Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bike Rider

Emmie has been SO scared of riding without training wheels for SO long. However, her training wheels started having issues and I FINALLY convinced her it would be easier to ride without them. She practiced once or twice with Paul before we left with the beach and was so close to riding on her own. Well we got to the beach and she just TOOK OFF! My dad and Ben were riding a lot every day and I think that was big motivation for her to learn. Within a few days of starting to practice she was riding like a pro. We did some practice riding on the bike trails and then she was ready to ride around the island! I rode with her over to a nearby park and my dad met up with us there. After that we rode over to the Marsh Tower. She was SO proud of herself!
At the Marsh Tower with Grandaddy
I also took her to the straw market another day. I loved the time I got to spend riding bikes with her and I loved seeing how proud she was that she could ride on the bike trails with us! Because she learned how to ride her bike, Grandaddy bought her a bell to go on her bike. The sisters were very impressed with the bell so now they're both quite motivated to learn to ride as well so they can get a bell!

Ellie got a bike for her birthday right before we left for the beach. All my kids have issues with pedaling so Paul woked a lot with Ellie on her pedaling at the beach. It helped that once Emmie learned to ride her bike, Ellie was motivated to work on riding hers! I was so proud of her hard work and she was pedaling pretty well by the time the week was over!

Not to be outdone, Ruthie hopped on Ellie's scooter. At first we would just push her while she held on but when all the sisters were getting lots of praise, Ruthie decided to show off and push the scooter herself. Nobody puts baby in a corner!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kiawah Trip

We just got back from a lovely week at Kiawah with my family. We were very excited that Uncle Ben and Aunt Ruth were able to join us for the first part of the week! The kids were extra excited because Ben and Ruth flew into Columbia Friday night so that they could spend some extra time with us. Ellie and Ruthie went with me to pick them up from the airport and of course the kiddos were super excited to wake Ben and Ruth up bright and early Saturday morning!
Good morning! (Uncle Ben looks wide awake!)

We were the first ones to get to the beach house and JP was on the lookout for his other people!

We went to the ocean at least once a day, sometimes twice. The girls LOVED both the sand and the water. JP really wanted to love the water but wasn't so sure about the waves but by the end of the week he had adjusted and seemed to really enjoy the water. He also ate many handfuls of sand the first day but apparently he didn't enjoy it too much because he was pretty good about not eating sand the rest of the week.

One morning when we got to the beach there were birds all over in the area we were sitting in. JP had the best time chasing the birds!

Fun with Aunt Ruth and Uncle Ben!

This was what the beach looked like all week. There might be one or two other families out there with us but that was it on our little section. So peaceful!

The house we stay in has a pool in the backyard and we absolutely LOVE having the pool. We would start out at the ocean each morning and around lunchtime head to the pool and eat our lunch by the pool. Then the little two would go down for naps and the older two would usually stay in the pool for a bit longer. We had one day where Emmie was in the water (ocean and pool) from 10 until 4! Needless to say my kiddos love the water!

Franklin the lifeguard.

Poor JP has to use the pink float because sisters but there was a blue one at the beach house. He was happy :)
On Sunday we had Ellie's family party. Emily and Blake weren't able to come but everyone else was there. This is probably Ellie's favorite day of the whole year. She LOVES having all her family together and she spends all year planning the menu! This year she wanted GG to bring chocolate cake with chocolate icing and Grandaddy's homemade cookies and cream ice cream. We also had salmon and kale for her the next day...her favorite meal. (Which is really hilarious because if you give her a green bean she acts like you're trying to poison her but she'll eat kale.) One of my favorite things about Ellie's personality is that time and experiences are so much more important to her than things. She loves getting to have a day all about her and loves having the people she loves around her.
The special birthday hat!
Reading one of her new books with Papa.
Her chocolate cake with chocolate icing Hello Kitty cake. Gin-g is always in charge of bringing the cake and she always does a great job meeting Ellie's expectations! Ellie is always very specific about the type of cake she wants.
Love Ellie's big smile in this picture!
Her favorite thing about the cake? Getting to lick the chocolate off the crown.

Emmie clearly enjoyed her cake.
happy's entirely possible a few bites of ice cream might have "fallen" into his mouth. He wasn't sure what to make of it...the coldness weirded him out a little.

While we had everyone together we also did mother's day/father's day gifts for the grandparents. We gave them a set of 4 coasters and each child had chosen and painted a design on a coaster. Emmie did flowers for both, Ellie did a flower for GG and Papa and a butterfly for Gran and Grandaddy, Ruthie did butterflies for both and JP did footprints. I loved these and I think we might go back one day and let them do ones for our house.

We also gave Ben and Ruth their wedding present from us...a quilt and some spoons that were stamped with the words "always lick the spoon" (which ties in to how they met). I'll do a separate blog about the quilt but the back of it is pictured here.

While we had everyone together we took some family pics. The one of

The Rainey side.

The Edwards side.
All the grandparents. I love that they are such good friends...what a blessing!
Ruth and Ben...the newlyweds!
Our kids have the BEST grandparents!

I wish I could show you all the pictures that were taken trying to get a good shot of everyone. I was rolling in the floor laughing looking at what I had to choose from on my computer. First JP was screaming and all the girls were standing nicely and smiling. Then the VERY first picture where he wasn't screaming, Ellie was on the ground. Then as soon as Ellie got up Ruthie was on the ground. Then we lost Ruthie all together. It's quite comical!

Of course since we were on vacation there were some naps taken along the way.

The girls tucked Uncle Ben in with their blankets and pillows for his nap.

Franklin loves Gran's lap.

Little puppy was worn out most of the week...he took many walks on the beach and while he absolutely loved them he was a puppy puddle afterwards!
Tired at dinnertime.

I could have done a whole post about the girls sleeping arrangements. The room they stay in has 3 full size beds. So one for each child, right? Sounds easy enough. Except Emmie wanted someone to sleep with her so she convinced Ruthie that she (Ruthie) was scared of the fish hanging on the wall. (After I fussed at them they then somewhat convinced Ruthie that the fish wasn't scary but was in fact pout-pout fish.) So Emmie and Ruthie slept together in bed 1 and Ellie slept in bed 2. The next night there was some switching going on and Emmie and Ruthie slept in bed 3 and Ellie slept in bed 2. Another night they all started in bed 3 but before they went to sleep Ruthie moved to bed 1 and Emmie and Ellie slept foot to foot in bed 3 until we moved Ellie to bed 2 when we went to bed. Then after Ben and Ruth left Ellie moved into their room (FINALLY a room to herself!) and Emmie and Ellie slept in the same bed upstairs. Also, at the beginning of the week Ruthie would curl into her little spot on her side of the bed while Emmie sprawled across 2/3 of the bed. By the end of the week Ruthie had learned to stand up for herself and so they would both sprawl across the middle of the bed.

One of the great things about Kiawah is the bike paths. My dad and Ben LOVE to bike and would bike all over Kiawah and Seabrook each day. My dad apparently caught me in a weak moment and convinced me to ride out to the Ocean Course with him (8 miles each way...ugh!).

We made it to the Ocean Course!
About 2 weeks before we left for the beach Emmie decided she was ready to ride her bike without training wheels. She mastered it while we were at the beach and we were all SO proud of her. (More on her bike riding in another post!) It was so much fun to take her around the island to all the places that I grew up biking too. We went to the straw market one day and the marsh tower another day.
At the top of the marsh tower.
Grandaddy and Emmie at the marsh tower

Ellie got a new bike for her birthday so she and Paul spent a lot of time working on pedaling and we were so excited that by the end of the week she could pretty much pedal by herself (for some reason my kids all have issues with this skill). Since Ellie wasn't on the scooter, Ruthie decided that she would scoot around. She did a great job!

Paul and Emmie have a tradition every year of getting up one morning to see the sunrise. They went early in the week and on the last morning Ruthie went with them too.

they found sea turtle tracks

My wonderful mom cooks for us the whole week and we always have everyone's favorites to eat. (Low country boil is always my favorite meal and it was JP's introduction to sausage...he was in love.)  We also have some yummy desserts while we're there. We had 2 nights of homemade ice cream, s'mores, and watermelon!
watermelon by the pool

one of JP's favorites!
Day 2 of cake and homemade ice cream. Ruthie enjoyed it JUST as much the second time around!

I always look forward to the wildlife at Kiawah. I feel like each year we see something that we haven't seen before or don't see often. One year we saw a shark (eek!), one year we spotted an alligator a few times (eek again!), one year there was a seahorse washed up on the beach (so neat!).  This year we saw schools of dolphins almost every morning which was so fun and even Ruthie got to wear she could spot them, sometimes even before we did.
Paul and I found this little guy one evening while we were walking on the beach. He wasn't moving so Paul poked him with a stick and we discovered he was alive. Then he turned around and started chasing after Paul! Hilarious.
Paul and I spotted a mama and baby deer on one of our bike rides. You can tell they're used to people because they looked up at us and went right on about their business.
While my dad and I were riding to the ocean course (we saw an alligator on our way back), there were deer in the backyard of our house. The girls were so excited because we saw them a few times last year so they had been anxiously awaiting a deer sighting. Ruthie saw tehm last year but was too young to remember so this was really the first time she had seen them! We also saw them on the side of the house a few times.
We also saw lots of horseshoe crabs on the beach (although not as many as in past years) and the people sitting just down from us even rescued one that was stuck in a tide pool.

Of course while on vacation we did lots of just hanging around!
Once Emmie learned to ride her bike and discovered that Grandaddy was always willing to ride with her she was stuck to him like glue!
Some quiet time snuggling with Aunt Ruth and reading Alice in Wonderland. Aunt Ruth is always willing to sit and read a book!
Good morning!

Bedtime Calvin and Hobbes reading with Uncle Ben and Aunt Ruth.
Daddy-son bonding
I had to include this dad losing for the 9 millionth time at Hands and Feet. At least he's consistent right?