../images/ Daily Journal

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Goodbye 5th Grade/Elementary School, Hello Summer!

We went on several camping trips in the Spring and MeMaw & PawPaw came for a visit over Spring Break. Between that and our sports schedule (soccer and cross country), we stayed busy until Graduation. It's hard to believe but Kai and Sierra are now officially done with elementary school! We move on to middle school in the Fall. They both finished strong and each had several awards at the end of the graduation ceremony. Elementary school was a good experience for us. We were at a great school and loved our teachers. We're keeping our fingers crossed that Middle school will be the same.

Here are a few of pictures of our Spring adventures!

The photo diary is below:

Fort Desoto Camping


Mike Roess Gold Head Camping


Camping on the Farm
Soccer and Cross Country   Wekiva Camping
Memaw and Pawpaw Visit   Orlando City Soccer/Disney Trip
Kai's Birthday   5th Grade Graduation
Sierra's Birthday   Miscellaneous



Fort Desoto Camping (back to top)

We camped at Fort Desoto in the St. Petersburg area in January. It was too cold for the beach but beautiful Florida weather for camping. We had the book the spot 6 months in advance to get it, but it was right on the water. This one goes on our list as a family favorite!


We saw a water hermit crab at low tide behind our campsite.

The sunrise was beautiful from our campsite.



This bird was "fishing" in low tide.


A view from the back of our campsite.



Jim chillin' out in the morning behind the camper.


There were pretty hibiscus growing around the area.



Kai and Sierra in the "fort jail."


The osprey are "fishing" as well.



Kai enjoying climbing trees.


Sierra is doing a little tree climbing too.


Kai and Sierra have both learned to widdle with their pocket knives.


Serious sibling discussion.



Not only could we see the sunrise (to the right), we had the sunset to the left of our campsite.


They osprey are hungry again.


Jim, Kai and Sierra with Forrest on the dog beach.


The girls on the dog beach!



Fort Desoto... we will be back!




Mike Roess Gold Head State Park Camping (back to top)

Our February camping adventure was at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park (that was a mouthful). It was North of us. It was our first camping trip we decided to bring a friend. Jack was able to come for the long weekend (one of Kai's best friends). We love our family time, but this was a nice treat for them.

We camped Saturday - Monday since the kids were out of school.


It was Valentine's weekend so the kids each got a little treat to start the weekend.



The campsites here weren't as woodsy as many we stay in but it was not bad.


The kids all squeezed in together for spooky story time.


Everyone had to tell one.. of course the stories went from scary to silly.


Forrest was bundled up for fire time.


Nothing like a good ole game of checkers.


We didn't see much wildlife on this trip.. only this little guy.


There was a little brook/river which ran through some of the hiking trails. Luckily no one fell in and got wet.


Ready for our hike!




Smile for mom!





Check out the cool growths on this log in the woods.

Love the Florida palms with the sun shining through.


Taking the road back from our hike .. ready for some lunch.


We went to the lake to fish. After not having any luck, the kids decided to scoop minnows with their nets.



Dinner time!


We had fun playing corn hole after dinner.



Campfire - night#2.


Geez... that's quite a flame!



Good times!


Everyone slept separate but they would congregate in the mornings to play their video games.


We decided to check out some geocaches before hitting the road for home. This location has a cool "moss man."


Afterwards, we hiked by the river again.



Stump stool!




Soccer and Cross Country (back to top)

Soccer was tough this season. We moved up a season early (to the 12 and 13 year old division). The kids we played against were huge, the field was bigger, and it was clear we were behind a year. We knew this going into it, but we not lost a game in a couple of years and this was the best way to upgrade our game. We lost all but 2 games and it was a real challenge for everyone to learn to lose. A good lesson though. The good news is the next season will be with our age group (the old kids move up and the younger ones come to our division).

Cross Country went well this year. Kai and Sierra both placed in several races. Sierra continues to be in the top 3 in all her races. About midway through the season, Kai decided to run an age bracket up and he started coming in the top 10.






































































Memaw and Pawpaw Visit (back to top)

MeMaw & PawPaw came for a visit over Spring Break. We had a nice, low-key week, enjoying the break from school.

The first weekend they were in town, there was a carnival we found.


They enjoyed trying a few rides.



Luckily they had each other so none of the rest of us got nauseous on the twirly rides.


PawPaw had fun playing with Mendy's wide angle lens.



Kai/Sierra/Sam and Alivia in a wide angle view of the pool.


We went fishing a couple of times.



This day wasn't particularly lucky.

PawPaw and Kai.



Memaw was baiting the hooks with bread.


MeMaw and Kai.



Pawpaw and Sierra.


The only thing we caught was a turtle.



One last ditch effort before calling it a day!

We went camping for a night (well, Jim, Kai, Sierra, and PawPaw did).


Dinner in the RV.


Dad getting the fire going.



Hanging by the campfire before Memaw and Carla go home for the night (we came the next morning and brought donuts).


We saw a wild turkey in the morning.


On the hike we took on the first day, MeMaw saw a snake and ran back to the RV. She reluctantly came out for another hike on the boardwalk.


Sierra checking out a butterfly that landed nearby.



He stayed still to pose for a picture.


Our Day 2 of fishing was much more successful.



Kai caught 3 in a row in this spot.


Sierra got lucky as well.



This spot proved a great one for us... better luck than we have had in a long time.


Mom caught one too!



Kai liked taking them off the hook.


Dick and Kai.



Since PawPaw and Sierra's birthdays were both in April (and we wouldn't be together), we had an early celebration for both of them.


Sierra opened her presents early.








Kai's Birthday (back to top)

Kai had 3 friends over for his 10th birthday. We went to Rebounderz to play then back to the house for swimming, dinner and a sleepover!


Kai and his posse.


"Jump higher Sierra!"


"Did you see that?"


The boys are getting crazy.


Love that smile!


Now it's time for some dodgeball.


Sierra holds her own with the boys.


"Look how high I can jump!"


"You guys are going down!"





"Hmmm, who to pummel next?"


"Check out Sierra's height!"



"The flying squirrel!"


Jack and Kyle racing through cubeland.



Kai and Paul trying to race across.


"Woot woot."



Nothing like a little sugar after burning off some calories.


Goofy faces!



Time to cool off in the pool.


"You're doing down."



"This water is chilly."


"I'm melting!"



"1 - 2 - 3 Kaboom!"


Water balloons never get old.



"How many people can we cram on this float?"


Water balloons go into the evening!



"How big can they get without popping?"


"I'm filling mine up on the water jets."



Cake time... Same and Alivia came over to join.


Actually Kai chose brownies and ice cream for his treat.



Sierra's birthday wrapping on Kai's present.


Kai and his presents (including his new bike).



"Check out my gifts."


New bike!







Sierra's Birthday (back to top)

Sierra did a repeat of Kai's birthday agenda. She invited 4 friends. One could not jump at Rebounderz and another wasn't able to spend the night. The girls had a blast!

The crew at the first 1/2 of the party.


Mia leaping into action.


Gabby and Sierra ready to roll!


Light jumping from Alivia.


Mia is pooped out!


Little B-Ball time!



Kai moved on to play some dodgeball!


Alivia, Gabby and Sierra trying to dodge the balls (check out Sierra mid-air in the back).



...and we have come full circle back to the cubes.


"I may look evil... but I'm actually sweet"



"I can't get out of here!"







"The Frog!"



Our crazy girl!


Rachel made it for phase 2 of the party.



Sierra and here buddies.


Sugar and 5 girls = giggle fest



Pool time!!





That killer whale has gotten a lot of action over the last few years.


Out come the water balloons again!



The ladies posing for mom.


I think Mia's balloon is much bigger than the ones the boys made.



Awesome Rachel... don't pop it.


Sierra picked a great bunch... they all like to play outside like she does.



They had a little night time basketball game before movie time.


Sierra was excited about her cake... funfetti, purple icing, covered with sprinkles and gummy bears = stomach ache!



"We love sugar!"


"Yeah - present time!"



Movie time and the sleepover = much laughter and long night!

We spent Sierra's actual birthday as a family.



She opened her presents and we went to Gators for dinner (her favorite restaurant). She won an animal from the claw machine.


"Pucker up Gator"



Love my remote control car!







Easter (back to top)

Easter was early April this year. It was in between the two birthdays (Sierra's birthday is normally our busy Spring caboose). This year was a bit of a downer. Kai and Sierra are growing up and Kai declared he didn't want a basket because he didn't believe in the Easter Bunny any more. After some drama into the evening (& putting the Easter basket away), and after a talk from Dad, the basket came back out and Kai was grateful for the gifts. Why do they have to grow up?

Dying eggs the night before Easter.

Big smiles!


The Easter Baskets! (full of candy and hiking items for the big trip)


Nothing like candy at 6AM.


Time to search for the eggs...


Is there one on the mantel?



Time for church! Love these two!


Dad was on drums at church, but the rest of us went to the Zoo's Easter event (has turned into our annual tradition).



They tolerate Mom's picture-taking!


They had a cute little baby goat.



He wanted some of Sierra's candy.


They have been playing on this swing since they were babies. They barely fit now.



"Peek-a-boo, I see you."


We caught the leopard taking a bath.



Cute little screech owl! We had one of these behind our house not too long ago. It looks tiny but it's fully grown.



Pretty blue/gold macaw posing for us.



Mom got her Easter Bunny picture for PawPaw's calendar.


They have camel's at the zoo!



We splurged and took an Easter camel ride.


We wrapped up Easter with our annual Easter egg hunt at Kathy's.



"I must get eggs."


Kyle in search of the loot.



Kai made out pretty well.





Looking for the tickets!





Camping on the Farm (back to top)

Our friends have a farm/nursery about an hour away. They invited us and another family to come camping for a night. They bought each of the kids a chicken on the way out there which was super fun. We had great weather and a lot of fun!

Lilly, Mitchell, Sierra, Jack and Kai with their baby chicks.


They are so freakin' cute when they're not pooping everywhere.


The stream we camped near.


"I named my chicken, Cocoa"


The babies are hungry.


They loved the freedom of running around the farm. City kids pretending to be country!



John fired up the old John Deere tractor to take everyone on a ride.


"We're ready to roll."



Jim helped undo the electric fence so we could get into the pasture ... don't let the ends touch!


A cute baby calf wondering what the heck we were doing there.



Loved this old tractor!


They had a bone graveyard. All the old bones from the cows that died went there.



There were really big bones from different body parts.


A skull.



Cary's skull.


Our little beauty!



"Let's roll!"


"What are you looking at?"



Crazy kids!


"Sun gods, bless these chicks"


Little warm for a fire, but we roasted marshmallows anyway.


Jim gave it a whirl... you could only get close for a couple of minutes then had to cool off.



Burn, baby, burn.





"Come bay cow, come here."


"Leave my baby alone!"



The farm gang!


Ready for another hay ride.



"Check out this pelvic bone on my head."


There were very cool, old trees on the property.



They were great for tree climbing.


"I'm going to jump off, ready?"





Goodbye ducks... they moved to the nursery closer to home after our trip.



Jack and Kai - good buddies.


Bye, bye baby chicks (Cocoa and an Elite - Kai's chicken)



Next time we see you, you'll be huge!




Wekiva State Park Camping (back to top)

Even though Wekiva State Park is 5 minutes from our house, it is still one of our favorite campgrounds. We often try to stay here when it's during soccer season (since we have to book the site about 6 months ahead of time and we don't have the soccer game schedule).

The boys relaxing in the nice Florida weather.


Car racing time!


Handsome little dude!


Look at those cute dimples!


Higgins' evening hike.


We lucked out and saw a deer cross the street on our way back.



Run, Forrest, Run.


Kai thought he'd get in some sling shot time, but the older man next to us yelled at him to stop.



A campsite down the street from us left all their food out. The raccoons were really happy about it.





This dragonfly was really cool. It stayed very still for this picture.


Sun on a palm... can't resist!


We followed this wild turkey as it cruised down the path behind out camper.

Kai was in charge of the fire tonight. He did a great job!



Relaxing by the fire.


Mama's girl!



This is what you get when you have hot sizzling sticks swirling midair by the fire.


"Now that's a fire!"




Orlando City Soccer & Disney Weekends (back to top)

We had a very lucky night! We got the "nosebleed seats" to go see an Orlando City game in the new arena. We watch all the time on TV but haven't been to one in person in a couple of years. We got there early to tailgate. The kids had a great time playing soccer with other kids while we grilled out. We decided to walk around a little before all the pre-game vendor stations got busy. A lady came up to us and asked if we were Florida residents and if we lived locally. Once we said yes, she asked if we would like to be the Disney family of the night. She then started explaining what that was... upgraded front row seats, field access, free merchandise (Disney and Orlando City), a movie of our family on the jumbo-tron during the game, and 4 3-day passes to Disney! Of course we said yes... amazing luck!

Kai holding his free rally towel - one of our winnings.


Sierra holding her towel!


We got to hang out before the game on the field while the players warmed up.


Orlando City's Midfielder Kaká


Front row seats!


Front row seats from this direction!



The new field and jumbotron looked awesome.


We picked a great game to go to.



We won 2-0.


Sierra inventoried our loot when we got home.



The outside of the new arena.


Kai and Sierra before the game.



We dressed in our Purple Pride shirts (a freebie we got at a prior game before they became MLS). The Disney lady said she thought we were cute all dressed the same and it drew her attention to us! Pays to dress like twinsies!



Kai and Sierra with more booty (scarves, sunglasses and our passes)



The Higgi enjoying the pre-game action on the sidelines.


Mama loves free stuff!



We had to dress in Disney shirts (over top of our regular ones = 15 extra pounds), hats to make the video they showed before the game.



We're ready for the game!



Our first free Disney Day!


Sandra and Mia have passes so they came with us. Mia showed the kids a scavenger game in the park.



This is what happens when you're bad.


Naughty girls?



Mom made it in one picture.


Giggling girls on roller coasters! (could be a band name)



Sandra looks normal, Kai wasn't happy to be moved from the front seat, Jim is a nut!


Roller coasters are an approved place to scream to the top of your lungs.



"That was fun!"


"Let's get wet!"



Brave kids in the front row!


Time for a train ride.



The kids got to announce the train leaving.


"Please mom?"



The flaming dragon in the parade was awesome.


The Disney photographer was nice enough to take a picture with our camera as well.




The Higgins' clan by the castle.


We decided to make a weekend of our free passes (so Disney got some $$ out of us anyway).


We stayed one night in their All Star Sports hotel so we could get up and hit the park early.


The pool was a nice "Pre-wash" to get the theme park funk off.


"Take a picture of my hand stand, Mom"





We got into Animal Kingdom early before the crowds hit (via Extra magic hours for hotel guests - we got in an hour earlier).


Kai got a picture of this Rhino from his side of the car on the safari.



"Are you ready for the Twirly Whir?"


"Mom, are you going to throw up?" Barf... this is not a ride for someone who gets vertigo. Apparently the look on Carla's face during the ride made Kai and Sierra crack up.



We hit the White Water Raft ride early so we had time to dry (although it rained for a good part of the day - dry is overrated).


We ended up on the wet side of the boat.



We were soaked. Jim was the only one who had the sense to wear fast drying clothes.


Soaked to the core...


Bats folded up for a rest.


Then they opened! It was freaky.



Sierra wanted a picture with Rafiki.


You're never too old for a petting zoo.



The pigs were nice and still for the kids.


This old goat liked chewing on the fence.



We had to get Sierra's picture with Chik-a-leel (what she used to call Chip and Dale when she was little).

Mama ape taking a nap.





This little guy was pooped out.



Animal Kingdom rocked (even though we accidentally wore the same shirt and looked like twins).


Day 3 of our pass we used the following weekend for Epcot.



Jim was on drums so we we went in the afternoon/evening.


"That flash is really bright"



"Check out my theme park hair."





Mission to Mars ... Mama is going to throw up (after taking this picture).


Puppet play.



"Check out this flamingo"


Test Track was down all day and opened up right before the park closed... we ran over and got on.




Our cars came in first and second!



5th Grade Graduation (back to top)

Kai and Sierra are finished with elementary school... sigh. It has been a wonderful school for us and we're sad to leave but they are growing up. They both achieved several awards during the ceremony.

Kai received: All A award (only 7 in all of 5th grade), Perfect attendance, 25 mile cross country recognition (only he and Sierra got this one.. 2nd and 3rd highest), physical fitness recognition, top 3 accelerated reader, Sunshine State Book recognition and President's Education Award

Sierra received: All A&B award, Perfect attendance, 25 mile cross country recognition, physical fitness recognition, Sunshine State Book recognition


Sierra dressed up for graduation. She wore a fancy dress, heels and we did a french braid in her hair. It was a big difference from the boy clothes she normally wears.


Kai receiving the an award from Principal Adamcyz.


Sierra receiving an award from Asst. Principal Fose.


Kai receiving another award from Asst. Principal Fose.


Kai receiving the President's Education Award.


All A Honor Roll for all of Elementary School!



A/B Honor Roll!


Sierra and her good friend, Rachel.



Sierra and Mia - friends since preschool.


Sierra and her AM teacher Mrs. Padilla.



Mrs. Davis has been a great help to Sierra for elementary.


Sierra and her PM teacher Mrs. Lofton.



Kai and his AM teacher, Mrs. Hull.


Kai and his PM teacher, Mrs. Padilla.



Kai and his good friend Kyle.


Kai's cronies from his class.



"Check out my awards."


The President's award!



"Look at all the awards I got!"


Bye, bye Wekiva Elementary!




Miscellaneous (back to top)

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


This year for science fair, Kai, Sierra and Mia did an experiment.


They measured how much weight different shaped "boats" could hold before sinking.

They had fun and learned something about volume and density.


Left side of their poster.


Middle of their poster.


Right side of their poster.


5th grade gets to go on a Mud Walk. Kai and Sierra both enjoyed it. Jim and Carla volunteered.

Carla ended up chaperoning both dry days. Jim got the wet, muddy day with Sierra's class.



When MeMaw and PawPaw were in town, we went over to an airshow on the coast.


PawPaw taking some pictures of the Blue Angels.



This was a cool plane.


It was really neat to see the formations.



This one was really cool. It was advanced and had technology not found in other aircrafts.

Planes from different generations.



Fat Albert.


The Fat Albert coming close to the crowd.


They showed how this huge plane could stop really quick if necessary.


The Blue Angels.



Kai and Sierra got to meet one of the pilots and talk to him about what it takes to become one.



This one looked like a space craft.



Just another afternoon around the Higgins Pool... drinks courtesy of Dad.


Mmmm... thanks for the whip cream.



Enjoying our little slice of paradise.


Sierra loves her kitties.



"Look away... I said look away"


Our 17 year old Forrest still as cute as ever.





<< Previous Post   Next Post >>