Monday, October 22, 2012

Visiting family

Last week was the boys Fall Break from school. We decided to head up north to Virginia and Delaware for the week, and I am so glad we did. We had a marvelous time.

We headed out Tuesday around noon and made our 9 hour drive to Williamsburg. After sleeping that night, the boys and I headed up to New Castle, DE where Steve's sister Kristin lives. Steve wanted to spend some one on one time with his Dad so this gave the rest of us a perfect opportunity to visit cousins.

We drove the additional 4 hours through D.C., and Maryland, and into Delaware. I really enjoyed the drive. You get through the craziness of the city and then you are in beautiful country. And we really loved the cooler weather when we got to Delaware.

The first day we were there, we went to Pennsylvania to the Herr's chip factory. It was a perfect outing for 8 kids. We even got to taste chips hot right off the belt. It was so much fun.

 [A baby just enjoying some chips]

The next day we had planned to go to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch, but the rain made it impossible so we found ourselves at chuck e cheese instead. Another great place to go with lots of kids. Especially on a Friday at noon. Everyone else was in school!

After we were done playing on Friday, we headed back to Williamsburg to rejoin Steve. On our way up north we drove through a tunnel that took us under the water. On our way back we took a different road and went on a huge bridge to get across the water. Both were really cool to see.

On Saturday we spent some time with Nana and Papa and then we got to go to their trunk or treat. We weren't aware of this trunk or treat when we were packing, so we didn't bring any costumes with us. These are the ones we came up with after a trip to the dollar store.

[cousin Daniel as Incredible Hulk with Nathan bothering him as usual.]
 [Steven with his $1 mask on]
 [Nathan found a sheet to be a ghost]
 [Brandon as a camouflage guy with some dollar store face paint]
[Here is our little skeleton after dessert]
[Jacob was a pirate for the evening and he has had a sucker in his mouth ever since that night.]
Also at the trunk or treat,  Steve won 2nd place in their chili contest. Yahoo! Go Steve.

The next day we went to sacrament meeting and heard some wonderful talks and then we were on our way home. It was a wonderful week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Remember Alexander?


So, Laura (my sister) made a comment on a picture of Alex saying he is not the baby she remembers from the last time she saw him. At that point it dawned on me that I haven't been sharing Alex's abilities. He is definitely not a baby anymore. He has got a great vocabulary and I have decided he is going to have Steven's intelligence and Jacob's short height genes. Enjoy his video (and ignore the cluttered desk).

                             video

Our anniversay trip



So..... you are wondering what is happening with the Hughes family huh? Sorry about that.

I am going to pick back up with a wonderful weekend get away that Steve and I took. Our 12 year anniversary was on September 1st of this year. I really wanted to go away for the weekend just the two of us and it wasn't until later in the month that we were able to do that, but WE DID!

I have a wonderfully marvelous women in my ward who said she would be totally comfortable taking care of all of my boys for the weekend. She adores Alexander, so that helps a lot. She also has twin ten year old boys of her own. So she was alone responsible for seven boys for the weekend. She is amazing and they had a smooth and wonderful weekend by the way.

So, with the boys in good hands, Steve and I left for Atalanta at noon on Friday. We made it to a nice hotel and checked in and changed clothes to head over to the Atlanta temple. We had a wonderful time doing temple ordinances and loved being there together. 

Afterwards we headed to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I have only been once before and it was a delicious dinner. It was a nice evening to not have to rush back home or make sure the boys were going to bed for the babysitter.

The next day we slept-in, had a great breakfast, checked out and headed to the neatest little place in GA. There is a town here called Helen. They have turned it into a German town, complete with great German food, nice German shops, and German words used everywhere. I absolutely LOVED it. When we got there we went on a fun little trip tubing down the Chattahoochee River. I wasn't sure quite what to expect but it turned out to be so hilarious. The river was quite low but they were still happy to give us a tube and send us down this rock filled river. We kept getting stuck on the rocks and losing control and the greatest thing about that is there are people watching the river our whole way down. It was great.

{This is a picture I found on-line since we didn't have our camera of course. I remember passing this restaurant on our way down the river and people just watch the people tubing while they have dinner. So funny. And boy do I wish we had had our camera because those would have been some great pics!}
                               
When we were done there, we headed to look at the shops around Helen. They did such a good job of making it look and feel like Germany. We didn't buy much but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Then we were off to dinner and had a delicious German meal that took us back to our life in Germany.



When we were done with Helen, it was time to find ourselves a campsite. I had looked at campsites a million times in the weeks leading up to our trip and the place I decided I wanted to go didn't accept reservations for camping. Well, I didn't feel like we needed a reservation because who was going to be camping on Sept. 21st? Well apparently lots of people because we were barely able to get a campsite and we found it right as the sun went down. Where the miracle comes in here is that we were just two adults camping. It took us all of 5 minutes to put up our little tent and we were done! It was fantastic. We then headed off to the store to buy stuff for breakfast.

{Finishing up last nights cheesecake while we waited for the fire to heat up.}


It was such a nice night for camping. It was still quite hot in Brooklet, and we had gone up in elevation a bit and we were able to snuggle up in our sleeping bags in the cooler weather. I LOVED it. The next morning we made a fire and had eggs in a frame before we took down camp and headed out for a hike. The hike was a quick mile up and mile back. It was a nice hike but the "top" was anti climactic. Not much to see. But it was a good work-out and great weather.


After that it was time to head our five hours back home to relieve Stacey. We made it by 4pm to all smiles. They all said it was a great weekend and she even asked when we plan on going again!! The perfect thing to say. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jacob turns 8 !


The day after we got back from the cruise was our little Jacobie's 8th birthday! Last year Jacob asked for breakfast in bed, and he remembered that request for this year. So, we delivered and it was a great start to his day.

After church we had a nice dinner and then some yummy chocolate cake. Jacob opened his present from us which was a spiderman web shooter. He was very excited about it and he and Nathan decided to get dressed up in their spy clothes. Jacob is the bad spy and Nathan is the good spy? Unfortunately Nathan's spy clothes are Jacob's size. lol






The following Sunday was Jacob's big baptism day! He had his interview on his birthday and the bishop mentioned that Jacob was very smart and very funny. And that is sooo true. His baptism was right after church on Sunday and Grandma and Grandpa Allred were able to be here to be a part of it. It was a very nice baptism with Grandpa giving the talk on baptism, the Hughes boys sang "I am a Child of God" and then I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. And of course the most important part was that Steve was able to baptize and confirm Jacob. That is such an important time with Steve and the boys.

video

A bad picture of the group from right after the baptism. 
 

 Jacob also got to open his baptism presents. He got scriptures from Steve and I, and nice fuzzy blanket from Grandma and Grandpa. 

We are so very grateful that Jacob is a part of our family.

He is quite a character. More so than any of his brothers. He loves to be funny and put on a show, but in such a different way than Nathan. Nathan's show is just loud, but Jacob's is either dancing or funny facial expressions, or talking like a gangsta. :-) I don't know it is just different and very Jacob.

Jacob is also VERY short for some reason. He and Nathan are 15 months apart and a head difference in height. Jacob and Brandon are 3 years apart and are just inches apart. It is really strange to me, and it really bothers Jacob. He hates that he is the shortest in his grade, and he couldn't even go on the water slide on the cruise because he didn't reach the line. I am hoping that this is his growth spurt year.

Jacob has such a hard time making up his mind. You will think that a decision has been made by him but almost without fail he will second and third guess if what he choose was what he should do.

He is still my BIGGEST helper with Alex. He loves to take Alex on walks with him or jump on the trampoline with him, or play peek-a-boo at Walmart with him to keep Alex from whining.

He is excited to go into 3rd grade, and is sure he is going to get the same teacher as Nathan since he has for the past two years.

For some reason Jacob loves to sleep on the floor. I send him to bed and he starts out on the bed, but when I go to check on him he is almost always on the floor. Weird.

He is a wonderful addition to our family and we are so happy that he was able to be baptized this year.


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Cruisin 2012

As a graduation present to our graduate, and to the rest of the family who had to endure a missing piece of our family, we decided to take the boys out of school for a week and take the family on a cruise!! We left Tampa on a Monday after an early morning and a 5 hour drive. The first night was interesting. We were trying to get situated not sure of where we should be, all having differing opinions of what we thought we should be doing and tired. Brandon had been complaining of an earache as we were getting on board, and was in tears by that evening. Then when we went to dinner the food did not taste good to me, and I got a little nervous. We were on this boat like it or not for the next 5 days with all the kids. Yikes!

Well...... we went to bed that night and by the next morning things were much better! We all slept great, Alex was easy, no seasickness and Brandon's ear problem was gone, so we headed up to a delicious breakfast right on the water. The  boys favorite thing to get at the buffet restaurant was hot chocolate. They probably had 30 cups each over the 6 days. Crazy!

 

After breakfast we took the boys off to Camp Carnival.{This is right outside the door to the camp}

They were separated by age, and the 3 oldest were together, and Brandon was off by himself. Surprisingly, he didn't care at all! And he enjoyed camp the most. {Brandon dancing at camp}

 The down side was that Alexander was too young to go to a babysitter. That sweet little bundle of joy was with Mom and Dad the whole time. I would suggest to anyone thinking about it, to not take a baby under the age of 2 on your cruise with you. After dropping the boys off, Steve and I sat by the water and had a nice chat and then headed to the cabin to put Alex down for his nap. It was a very relaxing day with the boys occupied while we slept.
 

The next day we arrived on Grand Cayman Island around 11am. We headed off the ship in our swimming suits with our snorkel gear in tow. Steve took the older boys snorkeling for a while and Brandon, Alex and I went shopping. Later we switched so I could check out the snorkeling. It was very cool. I loved it. Then we had some ice cream and headed back to the boat by 7pm.




 



 Next was Cozumel Mexico. Steve was so excited to take us to Mexico. He knows the language of course, and knows a lot about the culture. We spent this day shopping! We gave each of the boys an allotment of money and we found a great market where we could spend it. We got some really neat things. Steve enjoyed speaking with the natives and using his Spanish. Our only downfall was the restaurant we found for lunch. We were excited for some authentic mexican tacos and the place we ended up was over priced and had OK food. But, we know how to make Mexican food pretty good ourselves so we didn't feel too cheated.







The next day we were back on the boat headed home, and relaxing while the boys played with their friends at Camp. One of our favorite things about the boat was the formal dinner that was available every night. We had a table reserved for our family at 6pm in a nice restaurant with a window looking out to the water. The food was wonderful and I just loved being there eating, and walking away when we were done without paying a hefty bill. It was great.
 
{This was THE most delicious cake that I had every night. It was called melting chocolate cake. YUM!}


 I also thought it was amazing to go out to the side of the ship and see nothing but dark blue water as far as you could see. It makes you feel pretty small, but was beautiful.

 All in all I LOVED the cruise. Where else can you get room and board, all the food you can eat anytime you want it, transportation to new places, and babysitting for that kind of money. What a fantastic way to travel.  There were some down sides. It is hard to travel with 5 kids of course. There are a lot of opinions of who wants to do what. Just to share a little of what we heard hourly over the week, I filmed a moment during our mini golf tournament. 

video


But, I am so glad we went and were able to spend this time together. It was a memorable week.

Mother's Day 2012



I LOVE Mother's Day! Have you read the book "The five love languages" ? If so, you will know what I mean when I say that service is MY love language. Any time someone helps me out it makes me so happy and feel their love. On Mother's and Father's day Steve and I don't exchange gifts. We just try to ease the others burden of our usual duties. Steve does a great job of taking over my job on Mother's day and letting me relax and take a long nap, and then enjoy his home cooked meal.


This year we had an even better celebration because Steve's lovely Mother was here with us. It worked out perfect for them to come to the graduation and be here for Mother's day. Going back to the service comment above, Fran was so wonderful to want to do something nice for me on Mother's Day and she cleaned the house and folded the laundry! I couldn't have asked for a better gift. I loved it! and I am so grateful to her for helping me out. It was Awesome.

I am so happy that my life has gone the way I had dreamed and I get to be home every day with my children. It is wonderful and I wouldn't have it any other way. The boys are good and kind and I love watching them learn and grow every day.