Yesterday, Madelyn had some friends over for a Mad Hatter Tea Party. One of her favorite movies is the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland. She thought it would be fun to have a tea party to celebrate turning 12, her birthday is tomorrow- April 7th. I thought it was a lovely idea. She helped decorate in the morning and the girls came at 10am. It was such a sweet time. Here are a few pictures:
We staged a photo booth session:
Each October, for several years now, we meet up with our friends at the beach for an extended weekend. This has come to be something we really look forward to and count on each year. It is a refreshing time that we just get to stop our real lives here and enter a dreamworld of sorts.
This year we had 15 of us, 3 families; 6 adults and 9 kids. We cooked and ate together with our friends, never going out, except for groceries of course. We played and played again. We talked, laughed, and played games. We enjoyed the ocean, sand and sun. The weather was gorgeous!
Here are several of my favorite photos from our trip.
Last week we met our friends the Kruideniers and the Bullucks at Emerald Isle, NC. We had a fabulous time and somehow ended up with the most perfect October beach weather possible. This is our third year meeting these friends at the beach in the fall. I feel like each year gets better and better. Previous trip photos here and here. We did miss our other friends from Virginia, the Aardemas, this time. Is it too early to plan for the next one, friends? Here are some photos from our five days together.
Julian, Brady, Madelyn, Arianna, Ellen, Alder and Kalen
Arianna, Madelyn and Ellen
Kids playing soccer
Guys playing some music
Jason & Lesley playing Blink
All 8 kids (Katie was napping). Maddie, Arianna, Kalen, Julian, Alder, Ellen, Brady, and Heath
Jen, Daniel, Arianna & Ellen
Sweet baby Katie
The kids were always playing or doing something. I caught them playing Clue in this photo.
Jason, Heath, Lesley, & Alder
**Special thanks to our Morrison family for caring for our little Jasper while we were away. 🙂
Our dear friends, the Kruideniers, have recently added another member to their family. Katherine Louise Kruidenier was born May 28th. We are totally excited about this new little one. Read more about her, see more photos, and visit her family here.
We love you already, Katie!
Last week this time we were on the beach at Hunting Island, SC. This is an annual getaway we take with our friends, Jen, Daniel, Ellen and Arianna. This year we met with another family of seven also. I don’t have pictures of our entire gang together, but here are several pictures taken during our time there. Our foster kids spent time with our friends, the Harveys, which allowed our family of six to have some quality time camping together with friends. We had such a wonderful time!
Maddie, Brady, JJ, Kalen, Ellen and Arianna
We were fortunate to have some really warm temperatures. The kids and Daniel took to the water without hesitation.
Scott fixing Kalen oatmeal, a camping family favorite.
It goes without saying that the landscape was breathtaking.
Scott and Daniel taking in a game of chess.
We take UNO everywhere, our campsite was no exception.
Ellen and Madelyn, best buds.
One area of the Hunting Island beach is lined with fallen trees. It is like one big playground for the kids (and me too).
This is the path we hiked to the lighthouse.
Our family of six!
Daniel and Jen (and one on the way due in May)
We stumbled upon a haven for fiddler crabs just up from our campground on the beach. We enjoyed scoping them out, watching them scurry about.
Arianna, Madelyn and Ellen
The weather was interesting this go around. We had sunshine, rain and high winds. 🙂
Anna and Scott
Elijah and Julian. Elijah is the oldest of five kids. These boys had a blast together.
Daniel brought vegan pancake mix to share with all of us. What a treat!
We met again. There had been more time that had passed this time. Instead of 6 months, it had been about a year. We have been busy living our lives, a pregnancy even came and went and we were able to pick back up right where we left off. My long time friends, Torie, Laurie and Gari Leigh, and I met in Winston-Salem for a day of giggles, heart-filled talks, good food and drinks and, of course, shopping.
It is a rare gift, I know, to have these friends that I have been able to hold on to for well over twenty years. I love you, girls. May our friendship continue to last the test of time. May we one day sit together with big floppy hats, when we are old and gray, on a beach somewhere laughing at ourselves and life.
Gari Leigh, Torie, and Laurie