Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summertime and the Livin' Is Easy...

Nothin' says summer like vacations & celebrations!  We started our summer with both.

I asked my new friends & their kiddos over to celebrate Hayden's birthday a couple of days before we departed for VA to see my parents & sister.  The first number 5 birthday party was a big success!  I baked chocolate cupcakes from scratch with pink petal icing tops and a mini cake of the same kind all covered in the pink icing petals.  Our new friends, Susan and her boys Carter & Brody attended as well as Susan's sister, Sarah and her daughter Riley.  They brought balloons and made Hayden a very sparkly and fantastical poster!  She received a princess Cinderella doll from Sarah & Riley, complete with a crown, blue dress, & blue slip-on shoes.  Susan, Carter, & Brody made Hayden a princess treasure box which is just too cute!  And they filled it with all sorts of princess goodies like a pair of homemade princess flip-flops, princess necklaces, bracelets, & rings, a princess-themed paddle ball, a princess pen, and a package of princess tattoos!  There was dancing and frolicking and just an all-around great time!

Opening Princess Cinderella doll
Boogie down to the sounds of Lady Gaga!
The beautiful princess treasure box!
Singing Happy Birthday to the Birthday Girl
Blowing out the candles!
Eating the cupcake!
Partiers hangin' out in the bed with a load of unfolded, clean laundry. :)
The awesome birthday banner/poster that our new friends made

On Thursday, the 9th, we were off to VA to visit my family & celebrate Hayden's birthday with them.  It was great to see them again and such a wonderful thing to drive only 7 hours instead of 20!  We went to the beach and swam our hearts out...and we all got burnt to a crisp!  We grabbed some Dumar's ice cream afterward and it was the perfect treat for an after-beach activity. :)  We ate some truly delicious meals thanks to the amazing cooking skills of my mom, dad, & sis...ribs, fresh corn on the cob, hamburgers, fried oysters, roasted garlic & brie on french bread, gazpacho al andaluz, shrimp (yes, I can eat shrimp again!!! Wheeee!!), low country boil, seared scallops, & burgundy beef.   We had a birthday party for Hayden & my mom with a red velvet princess cake topped with a princess castle and 4 of the Disney princesses for Hayden, and an amazing homemade tiramisu for my mom...complete with homemade, gluten-free lady sister is so talented in the culinary arts!! :)  We went to the Children's Museum of Virginia which is in downtown Portsmouth.  She had B-last in that place!  There were all kinds of hands-on activities...some of her favorites were playing in the Vet's Clinic with the stuffed animals, pretending to be a Vet, the grocery store where she stocked up on every ear of plastic corn they had, and the play area where she played with stuffed animals for a good 45 minutes of our visit.  As an added & amazing plus, in the pretend bank, Hayden wrote her name on the dry-erase check all by herself!  I was overjoyed & very proud!  We enjoyed a worship service at my parents' church, First Baptist Church, Norfolk.  They even have a Special Needs Ministry, so Hayden got to have a buddy stay with her in her class during the service! :)  I got to hit up the International Market & the organic store at the Farmer's Market with my sis.  It was truly a wonderful visit with lots of fun, good food, great conversation, and time with our family. :)

The tiny, blurry sign with the green on top & the brown on bottom is the sign for the Antietam Creek National Battlefield. :)
Ridin' the new trike!
Inside the ginormous train display
In the tube, leading to the bubble inside the ginormous train display
Daddy in a fire truck
Hayden in a fire truck
Nanny & PawPaw puttin' out a fire
Ridin' a police motorcycle...or as she referred to it today, a "motor-bicle"
Checkin' out the pets in the Vet's Clinic
PawPaw helps with the Vet's coat
Ridin' a turtle
The play area...I want a couch like this to put in her room!
Dr. Hayden & Daddy pose for a pic
Checking out the baby as Dr. Hayden Couri :)
Hayden in some teeth. :)
This was 100% Hayden's effort!  Yay Hayden!
The Princess Birthday Cake
Nanny & PawPaw celebrate the birthday girl! :)

For her birthday, Hayden got a tricycle from Nanny & PawPaw (my parents) and a dry erase board with markers and an eraser from Grandma & Grandpa (Kelly's parents).  She also received a gift from Nana Carlene & Great-Grandpa Paul with which she purchased a pink elephant, tiny puppy, & an Elmo book with an Elmo beanie baby (all her choices!).  Great Grandma Gail & Papa Jerry sent her a monetary gift as well, and we purchased the special edition Cinderella DVD for her.  We bought her a mini-trampoline & the special princess castle cake topper.

The Princess Castle & Princesses
Pink tricycle complete with basket for the babies!
Dry erase markers!
Dry erase markers & the eraser for her board
Drawing a pic of Kelly on her board. :)

It was a fabulous way to begin our first summer in PA.  For the rest of the summer, we are looking forward to pool trips, get-togethers with our new friends, visits from family, and preparing to start Kindergarten in the fall. We were all a little reluctant, I think, to come back to reality after such a restful vacation. But we know that we'll get back into the swing of things and relish all the memories of our great summer kick-off! :)


  1. Jill - this is such a cool way to document your adventures!! I loved reading it! It looks like Hayden had a great time in Virginia as well as all of you. I especially loved the picture of her in the teeth! And the voluntary writing of her name is quite an awesome milestone - great job Hayden! (That photo of the weird couch reminds me of a wheel of cheese. lol) We are glad you are back safe & sound. Can't wait for our picnic! ~Susan

  2. Thank you so much, Susan! I want to read your blog!! What is the address? I loved that weird couch! It was so cushion-y...I told my mom I wanted one for Hayden's room to replace her bed. :) Looking forward to tomorrow! :)

  3. I do believe with how well things are going, you guys were meant to move to PA. :)

  4. Thank you, Christina! I think so, too! :)