Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Texas Vacation!

Bright and early Monday morning, we headed off to the airport and were on our way to Texas (with a quick layover in Atlanta)! Checking in and getting through security were a breeze. While we were waiting at our gate, I saw the tallest man ever. My immediate reaction was that this man was an Olympic athlete who had returned to the states before the end of the games. As two security guards walked by, Andy overheard them say the name Mutombo. As we boarded our plane (he was on our plane!) we heard people in the airport yelling "Hey Mutombo!" "We love you Mutombo!" We didn't know who he was (as we are comletely sports illiterate) but by peoples' reactions, we knew he was someone famous. Later we learned that he is basketball player for the Houston Rockets. He is a native of the Democrative Republic of the Congo and speaks English, French, Spanish, Portugese, and five African languages. Wow! We also discovered that he has started the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation whose mission is to improve the health, education, and quality of life for the people in the DR of the Congo. He seems like a pretty neat individual and is probably the most famous person I have ever come in contact with.

We had a couple of problems with our flight and ended up sitting on the runway for almost two hours before taking off. We missed our connecting flight but finally arrived in Austin, TX a little after 3pm. As soon as we walked in the door to my brother's house, we got to see Sydney! I got to hold her and feed her and soon it was Bella's turn. Sydney is so precious! Such a happy, easy-going baby. . . . . . who gave us lots of sweet smiles!Auntie Jodi and her two nieces! Bella is apparently distracted by something. Sydney hanging out in her swing.Tuesday: We went kayaking and paddle boating. I only got this one photo of Andy and Aaron because I didn't want to take my camera in the water. The light was making Jodi's eyes glow. . . so I had to take a picture. One of the things I have really been trying to get better at is capturing light in people's eyes. Adults are definitely more cooperative than two-year-old little girls! Here is Scott out on the patio enjoying his tasty beverage.Wednesday: We spent a few hours at the botanical gardens. Here's Jeff feeding Sydney. It's so fun to see him as a dad and how much delight he takes in his daughter!Bella showing off one of the many rocks that she ended up throwing into the little stream. The light on Lori's eyes also looked really pretty. . . so I took another picture!Bella playing in the bamboo hut.Lori and Ryan on the butterfly bench.Good thing for water fountains. It was a very hot day!Later in the evening, Bella helped give Sydney her bottle.A few more photos of Sydney. I've also discovered that babies are more cooperative photo subjects than two-year-old little girls!Thursday: My Birthday!!! Jeff reserved a boat for us on Lake Austin. We had it for four hours! We also rented a jet ski and everyone took turns on it. I think that Andy is talking in this picture. Bella jumped in the lake with Kristen. She was a little scared at first and clung pretty tightly to Kristen, but soon really started to enjoy herself!My mom enjoying herself on the boat.Bella and Auntie Mary sharing a snack.Jeff taking a break from driving the boat to relax a little. Scott pretty exhausted after lots of swimming (it didn't help that as soon as he swam up to the boat, Jeff drove it further away)!Sydney taking her nap. She loves the same paci that Bella did. Jodi and Lori cooling off in the lake. Sydney wide awake after a good nap. She has the most beautiful blue eyes. I had so much fun on my birthday! Having the whole family together was so wonderful - the best birthday present I could have asked for. It's a rare event to get this large family together in one place at one time. . . so to have this happen on my birthday was a real treat. Later that evening, we went out to a mexican restaurant for dinner. Bella being a goofball!Later that evening, we had cake and I opened up lots of presents. Everyone gave such nice gifts. I have such a great family! Friday: We did tie-dying at Jeff & Steph's house. Their friend, Mel, has a tie-dye business and she came over to do a party with us. It was so much fun! She brought over a bunch of samples to give us ideas of what we could do. Bella trying to decide which design she likes best.Lori at work creating her shirt.Aaron's turn!

If you're curious how our shirts turned out, check out the Mellow Tie Dye blog to see the slideshow preview!

Bella getting in some more feeding time with Sydney. The grandparents with their two grandchildren! We also had a big family photo taken, but I don't have that photo yet as we didn't use my camera. I think this picture is funny as my parents are looking at one camera while the girls are looking at a different one.Saturday: The family who drove to Texas from Wisconsin left after breakfast that morning. Later in the afternoon, the ladies went to a few boutiques while Jeff and Andy stayed behind with Bella and Sydney. Jeff made dinner that night and it was good! No pictures from this day. :(

Sunday: Travel back home. Both flights were right on time. We landed in Philadelphia around 12:30pm. I developed a cold on Saturday that made the flight pretty miserable for me. I couldn't relieve the pressure in my ears and ended up with a really bad earache that lasted the rest of the day. I slept like a rock last night and am feeling a little better today.

Bella's sleep schedule is a little messed up from traveling and waking up/going to sleep at different times. She slept in until 9:45am and this is how I found her late this afternoon. I can't believe she fell asleep while feeding her baby! As vacations do, this week went by way too fast. I miss everyone already and can't wait to get together again!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blackberry picking

I took Bella blackberry picking with some friends on Wednesday. It was hot, but we got some delicious blackberries (or 'libraries' as Bella called them). Bella ate quite a few when we got home.And then we made a pie together!What a great little baker!Tomorrow morning, we're off for Texas! My side of the family is all meeting up at my brother and sister-in-law's house. We get to meet our niece! Bella can't wait to see Sydney. She talks on and on about holding her and feeding her. She's also pretty excited about getting on an airplane and "flying in the sky". Guess I better get packing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back from the shore!

We had a full weekend with two separate trips to the shore. On Saturday, we headed out to Wildwood to spend the day with a family from church. We didn't tell Bella about our plans until that morning because we knew she'd want to go immediately as soon as we told her. Which was true. Before we could even set up our chairs and umbrella, she was ready to get in that water.The family that we got together with has an 11 yr. old daughter, Jamie, who Bella thinks is the absolute coolest!
After some hours on the beach, we headed out to the boardwalk. Bella ended up falling asleep on this tram. The sun and the water really wore her out. A few rides perked her up. She went on a carousel, little boats, flying elephants, and a truck.We ended the night around 9pm and then headed home for church the next morning. After church, we were off to the shore again - this time to Long Beach Island - to stay at the shore home of a different family from church. We got a few more beach photos. And. . . here I am at 20 weeks pregnant. I religiously took a photo of Bella next to her teddy bear each month during her first year of life. I finally got around to doing something with them.