Sunday, May 18, 2014

Summer Underway... Survived Birthday Season!

We are finally into Summer and survived the 4th grade (and both of them turning double digits). Kai and Sierra both did great (Kai finished with all As and Sierra all Bs). We're very proud of both of them. It was a busy year and we were very grateful when Summer break arrived.

Kai continues to excel at academics. He's ALWAYS reading and math/science concepts come very easy to him. He is very in tune to what goes on around him (especially Mom and Dad's conversations). He is always interested in participating in our conversations about saving money, investing, college costs, how much it costs to buy a house and our experiences with all of it. He has the makings of being a responsible, frugal guy, but he has a lot of time ahead of him to figure it all out.

Sierra loves sports, anything outdoors, and animals - especially cats. She is a solid muscle and always in motion. She's always up for a morning run with Dad, going to the driving range, or just playing out in the driveway for hours. She works very hard in school to get her grades. The materials is getting harder, but she surprises us each year and prevails. Whereas Kai is a saver, Sierra is more of a spender. She LOVES the claw machines. Hopefully she gets it out of her system before she ends up in Las Vegas one day.

They both continue to be such "great little people." It is exciting to watch their personalities develop and see what great character they both seem to have. We feel so blessed to have this life with them. We all learn from each other and are enjoying our journey together. It's certainly not roses all the time (although the pictures make it look that way), about God has blessed us all by bringing us together.

Here are a few of pictures from our 9th family birthday to the end of the school year... fun adventures!

The photo diary is below:

Family Birthday


Sierra's Birthday
Soccer and Cross Country


Colorado Ski Vacation   St Anthony's Triathlon
Kai's Birthday   Miscellaneous



Family Birthday (back to top)

We turned 9 this year! Kai and Sierra are getting big but it doesn't seem like its been that long. We celebrated with a family night at DisneyQuest and dinner at downtown Disney. Our grand finale was a night at Cirque de Sole La Nuba show. It was a lot of fun.


"Stop taking pictures Mom.. so we can get inside and play."


We are definitely in our video game era.

DisneyQuest is loaded with every game you could ever want to play. They loved our night.

Could not think of loving two people more than these guys!


The awesome Higgins' boys


"Who's going to win?"


"Go Sierra!"


Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday to us!


Sierra made us a Family Birthday Card.


Happy family Birthday to the Higgins family!

I hope this day will warm our hearts with love, fun, and together time!

And the most important thing is this will always be a family memory.

From your favorite kids: Sierra and Kai



This family will always be together and full of



love will always be through out this family






Soccer and Cross Country (back to top)

We had another great soccer season. We were undefeated! We have had the same core team for several years now and they have gotten really good playing together.

Cross Country was good as well. Sierra medaled in all her races (was the 7th fastest for the entire district for 9 year old girls). Kai improved as well.


















Colorado Ski Vacation (back to top)

We took a fun Spring Break trip this year to Winter Park, Colorado. Kai and Sierra had only gone skiing once in North Carolina, so this was a fun experience. It was a bonus that we we came through Denver and were able to see our good friends, the Blackwells. It was a great memory!


Up, up and away!


"Yeah - I got the window seat."


"Is it time for the free soda yet?"


It was so good to see Grace.


We missed fluffy dog.

La Crosse game at University of Denver.


We have missed our good friends, Grace and Barbara.


Funny girl.


Checking out the b-bikes.


They are messy birds but beautiful.


Good buddies, playing together again.


Sierra loves Campbell (aka fluffy dog).


Profile shot!


It was an hour wait, but worth it for all this whip cream.


Mr. Rob took us on a walk to see all the prairie dogs.


Love the Blackwells!


It was a beautiful day in Denver for a bike ride.


We made it. Time to relax!


"I love the mountains and beer!"


Kai ready to hit the slopes after ski school.


Ready to go!


Our home for a week.


Uno time!

There were no TVs in the lodge. We had lots of good reading time.



They had some great games we played too.


They served dinner and breakfast each day so we didn't have to cook. This was the "bathtub salad bar" we had each night.


It's snowing!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!


It was fun watching these birds each evening.


Each afternoon they had warm cookies and hot cocoa as we waited for dinner.


Ninja Kai!


Sierra's mini-snowman outside our room.

Time to hit the slopes.


It was a blizzard our first day.

Brr, brr...


I'd say the lessons worked!


We're on top of the world.


Let's get moving!


Happy 10th Birthday Kai!

Yeah - the Hunger Games!


Kai's birthday was a day of snow mobiling.

Snow angels.


It was freezing up at the top of the mountain. We all had to wear gators so our faces didn't freeze.


He's a happy, happy birthday boy.


Here's one for the Christmas Card (although you can't see our faces).

This is cool.


Daddy's happy!


Look how deep the snow is up here.


"Where are my legs?"


The girl mobile.

"Smile" - why bother... can't see your faces.


Our awesome guide.


We surprised Kai with an ice cream cake after dinner. He had a pretty good birthday and was happy to be in double digits.


Sunset from the porch.


After snowmobiling we went tubing for the afternoon. It had warmed up further down the mountain.


Woot, woot


Girls tandem run.


"This is fun."


Family fun shot.


Our cuties.



Back at the slopes.. it's a beautiful day.


We went to a different side of the mountain.


There were lots of trees and we were up so high the sky was so blue.


Dad took Kai and Sierra weaving in and out of the trees.


Here comes Kai.


"Check out this move."


"I've got to potty."


Tuck and go.


Fun times with the other kids at the lodge.


"Check out my air."


"Mine is bigger."


"Stay cool."


"Let's do this thing."


"Come on fluffy dog."


"Run, Campbell, Run!"


Grace flat ironed Sierra's hair... pretty girl.


Kai's Birthday (back to top)

Even though Kai's official birthday was while we were on vacation, we celebrated when we got home. We opened his presents and he had a laser tag sleep over party with his friends.


An oldie, but a goodie.


More great books!


I love birthday presents!


Sierra dressed up for the occasion.


Thanks for a great birthday Dick!


Laser tag rules!


Watch out, here she comes.


You better duck!


Jim enjoyed it as much as the kids.


Come on Mom - stop taking pics and play!


Go Paul!


Sniper Kyle.


Duck, Jack's locked in on someone.


Rambo girl.


It's all clear.


Got the perimeter secure.


Talking strategy.




Good day!


Watch out Mom!


The party crew.


We got them!


Duck and run.


Take cover.


Get em' Kai.


Last round, make it count.


Big fun.


Now it's time for pool fun.


Water gun fun.


Big jump.


Good way to cool off after laser tag


We need a strategy.


I'll take them out.


Come on Kai, let's shoot them from over here.


This party is awesome!


Good times.


Handsome boy!


Happy #10 big boy.



Sierra's Birthday (back to top)

Sierra's birthday fell on Easter this year. We had to have her sleep over/movie party the weekend before. She had a Minecraft party. Once again, she picks another theme which is hard to find any party materials for. Fortunately, the dollar tree had green and black balloons and we found a few posters.. she was happy. We celebrated her actual birthday on Easter weekend.

Minecraft party ready to go!


The girls ready for the movie (Rio 2)



Pool time!


Mia ready to get splashed.


Jade provided some musical entertainment.


Good friend.


1 -2 - 3 jump!


Some driveway time makes Sierra a happy girl.


Check this out... pogo stick with no hands.




The party girls.


Meredith, Jade, Sierra, Lillie, and Mia - silly faces.



Sierra's creation.. funfetti cake with blue icing and gummy bears on top.


Ready for the sleep over movie.



Sierra's birthday eve!


Her dine out choice was Gators for the Mac n Cheese (and the claw machine).



Dick came over on Easter to celebrate her birthday!


Birthday present from Mom and Dad... new trick bike and spikey helmet.



Easter dessert/Sierra birthday cake!


Practicing tricks.



Dad took a turn too.


Peeps birthday cupcakes for school.



Easter (back to top)

Easter was a bit chaotic with Sierra's birthday and Jim was on drums all weekend at church. We went to church on Saturday evening (1 of 5 services for the weekend). We went to Gators for Sierra's birthday dinner. Then we came home and dyed eggs. On Easter morning, we did our Easter baskets and indoor Easter hunt for the dyed eggs. Jim had to leave for church, so the rest of us went to the zoo for a couple of hours for their Easter festivities. We came home and made Easter dinner (and had a water gun fight in between cooking), then opened birthday presents. Sierra's birthday cake was an Easter bunny. We finished the day with the our Easter egg hunt with Kyle. Makes me tired recounting it all!

Dying egg fun.


"Do you think I can crack this egg on my head?"


The Easter Bunny came!


Good stuff!



"I found a couple of the eggs the Easter Bunny left."


Thanks for the Duck Dynasty characters MeMaw and PawPaw.


...And thanks for the WWII book too.


We didn't see our "scary Easter bunny" this year but luckily ran into this one at the zoo. At least we have one Easter bunny shot.



Cool old tortoise.


Best twofer shot I could get in the masks. Kai is getting a little too big to cooperate in costume pics.



Beautiful cheetahs posing for me.


The new giraffes were awesome.



We splurged and paid to feed them since it was Sierra's birthday.


Other than the fence blur in the shot, got a cool picture of this kitty.





Water gun fun.



Ready, aim, fire.


It was a cool day so after getting soaked, they were freezing.



Watch out Sierra!


Turn and shoot!



Kai, she's going to get you.


Easter egg hunt around the house.



Even though Mom cut back, we still had too many eggs.


Now it's time to open them to see what prizes we get.



St Anthony's Triathlon (back to top)

We went to St Petersburg for Jim's first Olympic length triathlon. He trained really hard so it was fun to see him get to put it all in action. It was also nice that we got to stay in a nice hotel and get some resort time.


Here was our home away from home for the weekend.


The pool was pretty nice.


Kai and Sierra have never met a resort they didn't like. Love that happy girl.


...and love that beautiful smile.


Crack of dawn... Dad is ready.


"It's so early ... there he goes."


Ready for the swim portion.


Kai had first "backpack duty."


Alright ... 40-45 males on deck.


Amazing sunrise! Jim's in there somewhere.


Almost done with the swim portion.


Ocean swim done... now on to the bike.



He's ready... leaving the bike staging area.


After getting pics of at least a dozen other "white guys with black suits and white helmets" --- we found Dad!



We couldn't see him when he left for the run, but here he is about 50 yards from the finish line!


We finally found him amongst the mob after the race.



Congrats! Huge accomplishment.



Miscellaneous (back to top)

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


We didn't get out camping as much as we'd like this Winter. We did get one trip to Wekiva which was fun.


Sierra enjoyed taking her skateboard for the first time.


Forrest came camping too.


Pretty girl!


Kai posing for Mom.


Smile girls!


Ah.. this is what it's all about.


Our spoiled old girl.


Movie time in the tent.


We had a nice canoe trip the next day.


"Ok mom, take the picture and then help paddle."


Cheering on Jim in a 1/2 marathon


Hanging in the hot tub after the race.


For science fair this year, they did a project with beta fish.


We now have two new pets .. fortunately no one got damaged in the experiment.


One of the rare pics Mom and Dad are in together.


Goofy Jim at Dan's 50th.


We had a nice visit with Mike at Dick's house.



Beautiful owl that paid us a visit this Spring.


DisneyQuest fun... Jim loves her hat!



"I'm not really going to look at you or I'll lose this game."


After Sierra's big race, we visited the Humane Society to hang with the kitties for a while.



Happy Birthday Dad!


Sierra anxiously waiting to see if he likes her card.



Love these guys!


Fancy family dinner at Fish Bones!



We wouldn't want this guy visiting often, but it was cool to get a picture of him before he flew away.


Kai made "All A Honor Roll"



Here are the 4th Grade Honor Roll recipients.


Quick game of Disc Golf.



It would have been more fun if the course was maintained.


It was very "weedy"



Love this girl... She LOVES the outdoors (but not so much her appearance).


Neighborhood photography outing.



Sierra in her element.


Percy - our honorary cat who partly lives at our house (and LOVES Sierra).



Thanks for posing!


Cool sunglasses, Kai.



Hey, get off our birdfeeder.


Happy Mother's Day! Ssshhhh, I stole Mom's cushion.




Funny face.


The boys!



The girls.


The meal... mmmmm!



Mother's Day beach outing.


It's a little windy.



Cool sand castle, guys!


Project Create crew!



Kai's team project.


Paper airplane competition.



Kai's project team and Ms. Leidner.


Kai explaining his part of the project to the head engineer.



Great job guys!


Kai and Ms. Hewitt, his 4th grade teacher.



Sierra and Ms. Crenshaw, her 4th grade teacher.



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