Sunday, April 29, 2012

Birthday, Birthday, Easter, Birthday!

Where have 4 months gone? We've been busy, busy as usual. We celebrated our 7th family birthday, Jim's birthday, Kai and Sierra's 8th birthday (with a party in between), Spring break with MeMaw/PawPaw/Forrest and Easter. We have a month left of 2nd grade and are all ready for a break (and no homework for a few months)! Life is good and I still take too many pictures but they document our life's events better than words could.

The photo diary is below:

Family Birthday


Memaw & Pawpaw Visit

Family Camping Trip


Kai's Birthday

Ski Trip   Laser Tag Birthday Party
Jim's Birthday   Easter
Spring Soccer   Sierra's Birthday

Family Birthday (back to top)

We turned 7 this year as a family. January 11th marked the 7th birthday of our adoption in Kazakhstan. The kids decided a fun way to celebrate was to go roller skating. We all managed to escape injury and fortunately went during a weekday where there wasn't much of a crowd. We had a good time, even though it was a school night.



"Ready to roll"

"Look at me, I'm skating"


Daddy is a nut!

Daddy and his best girl, taking a spin.



Again... Daddy is a nut!


Steady, steady.


"I love this!"


Taking a break.


Happy 7th Birthday!


We took the time to play a few games. Of course, Sierra went to "Ole Faithful" the claw machine.


At home we played Headbandz.


Family Camping Trip (back to top)

We didn't get to camp much this winter because of soccer games, but we did manage to squeeze in a couple. This one was in Blue Springs State park. It was great weather and we were able to see a ton of manatees in the Spring. We love our family camping time (and marshmallows on the fire).

"Watch out - they're burned!"


Our handsome Kai.


Kai loves his marshmallows burnt to a crisp.


Sierra loves Daddy's "spooky stories."


Kai waiting in suspense for his next marshmallow.


Sierra helped act out the fireside stories.


Daddy is starting to freak Sierra out!


"Oh no, 'the hand' got her."




The big gray lumps in the water are the manatees.


We took a canoe trip.


The boys were in one boat and the girls were in the other.


Our outdoor girl.


"Come on girls!"


The turtle was modeling for us.


It was a little disconcerting but this alligator was chasing our canoe.

"Creepy - little to close for comfort."


Love this bird shot.



Hiking back to our tent.


Candy tongue #1.


Candy tongue #2.


"It's tickling my tummy!"


Cool contraption at the local park near our campsite.


Our annual picture by the sign.


Of course we have to do some geocaching. Seaworld placed this one.


"We found the loot!"


Dinner time!










Ski Trip (back to top)

We had the opportunity to take Kai and Sierra skiing for the first time this Winter. A friend had a condo in North Carolina and let us use it over a long weekend when the kids were out of school. We thought it would be all man-made snow, but to our surprise, we got about 5 inches of real powder while we were there. We had a great time, except Kai chipped his front tooth on Mom's ski pole (within the first 30 minutes of being on the slopes). That put a damper on the weekend but we did have fun and Kai and Sierra learned how to ski (sort of).

"We're ready to hit the slopes!"


Lucky we had our new DS' from Santa to take along for the plane ride.


The chipettes accompanied Sierra on the drive to the resort.


The kitchen.


The living room.


The master bedroom.



The kids' bunkbeds (although the first night, Sierra fell off top bunk in the middle of the night, so she slept on the couch the rest of the weekend).




"Snowball fight."


"Ha - got you!"


"Watch out, I've got ice blocks and I'm not afraid to use them."


Heading to the pool.


"I'm freezing my muffins off."


"Hurry, it's cold outside."


"Oh-la-la, the hot tub feels awesome!"


"Go Daddy, Go"


No diving.


But you can jump big.


"This is the life!"


Hello ski kitty!


Night tubing.


Always smiling.




Time to load up for another run.


"We made it to the bottom."




Our tubing pass.




It was beautiful to be there and see the trees after a couple hours of powder.


Our ski pass.


Sugar Mountain Ski Resort.


Hi girls!


Early day runs with hardly any snow on the ground.


Here it comes! It's fun catching it on your tongue.


"Now this is a snowball, not like those iceballs from last night."


"Let it snow, let it snow, let it show!"


"Look at all the snow on my hat, Mom"


"Here she blows... by the afternoon, you couldn't see the ground."


"We're freezing."


"Mmmmmm - warming up to a cup of hot chocolate."






Jim's Birthday (back to top)

Daddy had a weekday birthday this year. We celebrated a little during the week but then had a fun family golf outing that weekend.


"Happy Birthday, Daddy!"


Kai got the funny card and Sierra picked out a very sweet, serious one.


Kai and Sierra gave Daddy balloons in the morning when he woke up.


Golfin' time.


"Check me out!"




Future pro?


Love this picture of our awesome family.


Dick came out to celebrate with us after golf.



Spring Soccer (back to top)

Wow - soccer season this year was awesome! Things really clicked this year. The kids were all understanding the strategy a little more. They spread out and passed the balls. The games were quiet exciting to watch. Here are some pics from our Spring games.
















Memaw & PawPaw Visit (back to top)

We had a blast with Memaw and Pawpaw in March. They came down during our Spring Break and brought cousin Forrest. It was an action packed 10 days and the kids loved every minute of the spoiling. We made it to a fair, Legoland, Seaworld, the Science Center, the pool (many times), and Birthday World, in addition to their laser tag birthday party. We needed a weekend to recover after they left (but had to go back to work/school instead).


The 3 cousins (they were missing having Hunter there)


Always happy.


"Get ready for me to blow!"


"We all fit!"


The boys couch.

Sierra had a birthday party at Birthday World so we all went. Kai and Forrest likes this ball room.


Forrest didn't care for many of the rides but he did go on this banana one with Sierra.



The local fair was in town. Daddy, Sierra, and Kai were brave and went on this tilta-whirl thing.

No one got sick but they were all a little light headed when they got off.


We tried this ride with Forrest as well but not a favorite either.


Memaw found some water shooting games and won prizes for the kiddos. Sierra picked out this duck hat.


Forrest wanted a Superman top hat.


And Kai got a money bear.


We finally came across some rides Forrest liked. Sierra rode a few with him.


Silly Memaw.


Kai and Sierra were finally big enter to go on the swings.



Big time fun.



We went to Rita's after the fair. Memaw and Forrest have "July 4th" tongues.


We went to Legoland on Kai's birthday and then a couple of days later, went to Seaworld. Kai and Sierra had won passes at school.


The dolphin show is always awesome.



At the end of the show, all the dolphins jump at once.


We had pretty good seats.


The kids posed with the cast after the show.


More water games. Memaw is addicted.


Everyone won a parrot, courtesy of Memaw.


The go soaked standing by the water ride (which sprayed them every time a boat went by).


We saw sharks from underneath which was cool.


Kai took make of these pics (with mom's good camera).



He did pretty good. The stingray looks like it's smiling.


Another of Kai's photos.


And yet another.


We went to see the Sea Lions too.



They were really squawking for some food.


Kai and Sierra fed them a little (Forrest didn't want to touch the nasty fish).


Sierra in front of the pretty coral.


Pawpaw watching his back in the underwater tank...



.... while creepy guys like this swam by.


"I need a hat like PawPaw's"





This was a cool bird with a platypus beak.


There were lots of colorful birds.


Even though the park isn't owned by Anheiser Busch any more, they grounds are still kept up really nice.


Mom got to sit in the front row with the kids during the Shamu show.


Of course, we got soaked, and the water was freezing!


The kids dried fast in their bathing suits... mom was drenched the rest of the day.


Cutie pies.




Memaw sponsored another round of games. Sierra won this otter on wack-a-mole.


Kai and Forrest won octopus' on the horse ball game.



Merry-go-round time.



The line was long, but we finally got on the crab ride (Sierra's favorite).


PawPaw and Forrest.



The polar bear was out and awake when we came by.




Kai, Forrest and Sierra in the ice den.



The beluga whales.

"The bear shot."


"It's cool in here."


"We're a ton of fun."


Sierra jumped out in front of Pawpaw, right before he snapped the picture... crazy girl.


The dry group before the Shamu show.


Another pretty flower.


We lucked out at the end of the day before the park closed. We went down to the dolphin pool and everyone got to feed and touch the dolphins.


They came up really close.



It was very cool.


Goodbye Seaworld.


Kai and Sierra opening their birthday bag of loot from Memaw and Pawpaw.


Aunt Bunny and Uncle Ken send a stack of $1.


Kai and Sierra thought they were rich.





The big operation game at the Science Center.


"Check out the lady."


"Glad these guys aren't around any more... scary."


Forrest didn't care for the wind tunnel. He hung onto Kai inside.


Kai the sorcerer.

"Watch out - this could blow."



Our little scientist.


"I almost have the recipe perfect."


"Let me top it off and we'll be ready."


"We almost have it."



Watching themselves on the screen.





Licking the camo cupcake batter bowls.



"How do you like my green tongue?"


"Ta-da! Daddy can still lift me up."


Mom finally got in the pool.


Smile everyone!



"Can everyone say 'pool heater'"

The kids got coupons for the T-Rex restaurant at the Science Center.


We went their on Memaw/PawPaw/Forrest's last day.


"He's eating my head."


"Scary face or smile... mixed prompts."



Memaw and Pawpaw got suckered into buying Build-a-Dinos for everyone.... Thank you.


We dug for fossils after lunch.


"Can I stop smiling now?"


She always entertains Mom's picture-taking.


The cousins and their dinos.


Family picture.

Of course, we had to visit the HUGE lego store as well.


Kai's Birthday (back to top)

Kai's birthday fell on the first Monday of Spring Break. We let him bring a friend and we all went to Legoland for the first time. It is a very cool park. We lucked out because the crowds weren't too bad and the weather was beautiful (and we had coupons so all the kids got in free). We arrived when the park opened and stayed until closing. Kai had a great birthday... will be hard to top next year.



Sierra, Jack, Kai and Forrest

The space shuttle made of legos.




"No hands."


Memaw and Forrest riding the merry-go-round.


It is amazing to see these figures and structures made of all Legos.

Another Star Wars Lego favorite.


"Good buddies"


The kids and Lego man.


Group shot with Lego Man.


It got a little warm and this was a cool ride we cooled off in.


Daddy took the kids on this one several times... no line!


Here they come. Love the facial expressions.


Little Vegas.


Jack is taller than the Capital.



The detail is incredible.


The cousins in New York.


Huge Skyscapers.


The Statue of Liberty.


San Francisco.


Another cool city.


The crab ride, but Pharaoh style.


Crazy kids.


Beautiful Day in Lego Egypt.


Nerf ball guns on steroids.


The boys scored big on the Mummy ride.


"Watch out."


MeMaw found another water shooting game and won everyone Pigs - Thanks!


Of course, they gave them all very silly names ... added to their fun.


Forrest jousting.


"Win us another pig Memaw"

"Dun-dun, Dun-dun....."


More water ride.


Mom got a turn and Sierra held her hands up... woohoo!


Pawpaw and Forrest took a spin on the boats.


This is the first park, Sierra was tall enough to ride EVERYTHING! She felt like a real big girl.


"Hang on... this one is fast."

An entire car built of of Legos!


This was a very cool ride. The kids had to go to driving school and then had to follow the rules of the road as they freely drove around the track.

It was hysterical to watch.


They did a great job - no crashes!

The front size of the Lego Ford car.


Lego dinosaurs.


The safari ride.


The boys and their pigs.


Pawpaw and Forrest camouflaged to match the zebra behind them.


We hit the Lego store on the way out - what a fun day!


Once we got home, Kai opened his presents from Mom, Dad and Sierra.


The fun just doesn't stop!

Our dinner was a little ice cream cake Kai picked out. We were all pooped out! Happy Birthday Kai!


Kai's school cupcakes were supposed to have little Pokemon figures on them but they didn't come in time so we did sour patch kids on top of lemon cupcakes with lemon icing!

Laser Tag Birthday Party - Girls vs. Boys (back to top)

This is one of our most fun parties yet! The local zoo has a Battlefield Laser Tag outfit which is all outdoors with army tents, barricades etc. We had a gender team competition. The Alpha team (the girls team) consisted of: Captain Sierra, Jade L, Megan, Jade P, Alivia, Katey, Kiyla, Giselle, and Genna. The Bravo team (the boys team) consisted of: Captain Kai, Jack, Jerad, William, Kyle S., Kyle J., Forrest, and Sam.

They had several different missions (i.e., free play, capture the flag, find the captain, etc). It was so much fun as you can see from the pictures. we ended the party with camo cupcakes and goodie bags.


Happy 8th Birthday Kai and Sierra!
























































































Easter (back to top)

Easter is always a fun time around here. There are lots of Easter egg hunts and Easter bunnies to go see. Our local neighborhood event is one of our favorites. We went to that this year (and Kai actually had a birthday party there at the same time so it was double fun). We also went to the Hippity Hoppity Adventure at the zoo. Our final hoorah, was on Easter weekend. We went to church, opened Easter baskets and went to brunch at the country club which also had an Easter egg hunt. And of course we can't forget Mom's Easter egg hunt. Bottomline, we HAVE TOO MUCH CANDY!!!!!


The Wekiva Easter Bunny isn't as scary without the nose piece it normal has.


The 7-8 year olds scramble to gather eggs.


So many eggs, so little time.


Sierra got some Easter lightening bolts painted on her face.


The finished product.


Kai and his friend Logan.

Kai's double-handed technique got him a lot of eggs (put your bucket down and load with both hands).


Mia met us at the park for the Easter Egg Hunt.


Our annual picture at the zoo.


The parrots were showing off.


Not sure what was so funny about these lollipops, but Sierra was amused.


So funny - oh, to be 8 again!


Kai and Sierra has to answer questions at each of the stations to get their prize.


We found the zoo Easter bunny.


The tire swing is always a blast.


We spent a little time rearranging all the chess pieces.


Now, let's put them all back.


Kai's picture of the Emu.

"Check out my tail."


Love the tortoises.


The zoo got a new Cougar.


It's time to die eggs!

Serious business...


...don't drop it.


We've got our carrots ready for the Bunny (next to our beautiful Easter Lilly from Dick).


Easter Eve... swimming in the pool (in their underwear since it was dark).


"Let me have the ball."


Daddy wore a bathing suit to play.


The Easter bunny came!

Woohoo - we got more loot!


Before the living room looked like a bomb had gone off.


After the living room looked like a bomb had gone off.



My beautiful orchid decided to bloom on Easter after 2 years of nothing.


Fun macro shots with the camera (mom's fun).


Kai and Sierra got snorkels and masks from the Easter Bunny.


"Look, you can see the teeth marks on the carrot."


Smile for mom.


Our pretty girl, curls and all.


Kai is getting so handsome.


Love our babies.. so cute.


Our annual picture beside the dirty Bunny (although you can't see all the dirt stains from the picture).


Our 3rd Easter Bunny at Sweetwater.


Run! We need more candy!

Kai literally in mid-air running to a spot no kids have made it to yet.


Oohh... I see some more.



Kai and Sierra were both overflowing. We had to dump some in a bag to make room to finish the hunt.



Daddy and the kiddos.


Easter family picture.


"We're going down!"

The Easter Bunny brought some cool Sea Monster floats


"This is the life."

The afternoon was so nice, Kai went outside and built a ramp for his car (Christmas present).


Our 3rd Easter Egg Hunt at Kathy's.


"Remember to try and find the golden tickets."


"One of these must have a golden ticket."



"Don't forget to look up too."


A bag and a bucket full... Mom needs to cut back.


"Check out all mine".


Kyle made out pretty good too.


Golden Ticket prizes this year were Lego mini mystery figurines.

"We're pooped! Is the fun over yet?"


Sierra's Birthday (back to top)

Sierra's birthday is the finale of our Spring festivities. We made vanilla cupcakes with strawberry icing and Pokemon figurines on top for school. Her birthday was on a Friday this year so we let her have a couple of friends over for a sleepover. It was a success and she had a blast!


Sierra and Aloha (he class pet - she was Student of the Week again and got to bring him home).


Sierra letting Aloha lick some of the bowl.


They are ready to go.


Sierra got to pick one present to open the morning before school. Of course she picks the biggest one.


She was excited to get her new Kidz Bop music CDs.


The Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked movie was the grand prize.


Her whole sleep over was centered around this movie. She had to change out of her girly shirt to put on her new Chipwrecked shirt.


Not too bad for morning presents. It's going to be a good day.



In the afternoon, Mom picked Kai and Sierra up from school and we came home to open her other presents. Kai got her a Spongebob lego kit and Mom and Dad got her, her own Lego box.


Sleepover time with Mia and Jade.


During dinner, we had a huge storm.


It was the first time we've seen hail since living in Florida. We thought it was God's way of shaking things up for the party.


The girls played with Sierra's new legos quite a bit.



Kai recruited partners to play laser tag.


"Watch out Mia."


"You're going down."


Sierra was so happy.


Time for Chipwrecked.


We had intermission for our birthday ice cream sundaes.




"This is good stuff."


Sierra blowing out her candle.


Sprite and ice cream.... ready for round 2!


Jade doing her cool windmill hair trick.


Crazy faces!


"We're sugared up!"


How close can everyone get to the TV?


"Take a picture of me."



After mom stood at the door for 10 minutes, the girls finally fell asleep (all 3 of them crammed in Sierra's bed - their choice). They all slept the night threw and were ready to play again in the morning.


Jade turned 8 the day after Sierra so we put a candle in her waffle and sang to her.


She opened her present - her very own copy of the Chipwrecked movie.


Silly girls making crazy faces.


Miscellaneous (back to top)

In addition to all the fun described above, we had lots of other miscellaneous adventures (see below).


We participated in the Science Fair at school again.

Daddy, Kai and Sierra did an experiment on "How fast does your heart beat?" They measured a resting heart rate and also after different levels of exercise.


We went on another camping trip to Wekiva. They had just done controlled burns so lots of charred wood around. Sierra likes these "antlers."


"Here we come."


Love close-ups.


"I'm a ferocious beast."


We did a single tent since it was just one night.


Sierra mist as a treat... big hit!


And cookies....


Daddy and his girl.


Everyone loves the strobing flash at night.


Forrest even came this time. Our long hike wore her out. She was ready for bed.


Glow lights!


"Watch me shake it."


Bright eyed and bushy tailed.


Snug as a bug in a rug.


"What do you want?"


This was an easy camping trip... no cooking!


Love the donuts.


We went on a long hike with Forrest on Day 2.


It was a big treat for her.


Yoga in the woods.


Close-up pick of one of the palms after the burn.


More close-ups of our world.


This was a really cool path lined with trees.


Our last resting spot before heading home.


Dick came over in between the birthdays to bring more gifts. Kai got a couple of new DS games which he LOVED.


Wow! Thank you!


Sierra got a very cool horse pillow which she sleeps with every night.


She loved the box it came in as much as the present.


Not a bad life!


Daddy got baptized at church by Pastor John.


Kai and Sierra are turning into pros with their snorkel/masks.


"I may never get out of the pool now!"






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