Neil playing "Wee-Ball"

Well, Rick has waited a long time for a son and has been anxiously awaiting for him to play sports.  He sent in Neil's registration form and money for Tee-ball but got a phone call from the city informing him that Neil is not 5 yet and cannot play Tee-ball this year.  Well, this did not deter Rick for long.  He found out that the YMCA has a "Wee-ball" league for 3 and 4 year olds.  So, he signed him up. 

Neil likes it but he does get bored.  He is used to playing in the yard with all of us and we pitch to him and he runs all the bases.  He knows the game really well and is really good.  So, I know I'm bragging but Neil is head and shoulders above the other kids, not to mention he is physically a lot bigger than most of the other kids.  It's pretty cute to watch, although painful at times...thankfully they only play 2 innings and everyone gets to bat once each inning.

Neil is the one on the right, on the left is Reagan.  His dad is Rick's boss. So they usually sit together and stand by each other in the field.

I think Neil is trying to pry the ball out of Reagan's glove here. 

Here is Neil with Coach Tim.

Rick and I laugh because Neil waits forever before he swings the bat.  He stands there and stares at the ball with that cute little grin on his face.

He likes posing for his mommy!  He gets mad that they only let him run one base at a time (wee-ball rules).  If it were up to him he would run home every at bat!

Savannah's 1 year pictures

Well, it's really her 15 month old pictures since I procrastinated doing her 1 year pictures for 3 months.  Anyway, they are done and I think I got some really cute ones.  I took them out at my in-laws house, they have 4 beautiful acres and the weather was great that day. 

Savannah is so much fun.  We all just adore her and love seeing how quickly she is growing and learning.  She took her first step at about 10 months but didn't really start walking until about 14 months.  However, she is quite the talker.  She says well over 40 words now and is constantly letting us know what she does and does not want.  She has always been so quiet and sweet but lately she has been showing us her feisty personality...must be from her father.  She may be tiny but she can hold her own for sure.  She is my only one with dark brown eyes and I love them!  Both Grandma's have dark brown eyes so I guess I can thank Granny and G-ma.

I just have to say that I love this smile (in the picture above).  This is her little smile she does when she is happy and we all just love it.


Jacksonville Trip

We went to Jacksonville in March to visit...mainly because my sister Mary was there visiting.  She now lives in Louisianna so we don't get to see her very much.  So, all the sisters came in town so we could spend some time together.  We went to a Park in Riverside which was so beautiful and the weather was perfect.

We all tried to limit the number of kids we brought, so it wouldn't be a complete zoo at my mom's house.  In the end we brought the 2 oldest cousins and some of the babies.  The two oldest don't see each other nearly as much as they would like so we graciously allowed Auburn to go so she could see her cousin Elise...then we made them chase the toddlers around the park!

Mary, Mom, and Annette (who is pregnant and due next week, even though she barely looks pregnant at all!). 

Annette, Adrienne, and Taylor...we always love seeing Taylor, she's the last teenager out of all the sisters...she makes the rest of us feel old.

Here is Mary's baby boy, Brody.  Such a cutie.

Mom had fun, I think, chasing around Savannah for me.  I really enjoyed spending some time with her.  All the kids adore their Granny!

Back at Mom's house, it was all we could do to keep Savannah from getting to Elena (Stephanie's new baby).  I believe Marlee is trying to protect her sister from Savannah here.  Savannah just kept saying "bee-bee, bee-bee"  all weekend.


Melina's Gymnastics Winter Wiggle

Melina begged and begged to take gymnastics and we finally caved.  She has been taking for almost a year now and she LOVES it.  We are really glad she begged us into it because she is so good and she works really hard and loves it so much.  Above are a few pics of her on the balance beam with her coach, Yelina, who is from Russia and is very strict with the girls but also is a great coach.  My Mom went to watch her one day at practice and texts me 'what is this a Russian concentration camp!'.  She was witnessing all the pushups pullups and other exercises they do at class along with climbing the 20' rope (I about had a heartattack the first time I saw Melina climb it...I just knew she was going to fall and break a bone).

Floor exercise...it was such a cute routine and Melina worked so hard to get it just right.

The vault and the uneven bars...they don't do too much with these yet at her level but she loves the bars.

They all got a medal at the end and Melina, as usual, was scared to death to get up in front of everyone.  Thankfully I remembered to buy her flowers this time.

She will kill me for putting this one on here.  She tries so hard to get every move just right but when she concentrates she opens her mouth very wide and sticks her tongue out (I'm going to blame this one on Rick).  I think it is cute but she is very self conscience about it and has tried so hard to stop but when she is really into what she is doing she can't help it :)


Christmas Vacation in NC

Rick and I decided to spend the majority of our Christmas money on a vacation...instead of toys that our kids would be giving to Goodwill within 6 months.  We found a great cabin in Franklin, NC and booked the week of Christmas.  We were so excited as were the kids...they quickly agreed to less presents in exchange for a place in the mountains for a week.

Here is the cabin we found.  It is so cute and just the right size for our family.  It was fairly new and had everything you needed already there.

We got lucky and it snowed the day before we got there...so there was lots of snow on the ground when we arrived.  The kids were so excited.  The first thing they did getting out of the truck was to have a snowball fight (Rick actually started that...shocking).

Everyday we hiked the paved path to the top of the mountain where our cabin was.  It took us about 30-40 minutes.  Thankfully we borrowed this carrier for Savannah but Neil was able to hike it himself and the girls did great too...most of the time (sometimes Melina need a piggyback ride).

The view from the top was amazing.  It was so quiet and peaceful (when the kids weren't yelling and running around wild).  It was cold the whole week but we managed to find enough warm clothing to bring for the trip.

Here is a waterfall that we went to.  You had to go down some concrete stairs and follow a pathway to get there.  Which was fine except it was all covered with ice.  We had a few falls along the way but managed to make it.  It was beautiful.  My sister Adrienne went with us on vacation...it was nice having an extra set of adult hands there.

Here is a view from our porch one night.  We ate out one night but we usually ate at the cabin.  There was a walmart and grocery store within 5 minutes of the cabin so that was very nice.  We watched lots of Christmas movies and played games.  Neil keeps asking when we are going back to 'our' cabin.  I had to explain to him, more than once, that it isn't our cabin...unfortunately.

We also went to the Smokey Mtn. National Park one day.  Since it was the week of Christmas most things were closed down...including the scenic drive through the mountains (because of all the snowfall).  So, we just looked around some.  The most fun was a beautiful river we found and we hiked along beside if for a while.  The kids threw rocks in and it was just fun to be together and not have anywhere to be.

Christmas morning was fun.  We surprised the kids with Band Hero...which we are shockingly horrible at.  They didn't get as many things as they normally do...but we had convinced them they were getting next to nothing so they were all plesantly surprised on Christmas morning at the things we did get them (I learned that trick from my parents...we fell for it every year).

Here is a pic of my kids with my Dad and Stepmom, Janice.  We went to see them on the way to the cabin and spent the night.  The kids love seeing them and we enjoyed the visit.

Savannah's First Birthday!

Here is the birthday girl...loving the cake for sure!  Her birthday was actually December 17th...that shows you how far behind I am on my blogging!

Savannah shares a birthday with my Mom, so I made two cakes...one for each birthday girl.  Mom got Savannah this puppy which I think she may be scared of.

Sisters and cousin...always willing to help finish off the cake.

Brother in the middle and more cousins...the three are trouble.

Here is Savannah before the 'digging into the cake' part.  As you can see, I went cheap and made her a little cake (my girls' weren't too happy about that).  Savannah liked it just the same.