Archive | Leisure

Tour Alabama Series: Our Week in Dauphin Island

We got back from a week at the beach on Saturday. It was relaxing. And laid-back. And none of us got sunburned.

Basically it was perfect.

Since MM was 1 we’ve been Tybee fans. It’s 4.5 hours from our house and right outside of Savannah (my favorite city in the world). We always stayed in the same condo and it became a habit.

This year though I decided to change it since none of the kiddos had ever even seen the Gulf (sacrilege!). I asked around and settled on Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama (between Mobile and Biloxi).

Dauphin Island isn’t huge and there are no fast food restaurants and just a few restaurants and shops, but there were plenty of bike paths and things to do (fishing is huge on the island). Given Lawson’s age (right on the cusp of 2) and the lack of lots of restaurants I decided I would cook dinner every night in the house using fresh seafood–I plan on doing a big recipe post this week ’cause we ate so good at the beach, as well as a must do/must see/must eat guide for the island as well!

We wanted a place (didn’t matter to us if we were in a condo or house) that was very close to the beach, had access to a pool, and had at least three bedrooms (my parents go with us).

We found all that in more with Island Time II–a house right on the beach with a pool on the porch and four bedrooms. It was perfect for our needs.

Here’s some pictures of our time on the island.

First up, our fishing adventures. Including our encounter with a snake.

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I caught this beautiful red snapper at 8:10am. Guess when snapper season ended? 12:01am. That’s one lucky fish!

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It’s just a salt marsh snake–probably got washed into the “ocean side” of the island from all the storms.

But we didn’t just fish, oh no! We did lots of goofing off, laying around, and napping. You know, the really important parts of any good vacation.

july 21. bubble bath. beach pics_0001_edited-1

july 21. bubble bath. beach pics_0005_edited-1

july 19. 20. low country boil. lala sleeping_0001_edited-1

july 19. 20. low country boil. lala sleeping_0006_edited-1

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The two youngest are sort of twins in this picture: Lawson is 23 months old and Baby B. is 23 weeks in utero.

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july 21. lala playing. joyce visit_0012_edited-1

Lawson went to three new states for him: Alabama, Florida, AND Mississippi and got to meet his Mama J.

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july 22. montgomery zoo_0012_edited-1

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july 19. pushpop disaster_0004_edited-1

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We lived in bathing suits and t-shirts and shorts with elastic waists and pajamas. It got so bad that the last night there I MADE us put on “normal” clothes and take a picture (we seriously could have packed two sets of clothes each and been fine!). These pictures were taken right in our “backyard”–it really was the perfect setting!

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Oh, Dauphin Island, you spoiled us, girl. xoxo

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At the Beach and It Feels so Good

We made it to the beach.

It’s not surprising that  or C. made it to the beach…it is however a little surprising all three kids made it down here alive. HA! (We always go to Tybee Island (Atlantic) which is about a 4.5 hour drive from our home, but this year we chose to go to Dauphin Island (Gulf of Mexico) which is a 6.5 hour drive. And we survived, but I definitely do not want to go any further away than this any time soon.)

We’re enjoying it here: beach and pool during the day and cooking fresh seafood at night.

…now if only Lala would sleep past 7:30 (which is really 6:30 here) that would be fantastic.

Here’s a few pictures from today. We’re here until next Saturday and would love to hear your favorite things to do/see in Dauphin Island…if you’ve ever even heard of it, haha.

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Off to Camp She Goes {and a care package}

On Sunday we drop MM off for her first sleep away camp. It’s for six nights at an Episcopalian camp in the Georgia mountains.

It will be the longest she’s ever been away from us and I’m sad about it and excited for her and nervous for her–you mamas know that crazy mix of emotions you have when your kids start growing those wings.

Mama’ing is hard, y’all.

I thought I would share with you how I got her ready for camp in case any of you are going through something similar this summer. It’s been 25 years since I’ve been a camper (though I was a 4-H counselor in college) so I wasn’t sure how to pack her…hopefully I did an okay job. 😉

I used waterproof clothing labels (I got mine here) for all her clothing (including swimsuits and underwear).

june 28. getting ready for camp_0005_edited-1

I used another kind of waterproof labels for all her bath stuff, bug repellent, and sunscreen. (I got these labels here)

june 28. getting ready for camp_0004_edited-1

And since she’s only 8 I thought it would be best if I put her outfits in individual bags so each morning she can get up, choose a bag, and have her shorts/shirt/underwear/socks/hair bow all together. I’m sure they’ll be wrinkled doing it this way, but at least it will be one less thing for her to worry about (’cause she would worry if she thought she didn’t match).

One of my best memories of camp (and C.’s too when I mentioned it) was getting letters from home while you’re there. So I’ve been working on several (she’s only there for four days that’s not a Sunday or a holiday).

june 28. getting ready for camp_0001_edited-1

What’s nice about Camp Mikell (and maybe other camps, I have no experience with this stuff!) is that you can bring your camper a care package at drop-off and they’ll deliver it on the day you ask instead of having to mail it.

This is the one I came up with for MM (she’s receiving it on Tuesday–the 4th).

june 28. getting ready for camp_0002_edited-1

Just a bunch of little things: a girls’ magazine, a Mad Libs, a magnetic hang man game, candy, a water bottle, a fan, pajama shorts, and some July 4th bracelets and stuff.

june 28. getting ready for camp_0003_edited-1

I have no idea what other parents do for care packages. Who knows, they may give their child one every day or maybe most of them don’t even give them. I honestly have no clue. I’m sure I’ll hear all about the quality of her care package next weekend when we pick her up. 😉

So, been-there-done-that moms, how’d I do? Any tricks up your sleeve when getting your kiddos ready for camp that I need to know about? Any advice on teaching an eight year old how to brush her very thick hair and put it in a neat pony tail in 48 hours?! Asking for a friend.

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A Hodge Podge Picture Post

Because it’s Wednesday and in the lazy days of summer and because I wanna, you get random pictures from the last few weeks or so.

You’re welcome. 😉

may 16. prek graduation. chocolate poundcake_0034_edited-1

june 10. lake

{You know you’re getting old when you start wearing a rash guard to the lake yourself.}

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{I burned 200+ calories in 20 minutes on this thing…and I was WORN SLAP OUT. How do kids do it for hours?!}

{He got his first “big boy” haircut at my grandmother’s house the other day while wearing his too small pajamas.}

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A Mother’s Day

I wrote this on my {personal} Facebook page yesterday on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is a brutal holiday for so many. For women going through infertility, for the women experiencing the grief of a miscarriage, for the women waiting for their child through adoption–I know those feelings.
For women whose children are grown and far away (or even in the same city but far away) or for women who haven’t seen their children in years (or ever) or for women whose children have passed away. My goodness, this holiday can be so very hard.
But you don’t have to give birth to be a mama. Nah, in fact that’s the last thing you need to do. This day is for celebrating all the women (& men) in this world who are nurturers. It doesn’t matter if you birthed them, adopted them, placed them for adoption, are their step mama, their teacher, their godmother, their aunt, their friend, or their grandmother–if you have ever loved and nurtured a child (or even if that’s just what your heart longs to do) you are a mother and I hope today you feel like the world is celebrating you. I know I am. Happy Mother’s Day.

I remember Mother’s Day 2008–C. & I had been trying for a little over a year for a baby. Just a few months earlier I had gone from the “Gee, this is taking longer than I thought…” to the “Oh my gosh, there’s gotta be a problem!” (I only have 1/2 of one ovary left due to cancer and have PCOS so we knew I had a problem, but it took a while to sink in just what that meant). That day I found out my sister-in-law was pregnant with my nephew unexpectedly. It was the first time I ever experienced infertility grief–the crazy mix of happiness for someone you love having a baby with the soul-crushing realization that for whatever reason you are not good/healthy/perfect enough to have a baby.

I remember Mother’s Day 2010 grieving a miscarriage and feeling so hurt every time someone said, ‘Well, you can get pregnant again!’ (note to oneself: don’t EVER (ever!) say that to a woman who’s had a miscarriage; I didn’t get pregnant again for five years)

I remember Mother’s Day 2011 waiting, praying, wishing, dreaming about getting chosen by a birth mother. I wondered if I would ever get chosen.

Those three years were the hardest Mother’s Days. Oh, there have been good ones–the first one as a mama, the first one as a mama of two (and we did get chosen!), and so on…but all the good ones don’t make up for those hard years.

So I get that Mother’s Day can hurt–hurt so very bad. And please know that I’m thinking about you if you had one of those days yesterday. Hugs, sweet friend.

As for my Mother’s Day, I think it might just be the best yet. Yes, there was some fussing (what day with three kids would be complete without it?), some rushing (#churchprobs), but I got doughnut holes for breakfast, didn’t have to change a single poop diaper or wipe a single bottom, and Moseby even told me “Happy Mother’s Day” on his own (HUGE Y’ALL!) while MM showered me all day with hugs and Lawson gave me kisses anytime I asked. We spent the afternoon on the boat and it was just an all-around lovely day.

Doughnuts on the stairs

The kids (aka MM) gave me a gift basket. Man, MM knows me WELL. (Uhm, other than I’m 36, but thanks.)

C. & the kids got me an electric blanket because I’m cold 100% of the time and a necklace.

Yes, yesterday was a good day. A great day. My heart is so very full this morning.

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On Summer Camp Choices & a Smiley PJ-Clad Toddler

First, these pictures have nothing to do what I want to talk about. They are just my #3 in a nutshell. Like, if I had to pick five pictures of Lawson that summarized his personality it would be these.

Random toys (the kid LOVES toothpaste!). A belly hanging out of his shirt (he gets it honest from his mama). Curls for days (yep, from his mama too). Scrapes and bruises and bug bites. And the sweetest, happiest, most cheerful disposition you ever saw.

This, folks, is my Lala to a “T”.

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Now, what I really want to talk about. Summer camps.

Can I just say I am MORE THAN A LITTLE jealous of my kids’ summer camp possibilities?! I’ve been making a list for my older two in my planner as I’ve come along options or heard other parents mention them and MM has like THIRTEEN top choices and Moseby has seven (and he’s just in Pre-K & they typically don’t have as many choices as older kids). And theses camps are not just some dumb ones either. They are GOOD. (I’m using all caps here so you know JUST HOW JEALOUS I AM!).

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Mixed media art classes with each day focusing on a different material.

Make your own pottery. On a wheel. Learn how to use a kiln.

Creative writing camp.

Culinary science camps–multiple choices and cuisines.

Junie B Jones camp.

Magic Treehouse camp.

Ten different types of religious (or not) sleep-away camps.

The mandatory southern Vacation Bible School, haha.

Sports broadcasting.

Princess camp.

Cheerleading. Volleyball. Softball. Basketball. Lacrosse. Playball. Horseback riding.

Reading camp.

Sewing camp.

An explore Atlanta camp with a field trip every day.

I seriously could go on and on and on. And that’s just hers.

march 28. after bath lala_0004_edited-1

Moseby’s choices include dinosaur camp, picky eater camp (he doesn’t want to go to it but I am SO TEMPTED to sign him up for it!), snake/lizard/bug camp, super hero camp, train camp, etc.

And I’m green with jealousy. Where are all the camps for adults?! I have been wanting to take an adult art class (either oils or nudes or watercolor…or at this point anything!). I would love to learn how to use a pottery wheel. Or even arrange flowers. Or how to make sushi. Heck, I might even want to go to super hero camp!

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As I was talking to MM tonight about her top two choices (she’s going to her first week-long sleep-away camp plus two local camps plus two VBS plus a week at the beach so girlfriend is going to be busy or I’d let her pick more!) she said, ‘Gosh, Mommy, how do you even narrow it down?!’

Let me know when you figure it out, sister.

march 28. after bath lala_0002_edited-1

{In case you’re wondering she’s leaning towards culinary science class here and art class here. Moseby wants to do dinosaurs and Playball. Oh, and he’s for sure doing swim lessons, whether he likes it or not.}

And if any of you know of some summer camps for mamas (sans kids of course) you just let me know, m’kay? 😉

And if you want to see this funny guy’s personality in real-time, here’s a video. I love that he laughs just THINKING he’s going to be tickled. Full of joy, I tell you!

 

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A Few of My Ballerina

Yesterday marked MM’s first day of ballet for the fall.

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She has the same teacher and one of her friends…and a new assistant and two new friends.

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I like that–lots of comfort and a little change.

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The girls were all a buzz yesterday because they’re going to be snow fairies in the dance company’s production of  The Nutcracker in December.  I can’t wait myself!

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And my, doesn’t she look grown up . Such an old soul this one.

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A Catch-Up of Sorts

Well, hello there.  Anyone there?

We’ve been here.  Living and growing {some more than others…Moseby}, summer coming to an end–a new school year starting.

july 31. five months old. new big boy car seat_0018

We’ve had lots of pretend play. MM changes her future occupational dreams every day it seems, but mostly she wants to be a librarian. She has created the craziest little set up on her ironing board to help her “check out” books for all her customers. She first “scans” them with her play camera and then types in their title on her cell phone and then her calculator. She gives you an old address label as a receipt and makes you sign her notebook–she really wants those books returned, you know.

mm LOVES to play library.  here she is at her "check-out station"

Her creativity and passion never cease to amaze me.

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She started gymnastics {here she is modeling one of her new leotards} and is loving it. I love seeing her interests develop and watching her learn new things. It really is amazing having children & watching them grow.

new gymnastics leotard

As for Moseby–so many new firsts! His first taste of real food in the form of cereal. He’s had several fruits and vegetables and is a fan of anything he eats…no surprise there!

july 10th. first real food--oatmeal!!

He also got his big boy carseat. He’s a fan of that too.

july 31. five months old. new big boy car seat_0032

And his first time in his jumperoo. He’s a fan of that too.

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And his first time in a walker. He’s a fan of that too {just wait ’til he realizes he can go forward in it instead of just sitting there!}.

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And he’s gotten realllly good at sitting up on his own.  And loves showing off to his mama.

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We’ve spent time loving on animals {I know, random, right?}.

he LOVES bess!

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august 12. bath. wdw. goats_0008

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And, most importantly no doubt, they’ve spent a lot of time playing together and cuddling with each other. I know they’ve only been a part of each other’s lives for less than six months, but my, these two are smitten with one another. I pray every day that this continues and grows as time goes by.

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august 18. saturday playday_0001

So, that’s what we’ve been up to.  Just living life and enjoying being a family of four.  Hope you all had a wonderful end of summer.  I can hardly believe that MM starts preschool again in two weeks because that means she’ll start kindergarten in just two *years*.  My, where does the time go?!

3


The Beach.

Oh, how I wish I could go back to the beach.  More specifically, Tybee.  Even more specifically, to my own historic strand cottage.  I even have one picked out–one that was in dire need of rehabilitation just a few blocks off the beach.

Uhm, yes please.

So while I think back on our lovely time on the beach I can’t help but think how wonderful it would be to have a “place by the shore”.  Where our whole family could go, more than just one week a year, and make wonderful memories like we did that week. One day.

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@ AJ's

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My three

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@ the crab shack

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at coco's

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His First Trip to the Pool…Do You Think He Liked It?

….hmm, what do you think?

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He started off getting a giant hug…and having to stare at a giant monkey floatie.

may 19. not a fan of the pool.
Followed by having his toes dipped in the pool.

Yep, not a fan at all.

He’s little five second “swim” {aka, toe dip} wore him out.

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may 19.the pool wears him out.

And where was MM during all this? Why, she was ALL READY for the pool!

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And afterwards there was some swinging and baby feeding–oh yes, we’re definitely in {and have been} that phase right now.

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And, of course, there was lots of baby brother kissing. As always.

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