Our Boys!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Atlanta Trip

We just got back from an awesome trip to Atlanta. My sister and her family moved there from NYC back in January, so we were finally able to make the LONG 590 mile trek down there to visit them.

Although it was a long weekend - it certainly didn't seem very long! We can't wait to go back!!! The boys had a great time with their cousin, and we had a great time learning more about the city and all it has to offer.

When we arrived on Friday, the boys went to tour a brewery, and we hung out at the house and made papaw's birthday cake (we ended up celebrating it last night).

Saturday we went to the pool and toured the city. Later that night, my sister took my mom and I to the brand new Verizon Wireless outdoor amphitheatre (which looks A LOT like our Verizon outdoor amphitheatre here in Indy). Anyway, my sister is now the Director of Media and Public Relations for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra - and this amphitheatre was built by the ASO. Not only do they book the big rock band types that we're used to seeing here, but the coolest thing is that the orchestra uses it too for outdoor concerts. Saturday night, the ASO presented all Beethoven pieces and it was AMAZING!!! Most of you probably don't know my "classical" side - but I played violin from 4th grade through high school, so it's always really cool to get back to that. My sister played in the orchestra with me when we were in high school - she played flute though. Anyway, since she's a big wig with the ASO, we got to tour the facility and go back stage after the show.

Sunday we all went to the Georgia Aquarium. It's the largest aquarium in the world and it was pretty amazing! I'm probably going to do another post on that later - I took way too many pictures there, so it deserves it's own post!!! After that, we went back to the pool for awhile before heading out to dinner with some of our extended family. My cousin Mike and his wife and family live near Atlanta too - and his parents (my aunt and uncle) were there visiting at the same time, so we all met for dinner. When we got home, we celebrated my dad's birthday (which was on the 25th). Then we had to pack up all our junk to head back home the next morning.

Here are a few pics from the weekend. Thanks Melissa, Mark and Kyle for being such awesome hosts - we can't wait to come back to see you!!!

The boys outside the aquarium near Centennial Park where the Olympics were held.

Preparing to bake the birthday cake and cupcakes. Who knew my kids would be into the whole baking thing? Aunt Melissa supervised while the boys "helped".

Now this was funny! This is called the Georgia White House. It is a real house that is 3/4ths scale of the real White House. Apparently some guy from Iran built this when he became an American citizen as a tribute to living the american dream - or something like that. It's literally a mile from my sister's place. I thought it was cool looking, but I guess the majority of GA thinks it's gaudy! I should've tried to get a better pic of it, b/c off to the right is another "guest" house (which is probably 3 times the size of my house) and a gate house at the entrance to the driveway.

Melissa, Mom and I at the brand new Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park.

It pays to know someone on the inside. My sister got us FANTASTIC seats to see the show!

Okay, call me cheesy, but after the show backstage, my sister introduced us to the orchestra's conductor (Robert Spano on the left) and the special pianist who performed with them on Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (Dejan Lazic on the right). Dejan was just here in Indy 2 weeks ago performing with our orchestra - now that I've seen him play, I'm going to take him up on his offer to come see him in Indy next year!!! The whole concert was unbelievable, but even more than that - the entire staff and orchestra members were so personable! The ASO all seem to love having Melissa on their staff - and of course I agree! I'm proud of you sis!!!

The bigger family at dinner Sunday night.

I guess these would be cousins and 2nd cousins. From the left is my sister's little boy Kyle, Blake, Grant, Evan, Ava, and Alex (Ava and Alex are my cousin Mike's kids).

The "original" cousins: Melissa, Mike and me.

The ending to the weekend - we finally got to sing Happy Birthday - and the kids helped Papaw blow out the candles.

Georgia Aquarium Excursion

Here is the post I promised on the "World's Largest Aquarium"

Really, these pictures don't do this place justice. I have never seen so many HUGE tanks of fish, whales, sharks, etc... it was just an awesome place - I don't think we'll ever be able to go back home to the Newport Aquarium, this place just RULES - there is no comparison!!!

We always call Grant "G" - so we got this picture of him in front of the aquarium with the G fish behind him (you can't see it too well, but the fins are to the left of the letter G - pretty cute marketing).

The aquarium had all kinds of fish floating above you in just about every exhibit. This one was a long tunnel that had whales and sharks among other fish swimming overhead. It even had a slow moving walkway you could just stand on and you could look as it moved you down the corridor.

Some of the glass encasements had "caves" around them to make it seem more like you were underwater with the fish. The boys loved climbing up onto them to see everything.

One of the HUGE WALLS of glass - seriously, these pictures don't do this justice - it was absolutely gigantic, you almost felt like you were underwater (the boys are in the striped shirts by the glass).

These seals were crazy! You could view them from inside, or you cold go outside (where I was to take these pictures). Anyway, they were funny b/c they were playing "King (or seal) of the Mountain". One of the seals would get up on the rocks, and the other would try to take over until one of them ended up back in the water. We were crackin' up!

In addition to all the glass, they also had these tubes scattered throughout the exhibits. The kids could literally climb under one of the exhibits (penguins in this case) and pop up in a tube so it looks like you're in the exhibit with the penguins. The boys LOVED this!
One of the balconies overlooking part of the main floor - again, doesn't do the place justice - but kind of shows you how big and cool the place is.
The alligator exhibit - even with the glass, these things were a little too close to comfort for me!
Weird lighting, but it was designed this way to get a better picture of the jellyfish. Grant and Evan loved trying to "touch" them.
They had a 3D show called Deepo (who looked just like Nemo without the stripes). Blake loved him - he was giving him a hug here, and later we got him a stuffed one to take home as a souvenir.

Evan & Kyle in the penguin tube. You can actually see the penguins to the right in this picture.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today, Tomorrow & Yesterday

Today is my dad's birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!

Tomorrow we leave for Atlanta to visit my sister and her family - be sure to look for a post on that next week, along with a post for the BIG LIL'S FIREWORKS EXTRAVAGANZA which is happening on July 3rd - you AREN'T going to want to miss it!!! You can view a little You Tube clip
HERE if you want a little taste of what you'll be missing. But I'm sure I'll post some more clips after this year's party as well.

But this post is from yesterday. This summer, I'm watching our friends' kids a few days during the week, and we decided to go on "field trips" every other week. This week, they all decided on the Zoo. Well, I haven't been to the zoo in forever, but we all had a lot of fun. Evan took a friend of his as well, so I was totally outnumbered at 6 to 1!

The group hanging out by the sharks.

Blake loved petting the little sharks, I could barely drag him away from them until he heard the word...

PENGUINS! They all loved watching the penguins swim and play.

This was a cute shot by the Polar Bear.

They all loved the little outdoor gift shops, here they are posing and playing with these little clapper things. You squeeze the handle and their mouths open and close. Yeah, who were the marketing geniuses who invented these crazy things?!?!

This was my favorite - The Koalas!!! Unfortunately, they were both sleeping, so this was the best shot I could get through the glass.

This was the next best shot - Blake liked the little Koala mask at the gift shop outside the exhibit.

A little Dippin' Dots for the kiddos.

The Dolphin Show - this was really cool, but a VERY SHORT SHOW!

4 of the 6 decided to sit in the "Splash Zone", you can see the water spots on some of their clothing - they definitely got WET!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Weekend With Friends

What a great weekend for us! Our good friends Patrick & Christy came for a visit (yep, it only took them 8 years to get their backsides up here for a visit - hahaha).

We've known Pat & Christy forever. They were in our wedding, we were in theirs - despite the distance, we've seen them on occasion when we've been back home in Cincy and have kept in touch more recently this past year. So they finally came for a visit with their 2 boys. Nate is close to Grant's age and Ethan is close to Blake's age, they were like 4 peas in a pod. Evan hung out with them off and on too, so all in all, it was just a great weekend!

We even did a little backwards travel via video. When Shawn proposed to me, we got the whole thing on video. After the actual proposal, Pat and Christy joined us for the rest of the evening for dinner. We all stayed at the hotel and had a blast - and we had some of that on video too. Talk about hilarious - not to mention how young we looked 15 years ago!!!

So thanks friends for an awesome weekend - we can't wait to do it agin . . . SOON!

Christy & Patrick - who will celebrate 12 years of marriage on the 29th!!!

A little cookout on the deck.

Grant, Blake and Nate on the playset.

Ethan was really cute playing pretend bad guys with the bigger boys. He loved the way Grant would play dead when he "shot" him.
Put 2 pyros together with their boys and it's pure heaven!
Ethan is scared to death of fireworks, but he loved throwing the poppers.
Grant and Nate had fun with the sparklers.
When they all left late Sunday afternoon, Evan and Blake crashed hard! Too funny!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Today's Fun!

Today was a "rest, relax and catch-up" kind of day. We started out by going downtown to have lunch with Daddy at Lilly's Corporate Center. His office will only be here a few more days before he moves on to another Lilly Campus. We'll miss the massive cafe they have at the Corporate Center - so the boys wanted to go one last time.

Then we went swimming at my good friend Shannon's pool. Since I mostly work at the pool in our community, this was a great way for me to escape and actually be able to relax! We and the kids had a great time!!! Thanks Shan!

My 4 wonderful boys!!!

Lilly has this really huge "empty" picture frame where you can stand in it and see yourself across the hall via a live camera feed. The boys love this - they can be quite expressive as you can see.

Evan and Grant in the frame (this is what it looks like from the other side).

One last look at Daddy's cube.

Grant and Jake enjoying the water.

3 little monkeys splashing on the steps.

Blake goes it alone - this pool was great b/c all the boys could stand unassisted in a good portion of the entire pool!

Grant just loves Emily! She's such a doll!!!

Girls Night Out!!!

My friend Christine was celebrating her birthday. They asked me to join them so I said "sure, why not"!

Boy am I glad I did. I had a fabulous time - and even though I don't get out much, I have to say that these ladies were a blast to hang out with. The really cool thing is almost all of them live in our neighborhood association. I feel like I have a whole new group of great girlfriends!!!

So, Happy Birthday Christine - and thanks for an amazing time! I seriously can't wait until we do it again!!!

The girls! Back Row: Suzanne, Lisa, Me & Jill. Front Row: Mary, Christine & Jess

We went to this awesome restaurant on the Morse Reservoir called Wolfie's - we're definitely going back there, it felt like we were on vacation at some beach! This was a cool picture I got of the sunset.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Well, what can you do when someone gets the idea to create a slip n slide in the backyard. My hubby got out the hose for the boys and one of their friends. He then attached it to the top of the slide on our playset, and let the boys have at it!

The first video clip is a funny one of Blake. He was going so fast that his bottom skidded on the grass. This prompted the 2nd video when Shawn added a tarp so they could "slide longer". The 3rd video is the kids getting creative and trying to form a train.

Ahhhhh, summer!!! You gotta love it!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekend Pics

It's been a busy but fun weekend! Yesterday, we traveled to Cincinnati for an awesome party! I've known my friend Lori (or LL as I call her) since we were kids. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to Jr. High and High School together, and even ended up living one house away when we were both married. Several years ago, Lori got Leukemia. Like so many other things in her life - Lori has come through this trial with flying colors, and I'm so proud of her!!! Today's celebration was called Lori's Re-Birth Party - it was the celebration of being cancer-free for 5 years!!! It's inspiring to see how faith in God, good friends and family, and perseverance can get you through whatever life hands you. I love ya LL!!!

I also included a few pics from Grant's last baseball game (which was against one of his best friends' teams) and a pic I took today of Grant and Daddy at the pool!

Hope you're all enjoying your summer!

Me and LL

Evan and Grant posing at the party

Patrick and Grant after their game

Daddy shielding Grant's eyes from the sun