05 OctDeedee’s 71st Birthday Weekend

After school on Friday we headed to Newnan to kickoff Deedee’s birthday weekend. We arrived just before dinner time so the girlies took off upstairs to play while Grandpa grilled and the adults visited. After dinner the girlies played a little ball with Grandpa and Daddy before heading in for baths and playtime with Deedee and Lisa then it was bedtime. A quick evening but packed with fun. 

Daddy and Grandpa played ball
 
Mommy and Deedee played restaurant 

Saturday morning, Chris and Gene had an early tee time at the golf course. Lisa and Deedee played with girls a little before we headed to get Alicia for a little painting fun. Once they were done we we headed back to Deedee’s for them to play there a little while we waited on Kelly and Adrian to wrap up his practice. They had asked about going to Chick-fil-A se we all went there for lunch. After lunch Kelly took her two littles home while we headed back to Deedee’s for the afternoon. 

Chris and Gene got back not long after we got home so we all got to visit while our girls played. Kelly arrived with her kids about 5 and they headed to the neighbors house to see if they wanted to come play too. Everyone was working up their appetites so we ordered pizza and paused the game to eat. We decided Deedee needed to open her presents right after dinner then invited the neighbor kids to join us for birthday cake. The rest of the evening was spent playing ball, running through sprinklers, and fellowshipping together before Kelly and Adrian headed home and the three little princesses to bed.  

Girls all happy to see Alicia. 

Play dough is always fun

Painting with Deedee and snuggles with Daddy
 
When Adrian and Alicia arrived they invited the neighbors over and everyone work up an appetite playing basketball

Leia relaxing with the birthday girl

Deedee’s birthday dinner

Present time



It was nice watching the kids and boys play while visiting these amazing women
            

Sunday morning we were up early getting the little girls ready for pictures and ourselves. Kelly and Adrian arrived about 30 minutes before the photographer then we had our photo session. We can not wait to see the images! We stayed until a little after lunch before heading home for Chris to do school and Lisa to take girls for the last swim of the year in Mimi’s pool since a cold front was finally coming through the end of the week and the pool temp should drop. 

Love, love, love these two! They love life, each other, and their family. 
Last swim in Mimi’s pool in 2019

03 OctLeia’s Field Trip – Desoto Cavern

Leia got to go on her first filed trip in 4th grade to Desoto Cavern. We have learned by now that normally parents only get to go on one field trip throughout the year so Leia looked at her field trips and asked Dif Mommy could try to go on the Montgomery one instead of this one. After it she said it was okay. The coolest part was when they all grouped together and they turned off the lights so it was pitch dark. We were thankful a sweet friend’s mom got to go and sent a picture. 🙂

 

27 SepCamelback Resort: Mother-Daughter Trip to Arizona

Tuesday morning Chris took Lisa and Stacy to the airport bright and early at 5:15 to meet Mimi for our early flight. It was smooth sailing to Houston but we were delayed there for an hour. Fortunately, we only arrived a half-hour late thanks to kind winds. We arrived at the resort at about 11 am local time. We thought nothing of it that our room was not ready upon arrival but knew we had half a day to do something.


We found the concierge to try to get a plan for the trip together since we had very little planned out other than that Stacy had called a travel agent to book the resort/plane tickets and had us all spa treatments for Thursday and Lisa had booked a hot air balloon for Wednesday. And of course, we would be hiking nearby trails.

After a little discussion, we decided to go explore old town Scottsdale for the afternoon until our room was ready since it was nearby. However, before much exploration was going to be done we all needed to get some food in our bellies for energy! A list at the guest service counter suggested a couple of nearby lunch spots and we landed at Ivy and Olive. I am not sure if we were all just really hungry or if the food was really, really good but the server was also fabulous with great food suggestions. Lisa declared that we all should share meals to get more variety throughout the trip; it was a great decision! we shared bacon-wrapped dates, a Mediterranean salad, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, and a frozen chocolate bar for dessert. Once we had all filled our bellies we started exploring.

We walked around and looked in several shops, taking in the western views then hopped on a city trolly to get to different areas around town before finally calling an Uber to take us back to check-in and get a shower to wash the ickiness off. Mimi and Lisa went to the bellhop to get our luggage while Stacy went to get the keys. Unfortunately, we got a text instead to meet at the patio since our room still was not ready; with a note that the hotel gave $25 each to us at the bar. We still did not think much about the room not being ready even though it was past regular check-in time and sat there visiting, sipping our drinks, sharing a few appetizers, going back to the concierge to get more pamphlets to plan our trip out, and simply taking in the beauty of the mountain ranges everywhere we looked.

Lisa realized it had been almost two hours since we sat down and went to the front desk. We had been awake at this time close to 18 hours and still did not have a room and little sister had to get mean since we were still getting the run-a-round at the front desk. Turned out several rooms were flooded and they were trying to clean them enough to put guests in them. Lisa may have said it in a the southern way of “bless your heart” that we arrived at 11 am, it was 6 pm, and we still did not have a room … the poor front desk guy did not know what to say but we were blessed with an ‘upgrade’ to an updated suite for our patience and told they would cover all the bar tab no matter the cost, and gave us $200 resort credit. We promptly headed to our room for showers after a long day of travel then worked on securing a rental car for the remainder of the trip.

And we are off on our adventure


We arrived earlier than check in so headed for lunch and toasted to memories, family, and good times together 

We questioned the sever when he suggested frozen chocolate bar but it did not disappoint

With full bellies we were off to start exploring 
 
It was a town with ever store imaginable and old, western themed. Fun introduction to our first afternoon in AZ
 

We spent a couple hours at the bar with this amazing view but after leaving home almost 18 hours earlier we were ready for a shower
 
It was a nice room when we finally got it after Lisa had to “bless your heart” to the front desk attendant and we got an upgrade to a place larger than most NYC apartments
We walked in with a restroom to the right

and a huge den
  
There was two bedrooms

One for Mimi and Lisa with a private balcony

The other room was for Stacy with a private bathroom

Finally we made it to our room for the week! 


Showers and FaceTiming back home was a great way to end our night

Wednesday morning was another early morning with our sunrise hot air balloon ride. We were up at 4:15, ready to leave, and starting to fret that our 4:50 request for a ride had not been picked up on Uber. Thankful close to 5 our request was picked up and we made it to our meeting point, Starbucks with enough time to grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich before hopping in the truck to chase the wind for the balloon launch.

Our pilot and chase car read up on what the meteorologist said about winds then used a scientific method of releasing a helium balloon to test wind speed and direction. They determined the spot they wanted to lift off from and unloaded the gear as we talked and got to know the couple that would be going up with us.

Our pilot Shaun got the balloon up to thirty-six hundred feet in the air, hovered the ground closely at times, hopped over power lines to make sure we caught the west wind and did not end up an hour away by car like several other balloon pilots that day. We ended traveling 5-7 miles from our launch location when we landed and it was peaceful floating through the air. After the ride, while they loaded everything back on the trailer, we enjoyed champagne and learned why hot air balloons and champagne go together; a tradition that dates back to the 1780’s when hot air balloons first took flight.

The first manned hot air balloon flight took place on November 21st, 1783 in Paris, France and was flown by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, a French chemistry and physics teacher, and François Laurent d’Arlandes, a French marquis and soldier. In the 18th century, hot air ballooning was a groundbreaking science. Because most had never heard of or seen a hot air balloon at the time, many onlookers were afraid of the “dragon-like” hot air balloons, and would often attack balloons with pitchforks. Hot air balloons were also unpopular with farmers as they were not fond of balloons landing in their fields and disturbing their crops. On one of the first successfully manned balloon flights, the passengers carried along a bottle of champagne to enjoy during the flight, but instead of actually drinking it, it was used as an offer of goodwill to the farmers whose field their balloon had landed in. The champagne convinced the farmers that the balloon was far from being a fierce dragon, and acted as an apology or peace offering for disturbing the land and animals grazing in the field. The champagne smoothed things over, and a tradition was born.

Today, upon landing, it remains a tradition with balloonists’ around the world to offer champagne to passengers and recite the Balloonist’s Prayer: â€śThe winds have welcomed you with softness. The sun has blessed you with his warm hands. You have flown so well and so high, that God has joined you in your laughter and set you gently back again into the loving arms of mother earth.”

Meeting our uber driver we got a great view of the resort sign lit up

What a beautiful sunrise

Setting the balloon 75 ft tall balloon up took a little work
 

A unique perspective looking down at the balloon

As soon as it was fully upright we all jumped in 

There was amazing views

College of just a few

Blessed to experience this with a couple of my favorite ladies

To remove the heat from the balloon they popped the top so we could float down. There was an art to getting out and the gentleman with us hopped out early so Lisa almost took a second flight with out pilot 
 
The Champagne toast after our ride


At only 8:30 in the morning, we were finished with one of our bucket list items and had had a great adventure and we’re looking forward to the next one. The couple we met on the balloon ride drove us from the drop-off point, to pick up our rental to drive to Sedona for so to explore the red rocks since we were within a two-hour drive.

Our first stop was the Red Rock Ranger Station to figure out a good trail or two to hike. As we were walking towards the station we were simply in awe of the beauty and majesty of the mountains surrounding us. They looked different than the ones just a couple hours away. We looked at the Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, others that we missed the name of before heading in to talk to one of the rangers to get more information. We told him we would like about a 3-mile hike that was not too strenuous since we had not brought our hiking boots or backpacks to carry much water so he suggested we hiked around Courthouse Butte by way of combining a few trails.

We ended up hiking on parts of the Bell Rock Vista Pathway, Big Park Loop, and Rector Trail for close to 4 miles. We only got off the trail once or twice so we thought that was pretty good. When we finished it was well past lunchtime so we drove up to Tlaquepaque since several people had mentioned that it was a cool area in Sedona.

We found that it was a lot of shopping and commercialized but found the Hideaway House to enjoy our favorite lunch/dinner during this whole trip with an amazing view of the Red Rocks. We all shared again for the win. We got a great spinach salad, took our servers suggestion to get a seasonal pizza, and brick chicken. We elected to skip dessert since we were all completely stuffed after the meal but it was so, so good.

Next on our agenda, per the suggestion of the ranger, was to drive up between the canyons towards Oak Creek see a different area than where we had hiked and shop where the natives set up a flea market which cut out the middle man. Unfortunately, there was road work and we sat in traffic for a little over 45 minutes so when we arrived the natives were starting to pack up but we did walk out to the lookout point to see 15 miles of the winding roads that we had driven up before hopping back in the car to go try to find the sunset spot he mentioned to us.

We are not sure if we found the spot but did stumble upon a river in our quest and were able to watch the red rock color change as the sun started to set before we all decided we could watch it as we were driving back to Scottsdale since we had a long day with a two hour drive in the dark in front of us.

Our rental car, we called big blue that drove us all around Sedona 



Our path highlighted by the ranger and the rock we hiked all around for about 4 miles with amazing views
 




 



 

Tlaquepaque was a quaint little area with the best restaurant, Hideaway House
   
It was our favorite meal while we were on the trip. We got roasted peach and caramelized pancetta pizza and a yummy spinach salad with pancetta, grilled zucchini, candied pecans, goat cheese, and a pumpkin honey balsamic vinaigrette … going to try to make a knock off of it.

Plus, brick chicken too

The view was amazing which only added to the amazing food 

Our drive up to Oak Canyon

Mimi and Stacy showing us the windy road we traveled 



What a view
 

Hiking to a creek at the bottom of the mountain to see the sunset on the red rocks
 

We finished watching the sunset from the road as we were driving back to Scottsdale

Thursday morning was supposed to be our chill morning to sleep in and lounge around. However, our bodies were still on central time zone so we were all up before 6 am again. Having gone to bed without eating dinner we all woke up and decided to grab an early for breakfast.

We ended up at Butterfield’s Pancake House. After having done so well sharing on this trip we forgot and each ordered our own; a mistake because the servings were huge and we wasted a lot of good food.

Afterward, we headed straight back to the resort to explore since we had spent little time there. We ended up hiking Mummy Mountain on the resort which was listed at a little over a mile but seemed much shorter. The trail was not as well beaten out as in Sedona but was marked with wooden stakes and we had the car in sight most of the hike.

We also stumbled upon a cool western area that looked abandoned after the hike too; we took advantage of the discovery and took a few photo ops before heading back to the resort lobby to rent bikes. They had a good route mapped out on the bikes and we followed it for the most part but we tracked it on Lisa’s watch since we decided to explore a couple of other places too.

We rode for a little over ten miles. The first few were uphill which gave our legs a good workout. Once we were done with our ride we decided to have a leisure and relaxing afternoon.

We walked over to look at the pool and grab a snack before coming back to shower for our much-anticipated spa treatments. We all enjoyed the Swedish massages and sat and visited while waiting for our next treatment. Mimi was called back and then Lisa for their facials but unknowing to us there was a little confusion in the scheduling so Stacy did not get a facial. Instead, Stacy headed towards the steam room, sauna, and hot tub to cleanse impurities while she waited.

When Mimi and Lisa finished we were surprised Stacy had already showered and gotten ready so we quickly hopped in the shower to catch up and join her. That evening we went to dinner at Blanco for an authentic Mexican meal for our last night on vacation. On our way it started to sprinkle so, we could not sit on the patio but had a nice seat by the window and was promptly given chips and salsa and told our server would be there momentarily.

We watched several tables that came in after us get served drinks and debated leaving but decided to flag someone down to try to find out the server. Several minutes later we had drinks and had decided to order from the happy hour menu, which may have been a mistake. Needless to say, this was the least favorite meal during our trip. It was sprinkling when we finished and we did not have any other place we had planned to go so we headed back to the room to enjoy the extra-large room we’d been upgraded too and sip on wine before calling it a night.

Our view from the room

Good breakfast to fuel us for the day ahead


Hiking on our resort at Mummy Mountain to the end of the trail
   



We were fascinated by the Saguaro Cactus that reminded us of old western movies. We found out from locals that it takes 50 – 100 years to grow one arm or spear and are the share similarities with humans like that they are 98% water, have ribs that expand and contract for drought seasons, and have something similar to humans white blood count 
 
Photo ops in the western town near the hiking trail
  
We explored the resort by foot a little more 

 
Then we rented bikes for a nice 10 mile ride
 

Then we drove over to Camelback Mountain to explore a little of that area

    
We decided to get a appetizer to share by the pool and Stacy ate shrimp
 
The spa felt nice after all our hiking and activity

Friday morning we stayed true to our early wake-up calls. We were all up again by six, dressed and packed so we went up to the western area to watch the sunrise over the mountains before heading to Breakfast Club. We enjoyed a long breakfast lingering over our latte/coffee having learned our lesson from breakfast the day before and shared a Tinga Chicken Frittata and Steak and Egg Club plate. Both of them tasted great! We put this breakfast place on our list to visit again if we go back.

We still had a few hours before our flight and realized the only thing we had gotten for the girls back home were leather wristlets so started searching for a store to pick up a couple of other souvenirs but it was early in the morning and few stores were open so we decided to drive towards the airport to turn in the rental car and look for something there. There were not many shops in our terminal but we looked at the ones that were there then sit down to enjoy coffee and mimosas before we boarded our flight to head back to sweet home Alabama.

Heading to see one last sunrise

What a gorgeous sunrise on our last morning

As we were driving out of the resort Mimi spotted a rainbow

Our favorite breakfast at Breakfast Club

 
Lisa belly laughed as they were walking in Walmart for souvenirs, ultimately we found a couple in the airport

Waiting on our flight and one last selfie

Stacy’s exploding water made us belly laugh on the way home

18 SepDate night at City Club and Breakfast Date with Little Ladies

Gene and Darrell came to Birmingham with several of their friends to golf for a few days and invited us to come meet them for dinner Wednesday night so we called a sitter to come hang out with the girls and met up with the GA gang. Funny thing is that we heard ‘The Club’ and drove to ‘The Club’ in town. When we arrived we could not find Gene and Darrell, turned out they were at ‘City Club’. After a good laugh we headed to the right club to meet them and had a wonderful evening together.   

We got a group shot while we were waiting on dinner
Chris, Lisa, Gene, Darrel, Larry, Cathy, Gail, Jerry, Jay, and Shirley
 

Sweet breakfast dates before school! Thankful Aunt Stacy had to work and uncle Mark had bible study so we had a fun girls breakfast before school. Blessed to get to hang out with these beautiful, smart girls and share part of the morning with them.  Love watching their personalities and them grow into little ladies. 

14 SepTwice as nice spend the night fun

Friday night our girls were suppose to go to Alex Ann’s to spend the night while mommy and daddy went on a date but Alex got sick on the way to school so our plans changed. Mommy went to lunch with the girlies to tell them the news and see what they wanted to do instead. The news was not well received by everyone but Leia asked if they could have spend the night guest instead. Unfortunately, Leia’s friends either had family in town, were sick, or other plans but Ivy’s sweet friend Evelyn could come. Ivy and Evie had a great time! Leia was a little sad but cheered up when she got to paint daddy’s nails, played with sister and her friend, and have a sleep over in mommy and daddy’s room.  

Lunch with our girls

Evie arrived and Ivy said it’s time for fun

Dance party with lots of laughter 


Late night play room fun and game time these girls had a good time

Daddy to the rescue to cheer up Leia since her friends got sick and could not come. He was not a fan of the polish choice but a good sport while the girlies were there


The eight year olds joined in the paint party too
          
Piillow fight before bed time and morning chill time after playing, donuts and more 
    

Saturday was another unusually hot September day but full of fun and cool friends. That morning the girls played with Evie until her mom got her close to lunch. The girls opted to stay home in the cool air-conditioning while mommy braved the 100 degree day at the soccer fields to meet up with Mimi and Sara to cheer on one of our favorite soccer stars, Katie while her parents were at the beach. When Lisa got home a neighbor had texted to see if we were home and the girls ended up having Emma and Maddie over for a few hours to play while their parents ran a errand. Then that evening our girls went to Alex’s to play with her while Lisa and Chris went on a dinner date then the 3 girlies headed back to our house to spend the night together since they missed it on Friday night. 

 Aunt Lisa supporting/watching Katie do her thing 
  
Saturday evening the girls had a play date with Alex Ann and got sweet snuggles with one of their sweet little friends they kept for a couple days

The girls came back to our house to spend the night together
  
Sweet friends! 
 

Sunday we went to Sunday school then mommy and Ivy headed to Mimi’s for her to play in the pool with her cousins while daddy and Leia braved the heat at the fair to meet Peyton List. Leia had declared that Peyton was her second favorite actress after Dove Cameron. That evening mommy and daddy switched and Chris took Ivy to dinner while Lisa and Leia had dinner and game time in. Of course when Ivy got home she took mommy’s spot on game time

Sunday morning we had quite the spread with our sweet neighbor and friend
These three monkeys had fun playing in the pool

Meeting her second favorite actress, Peyton List and getting a autograph. 

Riding rides with dad is always fun

Of course he had her do some by herself so he did not go round and round 

Game night at home got intense

Monday, mommy showed up a little early to girl scouts after work so got to see the girls do what they do

09 SepIvy’s 8th Birthday

There will never be enough words to describe how much we love our sweet Ivy! She is our cuddly snuggler, go with the flow, fun loving, happy-go-lucky, witty and silly, sweet as a pie, gymnastic loving, and energetic kiddo. She brings so much joy to our little family and her smile can light up a room. We are thankful to call her ours. We pray blessings on your this year and you follow the plans God has designed just for you, sweet Ivy. Happy 8th Birthday!!! 

Mommy and daddy always try to stay home a little later on birthdays to have a family breakfast together and celebrate together 

Ivy was all smiles with her special order, a smiley face pancake for her 8th birthday breakfast 
 
After breakfast Ivy opened a few presents before school

Love how she pauses to play as she opens things 

Mommy checked her out for a special time together just before her lunch time. She picked lunch at Arby”s and to get a pedicure then wanted to go home to play with a few of her new toys  

Mimi and aunt Stacy surprised her with a balloon at the pedicure place then hung out with us at our house before the other girls got out of school

Ivy met up with cousins at the Roll Up ice cream place for a treat
   
Chris was home when we got back so she opened the rest of her presents 

Then played with them all

Ivy picked seafood for her birthday dinner and liked to steal Chris’s crab legs and shrimp

The treated her to a special dessert and then she drove us home

She got to see one of her favorite pups too on her birthday 

Then we snuggled up and had a little family time celebrating the end of sweet Ivy’s 8th birthday   

07 SepIvy’s 8th Birthday Party

All smiles on our way to swim at Mimi’s for Ivy’s party 

Of course the girls are super silly and goofy too

This girls is always up for some fun! We pray year eight is great for her! 

We are all ready to celebrate Ivy’s turning eight and waiting on friends to arrive

Swimming with friends and family

Birthday lunch, sweets, and treats to gives everyone energy for more fun

Piñatas are full of fun party treats
  
Cousin Katie arrived after a long, hot soccer game and was in a sad face mood so everyone joined in … love that she had to grin, you can’t be sad at a party 


This girl got a stash of sweet gifts but the best gift was the time friends took to spend celebrating with her

What a sweet group to celebrate with! 


As people left we attempted to get pictures with each special friend but mommy missed most but so thankful there were so many that came to celebrate with our birthday girl

Rocker bikes to help get rid of the last of the sugar energy before Adrian and Alicia headed home
 
  

05 SepGirls Started Baton

Lisa went to lunch with the girls since they would be staying late and Katie joined us this time. Blessed to get to have this time with them and loved getting to talk and hear about their mornings 

Our girls started a new hobby, baton. Both said it was awesome and are looking forward to twirling at a Samford football and basketball game
  

02 SepLabor Day Weekend

Friday we had family time at VHEW. It was Chris’s final AWS day for a little while since SNC decided they were not going to allow them again; maybe he will get them back again soon. The girls had asked for him to come to lunch so we decided we join our sweet girls on his final AWS day. Thankful their lunches overlap now. That afternoon Chris got to play a round of golf to finish off his last free day with a little more fun. 

Football Saturday finally arrived. We invited the neighbors over that were not traveling on the long weekend over for some fellowship and season opener, Roll Tide
  
Thankful during the fame these littles had fun playmates 

We had missed our game time on fun family Friday night but made it up Saturday night after neighbors left playing Spinner and Sunday morning playing the game Leia created. So blessed to have our sweet little family time together!  

Sunday night the girlies got to spend the night with Mimi since they were out of school on Monday while mommy and daddy went a date. Glad the girlies had fun and mommy/daddy got to enjoy the evening lingering over dinner and talking. 
  
Monday was a relaxing morning. While the girls were up early playing at Mimi’s, Chris took advantage of it and slept till 10. Unfortunately, Lisa is programmed to get up so she was up early but chilled on the back porch and got a little work done too. We joined the kids and Rhoads at Mimi’s for a little family time and fun at lunch then had a chill out evening at home. 

 

     

28 AugJust a few happenings the last part of August 2019

Daddy told mommy one day not to go into the office since he went shopping and bought a TV during his lunch break. She thought he was joking but turns out it was not a joke. Of course he hung it in time before football season started and he headed out of town; now we have a big TV on the porch too. Leia is loving it and staying outside on the porch more with mommy. 

Before football in the south kicks off our Sunday School decided to have a fellowship. We did not realize how many couples in our class had kids our girls ages. That water was COLD but it did not stop the kids. Thankful the girls had fun at mommy/daddy’s Sunday School fellowship and we got to know a few more couples from our class. 
 
Sunday morning daddy grabbed donuts for a treat while mommy cooked eggs and bacon for breakfast since he was heading out of town for the week. Love our breakfast on the porch on a nice summer morning before the girls headed to church and daddy headed to the airport.

Ivy’s Tuesday milestone …. she did her back handspring all by her self. She was so excited!! She has almost had this for a while but her mental block would stop her and she finally got beyond it. There is no holding her back now. Next goal back tuck 
 
While daddy was gone we girls said “oops”!  Lesson learned, those heat lamps get pretty hot, should not be turned on until placed back on the cage, and they can burn wood since the wood was smoking by the time we got home from work and school. Counting our blessings we did not catch the house on fire! Also, thankful God kept mommy and daddy calm upon discovering this ‘oops moment’, reminding us we all make mistakes, furniture can be replaced, and we will look back on this as a family story that binds us together one day.