Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring Break 2010

Scott and I really pulled the wool over the boys' eyes this year. Late last summer Scott and I along with our friends from Guam, the Littlefields, began making plans for a March 2010 Spring Break trip. The plan was we would meet at a beach home somewhere in between Virginia and Texas for a week of fun in the sun to remind both families of our time on Guam. The months ticked by and soon we had our reservation set. The best part of the whole planning was the fact our kids didn't know a thing about the trip and the Littlefield children didn't know where they were headed OR that we would be sharing the vacation with them.

As the day to leave neared Scott and I were secretly making lists of what needed to be packed and made arrangements for the newpapers/sales fliers to be picked up while we were gone. We also needed to let the Boy Scout troop and Nate's religious emblem class know that we would be gone, all while the boys were in somewhat close proximity to us.

The day we planned to leave Nate had a scheduled field trip to DC with his Confirmation class to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. After we dropped Nate off at church for the field trip we began the arduous task of packing suitcases on the sly with Lily and Drew still in the house. A couple of times we had to distract Drew, by asking him to help Lily with something (anything) so we could pull out the suitcases from the basement or by sending him outside to change the lightbulbs in the lamppost out front so I could drag the suitcases down the stairs and into the garage for Scott to hide in the van later in the day. It was tough trying to be so sly. Luckily Drew was oblivious since it was a Saturday and one of his two days of the week that he is allowed to play any type of video game.

Finally the time arrived to pick Nate up at church. I thought Drew would think it funny that we would ALL be driving the minute and a half to church so I asked him earlier in the day to try to convince Scott to take us to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Drew dutifully did what I asked and we were ready to go. Once Nate was back to church we packed him in the car and headed out for dinner. Mind you, Scott had to pack the van so nothing looked out of place for an ordinary drive out for dinner. Nothing unusual could be sticking out in plain view! We hadn't eaten at Cracker Barrel since before we moved to our new home so the boys had no idea which way we should have been driving. We were able to make a 5pm mass and then dinner at Cracker Barrel. We had been on the road for about 1/2 hour when something in the back of the van starting making some noise bumping around. Drew glanced back and ....."What are these suitcases doing back here?!" 20 million questions followed. Scott and I clammed up and didn't give a clue as to what was going on. The boys speculated that we were headed to Great Wolf Lodge. As we continued driving late into the night they began calling out city and state names trying to guess where we were headed. Scott and I stayed quiet. Around 2am, which was really 3am because of the time change, we pulled over into a rest stop and tried to sleep. Let's just didn't happen. We promptly drove to a Hampton Inn and slept a few more hours. Now the boys are really curious. Drew still thought we were headed to Atlanta or maybe to Texas. Nate was guessing Louisiana. After nearly 16 hours of driving we made it to our Spring Break 2010 destination: Destin, FL. We were so ready to be out of the van! The Littlefield's were there waiting for us. Scott and I chuckled that we were able to surprise our gang once again.

Lily on the beach our first night.

She couldn't resist playing in the bright white sand.

It was a cool week in Florida; cool enough for jackets.

One day the guys took all the kids except for the little girls and went deep sea fishing. It was a cold, rainy morning but the trip was a success. Not to be left out Lily and I, along with Sheri and her daughter went to the salon and treated ourselves to a pedicure. Lily loved her first "real" nail visit. I think for 3 weeks straight Lily asked everyone in sight if they didn't just love her pink toes.

Ready for some action!

Great catch Nate!

Here is the gang with their take-home catch. Notice Drew's extremely large fish ~ his first ever catch. Way to go Drew!

Sheri and I "worked" on this vacation too. We didn't know if we could finish but we did!

Last day at the beach ~ Lily fell on the way and skinned her knee. She was miserable and didn't play much that day; she cried quite a bit and then promptly fell asleep on me. After awhile the boys dug out a hollow for Lily to rest in.

Drew and the Littlefield boys, playing again....

Kids in front of the beach house ready for fun!

What's so funny guys?

The boys found something to do.

Lily made some new friends.

Lily sharing a bed time story with her "bunk buddy".

While we were in Destin Scott, Nate, Lily and I took a day trip to Pensacola. We visited Pensacola Christian College and met with a few of Nate's ABeka Academy teachers. We walked around the campus a bit before we went over to ABeka Christian Academy, met a few more teachers and took a tour. Nate was really excited to see his online school in person. Scott and I were so happy for him.

Sunset in Destin..... I'm sure we'll be back!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Remember snow?!

Now that spring is here I thought I would share a few photos of our memorable winter. We have not lived in a location with measurable snow in over 6 years. You can imagine our surprise when the heavens opened (repeatedly) and out came the cold, white, more-often-than-not heavy flakes. I'm thinking back to when we were told that it "almost" never snows more than a few inches a year here in northern Virginia. I'm chuckling now but for those long 3 months we were definitely not laughing.

This photo is what I measured on the deck of our 2nd snow of December. Our first BIG snow.

Scott and the boys were shoveling our drive, along with 3 other neighbors driveways. They had a hard time keeping up. That was some heavy snow!

The snow had stopped but you can see through the deck railing just how much snow was on the trampoline. I'm surprised the trampoline survived the winter. It "bounced" back ~ the kids were on it last week!

Do you think Nate is sick of the snow yet? He doesn't realize he is in for at least 2 more big snowstorms.

After the early February snow once the driveways were cleared the boys took advantage of the large drifts and sledded down the street. It took almost 2 weeks for the snow to be completely cleared from our street.

This photo was taken 7 days after the snowstorm and the mailbox is barely visible. I learned pretty quick that if I didn't start moving that snow from the curb the mail was not going to be delivered at my house. We didn't realize that the snowplow only makes one trip down the street; down the very MIDDLE of the street. Now we really missed our Ohio snow plows that plowed all the way to the curb!

Scott chipping away some of the ice. We needed to get out for the Disney on Ice show. Thank goodness the snow wasn't this weekend. Lily would have been so disappointed.

I can now say that all the snow is really gone. We survived our first winter back! We'll be ready for next year ~ no problem!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Big Changes

February proved to be a busy month with the ice show, Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year and my birthday. One other day in the month of February turned out to be a special day. February 15 was the day Scott and I took Lilymei to get her hair cut for the first time since we have had her. From the picture below you can see just how long Lilymei's hair had grown.

We took Lily to the hair salon located in our local gym. Lily LOVED it! Wouldn't you know, a month later Lily's hair was in need of a trim, once again. This time I took her to see Stephanie, my hairdresser. Lily did well but she didn't sit very still this 2nd time around ...that is until the lady in the chair next to her began to get her hair colored. At that moment, Lily sat in complete shock, watching the hairdresser "paint" her client's hair. Lily informed Stephanie that she did not need that done to herself but maybe when she's a little older.

I think this is going to be a once a month habit. Lily's hair is growing so fast now. She looks so different with bangs!

Not to be outdone, Drew also began a tranformation. March 2 we took Drew to the orthodontist for a consultation. We have known for quite some time Drew would need to have a "little" extra work done in his mouth. Drew even tells people that his teeth are "jacked up" - his words!

This close-up shot reveals what we are talking about....

The visit to the ortho proved to be much more than Drew expected. To his utter shock and surprise the technician led him to the chair and the dentist did his magic. Take a closer look...notice the blue bands. Drew can't wait to get scarlet and gray in the fall....

Those first few days were no picnic as anyone who has experienced the distinct pleasure of wearing braces can attest. Drew struggled, that's for sure, but gradually the pain subsided and he learned how best to eat those many tricky foods out there. Drew had recovered completely by the time our spring break trip to Florida arrived. Here he is....enjoying a day at the beach with a smile on his face.

Check back for photos of the last BIG snow, our spring break trip to Florida, and the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Lilymei joined our family...

Lilymei was born...

Drew is...

Nate is...

Jean and Scott have been married....