Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Beach Vacation 2017 - Beautiful, Relaxing Beach

Beach Vacation 2017 - Beautiful, Relaxing Beach
Back in July, we went to the beach with our family! This is the first time my brother and sister and I have ever been on vacation together. We really had a great time together. 

We were at the beach for an entire week and there is way too much to share in one blog post, but I did want to at least start telling the tale. 

We stayed in a private beach house right on the ocean in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It was called the Dancing Dolphin and we literally saw dolphins out our window several times while we were staying there. 

We took tents down to the water every morning so that we could spend as much time as we wanted down by the water without burning up. A couple of days the water was pretty choppy, but we had a lot of fun. One day, we even flew some kites over the water. 

I loved waking up and seeing the beach outside my window every morning. One morning, I woke up to see dolphins cruising by. The beach was beautiful. I can't say that enough. The sand was pretty and white, there was no trash or seaweed.

We took long walks on the beach every day. Sometimes we would pick up shells along the edge of the water. 

One morning, I got out early and went for a walk along the beach to look for shells but the tide was not right and I was not finding many shells. But I did see a double rainbow. It lasted a long time. I think almost all of us ended up getting a picture of it before it went away.

We saw a lot of birds while we were walking along the beach. This bird was fishing along the edge of the water and was not bothered by me at all. 

One morning, Heather and I were looking for shells and we kept finding sand dollars. They just kept washing up right in front of us.  How cool is that? They were all pretty small, but I think we got 6 or 7 sand dollars that morning.

We saw a few really cool sand castles. We made one too, but it was not as fancy as this one that we saw on one of our walks. 

It was so nice to be able to spend some quality time with our family. We miss them so much!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Happy 7th Birthday Noah!

Happy 7th Birthday Noah!
Sunday was Noah's 7th birthday. We celebrated with family and friends on Saturday night with cake and ice cream.

For the last several weeks, Noah has been telling us the wanted a specific Willy Wonka cake that he found on YouTube. It was a really fancy and complicated cake, but Mike kept saying that if anyone could make this cake it was me and Emily.

I think it turned out pretty good. The cake was a nine-layer white chocolate mud cake with vanilla buttercream between the layers. It was covered with chocolate ganache then decorated with colored fondant. 

Front of cake

Back of cake with the chocolate waterfall

Inside of the cake with nine rainbow colored layers. And all that delicious buttercream. I mean, it was really delicious, homemade, decadent buttercream. 

We also made some fizzy lifting drink. At first, Noah wouldn't drink it because he didn't want to be lifted. But he finally tried it and he loved it!

Isn't he sooooo handsome??

And of course we had to have plenty of candy at a Willy Wonka party.  It was a fun party and Noah was so excited to have his family and friends with him to celebrate.

Noah got a lot of fun presents. He loves art and he got a lot of art supplies. He also got some Lego sets that he and Emily have already been working on building. I wish I had some pictures of him with his presents. Mason got him a pirate belt and sword that he loves wearing every day. He also got his very first piggy bank with Noah's Ark painted on the side.

Sunday was Noah's birthday and he was also baptized at church on Sunday morning. What a special event to happen on his 7th birthday. We are so happy for him and proud of him!

Happy Birthday Noah!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Garage Organization

Garage Organization
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my parents helped us put up some shelving and hooks and things to help get our garage organized. I wish I'd taken before and after pictures, but I didn't think of that. It's still a work in progress, but here's what we have so far.

Storage and shelves in front of the cars. Some of this area is used for storing kitchen items since it's close to the door.

I really wanted a place to hang the folding chairs and we found a perfect place for those. The car has to be able to pull almost all the way to the wall so that we can get in our storm shelter that is in the garage floor underneath the car so we could not put much low on the wall in front of the car.

We have a really nice section for hand tools. The toolboxes are on a shelf below the hanging tools.

We also have a nice area for garden tools and larger lawn care tools.

I forgot to take a picture of the gardening center. I will have to add that another day.

I think we've made a great start to getting the garage organized. We've gotten rid of a lot of stuff that we didn't need any more too. That's a huge help to being able to keep things clean.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

July Weekend Adventure - Blue Whale of Catoosa

July Weekend Adventure - Blue Whale of Catoosa
Our fourth and last stop on our July weekend adventure was the Blue Whale of Catoosa. It's basically this giant whale in the middle of a little pond. It appears the pond used to be used for swimming and the whale was the diving board, but swimming is no longer allowed. That didn't stop Noah from trying to go down the slide (into the water!) And it didn't stop him from going to stand on the very edge of the tail of the whale.

I bet you didn't notice this, but in the picture above Noah is looking out one of the peep holes in the whale's nose. There was a ladder inside that allowed access to the upper deck inside the whale. 

Doesn't Noah look sad in the picture below? It was really hot out there and he wanted to play in the sand pile behind him, but I wouldn't let him get dirty. 

We didn't stay very long. Just stopped by to see it and experience it and then we were on our way back home.

Friday, July 7, 2017

July Weekend Adventure - Tulsa Garden Center @ Woodward Park

July Weekend Adventure - Tulsa Garden Center @ Woodward Park
The third stop on our weekend adventure was the Tulsa Garden Center at Woodward park.  This park has a small kids play area - and I do mean very small.

But it also had a really awesome garden. I loved seeing all the different plants that they were growing in their gardens. Everything was extremely well-kept. 

We found this koi pond with a neat little bridge over the water.

While we were standing here, a woman came out with a little container of fish food and asked if we wanted to feed them. When we started feeding them, a little more fish came out of nowhere to eat. 

They also had a butterfly garden, but we didn't see any butterflies. We only saw bees!

Oh, and this bunny.

They had pretty much every color of flowers that you could think of. The woman we talked with said it was all maintained by volunteers. 

This was one of my favorite stops on the trip.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July Weekend Adventure - Praying Hands at Oral Roberts University

July Weekend Adventure - Praying Hands at Oral Roberts University
Our next stop on our weekend adventure was the Praying Hands statue at Oral Roberts University. Can i just say that this statue is HUGE? I didn't even know there was a Praying Hands statue at Oral Roberts until I started looking up things to do in Tulsa.

They had a neat little garden around the statue and a series of flags from different countries.  In front of the statue was a hedge shaped like a cross. 

It was so hot and muggy out there that we didn't stay long, but I'm glad we made the stop. 

I loved their gardens. Everything was so neat and well-kept.

Keep checking back to see where we went next. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Weekend Adventure - Oklahoma Aquarium

July Weekend Adventure - Oklahoma Aquarium
This weekend, we went on an adventure to the Tulsa area. Funny how Tulsa is not that far away, but it's very rare that we make it up that way. Our first stop was Mexican food at Los Cabos and then the Oklahoma Aquarium. 

The aquarium has been open for about 14 years, but we've never been.  It was really neat though.

We all enjoyed seeing all the different exhibits. 

We all took a bunch of pictures of the different animals. 

Noah is such an independent guy. He has no problem walking off on his own and blazing his own path. Watch out world when this one gets older!

He also has some pretty cute dance moves, don't you think?

See what I mean about the smooth moves? 

Shhhh, don't wake the octopus! There was a temporary barricade around his tank and a sign that said "No Flash Photography". Maybe he's grumpy?

We went through the shark tunnel and Noah and I found ourselves in the shark cage. Don't think I'd be brave enough to get in a shark cage in the ocean though. 

We did not spend a lot of time here, mostly because of how quickly Noah was moving through it. I would go back someday though. They are already planning to add some new exhibits soon.

Keep watching for updates to see where else we went on our Saturday adventure.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Thanksgiving in June

Thanksgiving in June
I think it's common knowledge around here, but I work from home. My office window looks out across my front yard, but window is behind me when I'm sitting at my desk. The other day, I was on a work call and I turned around to get up for a minute and there was a turkey running across the yard in front of my window. Yes, a real live turkey, not a crazy neighbor.

I just got up and took my cell phone and headset with me and went outside to take a picture of the turkey. He was in between our house and the neighbor's house. I took his picture and then he hopped up onto our fence and went into our backyard.

I went back through the house to the backyard to see what he was doing. We have a wrought iron fence in the back and he was in one corner of the yard trying to get through between the bars. When that didn't work, he started running across the yard really fast and took off flying over the fence and out of sight.

That was the last I saw of the turkey so we couldn't have Thanksgiving dinner in June after all.

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