Sunday, June 25, 2017

YMCA Camp Cosby

Since Kindergarten, the kids have gone to spend the night away at camp.  They have always enjoyed themselves, and have never been homesick.  In the past they attended Camp Winnataska, but this summer they tried something new and went to Camp Cosby.  We chose a week that worked well for our family and at the last minute, Bennett had two friends sign up and ask to be in her cabin.  They were both excited for their new adventures!
Arapahoe Cabin

Layton Bradford, Claire Garrett, Ella Serotsky and Bennett
Though Preston didn't have any friends in his cabin, he was ready to meet new ones and experience a new camp.  Camp Cosby is on Logan Martin Lake, and is set up like the camps you see on tv.  The cabins are all lined up, with toilets and showers inside each cabin.  They are also air conditioned, which is a huge benefit over Winnataska.  The pool overlooks the lake, and they have tons of water toys in their careened area of the lake.  There is a huge covered area with basketball hoops, a dining hall and a large horse barn with trails around it for riding.

Everything was set for a great week...regardless of the rain they experienced every day.  Thankfully there were breaks in the day for them to get out and play.  As you can see from the pictures, they had a blast!  Many of the photos are blurry because they wouldn't let you download them off their website without paying for them, so we just cropped them.

B working at the horse barn

P making friends

B did a lot of horseback riding as her main elective

Brave Bennett holding a snake!

Sunset at Camp Cosby
When their six nights concluded, we drove back to pick them up early Saturday morning.  We decided to get Preston first since his cabin was the furthest away.  When we first saw him, he immediately ran to us, and gave us the biggest and best hug!  He was crying tears of joy, which in turn made me cry.  He was genuinely excited to see us.  We then walked to Bennett's cabin.  She had seen us pull into the parking lot, so she had waved to us, but we weren't allowed to grab her without checking in first.

Bennett was the last one to get picked up in her cabin, and she was cheerful and gave me a hug too.  Once we got all of their bags back to the car, we listened for an hour to all of their stories from the week.  They both said they would have stayed another week, and are excited to return next summer.  Thank you Camp Cosby for the great time, and all of the memories!  I absolutely love that our children are getting these opportunities and thoroughly enjoy camp.
But the BEST reunion, was when the three kiddos were all reunited....Walker missed them, and they missed him. Beckham was pretty thrilled too, now his dog walkers are home!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week of Fun!

After Preston's All Star Tournament concluded, we hightailed it up to Smith Lake!  In all honesty, we didn't expect Homewood to do very well in the tournament, but they came out guns a blazing at the beginning of the week, so we continued to adjust our schedule.  When the writing was on the wall that they were going to go down fighting, we sent Bennett to the lake on Friday with Myra, Louis and Dan.  We were packed and ready too, and planned to leave as soon as Pres finished playing.  Saturday morning, we watched him play with Walker and Beckham in tow (literally so we could immediately leave).  They won the first game, had an hour break, and played again and lost.  It was a long, hot day for all of us, but we wouldn't have changed any of it.  We just knew that we were all anxious to cool off in the lake.

So we hurried up there, changed into our swimsuits and immediately began relaxing.  Louis and Michelle cooked a ridiculous dinner for the Father's Day feast (beef tenderloin, baked potatoes, corn on the cob and French bread).  That night the Mizerany boys stayed up chatting, while the rest of us pooped out somewhat early.  The next morning we enjoyed a breakfast feast, some swimming and a ride on the waverunner before we headed back to Birmingham.  Walker and Beckham both swam in the lake, so it was a BIG accomplishment!  We hated to cut our weekend short, but we needed to take Bennett and Preston to camp for the week. 

Even Beck wanted in on the fun!
After dropping off the big kids at Camp Cosby, Walker asked several times a day for the first couple of days where they were.  He finally settled into his new, quieter routine by Tuesday.  However, Steve and I quickly realized that parenting just Walker was much easier.  Since our big kids are the picky eaters, we decided to take Walker out to an Asian restaurant that we have been wanting to try.  We hoped that he would try sushi, he didn't, but he did enjoy the fancier environment and was well behaved.
Bamboo on 2nd
Tuesday night we ate with the Jarmons, who only had Jack for the night.  The boys had a fun night and entertained us with their air-guitar playing.  Then on Wednesday, Shanon and Lauren spoiled me early for my birthday since Lauren had to miss my birthday festivities that Steve planned for Friday.  Shanon picked me up, and brought wine and the ingredients for a delicious steak salad.  Lauren treated us to sparkling rose when we walked in the door, more wine, AND they bought me a gorgeous necklace.  We stayed for hours talking and it was so nice.  Nice to be spoiled, nice to be loved, nice to just relax and catch up with good friends.  What a wonderful night we had together.

Thursday, June 22nd, was my birthday.  Flanked by two big celebrations, we decided to lay low and grill steaks...just the three of us.

Friday was the pinnacle of the week.  Steve had arranged for Walker to spend the night at his parent's and invited folks to join us at Gian Marco's for a delicious dinner.  We started off at home for a pre-dinner cocktail, and then headed over.  After a couple bottles of wine, and many calories....we took the party to Leah and Fletcher's.  Steve had purchased a cake, and they all surprised me with singing "Happy Birthday."  I thought he spent too much on the cake, so I chewed him out, but then the party continued.

Sadly the next morning came SOOO quickly with a VERY early pick-up time at Camp Cosby.  However, what a week!  I still can't believe I am 45 years old, but I feel so content and happy with where I am so no hard feelings or anxiety about my age.  Thank you Miz for spoiling me, not only on my birthday, but every day.  I am a lucky person to have such loving family members, beautiful, healthy children and wonderful friends. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rags to Riches....All Star Baseball

Preston pretty much likes every sport he plays, but he genuinely loves baseball.  So when the option to play an extended season through the all stars program was presented to him - he jumped all over it.  Even though spring baseball was still in the throws of it (literally), they held all star tryouts in March.  Preston made the Homewood Red team (AAA team), and was excited to play with some awesome kids!

They started off just practicing on Sunday afternoons, but when spring ball ended, it ramped up quickly.  Preston was either playing a game, or practicing baseball every night (except when it rained....which was quite often this season).  He played pitcher, and ran all over that field backing up other in-fielders.  When they rotated positions, he played right field.  Both were new positions to him, but he quickly learned them and added a lot of value over the season.

Though the team had a lot of wonderful players (and parents), they were all in-fielders during regular season.  They could all hit the ball, and understood the game, but catching pop-flies in the outfield challenged them all.  Sadly they had some tough competition, and lost every game.  It wasn't like they got run ruled every game, they were often close.  They would start off winning, but after an hour, they would tire out (the all star season plays 90 minute games, or 6 innings versus 60 minute games during regular season).

always smiling
As the season came to a conclusion, they entered into a double elimination tournament against the other five teams in their division.  We didn't know what to expect, but they surprised us all.  They won their first game against Spain Park, by a lot!  It was their first win all season, and a great one!  So we decided that they had to wear their "lucky" red jerseys, and we weren't allowed to wash them.  In fact most boys, including Pres, decided that it would be best if they didn't even shower. 

The following night the boys played Hoover.  They started off winning by a big amount, but Hoover came back at the end.  Fortunately, the boys stayed strong and defensively held them and ultimately won the game!  It had to be the jerseys, right?!  So once again, no washing of the jerseys.  We didn't let Preston get by without showering again though.

Day 3, they were set to play Vestavia Rebels (the toughest team in the league who is undefeated for the past two years), however after warming up and being ready to WIN - the game was rained out.  This wasn't new for these boys, as they have had quite a few games rained out, or postponed due to rain.

However, these boys got up and came back on Friday night for the big game.  They gave it their best shot, but they couldn't pull it off.  But there weren't tears and bad attitudes, because these boys knew they had another shot the following day.  So like every day that week, Preston rested up and was ready to give it his best shot on Saturday.
They showed up at 10am, warmed up and realized that they had to play Hoover again (the winner of the 9am game).  They were wearing their navy jerseys and were pumped up!  They started off strong, and played very well.  They won, which put them up against their toughest competitors again...the Vestavia Rebels.
the sweet team between games on Saturday

Parents went to buy food, water and ice and they rested.  They gave it their best shot at 1pm.   They played well initially, but they started to show signs of fatigue, and it was HOT!  Sadly they couldn't pull it off like they had wanted.  However, when they were lined up for the awards ceremony, there was nothing but excitement and joy in their eyes when they were each handed their ring for earning 2nd place in the tournament!  This isn't a cracker jack ring either, this is a real live superbowl-looking ring that is actually heavy and has stones (they don't care if they aren't real).  This was a first for them, and they all wore them proudly!

The boys before they knew they were receiving rings.
Proud Daddy, who was there early for most practices, played catch in the backyard, and helped him with batting.
these smiles prove that they were proud of themselves and happy with their new loot
What a fun way to wrap up baseball!  Thank to Preston's coaches, Charles Perlis (head), Greg Brockwell, Scott Myers and Jonathan Winzeler (all assistants)....they did a great job!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Double Digits!

Lunch at SCE
It is hard to believe that our first born baby turned 10 years old this year!  This year Bennett's birthday fell on the second to last day of school, so we celebrated multiple times.  Being that she turned 10, we felt she was worth it!  First, Steve, Walker and I went to her school for a lunch date.  We snuck in Chick-fil-A and she got to show off her little brother to her friends.  I'm not sure who had more fun, Walker or Bennett.
On May 23rd, Bennett awoke to flowers from Walker, and presents from the rest of us.  She had a great day at school!  That night we attended the fun run at the Homewood Library, and then went out for dinner at SoHo Social.  Michelle and Louis joined us, and it was the perfect way to celebrate our big girl!

After we returned from our annual beach trip, we prepared for her 10th birthday party up at the lake.  We planned her meals, bought her birthday favors and got all packed up.  Bennett invited several of her friends to join us for an overnight there.

Thursday afternoon, they were all dropped off at our house.  Bennett elected to open her birthday presents first.  We then loaded up, and drove up to Mimi and Papa's.  As soon as we got there, they suited up while I put air in all of the floats.  Bennett chose some darling floats for her favors, and the girls had so much fun with them.
Ella, B, Juana Grace, Annie and Tate

B chose her own cookie cake decorations
That night, I made the girls cheese dip and tacos for dinner.  They quickly wanted to move to dessert, so we sang Bennett "Happy Birthday" and enjoyed some cookie cake.  Then the girls did each other's hair and make-up.  They went back outside and hunted for frogs, and chatted some more before coming back in to watch a movie.  I could tell they were starting to get tired (as was I), so I encouraged them to head upstairs after it concluded.  At first they started to chill, but then the giggling began.  I knew they were having fun, and I assumed they would eventually simmer down, so I hit the hay.  However, I awoke around midnight to them still awake and talking.  I had to tell them to go to sleep because like all sleepovers, I knew they would wake up with the sun.

sweetest group of girls
The next morning, they were fairly lazy which allowed me plenty of time to prepare their breakfast.  As soon as they refueled, they were ready to go swimming again.  They were also anxiously awaiting the arrival of Steve and Louis (who were coming up to put the waverunner in, and offer an additional set of eyes while we rode around).  When they arrived, there was lots of excitement!  They immediately began taking turns riding around, and tubing.
they kept asking to be I had to fulfill their wishes

After lunch and more water fun, we packed up and drove back to Birmingham.  The five girls had a great time together, and I had so much with them.  There was no drama, just lots of laughter, story telling and silliness.  Thank you girls for helping celebrate Bennett, she had a blast with you all!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Memorial Day 2017!

For the past several years, we have been packing up after school gets out and kicking off our summer at the beach!  All Star Baseball put a slight hiccup in our plans, but we drove down Friday, May 26th and stayed at the San Destin Hilton.  The afternoon arrival was perfect, so we hit the pool.  Walker was super excited to show off his swim skills, and he wore himself out!  He jumped off the side and swam to me over and over.  Finally his little eyes were red, and the kids were getting cold because the sun was setting.  So while everyone bathed, Steve ordered pizzas to be delivered to our room.  Then we had a picnic in our pajamas.  Since the kids were a little stir crazy, we decided to walk on the beach right before the sun went down.  Later that night, Steve and I enjoyed some wine on our balcony while the kids went to bed. A perfect start to our week at the beach!

The next day we met up with the Smiths and Jarmons and kicked off our vacation together.  We rented a house next to Leah's family beach house, so we were familiar with the location, had access to their great pool, and still close to the beach.  With 9 kids and 6 adults, the house was very full, but we made it work.  It was a perfect blend of families too, several good cooks, laid back, fun people and a friend for every child.

The beaches were not crowded as usual, the water was good, and the guys had great luck fishing all week.  They even caught enough pompono and whiting for us to fillet and cook one night!  All of the kids enjoyed throwing the line out, and reeling in whatever was on the hook.....which ended up being a lot of baby sharks.  They even caught a couple of them twice.

Tuesday our babysitter for the rest of the week, Mackenzie, arrived to help us watch our kids.  We used her a couple of times at night so the adults could grab a kid-free dinner.  Both were fun nights where we were able to grab good meals!

With lots of sun and was a terrific week!

Date Night

Looking so grown up!

Sunset Swim!

naps on the beach are the best

Mackenzie and Walker