Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Water Baby

Perhaps by the title you could guess this post is about Miss Millie, my little fish.
She favors the Wade side in sooo many ways,
and her affinity for water is another trait to add to the 'Wade' list.
(Mike swam competitively in high school).
This is day number one on the beach. We sat her down in the sand, and she charged the water. Charged it. Waves hitting her on the chest and she's still moving forward.

Took a little moment to enjoy the view.

Additional senses needed. mmm salty.
It does hurt your knees to crawl on the sand, so she crab walked instead.

She did love taking toys from Owen while in the sand.....

...but it sure was windy down there. When you're just a little guy the sand gets in your eyes.
Better stick to the water.
Can't get enough of her little ears and ruffle butt in this suit!

Daddy take me back! To the waves!

The landscape of Fripp's beaches was unique. The low tide was veeerrryyyyyy low which was perfect for a 1ft tall munchkin charging waves. The high tide was high but the waves never really crashed, so it's a great beach for little kids. We lucked out!

After beach time Millie had exceptionally long naps and lots of snuggles.
This was a vacation highlight for me =)

And we obviously had lots of pool play time, too.

 My little crab walker in her crab sear sucker. For some reason I just love her in not pastel pink...
this color pallet suits her I think =)  

Mike and I talk a lot about how we would rather spend money on experiences for our kids. Experiences over a bigger house, bigger & more toys, expensive clothes, etc. After seeing her little personality bloom while experiencing 'the beach', it solidifies our desires for our kids. Can't wait to watch her explore even more!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fripp Island, SC

The highlight of September, of course, was our trip with the Cooper clan to Fripp Island, SC. The driving time to Fripp (just north of Hilton Head) is 14hr and 10 minutes of actual driving time. Obviously with an 11mo and potty training two year old we had lots of stops, but the drive was actually enjoyable. We didn't even have to pull out the iPad.  
Owen and Miss Claire made a list of things to bring to the beach. He obviously wanted to bring lots of cars, some trucks, oh and his family, too.

Owen has always loved to be in the car, and this trip was no exception. He literally watched for fuel tankers, bulldozers, car stacking trucks, mustangs, and any other vehicle that may be interesting....for hours. He also did lots of coloring, some sleeping, and lots of eating. Amelia, as you might imagine, was a bit more difficult in the car. She didn't sleep well, but she did eat an entire box of Kix. She was also decently entertained by books, and of course, more Kix.
Our first stop was in Metropolis, IL. Home of Superman. We were SO excited to go to the beach!

A little stretching of the legs.

Super Man and Super Woman....

At last we arrived! Here's the house we all stayed in. Mima & Papa Cooper, the 4 of us, and
Uncle Steven. Uncle Ryan couldn't come because he wasn't able to get off work.
We were so sad. This house had rooms enough for all of us, a huge kitchen table,
a beach view, a pool, a screened in porch. Perfect for the combo of people staying there.

View from the front porch. You can't see it here, but I should tell you that
the texture of this sand is like 'powdered sugar' as Mima says.
It's so soft, and the low tide is very low. Perfect for kiddies.

The main method of travel around the island is the golf cart.
You drive on to the island in your huge SUV and then you let it sit for the week.
We loved the golf cart... it definitely adds to the vacation feel.

This was our favorite house on the island. Look at all of those beautiful porches!

Another very cool feature of Fripp is that it's a nature reserve.
There are literally animals everywhere.
These deer were all over the front yard at sun down and sun up. They are not afraid of humans, either... this one walked right up to the golf cart!

Fripp Island also has 'save the turtle' campaigns. The loggerhead turtle returns to
Fripp to lay eggs on the beach, and support groups help the 'runts'
of the litter get to the ocean. How cute is this little guy?
This nest had 109 eggs. You can see about 9 eggs on the right that haven't
 hatched. These ladies rescued about 12 'runts' took them
out of the nest, let them exercise their flippers for a but and then
 carried them to the ocean. It totally beautiful.
This alligator was on the golf course when the guys were playing.
 Sometimes a nature reserve can be a little scary! Glad I wasn't playing golf.....

I know seagulls are actually like rats, but aren't they beautiful when flying in formation? 

Don't worry... this is far from my last post about Fripp, but I thought
I would break it down in to several so that it didn't get too long.
Next up...the kiddies in the sand and water. They were a total blast.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bubble Picnic

The Bubble Picnic put on by the Parkway Early Childhood center was obviously a little while ago because the kids' wardrobes have changed considerably.
Amelia loves water and it took no time at all for her to dig right in.

She sat by this little bucket of water and washed toy animals with sponges for at least15 minutes.

Here is a table full of rice. For an 11 mo old who loves textures, this was a hit.

O had a great time making BIG bubbles with this hula hoop in a kids pool.

He also enjoyed his very first snow cone.

I just love her sense of adventure. She'll get her hands wet/dirty/in to anything. Most of the activities were geared more toward O's age, but she had a blast at any table she could stand against.
The Parkway ECC puts on great events for the kids, and we love participating. We'll start a class with both kids in just a few weeks, so I'll be sure to put a few pics of the kiddos exploring and learning in all kinds of creative ways.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Mountain 'I do'

Labor Day weekend was full of MUCH anticipation. Kim Dodson was marrying John Green. In Colorado. And Mike and I were going by ourselves. Ourselves. Anticipation!
Let me tell you the story of this beautiful mountain couple. Kim & I went to high school together, and during our junior year (I think), Kim (the Catholic) joined me at my Methodist youth retreat. It was a retreat for youth around the state of Illinois, and John and his Baptist youth group came down for the fun. John was Kim's crush of the weekend. Stunning John Green, with the beautiful green eyes. She would not soon forget. They reconnected maybe once or twice at the Illinois State Fair. Then Kim went off to college and traveled the world visiting literally every continent before she turned 30. John went to Colorado, became and architect, and waited for Kim to move there in 2008. They 'randomly' saw each other in a theatre lobby in Denver. They recognized each other instantly, reconnected, and fell madly in love. I adore the way God works.
So on Friday Aug 30, Mike and I dropped the kids off at my folks, caught our SW flight to Denver and headed west. We didn't anticipate the flight out of Denver in to the mountains on a holiday weekend, and so we were literally stuck in 4 hours of traffic trying to get in. This was probably divine, however, as we hadn't quite yet re-figured out how to talk to each other as a married couple instead of a parenting team.
We woke up Saturday to this view. I was delighted to receive a text from the bride asking for a little breakfast. I gladly accepted, ran to her room, and enjoyed a precious 20 minutes chatting with her before she was off to hair, make-up, family stuff, etc!

The wedding wasn't until 4, so Mike and I grabbed some good coffee *nothing says vacation like Sbux* and took a little drive up to the continental divide.

On the way, we passed A-basin, Kim's favorite ski spot.

God's creation.

Next we popped over to Breckenridge and rode the gondola to the top for lunch. It was hailing and cold at the top so we rode back down to rest before the big I DOs!

YAY! The time finally came! Kim was getting married!

The bride-to-be before the ceremony. She's wearing her mom's wedding dress that was originally made by her grandmother. It was updated and customized for this beautiful bride, and the history of the gown made the sentiment of the moment that much better.
Kim's sister, Karen, was a bridesmaid. And Karen's husband, Adam, was marrying John and Kim. Their oldest, Marilyn (6), was a flower girl. Benen (4) was with and aunt. That left Mike and I (willingly) in charge of this BEAUTIFUL baby, Rigby (15mo). He preferred Mike and sat on his lap the ENTIRE ceremony. Silently. Mike and I were stunned. I mean we did have goldfish and new cars, but still. He was a prince. We loved loving on him!

So the ceremony started at 4. Outside. The guests were pretty much in place by 3:50. It started to rain at 3:57. It was more than a sprinkle. We gowned and garbed in ponchos, trash bags, etc. The classy guests had umbrellas. Not our friends! At 4:10 we all headed inside while the grounds crew worked on getting the ceremony set up in side. Here's a shot of Chris & Julie Drury who sat at our table. Chris went to high school with us & is Kim's brother's good friend. Julie & Kim lived together at Truman. The rest is history. I should note this couple really enjoyed the open bar after the ceremony, and they were 'inspirational' on the dance floor!

John Green built the Arbor they got married under!

John also built this heart that originally held our table numbers.

I don't know who made this, but it's beautiful.

Dinnertime brought delicious foods like BBQ sliders, tomato cucumber salad, baked beans, & mac n cheese. The bride & groom wore aprons and we ate on these blue print placemats. It was very fitting as John is an architect. Note the place setting for the kazoo... and if you can read the writing, they advertise 'liquid encouragement' for the dance floor. The kazoos were also a blast on the dance floor, and now they are a blast in the toy chest. Even Millie can play it!
Side view of Mrs. Green's veil, back of dress, and green shoes.

Love this man.
Another reason this wedding was amazing is because I know so many of Kim's friends from other seasons of her life. And unique people like Kim attract really fun friends. L-R Marty (Kim's future sister-in-law and college roommate, Nikki (Our high school friend who tore up the dance floor), Kelly (Kim's friend from college), Mrs. Green, Julie (mentioned above), myself, and Rachel (Kim's friend from college that I just adore. She's also preggo with #3).

First dance with onlooker Marilyn Kelly, 6 years old.

For the father daughter dance, Kim & her daddy (whom I looooove) started by singing "Que sera sera". Bring on the tears again.
It's not necessary to explain that I cried during the entire ceremony. She asked Mike and I to write & read a prayer and I obviously cried during that, too. I cried because Kim is one of my favorite people in this great, wide world, and I've been praying for her 'someone' for probably about 17 years now. I cried because God is faithful and magical and His timing is providential. I cried because I see them as Greens together forever, and that makes me abundantly happy. Kimberly Rae, I wish you & John the best forever and always! 

Ok... I'm not quite done yet! Sunday we drove from Lake Dillon to Ft. Collins to visit Steve, Trish, Delaney (6), and Will (4) Schuster. Steve is to Mike as Kim is to me... they've been great friends for.ever....but they are probably a little less emotional about it.
We stopped for lunch in Boulder and as we were approaching the city, we saw these people literally Boulder climbing. And then we passed 3 ambulances... ????

Boulder appears a fitting name for this area of CO.

And this is before all of the flooding.

Delaney & Will playing in downtown Ft. Collins before a delicious Mexican dinner.
How ah-dor-able is this pic? Mike-Will-Steve

Will is reallllly in to planes, so of course Mike brought some flash cards for him.
We loved our time with the Schuster clan. It's awesome when you grow up similarly to your friends from childhood. That's a bond that you just can't beat. We love Steve & Trish individually, as a married couple, and as parents. In our short 24 hours with them we planned multiple vacations =)

In all honesty we had an absolute blast, missed our kids like crazy, and can't wait to bring them to Colorado next summer.