Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mom turns 40 and lots of fun fall activities !

Third grade has kept us extremely busy. It's a tough year but we're managing so far. Kai is doing well and still loves to read. He always has his nose in a book and so far school is still pretty easy for him. Sierra has to work hard for her grades, but she is doing well. We're blessed to have wonderful teachers this year. Sierra still loves to draw/sketch and play outside (in a tree or catching lizards).

In addition to school, Mom turned the big 4-0 and we took advantage of several fun fall activities. It's always a fun time of year for us. Unfortunately, this year, we had some sadness. Our Bud, passed away on 10/21 after 96 years (he would have been 97 on 11/5). His mind has been gone for a few years but we have great memories of all the years he was with us. He was sharp as a tack into his 90s (and even still drove). Not many people are privileged to have a Grandparent as long as we had Bud with us (and certainly not a Great Grandfather - so we feel blessed). We're so grateful Kai and Sierra had a chance to know their Great - Great Grandfather. He lived a long, full life and is finally home with Nana! We love you Bud!

Kai and Sierra last Christmas with Bud.


Kai and Sierra's notes to Bud to say goodbye.


The photo diary is below:

Mom turns 40


Halloween/Fall Activities

Fall Soccer Season


VA Trip
Class Pictures   Wekiva Camping Trip


Mom turns 40! (back to top)

Mom turned the big 4-0 this year. Dad, Kai and Sierra planned a small get-together at the house. It was a lot of fun! He had it catered and a caricature artist came which was great for all the different ages.

Mom took her birthday off work for a photography day and a visit to the beach. We wrapped up the day with dinner at the Melting Pot... not too shabby for a Tuesday birthday!


Higgins' family caricature


Dick getting his caricature.

The pool turned out awesome. We had pavers put in and they finished up the day of the party.


Arlen and Liz came up to celebrate with us.


Mom and Dad getting their caricature.


Bill by the bar.


What was left of the desserts ...


Kathy, Rebecca and Eddie.


Kathy and Bill.


Arlen and Liz (Thanks for making the trip up).


Dan (We missed having Karen).




Alivia with her caricature.


The kids chilling' out watching a movie.


The photographer for the night.


Dad arranging the music.


Kai looking pretty serious for his picture.


Kashlyn's first caricature (with Ligia).


Jim and Rebecca.


Happy Birthday!


Eddie and Rebecca's turned out pretty cool.


Carla and Rebecca


Kai and Sierra getting another caricature for mom.




Opening presents the day after the party.


Sept 11 - The actual birthday - started with free Panera.


This was a great place to spend several hours of solitude (with a camera).


There were lots of birds on the drive.


Pretty cool shot of a dragonfly.


There were lots of butterflies.


Awesome close-up of a bee.


This racoon was getting a closer look.


These pretty flowers were all along the drive.


Before seeing this guy, all you could hear was a big hiss. When Mom looked down, she saw him.


He "ran" behind the car ... here is a picture of him in the rearview mirror crossing the road.


Some manatees surfacing in the river.


40 year old feet at the beach.


Thanks Jan for the big birthday balloon.


Thanks Bunny/Ken for the beautiful flowers.


Dad and Kai at the Melting Pot.


Sierra looking goofy with her fondue fork.


Waiting on the food...


Mom and Sierra.


Birthday desserts...


Family picture.

Happy 40th BD Cake.


Blow out your candles.


Lots of birthday balloons and cards... it was a good birthday.



Halloween/Fall Activities (back to top)

We did a lot of fun fall activities this year. We finally 'bit the bullet' and went to Disney's Not So Scary Halloween, which was awesome. We also went to Seaworld's Spooktacular, Zoo Boo Bash, the Pumpkin Patch, Wekiva's Fall Festival and of course trick-or-treatin' on Halloween night.



Kai and Sierra at Disney's entrance.


Getting loaded up with candy.


Sierra scaring everyone at the Haunted Mansion.


So scary....


Posing with the zombie lady.



We rode Thunder Mountain Railroad several times... only 10 minute lines.


Screamfest on Thunder Mountain Railroad.



"I love this ride!"


Skull and crossbones on the mountain.


Kai sorting out his loot.


We're waiting on the parade.


All four of us were able to go trick-or-treating... good candy. We weighed it when we got home - 13 lbs of candy.


The headless horseman led the parade.


Here comes the parade.


Kai and Sierra posing again for Mom.


The downtown area was decorated very cool for Halloween.


The train station was even spooky.


Our "bracelets" so we could be recognized as "the special people" allowed in after hours.


Panera lunch with pumpkin cookies.


Mom and Sierra went to an art class and painted these cool cats... free hand.


Seaworld is a routine visit for us.


Trick or Treat!


Cool "stilt people."


Sierra with the Polar Bear character.


Handsome Kai!


They had a neat camera that distorted their faces.


Kai with a very big head.


Everybody smile!


The Halloween Spooktacular.


Aren't they beautiful?


"Check out my glow in the dark shirt!"


Shamu Rocks!


Kai and Sierra at the pumpkin patch.


They had a big bounce pillow.


Kai and Sierra are having a ball.


Woot, Woot!


The fall festival with Kiwi the Koala.


Kai and Sierra were top sellers of the Entertainment Books so they got to slime the principal.


Sierra got to go first and dump slime all over Principal Adamcyk.


Kai dumped a big load on her next.




Posing for mom in front of the Halloween cut-out.


One of the Entertainment Book prizes was a backpack skateboard.


Kai pulled Sierra around school on it.


This is all the prize loot!


Sierra was a lizard for Halloween (she LOVES catching lizards).


Kai was an Evil Jester!


He wanted a scary costume but Mom wouldn't approve a gory one.


Our lizard on the bamboo tree.


Smile... wait, we couldn't see even if you did... because you both have costumes with masks!


The zoo was our next fall stop.




"Now we wrestle!"


Creepy snake they insisted I take a picture of.


The last trick-or-treat station.


Mom got suckered into the face painting station. Kai got an alligator.



Sierra got a Halloween dragon painted on her face.


Good times!


Cute, funny owl we saw.


Can you tell they're getting tired of me taking their picture here every year?


We have pictures of them in front of this blow-up every year since they were 1. They're half way to the teeth.


Dad, Kai and Sierra's creation this year.


They did a good job on our pumpkin this year.




The Trick-or-Treat Gang.


Kai checking out his candy.


Another trick-or-treat station.


Our buckets are getting full.


"Come on guys, let's go to the next house."


It was a good night!


Now it's time to play in the driveway.


Happy Halloween!



Fall Soccer Season (back to top)

Soccer season was great this year. Many of the same kids came back this year so there was a good foundation to build from. They were able to use more strategy to advance the ball. It was a lot of fun to watch. Each year it gets more and more exciting.




2012 Fall Panthers































Virginia Visit (back to top)

Even though Bud's funeral was a sad reason to head home, it was nice to be around the family. We flew in for only a couple of days but had a little time to play with all of Uncle Jeffrey/Aunt Kit's toys.


PawPaw, Carla, MeMaw


Uncle Jeffrey let Kai and Sierra steer Bud's truck around the backyard.


Even though it was well supervised (and they couldn't reach the pedals), they felt like "Big People."

Kai was big enough to ride Hunter's 4-wheeler by himself.


Daddy and Kai cruising the backyard.


Daddy took Sierra on a spin.


"Smile everyone."


Sierra loves the chickens.


She practiced the art of catching one before they got away.


Uncle Jeffrey let her hold a duck as well.


The cousins.




Sierra collecting the eggs.


Kai got to feeds the chickens/ducks.


Uncle Jeffrey giving Kai driving lessons.


Our crazy girl.


Kai got so good, he even took Forrest for a ride.


Dinner time.


"We could do this all day."


Everyone all dressed up (can't put a camera in front of a Ward, no matter the occasion and not get a smile).


Smile for PawPaw!



Class Pictures (back to top)


Kai - 3rd Grade

Sierra - 3rd Grade


Camping Trip (back to top)

We haven't been camping since the Spring and were ready to get back outside. The weather was finally cool enough so we got away for a night to Wekiva - one of our favorites.


Close-up of a cool looking flower.


Hiking with Dad.


Kai found a walking stick.



Florida dirt.


Some residual burn mixed with new growth.


"I'm cool."


Hikin' Higgins


"Are we there yet?"


Time to relax by the fire.


Forrest was happy to come along on the camping trip.


Meditation after a long hike is good for the soul.


Oo-la-la - Fire time!


We only went camping for one night so we pitched the center tent.


Marshmallow mouth!


Spooky story time.


It's a scary story - can she handle it?


Please don't jump out at me in this one.


Ok - now the story got funny.


Hi - Mom.


It's a good one!


We had a wild turkey in our campsite in the morning.


Cool grasshopper we came across on our hike.


The "weeds" were taller than Sierra so she used her walking stick to clear the path.


See ya - time to go home!


Miscellaneous (back to top)

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


This little guy walked up to our house from the pond down the hill.



Sierra checking the pool out while it's drained for cleaning.


We got a new fence for our backyard.


Another view of the fence.


The pool with the new pavers.


Full of energy.



The deck turned out nice.


We finally fixed the kids bathtub. Unfortunately, they had to pull everything out down to the drywall but it turned out nice.


Forrest sleeping with Kai's kitty.


The morning of Jim's first triathlon (early...)


They wrote his age on one calf (and FT - for first time on the other).


Finishing the swim.


Heading out to the bike portion.


We're having a sugar breakfast treat while we wait for Daddy to come back from the bike stage of the race.


Kai and Sierra were on video duty.


There he goes for the last leg... the run.


This sandhill crane was hanging out at the race. It was almost as tall as Kai and Sierra.


Here he comes... to the finish line.


Kai and Sierra dressed for sports day at school.


Cool symmetry.

Sierra practicing her photography with mom.


Close-up of a lizard.


Out for a little afternoon golf.




We went to see the Blue Man Group with Mia and Sandra.


It was a very funny show - the kids loved it.


Mia and Sierra dressed in the toilet paper from the show.


Cool show.



Working to make some extra money.


We got discount tickets for Legoland from a friend, so we went on a teacher work day.



Oh no - he's got me.


Sierra brought her friend Jade.


Kai's friends Kyle and Jack came as well.


Sierra cruisin' around the park.


Kai and his friend Jack.


Sierra and Jade racing to the top.


No hands!


Slushy time!



The purple/blue tongue gang.



Kai and his friend Kyle locked up.



Pretty pirates.


Bye Legoland!


We had a long weekend so we went to Hammock Beach.


Sierra liked her room.


View from the kitchen.


The master bedroom.


The waterpark was fun but the water was chilly.

Check out my sandy bum.


It was so nice outside.


It's cold!


But still fun to play in...


"I love the ocean."


Ok Mom - we're smiling.


Kyle's 5th birthday party.


Sierra high in the air (with her zoo dragon face paint).


Check me out.


We went to the corn maze this year.


Sierra held our flag (we'd need in case we got lost).


On to the next clue.


Kai and Sierra with the hay man.


Hay John Deer Tractor.


Sierra at the Veteran's Day program.


They put Sierra in the middle of the group but we got a little peek of her from the side.


Kai was on the top section beside his friend Kyle.


Kyle and Kai after the Veteran's Day program.


Happy Veteran's Day!


Pic with Mom after the show.


Pic with Dad after the show.


Sierra's class after the show.




Kai lighting Dick's candles.


Happy Birthday Dick.


We didn't have a candle for 80 so we gave him two 40s.


Smile everyone!

Sierra's latest drawing.

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