change daily but it always starts off the same way. She’ll sing it softly, in a high voice, completely off-pitch, perfection.

… Madelyn’s love of tap shoes, wearing her pink Converse All Stars with dresses, her version of ballet and anything having to do with music and dancing and her newfound love of swimming without floaties. Maddy’s love of painting anything and everything, especially herself, continues.

… Patrick’s constant curiosity about the world around him and how he can’t seem to get enough information about animals and bugs and frogs or anything that moves. He pretends to be an animal doctor frequently, caring for only the smallest stuffed animals we own, except for a huge blow up dolphin (a float for the pool that has only seen the pool once but lays across our living room floor daily).

… How completely and utterly in awe they are of their Daddy. Patch and Maddy count the minutes
 until he gets home each day and whether its reading a book, “playing rough”, pretending to be in a rock band or shooting off a rocket outside, they love every minute with him. He’s pretty amazing, I must say. And I am so glad he’s ours!

Pictures are from The Blue Ridge Rail Road train ride we took to celebrate Father’s Day last month. We had a great weekend at the cabin with Meme, Papa, Mandie, Creighton, Mollie, Abbie and Matt! Here are more pictures from the weekend.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blueberry Birthday

This year, my Mom celebrated important birthday. (I'm not the smartest guy, but I know there are certain rules that pertain to women, their age and announcing that age in a public manor.) We'll just say it was a birthday worth being noted. One of the gifts the family gave her was a weekend away together at the cabin. We planned it a couple months ahead of time and worked out who was making what meals and bringing which supplies and all that fun stuff so my Mom could just show up and, for once, get together with the whole family and not have to worry about making food for us :)

We found a weekend that everyone (except Uncle Thomas, sadly) had open in their schedules and all met up in the mountains. Luckily, we had amazing weather and spent Saturday morning blueberry picking at Mercier's Orchards. This activity was especially cool because when we were growing up our parents would often take us to Berry Patch Farms to go blueberry picking. I remember after each trip eating blueberry muffins, pancakes, breads and all kinds of other goodies for weeks. Patrick, Madelyn and Carson all had a great time picking blueberries as well. They were amazed at how big they were right off the bushes and loved being able to eat some as they filled their baskets. They'd crawl deep into the bushes to try to find the biggest blueberries they could and come out excitedly wanting to show everyone their find before they dropped it in the basket with the others.

Sometimes a cousin pile-on is in order while chasing bugs.
Once we got back to the cabin the kids were all exhausted. While the they took a nap the grownups all played softball in the field and basically acted like kids. Then once the they woke up we took a walk to see the Beefalo and worked up an appetite for dinner. Dad made some great burgers and then we had a campfire so we could roast S'mores. It didn't matter that it was ninety-something degrees outside - the kids wanted S'mores (ok, everybody wanted S'mores) so we built a fire and roasted away. By the time we were done it was just getting dark and the field filled up with hundreds of lightning bugs. The kids had a blast running all over the field to catch them and put them in our bug house. And the adults had fun watching the kids and the very cool site of hundreds of bugs sporadically lighting up the field at night. 

The whole weekend was awesome and we made so many great memories. Happy birthday Mom! We love you!

My favorite picture from the weekend.

Here are some more pictures (click here for the gallery)...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Family Camping Trip

Lake Winfield Scott
It started with Patrick proclaiming that Toby needed a tin can (canteen) for Father's Day when the kids and I were walking down the camping isle at Target. We were there to get new headlamps but left with the idea to surprise Toby with a weekend of camping. Patrick and Madelyn were both so excited to keep our secret from Daddy until the big day. The kids helped me make a list of everything we would need for our little adventure. They listed the usual- sleeping bags, tent, hiking shoes, etc. But, they also had some creative ideas like bringing a snake to scare off all the other snakes, unless they are good snakes, then they can sleep in the tent with us (Patrick). And we needed to bring an avocado, because Daddy loves avocados and he might get hungry (Madelyn).

I explained to Patrick that we may be going to a place in the woods that didn't have bathrooms and what we would do if that was the case. I wasn't sure how he would react. He didn't hesitate in his response, telling me with wide eyes that he'd better start practicing right away. We ended up opting for a campground that did have facilities since this was our first time camping (not including in front of the cabin-if that counts) with the kids. So we blocked off our only free weekend in June and the kids counted down the days until we left.

Little did we know that our camping weekend would be one of the hottest of the summer, record highs were expected in Georgia. We weren't sure how the trip would go with the heat- how would the kids nap in 105+ degree weather, outside, in a tent...hmmm. Would they be comfortable enough to sleep through the night in the sticky, summer humidity? Hiking was out for certain but at least there was the lake... With many thoughts and some concerns we decided to do what parents do when they want to try something new with kids but just aren't sure of the outcome: go for it and hope for the best.

And, it ended up being the best. The weather was about 20 degrees cooler than in Woodstock which made for comfy sleeping, especially since our tent was in the shade for the last part of the day. The kids enjoyed every part of the trip; "pinching" the tent, cooking meals over the fire, walking through the woods to the bathrooms, showering with Daddy Longlegs after swimming in the lake (Patrick was sure the spiders followed him in because he was an animal rescuer and Maddy couldn't stop saying how cute they were), skipping rocks, fishing, catching beetles, millipedes, butterflies and every other little creature they could get their hands on; and, the most fun thing of all - sleeping in the tent.

It took us awhile to settle them down Saturday night, even after a jammed packed day full of outdoor activities. We read stories, sang songs then turned off the lanterns. Then Maddy rolls over on top of me, her face inches away from mine, and whispers, "I love you Mommy. (pause) It's wake up time!" I melt from her sweet words and try not to laugh then say, "It's sleep time, sweet girl. Lay down and close your eyes." She obeys, for a few minutes, then sits straight up and shouts, "I like to move it, move it!" wiggling her little body, dancing to the rhythm in her head. We all burst out laughing for several minutes then Toby says,
Cheering for Daddy while he skips rocks on the water
"Ok, time to go to sleep." They both lay still. Then the giggling starts. Patrick would laugh and say, "I hope she doesn't say "move it move it again..." To which Madelyn would pop right up and, of course, yell "I like to move it move it!" Then Patrick responded with "You better "move it move it" to your dreams! It's sleep time!" Which gave Madelyn a case of the giggles and started the whole thing over again. It must have gone on for 30 minutes straight, the two of them, cracking each other up over and over, Toby and I laughing right along with them. And I know this is what they'll remember most from the trip. Lake Winfield Scott was a beautiful place to camp. We can't wait to go back. Although next time we'll wait until early fall, just to be safe ;-)

Early morning fishing
Excited to use the jig poles we made

My best girl

Checking out a Rhino Beetle

Plenty more pictures in the slideshow (and here's the link to the gallery)...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Snapshots from the Beach

As always, beach week was completely amazing. Each year it seems I look forward to the trip more than I did the year before. I long to take a break from the every day and have time to just be with family. I love that my children get to experience the same beach that I've gone to each summer for so many years. It brings me back to my childhood and reminds me how lucky I am to have what I do - a fun, loving family. What a blessing it is each year to spend time with one another doing what we love- swimming, reading, laughing, playing, eating, singing, crabbing, throwing baby showers and birthday parties and, more recently, playing Mexican Train Dominos. This year my parents announced mid trip that anyone that wanted to stay an extra day could go with them to an Inn down the street (since the house we were in was booked for the next week). Of course we took them up on the offer and enjoyed some extra time on the beach with eachother. Thank you so very much, Meme and Papa, for another wonderful week full of great memories!

Here are some pictures from our trip. You can check out the complete album here. 

Madelyn chillin' on the sand
Patch on his "rescue mound" looking for dolphins and whales in trouble

The Ocean Isle Pier

Low Country Boil- yes please!

The fam minus Drew
Blowing bubbles with cousins, what could be more fun?

Falling down is fun!

Reading about boats (and looking like brothers)
Prancing down the beach singing a song
Patrick wanted to see some dolphins so he decided that if we built a big enough shrimp they might come to us rather than waiting for the shrimp boats to come by.