A little camping

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

As I mentioned in my last post, we went camping two weekends ago.  A few days before we left, we picked up Charlie the RV from storage and parked him out in front of our house so we could load him up.
Caleb actually had a pool party to go to for a friend on the first night of camping.  So Patrick showed up with the girls, and he and I pulled in later that night.  Well, as soon as we did, Caleb began complaining of pain in his foot and started limping.  It was so bad that we thought he was going to have to withdraw from his tennis tournament. But instead of being hasty, we decided he should keep off of it all the next day and see how he felt come tournament time.  Well, that meant having to spend the entire next day hanging out inside the RV.  Throughout the day he would say his foot was feeling better, but as soon as I asked him to walk, he went back to limping.  Poor boy couldn't even ride his bike around the campground.  It was a long, long day.

The next morning, though, he declared his foot was feeling much better and that he could walk on it.  So he and Patrick headed off to the tennis tournament.  He almost finished his match, but then it was called for rain.  And that rain delay, which lasted three hours, eventually turned into a cancellation of all matches for the day. Bummer! The girls and I went to the beach with our friends before the rain eventually fell on us too.

Eventually the rain stopped over us too, and Patrick and Caleb finally made it back from the tournament.  Then it was time to grill up some good eats and hang out.
I love being outside at sunset.
The next day Caleb and Patrick headed back to the tennis tournament.  Caleb eventually lost that first match in a heart breaking third set tiebreaker.  He won his next match handedly but then lost his third from sheer exhaustion.  Again, while the boys were at tennis, I took the girls to the beach but didn't snap any photos with my cameras.

Well, the boys finally made it back to the campground late Sunday afternoon. We had been planning to go home at that time.  But since Caleb had missed out on two beach outings because of his tennis tournament, we decided we would stay an extra night and hit the beach for just a little bit. The dumplings played around with their boogie boards and soaked in the last bit of sun for the day.
Despite Caleb's foot injury, we had a great time camping.  I don't think we'll be combining tennis tournaments and camping anymore.  It's just too much to juggle.  Still, we're thankful for the time we had together.  Camping at the beach makes for some pretty awesome memories, that's for sure.

Be brave

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Last week at tennis, I whipped out my Fujifilm to snap a few photos of the girls hanging out.  Well, that quickly turned into the girls taking turns behind the lens.  Now mind you, although the Fujifilm is compact, lightweight, and easy to use, it's not cheap.  So I really had to watch the girls carefully to make sure they didn't drop it on the pavement, because that would be kinda bad.  (In a sidenote, I took the liberty of blurring the signage in keeping with our "undisclosed" location, like I did at the recent Pro tennis tournament.)
Don't you think the shooting-up-at-your-neck-and-nose angle is so flattering? *cough cough*
Regardless of focus, I absolutely adore this shot that Havi took of me with my toothless girly.
And then, of course, when it was Madeline's turn, somebody had to photo bomb.
Then I tried to reduce the neck-and-up-your-nose shot by getting down lower.  It worked, briefly.
We proved that, even though the superhero party was over, we still had it in us.
So believe it or not, that day Caleb actually had two tennis lessons (a private in the morning and a group in the late afternoon).  So it was back to the courts for some of us. Madeline stayed home with Baba, and I took Havi with me to hang out.
I tried snagging a shot of the two of us, but this was the only attempt she allowed.
The courts weren't busy yet, so she took to running down the long sidewalk that splits the front and back courts.
She had a lot of fun, but shortly after I snapped that photo, she hit the pavement hard.  Thankfully she only skinned her knees a little.  So she took to dancing and playing with her diaper changing pad.
I just loved the shadows that the sun and wind screen cast on her.  It was such pretty light.

Well, this past weekend was a busy one for us.  Not only did we go camping, but Caleb also had a tennis tournament.  We also stayed an extra night at the campground, which meant we were driving back to the house at 6:00am Monday morning.  We're so glad we did that though.  I didn't take nearly as many photos as usual because I was trying to keep up with Caleb's tennis matches (Patrick took him to the tournament), but I will try to share about our camping adventure soon.

Superheroes unite!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Before I get to our superhero party, I just have to mention that today marks 10 years since my wonderful mother passed away.  It's hard to believe it's been 10 years already.  So very much has happened in that time.  I have been blessed to bring home three amazing children from China.  My sister, too, has been blessed with two little munchkins.  Oh, how my mom would have loved her grandkids and spoiled them like she knew how.  I think of my mom a lot, in part because of my kids.  They ask me lots of questions about her or about parenting in general.  They ask about my childhood too.  So she naturally comes up a lot.  I miss her a lot, but when I think of her these days, my heart doesn't hurt nearly as bad as it did in years past.  God has been so good and gracious to me.  I know I've said that before, but it's true, and I'm so thankful.  I love you like crazycakes, Susan Madeline!

Ok...now back to today's post and our superheroes...
The message had been sent out across the universe that there was a Super hero party going down in which two special super heroes would be celebrating an extra digit.  My niece Leah turns 7 this month, and my nephew Josh turned 3 last month.  Instead of throwing two separate parties and inviting all the same peeps, my sister decided to combine their celebrations. And it was an awesome decision.
She made capes and masks for the kids to wear.
She also made several desserts, including cupcakes, marshmallow pops and jello.
Havi really had her eye on those power pops.  Oh, yes she did.
My sister also had some games, like x-ray vision, capture the kryptonite, and target training.
Birthday girl Leah stepped in for Wonder Woman.  Isn't she the cutest?  
(My sister actually made her costume...two years ago.  She's gotten her use out of it to say the least.)
My sister wanted me to capture a few shots of all the kids wearing their capes and masks.  So all the parents headed outside to stop traffic and corral direct the younger participants...or act like photo bombers. (Two superheroes were out protecting the universe, one of them being my youngest.)  They managed a few poses for us.
Then it was time to head inside for a little birthday singing and candle blowing and indulging in some Ka Pow cupcakes.
After cupcakes, the birthday duo opened presents.
Then we headed back outside for a little kryptonite capture fun on the front porch.
These two toddlers are just too cute together.
We headed back inside to cool off and hang out.  I asked Josh how old he was now.  Funny little boy forgot to add his new digit.
And by the end of the day, this is what Havi did to most of those Power Pops!  Yep, she nibble across the tops of them and then put them back!!!!
So the other thing my sister likes to have me do at her kids parties is a little "photo booth" fun.  Well, with this year's theme, I knew I was going to have to move our "booth" from the front porch to the street. My sister wanted each family in attendance to strut their superhero stuff....and boy did they!

Matt and Niki really got into the spirit with their daughter Chloe.
Havi couldn't get enough of their neighbor's daughter.
So she joined their family for their shots, wearing Leah's sparkly shoes.
The birthday kids were still going strong.  Andy's face cracks me up!
And since Andy's dad was in Minnesota, he joined his mom for her family photo.
Ryan and Jenni showed up ready to conquer any and all evil forces with their two superhero sidekicks Landon and Audrey.
And then there's my family.  I love Havi's arm and foot, because that's what you do when you're still trying to eat your popcorn and pose at the same time.
Then my sister and I got in on the action.
We also took a "nice" photo.  Neither of of us were wearing our glasses because we had just taken our superhero masks off, and our eye glasses were inside.  That felt weird.  And it was hard to see.  Oh, and don't be jealous of our unbrushed Florida humidity enhanced hair.  We go to extreme lengths of sticky uncomfortableness to achieve our good looks.
So apparently my sister thought I was acting a bit too friendly with her, and Andy captured a great moment between us.
Then we tortured him by asking him to get a jumping shot of us...about 5 or 6 attempts later, he finally nailed it.  Poor guy.  We probably should've stretched before attempting that shot too, said my legs to me afterwards.  Oh, and I don't know who decided to put a mop on my head.  That wasn't very nice.
We all had such a wonderful time.

But wait, that's not all.  Nope, the fun didn't stop there.  You see, Andy, Matt, Niki, and Ryan are in a band called Elevators.  And they have a record coming out next month...and they needed some new photos. Aaaaand, I have a camera....so, we headed out for a fun little shoot after the party. My sister tagged along to take some behind-the-scene photos while Patrick, Marsha, and Jenni stayed back to watch all the kids.  It was sooooo hot and humid, but we still had a great time.  I was so glad that I was on the ground for a lot of shots because I got so weak with laughter that I kept falling over. Yeah, these guys (and gal) know how to make your stomach hurt.

So if you wanna hear their music, be sure to check out Elevatorsrock and be on the lookout for their release next month!

Well, by the time we got back to the house, it was dinner time.  My amazing hubby ordered pizza so we could dig right in once we got back.  Isn't he awesome?  Anyway, by the time we hit the road, the sun was setting.  Havi fell asleep as soon as we hit the highway, and the bigs were not long before they, too, were down for the count.
It was an amazing day...meeting new people (finally!) and celebrating two special little ones too.  And sorry for the extra long post and photo overload.  You know that happens every time my sister throws a party.  She can't help herself, and neither can I!

Happy Birthday, Leah and Josh!
We love you!!!

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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