11 Years of Lauren

 Today our little girl turns 11 years old.  Eleven years old.  It's hard to believe.  She is becoming such a beautiful young lady, inside and out.  She is smart as a whip, kind-hearted, tough, a nature lover, and a risk taker.  I was so proud of the way she stepped outside of her comfort zone this year.  She joined the band and auditioned for drama and got one of the leading roles in the play.  She plays football every day with the boys and comes out scraped up, bruised, sometimes bleeding, but happy as can be.  We can't wait to see where the next 11 years will take us. 
 We love you, sweet Lolo!
As I mentioned on Jacob's birthday, we're really not doing parties that much, but instead the kids pick the activities for the day.  Lauren's birthday wishes included a trip to Flag Ponds to search for shark's teeth, lunch at Outback, a mini-drone and a mini greenhouse with succulents.  Haha!  She cracks me up.  We started the morning at Flag Ponds.
 I'm not usually there at this time of year, but it was beautiful.

 There were a few cars in the parking lot, but there didn't appear to be anyone else on the beach but us.

 The day began a bit foggy and overcast, but quickly cleared up.

 I only managed to find two teeth today, but one of them was a really good one.  See it there below in the middle of the picture?
 Jacob also found a tooth!

 Anna and Jacob can only look for teeth for so long before they're just done for the day.  You usually see them gravitate toward driftwood and the building of a teepee after half an hour or so.
 Jacob lost a boot somewhere along the way...

 Our little Lolo doing one of the things she loves best...

 Doug found a fossilized crocodile tooth today.  It was a first for us!
 I asked Jacob what happened to his shoe and apparently he went in a little too far and filled one boot full of water.  He spent the rest of the morning in just one shoe waiting for his pants leg to dry.

 These two are becoming better friends each and every day.  I love to see them love each other.

 Maybe I had crocodiles on the brain after Doug found the tooth, but this log eerily reminded me of a croc.

By the time we began to leave the beach, the sun was completely out and the day was gorgeous.  Everything was so calm and still.

 Jacob and Lauren found the remains of a horseshoe crab on the way out.  He or she was a big one!

 We went to get the ingredients for Lauren's requested Red Velvet Cake, but she saw this character cake and decided it was a dog and needed to be hers for her birthday.

 Her mini-greenhouse...
 Jacob took his own money and bought Lauren a Nerf gun for her birthday.  These two really do love each other but they each have a tendency to annoy the other and even though she was thankful for the gun, we had to make her hug him to say thanks.  Haha!  Sibling love.  He was so proud though and it melted my heart.
 We've all gotten quite a kick out of this tiny drone.  Yep, that's it, in the box below.  It's just bigger than a quarter.  It's so cute!

Happy Birthday, Lolo!  We love you so much!!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!   
We decided to ring in 2016 with some chocolate fondue and sparkling cider. 
We also took a time to think about 2015 and what we would like to accomplish in the coming year.
We filled 10 balloons with helium and gold and silver confetti to pop during the 10 second countdown to midnight.

It was fun to listen to everyone's "Year in Review".

As the night wore on, Doug headed off to bed and Jacob fell asleep on the couch.  The girls and I watched "The Martian" to try and keep ourselves awake and the movie took us through to 11:30.  At around 11:50, I started waking or trying to wake up Jacob.  He had been so excited about popping the balloons at midnight and told me to please wake him up if he fell asleep.  I started out gently but ended up poking and prodding and standing him up just for him to fall over again.  I finally got him on his feet and gave him his balloons.  He was so out of it that he just started screaming and jumping up and down.  I know it may seem cruel that I worked so hard to get him to wake up, but believe me, it would have been worse the next day if I hadn't tried.  In the midst of trying to get him to pull it together, Anna was busy twirling and doing her hair and wouldn't stop long enough to take the straight pin for popping her balloons.  I finally had to  raise my voice so she would take a pin, and she was taken aback until I told her that we were only 20 seconds out from midnight.  In my mind, I pictured this idyllic moment, where everyone pops a balloon in concert with the countdown from Times Square.  I had my phone ready to capture the moment and we had been prepared since 6pm that evening, however, sometimes the best laid plans just aren't meant to be.  I was still working with Jacob as we hit the 10-second window.  Lauren yelled over that it was starting and so she and Anna began to pop their balloons.  I grabbed my phone and thought I was turning it on, and taking a video of the chaos, but I'm not quite sure what happened.  I ended up popping my balloons as well as Jacob's while he bounced up and down screaming his head off.  As soon as it was over, the kids said they were done and headed off to bed.  Not quite what I was anticipating but I can say there's no one else I would rather be with as we start a new year.  Here's the WONDERFUL video I managed to not capture...haha!
Yep, that was it.  That was the video.  I think I should just stick to my regular camera and leave the video captures up to Doug.  Pretty funny, huh!  Anyway, 2016, here we come.  Treat us kindly, please!

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