Thursday, October 2, 2014

Summer Activities Post #4

 The best part of our summer was our trip to Arkansas and Missouri. Ryan had to be in Arkansas for his job, so we joined him.
It was really great hanging out at my parents' pool,
and it was made even greater sharing the fun with aunts and cousins.

 We felt like we were staying at a resort.
Meanwhile, the kids each got to attend a camp during one of the weeks we were there. Sis attended Around the World Art Camp and...
Triple Threat Camp, which culminated in their performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We love Blackbird Academy.

Dash spent his mornings at Lego Robotics Camp. So cool!

I don't have a photo to use of Tornado at Camp Connect, but here are a few of his crafts he made. This is a camp for special needs (mainly autism and related) kids. He attended two years ago and had talked about it ever since. I was really happy he got to go again, and so was he. He won the "Happy-Go-Camper Award" for always being "cheerful and happy, even when he hurt his leg." It's the exact award I would have wanted him to win.
Sis and her BFF were so happy to be reunited. Her friend brought her this Build-a-Bear shirt from her recent trip to England, and it fit Sadie quite nicely. The girls got to play with each other a few times, making up for lost time. Dash has also gotten to know her older brother, and now the two of them are able to join in on the playdates, too.
We got to hang out with a few of our other Arkansas friends - definitely not enough of them, though. It's so hard to see everybody we want to see during our visits. :( We had a great time hanging out at the pool with these guys.

Ryan had to leave Arkansas to head to Georgia for a few days. While he was there, we were in Missouri, staying with my brother and his family. My aunt joined us for our visit, which was great. We also met up with my uncle, grandma, and family friends, so we were able to squeeze in as much as possible. At my brother's, there was a lot of this kind of stuff going on.

And a lot of this. O is one patient older cousin. He's one of the greatest kids I've ever met. All of my nieces and nephews are!

We even experienced an early morning fire alarm incident which resulted in a lot of laughs (after the all clear was given) and...

...turns sitting in the fire truck!

While we were in Missouri, we finally got to experience the Askinosie Chocolate Tour in Springfield. We love factory tours! This is Tornado, tasting cocoa nibs.

We really enjoyed it!

We also had a great day at Crane Park with some of my best friends from highschool and some of their kids.

It was just the kind of day I had been needing, and I was so happy to share a little of my old world with my kids.
I was also thrilled to get to watch two of my nephews play ball.

I HATE missing out on their lives,
being so far away.

I got to soak in as much delight as I could while I was there.

 These girls got a hold of my phone.

 And one particular almost-teenage girl wouldn't let me get her photo here.
During our stay in MO, somehow Little Brother developed a bad case of hives. I still have no idea what caused this. It looked so bad, poor guy; none of my kids have ever done this before. We made a quick trip to urgent care to rule out any possible bad causes.
Then it was back to Googie and Papaw's house for a day or two more of fun,

before heading back to Florida until next time.
We can't wait to visit again.

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July Summer Activities Post #3

This summer post is going to be out of order, but these photos were easiest to access so I'm posting these first. It has been fairly rainy in Florida lately. I think maybe there has been a tropical storm somewhere in the distance? I haven't been watching the weather, but we seem to get hit with showers almost every day at some point. (This was what we experienced last summer, too.On the 4th, it did rain on and off.
 That didn't stop Sissy and Dash from getting spending a couple of hours in our neighbor's pool. It sprinkled on them a lot of the time, but they didn't care.
 Dash was actually in the pool for about 5 hours, I think. We are fortunate to live on a street with many boys for him to play with. This particular family has 3 boys.
We enjoyed our festive meal (of veggie burgers, chili, and Smileys) out on our screened lanai on our new(ish) patio table.

dessert: layered "cheese"cake, blueberries,
Rice Dream (icecream), strawberries, and whipped "cream
 We met up with the same neighbors to have a poppers (those little snappers that pop when you throw them on the ground, etc.) war. This guy got his first experience with them.

This was his reaction to the pops.
He obviously was impressed.

It took us about 2 seconds to realize we couldn't trust Little Man with a sparkler. He was waving it all around, and I just knew he was going to catch me or him on fire before I was able to retrieve it from him.

I was happy to see Tornado right in the middle of things. Sometimes in physical activities such as these he tends to hold back or want to go inside.

It was boy heaven all night.

 We talked about how different C's life is than the other kids'. Look at him running right after all of them. He is constantly surrounded in big kids and activities. I don't know if he realizes how much smaller he is.
The kids voted they would rather shoot off smaller fireworks in the driveway and play with the neighbors rather than going to a big fireworks show. That was fine for Ryan's and my tired selves. It was a happy 4th!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Activities 2014 Post #2

We finally got to use our groupons for Safari Wilderness Ranch. It was about an hour drive for us, near Lakeland, Florida.
The best part of our day was feeding lemurs. They were unbelievable. I want one.

There were two lemur areas, one was a large netted/fenced area, and there were others in a barn with outside access.

They were so sweet the way they'd hold the kids' arms while they were waiting for another piece of a grape. They were very gentle.
The bummer part of the day was after spending a little time in this barn area, we moved on to the other lemur area. Little One here had just loved feeding them, and he did a perfect job. But the lady in the other area wouldn't let him. I told her I was letting him use my ticket (because he got in free), but she said tickets were not transferrable. She added that they don't really let kids his age feed them anyway. He was sad and confused about why he couldn't feed them anymore, and why the lady was making me hold him. This made taking pictures of the other kids nearly impossible. Anyway, it just made me sad and put a damper on my day. I hate (what I deem to be) arbitrary rules.
 They were so, so cute and just looked like little kids sitting around.

After feeding the lemurs and oohing over the colony of guinea pigs, we loaded onto the safari vehicle for our tour.
water buffalo
They also were able to feed the water buffaloes that came right up to the vehicle. Sissy said they were a little slobbery.

Tornado loves zebras (I think because black and white are two of his favorite colors.), so these were a treat - especially seeing the baby and momma (who even stopped to nurse).

I'm sure there will be a trip advisor review show up one day from someone who would have really enjoyed the tour if it weren't for the obnoxious poop smell. My kid felt it was an appropriate time to dirty his diaper amidst the warm air and breeze created when the vehicle was in motion. Hopefully, they thought it was just the water buffaloes.

A lot of the animals came right up to the jeep. There were so many animals that I didn't photograph. It was sweet to listen to the kids' excited chatter all day. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us plenty of information at many different stops. The kids were impressed with the z-donks and learning that they are good at border control, even once fighting off an alligator.
It started raining at the very end of our tour (which is a typical thing to happen on a summer day in Florida). The covered vehicle kept us fairly dry. It was so hot out, the kids were dreaming about the popsicles they had seen by the cash register in the gift shop. They hit the spot.
The woman who was working in the gift shop, the one who had taken our tickets, gave them the popsicles as a gift because a goat had head butted Little One (in the stomach I think) making him cry. He was fine, and it was really nice of her and helped ease my poutiness over the other lady and the lemur feeding injustice.

Overall, I know the kids really appreciated this day and would love to go back anytime!