Thursday, August 30, 2012

Grateful for Cancer

Sara lost her battle with cancer this week. I know without a doubt that she is now holding her perfect baby, Anna, and that she and my cousin Elliot are rejoicing together pain free. Her testimony has inspired and encouraged me more than I am able to put into words. Please take the time to watch this video and witness how this amazing woman blessed God even in her darkest days.

I can't wait to meet her one day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of Pre-School!

I'm not going to lie. I was nervous. I am "that" parent, and I admit it unabashedly. I was nervous about going to a new pre-school in a new town. We were so used to our old pre-school and Will would have had Bennett's old teachers this year and we adored them. At our new pre-school we had no choice but for Will to go 4 days a week. And he just turned 3. Bennett was only going 2 days a week when she turned 4.

I know, I know.... working Moms have had their kids in daycare 5 days a week since they were babies, kids do it all the time, it will be good for them, they can handle it..... I know. I have been told all of this repeatedly. But I was still sad. I chose to be a stay at home Mom and it has made things tight for us financially and hard for me personally, but it was a choice I made because I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my kids during their formative years. Sending my kids off to a new pre-school 4 days a week was something I had a hard time getting used to. But the day came, I survived, and it was a huge success. Answer to prayer.

I woke up early to get hot Krispy Kreme donuts for everyone which will be our first day of school tradition. Don't judge. Sending my kids off to a new school on a sugar high may not get me a Mom of the year award, but it gets them out of bed in good moods.

Heading out for new adventures

When I grow up, I want to be.....
My favorite food is: Quesadillas
My favorite thing to do is: Play dress up
When I grow up, I want to be: Everything 

My favorite food is: Pancakes
My favorite thing to do is: Go to fairs
When I grow up, I want to be: Daddy.

**Editor's note. He said that he wanted to be "nothing" the first 5 times we asked this question. Finally, he said he wanted to be Daddy. I guess that's better than nothing. Ha!**

Ready to go inside and meet our teachers

Bennett checking out Will's new digs

Saying good-bye is the hardest.

Prognosis: They both had great days! Bennett seemed a little shy, but warmed up to everyone and loved her teachers. Apparently Will hid behind an art easel and cried for 10 minutes because he got overwhelmed. The pre-school director had to come and get him to calm him down. Another kid called him a cry baby which made him very mad. He was still talking about that at dinner time. Oh, well. Lesson learned. Don't cry behind an art easel and kids won't call you a cry baby.

But this morning they were so excited to go to school. They chatted the whole way there and both ran in their rooms and hung up their backpacks and couldn't wait to begin the day.

I couldn't be more thankful for a wonderful school, kind teachers, and new friends. Change is hard, but good.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back at the beach, baby!

Okay, so we miss Kansas. A lot! But you know what we don't miss? Being land locked. Kansas makes up for it with fabulous seasons including brilliant fall colors and beautiful snowy days in the winter. However, we are very happy to live close to the beach again. We have been here now for 2 months and have taken 3 trips to the beach. Granted, the first one was a quick day trip, but why not? When you're this close and you have nothing to do on a beautiful Saturday, you might as well take advantage.

Our first trip was in July just 2 weeks after we moved. We loaded up the fam (including our dog) and make the hour and a half trip down South to the ocean. The kids hadn't seen the beach in a really long time so they started screaming when we crossed over the bridge and they could see the water. I was screaming on the inside, but I kept it in check. Sort of.

We headed for the ocean immediately! Who knew day trips could be this much fun?

Checking out the pier with Dad.

And then we drove over to my favorite place in the world, Seaside! I cannot believe I actually live somewhere close enough to where I can come here for the day! We made a quick stop for ice cream and I couldn't have been happier.

The next beach trip was for my 34th (gasp) birthday. My parents drove down and joined us for 2 days at Panama City Beach. We got an amazing deal on a condo and had a great time relaxing and enjoying quality family time.

There were turtles and fish in a little bay right outside our condo and the kids had a blast feeding them. I think the critters down below were having a blast as well.

Ahhh.... finally in the sand! Bennett got confused as to which bucket was hers. The sand was clouding up her senses a bit.

Chillin' in the ocean...

...and hanging out on the beach with Mommy Suttle.

It's always pretty fun to crash in the waves with your Grandaddy.

We stayed at an amazing resort with fabulous swimming pools, swim up bars, restaurants, and amenities. Not a bad way to spend your birthday, that's for sure.

That night we celebrated the big 3-4 at The Back Porch, a great Panama City Beach staple.

Happy 34th to me indeed! If you could have asked me 20 years ago where I would want to be now, I think this picture would have been my answer.

We hung out that night at Pier Park which is a great shopping/entertainment area. They had a really fun boardwalk area and it was a great way to end a perfect day. Will got to ride the Merry-go-round with Daddy.

Bennett rode the Ferris Wheel with Daddy Suttle. That thing went high. And fast. She wasn't scared at all. My Dad said he was more nervous than she was. She's fearless, I tell ya.

And our whole family rode some spinny thing that made me nauseous, but it was a memory. Right?

And 2 beautiful pictures of my girl. She's as expressive as they come and I love that about her.

Our third trip to the beach was a last minute surprise. It didn't come together until three days before we went. My awesome and hilarious friend Casey Starnes visited the beaches down South a few weeks ago and had a left over groupon for a dolphin cruise that she never used. She asked if anyone wanted it and I thankfully snagged it first. Then a very good friend of ours from Montgomery offered us his beach condo and we could not have been more appreciative or grateful. So we unexpectedly headed back down to the beach this past weekend. See, living in Dothan has major advantages.

Taking a walk with my little ones to the pier.

Will did not want to take any more pictures so I got a good one of Rob and B.

My favorite thing in the world. I could sit there and just watch the ocean and build sand castles all day. Maybe I will have this one framed and any time I feel stressed out I will go back to this place. It was just glorious.

I wonder about her sometimes.

Following behind my baby boy.

That night we drove to Destin for our awesome sunset dolphin cruise. Thanks so much, Casey!! The weather was gorgeous and we loved just hanging out on the boat enjoying the breeze and the water.

Love these peeps! More than anything.

The boat docked on a little inlet and you could wade up to the shore and hunt for shells and crabs. I stayed on the boat, but Rob and the kids spent about half an hour at sunset digging through the sand and exploring the beach. 

Sadly, we didn't see dolphins this time around, but it was a wonderful evening and we were so grateful for it! After we got back to the dock, we spent some time walking around Harborwalk Village. Here's a shot of the boardwalk from the boat.

If you live near Destin, you have to check this place out. The boardwalk was so energetic and we found tons of stuff to do for the kids even late at night.

They took a train ride through the streets.

And we enjoyed a free outdoor movie playing at the amphitheatre.

The next day we headed back to the ocean and to the pool for more family time.

That night we went to a restaurant for some typical beach food. They sat us outside overlooking the beach which is just what I wanted. Hush puppies, a view of the ocean, and someone local beach band covering Jimmy Buffet. Will was astounded that there weren't any windows at this restaurant. It was quite disturbing to him for awhile.


Then we headed to the beach for some last minute family photos before heading home. Who knows when we will be back, but with the way it's been going for us, I would say 2 weeks. 

What a perfect way to end the summer. I could not be more grateful.