Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cousin Camp 2015

I started the whole “cousin camp” thing three years ago with my Georgia girl cousins as a way to recreate a little of our childhood experiences for our own daughters. I wanted my girls to get to really know my cousins’ daughters. Summers were always fun for us when we were kids and the weeks we spent together were always my favorites. There were five of us girls, and ten years between Becky, the oldest and Stephanie, the youngest. But we all meshed well together. The older ones looked after the younger ones and we were always able to find something to do together, despite our age difference. Along with having my cousins together, another highlight is when we had our mom and aunts together at the same time, which was always a ball. I wanted my girls to get to experience their Grammy & their great aunts together, too. They’re all fun on their own, but put them together and it’s a barrel of monkeys. Ha. They get silly and sing and laugh and talk in funny voices and all have their own unique way of making things memorable and special. I wanted my girls to get to KNOW them and experience all of that, too. To hear them call hogs, or sing hymns, or to hear one yell, “PLATES!” and know that the others would chime in, “FORKS” and whoever was last would be “Ice in the glasses” because that’s how they’d decide who was doing what for dinner that evening, when they were kids. 

My Mom & Aunt Kay have been the best about helping make cousin camp happen. I plan it and then they help me execute the plan. It’s been special times for us for sure.

This year, we extended the invitation to include the other girl cousins. Many of them had other summer plans and couldn’t come, but we did gain four more this year.

We picked and shelled peas and put up creamed corn for our gardening experience. IMG_4259IMG_4269

Some of the girls in our Uncle Jerry’s watermelon “graveyard”




For our fun days, we hit the beach in St. Augustine. IMG_4446IMG_4452IMG_4470It was a fun day, except for the dogs on the beach. They pooped in the water and one tried to catch Mamie. It was a scene for sure.

My mom rented a couple rooms, so after swimming in the hotel pool, we hit the downtown area. IMG_4507We walked down to the fort while we waited on our table at Harry’s. IMG_4508IMG_4512IMG_4519

We got to sit outside under the twinkle lights with a live band playing in the background. IMG_4571


Lest, anyone think it sounds like the perfect evening, let me keep it real and say that Tucker had the blowout of his life during dinner. The kind of blowout that left me throwing away his clothes and him wearing nothing but his bib out of restaurant. The ultimate mom-walk-of-shame.

We witnessed a big brawl, altercation, or fight, whatever you want to call it in the lot we were parked at and I had to even make a call to 9-1-1. Lots of stories to be shared and memories made. :)

We made it back to the hotel and settled in for a good nights sleep. The next morning, we checked out and headed back down to the historic district. IMG_4588Mom had done a scavenger hunt down there for a conference she went to in the Spring and we planned to do it with the girls. IMG_4600It was HOT and humid and the big girls had stayed up LATE, so everyone was a little grouchy and didn’t seem too interested in it, so we finished that up fast, got some snacks and headed out. IMG_4623

That evening, DW grilled burgers for dinner and we watched the slideshow of pictures from the week. When it was good and dark, we went outside to send up a few floating lanterns. I only had two and one had a hole in it so we had to tape it up. The lanterns are really thin and if they get holes in them, it’s almost impossible to get them to float. I was sure we’d get the good one up, but was worried about the taped one. When we lit them, the good one filled up fast and started to lift. I gave it a push and it looked like it was going to fly but then just fell to the ground and burned. The girls were so disappointed, they really wanted to see one in person. The other lantern still hadn’t filled up and when I looked at the side, I could see why- there was another bigger hole running all the way down the seam of it. It was really sweet when my mom said something along these lines, “Lord, help us get this thing to fly. Remind us that we’re just like this lantern- broken- but you can use us to be lights for you.” and I promise yall, we got the thing to FLY! It was precious. It was one of the sweetest moments of the entire week. I hope the girls always remember it. We ended the night sitting around the table with rootbeer floats telling memories of my grand (their great-grand) parents.

Coming back from the garden at the beginning of the week, we saw a gopher (which RARELY ever) happens anymore.IMG_4303 My Granny loves gophers. Then at the beach we saw one there, too! It was precious and we all loved that a little bit of Granny was with us. I’m pretty sure she’d be glad her family is still getting together even though she isn’t here to be in the middle of it.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dancing Queen

Another dance year and recital is behind us. I can’t believe this was AB’s third year in dance! IMG_4095

AB has moved up to the older class at dance, so instead of one routine, she had two this year. IMG_4107Seeing those tiny little tu-tus bouncing around the stage is almost too much. It’s so sweet to see how the girls have grown and improved from year to year and the best part is when you can tell they’re having so much fun up there.DSC_2862 Their jazz routine was to “Happy” and their tap was to “Dance Adventure.” AB was precious because she sang along almost the entire time.

She loved recital this year! We started the fun on Friday night with dress rehearsal. IMG_4048

This year, instead of two shows on two different nights, we had a matinee show and then later that evening the second show.

The matinee performance was at 12:30 and AB was happy to get flowers from Daddy afterward…


Grandma was down and came with us to the first performance.


Maybree, Tucker, Grammy, Pop, Pappy, Nie-Nie, Kelsey, Uncle Adam, Aunt Nen & Parker all came to the evening show. It worked out really good this year, because both of her dances were before intermission.


The recital is always pretty long, so most of the crew opted to head out after the first half and get the littles back home and to bed.  Grammy & Pop stayed with me for the finale though.  DSC_2999

AB was adorable, and yes, I am totally partial. DSC_2887


Mamie is so excited that in August, when the new dance year starts, she gets to join in!IMG_4087

How fun that next year we’ll have two ballerina cuties in the recital!


Friday, June 19, 2015

Hank does Florida

It’s so funny how much things can change in just one year. This time in 2014, Stephanie & I were comparing our swollen pregnant cankles and resting our ice cream bowls on our bellies at what we deemed “Pregnancy Camp.”

On Sunday, June 7th, DW & I picked up Steph & Hank from the airport in Orlando. Steph has always flown in for a visit in the summer, but this was the first time she’d have extra cargo with her! ;) I held up a little sign I’d scribbled while waiting that said, “Welcome Hank!” Sure, we were super excited to see Steph, we always are, but HANK was coming to Florida for his FIRST visit!!!! IMG_3627

When we made it home, our three littles were all napping and Hank was a little out of sorts. He laid over on my mom and snuggled up with his great-aunt… we’re pretty sure this was because she looked like his MiMi or maybe he could just tell she was good people. Either way, mom enjoyed it! :) Like most, it takes him a minute to warm up to new surroundings and new people, but as soon as Tucker woke up he was good to go. It was precious. IMG_3612

With a lot of ground to cover and only four nights to do it in, we hit the ground running. IMG_3619

Monday, we lunched at Piesanos. It’s a fave, and since this was round 2 of Pregnancy camp (I’m predicting it’s a GIRL!) for Steph, she needed some of their rolls.

It’s Florida in June, so if you aren’t swimming, you’d better find something inside to do, so we hit the Florida Museum of Natural History. IMG_3716IMG_3651IMG_3688IMG_3699IMG_3715

That evening, after dinner, we took Hank on a little ride around the farm. We saw some cows, got up close and personal with the horses, IMG_3776

and let the wind blow through our hair…IMG_3807

Tractors, dumptrucks and all the big equipment in between…IMG_3741

It really is a little boy’s paradise…

IMG_3791We got Hank’s hands dirty and grease under his fingernails, so he had his first experience with GoJo hand cleaner. IMG_3771

Just another check mark on his man-list. ;)

The next day we headed to the beach for our last two nights together. IMG_3827

These two lived it up and I even went crazy and let Steph talk me into letting them ride in the germ-mobile at Publix. They loved it. IMG_3872

The boys turn 1 in August, just four days apart. Since we won’t get to be together for their first birthdays, we let them have a little pre-birthday practice on the beach with a smash cake. DSC_2232

DSC_2223They were wearing their matching monogrammed boxers. DSC_2186Too much.


We learned Tucker loves cake as much as he loves sand. DSC_2204Almost.


We had a great time on the beach, in the pool, and just being together…DSC_2267DSC_2374DSC_2343












Sadly, the fun came to an end on Thursday morning. We woke up bright and early, to head to the airport. IMG_3975We stopped halfway and had breakfast and dropped them off at 9:00. We hated to see them go. Tucker looked at the empty car seat beside him all the way home and I know wondered where his buddy had gone.

It was a lot of work and effort on both parts (especially poor Steph & Hank who had 7 hours of delays on their flight home!) for us to get together and have such a fun visit (not to mention our overly understanding husbands, who “get” that we need to see each other at least once a year) – but I wouldn’t trade our times together for anything. Steph is closer than a sister to me and I want my children to know and love her and I want her children to know and love me. I want them to all grow up knowing and loving each other. That closeness doesn’t just happen overnight and just because we want it to. It comes from putting in the work. I’m glad that we’ve always both seen it as worth it. We’ve already said though, that next visit our moms (Grammy & MiMi) might have to come, too, to help with all these kids (especially since we’ll have another one to add to the mix next summer!) Ha…

I’m so thankful for their visit and the memories we made.