Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back from a Blogging Sabbatical

Sometimes my life lets me blog and sometimes it doesn't, and then others I just can't. I didn't realize how burnt out on blogging I would be after doing the 31 days challenge. I realized that I am not a professional blogger, or even a wanna be. It was a really hard thing for me to do, and I really didn't enjoy it by the end, but it was a great challenge.
Life has been busy here, we have been travelling, and spending lots of time with friends and family and all the changes that happen with them, and then Drew turned 3 this May and has turned into an even more active little boy than he already was.
I have missed keeping a record of our lives for family that isn't right here in town with us and to be able to look back and see where we have been. I think that is what I have truly missed the most about blogging, seeing our family story all in one place.

The Year So Far:
- March -
In March we went to North Carolina with our family and "family". We rented a cabin in Murphy, NC. We were there for a week in a huge "cabin" It was three stories I think we could have put more people into it than we did, we topped out at nine.

This was the view from the second story deck.
One day the big kids (Jenn, Amy, AJ, and Chad) went white water rafting. I took the little boys to a jump house. I think everyone had fun, but my little group stayed much warmer.

The next day AJ stayed home with Drew and the rest of the crew went ziplining. It was a blast! Luke got to go on it, too. He was our little daredevil.

While AJ and I went thrift store shopping (there were three stores just down the road, so we had to go); Jenn, Amy, and Chad took the little kiddos on a hike. Chad is always a great sport and lets the boys climb all over him.

The last two days we were there it snowed. I will admit I have a very loose definition of snowing, but it was cold and white solid precipitation was sticking to things. There was enough of it to build a 2" snowman, so it counts. We were all really excited about seeing it and getting to sing "Let It Go" while running in circles. Actually, Luke was singing the song the entire trip, and since he and D were in the car with AJ and Chad the whole drive up (Jenn and I were in my car with Anya), AJ and Chad were over the song by the time it did snow.

It was cold enough that D got to wear his fox hood (though everyone thought they were Ewok ears)that AJ's mom made him for Christmas. I was fairly sure that we wouldn't get to wear them in Orlando before next winter, so I am glad I packed them.

Outside on one of the giant cabbages

The "Nurse" at the front.

With our nurses hats...

While we were in north Georgia, we wanted to go to the Cabbage Patch Kids Hospital. We had all heard about it, and were curious. We had read reviews that said it was creepy. They were right. We were a little freaked out and tried really hard not to say anything that would get us kicked out for insulting the babies.

On our way back to Florida we got to stop in Atlanta. We went to eat at The Varsity and Ashley, Savannah, and Caroline got to eat lunch with us. D loves his cousins and is always happy to get to play with them, even if it is just for a hour or so.
- April -

Ashley was pregnant with my third niece and decided to come down for a couple of weeks to get some family time in while Paul was busy with work. We spent a lot of time letting the kiddos play together.
There was a late day beach trip, but the weather was nice and  so it seemed like a good idea. It cracked me up that a week before we were in snow in North Carolina and then now we were at the beach.

Grandma and Caroline

Amy, Caroline, Savannah, and D

Getting buried in the sand.

D and Daddy
While the girls were here they came over to the house to play in the sprinkler. It gave the adults a chance to catch up and watch Doctor Who together.
- May -

Drew turned 3! I am honestly, I am not sure where the time has gone, but he is "little boy" as he calls himself.

For his birthday my parents came down and we went to Disney for the official first hair cut. They were a little amazed that he was three getting his first, but the kiddo just wouldn't grow hair until well after two.  We got a nifty certificate, a "my first haircut" ear hat, and lots and lots of stickers.

For D's birthday we bought D a playground set. AJ and Amy built it earlier in the year when we bought it, but then as his birthday present Amy built him a climbing wall onto it. She used actual rock wall hand holds and even put a rope climb on it. It is awesome!
- Summer -
Summer always sees lots of activity in our house. We have a lot of birthdays and travel and holidays. So, we stayed busy the whole summer. This year we even added in a Harry Potter convention that I was a vendor at. I spent a lot of time at the silk screener and the sewing machine. In all honesty, I am not sure where most of my days really went. Thankfully, I have some awesome "aunts" for D who made sure he had an awesome summer while I worked.
Water park with the gang.

4th of July with Amy and AJ

In July we went to Aunt Marilyn's house for Big Humma's (Great Grandma) birthday. It was a blast! Marilyn has a salt water pool and D, Amy, and AJ stayed in all day until the rest of the family was hungry for dinner.

Drew graduated from his class in gymnastics in late July. The class he was in he started in at a little under two and a half, and they graduate out of it at just over three. It was kinda sad, but it was a fun graduation, he even got a medal.
The last week of July was my convention. While Jenn, Courtney, and I were working the booth AJ had D. They got into their own trouble. I think they might have had more fun than us...
Doctor Who during the convention.

- August -
The day after the convention D and I went up to my parents house for a week. It was a good come down from the convention for me and a good chance for him to play with Nana and Hoppa. He spent a good chunk of time driving his red truck and Hoppa's chuck wagon.
The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.
D has had a major obsession with dinosaurs since he and AJ watched all the Jurassic Park movies in February. Any time we go to the Jurassic Park area in Universal D gets excited about the "nom nom jeeps". This used to be his word for all dinosaurs, but now that he is learning the real names it has evolved into very specific jeeps that look like the Jurassic Park ones, ie the ones that get eaten by the T-Rex in the movie. Well, my mom had picked up these cute dinosaur hats for D, and he had a toy jeep... so, nom nom jeep.
Before we headed off for the next trip I spent two nights after D went to bed working on some car toys for him. I had seen these awesome little peg dolls on pinterest and had to make them! I saw a set for Star Wars, so I made those because I had a picture to work with. I really wanted a Doctor Who set because D is in love with Doc Doc Who. The problem here is I couldn't find a good picture of Doctor Who peg people for the characters I wanted. So, I winged it. I love the way they came out.
9, Rose, Dalek, 10, Donna, snowman, 11, Amy, Cyberman, and Tardis
The next week D and I headed to Atlanta to celebrate Savannah's birthday. It was also the week that Amy was officially moving to Tennessee (BOOO!!!!). So, D and I drove up a couple of days early to hang out and then AJ and Amy were going to meet us back in Atlanta after they moved Amy's stuff in.
For Savannah's actual birthday Paul and I took Savannah and D to the Atlanta Zoo. I had never been so I was excited. D and Savannah were just excited to spend the day together. Ashley and Caroline went home to take a nap. I think it was a good idea because Ashley was really pregnant and it was Caroline's nap time.

The next day AJ and Amy were back in Atlanta and it was time for Savannah's party! They had it at the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta. It was awesome. They had some great exhibits (AJ and I had to check them out), a giant dinosaur exhibit in the middle of the museum, and a huge indoor playground/ exploration area.
Savannah and Caroline and lots of friends

Amy and Caroline
After we got back from Atlanta it was time to go into crazy mode. We were going to Utah for 8 days... in 5 days. So, I had to get everything washed and packed and made and rechecked before we could leave.
- September-
We flew out of Orlando on 8/30 to Utah until 9/7. I am going to do a separate post on this trip, but here are the basics. AJ had to be in Ogden, UT for work for that week. We went out a couple of days early to do the tourist thing! We stayed in Idaho Falls, ID for those extra nights. It put us really close to where we wanted to go, but not in the actual tourist parts of where we wanted to see.

We had planned on just driving to Jackson Hole, WY for the day and go into Teton National Park. Initially we weren't going to go to Yellowstone, because we didn't think we would have had time, or that D would have been fairly grumpy about being in the car. When we got into Teton we realized we were only about 30 miles from Yellowstone we decided to go, all we were going to do was cross into the park and say we were there. Again, we were worried about D in the car. Well, the entrance station gave us maps and a kid's map with animals on it. Combine that with D's binoculars and compass and D was all set to keep riding. When we got to Yellowstone we found out it was only about 45 more minutes to Old Faithful, which is something AJ really wanted to see. Well, now that D was content playing navigator with his maps like Cubby from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, we decided it seemed silly to come all the way across the country and be that close to something we wanted to se and not do it. So, we kept driving and we got to see Old Faithful. We also ate in one of the restaurants right by Old Faithful, and they had "theme park" cups. Needless to say, we bought them.
Before we left Idaho we went ziplining as a family. It is the only place I have heard of that would let D go. He had to fit into the harness and be 30lbs or close to 30lbs. He did have to wear an extra hat under his helmet to make it fit, though. He had a BLAST! All he talked about for the rest of the day (and several others) was wanting to go again. If we had had the time I think we would have let him do the full course again.

During the trip we were in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona. We felt really accomplished to do that in such a short period of time. We saw all kinds of different types of places. There were things we were really amazed at - how cheap movie tickets are, how much more gas is, how many indoor activities there are like mini golf, skating rinks, and arcades, how high the speed limits are, and how nice everyone is.
While we were in Utah our new niece was born, Elizabeth Rose. Ashley had her on Labor Day! She was about a month early, but for the most part didn't have any complications. She is adorable!!!
Once we got back from the trip it was time to say goodbye to another part of our world. AJ's dad was taking Lewis the Cat up to Amy's new house. They have both missed each other, but D was sad to see Lewis leave and not have him at Humma and Humpa's house.
I am going to end this with what life looks like right now...