Saturday, July 23, 2011

Avalon Family Reunion 2011

We just returned home from another wonderful family reunion in Avalon, NJ! My cousin, Debbie, was once again the hostess with the mostess.... planning all of the meals and activities for the week, offering her house as the meeting ground for all 20+ of us, and cooking all of our dinners!! Thank you, thank you, thank you Deb for everything!!!

The trip started off a little rough, with a delay in Birmingham, causing all of us to run like maniacs through the Atlanta airport to try and catch our flight two terminals over with only 20 minutes! We did it, but it was not without Preston falling while running (and consequently crying), frustration by Steve and I, and sweating by all of us! We ran up to our gate, and collapsed with exhaustion only to learn that it was delayed as well (would have been nice if it was posted on the monitors throughout the airport, huh?). Oh well, we and our luggage made it!

Arriving in Philly worked out fine, and we made up all lost time in the air. As we were walking to baggage claim, Steve noticed someone familiar. He asked the gentleman if he was Cornelius Bennett, and sure enough he was! Steve told him we were from Birmingham and big Alabama fans, and then I quickly told him how people asked if Bennett was named after him (he laughed). When we made it to our destination, Steve went to get the car while the kids and I stayed back to gather our bags. As we were waiting outside for him to drive back and get us, Cornelius came up to me with an autograph for Steve. What a nice little memento to start the trip!

As expected, traffic was awful all the way there, and with tired kids and limited food choices to offer my picky son, we just powered through with the snacks we brought from home. Unfortunately Preston's belly didn't want the peanut butter crackers and orange juice he consumed so he later threw it all up over himself and his carseat. Once again we were tested, but I remained calm (shocker, right?), and hopped back there to clean him up with the baby wipes. It wasn't perfect, but it worked and we didn't lose anymore time.

When we finally arrived, we divided and conquered again...Steve to the grocery store with our already prepared list and then to the liquor store for our essentials, while I stayed back with the kids to unpack and make up our beds. It worked out well, and then we were ready to relax and start our vacation!! Debbie and John made a great dinner, and as always...we did a lot of catching up! Later that night (after we put the kids down), Brian, Lisa, Kurt, Jimmy, Rob, Steve and I hit one of the local bars - The Princeton. Brian's internal was bartending and she treated us well. We did a little dancing and then stumbled home (gotta love a small beach community where you don't need to drive).

Sunday morning started off a little rough, but nothing a mimosa couldn't cure. So after rehydrating and eating, we made our way to the beach. The kids played for a couple of hours, and then we got lunch and took them home so we could all nap. Most of the week went about the same, with a few different things sprinkled two morning bootcamp classes on the beach, morning walks on the other days, a happy hour, an evening in Atlantic City (which consisted of a great dinner for the group minus the four little ones, and then gambling for the guys), another nice dinner out for the adults followed up with more dancing for Debbie, John, Steve and I, ice cream at the Avalon Freeze, lots of beach time, and the most popular.... hanging out at the Forrey's talking, eating and drinking. What a fun week it was!!

The weather was gorgeous all week, with the exception of a little fog one day and some REALLY high temperatures yesterday (but as long as we were in the water....we were able to fight the heat).

The annual family reunion is always something we look forward to, and I feel so blessed that I get the time to hang with my family, and my children get the opportunity to get to know their cousins that don't live in Birmingham. Thank you Mom and Dad for always renting the house that is so close to the beach and Debbie's!

Enjoy the photos.....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My First Shave

My cousin, Debbie, gave Preston a shaving kit for Christmas and we just broke it out this evening. (I know it has been 6 months, but we put it in a drawer and forgot about it) The kids found it and were dying to try it out, so I waited until Steve got home from work to "teach" them how to shave.

Pres was a little hesitant with the shaving cream until we put him in front of the mirror so he could see himself. Steve instructed him on how to shave and then rinse off the cream under the faucet, and then he took over. After he was finished, he wanted to do it over again!
Of course, nothing is complete in our house without BOTH kids trying it. So Bennett had a turn with the shaving cream on her face and then shaving. Though I explained that women shave their legs and men shave their faces....she wanted to be just like Pres and her Daddy.

Thanks Debbie for the entertainment! We love you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More 4th of July Festivities

Last night we went to "The Club" with friends to ring in the 4th. The Club is an old dinner club on top of the mountain which overlooks downtown Birmingham. Since the fireworks are shot from the vulcan statue, right next door, we had a wonderful view.
The gates of The Club opened at 5:30, and we were there. Since the place fills up quickly, we located a table for our large group and ate our dinner. Then we met up with more friends and went downstairs to listen to the band and watch the kids dance.
They had all kinds of things for the kids to do, and food in every room of the place. So you could just walk around and find stuff to do. It was raining initially, but it finally moved out so the kids could play outside too. The grounds around this place are landscaped so pretty and they have walkways and large patios everywhere. We had a great time, and the kids did too!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July at Smith Lake

We just returned from another fun weekend at Smith Lake with all of Steve's family. We rode the waverunner, went canoeing one morning, caught frogs, did a lot of swimming in the lake and did WAY too much eating and drinking!
It was extremely hot all weekend, so I stayed in the water, or under the pop-up tent the entire time. In fact, it was the heat the led Spencer into the water this weekend. He surprised us all by swimming (something he has never done in his 10.5 years of life without sheer panic).
Each morning, the kids were dying to jump in off the side of the pier, but would quickly tire and want to go back inside.
After napping in the afternoon, they would come back down to swim and ride the waverunner. We'd eat dinner, and then hang out for a few hours before going to bed. All and all....another fun three days away from reality.
All of this vacationing is making it really hard to get back to reality with work, school and routines...the joys of summer!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Locks of Love

Since Bennett was a baby, we have been growing her hair. She gets about four haircuts a year, but they are more like trims. Fortunately she is blessed with a great head of may be fine, but she has a lot of it and it grows pretty quickly. So about six months ago I planted the seed with her to cut it off for "Locks of Love."

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children who are suffering from long-term or permanent medical hair loss. When I told Bennett that some little girls don't have any hair because they are sick, she loved the idea of sharing her hair. Hair donations must be at least 10 inches long, so we had to wait a few months to ensure it was the right length. In fact, we tried to get it cut after her dance recital, but they have to cut about an inch above the ponytail, which I had not accounted for, so it wasn't quite long enough.

We gave it another month to grow a little more, and kept talking about it so she wouldn't forget. I don't think she quite grasped the concept initially. But sadly we have had to add several people to our prayer list because they have cancer. After trying to explain cancer to a 3 year old, it was almost easier to just explain the horrific side affects of their medicine and how she could help by donating her hair.

I measured her hair today, and it was perfect. So after naps, we showered and dried her hair. It has to be clean and dry before mailing it to them. We then drove to Great Clips for the big deed. Great Clips gives free haircuts to those donating their hair to Locks of Love.

Here's Bennett after her new haircut!