Sunday, July 20, 2008

Our Summer - Camping, Beaches, More Camping

So far this summer, we've gone on two long weekend camping trips, spent time at the beach, and celebrated four holidays (Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and 4th of July). We're always on the go, but we have fun (and take too many pictures).

Kai and Sierra are so much fun now. Instead of the regular physical accomplishments we had when they were younger, now it's more mental growth. You never know what they're going to say, or repeat, or how their little minds will interpret different situations. Sierra keeps us laughing, and Kai's questions about everything (What, Why, How...) keep us on our toes. Here are some of our favorites:


Fort Wilderness Camping Trip (April 27, 2008)

We hadn't been camping for over a year, so we decided to go again (now that the kids are older). We went for a long weekend at Disney's Fort Wilderness. The weather was beautiful and we had a blast.

Here are some pictures from our weekend...




"Thanks for my canteen, MeMaw."


"Come on Mom, when is dinner going to be ready?"



Kai and Sierra floating on the Daddy raft.


"I'm going to get the ducks."


"I love to dance."


"Yeah! Daddy got us an iced rice crispy treat.. we needed sugar."


"Camping is awesome. I love getting dirty."





"Woo-hoo, dinner is ready!"


Mommy is helping Kai make dough boys.


Chip 'n Dale never get old.


The outdoor movie was CARS. We lasted for about 1/2 of it and then headed back to our tent.


"Stop taking pictures mom. We're tired."


"Yeah... Fruit Loops at last." We splurged on "crap cereal" for the weekend. Sierra was looking forward to having this breakfast for weeks. It is now synonymous with camping for her... eating them dry, right out of the box (she did have "real breakfast" before this treat.)


"Hi, Mommy & Sierra."


We couldn't go to Disney's camp ground without going to Disney, right? We lucked out and got to meet Mater from CARS.

Kai practicing his Power Ranger moves while we wait in line (using his shadow as a mirror).


The Power Rangers rock.


The girls with their light up ears.


Kai and Sierra waiting at a traffic stop.


Sierra is enjoying herself being one with nature.


"Having fun is hard work. I'm pooped."


"Mmm, marshmallows."


"Chip last night, Dale tonight, I can't believe it."


Dale sat by us while we were waiting for the movie. Kai even got him to sign his book (he doesn't care about getting autographs like Sierra does).


"Kayaking is fun."



Kai was a big help dragging his paddle in the water. Mom's arms were hurting by the end of our kayaking trip.


"Hi, Daddy and Sierra."


At the beginning of our weekend, Kai declared that he wanted a pet of his own. Of course, we told him when he was older because it was a lot of responsibility. When we checked out from the weekend, Kai found a really fat caterpillar crossing the sidewalk. He asked if this could be his pet (since we'd already "raised" a couple of butterflies before). We let him bring it home. After researching the caterpillar on the Internet, we found out it was a monarch butterfly caterpillar. We made it a home and got some milkweed for it to eat. The next day, it was a cocoon. Kai checked on it every day.

After a couple of weeks, Kai the butterfly came out of the cocoon.



Mother's Day (May 11, 2008)

Daddy, Kai and Sierra served mom breakfast in bed. It was really nice (although they crawled up in bed and ate most of the food, while mom opened her cards/presents). After everyone got up and moving, we went to church and then headed to Disney for the day. Mom's the one in the middle with the short hair (recently donated her ponytail to make wigs for cancer patients).



Here is Kai's present for mom. At school, they made a card and a little keepsake box.

Sierra made a flower pot (with her picture as the flower) and a card at school.


Daddy let Kai and Sierra pick out their own cards for Mom. Kai chose a cat card, where the cat moved when you tilted the card. Sierra chose a rooster card that played music. She "borrowed" it after Mom opened it.


Kai and Sierra making breakfast for Mom.



"We've never met a Jungle Fury Power Ranger."


"Here they come."



Father's Day Weekend / Jetty Park Camping Trip (June 13 - 15, 2008)

For Father's Day weekend, we went camping at Jetty Park (a camp ground near Cape Canaveral and the beach). It was hot/humid, but we still had fun. The ocean breeze was really nice... although nights in the tent were a little stuffy.

We lucked out and were on the beach when the shuttle landed (we heard the sonic boom but unfortunately didn't see it coming in because the direction it landed from). We did see many cruise ships coming and going (the beach and camp ground was right near the big port where the cruise ships launch).

Here are some pictures from our weekend...




Kai was showing off on the swing. He's been practicing on the swings at the "big kids park" at school. He doesn't want to be pushed. He gets going all by himself.


Here is our campsite.


Daddy and Kai roasting marshmallows over the charcoal grill (no open fires in FL).


The city boy, getting a little taste of the country.


"Tickle, tickle."


We took a break from the beach to have lunch at the park.


"Is it nap time yet?"


Kai's picture of our feet.


"I love hanging out in the tent."


We took the rain fly off on the 2nd night to circulate some air in the tent. It was a pretty night (and luckily didn't rain).


"How do you hold your head up?"



"We're the Higgins' monkeys."


"This is the life!"


"Hey, there is a ship going by." (It was actually a gambling cruise ship).


Waving at all the "little people" on the Carnival cruise. We're going on a Disney cruise this year, so Kai and Sierra got a kick out of seeing the big boat go by. Sierra wondered how we were going to get tiny enough to get on our boat (since all the people that were waving looked so small).


"We love this beach."



Kai and Sierra made Daddy cards at school.


July 4th Weekend

We usually head up North for the 4th, but opted not to since we're meeting family in August. Since we're normally not in town for the holiday, we didn't have any set traditions, but we found some fun things to do.

Dick invited us to the FL Hospital Foundation Celebration on the 3rd. It was a great family event. They had food, games for the kids, bounce houses, face painting, cotton candy etc. It was all free. The end of the evening, we could see the fireworks from the local city celebration. That was the start of our weekend.

On the 4th, we went to the Winter Park 4th of July celebration which has all the same fun kids activities (bounce houses, face painting, balloons etc. .. free if charge).

We wrapped up the weekend with Dick and Eva (had a great swim/cookout at Dick's house). Kai and Sierra loved swimming with Eva in Dick's pool.

Here are some pictures from our weekend...



"Happy Birthday, America"


Kai and Sierra decorated our mantle for the 4th.


"Who has cotton candy?"


Sierra getting her face painted as a patriotic tiger.


Kai chose to get his face painted as a patriotic colored spiderweb (he wanted Spiderman, but this was as close as she could get... pretty cool).


Our view of the fireworks from the hospital rooftop.



You can't have a 4th of July without an enormous inflatable slide.

"Ah...I'm going too fast."


"I love my Daddy."


"Yeah, mom made it in a picture. We love long holiday weekends."


The Higgins' first home firework show materials (Daddy was a little embarrassed to display such a "small show" given his affinity for fireworks. It was a last minute decision to purchase them and was the perfect amount for our 4-yr old show).

"Cover your ears, she's going to blow!"


"Run... faster, Daddy."


This is one of our "good ones."


Daddy took Kai and Sierra golfing while mom ran errands.


"Alright guys, hit the ball in the hole."




Tampa/Busch Gardens Weekend

We have passes to Busch Gardens from when MeMaw and PawPaw visited. We decided to take a quick trip for the weekend. We headed over to the beach for the day, then checked into our hotel for the evening.

Kai and Sierra attended their first happy hour (the manager's reception at the hotel). They had orange juice and snacks. After we ate dinner, we went to the Summer Nights event at Busch Gardens. It was a lot of fun.

Kai and Sierra loved the "magic bed" they got to sleep in at the hotel (the pull out couch). That wasn't nearly as exciting as the hotel breakfast buffet. Sierra spotted the Fruit Loops from the 7th floor (she was allowed to have some after eating something healthier). Kai hit the omelet station for his made-to-order egg (mushrooms, sausage and cheese).

We spent about 4 hours at Busch Gardens (partially in the rain), before heading home. It was a fun, whirlwind weekend.

Here are some pictures...



Sierra on a "shell run." One of her favorite things to do at the beach now is collect buckets of shells.


This was a bonus find.. a piece of a coconut shell.


This beach is made out of crushed shells.. they're everywhere.


This is the big climbing area at Jungala.


Kai and Sierra posing with Summer Night time characters.



We loved chillin' with the frog.



"Hold on Kai. This is really fast."


Sierra sitting in the hotel window sill where she could see the Busch Gardens roller coasters.


On Day 2, we started the day with rain. Sierra didn't care, she saw this thing on stilts and insisted on having her picture taken with it.

"Hey, monkey, come see me."


The gorilla baby was fun to watch. He hung on his mom's back most of the time.


Kai is a crazy man.


"I'm a backseat driver..."

"I'm winning"





Here are a few miscellaneous moments from the non-holiday, non-trip weekends


Daddy and Kai flying a kite at the beach.


Amanda and Scott had us over to jet ski at their house.


Kai could have done this all day (so could Daddy).


Today was a sad day... we had to set butterfly Kai free.


"I love characters, even if I have no clue who or what they are!" (a pelican life guard at SeaWorld).


Here we are at the church country Memorial Day party.


Kai and Sierra hamming it up for the church photographer.


Sierra was dancing to the country band.


Mrs. Karen, that is too high.. but I love it!"


"I love my Kerrigan."


This is Sierra's new feat in the pool. She can blow water out of the noodle.

"I love swimming with my new goggles.. thanks Memaw."


The mini-Kazah reunion at the zoo.


Avery and Sierra at Avery's VPK graduation party.




Sierra at her best friend's birthday party.


Kai, Sierra, and Mia twirling fast!


Kai and Sensai Mike.


Sierra and Sensai Mike.


A few weeks ago, Mom, Sierra, Kai and Forrest came outside to see this snake about 12 - 18 inches away. Mom pulled everyone back in the house (not remembering the rhyme to determine if this one was poisonous or not). After quickly taking a picture, we headed out the garage and to school/work. We could see the snake from the car, heading away toward the flower bed. Once at work, mom compared our picture to one on the Internet and confirmed it was a Coral Snake (one of the most poisonous snakes in North America). We had a "snake guy" come out to look for it, to no avail. He did educate us about them, which made us feel better.

We realized it was time to educate Kai and Sierra. We told them that this snake was dangerous and if they ever saw one, to not get near it and come get Mommy and Daddy. Mom asked both of them to repeat the instructions to make sure it had sunk in. Kai repeated verbatim. Sierra, on the other hand, stated she was going to kill it, cut it up and throw it in Mr. Dick's yard (which he was excited to hear about). She basically heard nothing after "it's bad" and being our "protector" decided she could take care of it for us. It took about 2 days of "coaching" for her to agree to the "alternate plan."


Sierra's art project from the Art Museum family day (George Shrinks was the theme).


Kai's "George Shrinks" Art.


Sierra's picture of our family. Starting from the top right and moving counter-clockwise: Mom, Sierra, Kai, Daddy and Sierra's new little baby brother (in the house)..NOTE: this is her fictional baby brother since we are a family of 4.

Kai's picture of his "Kai Butterfly."


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