Friday, September 5, 2014

Eli starts Pre-School

Eli started his pre-school this week and did great. The first day he walked right into the classroom, sat down at the table and barely told us bye!

He is going Monday, Wednesday and Friday until 12:30. He gets to eat lunch at school in the cafeteria, go to the library and have Dragon Buddies (the AG 4th graders come and buddy up with the pre-schoolers). He seems very excited about school! From an educator standpoint I do think that a bit of pre-school before kindergarten is a good thing. I can always tell a difference in the kids that have exposure before their first day of school. From a parent standpoint.. I enjoy having him home so I'm glad it's not a full day or everyday!

We tried for our 'First Day ' pictures and of course those didn't happen so we tried again after he got home from school. Olivia Jane was a pistol and wanted Eli's sign! These made me laugh :)

Eli's first day.. all equipped with a handmade sign and he wrote his name. He can write a few letters of Allison as well. 

So big!

My sweet littles.. Olivia has worn this outfit since she was 12 months old.. The pants are now capris 

She said, "That's my sign Eli!"

He looks a bit intimidated

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cruising 2014

This year we took a cruise for our annual Allison family vacation. We had such a good time.. it was by far the best Allison vacay ever! We had a total of 18 people... all of Josh's siblings and their families, plus his mom and dad. We drove halfway to Savannah on Friday and then Saturday morning got up early and drove on to Tampa to board our boat. We sailed on Carnival's Paradise on the 5 night Western Caribbean cruise, stopping in the Grand Caymans and then at Cozumel, Mexico. I've been on over 12 cruises and it's one of my favorite ways of vacationing. I love the fact that the steward cleans my room twice a day, leaves chocolate on my pillow, there is endless food, and fun ports of call.

Even if we didn't see each other all day we all got together for the formal dinners at night. Isaac and his teen cousins ordered a bazillion appetizers including: sushi, caviar, alligator bites, and other interesting food options they normally wouldn't get. My favorite was the warm chocolate melting cake (I found the recipe online and have made it 3 times since we've been back).  Olivia drank her water out of the fancy glass and enjoyed buttering her rolls at dinner. Twice she fell asleep in my arms because she was so exhausted from the day. Eli ate fish every single night and cleaned his plate!

Our first stop was at Grand Cayman. We took a small boat to a sandbar in the middle of the ocean filled with stingrays. The kids snorkeled and loved petting the stingrays. Afterwards we rode to a private beach, had lunch and played in the ocean. Unfortunately a huge rainstorm hit on our way to the beach and we were drenched and cold when we got there. I had to buy the little kids a dry over priced shirt on the island. Our second port of call was Cozumel. When we arrived we took a ferry straight to the mainland to head to Tulum to see the Mayan Ruins. After our tour we played on the beautiful beach of Tulum.

We had so much fun even on the days at sea. Isaac, Bryce, Braedon and Gabe had fun playing endless games of chess (the pieces were life-size like Harry Potter), hanging out in the hot tub (I believe they stayed in there talking to girls until they were pruny), swimming on the water slide  and having ping pong matches.  Eli and Olivia both loved the putt putt course on the top deck. Josh played a bit of black jack at night and I was even able to sunbathe and read a couple books! As soon as we debarked the boat, Eli was ready to go again!

Olivia on our balcony watching people board the boat

The boys chowing down on the Lido deck

Bryce and Gabe acting out the Titanic scene

Daddy and Olivia

Isaac and Gabe at dinner

Josh's youngest sibling Chris and his wife Jan (there is a 16 year age difference between Josh and Chris)

Josh's oldest brother, Tim and his wife Sonja

Josh's sister Pam and her husband Jeff

Pawpaw and Grandmaw Allison and Eli

Our pretty niece Allie

The kids loved finding the towel creatures at night

Olivia loves her big boy cousins.. She gives the all big hugs!

The 4 Allison boys- Isaac, Braedon, Bryce and Gabe- We were on the way to swim with the stingrays

Peaches needed some snuggling

Olivia started stripping at the Grand Caymans because she was so hot. 

Sleepy Princess snoozing on Mommy at dinner

Our niece Kristin and Olivia. Both Eli and Olivia loved having Kristin around.. she's usually off at college!

Our 'Cruise Boat' as Eli called it

Looking at the big lizards in Mexico

Eli having a little meltdown in Tulum because he was hungry and sleepy

We took a ferry from Cozumel to the main land and rode a tour bus to Tulum to see the Mayan Ruins.  Every year on the summer equinox the sun shines through the middle window. It was so neat seeing these ancient ruins. 

Olivia and I in our coordinating dresses!

Isaac and Eli at Tulum. We went swimming at this beach after I snapped their picture. The water felt great!

White sand beaches and turquoise water
Olivia pulling her suitcase through customs. 

The Allisons

Hubs and I

Isaac finishes Junior High!

1st day of High School

My oldest finished up 8th grade, turned 14 and is heading into the uncharted waters of HIGH SCHOOL! He enjoyed junior high (surprisingly) and excelled. I could seriously brag on this boy all the time. He is brilliant, a good student, respectful, nice to others, a great friend, a wonderful big brother and absolute JOY to this mama's heart. It's just crazy watching my tiny baby boy grow up into this young man that weighs about 30 more pounds than his mama, is taller than me and definitely stronger. He can do those tasks I can't do... like getting a weed eater started, opening hard to open cans, lifting really heavy furniture.

At awards day in 8th grade he was picked out of all the 8th grade boys to be given the Andrew Wilkerson Award. It was given to a student that is smart, a hard worker, and has a good sense of humor, and kind to others. Isaac definitely fits all those characteristics and I'm glad that others see that in him as well.

I've had so much fun with him home this summer and really didn't want school to go back. We have had fun just cutting up in the car, picking on each other, and even talking about the hard stuff. He still kisses my cheeks and hugs me everyday! I am so thankful. Of course I will always love my kids no matter what but it's so nice that even in these days of hormones raging that I like hanging out with my teen.

For Isaac's 14th birthday this year we drove about 1 1/2 hours to a trampoline park. He took his cousins and a couple friends along and they had a blast. They played dodgeball on trampolines the entire time. When we were finished the boys were covered in sweat, and extremely stinky. We all went to dinner at Isaac's choice restaurant, Olive Garden and then came home to a sleep over with his cousins.