Thursday, July 31, 2008

The pièce de résistance for me

Admittedly, there were many, many wonderful aspects to our vacation last week: watching our children experience new things, having my parents with us, all our lovely accommodations both in travel and in rest, the food, the views; I could go on for hours.

But, there was one activity that took the cake for me, a real dream come true.


(Sorry, I didn't mean to yell.)

But, I'm pretty proud. I was even the first in the water and the first to shoot my hand up to volunteer, not my usual MO.

Giving the command.

And it wasn't just me, Sutton and Reagan did it too.

We were able to pet him.

We danced with him.

Reagan's was a fast dance.

We held on tight as he pulled us through the water. (*Warning* These are really lovely pics)

And we got some very sweet dolphin kisses.

And YES it was just as amazing as I always dreamt it would be.

High sea adventures

Jimmy chartered two separate boats on our vacation for the five older children, one at the beginning of the week and one at the end. The first outing involved fishing and snorkeling with Captain Brian.

They each got to drive the boat:

The girls got to snorkel:

And the fishing was awesome.

But poor Keaton got first hand knowledge of the effects of sea-sickness.

The Critter-Gitter outing was great fun too as Captain Ann made sure they were able to examine marine life up close and personal.

And thanks to some handy-dandy, super-duper medicine Dad got from a local doctor, Keaton was FINALLY able to enjoy some time on the high seas.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seeing the sea lion

One of the fun extra adventures we had was our "Meet the Sea Lion" date. Jimmy scheduled a time for our family to visit alone with a sea lion and his trainer and the kids were able to touch the sea lion and give him some basic commands.

They got to shake hands:

They got to attempt "atta boys" where the sea lion patted their backs:

Well, Keaton thought she wanted a sea lion atta boy.

They posed with the sea lion as he said "CHEESE."

They even got sea lion hugs:

And while I know my family had a great time, from the looks of this picture it seems the sea lion might have enjoyed it a little too.

It's her birthday

Our Keaton turns 11 today. I get a little misty because, sadly, she's no longer my little girl yet she's not quite a teen. Instead, she's temporarily stranded in that horrible twilight zone referred to as the tween years. As many parents know, the tween years are fraught with this horrifying psychotic teetering: your child longing to be big, but being practically cemented emotionally in the toddler stage.

It ain't pretty, y'all.

But I've been through this twice before and I know we'll survive because, really, take a look at this face:

She's tender-hearted and kind and beautiful and loving, but best of all she's ours. Thank you God, she's all ours.

Happy birthday sweet girl. We love you

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cowboy Fan-tastic

I come from a looooong line of Dallas Cowboys fans so you can imagine our excitement when we were invited to visit former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson's home while we were on vacation. My Jimmy has been working with that Jimmy the past few months and our girls like to tease that they are now "BFF's." My Jimmy denies it but guess where he is right now...back in Florida with the other Jimmy "hunting" lobsters while I'm here...playing single mommy...with ALL these myself.


I'm think I'm starting to get kinda jealous of my Jimmy and his new Jimmy BFF.

Coach Johnson showing the boys his pet lobsters.

We were able to tour his trophy room and ogle at all of his memorabilia.

This was a once in a lifetime photo op for us Cowboys fans.

The Jimmys.

Coach Johnson's wife, Rhonda, got us all in this picture. Well, my dad and I are kind of in get the idea.

I'm thinking it's about time for me to find a cool BFF too. Maybe we can get matching blingy tops or something.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our little bit of paradise

I have many pictures to eventually share of all the fun times on our vacation, but before I post those I really must share some shots of the oasis that was our home for too short a time.

When we drove up to the house, this was what we saw. The water was right there.

The front of the house with balconies overlooking the pool and the ocean.

Ground level. Oh, the hours spent there by little boys and big sisters as they "hunted" sea shells.

The living room proved to be the biggest challenge as those steps were way too accessible to my step-happy 14 month old.

Poppy came quickly to the rescue and baby-proofed the scene. I was ever so grateful.

An awesome pool that even baby girls could enjoy.

And sunrises so beautiful that there are simply no words.