Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mexico Vacation

We just returned from a wonderful 9 day family vacation to Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We have so many wonderful pictures that I am not sure how to fit them all in this post! It is hard to choose only a few. Joel's sister Mara married a wonderful Godly man Niel Haggmark in a beautiful beach ceremony complete with a Mariachi band. The two families rented a hacienda so we had our own private pool, a chef, and a bartender. It was an amazing time catching up from family all over the world, meeting new family members, and making the most awesome memories. Our first set of memories (after 6 hours of flying and 4 hour lay over in Mexico City) was a day zip lining in the mountains!

Only Asher got to enjoy this adventure with us. I can't even explain the feelings of watching your 9 year old willingly go first, 300 meters off the ground, through ravines, upside down whooping with joy. This is something Joel and I always regretted not doing in Hawaii and are so thankful we got to experience with Asher and other family members in such a beautiful place.

 Our own private pool. Jesse's arm didn't hold him back one bit. He never once complained about it being hot or sweaty or too hard to swim with, or being too wet (and yes it got plenty wet...waterproof covering not 100% dependable). Only at bedtime would be he cry about the pain and after all he did with it, I am sure he was hurting.

Our chef had coffee ready in the morning and we got to eat family style breakfast and dinners.

 Our house bartender was plenty busy making smoothies for the kids!

They all 4 were so exhausted every night that they never complained about sleeping in the same bed!

 Sister-in-laws...Amanda, Mara (the bride), and Mary

Siblings...Joel with Caleb and Mara

The reason for the vacation...the wedding of Mara and Niel! I won't post pictures of this event because I know my photographer sister-in-law Amanda will be blogging her photos soon (and she is super talented!). The wedding was absolutely beautiful and Mara was the the most stunning bride. Her and Niel were super cute, all googly eyed and glowing the whole vacation, completely in their own world. It was a privilege to be there and experience their joy, and an honor to have our kids be part of the special day. But somehow I didn't get a photo of the 4 kids in their wedding clothes?! I was too busy stopping the little girls from ending up in the ocean :).

 See, the arm didn't slow him down one bit.

 And this kid was born to be in the ocean. 
He was so happy to back at a beach and never wanted to leave. 

Anna was pretty happy in the ocean as well until she got stung by a jellyfish on the last day. The ended the beach fun pretty quick.

 Good thing we had this super fun pool when we were done at the beach!

That is Anna with Auntie Amanda on the bridge headed for the super fast alligator slide.

Cheers to an absolutely unforgettable vacation!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The World's Most Beautiful Theme Park

The kids all earned 200 points on their life skills/chore charts which earned them a trip to an amusement park. Busch Gardens-here we come! Well, here we came. We had an amazing day in Williamsburg lasting a full 12 hours at the park (thank you Alyson Fox for helping us make it!) and learned a lot about each of our kids.

The first ride of the day: the Battering Ram. It only made 3 of the 4 kids cry! Not a great way to start the day. For the rest of the day, anytime we saw or passed this ride Jesse would break down. Needless to say we will probably never be on this ride as a family again!

Josie was the most even keeled of all the kids. She would trot onto any ride with a smile on her face (besides the Battering Ram). She loved them all and was unbelievably content.

Asher is in the 3rd cart from the left, our roller coaster junky. He literally rode every single roller coaster there twice!! His smile was from ear to ear, loving every minute, screaming hoots of joy. Here Anna is on her first roller coaster with cousin Alyson, second cart from front. I was certain if I got her on one, she would fall in love. Well I was wrong. I thought we killed her. She was a mess and cried for almost 2 hours afterwards! The only reason she is waving in this picture is because it just started. I am not sure if she will ever try another coaster again.

Anna's favorite rides were the spinning tea cups and the giant swings, where she would close her eyes in complete joy, put her arms out, and pretend she was flying. She rode these 2 rides over and over and after her "near death" experience, I didn't try to persuade her to do anything else!

Jesse was kind of stuck in between...too small for the coasters, and felt he was too big for a lot of the kiddie rides.  It took us a while but we found some happy medium rides that made him smile. He loved flying the planes.

 and this was his favorite ride of the day, the "Roman Rapids".

They were soaked afterwards!

 And this was giant playground that we took turns watching the younger kids while the adults rode roller coasters with Asher. I only post a picture of where I think Jesse broke his left arm (while on my watch) even though we didn't have him in the ER till 2 days later when he fell off the ladder of his bunk bed. He was clutching his arm in the exact same spot as he was this day after a tumble from a net. It was a fun playground though.
If I am talking about his broken arm, I have to add the most adorable picture. We should have it casted in the next 2 days. He has been planning what color he is going to choose. He must have a high pain tolerance to have lived with it for 2 days but you can't convince me it didn't happen at Busch Gardens because I am certain! I almost left the park with him that day but thought I was being the overreactive mother. 

We left the park at 10pm, got our kids in bed at the hotel by 10:45, climbed into bed and were asleep ourselves around 11:30...only to be woken up by the fire alarms in our rooms at midnight! Craziness! No fire, just some freak thing they every kid slept through while us 3 adults stumbled around trying to makes sense of what was happening. The next day we went to Colonial Williamsburg for the afternoon...not as exciting as Busch Gardens but we managed to have a good time together. The kids enjoyed locking Joel and I up.