Sunday, September 29, 2013

Summer was too short, back to school!

Because of our crazy work schedule, we didn't get out for any big adventures this summer, but did take a couple of weekend trips. One of those was to see our "Kaz cousins" who were down in Florida for a short vacation (we haven't seen each other in a few years, so it was a real treat). We also made a last minute road trip back home to WVA/VA, which was a lot of fun. It was a quick trip but a nice get away nonetheless.

Before we knew it, school was starting again - 4th grade! The time is going by way to fast. We make the most of it, but wish there was a pause button sometimes. Kai and Sierra continue to be the light of our life! They are not perfect, but they are perfect for us. God knew what he was doing when he formed our little family.

Despite not going too many places over the last several months, somehow there are still hundreds of photos documenting our life. A few of them are below.

The photo diary is below:

Captiva Island Weekend


Kaz Cousins

Summer Swim Meets


Carla's Birthday Weekend
VA/WVA Trip   Miscellaneous

Captiva Island Weekend! (back to top)

We planned a last minute long weekend trip to the West Coast of Florida. The "Vacation Gods" weren't on our side because a tropical storm blew in the day we left and hit the spot we went to. In addition, we ended up having to work the majority of the time. Despite all that, we made the most of it, including playing on the beach in the beating rain until we couldn't take it any more. The sun came out after a couple of days and the storm passed so we did get some good pool/beach time for a short period. The kids had a blast!


Trying to catch fiddler crabs.






"Catch me if you can..."

Silly Dad with a strange plant.


"On your mark, get set...."




This guy stood in place forever... perfect pose.


Hibiscus in bloom.


"It tickles."




Daddy and Sierra.


When it finally stopped raining, we found a ton of shells.


Sierra's net doubled as an air guitar (not sure what song she's singing).


The sunsets were gorgeous.


Sunset walk on the beach.


The sky looked like it was on fire.




"I love being on vacation!"


Brotherly love... (Sierra oblivious of the rabbit ears).


Our sweet girl.


Pelican posing for Mom.


Fruity drinks by the pool.




One of the many Periwinkles Sierra caught.


"Watch out below!:"


This osprey parked above us at the pool... he was checking us out as much as we were him.


For the Gulf Coast, we actually had pretty good little waves.



"Bombs away."


We caught a bunch of conchs. We even brought one home to put in our aquarium, but it didn't like our crab :(.

A semi-sunny day at the beach (at the rain stopped).


Another beautiful sunset.


This point felt like you were at the end of the earth (with the two best kids in the world).


Fruity drinks for our shelling.


We found out a day later, but this awesome shell, had a HUGE live hermit crab in it (way down in it). We were lucky to not get pinched.


Yeah - sun (and Mom in a picture)!



The Higgins' girls...


... and the boys.



This restaurant had dollar bills stapled to the walls, ceilings, doors etc. People would sign them and they put them up as decoration.


Great spot - would be nice to get back there when we could partake in more activities.


Our last day, we decided to go jet skiing.



A 1/2 hour ended up being plenty of time, before everyone was pooped out.


Our big hermit crab that we accidentally killed.

Yeah - sun! One last pool shot before we hit the road.



Summer Swim Meets (back to top)

Kai and Sierra were on the local swim team again this year. They get better and better each year and it's a lot of fun. Below are some pics from the season.
























VA/WVA Trip (back to top)

We decided at the last minute to drive up for the July 4th week. We split out time in WVA with Grandma Nancy and VA with MeMaw and PawPaw. We still had to work while we were gone but it was really nice to see our family (and K/S loved getting away, especially seeing all the animals at Grandma Nancy's and visiting the cousins).

Forrest was ready for a good night's sleep after day 1 on the road.


"Ah... hotel life."


Forrest doesn't know Sierra is giving her rabbit ears.


We drove through Radford on the way and stopped at Mom's old apartment.

Here are Kai and Sierra in front of the Psychology building where Mom and Dad met in graduate school.


The campus has grown a lot. It was cool to go back and show the kids "where it all started."


We finally made it to WVA. Daddy took us to an overlook to see the mountains.


The deer came to visit every day. They stopped to eat apples in Grandma's neighbors yard. Sierra would sit out there every day, waiting on them to come.


Forrest did great on the road trip but was ready to get out of the car (and Jim was ready to have her out of his lap).


River swim!


Kai loved the cold mountain water.


Poor Forrest's arthritis flared up from swimming in the cold water. Luckily she bounced back after we got her warmed up.


Swimming with the fishes.




3/4 of the family... Mom couldn't handled the cold.


Hanging out on the bridge...


This mushroom looked like one out of Alice in Wonderland.


"Mom - stop making me stop and smile."


Apple baseball.


Sierra made a "fort" for the deer. She built it with sticks and put apples and leaves in the middle hoping to entice the deer into Grandma Nancy's yard. Unfortunately they didn't come over until the day after we left (but Sierra was still excited to hear her fort worked).




"Crack... apples don't make very good baseballs."


We went on a tour of the Lost Caverns.


Underground family shot.


They lent us jackets when we bought our tickets since we didn't think to bring them in the middle of summer.


Stop ticking me.


The caverns were cool. It was a good day trip.


Sierra catching a lightening bug in a bottle (to use as a nightlight).


They had a blast catching lightening bugs. We don't have lightening bugs in Florida.

We saw this guy and decided it was time to go inside (although initially, Sierra screams "Let's catch him..." and starts running after him)... we don't see many foxes where we live either.


We made it to VA in time to see Forrest and Hunter's swim meet. Forrest was swimming freestyle.


Hunter was swimming breaststroke.



Bunny and Carla waiting on the July 4th parade.


Kai, Sierra and Forrest dressed for the 4th...


... And cousin Forrest.


Everyone has their candy buckets to ride in the parade.


Kai almost put his arm around her.


Paige and Danny were visiting from Colorado (and supervised to the kiddos on the float).


We're ready to squirt people.


Amanda came straight over from the paint run .. she was very purply.


Posing the day before they got engaged!


"Don't touch me..."


Happy July 4th!


Love this picture.


"No, it's not time to go home and nap."


Kit and Laura.



Seth and Bunny.


Ready for the fire trucks.


Kai and Sierra wouldn't even get that close to the purple paint... ha ha.


Hunter is now taller than his Mama.


"Take that."


"Don't make me shoot your camera."


Sierra decided to try a flip (she didn't quite make it all the way over before she got to the water).


"Watch out!"


No one would try this one but Kai.

Seth and Kristina get engaged on July 4th.


Congrats! Glad we were there for your special day.

And don't forget about Kaden.


Amanda cleans up pretty good.


"Woo, hoo - Let's party!"


"Uncle Jeffrey rocks.. he's the only one who would play with us in the pool."

The Easter bunnies were cool at Hunter/Forrest's house.


Our view of the fireworks was a little obstructed.


More pool tricks.




"Hmm, flip, or no flip."


"Another cannonball."




"No fair, you're like 2 feet taller than me."


Happy boy!


Kai the photo bomber.


Hunter getting ready to whack it.


"I'm bored."


BMX Forrest.


What a cutie!


"Time to get rolling."


Amanda and Kaden.


Aunt Kit.


Kai liked the bunnies.


Pawpaw and Amanda.


Firework time.




Hunter bringing out the big ones.


They were big ones!


Uncle Jeffrey and Forrest.


This one looks like it made a wrong turn.


It wouldn't be a good party unless Bunny ended up in the pool.


Paige and Danny weren't far behind.


Ha, ha.



Kaz Cousins (back to top)

We hadn't seen Jason, Keely, Anna and Jude for several years. They had a last minute trip over to the Florida West Coast and we were able to go meet them. It was a lot of fun seeing them again. The kids got along great and picked right back up where they left off.


Ready for 4 days of fun!


Underwater Jude.




"What are you looking at?"

"Hurry, take the picture... I'm floating back to the surface."


"Cool Kai."


"Check out my dive."




"One, Two, Three, Four, we're down"


They are a sandy mess.


Handsome boy!


"Now go on the count of 1, no 2, no, I mean 3"


Building sand castles.


Everybody likes giving Sierra rabbit ears.


Queen Anna.


Jude - chillin' out in the hammock.


Catching some Z's .. playing is hard work.


"Balance.. balance."


Sierra has had a lot of practice at this game.


"I'm tilting.. balance...."


"Watch out.. splash!"


Anna faked them all out.


Woo-hoo, the water slide rocks.


Sierra educated our Jersey Kazakh cousins on how to catch Florida lizards.


"Oooh, wedgie."


"I did it."


"And I did it again!"


"Big splash."


Bungie jumping is always big fun.


"Kai do a flip."


Sierra getting ready to do a forward flip.


"Go girl."


Couldn't resist taking a picture of this little guy.


Richardson girls relaxing in the Gulf.


"Ooh, seaweed"


Paddle boat time.


The girls were racing the boys.


It might look like they're ahead but the girls won.


"You can't catch us."


Little monkeys.


"Do the rabbit ears ever get old?"


One of these days, Kai might actually really put his hand on her shoulder (or I need to find a better camera angle to make it look like he does).


Wheelbarrow races on the beach.


Crazy kids.


Great pic of Anna and Jude.


"It's a good life!"



Carla's Birthday Weekend (back to top)

We got away for a night for Mom's birthday. We stayed at a resort down near Disney and went to the Orlando City Soccer Championship game (and they won). It was a really fun getaway.



Family shot at the soccer game.


Sierra approved of the "girl's bed."


The boys look comfortable, but Kai used Dad as a punching bag all night (and kept petting his face all night... think he missed the cat).


Hey - look, rabbit ears!


Kai floating in the lazy river.


Slam dunk!


Here they come... life is good.


Pretty girl.


"I rock!"


The hotel gave the kids magnifying glasses so they were able to burn their name into some palm bark.


Sierra almost done with Higgins.




The soccer game was awesome. They had over 20K people show and they won.



It was a great birthday!




Miscellaneous (back to top)

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


Happy Father's Day!


We went on a golf outing for the day.


Dick came over for dinner to end a nice, relaxing day.


Getting soaked at Universal.


Kai braving the Harry Potter roller coaster by himself.


Hanging by the pool (we stayed a night at the Hard Rock).


Drenched ... it was a good day.


Sierra was finally big enough to go on Rip Rockin' Roller Coaster. She has been waiting since January.


Kai on the Hulk... no fear !

The Harry Potter castle is so awesome.


We had a very lucky day fishing.


We caught 14 fish! (live earthworms did the trick)


Kai and Sierra both learned how to hold the fish and throw them back.


We convinced Daddy to let us get another kitten. His name is Merlin Bob (Kai wanted to name him Bob. We all voted and agreed with Merlin. It came from the BBC series we watched... his eyes were like those of Merlin when he had magic).


Merlin is Kai's cat since Sierra already had Leroy 2.


We went scalloping for the first time. It took a while to get the hang of it.


We caught 3 lbs of scallops ... not too bad for our first day out.


The church had a school supply drive. As a family, we bought and assembled supplies for 40 backpacks.


It was a family affair. We had an assembly line.

Everyone had a job.


It took us a couple of days but we finally got them all finished.


Merlin was intrigued by Sierra's drawing.


He wanted to participate (or just eat the pencil).


We love our new kitty.


Leroy even likes his new brother.


Sierra on the first day of school.


Kai on the first day of school.


Humoring mom, getting a quick pic before we leave for school.

Forrest chillin' out in the fresh laundry... she looked like ET.


Our Leroy, finally adjusting to having a new brother.


Merlin and Sierra playing Aliens versus Zombies.


Morning wrestling time.


Katey's cool birthday party slide.


Jim and Sierra doing a big bounce and slide.


Kai gets some serious height.


Sierra and Natalie taking a swinging break.

"Watch out. Here I come!"


We're ready for the soccer game.

Orlando City rules!


Family nap.. too much fun.

Bike ride for a Subway lunch.


Happy Birthday mom.


One of my presents all wrapped up.


... and present #2.


Sierra was chosen to do the pledge on the school news program. She was nervous but did great.


Happy Anniversary!


Mom and Dad got away to a B&B for the night.


We haven't stayed in a B&B since Kai and Sierra came along. We forgot how nice it is.


We'll definitely come back to this one.


Free wine, sodas etc.



We made it 17 years! We're very blessed.


Merlin posing for a perfect picture.


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