Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday Season, Easter and Soccer !

The Spring is by far our busiest time of year. Right after the holidays, we celebrated our 6th Family Birthday! We then roll into Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day parties at school, Jim's birthday, Kai's birthday, Sierra's birthday, a combo birthday celebration for Kai/Sierra, Easter and Mother's Day... phew! We're exhausted. Also, during this time, we play soccer every weekend. We're ready for a break from the festivities by the time summer arrives (at least Mom and Dad are).

Kai and Sierra are finishing up the First Grade. We have been really happy with our new school. Kai and Sierra both got wonderful teachers who were perfect for their individual needs. Kai was also pulled into the Talent Development group (with the gifted teacher) for Math once a week. He really enjoyed his time there and we're hoping he is included in the program next year. Both of them made good grades this year (even though the grading system is S - Satisfactory and U - Unsatisfactory... a lot less stress than the ABCDF system we were on last year at age 5).

We're looking forward to our summer break. Kai and Sierra start swim team this week which we're excited about. We don't have big trips planned but I'm sure we'll get into something fun.

On that note, "Dude" (the word Kai and Sierra use when referring to most people)... enjoy all the pictures.

Below are Kai and Sierra's Spring school pictures, and further down are more details about how we've spent our Winter and Spring!


The photo diary is below:

6th Family Birthday
Science Fair
Jim Turns 40!
Kai Turns 7!
Ligia's Wedding
Kai and Sierra's Combo Family Birthday
Sierra Turns 7!
Easter Festivities
Mother's Day

6th Family Birthday (back to top)

The Higgins' family turned 6! We always do something special on our birthday. This year we went to play laser tag. It was cool because in the afternoon, no one was there and we had the entire place to ourselves. We played several games then went to eat at Chevys.


Family Laser Tag!

"Watch out!"


"Look out boys - you're going down."

"No chance, girls!"


We had to play a few games while were there.


Skeet ball is a favorite (but watch out if you're near the lanes).


We also got to ride in bumper cars.


The boys are out of control.


Woods Laser Tag was awesome!


"Be afraid, very afraid!"


Kai won 75 tickets so we got to "buy" some treasures.


Chevys for dinner.


The boys are gloating over their scores.


The girls claimed victory (not based on scores).


We let Kai and Sierra have a soda to celebrate (a rare treat).


Kai and Sierra both chose root beer.



Science Fair (back to top)

Kai and Sierra were able to participate in the school science fair this year. Jim took on this project with them. It was a lot of fun and a great learning for them.


The parents weren't allowed to go in to help setup. We waited like weirdoes gawking in the windows.


Sierra was the test subject for the experiment. Dad is taking a sample of her unwashed hands (it wasn't a stretch for her to go a day and forget to wash her hands). They then washed with soap and water (took a sample) and antibacterial and took a sample.

After the petri dishes sat for a week, it was obvious which one "won."


We had to type up our question, hypothesis, experimentation...


... show how we organized the data and make a conclusion. The anti-bacterial won!


Kai and Sierra got blue ribbons (so did all the children that participated).


"Wash your nasty hands."


Congrats to the Higgins' team.


I wish we could say the nasty petri dishes cured the hand washing problem... not so lucky.




Jim turns 40! (back to top)

This year was Jim's big 40! He didn't want a party or a big gift etc. We decided to do a small get together with a few of our good friends. We had so much fun at our family birthday that we decided to go back for laser tag for Jim's.

The over 40 and under 7 crowd!


Kathy, Amanda and Kerrigan.


Dan, Arlen and Scott.


Karen, Amanda, Kathy, and Carla.


Jim got Fatty Patty in the never ending rotation of gag gifts. She was driving our car when we left the laser tag place. We were grateful the "gifters" put a t-shirt on her (the kids wanted to keep her to play with).



Jim got a great Borat Mankini (wonder who will get that one next?)


The Hole Captain (Jim's upcoming job at Bay Hill).


The crew at a local pizza joint!


Say cheese boys!


Scott and Amanda.


Happy 40th Jim.


Jim and the cake.


"Karen, I can't hear you."


The weekend before Jim's birthday, we not only had our little "party" but we played golf at Orange County National.


It was a beautiful day!


Ladies turn.


Great shot Kai!


Afterwards, we went to Texas Roadhouse for a very unhealthy meal.


Nice faces.


On the night of Jim's actual birthday, Dick and Cathy took us out for a great meal at Stonewood.


It was a great night and a nice way to end the birthday festivities.


After dinner, we went back to the house for presents and cake.


Kai and Sierra helped.


Say cheese!



Happy Birthday Daddy!



Soccer (back to top)

We played soccer again this Spring. It was fun this season. They had goalies (Sierra was one of them) and in general, the games were much more exciting to watch since their skills have improved. Below are some pictures from the season.






Kai Turns 7! (back to top)

Our babies are growing up! Kai turned 7 in March. We went to Kobe for his dinner out. We shared the day with Kerrigan who turned 15! On his actual birthday (a Saturday this year), he took a few friends to Wonderworks for lasertag.

"Hurry up and take the picture so we can eat."


The birthday guys.


"Check out the coy fish."


They came to the table and sang to Kerrigan and Kai. And for the 2nd row in a year, Kai got a Kobe hat.


Kai got his own cupcake.


Kerrigan was kind enough to humor us for a "hat picture."




Posing on the bridge.


Crazy face.


Kai's birthday was on a Saturday this year, and school was out the day before, so he celebrated at school on St. Patrick's Day. He got his picture with Ms. Miller, his first grade teacher.

Kai chose to take brownies in for his class birthday treat. They had them at recess.


Kai's class on his "school birthday."


The "big day" was Saturday. Kai invited a couple of his buddies to go to Wonderworks for lasertag.


Jared, Kai and Jack are ready for action.


Sierra came too.


We played games.


Jared and Sierra played a mean game of air hockey.


Sierra was concentrating hard at this game.


Kai took a turn.


The kids did the obstacle course on the ceiling. Jared and Sierra weren't up for it so they played games while Jack and Kai climbed like monkeys.


This picture makes him look closer to the ground than he is... fortunately, he was tethered in the entire time.


Air hockey fun!


"You're almost there."


Kai got a little help from the worker to move on to the next section.


After the obstacle course, everyone went into watch the 4D movie.


We had pizza and cupcakes in the Cafe afterwards.


Kai wanted strawberry cupcakes (didn't even mind the pink icing... neither did his friends).


Gift time is always so exciting for everyone.


Happy Birthday Buddy!


Bye Wonderworks!


When we got home, we opened Kai's "family gifts."


His big gift was laser tag guns.


We played outside until we couldn't take the mosquitoes any more.


"Run for your life!"


"You're going down."


The winner (at least she thought she was)!



Ligia's Wedding! (back to top)

We're feeling old. Kai and Sierra's babysitter got MARRIED! Ligia watched Kai and Sierra when they were babies. We were excited to be invited and attend the wedding. It was beautiful (beautiful day, beautiful bride who did an awesome job on everything)!

"Don't tickle me."


After wallowing in the dirt, getting weeds in her hair etc., Sierra finally settled down and still looked presentable.


Our pretty girl!


Cool shades!


Eddie and Ligia.


Here comes the happy couple!


Sierra wrote Ligia and Brandon a little note for their tree.


Ligia and Brandon were kind enough to let us interrupt their dinner for a picture... aren't they all so cute?


Kai, spinning Sierra on the dance floor.


Sierra's got some serious moves.


"Check out my robot dance."


"Oh yeah - shake what your mama gave ya!"


"I love my Mama!"


Love this picture!


Rebecca finally stopped for some food (and a picture with us).



Kai and Sierra's Birthday Celebration! (back to top)

We had a family/friends celebration for both Kai and Sierra in between their two birthdays. Our Uncle Bob and cousins Sherry, Michael, Katey, and Natalie came for a visit. Kathy and Kyle also came for a little bit and so did Dick and Cathy. We had a big time in the pool and eating 4 Rivers BBQ.


The Dragons and their Power Ranger.


"Oooh bubbles" (they never get old).


Natalie even got her own pool.


Kai and Katey.


Natalie is a cutie.


Kai and Sierra.


"Whack it harder"


"Katey - thanks for positioning the 7 in the perfect position for a picture."


"Come on Kai, hit is harder."


"Woah, almost got it."


The magic whack has cracked it open.


Happy Birthday Kai and Sierra.


Katey got to blow out a candle too.


Present time!


Thanks Grandma Nancy!


The Dragon twins.


"Hey Kyle, your goggles are crooked."


Uncle Bob, Cousin Michael and Carla (Cathy in the background).


Cake time.



Sierra Turns 7! (back to top)

Now it's the little sister's turn to hit the big 7. She had her "fake birthday," as she called it, the Saturday before (her birthday was on a Wednesday this year). She decided on a Chipmunks birthday at home with a couple of her friends from school. Of course, that's more work for Mom, but she loved it.


Sierra chose a Funfetti cake and we decorated it with all the Chipmunk figurines (thanks Memaw for the ebay find).


Aunt Bunny sent 20 $1 bills... she thought she was rich.


"Look at my loot!"


We couldn't find cheeseballs but everyone settled for cheese doodles instead.


We made and decorated Alvin tambourines.


This was our Alvin Tambourine station.


We decorated with a few balloons which Kai and Sierra blew up the night before (and played with the week after).


Sierra used her Chipmunk animals to decorate.


Mom and Sierra drew more chipmunk pictures to hang around.


More pics and balloons.


The "Pin the A on Alvin" game.


The "Gotta Love Cheeseballs" game (toss the cheeseballs - aka little basketballs - in Theodore's mouth).


We played Sierra's Alvin and the Chipmunks Wii game.


"Whose turn is it."


Kai used his hand to find the target.


"Good shot Sierra."


Sierra collected the "cheeseballs" behind the game.


Not a party station but Sierra decided we needed some bubbles.


Now, it's time for the "Find Alvin" scavenger hunt.


The kids had to find clues. Each clue had another letter to fill in on their game card. After they found all the clues (and letters), they would know the location of Alvin.


It was hard to keep everyone together since everyone reads now and doesn't need an adult to help.


After cake, it was present time. Mia was very excited for Sierra to open her gift.


Jade is Sierra's good friend from school this year.


Jade brought her sister Jasmine - Kai actually had a good time since most of the girls were tomboys and liked to play beyblades.


The girls decided to play dress up. Nia and Mia finally put some of the dress up clothes to use.


The kids destroyed our play room. Mom worked extra hard to not freak out!


Sierra soaking all the attention in.


Miss Hanna really was enjoying herself.


The girls finally settled down long enough for mom to get a quick picture.


Sierra and Jade.


It was time to go... big hugs.


Nia is finally taller than Sierra (she used to be the one friend that was a little shorter).


Hanna gave Sierra a good bye hug.


Sierra posed for some pictures beside her birthday games.


"Look how easy it is when I'm standing this close."


One of the goodie bag favors was Simon glasses which Sierra wears all the time now.


Sierra's cake with the last scavenger hunt clue.


"Check me out - I'm Simon."


On Sierra's actual birthday, she took cupcakes into class. Mom couldn't stay since FCAT testing was going on, but Ms Crenshaw let us get a quick picture. Here is Sierra with her first grade class.


Sierra with her funfetti cupcakes (and Chipette shirt).



The night of Sierra's birthday, we went out to Gators (her favorite local restaurant to get Kraft Macaroni and cheese). She opened her presents there.


Sierra got the Brittany beanie buddy.


She also got her own CD walkman and new Alvin and the Chipmunks CDs ... a big hit.


Hola Mommy!


"Wonder what's in this box."


Yeah - the Chipettes.


Sierra talking to Memaw.


Sierra got a gift certificate for a horse back riding lesson.


"Check me out in my new Alvin night shirt listening to my tunes."


The day after, Sierra wearing her new Alvin t-shirt to school and listening to her headphones.


Sierra used her birthday money from Uncle Jeffrey/Aunt Kit and Aunt Bunny/Uncle Ken to buy this new guitar.



Easter Festivities! (back to top)

We made it to a few Easter egg hunts this year (and got way more candy than we needed). We asked Kai and Sierra if they still wanted to do the Easter egg hunts now that they're 7. They both looked at us like we had 3 heads (i.e., why wouldn't they want to rush to get eggs that will be filled with sugar - silly question).

Kai and Sierra waiting on their age groups turn at our neighborhood Easter egg hunt.



Every year the creepy Easter Bunny comes through the neighborhood on a fire engine. It throws candy to the kids.


"What are you looking at?"


The race is on!

1st successful hunt down!


Sierra opened her loot.


Kai counted his eggs to make sure he got more than Sierra.


We met Mia up at the park. She's 6 months younger than Sierra so she went in the age group below ours.


Our annual picture with the creepy neighborhood Easter bunny.



Sierra was happy with her stash.


After the hunt, we met Daddy to go play golf (on his new golf cart).



The day before Easter, we went to the zoo's Easter Hippity Hop Adventure. Sierra wore her bunny ears and they gave her a tail to pin on.


Kai even wore the tail this year so Mom could get a picture.


Sierra even sat still in the morning for Mom to give her french braids. She made a cute bunny.


Kai tried out the new playground equipment at the zoo.


Check out the big Savanna Monitor over their shoulder.


Go, go, go (the Easter egg hunt at the zoo).


We found a less frightening Easter bunny to get our picture with.


Time to dye the eggs!


We've got one of each color brewing.


"Let's make a blue one."


"How about a green one!"


We prepared a nice plate for the Easter bunny.


Our family Easter egg.


We made a dozen for the Easter bunny to hide at the house.


We're ready to go!


Sierra made a cartoon for the Easter Bunny.


Yeah - the Easter bunny came!

Cool stuff!


Happy Easter!


Thanks Memaw and Pawpaw for the extra Easter loot.


"I love my Diary of the Wimpy Kid movie book."


I guess the Easter bunny liked our food.


We found 4 so far, keep looking!


The chipmunks decided to play piano Easter morning.


Our handsome boy!


"Aren't they the cutest kids you've ever seen?"


Now - make a funny face!


Sassy Sierra.


Easter afternoon Sierra floated in her new raft (the Easter bunny gave her).


Chillin' out in the pool.


"Check us out."


We went to Kathy and Bills for dinner and our annual Higgins' Easter egg hunt.


"Run, before all the eggs are gone."


"My basket is getting full."


"There is one in the tail pipe."

"I found one in the flower bed."


"Time to open up and see what we got."


"I love this."


"This one is hard to get into."


A few of the eggs had "Golden tickets" in them. The kids cashed them in for a bigger prize. This year, it was a movie bucket.


The movie bucket had a Sierra Mist (a treat because it's soda and Sierra's name).


We finished the day off playing in Kathy's pool.


"I'm just hangin' around."




"Check out my muscles."


We had our movie bucket on our family movie night (outside by the pool).


"Mmm, twizzlers, cracker jacks and Sierra Mist, yum!!!"


It was a great night for our movie.



Mother's Day! (back to top)

Mom had a great Mother's Day. We had a great, leisurely morning around the house, then went to the late church. After church, we went to brunch, followed by a manicure/pedicure for the girls and pool time. The weather was beautiful!



My beautiful babies.


They're not so little any more.

"Give me a hug, big brother."


Hanging with the lions.


"Take a picture of just me, Mama."


Dick joined us for our Mother's Day brunch. It was quite a spread.


Thanks for taking the pictures, Dick.



The Higgins'


Kai and Sierra both made great gifts at school.

Mom's gift was a manicure and pedicure with Sierra.


We had a great afternoon together.


And now have beautiful nails.


The pool was finally warm enough for Mom.


Say cheese everyone!


Sierra and her shield.


"Good kick, Kai."


Cool picture of Sierra "walking on water."


Kai used his raft as a shield in the water gun fight.


Peace out!



Miscellaneous (back to top)

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


We have played golf several times this Winter/Spring.


Kai and Sierra have gotten a lot of use out of their golf clubs (a Christmas gift).


"Don't I look cool."



"I'm a tough guy."


We went camping at Blue Springs - now one of our favorite campsites.


"Watch out"


There were 252 manatees in Blue Springs when we were there.


It was amazing to see them in the wild, especially since there were so many of them.


The winter months are a great time to see the Manatees because the water is warmer for them.


They don't let boats in the spring to protect the Manatees.


Sierra, our wilderness explorer.


If there is a swing in the area, she's on it.


"I'm a scary animal."


The chipmunks go with us most everywhere.


Sierra spent some of her Christmas money on this Manatee.




Cooking dinner as it's getting colder and colder.


Daddy and Kai playing War.


"Let's see what patterns we can make with these light sticks."


This campsite had a great layout.. nice privacy.


We went to the old mill for a pancake breakfast. You make breakfast yourself - right on the table.


"Let's add a few more chocolate chips to this one."


Before our hike, Kai was educating us on the poisonous snakes to look out for.


We stopped for a break and to check the map.


"Check out my cute kitty hat and mittens."


Florida in the winter.


"Daddy, don't tickle me."


"I found me a varmint in the woods."


"Are we close to the end?"


We helped out with an air potato raid. The air potatoes aren't native to Florida and they choke out the trees and plants. The county has volunteer events periodically to get rid of the potatoes before they sprout.


Team Higgins' (Kai, Sierra and mom) won the prize for the biggest air potato.


We went to a festival at one of the local elementary schools. Kai got a creepy snake painted on his face.


Sierra (in her Alvin shirt) got a cute lady bug.


We met up with Nia and Hannah there, so we got a "face painting shot."


We took a pontoon boat out with our friends Barbara/Rob and Grace. The kids even got to drive a little.


Rob was the navigator, telling Sierra where to steer.


Kai liked being in charge.


Our snaggletooth cutie.


We saw a beautiful blue heron.


This was a fun picture... an action shot of the bird catching a fish.


This guy was drying his wings in the Florida sun.


"Which way should we go, Daddy?"


Our handsome boy.


What a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.


"How do you like me now?"


Kai concentrating on making his turn.


Happy days!


"I'm free as a bird."


The day wouldn't be a normal one unless Kai and Sierra get some wrestling in.


Captain Kai.


"Sierra, let's make a left."


Since they were coincidentally wearing pink/red, this became our Valentines' Day picture.


Sierra changing up the pose.


We wore our football shirts for the Superbowl Party at Kathys. These are the rival teams in FL... it will be funny if they end up attending those later in life.


Yikes... no teeth!



Sierra resting with Forrest. Poor Forrest had some minor surgery and had to wear the "cone of shame" for a week.


Victory! Finally balancing on the bike after many months of trying.


"Check me out!"


"I can bike on the road now!"


"Watch out world - here I come!"


We were so proud of our victory, we packed up the bikes and went to one of the local bike trails. It was a great confidence boost.


Very focused.


Piece of cake.


Sierra got chosen as the First Grader of the week. Kai had the honor earlier in the year and Sierra patiently waited to be chosen.


Sierra did a great job! She insisted on wearing her Alvin shirt for her TV debut. She remembered all her lines with Mr. Pfeiffer.


Kai and Sierra have been taking piano lessons since September. They were even able to play Christmas songs around the holidays.

They are both doing fantastic and even playing with both hands together now.


We went to the an open house at school where the First Grade art projects were on display. Kai is standing next to his self portrait.


Sierra's self portrait was higher up on the wall. We couldn't get her picture next to it.


The Koala (the school mascot) made an appearance.


...and so did Clifford the Big Red Dog. Sierra still loves pictures with characters.


Jim and Carla renewed their vows at church (after 14 1/2 years of marriage).


Our Spring Break plans changed when MeMaw and PawPaw had to cancel their trip. Dad took a day off and went to Aquatica and Mom took them to Seaworld.


We missed having MeMaw and Pawpaw with us but made the best of it. Mom even gave in and let Kai and Sierra play a game (a coveted activity saved for Memaw).


Leroy #2 has really become a perfect companion for Sierra. She often wears him like this and he seems to like it (his tail is wagging as he's toted from room to room).


Here is a view from the back side.


We had to cancel one of our camping trips because of a conflict with soccer, so we took a weekend trip to the beach on another free weekend.


We went up to Ormond Beach for a few days.


Our condo was nice.


Kai figured out how to use the TV within the first few minutes.


This was the view of the water park and beach from our room.


Sierra always tests the "bed bounciness" out.


"I needed this vacation."


It wouldn't be a trip without the chipmunks.


Daddy's glass is as big as Sierra's head.





Sierra's artistic view of the chip.


Sierra carried our groceries upstairs.


Kai in deep thought.


This is the view of our condo from the beach.


Getting a foot bath...


Crazy lady coming this way.


A strange jelly fish we saw on the beach.


On this trip, instead of collecting shells, Sierra collected crab "lids."



The indoor heated pool was our night time activity.




"Check this out mom"


Sierra walking her boogie board.


Daddy and Sierra build a bath in the sand.


Kai got his boogie boarding time in.


The pictures make the water look a lot rougher than it was.


Sierra has no desire to go out in the water. However, she loves when Daddy takes her on a "walk."

Kai and Sierra were both tuckered out from the sun. They fell asleep after resting in the chair for 5 minutes.


She was out!


So was Kai.


We covered them up so they didn't burn.


She finally woke up but was groggy.


"We have our second wind and are ready for dinner."


Another beautiful Florida evening.


Sierra and Daddy played soccer on the beach.


For 7, Sierra looks like quite the muscular hard body.


She tried playing the day before but didn't have shoes so it didn't last long.


She insisted on wearing tennis shoes the next day.


A little dribbling back and forth.


We played a little football after soccer.


"You can't get me, Daddy"


"Catch this!"


Sierra hanging out in the hot tub.


Kai enjoyed the slide at the water park.


He went down it many times, trying to convince Sierra it wasn't scary.


Daddy even went down a couple of times.


The water turned off in the slide for some reason, so Sierra decided to go down since it was slower.. now she loves it.


Kai went down with no water too.. he liked it better when it was going faster.


We had another golf outing. The kids are really getting good. They make good contact with the ball now.

They both get excited when they make contact with the ball and it goes in the air.


Our ants came in the mail for our ant farm (a gift from the Easter bunny). We've enjoyed watching them make many tunnels.


Sierra and Leroy posing for a picture (Sierra is often in these Simon glasses... and Leroy is often hanging around).


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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004