Saturday, March 12, 2011

SC Trip Post #5: The Trip Home

Because Ben had to be back at work on Monday, he flew back to Oklahoma on a Saturday.  This allowed me stay through one extra weekend with the kids so they could have more play time with their friends who were in school during the week.  My sister Beth graciously agreed to drive home with me and on the way back we stopped by to visit our brother, Niel, and his family.

In an attempt to make the trip easier, Beth and I decided to leave at bedtime on Sunday night and drive overnight while the kids were sleeping.  You know, it really might have been a good idea except for one major thing: We aren't as young as we used to be.  It also didn't  help that Connor puked all over himself sometime in Georgia and we didn't realize it till we got into Alabama.  There are few things nastier than cleaning up vomit at a decrepit gas station in podunkville at 2:30 in the morning.  Fortunately, Connor was considerate enough to just puke on himself and his car seat straps, so as car-vomit messes go, this one was relatively easy.  Yay.  And no, I didn't take any pictures of this escapade.  Aren't you glad?

Before we got to Niel's house, we had to visit our favorite rest area ever on the banks of the Mississippi!  If you're ever driving I-20 into Louisiana, you really should stop here at the last rest area in Mississippi (going East to West).

Technically, we were LEAVING Mississippi, but this rest area is accessible from either direction.

What weird awesome children I have!

 Kelsey and Olivia simply must climb up onto the cannon every time we go here.  It never gets old!  Maybe they know something I don't?  Maybe I should try it next time.

I loved seeing the big American flag flying from the bridge.  It just makes me feel all American inside.

Connor sure loves his Aunt Beth.

The girls also wanted to make some wildflower bouquets for me.

Aren't they gorgeous?

Connor had a blast doing what he usually does: he follows his sisters everywhere!

Around lunchtime on Monday we got to Niel's house in Louisiana.  As we got there, Julie came walking out the door to meet us - so we thought.  She was actually on her way over to her neighbor's house for a second opinion on whether to take a kid to the doctor.  Her youngest, Simon, had hit his eye on the corner of a paint can and split his eyelid open.  Poor little fella! 

She also has a gorgeous 3-year old with unbelievable fashion sense!

And while there we discovered that Maddox is quite the "cow boy".

For Christmas this past year, Niel & Julie fixed up a playhouse that was in their backyard when they bought it.  I wish I could show you some before and after pictures - they really did a FABULOUS job on this thing!  Kelsey & Olivia spent a lot of time playing in it.

Among other things.  (She's such a monkey!)

And in case you were worried about Simon...
...he survived the injury!  The swelling went down the next day and he was all smiles.

SC Trip Post #4: Odds and Ends

My sister, Dorothy, came up with the idea that we should have a "girls' night" slumber party while we were in South Carolina.  So one night I packed up all the kiddos and went to Gwen's house to spend the night.  Gwen's husband sought refuge at his parents' house.  Smart man.  Everyone was supposed to bring something to eat. I volunteered to pick up the dessert (Oreos and ice cream), Beth brought mini-tacos for the kids, Dorothy made some bean dip, and Gwen made this fabulous Indian dish.  At one point I looked at the table and started laughing.  The four of us are as anglo-saxon as can be, yet what do we eat when given a choice?  Ethnic food.  Looks good though, doesn't it??

I also spent most of the driving part of the trip in the middle row of seats in our van next to Maddox to help keep him happy.  Sometimes I thought it was the best seat available - especially when I got to look at faces like this one:

And this one:

And have conversations like this one:

Also, we can't talk about our trip to SC without mentioning someone special: our friend, Grace, who opened her home to our family and let us stay there.  She has a rather skittish dog named Dixie who doesn't make friends with strangers.  Olivia, our little animal charmer, couldn't bear it.  Before we left, she had made friends with Dixie!

And here are the girls with Dixie and Grace:

Finally, I did get around to some pictures of Sunday Dinner At The Ervins'.  Yes, that really is capitalized.  It's the biggest thing my kids miss about living in South Carolina!  And you have to forgive the picture colors - I was still playing around with the settings for my camera and frankly, I just don't have time to go back and edit them all to get them to look just right.

Here is Maddox in the Bumbo seat.

Our friend, Natalie, holding Maddox.

Mike & Kristi.  Mike blinked.

So I told him to keep his eyes open this time.  He did.

Kiersten & Natalie with Maddox (how does he get in all these pictures, anyway?)

Olivia and her best buddy ever, Maren.  These girls were born 3 weeks apart, and they've been together ever since!

Friend Valerie trying out the Moby wrap - and I think her baby gave it a thumbs up!

Friend Heather just looking gorgeous in the kitchen!

Jared with a crying Maddox.  I think he got tired of being passed around...?

We sure miss you guys!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Knock, Knock!

Apparently, we are a knock-knock joke family.  We took some cute videos with Connor tonight doing some joke-telling, and just had to take a break from the SC trip pictures to share.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!

Notice in the next two how he accidentally hits himself on the leg.  Then he says "ow" and fakes "dying".

Isn't he just too cute for words?  Don't you like how he actually pretends to "knock" with his hand when he says it?  That one is all him... no one else does it around here!

And yes, I do have a cold or something.  That's partly why my voice sounds funny.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SC Trip Post #3

On Monday and Tuesday, we hung out as much as we could with Noni, Aunt Janice, and my sister Dorothy and her family.  On Monday the girls and I shopped a little with Aunt Janice and Noni, then met Dorothy and her family at Finlay park for some play time.

The kids climbing the wall - even Connor had to get in on the action!

More on the wall.  Isn't Tristian just too cool for words?

Dorothy with her dog, Buttercup.  (Inconceivable!)

The kiddos having fun on the bike rack.

After a long day playing outside on Monday, we decided to hit the EdVenture Children's Museum on Tuesday.  Aunt Janice didn't make it with us, but Noni and Dorothy did!

Connor wasn't quite sure what to make of "Eddie".

Wouldn't you be a little frightened of a kid 100,000 times your size??

The girls had a blast, though!  One of the cool things about Eddie is that he's 3 stories tall and you can climb around inside him and see all his organs and stuff.  The girls are hanging out in his brain in this picture.  Kelsey looks like she's thinking hard about something!

Connor by Eddie's heart.  Still scared...

Eventually Daddy took him to play somewhere else.

This was a little more his pace.  Shrimp, anyone?

While we were waiting for Dorothy and her kiddos to get there, Kelsey and Olivia decided to play a giant game of checkers!  I can't remember who won - I think they finally called it a draw...

Dorothy and crew finally got there, but Gwendolyn didn't look too happy.

Tristian had to take his turn climbing around inside Eddie!

Dorothy and Olivia sat down to chill on this bench.  Olivia looked like she was wearing a hat, and Dorothy was feeling kind of warm. Fortunately, Noni was prepared.  She simply took her fan out of her purse and handed it over.  I tell you, these southern women have the right idea!  (Especially the post-menopausal ones...)

We saw some special visitors, but I think the adults were more excited than the kids!

And Connor loved anything he could get behind the wheel of.  The tractor, the car... but not the fire engine.  It was too dark in the cab.

Maddox got to show off some more of his cuteness.

And Connor went shopping at Piggly Wiggly (aka "The Pig")!

I couldn't get this girl to give me a serious smile all day!

Gwendolyn was NOT happy when Connor starting trying to elbow in at her register.

And there was once this giant grocer... (I finally saw the commercial, Dorothy!)

Before leaving the museum we headed outside to the "water works" area.  Tristian and Olivia made it rain, and Tristian pretended to be freezing.

Gwendolyn loved it, too!

Connor just liked messing with the boats.

But Kelsey couldn't figure out how to get this dumb thing to work, no matter how hard she tried!

And tried.

And tried.

And tried some more.  Sorry, babe!

I think a fun time was had by all.

And I do mean ALL.