Thursday, June 17, 2010

Let the fun begin!

By Memorial day summer had officially begun for our preschooler's and Bracken had just four days left of school so we decided to do something fun to mark our beginning to summer. Goodness knows that after the crummy weeks we'd been having it was time for some family togetherness and a lot of fun! We decided that our best option was Sea World San Antonio because it is only about two hours away and totally doable for a three day weekend. Plus, I think that Justin knew I would have at least as much fun as the kids because I had never been to Sea World and I absolutely love whales. I'm not exactly sure when or why I developed the fascination but I woke up early every morning of our honeymoon in Maui to sit on the balcony and whale watch (February is prime whale season after all). Sea World is much cheaper than Maui and the whales are much more accessible. Score.

The trip was fabulous. The only frustrating part was getting our kids up and ready for breakfast before church (of course we were trying to make it to a mid-morning meeting) then sitting at Denny's for a full hour before deciding to bail and rush to make sacrament meeting. The kids were not happy to have waited in a booth for that long and to have not gotten so much as a pancake. Who knows what was going on back in that kitchen but we finally just left. The waitress was apologetic and didn't make us pay for our drinks but still it was unbelievably lame. It's Denny's people, how hard can it be to whip up a few Grand Slam's??? Anyway, we made it to sacrament meeting on time and then headed for a different Denny's. We finally all had our pancakes and in the end it was funny, in the beginning not so much.

We checked out on Monday morning but headed back to Sea World to see just how much our kids could take. Everyone had a great time and we will definitely be back to Sea World this summer!

The Allen family does Sea World!

Made it by the skin of her teeth, or her hair bow...she was actually tall enough when she stood straight with her feet up against the sign.

Only the beginning of a long, hot day in the backseat

The little red dot in the seat next to Justin (in the first visible Shamu car) is Ruby's bow, my little thrill seeker!

At first glance it looks like Justin is taking one for the team and letting Lexie teethe on his finger...

...but then you see he has hidden a tootsie pop in his hand and is treating her to her first dessert!


Belly flop! Totally worth the price of admission just to see this great Shamu show, the kids LOVED it! Next time we may even be brave enough to sit in the "splash zone" where you definitely get soaked.

Ruby must have requested the same soft filter that Barbara Wa-Wa uses on The View. She stood for the entire Shamu show and kept saying, "my dolphin, my dolphin!"

After the show I took the older three kids on a ride while Justin took the little girls to a play area. He said that Ruby played happily here in the sand for over an hour. I guess I should consider a sandbox because whenever we are at a park with sand she sits calmly and plays, which is a rarity for that busy bee.

I took this picture in the pitch black darkness and had no idea what I was aiming at until the flash would go off. I just couldn't resist the shot of them all in the bed of the fold out couch. This is how they have slept---three deep---all year in Bracken's bunk beds on the bottom bunk. I have finally kicked Bracken out and made him go to the top bunk but they all insist on still being together, even though that means that no one sleeps in either twin bed in Abbie's room.

We recently have begun playing Go Fish with the kids. It's an alphabet version where you match the upper case and lower case letters, the upper case have an adult animal beginning with that letter and the lower case a baby animal to match its' parent. The kids love it and it's been a great tool for letter recognition. Plus, you can't beat them being happy while waiting for their food at Denny's.

Time flies when you're having fun

mmm, pancake

Ruby had some crazy allergic reaction to who knows what and when she woke up from her nap she looked like this. It wasn't a sunburn because she had not been in the sun at all that day and it was only like this on her face. I think she was allergic to the detergent the hotel used. We covered the pillow case that night with a shirt and she woke up rash-free.

Hello Bracken Jr., it's weird to see your babies repeat themselves

Apparently Ruby is 16 and is waiting for her boyfriend to come scale the wall and break her out

The best thing about a Residence Inn is that we can make our own popcorn for movie night, thank you Marriott

Bracken didn't even seem to notice Ruby crawling up and down on him to get to her window seat

Ah, the man who funds the fun! Thanks honey, we had such a marvelous weekend!!

Seriously, all of this for three days??? And that's just the stuff that made it in from the car!

uh, I had no idea how long it takes to load onto this lame ride one car at a time

this is a much faster loading situation and right next door

we're never doing this eternal ride again

My babies on the downhill

This cooled them off

A little wave from Abbie and Dad in the back row, you can't really see the other two.

What the? When did he start doing the peace sign for pictures? Thanks Jess. I have seen you do this move.

What a big guy my three year old is!

Tummy's down waiting to pet the dolphins.

And here they come!

Bracken was chosen out of the audience to be the child to converse with the scuba guy through the glass. Uh, when asked where he's from he answered Texas, should I have corrected him? Have we been here long enough for him to claim it as home??

Hmm, what was blue?

I'm awake now, Mom.

Look daddy!

I'm sure we're totally allowed to lift our kids up to stand on the ledge and press their faces against the glass.

Fishy faces!! It's a good thing Justin doesn't read my blog.

and out of the air conditioning and back to the dolphins

they actually touched them this time

what's that you say Flipper? You'd like my parents to fork over $10 so I can feed you? Wait here, I'll ask...

The family indulging me with one more Shamu shot

I looked down when we got to the water park area and saw that Ruby was asleep, hamburger and lollipop in hand, with her face in the stroller bar. Comfy.

Cozy even goes to the water park. Oh, and he refused to put clothes back on. He decided he'd ride out to the car naked. I was grateful he had cozy.

Sucking his finger and wanting me to get the heck out of his face. It was fun but he was done.

These two could have kept going though!

The End

Last day of school

All three of the older kids had a great year this past year and I am so proud of the little people they are becoming. They have each grown and changed so much but they are better and more fun each and every day. I love to see the personalities that are developing and how they interact with their friends. Having so many siblings has made them very social and compassionate kids and I am grateful for that.
We are excited to begin a new summer that we can fill with adventures and days at the pool but we never want to forget the great year we've ended. Below are pictures from the various end-of-year activities, including celebrations of summer birthdays and field day. Thanks to everyone who made this an amazing year for the most important people in my life!!!

A very merry unbirthday to Tate!

Brian, if you touch my crown even one more time I swear I will not hold back!

Seriously man

when I lift up this crown you better either cover your face or run

Brian has been moved as you can see from the vacant seat behind me

yum, decorate your own cookie cake! Great idea Betsy!


thanks for a great year Ms.Nancy

uh, Ms. Tracey I somehow lost your card between our house and the school, but don't worry your Target gift card is safe

into Abbie's class

Abbie and the infamous Brooke Blakeney (please take note of the spectacular clip-on earrings of Ruby's that Abbie felt the need to wear to her last day, oh, and the Darth Vader ring from Greg's birthday cupcakes)

Abbie's crew. I guess I hadn't realized that there are "it girls" in a class of 4 and 5 year olds. Abbie's teacher assured me that there are. (Again, something to note. Greg is the devilishly handsome almost five year old behind Reagan. I can't tell you how much we had to hear about Greg this year. Justin is glad that Greg will be attending another elementary school.)

Who taught them to pose?

We love Ms. Pompa

and Ms. Q!

The whole gang (minus Bracken) in an impromptu picture when another mom insisted on playing photographer. I will choose to be happy that we will have this memory, even if the picture leaves much to be desired. I would have liked a do-over.

Dad's golf day at kindergarten, the day after Memorial Day. Justin let Bracken be the photographer so this is the only picture with someone I recognized in it.

Bracken at breakfast on the last day of school. It has just occurred to him that he will not be seeing his friends everyday this summer.

clearly he's over it by the time he's dressed for field day

bye bye to kindergarten

Bracken's teacher is moving so she decided to get rid of her college-aged daughter's beanie babies by giving them to her class. Thanks Ms. Leicht, everyone knows how much I love stuffed animals. Bracken has taken "Snuffy" everywhere for the past three weeks.

the last kindergarten drop-off...until Abbie next year...and Tate the year after that...and, you get the picture

field day relays

the shot we should have gotten is when his entire body disappeared completely into the bucket

kind of an inappropriate game with a pool noodle

he's still pretty fast

the three musketeer's! Bracken and his two best friends this year, Eric and Emily.

a busy morning painting at mom camp while Bracken was at his last day, their last day was the previous Friday

Ruby woke up and seemed unwilling to shed the Tinkerbell nightgown and since it's summer she didn't have to

smocks and jammies

awesome smile from my usually photogenic child

Summer here we come!!!!