Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Catching Up on Summer Fun

Wow, has it been a long time! Summer has been a whirlwind of events and vacations so far. I thought I'd catch you up... The last day of school was June 4th. Below is a picture of me and my little first graders whom I'll always remember. They have such a special place in my heart, as all my other classes have as well. Being a teacher is such a treasure and the impact we have on the children we teach is what makes me love my profession. Even though they sometimes drove me crazy, I can't help but look back on my years of teaching and smile. All their little faces roll to the front of my mind and I giggle at all our little memories and moments together. Thank you Lord for the way I love and care for kids. Only you could make me this way. 2008-2009 First Grade Class. Look at those faces! How can you not love them?

The very next day after school ended David and I hopped on a plane up to Minnesota to visit his little brother Casey & Rebecca. They moved to Minnesota last summer and we had not yet been up to see them. It was such a fun trip even though it was a bit cold and rainy. Rebecca swears it gets warm up there, but I have yet to see it! :) We had so much fun on our visit. We went to the Mall of America, which is quite an experience if you have never been - there is a Universal Theme Park in the middle of the 4-story mall!! Craziness! We also went to Ikea which is my new favorite store. It's a 2 story warehouse full of anything and everything you would ever need to decorate your house. They actually give you a map when you enter the store and you have to follow the blue arrows around so you don't miss anything. The top floor, which is where you begin your shopping consists of show rooms for every room in your house. You go through an entire set of set up living rooms, kitchens, offices, bedrooms, kids rooms, etc. You can't pick anything up on this floor to buy; it's all to give you ideas. However, everything is labeled with a number so you write down the number of something you might want on your shopping list and then you can pick it up downstairs. Downstairs is the market place/warehouse. This is where you can actually put things in your cart - plates, silver wear, duvet covers, sheets, baskets, rugs, blinds, curtains, light fixtures, plants (real & fake), artwork, custom framing, etc ... it's like a Michael's/Bed Bath & Beyond that has exploded! Then you move into the warehouse where you can pick up any furniture you liked along the way. It's complete awesomeness! Oh, and not to mention the prices ROCK! We actually bought a new kitchen table that seats 8 people normally, but seats 12 when you put the leaf in. (We bought it at the Ikea in Tampa, not Minnesota). It feels so good to finally have enough chairs to have people over for dinner and chairs that don't sway back and forth when you sit in them. Hallelujah! ... Now that I've gone on a rampage about Ikea, I'll get back to our visit to Minnesota. We had one nice day and went on a hike that was beautiful. It was the perfect temperature to go hiking - not too hot, not too cold. We took Aspen with us. She was such a good dog!
Here is a picture of me, Rebecca, & Aspen

Casey is a boat salesman up in Minnesota so we spent some time boating around Lake Minnetonka one morning. It is a HUGE lake with HUGE houses all along it! Here's a picture of David & Casey driving the boat.

We also roasted marshmallows by the fire one night. Yes, we had a fire in the backyard in JUNE! I thought June was the summer, but apparently I was mistaken. :) We had such a great time visiting. Thanks for having us Casey & Rebecca. We hope to make it up there again sometime soon. Love you guys!

We hopped a flight home from Minnesota to Tampa, drove back up to Gainesville, unpacked and repacked, then drove to Hilton Head Island, SC the very next day with our good friends Lance & Lauren. Talk about a climate change from Minnesota to Hilton Head! It was such a relaxing time on the beach with the Jones'. How funny is it that the Smith's and the Jones' took a vacation together - the most common last names in all the world it seems. Hilton Head is a beautiful place and the beaches are nice. We got up in the morning and ran on the beach almost everyday, then spent time relaxing and reading for pleasure (something I don't get to do in the school year) every afternoon. One word can describe that vacation - peaceful!Here is a picture of Lance, Lauren, me, & David hanging out on the beach.

We went out for one nice dinner at Catch 22. It was delicious! Roasted Red Paper Crab Soup and Calamari Pasta - mmm good! :)

After a week at Hilton Head we drove straight down for our Smith Family vacation on Crescent Beach. It is our annual beach vacation we take every year. I think in years to come it will become a Smith family reunion. This year was a bit different than most because Casey, Rebecca, & Jamie were all missing this year. We missed them so much, but we are so excited everyone has off next summer and will be in attendance. Things are changing with babies on the way and we had to rent our own condo for next summer. Usually the whole family crams into one 2-bedroom condo, but the tradition is moving on. Mama Smith & Pops are still staying in their own 2-bedroom condo, but the kids rented a 3-bedroom condo for David & I (plus a 6 month old baby by then), Casey & Rebecca, and Ryan & Missy. We can't wait!

Normally our beach games of choice are volleyball and horse shoes, but this year it was bocce ball. Bocce started becoming popular in our family when we went to Minnesota and Casey & David started a tournament of sorts. It continued in Hilton Head with David & Lance, and then in Crescent with David, Ryan, Pops, and our good friend Alex Mouro. We did take a picture of our last bocce tournament where 8 of us played with one ball each at sunset the last night on Crescent, but it's on Mama Smith's camera so you'll just have to imagine it. :)

So, with the first 3 and a half weeks of summer gone, we are finally back home in Gainesville. It does feel good to be home after traveling so much. David has been working hard at pediatric residency orientation. Residency begins tomorrow and he will enter the working world from here on out. It's an exciting time. Little baby Roo is still growing rapidly. I am 15 weeks pregnant today and get to see our little one next week at my 16 week ultrasound. I hope your summer has treated you well so far. There is still much more fun to be had!

Much Love to you all! :)