Monday, May 28, 2012

My cousins = my Best Friends

There are little CARNES cousins running around everywhere, TWELVE little smiling faces to adore, TWO living with sweet Jesus and THREE on the way.  One of the things that makes me so happy about my family-by-choice is that Emma and Gavin have so many wonderful cousins to love. 

My sweet boy jumped out of his bed ready to head to the Carne's Oasis for our yearly Memorial Day celebration that is always big fun for everyone.  He looks so big in this picture and I loved his swim trunks that said, "Board Meeting" across the hiney.

Oh Maddox, you are a cutie and then some.  You have gotten so big smily  boy and we can not wait until you can splash around with the rest of them next year.

Camryn, Peyton and Emma Lou stayed in the pool all day long and had a blast.  I was so excited they got to spend time together before Peyton heads back to Colorado to welcome baby Preston that will be arriving in July.

The newest edition, Rylan Thomas.   He was not able to get in the water, but he got to enjoy his first Carne's Pool party.  Don't worry buddy, there are THREE more little boys on the way to join you.

Gavin wants to be one of the BIG boys like Kaiden and Hunter, nothing he loves more than laughing with these guys and following behind them.

Kaiden was so excited when it was time to make Smores.  He was my big helper and carried everything over the bridge and to the fire pit.

One of my favorite little girls ever, Camryn Nicole (my niece).  This one and Emma are the best of buds and always get along perfectly.

Now if you asked Emma who one of her favorite people in the world were, she would tell you HUDSON.  Something about those two, they have a special relationship and love, love, love one another.  Hudson is a swimmer this summer and we are so proud of him.

Sweet Peyton, not sure if we could ever get enough of you girl.  You are the cutest little thing ever and are one of the best swimmers I have ever laid eyes on.  We are so excited to meet your little brother who is coming soon.  I have convinced Peyton to call me, "Princess Laura" and I love to hear her say it, she is a lover of all things Disney too.  These kiddos were all born into the right family, no doubt.

The only picture I got of our precious twins all day, Chance and Brynlee.  These two littles are only 1 week younger than Gavin.

Hunter, you make me smile boy and my kids think you are the bomb.  Not sure how I did not get a picture of sweet Jackson, but somehow I missed him that day (rest assured, he is as cute as the rest of them).

Now if that does not SCREAM fun for a day, I do not know what does.  To spend 10 hours straight in the water with 12 little Carnes kicking and a splashing is our idea of a great Memorial day.  I am so grateful for everyone of these kiddos and looking forward to the 3 on the way.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

{Smore} to come...

We just got home from a great day spent poolside with the entire Carnes family and it was big fun.  It is not often that EVERYONE is together, but today just happened to be one of those special days that we were all in the same place.  Excited to think about there being 3 additional new ones added to the family by the next time we are all together again.

Nothing I like more than to see my kiddos laughing, playing and loving on their cousins.  These guys had a blast and spent 9 hours in the pool together kicking, splashing and making memories.   I was so excited when I decided my dessert would be everything to make the perfect smores, figured it would be fun for the little ones and just might be a new tradition I start. 

Thankful for a great day and looking forward to spending tomorrow being lazy at home with The Frazier Four!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Water Day 2012

Yesterday was water day for Emma at MDO and she was super excited.  Yes, she has a Tinkerbell bathing suit because she is crazy about Disney, just like her Daddy (it comes naturally).  She tried to wear this to swim team practice one day, but I let her know that Coach John would have probably belly laughed if she showed up in this.  Reminded me of the time she wore her PINK tutu to Soccer practice. 

Gavin's water day was last week and we did not get a picture because it was 100% chance of rain and Mommy did not even send his stuff or dress him in a swimsuit.   No matter how many black clouds were in the sky, the rain held out for the little ones to enjoy their water day.  Thankful that our Nanny, Mrs. Deidre was able to take Gavin a swimsuit and rash guard so he did not have to miss out.  Sorry buddy, but Mommy was unprepared and did not get your picture.  You are overdue for some blogtime and I am going to give it to you soon ~ I love you little man!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our PreK Graduate

Last night we attended Emma's PreK Four Graduation at the preschool she has attended half a day since she was 15 months old.   My heart sank a little as we pulled into the parking lot and I realized this would be the last year that my kiddos would spend at this sweet little MDO that we have called home for so long. 

Everything these guys do they go above and beyond, so I was not surprised to see this cute little balloon bouquet at the front of the sanctuary when we entered.

Mrs. Violet and Mrs. Becky have loved Emma unconditionally this year and have pushed her academically.  We appreciate their hard work and dedication to our daughter more than they will ever know, even though we have shared our hearts with them.

Just a few members of the "Class of 2025" as they present their end of the year program they worked so hard on.  Emma is going to miss these kiddos and their sweet hugs.  We have truly been surrounded by the best kids, teachers and families we could ever imagine.

Oh Hannah Claire, you have left an imprint on Emma's heart that will last a lifetime.  Your friendship over the past four years will be one that she will cherish forever.  Do not worry sweet girls, us Mommy's have big plans to keep you girls in touch and Gracie too!

God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave us this Daddy to share our days with, didn't he?   Curtis is by far the most amazing, devoted, loving, affectionate, funny and hands on Father I have ever laid my eyes on.  My kids are so blessed and they do not even realize it, but I am confident that one day they will know what a gift God has blessed them with when it comes to their Daddy.

The sweet souls that have encouraged, loved and schooled Emma all year long.  You will never convince me they get any better than these two ladies right here.  The foundation they have given Emma is irreplaceable and will never be forgotten. 

This picture leaves me so conflicted.  These FIVE girls started MDO together 4 years ago and are having to say goodbye.  They have laughed, loved, cried and played together throughout the years.  Emma's conversations evolve around these sweet girls daily and she loves them all so much.  I pray that each of them will be blessed with amazing friendships as they enter Kindergarten and that those friendships will bring them as much happiness as they have brought one another over the years.  There is no question that each of them will be super successful, outgoing, confident and eager to learn.

God, we can never THANK you enough for the experience that Emma Caroline has had at MDO and we ask that you continue to bless her with great experiences, friendships, teachers and academic excellence for years to come.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Burn Baby Burn

Filled with excitement, we arrived at the pool at 5:55AM to help set up for the swim meet.   Emma & I helped Coach Becca with swimmer check in and passing out team tattoos.  

Emma was super excited when we ran into Lauren and they got super silly for the rest of the day.  They enjoyed walking hand in hand to warm ups, Pep Rally and to their races.

Emma camped out in the 6 & Under tent waiting for warm ups to start.  Even though it was a super early morning, she was full of smiles.

Sitting on the ready bench giving her Daddy and Gavin a thumbs up before swimming the 25 Freestyle.

She is off the dive block and ready to take off.  Emma decreased her time by 13 seconds on the Freestyle this week.  We were so super proud of her.

Of course she was exhausted after her race, but thrilled that she was greeted by the timer with a BLUE ribbon.  Emma managed to stay off the rope during the entire meet yesterday. 

Last week she cried up on the dive block and this week she was all SMILES and raring to go.  No false starts and no DQ's during this meet.  Way to go Emma Lou. 

She just might have been the cutest little thing up on the dive block according to this Mommy.  I think she stayed in this position for 3 minutes waiting on the other girls to get ready.

Little Man was our Superman for the day.  It is so cute to listen to him scream for Emma while she races.  He can be heard yelling, "Go Emma go, You can do it Emma, Kick Emma kick."  He has really enjoyed the meets and his favorite part just might be the concession stand.  We can not wait for this guy to join his sister in the water next year.  It will be a blast to have both of them swiming for the Stingrays.

Look what I caught these two doing.  Nothing like sharing a snow cone with a friend on a hot sunny day, oh to be young again.

Waiting to hear the buzzer go off for the backstroke, she is ready and waiting.  No false starts for Emma Caroline and she is off.

So proud of that perfect start, burn baby burn.  All day yesterday Emma and Lauren kept dancing around singing, "Burn baby burn".  They love when Coach John yells this at them in the pool.

Emma improved her 25 Backstroke by 31 seconds this week and did not touch the rope one single time.  I love hearing all the Coaches and parents cheering her on as she made her way down the pool.

She was so proud when she reached the finish line, she turned around and looked directly at us.  I think she was ready for Daddy to give her the $5 dollars she was promised if she did not touch the rope or disqualify.

Last night I opened my email and another Mommy sent me this, yes I am the person behind the lens all day long and there is no place I would rather be.  I love to capture memories of my sweet babies that we will cherish for years to come. 

Emma, we are so super PROUD and amazed by your commitment to swim.  You are having a blast, meeting new friends everyday and never giving up.  I am still so surprised how comfortable you are at meets and how independent you are when it comes to lining up, getting to the ready bench and all the things that you have to trust others to do for you because Mommy and Daddy can not be on the pool deck.  Even though you will always be my baby, you are such a BIG GIRL these days. 

Continue to laugh, be silly, meet new friends, help others and have fun. We are honored that you are a part of The Frazier Four!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A month from FIVE

My sweet girl is one month away from turning FIVE years old and she is super excited.  Me on the other hand, I sit wondering how the time has passed by so quickly.  Seems just like yesterday when we celebrated her FIRST birthday and now we are about to celebrate the big FIVE.

I thought it was impossible to love her more than the day I met her, but everyday my love for her grows deeper and deeper as we continue to get closer and closer.  I am so proud of the relationship that we share and pray that it will continue to grow stronger as the years go by.

Yesterday we took swim team and Ballet pictures, still waiting for our Jazz costume to be delivered.  Emma, you are a beautiful little girl on the inside and out.  You are an old soul and someone that people fall in love with instantly. You continue to have the biggest heart and an amazing personality that leaves people smiling everywhere you go. 

Emma chose not to have a party this year and had only one request.  She asked if she could celebrate her 5th Birthday at Disney World with Mommy, Daddy and Gavin.   I explained to her over and over that this means she would not have a birthday party and she continuously told us that waking up at Disney, dressing up as Belle, going to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and eating at Cinderella's Castle was worth it.  I have worried that she would change her mind as her special day approaches, but her dream is still the same day after day. 

She will have a cupcake party with her MDO friends and we will have a small family celebration before we head off  to celebrate at the happiest place on earth.

Emma ~ You are an amazing daughter, sister, niece, cousin, granddaughter and friend to all that are blessed to know you.  I love you more that I ever imagined possible and I am beyond proud of who you are in life and of the love you have for Jesus.   You better believe that you are going to have a magical 5th Birthday sweet girl, the countdown has started!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

H2O Fun

Emma had swim team time trials today, thank goodness the weather only delayed us and did not cancel the event. 

I woke up unable to sleep, so I got to the pool  at 6AM to assist with set up and earn a few points towards getting our volunteer check back.  Daddy brought Emma up closer to seven to get her checked in and her event numbers.  I was so nervous that I would not know how all of this worked because we were rookies.  It was a little chaotic in the beginning, but once we got settled down things were great and everyone was so super helpful.

Emma did amazing during warm ups and had no hesitation about going off the dive block.  They had 6 kiddos swimming in each lane during warm ups and she found comfort in having her swim buddies in the lane with her for support.  I was so proud of her.

Emma is 1 of 5 four year olds on this years swim team and I must admit they are hilarious to watch.  They all try so hard to do what the big kids do and want to keep up with the kids that were on swim team last year.

I am thinking this might have hurt a little bit when she landed but one thing about this girl, she NEVER gives up.  Now when the meet started it was a different story.  Something about the whistles, the buzzers and 200+ people staring made her feel a bit uneasy.  She shed a few tears the third time she got up on the block when the timers and scribes were at the end of the pool telling her to go and her coach was on the side of the pool ready to cheer her on.

She was most excited about the sharpie numbers  on her forearm and kept begging me to take a picture of them.  This is how they keep 250 little swimmers in many different events organized for the day.  It was amazing to watch them get these kids lined up, to the ready bench, seated behind the dive block and then to the water.  To say this is a well oiled machine is an understatement. 

This is the face of one PROUD little girl waiting to be hugged and high fived by her Mommy, Daddy and little brother.  It was a great feeling to watch Emma be a part of something she has worked so hard on for last couple of weeks.  It is also nice to be surrounded by great kids, wonderful families and passionate coaches.   These guys held a Pep Rally before the meet, prayed and said the pledge.  

I love this picture of my sweet girl and she just looks like the real deal right here.  She has picked up so quickly and carried herself like the kiddos that have been swimming for years.  It was hilarious to watch her in that team suit, goggles and swim cap.

Oh sweet Emma, you made my day when you took off for the 25 backstroke. You held onto that wall until you heard the buzzer and you took off like a champion.   From the beginning  you were so behind everyone else in your heat but you never noticed.  You kept kicking and moving those little arms looking like a pro out there.

Here you are about half way through and I must admit the other kids had reached the end, were out of the pool and probably back to their parents at this point.  You kept going baby girl and you had the entire crowd cheering you on.  The timers were literally on their belly's shouting, the coaches kept telling you to reach and kick, me and Daddy were cheering you on and you were probably the cutest thing that touched the water that day.  The best part was when you reached the edge of the pool and the timer stopped.  You turned yourself around, looked behind you and shouted, "I won the race".  You lifted those little pink goggles up, glanced around the pool again and said, "I got first Mom."   At this point I was standing over you and I said, "You sure did baby, I knew you could do it".  You have told everyone that you won backstroke and in your heart you believe it, I think you thought all the other kids were still swimming.

In our eyes baby, you won that meet yesterday and you persevered.  Your determination to never give up and your desire to keep up with the rest of those kiddos was HUGE.  Everyone we passed thought you were the cutest little thing and they were so impressed with your attitude.   Even though you were intimidated at times by the crowd, the whistles and the chaos, you gave it your all.

We are so proud of you Emma Caroline and most of all we loved that you were having fun.  The lessons that you will learn this summer through swimming and meets is going to be invaluable.   Thank you for being so willing to make new friends, explore new adventures and enjoy life.

Where and how do I even begin to explain how blown away we are by the progress Gavin has made in his survival swim class.   It is pretty safe to say that he fell in love with his teacher and she fell in love with him too.  By the end of the week she had gained his trust and built a special little relationship with our boy.   We will forever be grateful for the time, confidence and skills that Mrs. Glendy has given Gavin this week.  He is now safe in the water and is trained to surface on his back, kick to the side and get himself out of a body of water should he ever fall in unsupervised.  Oh Gavin, you have worked so super hard this week and it has been mentally and physically exhausting on you.  There were some days it hurt my heart to watch how exhausted you became by the end of class, but I know that we have given you a gift and your chances of surviving a drowning accident have improved by 85%.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to a "floaty free" summer.   Emma & Gavin,  my heart is bursting with pride as I write this and I am so proud of everything you have both accomplished this year in the H2O!  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Survival Swim Class

I am so PROUD of my little man and stand amazed at a very special ladies PASSION in life.  Before we left tonight I told her she was a miracle worker and she replied by saying, "No, actually God has given me a gift and when he gives you a gift there is no way to fail."

For several summers now I have wanted both of my children to take a swim survival class, but it has never worked out for us because of our schedules and the huge commitment required.  However, this year I found a wonderful woman that has come up with her own, "the method" that she has been perfecting for 42 years that teaches children to survive and respect the water. 

I can not say enough wonderful things about this sweet woman and her gift that she is sharing with our family.  We finished our second 30 minute lesson tonight and I am blown away by Gavin's progress.  This sweet boy arrived to class on Monday unable to hold his breath under water and now he is able to be thrown in, fall in, flip to his back, rise to the surface of the water, float on his back to the wall, bump his head, grab the wall/surface and flip himself to a safe position.  These lessons are NOT teaching him how to swim, rather to survive if he should fall into any type of water.

I must admit the first class was horrifying to me and I hid behind a bush and bawled my eyes out the entire time (the ugly cry).   I was so thankful that we left Daddy and Emma at home, because I am not sure they could have handled it.  Gavin screamed and struggled with the instructor for the first 15 minutes and then finally settled down.  At that point I was thinking we would never return and could go ahead and be written off as a dropout.

Tonight was completely different and he shed no tears, was so comfortable in the water and even went to the bottom to pick up a dive ring.  AMAZING!!!!  I am just blown away by the progress and what he is capable of doing in a such a short period of time.  Here he is jumping off the rocks, going completely under and surfacing on his back.

I am so thankful that we have made the commitment to have Gavin trained.  It has not been easy since we booked 3 months ago, took a 7:30PM time slot and have to commute 40 minutes each way to get there.  It puts us getting home around 9:00 each evening, but I have to say I have NO regrets.  It has been worth every single sacrifice I have made to get him there. 

Many of you might remember that we lost a 2 year old cousin to drowning in 2007, so we know first hand as a family the importance of water safety.  Please take a moment to watch Sterling's Story if you have not seen it.  We are so proud of his Mommy for sharing their tragedy in an effort to save a life.  This week has made me think of sweet Sterling so much and miss him even more. 

I am looking forward to watching the progress Gavin makes throughout the week.  I have taken tons of videos and perhaps by Saturday I will be able to get one posted.

Gavin Thomas, I am so proud of you sweet boy.  While I hated to hear you scream through the first lesson, I know in my heart that you are learning skills this week that will last you a lifetime. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Not-so" Soccer Mom

With only 2 more weeks left of Soccer I thought it would only be fitting to give you the TRUE confessions of a "not-so" Soccer Mom.  The pictures are not so great, but the story is one I never want to forget. 

Yesterday officially marked soccer game #7 of the season for Gavin with only 2 left to go, thank you Jesus.  Just so happens that Daddy was away at a legendary golf game where he got to see the greats of golf play their last game together.  Convienently the Frazier Four were responsible for snacks, so I had to lug 2 kiddos, 3 chairs, an umbrella, ice chest and bag of snacks out to the field alone.  It was a huge accomplishment when we finally made it.

Gavin brought his firetruck book in the car and then toted it out to the field.  When it was time to start playing and coach called Gavin to the field, he denied his request to report to help his soccer buddies out.  He sat on the sideline yelling, "Coach, I just need to read.  I am reading my book."  I allowed him to sit thinking he would join his team eventually. 

It was one of those days that I had to pick my battles because this little toot got up at 4 in the morning requesting to see his apple tree.  The kids ate an apple the night before and decided to plant the seeds in the backyard.  Gavin must have dreamed about the apple tree because he got up bright and early requesting to see it, really kid?????

There were a couple times he went out to the field with his book under his arm and kicked the ball around a couple times while running up and down the field.

I finally reached my limit with him and decided it was time that regardless of the fit he threw, I needed to get the book away from him.  The decision came after he opened it up in the middle of the soccer game and started reading it to some other little boys.  Since Daddy was not with us, I made Emma stay on the sidelines while I went in for "operation take the book away".  I got to the middle of the field, leaned down really close to Gavin in my I mean business voice and said, "the cops are coming and you are not allowed to have the book on the field, so give it to me now!"  Yes, it was a big fat lie but it was all I could think of to keep the 3 year old, no nap, woke up at 4 to see the apple tree boy from having a complete melt down.  

Did I mention that we play Soccer in an area of town where everyone at the field thinks they are better than the person sitting right next to them?  Yes, I am serious!  So I was praying that all of THEM would not have to witness Gavin in rare form.

Oh geez, I am ready for Soccer to be over.  I decided after the third game that 3 years and 1 week old is far too young to play an organized sport. Gavin is the only 3 year old on his team and keep in mind he just turned 3 last month.  However, I NEVER want my kids to think it is okay to QUIT at anything we start in life, so we have continued to go to the games week after week.  That little life lesson has caused all of us to endure a little bit of torture week after week in the heat.

Gavin would rather read a book, pick flowers, chase the birds, lay down on the field and watch the ants.   Out of 30 minutes of game time he gets in about 10 minutes each week and it is rather interesting to watch how he utilizes that time.

Oh Gavin, you have given us so many reasons to laugh these past 8 weeks at the Soccer field and while we are looking forward to your first season coming to an end, we will miss cheering you on week after week.