Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Getaway to Wild Dunes

The boys and I kick back on the grande adirondack chair!

The whole fam jumps aboard

Sam tuckers out in Rick's arms while waiting for our dinner table to be ready

The fountains in the splash park were unpredictable

Rick and I took the boys to Wild Dunes for Memorial Day. We love WD for so many reasons, and we always have a great time while we're there. We rented a beach-front villa for three nights, packed up the car, mounted the bikes on top, and headed out on Friday evening. The boys loved playing in the waves and making monster truck tracks in the sand with Rick.

Here I come, Dad!

This extensive monster truck track system took all morning to create and
one high-tide to demolish.

Gotta clean my monster truck!

The lawn steps at the fountain were a hit. Searching for alligators was fun, too!

Patriot's Point

On our way home from Wild Dunes, we stopped to take the boys to Patriot's Point. Jack was Sam's age the last time he had been to the aircraft carrier, so we figured both the boys would enjoy it now. It was Memorial Day, which meant that the ship was decked out with American flags and lots of volunteers (many veterans) who were eager to share their stories and knowledge.

Our family in front of the beautiful Charleston bridge.

Walking the bridge to the ship.

Here we are in front of the USS YorkTown's bell.

Peek-a-boo from the ship's porthole.

Inside the cockpit of a fighter jet. It's amazing how an aircraft carrier can hold so many planes!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Welcome, Owen!

Since early Spring, Jack has requested a picnic for lunch almost every day. When we do sit down on the lawn with Noah and Ava, Brady and Katherine for a picnic lunch, Jack always calls it a "family picnic." And he's right. We are a big family. Most nights, the first father home ends up with at least four kids in his car or just as many wound around his legs as he struggles to get from the car to the front door. My kids have started calling Mr. Shannon "M'Shannon." And I've come to realize that these people we call neighbors are indispensable to me. They have keys to our house; they're comfortable disciplining our children; I miss them when they're gone--even when their mail begins to take over the work surface of my desk. On that note, I want to welcome our newest addition to the "family," little Owen Scott. He is a good baby who captured our hearts from the moment we knew he was on his way, and we're loving having him on the cul-de-sac. Welcome, Owen!

Noah is a great big brother!

Owen was born in the exact same room as Sam!

Welcome to the family!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Momma's Day Breakfast

The kids have a seat on Engine 32

The firefighters take a moment to listen to Jack & Noah

The Lilly and Wilcox Families

Sam's favorite place to be: Daddy's arms!

Jack and Noah mug for the camera

Still mugging...

All my boys!
Mothers Day 2010
Rick and neighbor Shannon planned this breakfast out for all of us. As we were finishing up, a company of firefighters came and sat at the table next to us. Jack and Noah sidled up next to them and started talking about their firetrucks and firefighter costumes they have at home. The public servants listened dutifully to all their chatter and then told the boys they could go climb on the firetruck parked outside. So, that's what we did. It was a nice treat for everyone.

Field Hands

Ashley and I chose a beautiful Saturday afternoon to take the kids strawberry picking while the hubbies mowed the lawns (or so they said;)). It was warm but breezy when we pulled up late in the day, and the farmer who met us at the patch said a lot of the big berries were picked earlier, but we might be able to find some left near the center of the plants. We set out with all four kids (Ashley was 9-months pregnant), and found plenty of strawberries. Sam stayed close by me and was really good about only picking the red berries--and even avoiding the smaller ones. Jack & Noah headed off on their own and came back with a basket containing an assortment of red and white berries, stems, spiders, and rocks. Ashley really did pick all the berries for her family; her kids were no help at all. The pictures say a thousand words--berry-stained faces, red and sweaty from the late-day sun--the kids had a blast. From our four pounds of berries, I made three strawberry-rhubarb pies (the first pies I've ever made from scratch, including crusts!).
Heading back to the car after an obligatory trip to play on the tractors
Sam was in charge of quality control!

Our strawberries...for every two picked, one was eaten!

Neighbor Ava ate every single strawberry she picked!

Look at that berry-stained face!

Berry booty!

The Pajama Party

Jack, Katherine, and Noah snuggle in for a movie.

My oh-so-creative neighbor, Stacy, is always coming up with incentives to get our pre-schoolers to nap during the day. She came up with the pajama party idea. She told the kids that if all three napped on the same day, she would invite them over for popcorn and a movie. It took about a week for the naps to align, but the kids were so excited when it happened!

They all got in their pajamas, and with rolled up sleeping bags, they made their way to Katherine's basement. Stacy popped some corn and let them choose a movie to play on the big TV.

It was such a success that, recently, we got to host the second PP event. I'm not sure what Stacy's secret was, but the kids were WILD at my house! I eventually kicked them all out, well, I let Jack stay, but I sent him to bed . And then I spent 20 minutes vaccuuming popcorn out of my couch. Maybe it's time for Jack to outgrow his nap;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Feeding the ducks is NOT allowed!

Here are the boys, hot and sweaty, and in need of haircuts tearing pieces from a hamburger bun to throw to the momma duck and her eleven ducklings.
Sam is checking with me to make sure the piece he throws is a good size.

Hi, Momma! Hi, ducklings!
The boys love to go down to the pond to feed the ducks. Unfortunately, we were reprimanded by a woman who jumped out of her car, ran over to us, and pleaded with us not to feed them. I guess I knew all the stuff she was saying (they're wild animals, they can't handle human food, blah, blah, blah). We threw the rest of the bread to the geese, which caused the lady to remind me that all the same rules apply to them, blah, blah, blah...
Alright, so we'll leave momma duck to take care of the babies on her own. She is one hard-working woman!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day 2010!

We are so blessed to have so many amazing mothers in our lives. Here are a few we especially want to thank for their influence on our lives: Grandma, Julie, Nanee, Aunt Traci, Aunt Stacey, Aunt Angie, Aunt Carla, Aunt Cheryl, Aunt Vickie, Great-Grandmas Miller and Maguire, Aunt Jill, Aunt Charlotte, Miss Stacy, Miss Ashley & "G." We love you all so much! Have a happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Three Men (?) in a Tub

Katherine (in the pink dress, and the only one in clothes), Jack, and Sam convinced Katherine's dad to fill this red tub with water. Soon after, Jack and Sam had stripped down to undies and jumped in. I like these pictures because I caught the eyes of one kid in each one.

Hi, Sam!
Hi, Katherine!
Hi, Jack!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Early Mother's Day Gift

My friend Charlotte is about to adopt a newborn baby boy due in early June. Realizing that time is ticking away, she asked me to go to the beach with her for a girls' weekend. And because I have such a generous, giving, sacrificial husband, I was able to go and relax with her before she becomes a mommy of two boys (I had a lot to share with her about that!).
We enjoyed walks and runs on the beach, reading trashy magazines, lying out in the sun, going out to eat, and living life without a schedule! The weather was great, and we had an absolutely wonderful time.
Charlotte and I on the pier at Oak Island, NC

My formerly vegetarian friend cracks some crab legs with me. I knew she was an omnivore at heart!
I just had to take this picture for posterity. It's good to remember.