Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving in Paradise (Florida)

Last year was our first year going to the Gulf Coast for Thanksgiving, and we were SOLD. So it's our new tradition, and honestly the kids have looked forward to it all year. It doesn't hurt that we have cousins that go, and extra ones joined us this year, in addition to grandparents!

It's a 12 1/2 hour drive, so it really takes the whole day. Joe and Kathy stopped here on their way there, so we got them for a day beforehand. Spencer had just gotten in from Chile, and imagine our surprise when Spencer and his dad came out dressed like this.

Anyway, we drove ALL day Saturday and went to church Sunday. Sadie actually went to Sunbeams totally fine! And Spencer ran into a mission buddy (random!) who is stationed there in the Air Force. We hung out on the patio the rest of the afternoon and couldn't wait for the rest of the week to start.

Monday-Friday was awesome weather! Wednesday was a little overcast but it was still pretty warm. Melissa and kids arrived Monday afternoon (with Steve and Kate coming Thanksgiving morning), and we spent most of our days out on the sand, with an occasional trip up to the pool and hot tub. We realized at the end of the week, some of the kids went more than 3 days without putting shoes on one time!

Our 14th anniversary was on Tuesday.

Nana had an injured foot so we didn't see her as much as we would have liked, but we got to do dinners all together every night. Emma and Jacob picked up right where they left off, with Tyler and Luke sometimes joining in. Such a great time, and even better since it was 75 and sunny the whole week!

 The sunsets (and sunrises) were UNREAL.

 Thanksgiving day family pictures

 The fierce four.
 She wanted to try "surfboarding" for about 5 seconds.

 They shared a gingerbread house.

 (Tanner was with Nana and Grandpa on the "courtesy cart" - they saw Nana walking with crutches and picked them up to deliver them to the theater. :) )

 Really trying to think about what they want for Christmas.

Farewell sunrise.

Tanner also picked up quickly on the fact that all the men in his family love football (Grandpa included), so the minute Grandpa made his way to the beach, Tanner was all over him asking to throw. It was adorable to watch.

They also had a couple games in the water - great entertainment for the rest of us.

Can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sadie the Lady turns 4

Sadie has been asking about her birthday since she turned 3, but especially in the last month. I've been looking forward to 4; 3 just isn't my favorite age. This little sassy pants, however, isn't going to outgrow those personality traits so I guess I'd better just hang on.

She woke up early, so I let her open a present and then told her we needed to wait until the boys got home to open her gifts from them. Well, when I got out of the shower I discovered she had taken all the presents into the other room and opened them all. So that was quite anti-climatic...

Even though she can make us all crazy with her mood swings and dictatorship, she adds so much more fun and feistiness into our family and I'm so grateful for her.

My favorite things about Sadie right now:
1. She draws people in. She might bull-face you or scream at you, but she is also very cute and sweet and strangers love talking to her (trust me, she doesn't feel the same way about them).
2. She is really funny. She gets sassy when I ask her something and says things like, "Why do you keep axe-ing me that like FIR-TEEN times!?"
3. She loves to be outside and be going all the time. Sometimes it's frustrating, but I'm glad she is up for adventure.
4. She loves her family. And they love her, but have to tolerate a lot. However, she thinks all her siblings walk on water (and they kind of do).

(Yes, she blew out her candles twice on her birthday. After saying, "Sing to me!")

All-Region all-star

Emma is talented. And she is incredibly competitive. She tried out for and made Advanced Women's Choir for this year, but because she was doing orchestra she couldn't do both. They did let her do Open Choir, however.

Here, we have All-Region clinics where you have to try out to be part of this exclusive group made up of junior high kids within about 2 1/2 hours. She decided to try out for choir, knowing they didn't take too many kids. Emma had to sit there most of the day (sometimes being at the end of the alphabet is LAME), then had her turn to sign (blind audition), then I picked her up and we came home. That night we got the text that she had made it! 23rd chair!

The following weekend was orchestra regional tryouts. We thought doing both would be too much, and it was the same day as her final volleyball game. But her orchestra teacher begged her to try out so we went for it. Emma was even less confident this time, because they only took 10 of each instrument. That night we got the email - 9th chair! We were so excited, I even tried to wake her up to tell her but she was OUT.

So, the following two weekends were both performances. Thankfully, choir was at Bentonville High School and orchestra was at Bentonville West High School (5 min away) - I'm so grateful we got this lucky. For choir she had to be there at 7:30 a.m. and the performance was at 4 pm. They practiced ALL day and even ate lunch at the school. We went to see her at 4 and it was seriously so good. They sounded incredible.

Then, last weekend was orchestra regional clinic. She had to leave school Friday at noon and stay there practicing until 9 pm, and then Saturday it went from 8 am until the performance at 2:00. They really did sound incredible; it was interesting to hear the conductor say that most people had been playing for 2-3 years. Emma has just been playing for 1. 

When it was over I asked if she had fun. She said "No. But I'm glad I did it." 

So proud that she is willing to work hard and sacrifice 4 weekends in a row for these really cool experiences. She knows these extra activities can help her get into college if she keeps it up.