Sunday, August 26, 2007


Over the last 2 months, we hit the road/sky for our family vacations. Normally, we head back home one week each summer to visit both our VA and WVA family. This year, the Higgins side of family had a family reunion in Myrtle Beach, SC. We spent a week there in July, then traveled back to VA to visit the Ward side of the family for a week.

As usual, we kept on the move and had a blast. The pictures tell it all...


3 Year Old Pics
(Mom's attempt at belated 3 yr old pics)









Higgins' Family Portraits
(Courtesy of Aunt Bunny)





Thanks to Uncle Don, the entire Higgins and Short sides of the family (Grandma Nancy's brother's family) came together for a week in Myrtle Beach, SC (July 4th week). Kai and Sierra had never met some of their aunts/uncles/cousins (on the Higgins' side), and we'd never met the Short side of the family. It was great visiting with everyone.

We spent most of our week in the pool, at the beach, or at the hotel water park, but also had a great time at all the family functions. Carla got to play "photographer" for all of the week's events (the 300+ pictures are pared down to the few below)...

Floating down the lazy river.

"Don't get me Daddy."


"I almost made it to the bottom."



"Smile for the camera."


"Calgon, take me away."


Digging to Florida


"I love this beach."


"I love this sand."


"Surf's up, dude."


Waiting for the next wave.


Body surfing.


"I caught the wave."


Jim and Sierra introducing the Higgins' side of the family at the reunion brunch.


Aunt Allison helping Kai play the game at brunch.


Cousin Seth and Sierra.


"Hey look. I can do the splits."


Attempt at a family picture at Dixie Stampede.


After one time with Daddy, Kai was ready to brave the water slides on his own.




Kai's self portrait.


Sierra needed some assistance going down the water slide.


Say cheese on the beach.


"I'm going to catch you. No, I'm going to catch you."




4th of July fireworks on the beach. There were big displays down either end of the beach, but there were also "private displays" every 25 yds all the way down the beach... it was pretty cool.



"Throw me higher, Daddy."


Sierra and her cousins, Brad, Seth, and Evan.


Grandma, Sierra and Kai after another fun day.


"I've got my popcorn, and I'm not afraid to use it."


Aunt Allison, Aunt Nancy, Uncle Matt, Grandma, Daddy and Uncle Pat.


The Higgins' clan. Kai and Sierra's aunts, uncles and cousins.



We hadn't been back to Virginia since Christmas so we planned a trip in August to visit everyone. It was a busy week. Kai and Sierra went to vacation bible school with Hunter, we had a pool party, went to Busch Gardens and Water Country, and spent a lot of time at the pool. It was a fun trip.. we needed another vacation from our vacation. Below are some pics from our adventures...


Ready for take off.. Mom got us the best seats.. last row, no window, and right next to the potty.


Resting up for our week of fun.


Jim, Carla, Aunt Bunny and Diana at the Dave Matthews Band concert (MeMaw and PawPaw babysat).


"While Mama and Daddy were out at the concert, we were making an ocean dessert at Vacation Bible School."


"Yikes... I'm getting wet." We didn't bring bathing suits to VBS so Sierra played in the water with no shirt.

"Give me a kiss." Sierra with Aunt Kit.


"Watch out.. my turn is next. You're going down!"


Kai hoping for a strike.



Kai going off the diving board the first time. We didn't know how he and Sierra would do (or if they'd go off the diving board at all). This was the first of many jumps.


Sierra would usually smile and wave (at anyone nearby) before taking the plunge.


MeMaw teaching Sierra to use her arms above water when she swims.


Kai wasn't interested in a swim lesson.


Hunter on the Submersible Cruiser.

"Daddy, you need to get some sun."


PawPaw and Kai taking a cruise. Kai loved the submersible cruiser. He is big enough to make it motor on his own so it was all he wanted to do at the pool.


We lucked out at Busch Gardens. Our first stop to the bird aviary, they were letting the kids hold the birds. Sierra did really good holding still (and thankfully didn't try to hug it like she does all other animals).


Kai was a little unsure of the bird (hence the strange look on his face), but he stood still for a picture.


They had great rides for the kids. Here is Kai on the little water flume ride.


Sierra riding the little boats.


Hunter was a great "big brother" for Kai and Sierra. He "showed them the ropes" of riding the big kid rides (and made sure they were buckled in and stayed in their seats).


The Bees and Lady Bugs (Sierra, Hunter, and Kai going round and round).

MeMaw and Kai on the Dragons (Kai was jerking her up and down the entire ride).


Hunter and Sierra talking about something important as they fly by.

Sierra got picked in the Festhaus to dance up front. Kai actually got picked too but wanted no part of it.


"MeMaw, I think we got a fish."


Everyone is a winner (cool game... you paid once and each kid got to play until they won).


Kai flying solo.


Sierra as Hunter's copilot.



Mommy and Kai riding the big swings. Kai was actually about 1/2" too short to ride but the attendant tilted the stick a little when he was measuring him. Kai loved it.



Sierra wanted to go on the big swings but was about 2" too short, so we went to the little kid swings. She kept waiting for it to go high and fast. Needless to say, this ride got a "lame-o" from both Kai and Sierra.


Hunter and Kai on the hang gliders.


Then onto the balloons...


The boys on the sky lift ride.

"Hold on Grandma" (Sierra refuses to call her MeMaw)


The cool new roller coaster that Mommy and Daddy rode (while MeMaw and PawPaw took Kai and Sierra to Dragon Land). It drops at a 90 degree angle going 65mph after hanging at the top for 3 seconds.


Hanging out.. waiting for Daddy, MeMaw and Hunter to get off a "big people" ride.


"I look like Zoolander."


Daddy and Kai for another round on the hang gliders.


Hunter and Sierra take a night time ride on the balloons (and can't stop giggling after kicking their feet on the bottom of the ride).


Uncle Jeffrey teaching Kai and Sierra to shoot water balloons, while Mom and Dad are on their last roller coaster.


MeMaw, Kai, Uncle Jeffrey, Sierra and Hunter on the teacups.


Ready for bed.


PawPaw, you crack me up.

"So MeMaw, how are we going to catch any fish without a pole?"


"Choke up on the bat and swing real hard."


"Hey, it went the wrong way."


The boys are ready to roll.


"Hold on Bud."


Awesome kiddie pool at Water Country.

"Weeeee.... The water slide is fun."

Daddy and Kai on the water slide (we started off on the kid areas).

Mommy and Sierra on the water slide.


Kai liked it so much, be took MeMaw back.

"MeMaw, I'm tired."


"Daddy is so crazy."


Watch out..PawPaw's coming.


"Pawpaw, can we do it again?"


"Here we go again."




PawPaw and Hunter before the raft plunges.


"I got your nose."



Kai and Sierra graduated from the kiddie rides to big rides. They could actually ride most things in the park as long as they had their life jackets on (and they wanted to go on everything they could).


One day while at the pool, a newspaper photographer from the Suffolk News Herald took a picture of MeMaw and Kai for the paper.



Aside from our vacations, we did some other fun things over the last few months.



We went to Gatorland with Avery.


Mommy and Sierra riding the alligator.

The girls petting a savannah monitor.



Swimming off of disappearing island.


"This life jacket is pretty cool"


A beautiful day in FL.


"I'm going to scare you."


Relaxing with Daddy.


"Do you think we can make it all the way to the lighthouse, Daddy?"


Shamu, Sierra, Penny the Penguin and Kai.


We still love Elmo.


Sierra is now into puzzles. She needs a little help but is doing pretty good putting together 24 piece puzzles (we actually took a travel size 50 piece puzzle on the plane... she managed that pretty well too).


Sierra taking notes in her first money management class. Our friend Katie invited us to her bank for family day. The kids sat in a class and got a piggy bank at the end.


Kai won the boys bicycle that was raffled. It was a little big, so Katie gave us the receipt to exchange it.


The fireman came to family day and let the kids shoot the water hose.


"Watch out, I'm going to knock you over."


We exchanged Kai's bike for two smaller ones and two helmets.


We're still working on peddling (they still prefer to be pushed).


Kai at Avery's birthday party.


Sierra coming down head first (breaking the rules), at Avery's party.


We had a great time. Ipez is an indoor bounce house place. The kids had a ball.

And.. Avery gave cool princess birthday gifts (Kai didn't notice he was in the minority at the princess party and Chad got him a boy gift so he didn't have to wear jewelry and princess shoes).


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