Monday, July 31, 2017

Ocean Isle day 2

Much of the same fun in the sun. In addition, we did shell search, dabble a little with flying a kite, flying a drone, getting ice cream at the local ice cream shoppe and waiting for over 100 sea turtles to hatch tonight.  Hopeful they hatch tomorrow bc Shelb and I plan to camp out there.  Love the beach. ❤️

Sunday, July 30, 2017

At the beach! (Finally!), but not til after a stop at the Reste Motel

Well, what an adventure the last 24hrs has been. But bc I'm sleep deprived I think I'll sleep before I type.  But I will say, we gave in last night and ended up having to stop at a sketchy motel. Not ideal but we had to err on the side of caution bc of exhaustion. Finally today around 1030am we pulled into our ocean isle getaway. And we've been go go going ever since. Pool, beach, games, good food and wonderful family. What could be better. Well, maybe all that AND a full night's sleep.  Zzzzz

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bye bye Boston, hello Philly mint and hopefully by 2am we'll be in Ocean Isle Beach, NC!

Fairly uneventful day, unless you count driving for all of it!  Though I suppose as a passenger I cannot complain!  We only got 5hrs of sleep and were up with the sun. Grabbed our free grab n go fancy bfast and back peddled to the city to take ballet pics. I know it was the last thing we all wanted to do, but since Hailey forgot to save pointe shoes in June we had to wait til July.  So, sorta her fault. Sorta mine for not reminding her before she trashed them. So instead we got to grace Boston with our presence one last time.  Finding a quiet alley to take a few pics before people were even awake. And walking over to the public garden to take some pics by the pond. A cloudy, cool day, but good enough for a few pics to fill this mama's heart with happiness. I cherish pictures of my kiddos especially when I barely see them. I know they think I'm crazy and annoying, but hopefully one day they'll understand.  It also turned out to be national dance day today, so "you're welcome, Hailey" for the free photo shoot! 😉  Then it was a race to get to Philly before the US Mint closed.  And we cut it close.  Traffic was bad and we made it with an hour to spare.  But D loved it and was in all his glory learning about how our precious coins are made.  We weren't allowed to take any pics inside and it was a Saturday so there was not much action in the factory lines, but it was neat to see it all and see guys fixing the machines.  Hopefully we can visit again during a weekday and tour the city more. I haven't been here since I got a free trip to valley forge when I was Hailey's age. Such a beautiful and historical city.  So grateful we took the time to stop.  Dyl bought some uncirculated 2017 coins from this mint and Denver's.  He was one happy boy!  Coins are his thing!!  Then it was off to get to the beach as fast as we could.  Unfortunately traffic has been soooo bad today and with out late start and two detours we won't get to Ocean Isle til about 2am. That is rough considering the lengthy drive we already had Thursday and the lack of sleep the last few days.  We are wiped.  We can't wait to fall into our beds.  Nina and poppy stegs and ash and Lo got there 2hrs ago and were getting settled and doing grocery shopping. We are in the icky part of our trip--dark and sleepy.  But we've had two Chick-fil-A runs today and just stopped for milkshakes.  So that's getting us through.  Kevs got his book on tape going, Hailey's working on her online pre calculus, I'm catching up on things so I can rest at the beach, and Dyl and Shelb are on iPads.  Could be worse. We have no crying kids! 😉  We're debating now if we stop at a hotel. This is rough.  And it's raining now. :(. Hopefully the next time I blog we've had a good nights sleep and are soaking up rays on the beach!

On a side note, Nina and Pops were awesome enough to go to our county fair today and they took pics of all the kids' art and winnings.  They all did great!  Dyl won an honor(higher than first) for his woodwork podium!  And guess who won champion--Lil Lo with his rainbow tornado painting(our lil artist)!!  Lol!  A 4year old won grand champion.  Love it!  So proud of my kiddos!  Thanks, Nina and Pops for scoping things out for us! Wish we could have been there to eat fair food with you!!

Friday, July 28, 2017

A beautiful Boston ballet day! :)

Well, today was a beautiful ballet day....

...but I'll back up and start with our Boston arrival last night.   Didn't go exactly as planned. While the drive was pretty much uneventful and easy (at least for us passengers:)). The arrival into the city came with challenges.  Siri ended up taking us to Boston ballet as our hotel.  I'll admit I was excited Kev found a hotel so close to the ballet studios, but when it stopped us outside their front door we knew something wasn't right (unless we were camping out :)).  20minutes later we were at our real hotel only to find out they'd given our room away.  They thankfully had two rooms for us, but that meant we girls had to split from the boys, who were on the other side of the hotel.  Not ideal.  But we managed and were just grateful for a room and beds to sleep in.  I'm not sure how the boys' night sleep was but Shelby gave me a run for my money.  She sleeps with her arms and elbows out and takes up 3/4 of the bed, and her elbow rested in the crook of my neck and put half my body to sleep. Not a fun way to wake up and have to hobble to the bathroom.  But we did all sleep well and instead of getting up early and touring, we were just lazy and rested. Nice to not get up til 10am!  We never do that even on vacations.  We skipped bfast (mostly bc the hotel that said they had bfast and only had granola bars and prepackaged muffins, and they were gone by 10am), so instead we trekked to the city for our fav---shake shack!  We enjoyed a quick lunch along the streets of Newberry (Kev finally got his bday shake! And Shelby and Dylan fed fries to the sparrows :)). Then we raced to Boston ballet to watch Hailey in her level 5 class. So fun to watch.  I actually prefer this to performances. You get to see raw talent here. It's been a long time since I've seen her dance in class (October?). And the first time we've seen her dance in Boston, since we couldn't pick her up last year. It was wonderful to watch her in action.  Made me realize how much I miss the days of IU ballet visitation. I'm so grateful we could be here to watch her and one of her fav teachers (Atkins) was teaching.  Shelb and Dyl sat in the back row on their iPad and iPhone but I know they were equally enthused to watch their fav oldest sister! :). Afterwards we wandered the streets of Boston looking for a cupcake place.  Never found one near there, but did stop at a cute florist place to get Hailey a big pink rose. A darling store that had mini mice running back and forth at our feet.  Apparently the owner had no idea. But this one baby mouse was adorable. Running back and forth by the front door, and bouncing on the doormat. Never seen anything like it. He seemed very comfortable with us there!  The store owner was appalled. No idea how she couldn't know she had mice.  Then back off to see Hailey's first performance.  I had no idea it'd have so many pieces in it, but my fav by far was her piece--Stars and Stripes.  Loved the music and the red leos and especially loved seeing our fav ballerina in action. I will admit I was confused by some of the people chosen for main parts. They are definitely not the best ones from class earlier in the day, but what do I know. And many of them were SAB students. But overall it was a good show.  Dyl and Shelb sat in the hall during it so we could save $60. Wish they didn't charge for an in studio show, but the studio did transform nicely into a stage. The Boston ballet building is a nice one!  We said quick hellos to hays and she went and grabbed a quick bite with friends while we wasted time til she was done with her final performance.  The kids talked us into pizza for dinner so we stopped at Blaze. A place we'd visited in Indy.  It was delicious and cheap!  Then we headed to Boston common/public garden to see the Swan boat pond. So pretty there. Just serene and peaceful.  There was a lady there by the biggest weeping willow and she had named all the squirrels in this tree and was calling them and feeding them by name. We were cracking up. She was obviously a regular. We realized quickly that the squirrels here are similar to the mice. Not afraid of humans. They will come right up to you.  There were crazy sparrows there too nestling in the dirt. I think Boston wins the award for weird animals.  They all seems a little off or inbred, but definitely funny :). Shelb liked all the animal action.  You know her and wildlife!  We walked by the statue of mother duck and her 8 ducklings and then headed to find Dylan a cupcake for dessert (the rest of us were having cheesecake!). We stumbled upon a Sweet cupcake store off the beaten path and they actually had the Boston cream cupcake I searched for last year.  We got the last one and Dylan got a creamsicle one. Both were delicious!  Then back to meet hays at her apt after the show. Actually we met her at her Cheesecake Factory in the mall across from her apt. Yumm!  (Btw, Kev found another mini mouse in the mall...seriously, Boston has fearless odd looking rodents!).  Anyway, Cheesecake Factory hit the spot!  Hays had a yummy dinner after her busy day and we all feasted on various cheesecakes (minis Dyl who had his fav--Oreo shake!).  We left full and happy :).  The girls and I walked to Hays apt to help clean and pack, and the boys waited outside in the van. It took forever it seemed bc there was a lot to do. And I know the girls didn't want to say goodbye (though they'll see each other in a month!).  Off we went to our hotel.  I had hoped to see the glow swings that Hailey saw last year, but it was too late and we all needed sleep. We probably should have kept out two hotel rooms bc by the time we all showered and got ready in one bathroom it was after midnight. And we had to get up early to make it to the philly mint and get all the way to the NC coast.  Always busy times with little rest. But it was a gift to be able to return to Boston, even though briefly, so we could see our oldest girl in her graceful beauty.  And her time in Boston was a blessing. I know she learned a lot at BB SDP, enjoyed her little apt with her 3 roomies, loved the pool and touring the city and she even got some schooling done (adios, online physics!).  She worked hard, but had lots of fun in the process! Grateful for a great summer in her 2nd home away from home. Who knows if she'll grace Boston with her presence again?!

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Will post more tomorrow.  Been a long day...but wonderful to see our ballerina perform!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Happy 42nd to my Kev and the long trek to Boston!

Well, it was a less than perfect bday for my man, but as is always his demeanor, he has made the best of it!  I think he only got a few hours sleep and he was up at 430am rearing to go.  I on the other hand woke up late (note to self: do not set alarm at 130am when you need to get up 3hrs later.  I set my alarm for 430pm.  If only we could have slept that long.) So we left an hour later and have been driving ever since. We are about an hour from Boston. We did stop at an Ohio rest stop before lunch to sing to to the bday boy. We made him put on a big hat and he got lots of bday wishes from strangers. Every guy's wish!  A nice older couple even waved us over to their car to tell us how much they liked the hat and how they had started a bday hat tradition of wearing the same hat for family birthdays. Cute!  Kev just "loved" all the attention. Haha. That's what wives are for!  And we sang to him and lit up some white chocolate oatmeal bars.  Nothing like celebrating outside the public restrooms!  We tried to get him a cold coke that said my name on it but the vending machine was broken. He did get a nice lunch at a highway Chick-fil-A. It's not often you run across those and I know he liked it better than Wendy's. He enjoyed his chix, but forgot to get a celebratory shake.  And he forgot again at dinner. Though dinner was pretty sad. He had the weirdest looking fungus covered pizza.  Never seen yellow mushrooms before.  It claimed to be NYC pizza since we were in NY at the time, but manhattan pizza is way better!  So, not all that exciting of food and a 17 hr drive on a few hours sleep.  But at least he didn't have to work (though work might be better than a full day's drive?!).  But the bonus of the day was sitting next to his fav person all day. :) the drive has been uneventful and quiet. We only have Shelb and Dyl and they are easy going for the most part. Not bad traffic and little rain. Can't complain.  And we should be to our hotel in an hour. Excited to see our Hailey in class tomorrow and then in her Stars and Stripes performance later on. It's been a good, but fast summer for her in Boston. Many memories but lots of hard work!
Time to rest and hopefully sleep in tomorrow (for us, not Hailey...she can rest at the beach!).  Love you, bday boy, Kev, and see you soon, ballerina Hays! ❤️🎉😊🎂

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A rat race day and ready for the beach!

Here's a few pics of the day...supposed to get up in 3 hours so really need to hit the sack!

 A good morning of XC!
 Some time at Grease Monkey getting the oil changed. Oh the joys of road tripping so often!  She was starving after practice...good thing they had free oatmeal creme pies!
 Shot time again...they had run out of menititis immunizations last week so we had to make a pit stop back.  He was not all that jazzed.
 But he was excited to show his brother that he was in the Jake Pirate room!  They made us sit here for 15 mins after the shot so he didn't pass out.  He really just wanted to take a nap!
 Breakfast of champions!  Gearing up for the vball tryout today!  What better way to get nutrition than from your own garden...our single home grown strawberry!
 All packed and ready to go to Nina and Poppy Stegs today!
 Then off to the fair...time to bring all our treasures and artwork!  D did awesome with all his...his NYC picture he painted at school, a fidget spinner made out of legos, a woodwork podium with his derby cars and his complete quarter collection (it ended up being too big to be entered, but we were lucky that they don't stick to the rules...phew!  They let him enter it. He was worried they wouldn't and he was so proud of that collection)
 Shelb's entries...her knit hat that I think Hailey helped with and her London's Calling picture...this is her first year in the adult class.  She is no longer a kid, I guess...now tougher competition.                
                                                
Ashley was very proud of her creations...a Shopkins beados collection, a friendship bracelet, a doggy sketch, and a Lego jail.
 Mr. Lo with his creations...his rainbow tornado painting and his plane boat light ship Lego (which lost it's ladder so when I had to go back to the fair later and attach it :))
 All our creations.  Even Hailey entered one. I couldn't find her clone head so I didn't take a pic...but it's the sunset NYC one in the middle. I think we called it Sunday stroll in NYC.  Shelby helped me name it.
 Off to a friend's house and the pool...he was happy!  Beautiful day!
 Try out day.   But she didn't seem nervous at all.  She's such a brave girl!
 Best ball boy ever! lol :)  He was so helpful retrieving balls for us.
 Still working on that overhand serve...oh wait...that's underhand. Working on that too, but mostly mastered.
 We had a trio helping on the other side of the net....Ashley's friend was there too :)
 She even got to play with the varsity team a bit.  She's not too bad at spikes.
 Go Shelb!
 I will say that she's very persistent!
 Off to drop off the fair stuff!  We had some snafoos with transportation. Some of the beados lost beads and I broke Ashley's police station. She was very calm about this all.  Phew.
 Excited to see if he wins at the fair!  Just wish we could find the missing lego ladder!
 I love that we can do this fair stuff...great motivator for the kids with the ribbons and prize money!
 LOL...we saw our awesome friends here....one was dropping off her amazing cross stitch and other was dropping off her quilt!  I hope they both win!
 It was so hot in this room and we had like 10 forms to fill out.  Someone just couldn't take it.
 This one was pretty relaxed thankfully :)
 Bye bye fair crafts...hope you win!  We won't be able to see you this year, but we'll be back to get you on August 6th!
 Usually the chicken cheers us up...not today.  Too hot and tired :(
 Picking up this girl from her try-out. She said she did ok...pretty good, etc...you know how vague she can be with details :)....she seemed happy with how she did. We will find out if she made it hopefully via email on vacation.  But there's always XC if she doesn't make it. Either way it's a win win and she did awesome learning and persevering at a new sport.  I am proud of her for continuing to try new things and having no fear!
 Time to go back to the fair to drop off their goodies..
 You can see Hailey and Shelby's photographs in the background...they are competing against each other this year. Last year that did not go well with the food division and Ash and Shelb :)
 Yumm!  We baked a little today :)
 All packed!  Last of the kiddos to get packed....she always takes her time.
                                                
 Chatting with Hays about senior portraits....she was enthused to say the least.  Looking forward to seeing this girl on Friday!
 Best boy scout!
 Yay, beach time!  I had hoped to make a beach treat and celebrate our departure for vacation, but just ran out of time.  We are ready for fun in the sun!
 Poor daddy....not the best way to spend his bday eve.  Packing up the ol' van!
 A couple pics from last night's bday celebration.  Love this card D made daddy....about coins...and he gave him a 1975 and 2017 penny.  Cute!
 All the fun bday goodies :) 

Now off to bed...then Boston...then Ocean Isle Beach!  We are ready for vacation...but first we have to drive a lot. Poor Kev. What a fun way to spend his 42nd bday! :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bye bye Nina and Pops and an early 42nd bday!

Burning the midnight oil here (at Walmart), so this is all I got. Getting ready for vacation!

 Well, I have pics added, but not gonna do words per pic at 1am.  But here's a lengthy pic runthrough of our day....Pops and D surprised us with Square Donuts for bfast. Yumm!  Thanks, Pops!  And then Pops was off to work on the girls' room.  He had that thing painted lickety split. He's amazing.  All done by midday and he even started kinda late in the morning.  The girls were so excited.  They love it.  It's very similar to Hailey's room color, but has more blue in it. They are doing a seaside/beach/ocean theme with this pale pool color (tropical dream is what it's called) and then accenting with coral (curtains, etc).  Ash is hoping for new bedding and accessories for her bday coming up!  Anyway...while Pops worked, we decided to tackle daddy's bday.  I wasn't going to do anything special bc we will driving to Boston all day on his real bday (27th), but the kids seemed to want to. They had all gotten him fun little gifts and wrapped those.  And I decided to make him a very easy Snickers replica cake.  I very rarely can bake a cake, frost it, make and color fondant and finish a cake in a couple hours...but somehow it worked out.  All the kids helped with things...Ash made daddy a crown and helped with the cake and decorating.  D helped with dishes and decorating, Shelb with the cake and decorating and Lo with the cake and decorating too...but he got a little bored and went upstairs at one point and peed in a trash can. Sometimes we don't ask why. He beats to a different drum.  Add onto the day that Shelb had a few hours of volleyball, D was working on his coin collection (he talked Pops into going back to the bank again for coins)...and daddy coins helped him complete his quarter collection just in time for the fair tomorrow!  Then it was time for daddy to come home (he missed dinner with us bc he had a late work meeting), but the kids came up with the idea to surprise him when he walked in the door. They did a few practice rounds, which was very cute.  And daddy seemed oh-so-surprised when he entered the door! lol :)  Sue Sue, Nina and Pops came back to the house for cake and ice cream....and we had some good laughs during gift time.  It was a good day.  Now we are revving up for vacation and missing Nina and Pops who are at Sue Sue's and then off to Michigan (then back to see us for a week).  Busy times!