Monday, May 28, 2012

Family Vacation - Florida Style

The first week of May we took our first real family vacation.  The kids were thrilled about flying on an airplane. I was a little nervous about the flight and wondering how they would do.  But they were perfect angels!  Kade sat next to Dad on the way there and Cam sat by me.  We read books and watched movies on the iPad.  Kade and Dad napped for part of the flight.  

We stayed on Clearwater Beach and it was the perfect family vacation destination! We spent most of our time on the beach, but there was plenty to explore within walking distance.

One of our favorite parts of the location we were at was the amenities that were so close by.  There was a nice playground and inflatables for the kids right outside our hotel door.

On our third day we took a day trip into Tampa to the Florida Aquarium.  It was an awesome aquarium and we spent most of the day there.  Derek and I both bet a sting ray, but the kids weren't brave enough to touch them.  I told the volunteer they were "slimy" and he told me that they call it "silky".  Apparently they are covered in mucous.  I consider that slimy--not silky.

We saw all sorts of fish at the aquarium.  Camden was able to identify several kinds of fish.  She said Grandpa taught her the names.
 We all took turns touching starfish.  Kade loved this part - he petted several of them!

 The aquarium had a really great play area outside for the kids.  It was a really hot day so the water features and fountains were a hit with the kids!
 Our last stop at the aquarium was the boat tour into Tampa Bay looking for dolphins.  At the very end of the tour, we caught a quick glimpse of a few dolphins.  But that wasn't the only time we saw them.  We also saw them when we were sitting on the beach and eating dinner along the water one night.
 The kids were fascinated by the boat tour!
 The view of downtown Tampa from the bay.
 Two hours was a little too much for this little guy.  He spent the second half of the boat tour sleeping in his mama's arms.
 This is how we spent most of the vacation.  Just relaxing on the beach.  Camden said her favorite thing about Florida is that you only wear a swimsuit or pajamas when you are there.  You don't need any other clothes!
 The kids loved picking up seashells on the beach.  We had a bucket full of them each day and it took a lot of convincing to get them to put them back.

 Kade loved to jump over the waves.  They would stand knee-deep in the water and when a large wave would come, Kade would jump over it.  This entertained them for hours!
 Kade would also ask for one of us to run into the ocean with him.  
 Our hotel was located right next to Pier 60 which had vendors and live entertainment every night.  It was great because we never had to drive anywhere!  Our hotel is the one over Derek's shoulder on the far right of the picture.  Right on the beach!

 Kade discovered a love for seafood while we were there.  His favorite was the oysters! Steamed or on the didn't matter!  He loved them!

 We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary while we were in Florida.  It's hard to believe how much our life has changed in the last 8 years.  I think it is even better than we could have imagined it could be!


We hope we can make this into an annual tradition.  It was the break we all needed.  It was so nice to have a week to just relax and have fun without any of the stress of our everyday life.  I feel so blessed!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Better late than never?

This is about 2 months late - but better late than never, right?

The kids looked too cute in the Halloween Costumes to just pass over this without a post.  Camden wanted to be a princess again this year and I told her that she had to pick something different since she was a princess last year.  So she decided to be a fairy this year - basically a princess with wings.  I guess I didn't say no fairies.  Kade decided immediately that he wanted to be a dinosaur.  We looked at costumes in catalogs and online and then finally found the one he wanted to order.  As soon as it came in the mail, I asked him if he wanted to try it on.  He said, "I no like dino-roars".  When I explained that you don't get candy if you don't put your costume on, he decided quickly that he would wear his costume!

We had several opportunities to dress up in costume this year. Our first one came a few weeks before Halloween when we went to Night Eyes at the Blank Park Zoo.  The Blessingtons went along and little Mila was the cutest cow I have ever seen!

Kade insisted on having his picture taken with every dinosaur we could find!

Then we carved our pumpkins.  The kids weren't much help.  Cam thought it was "yucky" and Kade thought it was "too cold".  I ended up carving pumpkins on my own!

Then we had Trick or Treating in Adel.  We had a few friends over for supper and then we all went out together.

The whole clan - Kade, Haley, Camden, Lydia and Mila

Cam and her best bud Haley

Heading out to collect candy...

Our final opportunity to put on the costumes came on Halloween night.  We went to Guthrie Center to trick or treat at the nursing home with Emmett and Ella and say hi to Great Grandma.  We then stopped at a few houses around Mema and Papa's house.  

We had way too much candy when all was over.  In fact there is still a bucket full in the pantry!  Each year gets more and more fun as the kids understand more about the holiday.  Bring on Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The day to day

In an effort to clean up some of the random pictures on my phone, here is a hodgepodge of pictures over the last two weeks.

This is a common scene around our house.  The kids are snuggling with Daddy on the couch :)

Our house is all decked out for Christmas - complete with lights along the roof line, potted trees and a wreath on the door.  I love coming home to the house all lit up :)

And what makes the house being all lit up so spectacular is that Derek had to climb on the roof to put the lights on the peaks.  This is a huge step for a guy that is afraid of heights!

Camden has discovered the pre-school games online on the Nick Jr. website.  She asks to play it all the time.  It makes me laugh to see this little 4-year old with a big laptop on her lap.  She can probably navigate the laptop as well as many adults!

These two cuties in front of a giant Christmas tree at Jordan Creek.  They were in awe of this tree throughout dinner and had to see it up close when we were finished eating.

Kade has a new found love for his backpack and his snow boots which he calls "cowboy boots".  He insists on wearing the backpack everywhere!  And this is his cheesy new smile that he gives whenever the camera comes out.

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