Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First Day of School

September 8th, 2015 was the first day of school for our boys at Cornerstone School.
They ordered french toast for breakfast.

8th Grade

5th grade

1st Grade

Sure do love and pray you boys have a wonderful year this year.  Work hard, put in every effort, have fun and above an example for Christ.

It is finished....

.....for now that is.  Remember back in June we had major rains which flooded our basement while we were gone in St. Louis one weekend.....

And just one week ago ( nearly a 3 month span) we were finally able to put everything back together and call it a "usable" basement again. We put in a new kitchen floor and I repainted pretty much everything down there.  It feels so nice to have it back for now.......

 Ours hopes and dreams are to put in a kitchen on the right side of the above picture.  We found a fridge on a garage sale and we hope to install cabinets/counter, sink, and an oven this winter.

The Much Anticipated.......

                           VACATION!!!! (long post ahead)

We left on the 19th of August and headed to Knoxville, TN.  We stayed two nights at an Embassy Suite so that Nick could work at his old stomping grounds Thursday and Friday.  The kids and I tried to keep busy during the day to help pass time.
Lots of swimming in the pool and hot tub.  It was always empty since it was during the day that they swam.  
One afternoon we spent several hours at a local splash pad and park.  Yeah it wasn't probably the greatest place for Elijah(bored easily) but the rest of the kids enjoyed it.
We were able to eat at our favorite restaurant on the lake one evening and then the other evening we ate out with our "old neighbors" Lucas and Gina.  

On Saturday morning (4am) we headed on to Arley, Alabama for a 6 night stay at Nick's coworkers home he owns on the Lewis Smith Lake.

 Such a beautiful home on such a beautiful clear calm lake.  We truly enjoyed this to the fullest.

 One of the great things about this is the fact that you don't have to pack a lunch for the boat, nor do you have to take "all equipment" needed to have fun.  Just leave it all on the dock and come in and out to swap out equipment.
 Each day we sat outside on the patio for lunch so we had a great view of the lake.

 One of Caden's sayings that week was "a first time for everything".  So of course he was trying to jump wakes on the wake board.
And he became a master pro at flipping off the high jump and the walkway that lead out to the dock.
Elijah really worked on getting AIR on the wake board.  One time he was able to get across the entire wake width, but landed with a bang into the water.  OUCH!!
Elijah really enjoy's slalom skiing as well.  I believe he prefers slalom over wake boarding. So he kept trying to "lay down" on the water as he went outside the wake.
 Our boys are not to big into tubing but they sure seemed to have fun hopping tubes since we were able to use the owners other tube along with our tube.

And as I was snapping pictures of the boys on the tubes I looked back into the boat and this is what I precious.  I think Ellie was praying for their safety!!!
 And due to Caden's popular phrase "a first time for everything" he got up on one ski as well and really LOVED it.  By day two he was in and out of the wake.
 In the evenings we found plenty to do.  We played around the world...
...played games with the kids
                                                  watched movies....
and each night the kids looked forward to a nightly snack.  Typically they don't get much of a snack before bed, but its vacation and so we tried making it "extra" special.  Here we had cheese and crackers(a favorite in this house).

Just enjoying each other and the beautiful sunny sky!!  So glad we had weather like we did.

 Now Liam was just as adventurous as the big boys.  Here he tried wake boarding for the first time and with much success he was up and at it quite quickly.  No picture but he also got up on double skis.  Needless to say he enjoyed wake boarding more than double skis.

 However his all time favorite is knee boarding.  He was quite good at it by the end of the week.

We also had our fishing stuff along so the boys did some of that too.

And FINALLY Ellie was jumping in.  She has always been afraid to get her head wet, but not after this vacation.  She was jumping in constantly.

                           Elijah diving off of the high jump from the dock.

On Thursday we cleaned up the cabin, and headed onto our next stop....Gatlinburg, TN with the Harold Gutwein Family.  We celebrated gramps and grams 65th wedding anniversary.  Thanks to them for making this possible.  We stayed in the beautiful Gatlinburg Mansion in the mountains.  Such a lovely view and the cabin was AWESOME!!  14 bedrooms with attached bath in all bedrooms.  A large kitchen enough to seat 46+ people.  A 35 seat home theater room, a couple hot tubs, 2 arcade rooms and lots of space:).
kitchen area

 One of the bedrooms was used for all the little girls.  The first night they all slept in the top queen bunk bed.....of course they got no sleep and therefore the remainder of the nights they had to use all the beds in the room:).
           Having fun with the arcade games and pool table and air hockey.

 One afternoon the majority of the group went for a hike.  Sadly Elijah walked into a bee hive and was stung at least 15 times that we could count.  Poor guy.  Thankfully he has been stung before so I knew he wasn't allergic.

We let the kids use the hot tub one afternoon as a swimming pool.  They had fun.

They also had three corn hole games.  So we made use of that and had several tournaments.
Looks like gramps must have got the bag in the hole!!
Thanks Gramps and Grams for taking us to this Mansion!!

We got home from our extended vacation on August 31st.  What a wonderful couple weeks away.  However it is ALWAYS nice to get home and back into routine.