Cole, Alex, & Anna Grace

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Myrtle Beach Pictures

We just got home from our last trip before school starts. My mom and step-dad rented a big condo on the beach for the entire family. Mike could not come, so the kids and I relied on my mom to help us out with an extra set of adult hands.

Altogether, we had 11 people staying in our condo which included my 3 kids and my brother's 3 kids- Little Kyle, Allena, and Koen. We spent the week playing at the beach, hanging out at the pools, and eating lots of seafood. My brother and I took the big kids (Little Kyle, Cole, and Alex) to a water park one day as a surprise since Cole and Little Kyle both had a birthday a few weeks ago. The boys have a special bond in that they share the same birthday. While we were away at the water park, the little kids helped my mom make a chocolate cake decorated with homemade lobster candies. We didn't have candles, so we let the boys blow out the flame of lighters!

The kids had a great time floating around the condo's lazy river.

Anna Grace and Koen loved playing in the sand while the older kids played in the waves.

Cole, Alex, and Little Kyle practiced riding their skim boards in the evening waves.

Koen and Allena enjoyed playing in a big hole that someone dug on the beach.

Cole, Alex, Little Kyle, and I took a ride on a banana boat. I think this was the highlight of the trip for the boys!

All of the kids loved the hot tubs!

Cole, Alex, and Little Kyle had a great time rough housing in the pool.

I am so thankful that my kids have cousins so close in age that they can share memories with. I hope they will always remember the great times that we had together. Thank you, Mom and Al for such a fun vacation!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Girls' Day Out

We are having a blast this week at Myrtle Beach with my family. I am here with the kids while Mike is back at home working. Today my mom and I had a girls' day out with Anna Grace and my little niece, Allena.

We went to a fun outdoor shopping area called Broadway on the Beach. First we ate at a yummy Italian restaurant. Then, it was time for some shopping. My mom and I got some cute new sandals (what would shopping be without new shoes?) and then we found a fun little store where little girls can get their hair and nails done. The store was filled with cute accessories and girly toys. We didn't have the girls' hair and nails done, but Anna Grace had a blast dancing on the stage.

When my mom, Allena, and I started to leave the store, Anna Grace peeked her head out the door and told us, "You go ahead. I'll stay here and dance on the stage!"

The girls had lots of fun trying on hats and posing for pictures.

Then it was time to go to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. If we had gone earlier in the day, we could have just walked right in, but we ended up waiting outside in a long line just to get in to pick out our bears. Allena chose a Smurfette and Anna Grace chose a panda bear. They got to help stuff their animals and then fluff them with blowers and brushes.

Finally it was time to head back to the condo to check on the boys who stayed back to play on the beach all day.

Thanks for such a fun day, Nana!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hitting Double Digits

It is so hard for me to believe that Cole is turning 10 today. It seems like yesterday that he was a teeny, tiny newborn baby. I remember the day he was born so vividly. I had gone to the doctor's office for my bi-weekly check since Cole had already gone into early labor about a month and a half before. We still had another month to go until his due date, but he started showing signs of distress again and they sent me back to the hospital. I called Mike to tell him that I was in the hospital for more monitoring and that I would get to go home in a few hours. Thank goodness that Mike decided that he better leave work to come sit with me or he would have missed Cole's birth. As Cole's heart rate plummeted, I remember the swarm of nurses and doctors hurriedly preparing for me the surgery and the fear that I felt for my sweet baby.

Now, Cole is 10 years old and turning into a preteen. He is still small for his age, but he seems so tall to me. When he hugs me, he no longer feels like a little boy- he's more muscular. Even though he is still sweet and loving, he increasingly wants to spend more time with friends and listening to music on his i-touch. How can it be that my Coleman is growing up so quickly?

Cole wanted to plan his own party this year. He invited 2 friends to spend the night. He made his own invitations on the computer and planned for them to make homemade pizzas, go swimming, and watch a movie. They also had a water balloon fight and played games on the Wii. The boys had so much fun last night that they fell asleep exhausted before midnight. Now, Cole is out with Mike using his birthday money to buy a Nook. He loves to read and is excited about getting an e-reader.

There are so many days that I just want to hit the "pause" button and keep my kids from growing up. Even though I love how Cole can help out around the house and have more grown-up conversations, I am not ready for him to grow up too quickly. The store Staples has an "easy" button; I need a "pause" button.

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Camping Trip

We are home from our weekend of camping in the mountains for the 4th of July. We drove to the mountains on Friday after Mike got off work and spent most of Saturday visiting with family. My grandmother, aunt, and little cousins came to our campground for lunch. The boys had a great time playing in the creek and tromping through the woods.

This is my grandmother, who insisted that her cupcake wrapper was her "crown" and she was a "queen!" That she is! She was such a good sport to go "camping" for the day even though she is close to 90 years old!

The boys caught a whole bucket of crawfish, but this one is the largest that I have ever seen!

After our visit with relatives, we went to our campground's annual 4th of July barbecue.

Anna Grace gets really frightened by loud noises, so when it was time for everyone to shuttle on golfcarts up the pond to watch the fireworks, she and I headed back to the camper.

Sunday started with lunch with Mike's parents at seafood restaurant in the nearby town ("nearby" is not really all that near since it takes about 30 minutes to drive there), and then we decided to hike to a waterfall. We had no idea of what we were getting into! It started with 265 steps (we know because Cole counted), and then wound down the side of a mountain. There were parts that were very steep and slick, but it was all worth it in the end. Poor Mike ended up carrying Anna Grace on his shoulders most of the way. Mike and the boys had a great time cooling off by swimming in the water at the bottom of the falls.

Today, we had lunch back at Mike's parent's place and then it was time to head home.

Before we left, I wanted to get some good pictures of the kids dressed up for 4th of July.

I thought this bridge was a really cool place to take some good pictures, but leave it to Alex to "accidentally" drop his shoe in the water.

Of course that required both boys to jump into the water to chase the shoe!! Boys will be boys!

We had to drive through some very heavy rain and hail as we were coming through the mountains, but we made it home safely.