Monday, March 30, 2015


Our little Huckleberry Finn is our prettiest pet. Also our strangest. He was our first adorable little bundle of fur, but has generally taken "second place" to Sawyer's adorable cat-inality since then. We're not really sure why he's such a weirdo - but he has quirks.
He has long hair, which is gorgeous. His face looks like Toothless, from How To Train Your Dragon. His tail is much longer than "normal" and extremely poofy. He is a dream to pet, because he's silky soft.
He's a bit of a loner though. And doesn't like to be treated like a dog (like Sawyer). He loves his collar though, from the minute we put it on him. It has a little bell, and so you can tell when he's coming. Sawyer almost clawed through his own neck in effort to remove his collar, when we tried it - and managed to get it thread bare in one place - so we decided maybe a collar just wasn't his style. But I'm glad Huck loves his - it comes in handy to know where he is - with all his "quirks".
Huck likes to pee on cloth. Messy piles of fabric, really. So laundry left on the floor in piles waiting to be washed, clean laundry waiting to be folded on the couch, an unmade messy bed piled with the's CRAZY annoying. The bed thing though - he only has ever peed on our bed, not the kids (and their beds are left unmade plenty!). He'll go for a long time (2/3 weeks) and not do it. And then do it twice in a day or something. I've never been so grateful for a plastic lined fabric mattress protector, let me tell you!

I have never been one to be really "on top" of my laundry folding - but let me tell you, that cat has reformed me in a hurry! He has never peed on a folded stack of clothes or towels, so that's the secret. I must immediately fold everything, and it's safe.

I am looking to see if I can make homemade dryer sheets or something with a scent that cats hate, but will linger on clothes, so that he will not be attracted to our clothes and blankets! (I'm ordering some essential oils I've heard they hate, we'll see how it goes!)

And quirk #2 - He loves to tip things over. Things full of water/liquid. If you set your cup on the coffee table, he'll jump up within a second, and push it over. It often happens with our schedule that dinners end time pretty much coincides with bedtime. So we leave the table - and get ready for bed, and then I return to the dining room to clear and do dishes etc once the kids are settled in bed. When you return to the table to clear it, all the cups that contained liquid will be tipped over. I have literally set a cup down on the counter, and then heard that little jingle bell and do diving for the cup to retrieve it before it goes spilling everywhere.

I am especially careful with Brian and his juice obsession. He loves Grape or Cran-Raspberry juices from Costco (pure juices and a great price by the way!) - He'll take a glass, bring it to the den (pale tan couches), and set it on the floor or end table. If you would assume I am not one normally given to dramatic outbursts, you'd be correct. Unless grape juice and Huck are in the same zipcode.

And he also loves to eat/destroy my fake flowers. So little Hucklebug is really the "problem child" of our cat crew. It just goes to show you, good looks aren't everything ;-) But man, is he ever pretty!
Caught! And so innocent looking! He's slowly ruining my basket of fake flowers, by pulling them down (like on the left side), and plucking the petals off the flowers - there used to be more red ones, now they are just sticks:-) Notice my new habit - a water bottle with a lid - I keep refilling it and it keeps my water safe during the day from the Hucky-monster.

Dinosaur Talk - Video

Grey is obsessed with small toys - lego, playmobil, busy books, etc. He just loves to play with them! He got some dinosaurs for his birthday, and woke up from nap immediately ready to get back to playing:-)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Grey Turns Five

Grey really wanted a Big Hero 6/ Baymax cake. If you've never seen the Disney flick, it's worth the watch, we all really love it! Anyway, Baymax is the lovable "marshmallowy" healthcare helper from that show.

When I asked him (in about January) what he'd like for his cake, he said "Baymax, or Karate Baymax, or the Flying Baymax" - I let him know that we'd only be doing the regular Baymax:-)

So here he is, straight from San Fransokyo!
Cake pops!
Grey requested a red velvet cake for the cake, and for the cake pops? "Green cake, 'cause green is basically my favourite colour" - so I did a vanilla dyed green for the cake pops. They were yummy and adorable!
I made Baymax using 3 cake mixes - 2 barbie dress cake forms (using a whole recipe of cake for each), and then an 8inch round, again, using an entire recipe for that one pan, so it was nice and thick.

I stacked the "Barbie dress" shape on either end, with the round in the middle. It made an egg shaped oval. Then I cut a bit off the bottom of the oval, to make him wider on the bottom than at the neck. This gave him a good and generally realistic Baymax shape. It was actually a tricky cake to make, because of the shape! Lots of "two hands required" moments, and crumb coating that shape was also not the easiest! Also, because of the volume of cake needed to get his shape, he was VERY very heavy, though not very big!!

I made a batch of rice krispie "squares" and formed them instead into arms, legs, and a head. I covered all in fondant, and attached using skewers and toothpicks from the inside of the arm (rice krispie side pressed into the cake).

Because of his weight, I came to realize that he likely wouldn't stand on his legs - but we tried!
 I got him up on his legs, but he needed a little balance. We did this right before eating him, so I didn't bother to clean up the red velvet bottom edge.

It would have been possible - perhaps slightly larger legs, and maybe a few skewers for balance, but he was cute and tasty, that's all that matters!

Grey chose Cookie Crisp for his birthday cereal, and nachos for his birthday meal. We had a nacho/taco "bar" with lots of toppings (corn, beans, peppers, onions etc) and cheeses etc. It was really good!

We invited Uncle Dale and Auntie Noni, and friends, Paul & Abbey (with Vail & Pilar) over for dinner. Here is the birthday song, and Grey, being the typical weirdo/ham. When all attention is on him you never know what he'll do. In this case, sporadically, yet somehow rhythmically lick his cake pop.

 We love our little "mini Brian" - also the class clown. He's a treasure, and a joy - unless he hasn't had a nap, or you wake him up early. Then he's pretty much a bear. We are all his biggest fans, and I think he knows it:-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jackalope Ben

Grey is about to turn FIVE! I can't even believe it, really. The last five years have been incredible, and fast. Don't even blink, people. Wow.

While he plays great with others, he definitely loves to play alone with "little" toys (busy books, playmobil, small stuffed animals, lego). One of his fave places to play quietly and alone is on the ironing board in my room. I adjust the height to suit him, and he's entertained in his own creativity for hours.
"They're lying down because they're dead"

With a cowboy he named Jackalope Ben. He comes up with great names for all his characters and games:-)

Gallery Wall

I've always wanted a Gallery Wall, but never had the courage to do one. It seems intimidating to place SO MANY things on one wall. But I see them online, and I really like them, so in Dec, I decided to make my own in the dining room. I've added to it since then, and it's pretty much completely full now.
One side of the wall
I basically planned it out on the floor and just basically winged it! I used command hooks for all except the center large (heavy) pic, so there are not nail holes all over the wall, and it's easy to reposition something that is not quite right.
The other side

I recently had these little flat canvases in my stash of craft stuff. I didn't have any ideas for them, and then I thought of making Ireland's flag, because of Brian's Irish heritage. Then I realized I had 5 of this size, and we have 5 countries in our heritage, combined. Brian is American & Irish. I am Canadian, German, Scottish and Irish. Naturally, all our "heritage" flags were really easy to paint, and US and Canada were the most difficult! These are the most recent additions to the gallery wall.

Our mantel is HUGE and I also really love it's "hodge-podgy-ness". One side

Other side.

Guinness - Recipes

Trying to reinforce the Irish side of our heritage to the kids, I like to attempt about one Irish meal per year. LOL :-) Here are recipes for corned beef, and Guinness cupcakes!

For a few years now, I've used Guinness to cook the corned beef in. It's soooo delicious!

Put corned beef in crock pot, and sprinkle with seasoning packet. Add 2 cans of Guinness Draught (14.9 size), and 1/2 an onion and a bunch of garlic cloves, cut in half. You want the liquid to almost cover the meat (smaller size meat might only need 1 can). Cook on low for 9hrs. It's easy, and SOOOO yummy.

Use about a cup or so of the beer "gravy" once the meat is done, to add to the water to cook the cabbage in.

This year also, I bought a 4 pack of the beers to use for the cooking, and kinda wanted to use them up. (I needed 2 for the main corned beef, another 1 for the smaller corned beef we'll use Reuben Loaf), but I had one can left. I found a recipe online for Guinness Chocolate cupcakes. Why not!

Well, they are actually delicious! So if you ever find yourself with an abundance of Guinness on hand that you aren't drinking - well, make a cupcake! They are moist, and the perfect balance of fluffy/dense. We really enjoyed them. The beer scent is obvious in the uncooked batter, but really not detectable by taste once baked. A very nice from scratch chocolate cupcake recipe.

Green, white, and orange, naturally.
1 C unsalted butter (or use salted, and decrease added salt by a bit)
1 C Guinness Draught or Stout
2/3 C dutch processed cocoa powder
1 C brown sugar
1 t salt
2 C all purpose flour
1 C white sugar
1 1/4 t baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 C sour cream

Preheat oven to 350

In a saucepan, heat butter, beer, cocoa and brown sugar, whisking until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temp.

In your mixing bowl, combine salt, flour, white sugar and baking soda. Add the cooled beer mixture and beat on medium for 1 min. Add eggs and sour cream and beat on medium for 2 mins or until smooth.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake cups. Bake for approx 20 mins, or until done. Cool before icing.

** I didn't want to buy real (alcoholic) Bailey's for this, because it uses so little, and I knew I'd probably never use it again - and alcohol is so $$. So I substituted for using Bailey coffee creamer instead. The flavour is probably lighter and less intense than using the real deal as suggested in recipe, but this does make a nice "light irish cream" flavour.
1/2 C  butter
4 C icing (powdered) sugar
1 pinch salt
3 T Irish Cream (Bailey's or Carolan's)*
1 T milk *

*Or substitute approx 4 T Bailey's coffee creamer in place of Irish Cream and Milk

Mix together until sugar is incorporated in the butter and liquid - then beat on high until light and fluffy.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Our cats have quirks. I'll have to get some pics of Huck and post his, - he is our prettiest cat, but definitely the most annoying:-)

Our little Soya-bean kind of acts like a dog. He's generally the favourite cat, because well, he's the friendliest. (Kenna took these pics)
However, the niceness does cross over a line, into the range of obnoxiousness from time to time daily
He loves to be petted. Demands it really. He will not leave you alone, and wake you up from a dead sleep to be petted at 2am. The kids do not like this.
If you throw him out of your room and shut the door, he will meow and paw at the door, until you let him back in. Yelling "SAWYER" will make him pause for a minute, and then he's right back to it.
Thankfully though, this is his only fault. He just loves to be with us 24/7. The kids they are fairly crazy with dragging the poor things all over the place, and Huck gets tired of that really fast and likes to hide and sleep for hours, but Sawyer is never more than an arm's length away it seems.

One night he was going crazy at our back door - hissing, angry, aggressive. I turned on the light to the screened in porch to see "Pokemon" (named by my kids) on the porch. He's an old grey fluffy cat that wanders the neighbourhood. Sawyer was not amused by his presence at all.

When our friends bring their new bulldog puppy over, Sawyer stands guard on high alert the whole time. He is very protective of us!

Sawyer and Huck both love to jump in the shower after Brian's gets out in the morning, and lick the curtain and the walls. We love our little Soya-bean!

Kenna's Birthday

Kenna was obviously sick on Saturday, but we had high hopes for Sunday, her actual birthday.

I woke up at 6:30am to the sound of barfing :-( She was thirsty, took a drink, and ten minutes later...
I tried her again in about 30 mins, with the same result. Poor kid. After a bath and a popsicle, she really perked up a bit. She was able to keep down the popsicle, gatorade and 3 crackers by noon. And she started to regain her normal personality and get after the boys for touching her stuff, and wanted to play with her new birthday present - an "American Girl" camping set (It's really Our Generation brand from Target - made to fit all AG dolls etc, and made to fit a normal humans budget:-)

A still sick girl - barf bucket handy - watching her new "grown up movie", Maleficent, all by herself. It's a little scary for the boys still, so it's just for her:-) 

Her secondhand AG doll, Elizabeth, camping in her new tent with her new sleeping bag:-)

Our Generations brand (knock off AG) tea set and camping gear
And then we had an intruder! Someone thought the tent was the perfect little cat house!
Huck, made himself right at home for a little nap beside Elizabeth

Sawyer's turn!
Sunday she got much better after her nap! She kept down lots of gatorade and chicken soup for dinner. She had a few Skype sessions with G&G in Canada and G&G in New York.

Monday morning she felt better!! And hungry! Time to break into that birthday cereal!

We made the best of it, but such a bummer to be sick on your birthday! We are still waiting on a reschedule of our tea party - the family we had invited over is now sick with fevers and coughs (they didn't catch it from us! whew!), so we'll have to see when we can get something done! ...because this week - it's Grey's birthday!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Boron, Moron

I adore jewelry that means something. I am not a super "jewelry person" with all the trending statement pieces and such. I do have a few of those things, but I don't think they suit me as well as my everyday stuff. 'Cause I LOVE my everyday stuff. I first heard of The Vintage Pearl on facebook, I think. I fell in love big time, and at the time couldn't afford to get any of it. I think I waited about a year before I got my first piece. Ooooo! I really just love it! That was a long time ago, and since then, I've got a few more pieces from The Vintage Pearl to add to my collection.
The first necklace I got/bought was the circle with the kids names on it, years ago. This past Christmas, Brent had my name in the exchange and got me the 'scrabble tile' necklace, which is the one this posts story is all about:-)

The b + d was the second necklace I bought from them, and opted for the blue pearl instead of a white one. And the Mothers Necklace is pretty addition to my collection - it works out well for the sake of fashion that my kids are March-May-March for their gemstones. Depending on when kids are born, you could have a pretty eclectic/unattractive Mothers Necklace, haha!

I have this gorgeous silver infinity ring

inscribed with: the best is yet to be
Recently, I was wearing my new Scrabble Tile necklace to church. We work with the Youth Ministry in our church during the sunday school hour.

Girl in Youth Group: Oh, I like your necklace. Boron, right?
Me: uh, Boron?
Girl: Yes, B five, it's Boron, isn't it?
Me: uuuuuh, actually, I wouldn't know. It's supposed to look like a scrabble tile. You know, B for Bolger, and there are 5 of us.
Girl, gives me an extremely unimpressed/you're dumb look: Oh ...and she walks away

So basically, she was MUCH more impressed with me when she thought I had a necklace for my favourite of the elements on the periodic table.

And yes, Boron is B5, I checked up on her.

It's been at least 18 years since the periodic table has even entered my mind. But thanks to her, I think about it all the time now. Well, maybe not the whole table, but my favourite element, anyway:-)

French Recipes

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I found this recipe here (there is a pic). I decided against a traditional cordon bleu because of the time intensity and volume of people I was making it for. If you are going for real tradition, and aren't feeding a crowd, the wrapped ham and swiss is really nice. But this has all the flavour in a regular ol' casserole. It's REALLY yummy! ( I doubled this recipe)

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks

dry breadcrumbs

1 egg, mix well into 1/2 C milk

8oz swiss cheese, cubed

8oz ham, diced

1 (10 3/4oz) can cream of chicken soup

1 C milk

Dip chicken in egg and milk mixture, then toss with breadcrumbs, coating well. Brown in a little oil until golden.

Place in 9x13 baking dish. add cheese and ham.

Mix soup with 1 C milk and pour over all. Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins, or until tender and bubbly.

Bistro Style Gratin Dauphinoise

I found this recipe here (there is a pic). These are probably the best potatoes I have ever had in my life. No joke. They are amazing!! And actually very simple to make. Yes, I did get fresh thyme, and used 2 sprigs as suggested - I suppose using some dried thyme, and straining it out would work too - but I like to make a recipe the way it's written, the first time I make it:-)

3 lbs waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (Idaho or King Edward are waxy potatoes, Russet is not)

6 oz gruyere cheese, grated



1 1/2C heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream depending on where you live)

2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 T butter

gruyere cheese for topping, optional

Preheat oven to 300. Take a heavy bottom dish or oven proof gratin dish and grease it with some butter.

Layer the potato slices in the dish, slightly overlapping each other, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, and sprinkling each layer with a liberal amount of cheese.

Sprinkle cheese on the top of the last layer.

Put the cream, garlic and sprigs of thyme into a saucepan and bring them gently to a boil, then remove the thyme, and pour hot cream over the potatoes.

Dot the top of the gratin with the remaining butter and some extra cheese if you wish, and bake for about 1 to 1.5 hrs, or until the potatoes are soft and the top is crispy and golden brown.

Fresh Salad with French White Balsamic Vinaigrette

This one I just sort of made up, based on suggestions from friends via facebook. Salads are French, originally - who knew?! It was delicious, and my boys declared it their favourite part of the meal. But then, they always love the salad best...weird kids!

Mixed greens (spring and spinach combo)

1 apple, chunked

bacon, about 4 slices, cooked and diced

gorgonzola cheese


candied walnuts (or almonds)

I found a White Balsamic Vinaigrette by Brianna's (brand name). I was told this was a "French" dressing, and the label itself says it's a French Vinaigrette, so I guess that's right:-)

Kenna's Almost Tea Party

Kenna has been saving since September for an American Girl doll that "looks like her". Unfortunately, there wasn't one that looked like her (dark brown hair, fair skin, blue eyes, freckles). So she was torn between choosing medium brown hair, or no freckles, as a "close enough" look alike:-)

Enter Grace. She's a new doll, and the "American Girl of the Year". And she is exactly Kenna!

So when I asked the kids about their upcoming birthday cake "themes" for this year, I got three doozies. American Girl, Calvin & Hobbes and BeyMax. It's like my kids think I am a magical cake fairy or something:-) We like to keep birthdays small and family oriented, but I do definitely like to give them a cake that is central to their favourite things from that year.

Getting closer to March, I googled American Girl Doll Cakes, Parties, Themes - Google is usually my friend! I am usually given enough inspiration to make a go at something decent. This time? Flop. All the AG themed cakes are cakes of the box. The red and pink box with white stars that the doll comes in. Super lame. Some people can make impressive boxes and gift bags out of cake - but still. Lame.

I posed my problem to Kenna, and wondered if she had any other theme in mind. She didn't really, other than Frozen, and she wasn't that jazzed about it. So I suggested maybe we could have a real tea party. Dolls, tea parties. They go together, right? :-)

She loved that idea. And then a few days later, she came to me with an idea of her own - "Since Grace is from France, why don't we have French food, like you know, a baguette" I smiled to myself realizing that a baguette was the only French food she was aware of, and starting googling recipes to round out the meal.

When I was in the throws of recipe collection and internet browsing, Brian becomes aware of the plan after I told him that Grace was from France, so we'd do a French theme. "Grace is from France? Grace is not a French name" he says. Oh, well true..."Hey Kenna" I inquired, "How do you know Grace is from France?"

"Oh, Grace Thomas, the American Girl Doll of the Year? I saw it on a commercial. And she has a Paris thing on her shirt"

As one who goes through life believing 98% of what commercials tell me, this seems like proof enough to me. I guess that's why we have Brian, the resident cynic realist:-)

Another google search reveals that Grace Thomas is an American who travels to Paris, and is there inspired to become a pastry chef. Whew. We can keep our theme:-)

So we started in on the plan! (I'll post recipes in another post)
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Gratin Dauphinoise Potatoes
A fresh salad
A baguette

sugar cookies
cream puffs
ombre cakes
small chocolate bowls with a scoop of sea salt caramel truffle ice cream

We made little chocolate stars for the toppers of the ombre cakes - made in the reds and pinks of the AG boxes

We invited another family (of 6) to dine with us. They have two little girls, just older and just younger than Kenna, so it was perfect!

Fresh flowers - so pretty!
We got down all the fancy dishes, we polished silver spoons, we ironed linen napkins - it is going to be a lovely French meal and dessert!

Every thing was perfect!
The salad was made! (My boys adored this best of all!)
 I was thawing the ice cream for a quick second, getting ready to scoop it into the chocolate bowls and put back in the freezer, so all would be ready! Cream puffs were filled with French Vanilla cream (because, well, France, of course), and I was about to melt the chocolate for the drizzle. All the last minute details, as our guests would arrive in about 20 minutes.
Cream puffs - left abandoned and drizze-less :-(
 And Kenna threw up. All over the den floor. She had literally been a fine, chipper little helper all day long and was soooo excited for this party. She claims to feel fine, but she started not looking good pretty quickly. We called our friends and let them know - we have to cancel. Kenna was devastated, naturally. And truthfully, so was I. We'd worked so hard on it all.
We decided to postpone the dessert and tea party part until another day. Obviously we have to eat all the food we made, as it was ready to go. And there was a ton of it. And I spent $37 in cheeses alone! Such a huge disappointment.

On the bad news side - she is really sick. She can't keep anything down and her ears are killing her (possible ear infection brewing). On the plus side - she's feeling so badly that all she's doing is sleeping so she's not thinking about the great party we didn't have. We're doing all the meds and oils we can do to try and get those ears draining! Hopefully she'll be on the mend soon. poor baby.

While Kenna slept on the couch, the 4 of us ate the food, and boy oh boy, was it ever goooooood! Apparently expensive cheese makes ALL the difference in the world!
So grateful these two little guys are best buddies and love hanging out together

And the sicky. Not a great way to spend your almost birthday, that's for sure. She's got cough drops, gingerale, Netflix, kleenex, a humidifier, a barf bucket - allergy meds, oils, and garlic and evoo for her ear. Lets hope all the efforts work fast!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Flash Back Friday

Look at these lil babies, and WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!!!! I still kiss those chubby little cheeks, but they're just not nearly as squishable as they once were, are they?:-)
Kenna and Brooks at 3 months old, and Grey at 2 months old.

Oh, and I'm the nut who posts a flash back FRIDAY on a Tuesday...but I meant to post it Friday, and it's the thought that counts, right:-D

Great Wolf Lodge

We went again, on what is becoming a yearly tradition, to Great Wolf Lodge. This was our third Feb/Mar to go! With a homeschool discount offered, giving a really steep discount on the rooms, and then by booking the larger rooms (sleeps 8) and sharing the room with friends, you share the cost 50/50, and it makes it a really affordable and super fun little getaway!

This year there were 5 rooms booked, and 9 families that went (That was 18 adults and 15 children). It's a very fun way to do such a busy place, because there are always kids "around" to go do stuff with yours. I mean, I'm all about the water slides, but dodging and bobbing through the lazy river, or climbing up the pirate structure thing? No way. That's why we come with their friends:-)

We left the minute church was over on Sunday and arrived in Williamburg at 1pm and got right to the water park! We stayed over Sunday night, and left around 5pm on Monday evening (you are allowed to stay in the water park until it closes at 8pm on the day you check out). That doesn't sound long, really, but let me assure you, we are exhausted! The kids go go go and never stop, so they are very worn out.
The big play structure, with two slides coming down. Grey loved this!

We didn't tell the kids where we were going - mostly because I can't handle the constant harassment and "counting down the days". Then heaven forbid we got sick or something and couldn't go - there would be NO END to the tears. On Saturday though, I had to shop a bit for foods, and obviously pack, so we told them we were going to visit Gracie and Libby (which was true, they came in from Richmond). They were excited to go visit their friends, but didn't know how just how fun it would be! Our plan was almost foiled when Brian got a call late on Sat to fix something really quick on a jobsite in Yorktown (on the way to Wmsbrg). So he rode up with a friend who had to drive separate and leave for work (couldn't stay over), and made the stop off in Yorktown on the way, so we could get there and checked in right away. The kids were very concerned about how Daddy would make it to Sam & Heather's since we "left him behind". I just told them not to worry about it, haha!

I don't have a water safe camera or phone, so my pictures and videos are limited! I missed most of the cool stuff, of course:-) The Flow-Rider is about the only thing that you can video without getting wet! There was a bit of footage on Sam's underwater camera, but I'll have to see if he can email it to us:-)

Grey watching the guys on the Flow-Rider. Grey braved it this year for the first time, and tried it! He did really well for a minute, but then got caught up and barrel rolled back up over the top and got water up his nose, and didn't want to try again. He said it was fun though, and he'd do it again next year:-)

Brian, Josh and Sam waiting for a chance to show their skills:-)

Sooooo powerful! The lifeguard recognized Brian from last year and was giving him tips and pointers.

My Brooks

Brooks tried this, but was scared of falling off into the 5ft deep waters below, and insisted on a life jacket for this one. My little nervous nelly:-)
Notable memories from this year:

We shared a room with our friends Sam & Heather, who moved to Richmond area 4 years ago, so it was nice to see them again, we miss them!

Playing Reverse Charades at night, once the kids were down. Hilarious fun!

Grey's little personality is emerging more and more - he's such an independent little guy, with a determined quiet way about him. He acts as if he has no need for us at all, and just does his own thing. He had great struggle with the buddy system concept and was always escaping his buddies to go on to the next thing, alone.

One story - he told me he was going to go do a game "over there" (waving vaguely). It was awhile since I'd seen him, so I venture "over there" to find him. He decided to do the lily pad game by self, with no help. He is not tall enough to reach the ropes, so he was just balancing on the first lily pad, trying to figure out how to jump to the next one. The line was building behind him and he was just standing there:-) I asked the lifeguard if I could help him, so I jumped in the water and helped him jump across. It's definitely the "hardest" thing there for kids to do, and it's impossible to do when you are too short, and it blows my mind that he tried to do it all by himself. Crazy kid!

Brooks' nervous nature gets the better of him. Last year he did the biggest and scariest slide, but this year, he wouldn't do it. He said maybe next year:-) He had a blast on the other slides, but loved swimming in the pool, lazy river and Flow-rider.

Kenna is a do-er with no fear. She rode the biggest and scariest of slides alllll day long and with everyone, kids and adults alike. She is by far the most adventurous and fun loving of our three - for this type of fun anyway. At one point she went down the Tornado (the scary one) with Brian and Paul, and Paul was screaming "help me!!!!!" because, well, you have to scream something! It's terrifying! And Brian said she let go, like she was going to help or something?! He was like HOLD ON! I couldn't image letting go for a second on that one!

Brian held little Pilar (14mths) while her parents went off to have fun without babies, and she fell asleep in his arms. I think they both caught a little nap;-) It was so cute! A good time was had by everyone in all 9 families, from all reports. Which means that everyone will want to do it again next year too!! A fun little quick family getaway. Until next year GWL!