Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beach Day!

Ok, close your eyes and picture this.

Well, read this first, and THEN close your eyes.
90 degrees. Sunny. Breezy. Blue skies. Gorgeous beach that is NOT crowded.
Where are you at?

Yep, you guessed it, Virginia Beach!! First of all, you can open your eyes now. (Of course you knew that, right, or you wouldn't still be reading!!??) Secondly, we are so lucky to live in an area where the beach is SO incredible. The sand is awesome, the waves are perfect and the weather ... well, that could be a *little* cooler, but hey, we'll take it. It's a family-orientated there isn't a *huge* amount of weirdos.
Ok, I'll tell you this right now. I FORGOT my camera. Yeah, I know. Ms. Kodak Gallery FORGOT her camera. My nieces FIRST trip to an ocean and I forget it. Trust me, I nearly had a panic attack when I realized it about HALF WAY there (too far to turn around!!)

So I'll just have to tell you about our wonderful day! We were there for about three hours and even Grandma came with us! **yay!!** The weather was great, and the kids....OMG, the kids - all of them, had SOOO much fun! I'll start by saying Kiersten and Sammy had fun in the water until Sammy saw a crab and a jelly fish - then she wanted no part of the ocean except for collecting shells, LOL. Kiersten braved the dangerous waters (smile) and had a blast in and out of the waves with Uncle Sam! Zach, Addie and Ave stayed close to the water line except Avery LOVED when the tide would come in....she'd spread her legs apart .... turn towards us (away from the water) and let the water rush around her. Addie did that until she got knocked over by a wave, then she became a little more timid (LOL). Zach was in and out of the water but he was much more enamoured with the sand today.........especially throwing it. After awhile Avery would lay in the sand on her tummy right at the edge of where the tide came in and the water would come around her ... (so she'd pretend she was swimming) and every single time the water touched her she would exclaim in her cutest little voice (with her little lisp) "I did it!!" Heeheee!!! They loved playing in the deep holes other people dug in the sand, and pouring water from their buckets (that THEY FILLED... HOORAY!!!) and floating their boats!!) Sammy and Kiersten both collected a bunch of shells to take home and Sammy even tried to bring home a couple of jelly fish that washed up on the beach (the clear ones) but we told her best to leave them on the beach or the might end up stinking after a few days!!!!
We all got lots of sun and by the time we got home (about 3:30) we all fell into our beds for a nap (though I think Sam fell asleep in front of the TV watching the ball game!!) Me and the twins all napped until about 6:30 PM and I actually have no idea what time Zach woke up.
Needless to say, we're all pretty sunburned (yes, we all wore sunscreen!) and tired. We're just getting everybody prepped for the beach house coming up in a couple weeks .... (Can't wait!!) The house we rented is called "Daddy's Dream" (coincidence) ...and it's on the beach in Corova NC. Ther will be 10 kids and 5 adults. OY VEY. All I can say is the blender and my martini shaker BETTER be on the "LIST" of things to pack!!! :)
Hope you all had a great weekend. Other than the beach....Sam worked around the house ALL day Saturday (ugh...) He power-washed the driveway (from the mulch we had gotten) and the deck - then he and Kiersten re-stained the deck - which looks awesome now. He couldn't power wash the house because the pest control people were here this week doing quarterly spraying for spiders they said to let their stuff sit a week (PLEASE!!) He also put a porch swing up....but, well, let's just say that didn't go so well. It looked nice while it lasted, though. Hopefully we'll have that up and running by next weekend - or something else in it's place. (Smile!!)
I took Zach and Samantha to see Wall-E........very cute movie, although a little long. The Pixar short in the beginning - hilarious! Zach is totally out of diapers/pull ups (except at night time) so of course he had to pee 46 times...which was the only frustrating thing because each time there was only like two drops of pee of course, and of course you can't SHOW him you're frustrated. I think he just has to check out every single stall at every single place we go to. I think in the future, I'm just going to beeline straight to the pottys and take him in and out of each stall. Get it over with.
Hope everyone is well..................more to post later in the week!

Love to all...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Welcome Miss Debbie!

Everyone, Miss Debbie has finally ARRIVED!


Yes, our Nanny search is *finally* over ... Miss Debbie has arrived! We hired her about six or seven weeks ago, but the little girl she'd been taking care of (Bella) Mom was in Iraq so her assignment didn't officially end until "Mom" came home ... and she made it home safe and sound this week!

Debbie moved in today and she'll be with us from now on. We're hoping Debbie loves Chesapeake as much as we do and that she doesn't run scared on Monday when Zach bangs his one fist on his chest and says "no, I don't want to" (new thing...where would he get that - has anyone seen that on a TV commercial recently or something??) LOL, nah, I know she won't, we're very excited, and we've been talking to Debbie over the last few months and she's come out to visit a couple times, so I think she knows what she's in for. Our kids are a LOT of work but they are SUCH loves (usually??) I think she'll have a blast!!

So if you want to set up a playdate, I know Debbie would really love that! She's really active and she's looking forward to meeting more people in this area!

Rachel & Sam

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hampton Roads Airshow

We went to the "Airpower over Hampton Roads" air show this past weekend...and while Zach had great fun (even though he covered his ears the whole time) the twins did *NOT* like the noise one bit. They clung to mommy and daddy the entire time (mostly mommy) and every time a jet went by ........ they pretty much freaked out!

I think after they spent the first couple hours clinging to us (even when there were no jets going by) they exhausted themselves so much that they literally passed out and even with the planes overhead still managed to take an hour long nap.

Notice Addie had a lollipop that she had CLENCHED in her hand and that she would not let ended up getting stuck to her hair/face/clothes.....but at least they got a nap.

Not sure if anyone else tried to go on Saturday but when we first got there we were turned away because they said they were closing Langley down due to a bomb threat ... I called my friend whose husband is a pilot there and she didn't know anything about it (and he was there) I was wondering if anyone had the real story why they had the base shut down for the first couple hours.

Anyway, here are some pictures we got - some are OK but there was still a lot of smoke from the NC forest fires (Great Dismal Swamp) so it didn't make for great picture taking - even with my rockin' camera!

They had the British Royal Red Arrows perform this year, it was pretty awesome - especially the opening part of it - they did it with an F-22 Raptor (I think that's what that big plane is) and it was amazing how in sync they all were.

Is it just me or does it look like this plane is going down? It's amazing how close you get to these planes at this air show!
Sky diver coming down with a 5000 sq foot American flag

The F-22 Raptor (The most feared jet in the entire world. --- that's what the announcer said anyway!! LOL)
The red arrows with the Raptor......couldn't get any clear pictures because of the forest fire haze

More forest fire haze ... look how straight they were - this is their signature "arrow" .

I took this last one off their website....thought it was pretty neat.

Hope you all enjoyed the photos! Thanks for reading.......have a great night!



Girls, Girls, Girls

Here's some pictures of my nieces ... just wanted to post for my sister ... she's dying to see her girlies!

Ice Cream Social

The ice cream Man came around in his Ice Cream "Cruck" the other day and Grandma bought everyone ice cream ... *yay*

As you can see below, they all thoroughly enjoyed the treat, though it was baths for everyone immediately afterward!

They just heard the ice cream truck. Click on this picture for a larger view. They look so deep in conversation...what could they have possibly been talking about do you think? Do you want to get a bomb pop? Or the tweety bird Popsicle? A snow cone? LOL! I took this picture from my front porch with my zoom lens ... very cute.

Brody or "Brodes" as Zach calls him (also what Brody's parents call

Oh, ice cream cruck (that's what Addie calls it - can't say T words) pulling into our cul de sac... Can you see the excitement? Jumping up and down??

They HAD to have RED Popsicles

Umm, mom ... I need to get my hands washed!

Hey Seth, can you give me a push?

Ok, what was she thinking?

Here's Seth, pushing her around the cream in hand!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One little Monkey ...

Climbing up a tree! (I hope he doesn't fall off and bump his head!) (Yeah, I know that's not how the story goes!!!)

Here's a picture of Zach climbing up his first tree's actually in our neighbor's yard across the street and it's a perfect "tree climbing tree." Actually their son Brody (Zach's little friend) learned to climb the tree earlier in the summer so it's been a pretty cool tree!!

Practically every night (what an exaggeration, I know) Zach and Brody have been out trying to catch as many fire-flies as possible with the other kids from the cul-de-sac. Zach doesn't quite get the concept of catching them with his hands cupped like a bowl, and he'll bring them to you with the lightning bug pinched between his fingers ("look what I got")! Other than the many lightning bug carcases which are probably laying around our yard, he absolutely LOVES catching fire-flies (and really any kind of bug). The other morning he woke up in our bed (what else is new) and I looked at him and said Good Morning and he said Mom, Santa is coming tomorrow and he's going to bring me the biggest fire-fly EVER! (Ya think he was dreaming??)

It's not a huge tree, but he got up there all by himself - with no shoes on I might add! (And yes, those ARE his pajamas....he was already wearing them when Brody came over to ask about catching fire-flies!)

I can't believe he's such a big boy now that he's climbing trees on his own now! What's next, riding his bike in the street? (Gasp!) <-- That was for you, nan!! (Smile!!)

Sisterly Love...

Here's some pictures of Sammy and Kiersten ... showing off all their sisterly love. (Yeah, right....look at picture # 1!)

FYI, Shannon, I practically had to threaten them in order to get these cute shots! Your daughters wanted NO PART of getting near each other. *Sigh* If only they could know now what they'll surely know later ........

Monday, June 23, 2008

Europe, get ready for us!

We're making the final preparations for our trip to Europe next month and other than the couple nights we have to stay at the Hyatt in Heidelberg, Germany (funny) we've got six glorious child-free nights (LOL, can you tell that we're excited about that?) on our own?

We're visiting Germany and Austria during the first half of our trip, then to Sam's conference, and once he's wrapped up there - we're going to be in Paris for 3 days. Sam's booking all the hotels in Germany and Austria and I'm doing the hotel for Paris. Look at some of the places he's got us staying! On our way we're going to see Neuschwanstein Castle (how can we not?) and a stop at Dachau, which was the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany. You might ask why we would want to see a concentration camp, right? I think it is because it symbolizes what the American troops went into Germany to do (liberate the people), and it also shows how fortunate we are to have the right to choose in our government (democracy). I think this will be an extremely moving and inspiring part of our trip, even though some people we've told have been slightly freaked out that we actually *want* to visit a WWII concentration camp.

Anyway, here's the hotel @ our first stop in Garmisch Germany. What a view!

Here's the hotel @ our Second stop in Innsbruck Austria (new addition to our trip).....I can't wait to see this place!

While in Innsbruck Austria, we're going to visit the Swarovski Crystal museum, which looks incredible, check out their website if you get time:

From there we're heading to Heidelberg, where Sam will spend a couple days working (he will be "schmoozing" is more like and hopefully I'll get a couple days of relaxing (visiting a few castles, a spa appointment ...........) I'm actually bringing my computer and I'm going to attempt to stay caught up with my e-mail, etc. After Germany, we head to Paris for a long weekend (Thursday-Sunday) and then back home. I haven't booked our hotel rooms in Paris yet, I'm still researching and trying to decide which location would put us within the best reach of all the things we want to see. I have to tell you though, the DOLLAR sure doesn't go as far as it used to.

Anyway, just thought I'd share our exciting plans with you all ... we're looking forward to our trip in a big way....though we will (sort of??) miss the kiddos. (Heehee, we'll actually miss them a lot, I'm just psyching myself up for how much we're REALLY going to miss them...this will be the longest time I've spent away from my kid(s) since Sam and I were in Antigua when Zach was about 7 months old........though to be honest, we didn't really miss him all that much then??!!) <----- just kidding, but we were in the lap of luxury @ Jumby Bay then, so it WAS pretty easy to forget our teething 7-month-old because we knew he was at home enjoying the time being spoiled rotten by his Aunt and Nana!!

Hope you're all doing well! We're keeping busy here, that's for sure! My mom is in town watching the kids until our new nanny, Debbie (God Send?) starts this week. We've been talking to her over the past couple of months as her current assignment is coming to an end (the child she takes care of mom is coming home from Iraq) and we think she'll be a perfect fit for our family. We're all excited to have her join us and we welcome her with open arms to our madness. (AGAIN, JUST KIDDING. sort of.) We took mom and all the kids to the Langley Air Force Base for their yearly air show this weekend - was really cool - we got to see all kinds of fighter jets and planes, sky divers, etc. and the British Royal Air Force Red Arrows performed this year (last year we saw the Thunderbirds) which was really cool. I'll post some pictures later in the week. I've also got a bunch of the girls to post too, I'm sure their Momma is dying to see new pictures of them. (All I can say, Sis, is unless you're laying out in the sun all day, your girls are gonna win the tanning contest this year! They will be brown skinned, white hair, blue eye beauties when I send them home to you!!)

Have a great day everyone!



Friday, June 20, 2008

Update on Carly

Just got an update on Carly, who is Rick's 15 year old niece.

Apparently they found out that she has stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. If there is any kind of cancer you want to get, I guess this is the one. Hodgkin's is the most curable form of cancer with a 93% cure rate if caught in the early stages.

I just read this off Wikipedia. Interesting, since she is 15: Unlike some other lymphomas, whose incidence increases with age, Hodgkin's lymphoma has a bimodal incidence curve; that is, it occurs most frequently in two separate age groups, the first being young adulthood (age 15–35) and the second being in those over 55 years old although these peaks may vary slightly with nationality.

Carly starts Chemotherapy on Monday. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as you would do with ANY child with this horrible disease. Also keep her family in your thoughts as well, as they are probably going through a terrifying time as well. We wish Carly well and hope she has a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Acrylic nails on a Cat?

Umm...are you kidding me??
Nope! I'm serious!! Well they're not quite "acrylic" ... but they sure are nail tips!

Ok people ... these things are WAY cool. First of all, let me say even though I live in PETA land now, I'm not necessarily opposed to declawing. I've had it done before. I think it's personal preference and choice if you're keeping an indoor kitty. My own opinion is if you have kids, nice furniture - you're probably going to be a happier pet owner if you don't have an animal who, by way of nature, scratches things.

But....I came across these things - which are apparently NOT "new" ... but I've never heard of it before. They're called Soft Paws, and they're basically like covering the cat's nails with soft rubbery nail tips....and it's totally humane. Funny looking, but humane. It completely allows the claw to retract, and it's cheap and easy to do .... and again humane ... so you feel good about it! (Did I mention cheap??) *yay* Oh, by the way, the "soft paws" come in different colors (as well as clear) so I thought for Trixi's first "manicure" I'd really go all out and get her the "PINK" to match her diamond collar. (Heehee!) So if she "scratches" anything as she likes to do (again----nature----) it doesn't hurt anyone or anything. How awesome.

Let me state that I'm not against declawing and have no bones (ha-ha, bad joke?) against anyone who does it and I totally see the other side of people who say it hurts the animal. But thought we'd try to see if this works for us. I hope it does.....! Check out their website ....

Here's some pictures of Trixi and her new "manicure." At least I didn't give her a pedicure too!

Keeping the new nails clean...

Aww...look how cute my pink nails look. ;) (Wait.....Is she REALLY sticking her tongue out at me??!!)

The girls are here....The girls are here!

My nieces are FINALLY here! After months of knowing they were coming out to spend the summer with us, they're FINALLY here! They made it through their first plane ride uneventfully (except Auntie was late picking them up!!! DC traffic is the WORST, in case anyone doesn't know that! We left four hours in advance. I can normally get to DC area for work in about 2 1/2 to 3 hours MAX during the week.) I felt horrible, but they only had to wait a few minutes. I actually made them go stand back IN the doorway of the gate so I could get their picture as if they were just coming off the plane...heehee!

They sure did get big and pretty!!!

From the airport we went straight to the Big House. Oh, the Dog house. I mean the WHITE House! :) So the girls could see where the President lives. (I always imagine what he's doing in there. Like is he walking around in his underwear? Just casually sitting around with his feet up having a bowl of Captain Crunch?)

Pretty as they looked GW didn't invite us to dinner. Dang Republicans! J/K :)

From GW's house (after watching a little bit of protesting - about impeaching him for war crimes??) we walked to the WWII Memorial, the Reflecting Pool and the Vietnam Memorial. I think the girls were pretty impressed to see all the things that they have learned about or are learning about in school. They thought the treasury building was REALLY cool especially when Uncle Sam pulled out a 10$ bill and told them to look up and we were standing looking at the exact same thing that's on the 10$ bill!

I can't get over how much they've grown up! FYI: I WATCHED both of these two girls being born!

WWII Memorial

Throwing pennies in the wishing well. Think Zach wished for a new race car?

Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool....they look so tiny (bad photography from Auntie!)
Hot Stuff!

I'm just a squirrel trying to get a(n)..............................Apple? HUH?

Vietnam Memorial
This was the end of our tour....we had to cruise out of started to downpour! We left downtown DC and headed home, with a quick stop at BW3 for some hotwings along the way, which was good since it was storming so bad.

Other than that - the last two days have been fun filled with swimming, bike riding, football throwing (man these girls have got ARMS!!), crafts, baking, shopping, and lots and lots of playing with their cousins. They've been a tremendous help with the kids and they (especially Zach - the girls are just *starting* to warm up to them) just adore all the extra attention! Last night we hung out in the cul-de-sac with our neighbors, Jen and Kurt and their boys (Brody and Seth) and all the kids played nicely together and caught fireflies until well past dark (though Zach doesn't quite get the concept of "catching them gently") and Sam and Kurt threw the football around for awhile. It's been a great visit with the girls so far......I'm so happy that they're here, I've missed them so much!!!