Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Last 30 Days with Walker!

Walker's past month was his biggest one yet...he began sitting up by himself, crawling, started pulling up, and did a lot of dancing.  He has a new sense of freedom, and with that comes more determination to experiment and less patience with me when he doesn't get what he wants.  It all began back on August 19th, when Steve was out of town on a business trip.

The kids and I were all in one room, and then the big kids and I left that room, leaving Walker on the floor.  I guess he got upset that he was left behind, so he decided to follow us.  He didn't crawl the "normal" way, but did his very own army crawl down the hallway after us.  See for yourself below...

Walker loves to take showers

Over the next week, he began getting stronger and faster.  Now he tries to pull up on anything that he can...the fireplace, tables, baby gates and his crib.  He loves to play with new toys, and still adores Beckham (and any other dogs he comes into contact with).  He is a happy baby with a wonderful personality.  He "dances" almost every time he hears music, and has sampled his first popsicle this month.
what I found one morning (all 3 in crib)

At his 8th month doctor appointment, Walker weighed in at 20lbs (50th percentile), and was 28.5 inches long (75-90th percentile).

1st AL game & 8th month bday

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School....Two of the Three!

Here in Alabama, the children return to school fairly in the second week of August.  Since we had a busy summer, our summer flew by.  August 7th, the kids went to school to meet their teachers.  Preston got Miss Taylor for Kindergarten, and Bennett got Ms. Morrison for the 2nd grade.

That evening, Steve took Pres to the popsicle party for all incoming kindergarteners.  All of the kids receive a necklace that matches their classmates.  The idea is to find other kids with the same colored necklace, but it never works out like that.  They always gravitate towards the familiar faces.  Though these three rascals have been friends through preschool, they were separated in kindergarten.  In fact, Preston only knew one person in his class, Anna, who has been a friend from preschool the past couple of years.
Pres, Batch & George
Pres and Anna

Though we were all ready for school to begin, it snuck up on us.  We were still staying up late, getting up early, running wild and overall just exhausted.  So though we went to bed earlier than our normal nights, lunches were packed, and clothes were chosen...we still RAN out of the door for the first day of school.

Steve went into work late that day so he could see the kids off.  And even though I had an extra set of hands, I was seriously out of practice with our morning routine.  We were able to get a few pictures before we left the house, but then we RAN out the door.  Once we parked near the school, we briskly walked through the tunnel before snapping a couple more pics and rushing them into the school before the tardy bell.  The whole morning was so hectic, I didn't have time to really think about it and get upset.

However, as the day went by, I was shocked with the amount of time I had on my hands.  When 1pm approached, it reminded me of the time that I have picked up Preston for the past five years.  Though I still have Walker home with me, the day is long.  So even after hitting the gym in the morning, running any errands I need to do, working a little....I still have free time.  It is weird, but I know I will get used to it!

Needless to say, my first week was nice.  I spent a lot of quality time with Walker, got to exercise Beckham daily, and felt good by the time the big kids came home.  In addition, the kids have lost TV and IPad privileges, so we are having fun jumping back into the school routine of homework, playtime and dinner.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Preston Plays in Peoria!

Pres eating a sucker in ATL
Steve and I have always joked about how Preston will go anywhere and do just about anything.  He proved just this when my parents extended an invitation to Christian and him for a visit in Peoria (without parents).  Since the boys had to make a connection, they couldn't fly alone, so Brian and Henley accompanied them up there and stayed for 2 days.  Then the boys stayed for an additional few days and flew back with my parents.

Unfortunately, the trip didn't start off as planned.  They were supposed to depart Birmingham at 6:30AM and arrive in Peoria at 10:30AM.  Sadly, they had maintenance issues in Birmingham, and missed their connection.  By the time they finally made it to Atlanta, all of the flights into Peoria were booked, so they were on standby for an afternoon flight.  Brian and the kids handled the 4 hour delay well though.

kids with tallest man

When they finally arrived, they got settled and ran around on the golf course some.  My parents spoke to friends and went to a lot of work coming up with plenty of activities for the kids to do during their stay, always more than one activity each day.  They kicked off their first full day visiting the "Ripley's Believe It or Not" museum.  It was quite the hit, and they spent hours there.  That afternoon they went swimming at CCP.  After resting a little late afternoon, they returned to the club to eat dinner on the terrace.

Pres went off the high dive multiple times
dinner on the CCP terrace
kids at waterpark
Sunday, they got an early start and went to a nearby water park.  They played for a couple of hours, and then took Brian and Henley to the airport.  Then Nene and Poppy took the boys to play miniature golf and out to eat for Mexican (Preston's favorite).  That evening when I spoke to Pres I asked him if he was having fun.  I got a confident "yes," and then I asked him what his favorite thing was so far.  He told me "Poppy's hunting camp."  I told him that he hadn't gone yet, but he said "I know that will be my favorite and I am going tomorrow."

the boys with Poppy after mini golf
Preston's catch...a blue gill
So Monday was the day they drove to Honker's Corner.  There they road on the four-wheeler, went fishing, and even shot a couple of different guns at targets.  It truly was the highlight of Preston's trip! 

He was OVER THE MOON when he got to shoot a 22 rifle and bb gun (pistol).  My dad set up targets for them to aim at, and then he proceeded to teach them how to look through the eye piece to see the target.  The rifle ended up kicking too much, so they stuck with handgun.

As if a day at the camp wasn't enough, they went bowling that evening!  The boys did great for the first game, but ended up losing to Poppy in the second game.
They concluded their trip with a visit to the tower in Peoria Heights, another game of miniature golf, more late night golf ball hunting, and more rootbeer floats.  Though they were gone for six days, they got along pretty well and never got homesick.  But I tell you what....I missed my boy!  Since Steve was at a work dinner the night he arrived back in Birmingham, I loaded up the kids and headed to the airport at 9pm to get him.  Both Walker and Bennett fell asleep, so only I greeted him with much enthusiasm!  He chatted the whole way home about all of his adventures, and promised to show me the pictures he took on his itouch. 
What an incredible trip for my little man!  He had a blast bonding with his Nene and Poppy, and Christian!  I know these memories will be with him for a long time, and I am blessed for that.  He truly loves spending time with his grandparents (all of them), so what a great gift for them too.
Thank you Mom and Dad!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Girls Beach Trip - Daddy Duty

Earlier this summer, a bunch of girls settled on a date where we would go to the beach together.  Our awesome husbands agreed to stay back with the kids while we headed south.  Alisha invited Lauren, Tabby, Kadie and me, and Jennifer invited Lauren, Mary Scott and Kimbalee.  Since Alisha and Jennifer both have condos in Perdido at the same place, it worked out great!
Selfie with 9 girls in elevator
We hit the beach both days, had wonderful dinners out and stayed up late talking about all kinds of stuff.  We ate some delicious seafood, worked out once, slept in late and just had two days of girl bonding!
Kadie, Kimbalee, Tabby, Mary Scott, Lauren, Alisha, Jennifer, me and Lauren

Meanwhile back in Homewood.....the dads were planning all kinds of activities together with the kids (it takes a village, right?).  Friday night, they all met at Mexico Lindo for dinner, then some of them came back to our house to hang out afterward.  Saturday, Steve dropped Walker off at his parents and took the big kids swimming for a couple of hours.  That night, they all met at Good People Brewery and then walked across the street to watch a Baron's game.
Kids at Good People Brewery
Santa at the Baron's Game!
They love their Daddy!
Guess who didn't finish their dinner?
Fun with Becca

Sunday, Steve even managed to get everyone showered, fed and out the door for church!  It is nice to know that when I am away, things are just fine back home.  Everyone had a great weekend, even though we weren't all together.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2nd Annual Banta/Mizerany Beach Trip

Kiddos before dinner at Edward's
A few weeks ago, we loaded our car with all of the essentials for another week at the beach.  We met Brian and Shannon's family down there, and my parents flew into a nearby airport.  It was a warm week, but the weather was good every day but one, so we soaked in the sun!  This year we rented in Water's Edge, which was convenient to Rosemary and Alys, and right across the street from the Seacrest Sundries (a little market and deli), which was just an added bonus.

Walker loved his stroller rides
The house was perfect: 4 master suites (all with king beds and adjoining baths), and one bunk room which slept all 5 big kids!  The private pool won the hearts of the kids, and we liked the proximity to the beach!  I think everyone was happy, so we decided to rent again next July in the same neighborhood!

The best thing about this family trip is seeing all of the kids together.  Pres looks up to Christian, and Henley looks up to Bennett.  Even little Lucy wants to hold Walker all of the time.  Needless to say, there is always someone to play with on the trip, and it is so awesome to watch them all hang out and have fun together.  Of course, I think that is one of the highlights for my parents too.

relaxing on the beach

As we typically do, we ate out a few times, cooked the majority of the time, and had carryout once.  We hung out at the beach for the majority of the time, but always ended up in the pool by late afternoon.
Date night at Havana Grill at the Pearl

Walker playing at Dusty's with Nene
The day it rained, we went to Panama City to eat at one of our favorite oyster places....Dusty's.  It was the first time for everyone else, and I think they all agreed the food was worth the 2 hour wait we had in the middle of the day!  We drank some beer, played music on their jukebox and mingled with the other patrons while we waited, which in my opinion, is part of the fun!  The kids all brought their Itouches, so they were happy.

Leaving our dollar at Dusty's

The following day, Shannon, Brian and I took the kids to a waterpark.  It was our first time doing this, and though it was crowded...we had fun.  They had several pools, including a wave pool and many water slides, which the kids enjoyed.  It was a great way to break up the week, but sadly we didn't take any photos.  We also played a lot of games throughout the week....UNO, connect four, hide-n-seek and had several arm wrestling tournaments.
enjoying donuts in Alys

Henley did great, but even better with her left arm!
everyone arm wrestled...I won this match :)
hours were spent boogie boarding
B couldn't find Nene during hide-n-seek
Evidence that Lucy was at the beach

Of course we did all of our normal things too: several trips to the donut truck, daily bike rides, hunted for seashells, boogie boarded, built sandcastles, crab hunting, and desserts at the Sugar Shak, Cool Candy and icees from Seacrest Sundries!  Another trip in the books with many more fun memories! 
Last day on the beach!