Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finally Bloggin again!

Wow!  It has been since the end of June since I did any blogging.  We have had some unfortunate extended family issues over the past few months that have made blogging not as important.  About two weeks after our family reunion (my last post before today), my Aunt Judy became very sick.  She is one of my dad's sisters.  The middle child to be exact.  After some strange symptoms, she and my Uncle Freddie decided to check things out.  A brain tumor was discovered.  By the time it was found, it was already 2 inches into her brain.  Her family was told there was nothing the doctors could do for her and she only had about 3 months to live.  The 6 1/2 weeks she actually had remaining proved to be a very poor quality of life for her.

My Aunt Judy passed away on Friday, September 17, 2010.  6 days before her 67th birthday.  She left behind her devoted husband Freddie, her three wonderful children . . . Shawn, Michelle and Bradley and 4 sweet grandchildren . . . Cameron, Nathan, Emma and Addison.  At the funeral, I was honored to be able to say a few words about her.  It has all been very surreal and I still expect to see her at the next reunion.  She will be greatly missed!

Her life is now in heaven, but her spirit lives on.  She was a wonderful person who loved, laughed and lived a full life.  She always told me how much she enjoyed reading my blogs and I will miss sharing them with her.  Judith Marie Leftwich Storz . . . I love you lots and will remember you always.

It's Soccer this time!

 Last year Ryan played flag football.  We have told our children that they can play one sport per season.  We asked Ryan if he wanted to play football again this year or play soccer.  He tossed it around for a while and finally decided, after changing his mind a few times, on soccer.  He is LOVING it!!!

We are 7, 5 & 5

With the kids birthdays being so close together we always have a group birthday party.  We invite the family and close friends to come and celebrate with a backyard picnic.  This year, in addition to our group party, we decided to let Ryan have a friend  party as well.  We had a bike party.  Each guest brought their bike (or scooter).  We had an obstacle course for everyone to ride their bikes.  They rode through cones, got off their bikes and made a shot in the neighbors basketball goal, rode over a straight line, got off their bikes and hit the baseball off the tee and rode over a little ramp (not too big for the kids that could not ride their bikes too well) and then over the finish line.  They had so much fun!!  

 We then set up bike stations.  Each child was able to decorate their bike with a name plate that they made from foam letters, streamers and clip a playing card in the spokes of their wheels so they could sound like a motorcycle.  This was a big hit with the boys!!  After cake and ice cream, the kids played in the backyard while we waited for parents to pick up.  It was a great day!!

 The next day was our group birthday.  Our friends and loved ones came to help us celebrate the kids birthdays.  It was great!!!

Towards the end of the evening it began to get a little chilly.  Emily and Lydia asked if they could get their jackets.  Emily came down with a sweatjacket on, but Lydia came down dressed in complete ski gear.  It was too funny!!!  Poor Penny . . . I am sure she will have snowman nightmares after Lydia talked to her in the stroller!  :)

Ballet Lessons

We decided to give Lydia and Emily the opportunity to take dance/ballet this year if they wanted to.  After having watched their friend Frances's recitals for the past two years . . . they were quite excited when we asked them. 

My movie is not the greatest.  Their instructor, Mary Liz, does not let parents come into the studio.  I completely understand this, but can unfortunately only watch them through the hallway.  I am going to try to get a better movie.

They are having so much fun so far!  They go one day a week and go through the school year.  The best part is . . . they will be able to have a recital themselves! 


 Last year when Mike, the kids and myself stayed in Cherry Grove, SC (just a few miles north of Myrtle Beach), we found this great public park.  When visiting the park, there were several people crabbing at the inlet pier.  They had chicken necks on strings and would pull them in and scoop the crabs they caught up with a net.  We decided that our next visit would include a crabbing trip.  When we mentioned that we wanted to do this to my brother and his wife, Allison . . . she asked if she could tag along.  She mentioned that her Dad would take her when she was a kid and she would love to go again.  The more the merrier--and besides--Mike and I had NO IDEA what we were doing.

 After purchasing our chicken necks and a net, we had no success and were crabbing next to a group of guys who were catching them right and left.  We asked them what we were doing wrong and their years of experience led them to purchase chicken legs instead of chicken necks.  When they left, they gave us a pack of chicken legs that they were not going to use and . . . within 5 minutes we were catching them!!  It was awesome!!
 The kids were completely in awe of the live crabs and kept trying to count them.  They were a little afraid of them and would not get too close to them. 

 We reached a point, after catching about 3 or 4 back to back, where we would throw small ones away.  This is Mike's hand compared to an average size one we kept.  They were huge!
 We cooked 'em up along with some steamed shrimp we purchased.  All the kids tried them and Ryan even tried to crack them open.  Allison directed all of us in the proper way to eat them.  They were yummy!!!  This is a definite annual family fun trip!!

Annual Myrtle Beach trip

 The 2nd week of August, we went to Myrtle Beach.  As always, it was a fantastic trip!!  It was a little bit bitter sweet since my Aunt Judy was sick and we did not know what was going to happen. 

I always have so many beach pictures that it is hard to post a blog.  Too many pictures makes for a long blog . . . so I won't do a lot of writing.  We went with my parents and my brother Paul and his family.  Please skim down the pictures and enjoy!  We did!!!