Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lazy Lake Days with Friends and Family

We have spent almost every weekend at the lake this summer, some were three and four day trips others were just down and back.  Either way, we've enjoyed time with family and friends alike, making memories and soaking up summertime.

A couple weekends ago my sister in law, Grace and her son Theodore were able to join us which was a lot of fun.  It was a little bit chaotic being that it was my four kiddos, my sisters little boy and then Theodore rounding out our motley crew,  with just Adam, Grace and me to keep up with the six little people which is a lot when one adult is skiing, one adult is driving and the other is helping keep all the littles on their bottoms!  There were a few harry moments, with tears and resistance to being sunscreened up or not wanting to let someone else take a turn on the tube, but for the most part, it was enjoyable.

Here's an action shot of all the boys enjoying bouncing in the tube over lots of big waves.

Ava Jane was only interested in riding if we went "real slow"...which meant, barely moving; but she did it!

I've been coming to Lake Ouachita for more then twenty years, there's clearly always been big fish and slithering snakes, but this summer I've seen more then I'd hoped to see.  While we were skiing  we kept seeing all these pool noodles floating all around the lake.   We saw this one floating out near our boat and then saw a fin flapping on the water so Adam pulled closer to get a better view.   It was a huge Alligator Gar that literally was about 3.5 to 4 feet long with a snout like an alligator.  Just seeing this creature gave me the heebie jeebies!  (I wish you could see more of the fish in this picture but the pool noodle is attached to the head of the fish and you can see its tail...it was a big one!)

This little dude enjoyed wearing Emerson's hat.

We had fun just chilling in the water.  Lake days with cousins are the best!  There were water gun fights and canon ball wars which the boys thought was super!

Spending time together was really a treat.

We grilled out late that afternoon and enjoyed watching the kids play Ninja Warrior on the swing set.

Having Grace and Theo down for the day was really fun!

Then again this past weekend we brought some dear friends of ours to enjoy sometime on the water too.  With our eight kids in toe, everyone had a fairly realistic expectation of how the day would go, and there were a few harry moments sprinkled throughout with at least three different times when antibiotic ointment and bandaids had to be lovingly administered then there was the moment when we realized that our new tube had a slow leak---but other then that, the day went beautifully.

Here's five of our eight kids enjoying the ride.

We found a cove with a rope swing that quickly became quite a bit of fun for everyone.  The kids thought it was awesome, the dad's got to visit in the water (in between helping the littler ones grab ahold of the rope.)  It was definitely legs up and bombs away for a good long portion of our cove time.

Cooling off in the water was a hit for us all.

There was some knee boarding, skiing and wake boarding to be had along with plenty of tubing too.


Time with these friends is always enjoyable. There may be screaming, crying and loads of whining going on, but there's also tons of memories shared, laughing done and life being lived.  I'm so thankful for how both John and Carol speak truth into mine and Adam's lives and how they desire to live life alongside us.  We are truly blessed!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Life Lately

Our summer has been fairly busy.  Ava Jane recently did swim lessons and did not enjoy them. Though I can't blame her because the week she went it was raining and the water was freezing.  Poor baby girl had purple lips and was so super cold that she was miserable.  So, her entry into the swimming pool this season has been slower (but that has honestly been fine with me since she's been hanging out in the shallow area playing with her pool toys--its made it really nice for me!)  However, in the past few days she's gotten braver and has recently been taking baby steps into deeper waters and is loving it!

Lawson has been interested to take tennis lessons for a while now, so this Spring he started and has really enjoyed playing each week with his buddies.

Two weeks ago, both boys went to golf camp and enjoyed it very much.  This is Peyton's fourth year to go and Lawson's second.  The first day Peyton was the winner for the best chip shot and on Thursday Lawson won three rounds.  They had a great time even though it was quite hot.  The ice cream at the end of the week helped put a smile on their faces for sure!!

Emerson got to do Safety Town this past week with a large group of incoming Kindergarteners to schools all over Little Rock.  They learned everything from how to deal with stranger danger to knowing their address and parents phone number.  He learned songs and little sayings that he's been singing all throughout the week.  When I asked him on Monday how his first day went, he said "Mom, it was THE.BEST.DAY.EVER!"  I smiled a big Momma smile knowing that he'd truly had a great time!  Over the week they were able to get in a Sheriffs vehicle, step aboard a helicopter, visit with firemen dressed in all their gear, but Emerson's favorite part was when he got the chance to drive the vehicles around "the town" in the gym.

These cuties enjoyed carpooling together.

How adorable is he up there on the top riser on graduation day, looking through his "binoculars" as he scanned the crowd for us?  Once he found Adam and me he kept waving and singing his little heart out!  Oh how I love this guy!

These kiddos singing "if it rolls in the street don't chase it" from Kinder Music was pure entertainment!   I'm glad he had such a fun time with all his little friends.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Celebrating Adam

I met Adam in high school. When I was 17, we started dating, so with his recent 35th birthday, we have now officially known each other half my life. When I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate his special day, he requested that we do another day on the lake. So Saturday we invited his parents to join us.  We had a great time just hanging out together, enjoying the sunny afternoon and the refreshment of the water.




Thirty-five never looked so good on someone. I think the world of this man and respect him implicitly. I feel tremendously blessed to call him mine and grateful to walk through this life together. I look forward to the next thirty-five!!

Sunday, we asked some friends to join us for a date night. We chose to do a little progressive dinner starting out with drinks and appetizers at Lost Forty then finishing up at one of our favorite places in Hillcrest, SO.  It was fun to just laugh and visit with great friends who know us so well.  We enjoyed celebrating Adam with delicious food, great drinks and so many laughs!  (I just have to say, Lost Forty's bread with dill and honey butter, was A.MAZ.ING!!!)

Round One...


Round Two...


Our favorite dessert is their Chocolate Sack, which can easily be shared between four people so that's what we did.  Happy Birthday Babe! You are very loved!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Sanity - Local Activities To Occupy My Kids

I am just starting to get into the the swing of summer--the free time, the no schedule, the blessed reprieve from constant events.  I must say that while I looked forward to not making lunches every day and having to get the kids up and out the door bright and early each morning that having them home all day, every day, is a bit overwhelming at times.

Two Friday's ago, I'd fully anticipated taking all the kids and going to my workout class, however, when Adam tried to leave for work, we discovered that the spring on our garage door had broken and there was not even a chance of manually opening it.  So, we were stuck at the house until Harmon Overhead Doors could arrive.  That sort of got our morning out of kilter if you know what I mean.  At that point I tried to put together a Plan B that didn't consist of a constant flow of television or playing the Wii.  If I said it once, I probably said it five or six times, "did you ask to turn the TV on?"  I thought to myself, "Oh man, this is just the first day of summer!"  I tried to get them to do Legos, play games, read or do some "school" work pages and journaling, but the combination of rain (meaning we were literally trapped in the house) and the fact that the garage door was stuck (meaning we could not leave the house) made for a tragic combination.  So, I decided then, that I needed to put a little structure into our summer days so I started doing some research on local fun spots.  For those of you Little Rocker's, here's a few local ideas you might try with your peeps this summer and if you have suggestions, I'd welcome the ideas in my comment section.

Movie Fun:
Snoopy And Charlie Brown The Peanuts Cartoon HD Wallpaper - Stylish HD Wallpapers
Rave Theatre
Enjoy all rated G or PG movies for just a buck.  Movies are shown at 10 am on Thursdays.  The schedule is:  Paddington (June 9); Alvin and the Chipmunks (June 16); The Peanuts Movie (June 23); Pan (June 30); Home (July 7); The Box Trolls (July 14); The Sandlot (July 21); Norm of the North (July 28); Shaun the Sheep Movie (August 4); and Max (August 11).  It will run each Thursday from June 4-August 6.

Chenal 9
Also has family friendly movies at 10 am and noon Tuesday through Thursday for $3 admission.  The Peanuts Movie (June 14-16th); The Surfs 2 (June 21-23); Home (June 28-30); Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (July 5-7); Puss in Boots (July 12-14); How to Train Your Dragon (July 19-21); Goosebumps (July 26-28); and Hotel Transylvania 2 (Aug 2-4).

Museum Fun:
The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is home to the USS Razorback, the longest-serving submarine in the world.  More than just a military museum, it also offers a research library, a theatre, and a large museum area.  It's located on the NLR side of the Riverfront area.  Adult admission is $7.50, its $5 for children 5-12.  All children are welcome but children under 4 are NOT allowed on the USS Razorback tour.  Hours are Wednesday-Saturday 10 am - 6 pm, Sunday 1-6pm

Wiggle Worms-Museum of Discovery
The Whoosh exhibit at @arkmod is...
The Museum of Discovery has a program that introduces children 6 and under to science in a fun, interactive environment.  It's held every Tuesday at 10 am and Saturday at 10 am.  The Wiggle Worms 2.0 is a new program for children 12 and under and is held every Thursday at 3:30pm.   It is included in the admission fee.  Programs are: Cool Caves (June 7, 9 & 11); Electrify Sci! (June 14, 16, 18) and Outer Space (June 21, 23 & 24).

Outdoor Fun:
Little Rock Zoo-
Animal Feeding Schedule
9:30 am and 3:30 pm - Penguins
1:30pm - Great Ape Scatter Feeds (observed daily from 1:30 to 2:00 pm, weather permitting.)
2:00pm - Saturdays - Alligator Feeding
Lorikeet Feeding - Nectar can be purchased inside the Lorikeet exhibit
Fish Food - Fish food is available around the park for $.25 to feed the Koi fish.

Witt Stephens Nature Center (downtown)
Witt Stephens Nature Center 3
Geocaching - Downtown 8:30-4:30 Tuesday - Saturday
Fish Feeding - Wednesdays 2-2:30 pm
Alligator Feeding - Fridays 2-2:30 pm
Wild Tales Story Time - Wednesdays 10-11 am  Join a nature center educator for story time featuring books about animals and nature.  Then, take a guided discovery walk outside.  This free program is tailored for children 6 and younger.  Dress for outdoor time.  There is a terrific scavenger hunt that they will give each child (upon request) at the front desk, my boys thought this was a really fun activity.

Downtown & Midtown Fun:
METRO Streetcar
The METRO is a 3.4 mile street car system connecting the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock.  Attractions along the route include Verizon Arena, the Argenta Historic District, Little Rock's River Market District, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Clinton Presidential Center.  I have only done this with the boys one other time, but they loved it!Little Rock Cable Car
The schedule is:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 8:30 - 10 pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 8:30 - Midnight
Sunday 11 - 5 pm

Routes begin at the River Market and it's about a 15 minute loop.
-ages 4 and under are FREE
-ages 5-11 are $.50 per boarding
-ages 12-64 are $1.00 per boarding

Splash Pads:
The River Market Splash Pad and the one at Midtown are pretty fun, though I'd suggest going early since it gets pretty crowded and is difficult to keep up with kids as they climb on the rocks and weave in and out of the many fun tunnels.

Farmers Market:
2011 07 16 Farmers Market
You could hit up several of these activities in one trip if you went and rode the METRO Street Car, went to the Farmers Market to grab some fresh produce then ended the morning by running and splashing in the Peabody Splash Pad.  I think we'll give this a go next week!

Farmers Market Hours are:
EVERY Saturday Starting May 7, 2016 – September 24, 2016
7 AM - 3 PM, rain or shine!

Starting May 3, 2016 – July 26, 2016
7 AM - 3 PM, rain or shine!

400 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

Arkansas State Capitol Tour:
Arkansas State Capitol
To schedule a guided tour of the Capitol, all you need to do is call the Visitor Services Specialist at 501-682-5080.  The free tours of the Capitol Building are offered weekdays 9am - 3pm.  A friend of mine recently did this and said it was really pretty interesting, I'll let you know how it goes.

So, these are a few of my summer ideas to keep my sanity.  If you have suggestions, please share them below.

Lake Day With Friends

Back in March, Adam and I began setting aside weekends on our calendar to go to the lake this summer with friends and family.  It felt a lit...