Sunday, September 30, 2012

Race Weekend!

 Last Saturday morning, Shane jumped on his bike, waved goodbye to all of us, and began his ride to the beach. For the third year in a row, Shane participated in the MS bike race! The race begins here in Monroe, N.C and ends in Sunset Beach! He rode 100 miles on Saturday and then completed another 100 miles on Sunday.
 He crossed the finish line on Sunday afternoon after riding a total of 200 miles!!! 
The kids and I drove down on Sunday morning so we could watch him cross the finish line. He finished strong and with a smile on his face. 
He had a GREAT race and it was a joy to see him accomplish his goal!
The kids were so excited and couldn't wait to give their daddy a BIG ole' congratulations hug;) 
And since we were already all at the beach...we decided to make a little mini vacation out of it and stayed a couple of extra days.
Why not right?!?! 
That way, Shane could take a few days to relax and recoup, and the kids and I could take a few days to play and have fun! 
It was a win win for ALL of us!
The big boys were thrilled with the idea of playing hooky from school too.
Several times during the trip I would over hear them say..."I wonder what our class is doing right now?!?!?" HA! 
The beach in September is just GLORIOUS!
 The weather was absolutely PERFECT! Not too hot OR too cold!
We basically had the entire beach to ourselves--with the exception of a few retired couples we would bump into.
I'm not really sure how they felt about five rowdy kids invading their quiet oasis, but they were all so sweet and their message to us was always the same..."enjoy this time because it will be over before you know it!"
A good reminder for sure.
During the day, the kids had a BLAST building sand castles, splashing in the pool, and hunting for sharks teeth.
Our evenings were spent shopping,
 riding rides, 
 and eating ice cream!
One evening, the big boys had fun taking on the ropes course at Broadway @ the Be@ch!
I was so proud of my three men as they bravely climbed this intimidating course. The little ones and I watched from below, holding our breath as the boys worked their way to the very top! At first, we weren't too sure Riley was going to make it, but after a little encouragement from his Daddy, he conquered his fear and completed the entire course.
Way to go RiRi!!!
 Oh, and THIS is probably my most favorite picture I took while on our trip.
Yup, all my sweet little monkey's in the bed enjoying a lazy morning together at the beach.
Sigh...Who could ask for anything more;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple Pickin' 2012

On Sunday, we headed to the mountains for an afternoon of apple pickin' fun! We were actually supposed to go last weekend with our Sunday School class, but with rainy weather predicted for the day, we unfortunately had to cancel that trip. We were all soooo bummed!
Weekends are usually really busy for us, so when this past Sunday afternoon looked uneventful, we quickly took advantage of the day and headed to the mountain top!
This was only our second year visiting Sky Top Orchard, but it's quickly become one of our family's favorite fall activities. 
The day was absolutely perfect!
The weather was cool, the breeze was light, and the sweet aroma of apples filled the air. 
With thoughts of apple crisp, apple pie, apple sauce, and apple muffins in our minds, we headed out to the orchard excited to fill our baskets to the brim.
The kids were so helpful as we hunted for the ripest and tastiest of apples. 
Sometimes finding the BEST meant a little taste testing was required.
And sometimes finding the BEST meant it was necessary to climb to the tip top of the tree. 
Whatever it took, we were ready and willing;)
It wasn't long before our baskets were full and almost overflowing. 
We made our way back down the mountain, being careful not to bruise or damage any of our precious loot in the process.
HOT and FRESH apple doughnuts awaited us, and were our sweet reward for all that hard work we did in the orchard.
After our yummy snack, the kids had fun running and playing on the playground.
Soon it was time to head to the petting zoo, where the kids enjoyed feeding the animals a little treat as well.
After a run through the bamboo forest, our day on the mountain was complete!
We loaded up and headed home, dreaming about all we would make with our apples!
Before arriving home though, we made one last stop for dinner AND to sing "Happy Birthday" to our Sophie.  Sunday was Sophie's actual birthday, so we celebrated in style over a pizza hut pizza and a few (leftover) cupcakes;)
(Notice Shane's hand in the pictures above. That was our makeshift candle, since this mommy forgot to pack one before we left home--oh well)

Anyway, it was still a very sweet way to end our fun-filled apple pickin' adventure;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sophie's Pinkalicious Party

When I asked Miss Sophie what kind of party she wanted to have to celebrate her 4th birthday, without hesitation she exclaimed "A PINKALICIOUS party!!!!".
  If you have little girls than I'm SURE you are very familiar with the Pinkalicious books, written by Victoria Kann. 
There's a whole series written about Pinkalicious, but Sophie's all-time favorite is the first original book. 
 We read Pinkalicious AT LEAST two times EVERY DAY, and at this point, Sophie can pretty much recite the entire book word for word.
 If you're not familiar with Pinkalicous, here's a short recap: Basically, it's all about a little girl who LOVES both cupcakes AND the color PINK. 
 One day, she eats so many cupcakes that she actually turns...PINK!
  Oh, it's such a cute little story and I'm not surprised that it's become one of my Sophie's favorite books to read;) 
So on Saturday, we hosted a very Pinkalicious Party!
It was such a FUN theme for me to run with!!
 There were so many great ideas online, that it made the party planning simple and easy;)
 We got things started at the party by reading our favorite Pinkalicious book. 
 The girls also had fun painting nails, making crowns,  dressing up, and playing pin the cherry on the cupcake;)

We snacked on LOTS of pink food (yogurt covered pretzels, chocolate strawberries, cookies, and candy) and finished up with Pinkalicious cupcakes for dessert.
We washed it down with...PINK lemonade, of course.
 It was such a PINK-tastic day and one I hope my sweet little PINK-erella will always remember!!!
Happy Birthday Sophie!!!
We could NOT love you more!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A morning at the fair

On Friday morning, my sister, B, invited the little ones and I to join her and her sweet kiddo's at the Cabarrus County Fair!
They had a special morning set aside just for preschoolers to enjoy, and my kids couldn't have been more excited to go!
We started our tour by taking in the the livestock competition. Rows upon rows of crates filled with roosters, turkeys, goats, cows, horses, and rabbits lined the inside of the arena.
 The kids had a blast getting up close-- touching and smelling-ugh;--all the different farm animals.
After the livestock tour, we headed outside to watch the pig races;)
This was by far the most exciting part of our visit. Not only do these little pigs race around a dirt track, but they also swim through a 24ft. swimming pool!!
I had no idea pigs actually swim...go figure;)
Oh, and they really like Oreo cookies too. Yup, that's their reward for winning a race...who knew;)
Anyway, during each race, an audience member was picked to represent a pig which was participating in the race. {Try saying that sentence 3x's fast-ha}
On the final swim race of the morning, Sophie was picked to represent pig number 3!!
She was so excited and did her best to cheer her little pig onto victory.
Her "hootin' and hollerin' must have done the trick, because pig #3 won the race!
Sophie was awarded a bright blue ribbon for coming in 1st place.
She was over the moon with excitement and proudly showed her blue ribbon off to everyone;)
After taking in a few more exhibits, and a yummy picnic lunch, we called it a day and headed home. It was a GREAT day filled with farm animals, pig races, and time spent laughing with the people we love most. Who could as for anything more, right?!?!?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A visit of a lifetime...

This week, a certain little girl in our house will turn FOUR years old! FOUR!!!  Seriously, I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! 
As a birthday approaches in our house, Shane and I always find ourselves reminiscing about the day that child entered our family.  The kids enjoy hearing the details surrounding their birth and beg us to tell them "their story" again and again.  Sophie's birth day is NO exception. In fact, it's probably one of the MOST exciting "birth stories" we have to share. And even though Shane and I weren't actually present on the day our sweet girl made her grand debut in the world, the details of the days that followed her birth are some of the most thrilling days of our lives. 
No, we weren't in the delivery room, or even at the hospital when our Sophie was born, but we're completely okay with that fact. Sophie's amazing "birth story" doesn't start with Shane or I because that wasn't what the Lord planned for our sweet girl and we trust in His sovereignty. 
The Lord had someone else picked out to be in that room on that September day, and in our humble opinion, He could not have made a better choice.
He picked someone that possessed an insurmountable amount of strength and courage...
more than Shane or I could ever hope to obtain ourselves, or even together. 
He picked someone who could display more LOVE in one single decision, than we could ever hope to show in a lifetime.
He picked someone selfless, strong, and very brave.
He picked J and she is our hero. 
Shane and I are so proud of the fact that our daughter came from such a beautiful young women. We hope and pray that Sophie not only grows up to acquire J's physical features, but that she will also strive to obtain just half the amount of amazing character qualities her first mommy already possesses. 
Up until recently, we had never had the chance to physically thank this astonishing women.
We've communicated through letters and pictures, but that just didn't seem enough. We've LONGED to meet our hero and more importantly, we wanted Sophie to meet and know her too.
Well, this weekend our greatest wish and deepest desire came true. 
The Lord's timing was perfect, the details worked out, and we officially met Sophie's first mommy.
We enjoyed such a sweet visit and our first embrace was nothing short of magical;)
We FINALLY got to thank, in person, the one who's selfless act helped make our family into what it is today.
 We got to hug the one who gave us her world and changed our lives FOREVER!!!
We are beyond grateful for this precious gift and I pray that we were able to convey just a small amount of that gratitude!
While J was visiting, we took the opportunity to celebrate the one who's little life was responsible for bringing us all together.
The one who fills this house with complete joy, laughter, energy and SPUNK!  
The one who is pretty excited about the fact that she's turning FOUR on Sunday;)
After spending several sweet hours together chatting and getting to know each other better, it was time for J to be on her way. 
We all hugged goodbye and promised that we would see each other again soon.
With in minutes of seeing her off, 
Sophie was snuggled up on the couch with her new pillow pet (thanks J)
and sound asleep!
All tuckered out from her big day!
Oh how I love this girl!!!