Hello Summer!

School was out for the boys on May 16th and then on Friday the boys and I hopped a plane and headed home for our first vacation of the summer. 

Breakfast at airport diner

yum yum

sharing sweet snacks on the plane 
Poppy and Dee Dee met us in at the airport and the adventure began with lots of fun!

Lunch at cracker barrel and we HAD to get light sabors 

everyone joined in the fun 

Poppy gave rides on the rocket ship 

Dee Dee and her super men ready for bed action 

feeding the animals

so brave walking out to the cows 
The highlight at Poppy and Dee Dee's house this time was the pool remodel.  We caught the end of it and boys were fascinated watching it get finished and thrilled to watch it get filled with water.  They waited with anticipation all morning until the hot tub portion filled with water and then in they went.  They had no concern at all that it was FREEZING well water!

While we were home we attended my first cousin Will's wedding to his bride Christie.  She is beautiful and the boys were a hoot at the wedding.  Overall they did really good and they are super excited about Uncle Bubba's upcoming wedding.  

shopping with GG

on my to the wedding!

Love this getaway car and my gorgeous sister!

Eli was way more impressed with this jeep 

Yep.  He's handsome 

Beckett and his GG

Ready to PARTY!

Photo booth props

checking out the field 

Beckett getting down on the dance floor with his Poppy 

helping himself to some lemonade

JB and Madison - they are next 
It was also fun to get to celebrate my birthday with the family too.  It was a week early but we all gathered at Mikata and had a fun lunch.  Every time the boys go to the ice cream shop they always ask for an ice cream cake.  I keep telling them they are for birthdays so they were beyond excited that Poppy took them to pick one out for me!  They are very particular about what their mommy loves.  Little bit of chocolate with pink icing of course.

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My beautiful Ma

GG, JB, and Madison 

Ma and Dave 

The boys were so good for lunch 

getting my birthday hugs

it was a long wait.. thanks to Dee Dee for the ninja turtle games 

helping me open my presents

Love Love my new Epiphanie camera bag!!

Happy Birthday to me!

Yum. Yum. Yum. 

Blessed by Family.. such a great birthday!

There were other special memories too.  Sometimes just the simple things can be the best times together.  I got to spend an afternoon with my Ma just shopping and hanging out.  We drove my mom's convertible which had no air conditioner.  It was like a moving sauna. We laughed so much.  We took our time and looked and shopped.  We giggled.  We put the top down, turn the music up, and danced.   Ma said "Lu, we are acting like teenagers."  Loved. Every. Minute. 

Time with my sister...

And the sweetest Poppy tried to fulfill my little boys wish of going camping.  First try was in the living room.  3 of the 4 made it!

Other special memories?

Pedicure with Dee Dee 

snuggles with cartoons after swimming 

facetime with daddy 
My mom and dad have 3 foster children right now.  They are so much part of the family that I have no idea what my boys are going to do when they go home.  I was so incredibly proud of my boys.  They did not have a hint of jealousy about their poppy and dee dee.  They just loved playing.  Eli is slightly obsessed with babies and was best friends with the smallest.  In the morning I asked Beckett was a kiss and he said "I'm a little bit busy playing with my friends right now" While having 5 kids including 4 toddlers often made for a crazy environment, it was full of love and memories for all the boys.  

Eli did not want to say goodbye.  They must have hugged 10 times 
After a great week at Poppy and Dee Dee's we loaded up and headed south to Big Poppa and Gamma's cabin.  They boys stayed there 2 nights (milestone) by themselves while Mommy and Daddy went to their respective parties for Uncle Bubba and Madison.  They had a blast!  We didn't have to worry at all and they were so well taken care of.  The cabin is a little boys dream. They rode the boat, fished, swam, and had big adventures.

The weekend at the beach for Madison's party was such a luxurious break for this full time mommy.  It was relaxing and full of good food and beach time.  I even got to lay on the beach for a full day.  Read an entire book. Sleep all night. Eat long meals at restaurants. It felt amazing.  Thanks Gamma and Poppa for the time off!

First day on the beach with madison 

gorgeous clear water 

porch reading  
heading out for dinner 

Dinner at red bar 

great new friends 

lingerie shower!

morning devotional 

beach time!

Lauren and Emmaline joined us 

My sweet niece Emmaline.  Adorable 

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reading in the ocean.  perfection. 

sunset watching at Bud N Alley's 

Dinner dates 
And before I knew it, it was time to meet Justin back at Gantt for one last day of fun.  It was the first time we had all 4 been together in 10 days!  The boys were excited to see us and show us all the fun at Gantt.  All 4 of us were exhausted and took great naps together.  

noodle tree 

Back together again. My loves 
Justin's best friend from high school now lives in Gainesville but his parents have a place not to far from the Riley's.  This is the first time it as matched up that we were in town at the same time. We finally got to meet their newest little one and the boys to see their friend Colton again.  What a blessing to see old friends and spend time together. They also got to enjoy round 2 of my birthday :-)

showing Colton the toys 

catching up 

yummy birthday cake 

2nd Family celebration!

boys swimming 

Beckett and Colton playing 

The 4 boys! Colton, Beckett, Eli (3.5) Teague (17 months)

Love the Highlander family 
One last sunset and we were headed out before sunrise for the long drive back to Houston.

Alabama Sunset

Traffic and stops made for a long almost 13 hour drive home.  We did treat ourselves to a great Memorial Day lunch in Lafayette at Prejean's.

sharing crawfish with daddy 
We pulled into Houston late Monday afternoon with 2 boys anxious to get home.  It might not be pretty, but it's home.

Their squeals of laughter were so cute rediscovering all their toys and games.  Things they had forgotten.  As well snuggled on the couch before bed, Eli said "mommy, I'm glad to be home with you."  Alabama was full of incredible memories.  More blessings than we can count.   We are grateful to all our friends and family that shower us with love every time we are home.  Alabama truly is a "sweet home" for us.  The boys are already counting down the days until our next trip!  

The Riley's