Monday, June 23, 2014

Yokosuka Summer Camp Program


Warm Up
What to do with the kids all summer long....Well, the base has us covered!  In the summer CFAY offers a wide variety of summer camps for school aged kids (poor Garytt is about three months too young).  So, while I was States-side, Kris went to Youth Sports and got Mackenzie a lottery number.  Yes, since there are so many kids on the base and only so many slots for each camp, the decisions are made by lottery.  The next step...figuring out how to get the camps we want since we will all be States-side on registration day and if you aren't there ON registration day, you're out of luck!  Mary Kay to the rescue!!!  Kris went to Legal and had a special power of attorney filed so she could be our hero and get Mackenzie signed up for whatever camps were available in her time slot.  We had so many choices:  soccer-indoor and outdoor, softball, art, ballet, tennis, bowling, flag football, basketball, Nerf League, sailing, water adventures, or paintball.  Our, softball, and art.  Luckily, our lottery number was one of the first couple dozen numbers selected, so we got every camp on our list! YAY!!!!

First up....Soccer.  Last week we met on Berkey Field every day at 0900 and she spent two hours running around in the heat and humidity like a champ!  And, extra special bonus...her friend Kaylee was in her group!!!

Mackenzie and her pal Kaylee
There were four stations each day....passing drills, dribbling drills, kicking drills, and scoring drills.  The next to last day was a rainy day.  We still met on the field at 0900, but it didn't take long before the coaches moved the kids inside Purdy Gym to finish.  I'm glad Garytt and I headed home that day, because the fifteen minutes we spent in the gym waiting for her to finish nearly blew my eardrums out...forty kids screaming and shoes squeaking on the floor in such a small space was painful!
So...what to do with The Boy for two hours each day while his sister was getting to play his most favorite sport...hmmm.  How about a camp just for him?!  YES!  So, we decided to hold a cooking camp at home this week.  Day one...learn the safety rules of the kitchen, learn special cooking terms, and how to measure.  He was a good Boy and listened intently to all the speeches I made about safety.  :)  But, finally, he had enough and just wanted to get to cooking!  So, first he made easy apple tarts - something even his picky-eater-sister liked!  Something else he made...S'mores in the microwave!  This is something he can do all by himself.  He learned how to use the microwave and even taught his sister how to do it when she came home that day.  Such a big boy!  Day two, he was fed up with all my silly rules and decided he just wanted to hang out at the soccer field.  So, he spent two hours kicking a soccer ball around, catching butterflies with a little girl, and watching his sister.  Day three, (sorry...forgot to take pictures) he made toasted Cheerios...salt, butter, onion powder, and Cheerios.  Yummy!  Day four...he had enough of cooking...he just wanted to make a S'more and have Mommy and Boy time.  :)  (I'm pretty sure I answered a million questions in those two hours).  Day five, we spent most of the day at the soccer field.

 Overall, a very successful first week of camp.  All of the coaches were very involved in the kids' learning, and they kept the kids busy the entire two hours, and not a minute less.  Mackenzie had fun at every station, and had a blast playing sharks and minnows every day.  She was pretty excited to get to play a few scrimmages, too.  Next up...Softball.  Mackenzie really enjoyed watching her cousins play ball when we were home last month, so I thought I'd sign her up.  More on that in two weeks...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Catching up with Great Grandma in New York

 Aaaahhhh.....New York!!!  How we L.O.V.E. this view!!!  Kris and the three kids and I spent four days in New York visiting Great Grandma Havens, Ellen, Brian, Carly, and Colin.

We made it to Mendon just before dinner.  Just in time to meet Ellen and go pick up Grandma for dinner at Applebees.

Garytt said, "I got close because I know Great Grandma can't see very good."  After visiting with Grandma, Ellen and Carly for a bit, we headed to Wegman's for a few groceries and then headed back to the house.   The next day we hit the local grocery where Garytt was kind enough to do the cart-work for us.

Our favorite view in the house!

After breakfast on day 2, we headed over to pick up Grandma and then spend some time at Ellen's.  We chatted all afternoon with Grandma while the kids helped Aunt Ellen do a little yard work.  Then, Kris fixed a yummy dinner for the 8 of us.

The next afternoon, we picked up Grandma for an early dinner before the Mendon Carnival.  We spent a few hours at Grandma's place chatting and then touring the building and meeting Grandma's friends.  Then, I took the little ones outside so Kris could have some time talking {peacefully} with his grandmother.  While they chatted, Garytt and Mackenzie rolled down the awesome hill out back.  We also tried to catch a peek of the squirrel that was raiding the bird feeder, but he was too fast for us to get too close.  

On our way to dinner we stopped in Honeoye Falls to see the...falls.  

 Just down the street was our destination....Craft Brewers.  Kris and Grandma split two beer samplers....vanilla coffee stout, indian pale ale, scotch ale, distilled Scottish ale, and a few others.  The kids and I had the CB Root beer.

From here, we headed over to the Mendon Carnival.  The kids ran around and tested every ride they were brave enough to get on while Kris wheeled Grandma around for a bit.  After a while, we moved over by the picnic tables so Grandma could sit and visit with many friends.  We stuffed the kids with all the yummy fair food...cotton candy, funnel cakes, lemonades...yum!

When all the fireworks were done, we headed back to Grandma's to drop her off and get our final hugs and kisses before we left the next morning.   We all had a great time hanging out with Ellen and the family as well as spending quality time with Grandma...Garytt and Mackenzie were more than happy to shower her with hugs and tell all kinds of silly stories.  I'm always so awed by the history of this amazing woman's life and the lives of her ancestors!  What a blessing she is to our family and I cherish every piece of the family legacy she shares with me, so that one day I can pass her stories on to her great-grand children.    Wonderful memories!!

 Speaking of memories...we decided to take a trip down to see the houses down the hill....built in the early 1800's by Brigham Young's father and later belonging to Grandma's Grandfather (I think?).

One last shot before we left....beautiful!

Fun With the Family!

Our trip back to the States involved a LOT of miles on the car and LOTS of smiles on our faces!  We were able to spend time with Kris' parents, my parents, our brothers and sisters, nieces, cousins, grandparents, and some pretty awesome friends!  
We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather for most of our trip.  So, the kids spent many hours in Grandma and Grandpa's pool.  We were all excited about the fact that Garytt (who could barely keep his nose above water when standing on his tippy toes during Summer 2012) but, now he could stand with his feet flat on the bottom and his chin cleared the water by about half an inch or so!

 The kids also got to spend time by a campfire several nights.  S'MORES!!!!

And....LOTS of play time with M O R G A N!!!  Spending time with our puppy was pretty awesome!  She and Garytt had a good time playing, most of the time.  She had to put him in his place a few times when he got a little carried away with the wrestling.   

 On one of my {m.a.n.y.} trips down to Brookhaven I dropped Morgan off at the train station in Jackson then as I was headed back to the interstate I happened to drive by the state capital building...impressive!  I couldn't pass up a chance to get out and take pictures of the beautiful building.

After a little over a week in Mississippi, I decided to take a trip to Delaware to visit friends and family BY MYSELF!  I left the two little ones in MS with Grandma and Grandpa while I headed out on my own.  I gotta was a little weird being able to do what I wanted when I wanted to do it.  I almost didn't know what to do with myself...almost...

I made it to Felton/Viola Thursday evening and then Friday I got to go hang out with friends...YAY!!!

I got to spend Mother's Day with my mom for the first time in YEARS!  Mom and I went shopping and had a nice time just hanging out.  I was also able to spend several afternoons with my Lil Sis.  {sideways ice cream cone}  And, I spent time shopping with Skyler, then watching Abbey and Kasidey play ball.  My dad and I got to have a fabulous chat...and, dinner at Pizzadili's.  I also go to spend time at Felton Fire Dpt...a place a spent many many days as a kid.  And, my dad got me some very yummy chicken salad to take home and have all to myself (well, aside from the spoon my sneaky sister stole when I wasn't looking).

 I was pretty excited that on my way back to Mississippi I got to make a slight detour and spend the night with my cousin, Amanda.

So, after my week in Delaware and a quick visit to Tennessee,  I was back in Mississippi.  I spent several days visiting dear friends and preparing for Morgan's graduation.  Once graduation was done and we packed our bags again, we were headed back up north.

We got to spend several more days in Delaware. this time the kids were able to spend a lot of time with the family and friends.  We are so grateful to have the time to visit with everyone.  And, {YAY} we got to meet the newest member to our little group of friends... Beccy!  So happy for you Joshua!

 Washing the car with Pop Pop.
I am so glad we were able to spend a great afternoon with Carie and her girls.  A visit with Carie is always on my list when we make it home.  We have been great friends for quite a while and it does my soul a world of good to sit down and catch up whenever we make it back.  The kids spent the evening playing in the sprinkler, swinging, catching frogs, and jumping on the trampoline.  Fabulous day!!!

 The cousin reunion was something to behold!  I wish I had my camera rolling when Abbey first came home....Mackenzie was in the dining room and Abbey got off the bus then came in the front door.  Abbey squealed, "Mackenzie!" and Mackenzie squealed, "Abbey!" and they ran across the house to each other, at which point, Mackenzie leaped into Abbey's arms.  It was a marvelous moment!

 While Kris and Morgan were in Delaware (just a friday night, Saturday, and brief Sunday morning), they went car shopping.  We bought Morgan her first car!  Kris and Morgan held off their departure Sunday morning long enough to have a chance for us to see his Uncle Todd, Aunt Colleen, Aiden, Declan, Morgan, and Teagan before they spent the day at Dover Downs for Race Sunday.

Before Kris and Mo left, I got the kids in line and got a shot for my books...I've taken this very shot every year at Christmas since the year Garytt was born.  I had to substitute a picture of Morgan last Christmas, so I made sure to get the shot this time.  Too bad Garytt wasn't cooperating.

 Sadly, we had to say our goodbyes, kisses and hugs, and lots of tears...but oh so thankful for the time we were able to spend with everyone!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Oh Em Gee....she is a high school graduate!

The main purpose of our trip home this Spring...Morgan's high school graduation!  The tests were done; her bags had been moved back home; Mom and Dad, brother and sister, aunt and uncle, Grandma and Grandpa, as well as Mom Mom and Pop Pop, were all in town and ready to cheer her on!

Most of us arrived in Brookhaven in time to have a quick lunch before the big event.  After lunch, we headed to Southeast Mississippi Community College so Morgan could get in and ready for her walk.

This is a little out of order...but, I made a trip down to Brookhaven the week before graduation to move Morgan out of the dorm.  Here is a shot of her and her bestie, Annaleigh, just before her departure.

The whole family gathered to witness the graduation...left to right....Grandpa (Gregg), Pop Pop (Wayne), Daddy, Uncle Clayton (behind Kris), Garytt, Mom Mom Pat (next to Kris), Grandma (Joan), Mackenzie and Aunt Tisha.

Morgan Kate Wheeler....

Every kid in her graduating class (60-ish kids) added a string of Mardi Gras beads to the principal's arms and neck.

Soooooo proud of our 2014 Graduate!!!!!

After a graduation party on Saturday, where we were so lucky to be able to spend time with very good friends and family, everyone slowly started back to their homes and we hit the road for the next adventure.

I can't even tell you how excited we were to finally be able to get our hands on these two PRECIOUS girls!!!  Love them to pieces and we really wish we could be closer to experience their growing.