Cousin time

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Last Saturday we had plans to visit my sister and family after running some errands in their neck of the woods.  Turns out our plans changed very early in the morning.  We wouldn't be going.  Oh, but wait.  The disappointment in all of the cousins was enough to change our minds.  Despite not needing to make the long drive, we opted to do it anyway, later in the day...just to hang out and do nothing else.  It was so worth it.

At one point, actually close to half time of the Gator football game, we headed over to the playground.  On our way, some kids in the neighborhood were selling lemonade.  So Patrick supported their entrepreneurship and purchased a few cups.
 The kids were really sweet.  They appreciated our generosity and came back out to give the kids bracelets they had made.  Very sweet.

So the awesome parents that we are, we neglected to outfit Havi in some shoes before we got in the car.  In order to keep up with the bigger kids on the playground, her cousin Josh let her borrow his sneakers.  So sweet of him.
 The last time they all played together on the playground, I somehow managed to snap a photo of the four cousins.  I was hoping to add Havi to the photo this time around, but Patrick was concerned about mosquitos near the water; Havi and mosquitos are NOT a good combination.  So here's another shot of the four of them, this time with no flashing from Madeline.
 Golly, I love how I captured his cute tongue sticking out as he hustled back up to join the others.
After the playground, we headed back to the house and caught the rest of the Gator game. Despite a season-ending injury to our starting quarterback, the Gators managed to pull off a victory against Tennessee.  That made for a happy house.  Patrick and Madeline picked up some bar-b-que for dinner.  She loves running errands with her Baba.  It might be because he spoils her a little bit.

Anyway, we had such a nice, relaxing, lounging around and doing nothing kind of afternoon/evening.  We're so glad we decided to get together anyway, despite the long drive.  The kids just love spending time together.  I'm happy that Caleb has tennis tournament opportunities where they live.  It means we'll get to see more of each other.  Plus there are some state parks nearby too. So they'll be able to come out and visit/camp with us.

Speaking of tennis, Caleb played in a local tournament last Friday. It's funny because I had no idea it was going to be a tournament! I thought he was going to a group practice at a new facility he's been taking lessons at.  We were both surprised when so many people showed up that night!  lol  Thankfully, Caleb didn't miss a beat.  First, he played a mixed doubles match and won.  Then played two singles matches and won them both easily too.  I'm so proud of him!  He played so well, and each week he continues to improve.  I still find it hard to believe he's only been playing 3 months.  He'll have an opportunity to play in some local tournaments where we live on Friday nights.  So he's happy about that.  He'll also continue to travel for some of the bigger ones on Saturdays.  We're excited about coordinating those with camping trips. :)  Sadly, I don't have any photos, not even iPhone photos, from his last tournament because I was there by myself with all three kids (Patrick had a business meeting.)  But now that I know, I will be sure to take my big girl camera with me.

Linking up with my friend, Kim, today!
Little by Little

We played in the waves

Friday, September 20, 2013

I mentioned a little while ago that my sister and brother-in-law would be visiting with the rest of their peeps as part of Andy's birthday celebration.  One of his requests was to hit the beach.  Easy enough; we're just down the street.  After eating lunch, we finally packed ourselves up and headed over.  Havi fell asleep during the short drive.
 And she stayed asleep the entire 10-15 minutes we spent splashing around.
Marsha, Andy's mom, watched Josh.
 And Phil, Andy's dad, kept Madeline company, while Patrick and Andy set up our umbrellas.
 My sister thought it would be great fun to jump the waves with Caleb and Leah.
And no sooner did Patrick get in the water, then the sirens blew, and the lifeguards had to clear out the beach because of lightning in the area.  For real.  It was such a bummer.

So we packed right back up and drove home.
Then we all jumped in the pool and swam for a long time because the thunder and lightning dissipated.  Gotta love how quickly weather in central Florida can change. lol

It was a fabulous day with great food thanks to Patrick- steaks, twice baked potatoes, buffalo wing dip, just to name a few.  I contributed a simple 2 layer vanilla cake, some chocolatey triple chocolate chip cookies, and cookie dough ice cream.  Our taste buds did the happy dance.  The guys watched some football while I hung out with my sister, and Caleb showed Madeline and Leah how to hit a tennis ball.  Havi and Josh practiced their sharing skills.  It was a fantastic, fun-filled day.

And we went to a weddin'

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Yikes, I'm getting behind with my blogging.  I mentioned in my last post that we headed to a wedding after Caleb's last tennis tournament.  One of the iron men guys that helped to move us into our new house last year, Carlo, got married.  It was a family affair.  So the kids were invited.  The wedding and reception took place at this adorable little outdoor barn.
 The kids ran wild in the field adjacent to the barn. They also made s'mores.
 We spent the night talking all things camping with our friends Lisa and Shail while all 7 of our kids ran all over the place.
 Havi didn't stray too far from the candy table, though.  I think she thought the skittles tub was all hers.
It was such a special time together with friends.  It was a privilege to witness the union of Carlo and April, and we wish them a lifetime of love and joy together.

More tennis?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Well, we weren't anticipating another tennis tournament so soon, but as it turns out, another one happened to be scheduled not too far from my sister and brother-in-laws' house.  So we made a quick decision to sign Caleb up and headed over there Saturday morning.
 Tournaments typical start in the morning.  However, we learned at the last minute that play wouldn't begin until 12:30pm.  That threw a wrench into our schedule, as we had plans to attend a wedding (in a different distant town) at 4:00pm.  We made the decision to take two vehicles for the long drive over so that Patrick could leave early with Madeline, and I would stay back with Caleb and Havi.
 Despite the fact that a big Florida Gator football game was scheduled to begin at the same time, my sister and niece came to watch.  My sister's father-in-law, Phil, also came by to watch Caleb's first match.
There were not a whole lot of players for all the different age groups.  So girls were combined with boys.  There was also one 12 year old girl who was thrown into the Under 10 group because there were no other 12 year olds.  She has to play someone, right?  Well, that's fine, except she lied straight up to Patrick about her age.  The nerve.  Although he didn't beat her, Caleb played well against her.
And when a question came into play about scoring, he spoke up and set the score straight.
It was to great to watch Caleb play.  He split his matches again this tournament and also had the chance to play a bit of doubles.  We're so proud of him for playing so hard and for being so eager to participate in these tournaments.  It certainly has been nice to see my sister and her family a bit more.  And since most of the tournaments for Caleb's level are in her neck of the woods, we will get to see them a lot more.  Even Leah is considering taking lessons now, right at the same tennis center where the last tournament was held.

What's going to make these tournaments more fun is the fact that we have finally purchased our first ever travel trailer!  We should have it some time next week.  Yay!  There are a few state parks in the Orlando area that would be fun spots to camp at for the weekend and then scoot over to the tournaments.  In fact, we have already made some reservations in the month of November to celebrate Caleb's Family Day and Havi's 2nd birthday.  We are really looking forward to some fun family time in our trailer.

Anyway, I mentioned in the beginning of this post that we had to dash over to a wedding after the matches were over.  I pulled my camera out for a few shots when we were there.  So I will share those soon.  We all had a such a fantastic time. I think the kids are now convinced all weddings are laid back affairs. lol

{P.S.- All the action shots of Caleb were taken through the fence with my 85mm f/1.4 lens.  I'm so glad I brought it because I took one lousy photo with my iPhone, and I could barely make Caleb out through the fencing.  Yep. I love my camera and lens.}

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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