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Friday, August 21, 2009

Birmingham Installment #2

On one of our outings in Birmingham we visited the Vulcan statue.
The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, Alabama. The 56-foot tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It is the seventh-tallest free-standing statue in the United States.

I learned on this little venture that I am NOT as fearless of heights as I once thought. It was fantastic to go up the elevator and see the city scape, but it wasn't long before I found my way back down.

From one side you could see the city skyline.

And from the other side, the mountains.

My favorite family fun trip was to the McWane Science Center.
In summary, this place ROCKS!!!
I am talking four levels of state of the art fabulous, funness (is that even a word?)
And ... would you believe me if I told you a family membership costs almost exactly the same as to our wee little Wonderscope?!?!

First we all took turns laying on this bed of nails.
The sensation was a little - well uneasy at first, however I think I could get used to the applied pressure.

One of the kids favorite attractions was the inventors garage.
Think NASCAR in adolescent form. The kids have free reign to inspect under the hood, change the oil & tires, replace the muffler ... you get the picture.

They had a large touch tank where you are allowed to touch sharks and stingrays. Much to our dismay none of the little creatures swam close enough to touch. Dawson loved the aquarium action. He was plastered to the glass watching every move and frequently tapped the glass and said "Pishy, pishy!"
I realized after uploading pictures from our time in Alabama that I really didn't take many. Argh! I am anxiously awaiting some from my SIL. Can't wait to see what she got with their awesome HD camera.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Birmingham Installment #1

The kids and I road tripped to Birmingham, Alabama with my parents Aug 1st - 8th. The drive took us a total of 13 hours each direction. We left Kansas, drove through Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, & arrived in Alabama.
The drive was just what my parents had prepared me for
The highways were thick with Kudzu which I found to be so pretty. If you don't know what it is, I encourage you to google it. It's a vine that was imported to the U.S. from Japan to help with erosion control. The vine grows at very rapid rates on anything it comes into contact with - trees, power lines, etc.
We drove through some scenic areas including several towns saturated with year round flea markets, the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Mansfield, MO and the birth home of Elvis Presley in Tupelo, MS.
Gabrielle and Dawson did remarkably well with the long drive. We did our best to keep them busy with movies, snacks, car friendly activities & a lot of conversation. I wanted to share a handful of pictures from our trip.
This group of photos was from our visit to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Arboretum.

Little Poser :0)

I was in awe by the size of the sunflowers.
The bud was as large as the circumference of an adult face.

Just one of the many rose bushes in the rose garden.

Gabrielle taking in the sights and smells of the pretty flowers.

Cousins - Dawson, Gabrielle, Logan, Dylan, Danielle and Connor.

Other highlights that I don't have photo documentation of included:
Meeting my mom's cousin Larry and his son Eli
Seeing the home that mom's dear Aunt Ruby (my grandmother's sister) lived in
Watching Gabrielle develop a true love relationship with her cousin Logan
Witnessing my sweet son be a bully to Connor
A bug invasion that caused lost hours of sleep - only my family will understand this one!
NO TELEVISION FOR 9 STRAIGHT DAYS (with the exception of one 30 minute taped episode of Coach). Minimal computer usage (I checked e-mail, google reader & Facebook once daily which is stellar for me ... working on this one!!)
Sweet time with family!!

Installment #2 soon to come

Friday, August 14, 2009

Skate City

Wednesday morning we met up with several other at Skate City in Overland Park for their morning kids skate session (9:30Am - 11:00AM).

I am the crazy mom who allowed the young man at the front door talk me into letting Dawson join in on the fun skating. His exact words were "How old is your little guy?" When I answered not quite two he responded "Awh! Let him give it a try." Well, he tried and conquered.

They take a short five minute rest period where the kids are offered a snack and small fountain drink or water. I like this picture because it captures Gabrielle's sweet side. And believe me when I say we have been dealing with an unfamiliar devilish side of her lately. I have jokingly said she is bipolar. She flips on a dime. Has anyone else experienced this with their girls? I will take the sweet Gabi anyday!

Here are my two in action.

Gabrielle getting her grove on during a dance song (they played Going on a Bear Hunt, the Chicken Dance, Hokey Pokey & others).

This picture wins my vote for favorite of the day.
No reason other than it makes me smile.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

CC Fountains

Monday we spent the morning cleaning house for yet another showing (Lord will this house ever sell?) and swam at the neighborhood pool for a short bit so Tuesday we were all ready for a change of scenery. We headed down to the Crown Center Fountains with several neighbor friends. The kids had a blast frolicking around in the water while the adults enjoyed each others company. There was a camera crew there shooting for the upcoming Irish fest.
Stay tuned to YouTube for possible footage of the kids + a cow.
That's right - a big bovine was there and boy did it gain a lot of attention.
I will share the handful of pictures I took.
None too good.
The munchkins turned their back or ran the opposite direction EVERY time I went to snap.
Leave me a comment to let me know you were here.
I hope everyone is enjoying what remains of summer.
I am loving every minute of it!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

La De Da Spa

Last Thursday Gabrielle was treated to a day of beauty by her girlfriend Brooke. We met up with Brooke and her Mommy at Shear Madness and the girls enjoyed a manicure and full pedicure. They got to pick out paint colors (light pink for their nails and fuchsia for their toes).

After their manicures and pedicures were complete the technician applied sparkling glitter to the tops of their hands and feet.

They dressed the girls in matching spa bathrobes, boas, and tiaras.

If that wasn't fun enough Becky decided to take it to the next level and spoiled the girls with an up do. What fun!!

Gabrielle is just one year older than Brooke, but it is endearing to see and hear how much Brooke looks up to Gabi. We have been very fortunate to spend more time this summer with Brooke and her Mommy. Theirs is a friendship to be treasured. We are very fortunate to have them as both neighbors as well as friends.

Being Diva for the day is one experience that Gabrielle will not soon forget. She was so proud of the way she looked.
It is funny how a little pampering can do a woman (or a little girl) good :0)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Swim Lessons

After a little arm twisting I successfully convinced Travis that swim lessons were in order this year for Ms. Gabs. It was an easy choice where and with whom I wanted her to take them. Megan (who happens to be the daughter of one of my college professors from Nebraska Christian College) lives just around the corner from us and teaches private lessons at the neighborhood pool. She suggests partnering up with a "swim buddy" for lessons. Gabrielle and Kamryn enjoyed their time in the water with Ms. Megan. It never ceases to amaze me how kids will listen intently and follow instructions from someone other than their perspective guardian. I was intrigued at how much both girls trusted Megan. They each had their own strengths - Kamryn is a strong swimmer on her tummy and Gabrielle is a strong back swimmer. I look forward to starting earlier in the season next year and having the girls expand their swim techniques. All in all it was a terrific experience and money well spent!!