Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Eli Turns 5!

Eli turned 5 years old last week. We had a house full of company on his actual birthday so please forgive my delay in posting all about his 5th year.

Here are Eli's responses to his birthday interview.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Eli: A pirate with Richie and Gavin (his BFF's)

Me: What's your favorite food?
Eli: Muffins

Me: What's your favorite snack?
Eli: Cake

Me: What's your favorite thing we did this summer?
Eli: Play with Mamaw and Papaw

Me: What's your favorite thing to do outside?
Eli: Pick tomatoes 

Me: What's your favorite thing to do inside?
Eli: Play with mommy

Me: What is your favorite color?
Eli: Green and black

Me: What makes you happy?
Eli: Playing with Everyone

Me: Where do you like to go?
Eli: To Great Clips (for a haircut)

Here are some highlights from Eli's past year.

Shortly after Eli turned 4, we ventured to the outer banks in North Carolina for Eli's first trip to the ocean. Since he had just had a pirate party for his birthday, he had dress up clothes for the beach.

Last August, Eli started a new preschool. Here he is on the first day.

He is full of energy, spunk, and personality.

He loves being silly. A recent quote from Eli? "Do you know what google plus google is? Twoogle."

And loves spending energy hiking on our family outings.

 He still loves helping in the kitchen.

He was batman for Halloween.

And loved helping with the tree trimming. When Eli talked to Santa, he told him all he wanted was a candy cane. Then as he walked away he told him, "My stocking's the red one!" My favorite quote from Eli on Christmas day was, "Yeah! I didn't get coal!"

He finally got the appropriate gear for helping in the kitchen.

He loves building train tracks.

And taking trips. On this trip, he had his backpack on ready to go before he was even dressed.

 When warm weather came this spring, Eli was ready to hit the road, so close to being ready for a 2 wheeler.

Eli also played his first team sport this past spring - soccer! Jeremy and I were the coaches.

And then we went right into tball. Another first for Eli. He loved it. 

Eli is such a little hiker. He can just go and go and go.

He did squirt gun painting at Art in the Park.

And graduated from preschool!

 And went to kindergarten summer school.

Turns out that Eli loved tball. Everything. Batting, running, catching, throwing... He loved it.

But most of all, loved the after game snacks.

Eli learned to swim under water this summer. And also learned to do flips. It has been so much fun watching him.

 He still plays so hard and has such a joyful personality.

He finished his first mud run!

But he also has his quiet times.

He chose a trifle for his birthday cake and helped to assemble it.

Instead of having a birthday party, we made a family memory by going ziplining. Our fearless 5 year old went enthusiastically.

Happy birthday my sweet, sweet, Eli. May your next year be filled with so many more happy memories.

Read all about Eli's 4th birthday last year in my post, here. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Family Week

We recently spent 11 days in Ohio for what I called "Family Week." All of my siblings and our children were all in the same state for the first time in 2 years. And boy did we pack it full of memories. I took so many pictures and videos that I had to delete almost every app on my phone by the end of the week, just to make room for the pictures. Here is an overview of our amazing week and a half.

First Stop: Maidrite.  We actually went here twice during our stay. Maid-Rite is a local landmark, and people travel from all over to eat some Maid-rite sandwiches. It's a hole in the wall kind of place that you wouldn't give a second thought about just driving by (except that there's always a line of cars waiting to get in, so that kind of gives it away). The real attraction here isn't the food. It's the gum wall. Yep. That's right entire wall (that actually includes every exterior) wall, covered with chewed up gum that has been left by patrons. If it sounds gross, it's because it is. And yet, people still love this place. They've even been featured on Weirdus.com

The pickup window. Gross, right?

If you're ever in Greenville, seriously. Go. Order 2 Maid-rites with everything and a bag of chips. Press the sandwich down before you take it out of the wrapper. That will help the sandwich stay together. Also, Maid-rite is cash only.

On Day 2, we hit the ground running and went to a water park in Troy, Ohio. The boys absolutely loved it. There was a giant splash pad, water slides, and a pool. Amazing.

 Also on Day 2, we did something that we have wanted to do with the boys for a long time. We took them to the drive in theater to see Finding Dory. It was so much fun. Jeremy and I grew up going to this drive in all the time, but haven't been to one since we moved to Missouri. We took lawn chairs and popped open the hatch of the van so the kids could spread out on blankets. It was a beautiful night, and also, Finding Dory was a great movie. Bad picture below, but you get the idea.

 This is a view of downtown Greenville, where Jeremy and I grew up. Broadway is lined with old buildings and is so nostalgic.

Also on day 3, we celebrated Jeremy's recent college graduation with our families. Corn hole, anyone?

The first Sunday we were there was my dad's 60th birthday and we all woke up early to take family pictures at the park. The pictures turned out great, but I love the pictures I took on my phone in between the photos almost as much as the professionals.

What do you expect when you try to get 8 kids and a 20 year old together for a grandkid picture? (Eli is horizontal).

Later that day, we all went to a little lodge in the middle of a wooded park area to celebrate dad's birthday. We wasted the afternoon away playing ping pong and eating. And cousins spent precious time together.

This little number was actually the brain child of my brothers a couple of years ago when we were all together. It's a giant homemade water slide that went down the hill in my parents' side yard. The kids (and adults) had hours of fun on this thing.

 We also spent an afternoon picnicking at the city park with lots of cousins and their kids as well. Whenever we go here I take pictures of my boys on this nostalgic curly slide. It's one of the few pieces that they have kept in the park since I was little. We used to make trains of people that extended the entire length of the slide.

Line em up!

My aunt, who orchestrated the event brought lots of activities for the kids including water balloons and sacks for sack races. So much fun!

 In our pre-trip planning, we decided it would be fun to do something with just the girls, and something with just the boys. My aunt was visiting from South Carolina as well, so we asked her if she would help us plan a tea party for the girls. Oh my goodness. Did she ever outdo herself. It was so. much. fun. Beginning with dressing up and walking the few short blocks to my grandma's house. The girls were so adorable.

 Just look at this adorable finger food.

 After our tea, we retired to the garden for some pictures.

 I love these girls.

We heard there was going to be a puppeteer at the local library, so we gathered up all the kids and walked around 10 blocks to the packed out event.

 The kids loved the marionettes.

 We made homemade pizzas!

And then it was time for the boys' special event - a backyard campout!

We packed up little goody bags for each boy with glow sticks, flashlights, and everything they needed to make s'mores.

We attended a concert on the lawn of the library.

And then..... the moment we waited for the whole week. The White Family Talent Show.

We started off by singing the Kellerman Anthem (the song at the end of Dirty Dancing, right before Patrick Swayze takes over for the final song)

 We had musical talents, comedy routines, dances, and more.

The boys did armpit farts to the Start Wars Theme.

 Eli sang the 50 States song.

It was a great culminating event to our week. 

Before the week ended, we perfected the water slide by covering all the tarps with 100 feet of painters plastic.

 And had one last cookout with everyone.

 We went to fireworks that  night.

We packed goody bags for the kids that had sparklers, glow sticks, necklaces, and pop rocks.

 And that, my friends wrapped up an amazing week. Of course these pictures don't account for the in between times we spent cuddling with books, laughing at the kids' adventures, or shopping in every spare minute we had. We packed enough memories into this one week to last a lifetime.

And so, summer continues!