Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Flowers in our hair

On Saturday, we went to Cantina Laredo for lunch and while we were waiting for our lunch, Paige went and picked flowers for herself and Mommy. She told me I should put a flower in Mommy's hair and Andrea said that as I tucked the flower in to her head band Paige and Connor were both beaming and loved it so much. I put a flower in Paige's bow and she kept trying to touch it, so I told her to use my phone as a makeshift mirror. She took a selfie with Connor, then we took some pictures of everyone with the flowers. Everyone had such cute smiles, the flowers really did brighten our day!

End of season soccer party

On Friday, we went over to Connor's teammate Ryan's house. His parents Kevin and Kelley had the entire team and their families over for an end of soccer season party. Everyone from the team showed up, and the Connor and Paige both loved it. The boys played barefoot and bare-chested soccer in the yard, swam in the pool, and jumped on a trampoline. Paige mostly swam in the hot tub and did some jumping in the trampoline when the trampoline wasn't too packed.

Coach Alvaro showed up to the party and the kids all got him a soccer jersey. He brought the kids some mini soccer balls and other soccer gear as presents.

It was a great season and a great team!

Swimming with the neighbors

Connor and Paige have been invited over a couple times to swim with the neighbors. They have a six kids, and two of them are Connor's age. Ben and Emma play very well with Connor and Paige and the kids have fun swimming in a different pool. They even brought out their old black Labrador, and she floated for a while with the kids.

Connor enjoyed the basketball hoop at the edge of the pool, the water guns, and battling with the kids. Paige swam for a bit and then played dolls with Emma.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Paige rides her bike for four miles

A few weeks ago, I was driving through the neighborhood with Paige and we saw her friend Olivia riding her bike while her mother jogged. Paige knows I go running, and has been wanting to come with me ever since. On Monday morning, I was getting ready to go for a run and she asked to come along and I decided to let her give it a try. We put a water bottle in her bike's basket and set out. I first did a mile loop in the back of the neighborhood, then stopped near our house to see how she was doing. I gave her a choice to keep going or go home and I was surprised that she wanted to continue.

We ran to the front of the neighborhood, played at the park for a couple minutes, then ran home. It took us about an hour to do it all and according to my phone's GPS, we went a little over 4 miles total. She never complained once and got a nice workout.

Palace pet books and names

Paige has been in to "Palace Pets" lately, which are pets for her Disney Princesses. She has been reading a book lately about them, and this past week at bedtime she practiced writing their names before she fell asleep.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Serenata Beach day with Michelle, Bill, Tracy, Emily and Madison

On Sunday, we went to the Serenata Beach club and some of our friends came along too. Paige and Connor had fun playing at the beach and in the pool with everyone. Emily and Madison were experts at catching small fish with nets and I think we had nine at one point. Paige loved it! Connor and I threw a football around in the waves and chased them and wrestled in the ocean. We had BBQ buffet for lunch and enjoyed the warm weather.

Swimming with Emily and Madison

On Saturday, Tracy and her girls Emily and Madison came over to swim and hang out for a bit. Logan was over too, so it was a fun time for the kids to swim with some friends.

Paige has been getting good at swimming underwater, but is too buoyant to go deep on her own. I'd been pulling her down to give her a "boost", but this last Saturday she figured out how to get her body positioned so she could propel herself down.

While I had the camera out, the kids jumped in and did some underwater posing and tricks.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Champion's Cup Tournament in National Training Center in Orlando

This weekend, Connor's team played at the Champion's Cup Tournament in Orlando Florida. Their team has been improving all year, and typically plays boys one year older than them, however at this tournament they were playing boys their own age. On Saturday, they played Florida Rush's Azul team and won 6-0. In the afternoon, they played Florida Rush's Nero team and won 6-2.

On Sunday, they played the Forida Rush Developmental team and won 8-0, which put them in a position to play against the B4Vil Villages soccer team for the final. The final game was by far their most difficult and after the first quarter of the game they were down 0-1. Bennett scored quickly after that first goal and then Ajdin scored soon after to put the Creek's team up 2-1. The rest of the game, there were a lot of close calls on both ends of the field, but the score held and Connor's team won!

This weekend was the best soccer Connor's played in a long time. I think it really helped him mentally knowing that the other boys they were playing against were his own age. There were some tough moments where he would crash in to the other players and I was wondering if he'd play hesitantly as he's done in the past, but he stayed aggressive every game and was an asset to his team. He moved the ball well, got a few assists and a couple shots on goal, but unfortunately none went in. His coach even put Connor in as goalie a few times, which is always stressful to watch. Connor's just too short to cover the height of the goal and there was one ball that he couldn't reach that went in during the game against the Nero team. Connor dove and stretched for it, but it was just too high.

Overall, we were very proud of Connor for all his hard work throughout the season and for putting in so much time and energy to his sport. He's a special boy and it's fun to watch him do things he loves.

Paige came along this weekend too and was a very good girl.  She made friends with Bennett's little sister Dillon and Ajdin's little sister Marlena. Cole, Reid's big brother, was a hoot and was always carrying the little girls around, or playing and entertaining them.

On Saturday night, we drove to Downtown Disney for some dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. We did a little shopping and got Paige a new Palace Pets book, and Connor picked out a frog hat/glove thing. I'm not really sure what to call it, but it's pretty silly and Connor has been having fun wearing it everywhere.

The weekend was a long one, hot at times, and stressful at times, but it was a fun trip and we are proud of our little man for being a part of a talented and successful soccer team.

Connor's poetry day at school

Connor had a poetry reading this past week at school and I decided I just had to go and see my cute guy. The children had been learning about all kinds of poetry and each student chose two of their favorite poems to read. They all had to stand up in front of their classmates and the parents in attendance while they read their poems. Most of the kids were pretty nervous and shy, but they all did wonderfully. It was a good experience for them.

Connor sleeping with Iggy and poncho

Before bed this past week, I checked on Connor before I went to bed and had to snap a pic of him sleeping. He always is cuddling Iggy (his purple monkey) close to his face, sometimes right over his nose and mouth. He's also been sleeping with his San Francisco 49'ers Mexican Poncho too. He thinks it's nice and cozy. It was too cute for me to pass up a quick pic.

Paige's balloon magic trick

Before bed this past week, Paige wanted to show me an amazing magic trick discovery she made. Somehow she figured out that a balloon she got from Grandma Alice would float in place over her fan if she pointed the fan straight up. When she showed me the first time, she was in her underwear, so I had her put on a fancy dress so we could take a quick video demonstrating the amazing magic trick.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day! The kids were excited to do something nice for Mommy. I took them to the store and we got her some pretty flowers in a pot, some vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, cards, and the kids both did some Mother's Day projects at school for her.

Happy Mother's Day Andrea! We love you!

Paige's birthday present from Grandma and Grandpa Vernon + a sleepover!

This Saturday, the kids were invited over to Grandma Alice and Grandpa Rick's house. They came over after their soccer games and were excited to see them. Connor mentioned on the way over that he loved Grandma's cooking and that she is a good cook. Paige was very happy to receive her 5th birthday gift when she arrived. She got a cute stuffed Miss Piggy, a coloring book, and some fancy stickers.

The kids swam in the neighborhood pool with Grandma and Grandpa, then they played out front and apparently a lot of the neighbors came out and joined them and it was like a party. Connor told us afterwards that Grandma cooked some delicious meatballs and macaroni for dinner and it was quite yummy. They finished up the evening with some 3 Stooges on TV.

It was a fun night!

Paige's last Creek's Recreational league soccer game of the season

Paige's last soccer game with Creek's was this Saturday morning. She looked cute as ever in her uniform with her pink shin guards and bows. Paige worked hard during the games this season, always running and always active. Unfortunately it never seemed to click for her like it did last year. There were a couple goals throughout the season, but they were fairly rare. Paige would typically focus well on the ball, but she would never really run towards it or attempt to kick it unless it came right to her and rolled in to her feet.

The picture where she's running and watching the ball from a few steps away is a pretty typical scene from the season.

Paige did excel at kicking the ball in from out of bounds. She was the star at walking up to the stationary ball and kicking it straight to her teammates. 

The positive takeaway from the season is that she had fun, got exercise and maybe learned a little bit about the game. At this time I don't think she'll be playing in the World Cup any time soon, but you never know what next year might be like!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Disney Magic Cruise over Paige's 5th birthday - Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Castaway Cay

On Sunday, April 26th, we set sail on the Disney Magic for a 7 night cruise to Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Castaway Cay.

We had been planning a trip to Mexico over Andrea's birthday, however we ended up having to cancel it, so this was a vacation to celebrate Andrea's and Paige's birthdays. 

It was our first time on the Disney Magic and we really liked the boat. It is smaller, the same size as the Wonder, however it's been reworked and updated fairly recently. We heard conflicting things on whether the boat was filled to capacity when it sailed, but we don't think it was full. Either way, it never seemed crowded at all and we only stood in one short line one time to get back on the boat after Castaway Cay. Every other time we went anywhere else, it was empty. The best example of this is when it was time to get off the boat at Cozumel. The announcement was made that we were clear to debark, so we went down the stairs to the gangway and were stunned to find that we were the first ones there.

When we arrived at the terminal, we got on the boat and explored for a while. Belle was out in her casual attire and we took a pic with her during the kid's club open house.

Usually you can't take pics in the Oceaneer's Lab or Oceaneer's Club, so it was a good opportunity to look around and take some pictures.

We went up to the top deck and Andrea made some spa appointments for the girls and I ate some ice cream with the kids.

At dinner time, Paige changed in to her Snow White dress.

After dinner, we went to a lounge for a family dance party. Initially, the kids were more interested in jumping around on some soft play equipment nearby.

Eventually, Paige got out on the dance floor and did some dancing.

I danced with her for a bit, but whenever we dance together, Paige is intent on a balance between 10% dancing and 90% tricks, spins, and dips.

On Monday, we had an appointment to see Elsa and Anna, so we gave Paige one of her birthday presents a little early. 

After meeting with Elsa and Anna, we dropped the kids off at the camp and Andrea and I got off the boat together to explore Key West by ourselves. We took a tour ride around town and it was a little bit long and uncomfortable. The tram system had hard bench seats without much leg room and the ride was a bit bumpy. The historical buildings in Key West were charming, and the history was interesting, but after a while the houses and buildings all started to look alike. It didn't help that this turned out to be the hottest day of the entire trip. It was miserably hot out. We did a little shopping in Key West to replace Andrea's lost sunglasses (which we found on the last day of the cruise, they were under the bed), and then we walked to Sloppy Joe's for lunch. We had Nachos, I had a chicken wrap, and Andrea had a Sloppy Joe. It was a delicious lunch, we will definitely go back there if we're in town again.

After we got back to the boat, we went to dinner, went to the show and then eventually to bed. On this boat they had a "Setting Sail" show, a Cinderella show "Twice Charmed", "Villains", "Dream", and a "Farewell" show. The Cinderella show was new to us, and we went to all the shows except "Villains", which isn't so great. All the shows have such a high production value, and are so well done. On this sailing they also showed the new live action Cinderella movie and "Avengers, Age of Ultron" premiered. Lots of movies, shows, and things to do.

On Tuesday morning, we got up fairly early to get all fancy to meet with the princesses for a princess gathering. Typically there are 4-5 princesses, but on the Magic there were just three to meet with.

After the princess gathering we ate breakfast and then the girls had to leave for their spa appointment.

Andrea had scheduled a pedicure for Paige and herself and since Paige's toes were so tiny it went pretty fast for her. Andrea decided to get Paige's nails painted as well, and apparently Paige thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. She's definitely a girly girl.

We spent the day relaxing, playing in the arcade, and swimming. Then, it was time to get all fancy for dinner. We had to take some pics with the characters, of course.

On Wednesday, April 29th, we stopped at Grand Cayman. Andrea and I hadn't been there in a while, and this time we decided to try the beaches. We did a little shopping, then we took a taxi to a local public beach. It was definitely not our scene. The water was pretty, but the beach was packed and there weren't really any facilities there. There was an overcrowded and rundown restaurant on the beach, but it didn't look very nice. We had thought about going to one of the resorts, and in retrospect, that would have been a better plan. That morning, I'd counted at least four Carnival boats and one Royal Caribbean boat in the harbor as well. It was a busy day at Grand Cayman.

All that said, the kids had fun while we were at the beach. They chased leaves around in the water, dug in the sand, played football, and I built a mermaid tail out of sand for Paige.

Thursday, April 30th, was Paige's 5th birthday. We arrived in Cozumel and took a taxi to our favorite resort, Paradise Beach.

Unfortunately, her birthday had the worst weather of the trip. It was a little cool out, cloudy, and at times it sprinkled. It never rained hard, but it wasn't fantastic beach weather. The beach had tons of seaweed on it anyways. The workers were actually raking it in to giant mounds. It wasn't a good day to swim in the ocean, but thankfully the pool was heated and pretty comfortable. We bought some yummy guacamole, quesadillas, strawberry daiquiris, and pina coladas.

After we got back to the boat, Andrea straightened Paige's hair for the first time and we all got dressed for dinner.

After dinner, the waiters all sang to Paige, which she definitely loved.

Our cabin stewardess also had a surprise for Paige, and had her bed all made up with pink princess sheets.

Connor went to the store before bedtime and picked out a coloring book and coloring pages that Paige would like.

Connor was also excited to get his souvenir for the vacation while in Mexico. As everyone knows, Connor loves football, so he picked out a San Francisco 49er's poncho. It was cut for a full grown adult, so it was more of a blanket for him that he could poke his head through. He liked to sleep with it on.

Friday was our last sea day. We had a pretty relaxing day for the most part. Right before dinnertime, Paige had an appointment in one of the shops for a twisty hair and glitter appointment. I can't remember exactly what it was sold as, but it was essentially a twisted hair style with a pink clip, some makeup, a sticker on the face, and then about 10 pounds of gold glitter. It only took about 5 minutes, and Paige thought it was fun, which is the important part.

Paige was happy to do a little posing afterwards.

For dinner, Connor decided he wanted to eat and play in the Oceaneer's Lab, so we just had dinner with Paige.

Paige liked to order pasta and steak on the cruise. Avril, our assistant waitress, was good about cutting it up for her.

For dessert she got to decorate her own cupcakes.

On Saturday, we arrived in Castaway Cay. It was our fourth time to the island, and it never seems to get old.

The water was a little chilly, but the sun was out most of the day, and it was a beautiful day to be at the beach.

Connor was brave enough to try the monkey bars out in the water this time. He made it about halfway across each time before falling. It gets very hard towards the middle where the next handholds are harder to reach due to the bowing of the ropes.

Paige had the most fun with catching fish. Usually, it's nearly impossible. In the past I've caught a few, but I got very lucky this time around and caught five for her. She loved seeing them in the bucket, and grabbing them out to let them go.

In the morning we played in the ocean for a bit, then the kids spent a little while at "Scuttle's Cove" to play with other kids while Andrea and I spent a couple hours at the adult's only beach. There was a sandbar about 100 yards from the shoreline that was possible to wade out and walk on. I carried Andrea part of the way where it was deep so she wouldn't get too wet. We didn't risk taking a camera there, so no great pics of it.

I found a pretty neat starfish that was hard on top and had slits on the bottom. Andrea took a pic so we could show the kids.

In the afternoon, some dark clouds rolled in and we went back to the boat around 3. We watched the farewell show in the evening, and got all packed up. Sunday morning we were up by 7, in the car by 8, and home by 10.

The vacations with the children are more and more fun as they get to be a little older. Connor spent some time in the kids club, but we did a lot together and had so many fun and new experiences with him. Paige enjoyed the princesses, the pampering, and the formal dinners. She had a wonderful birthday, and went on and on about how it was the best birthday ever and we are the best Mommy and Daddy in the whole world. I hope she always likes us so well!