Sunday  -- June 29th

I'll let Kristen post on the trip. For now I thought I'd put the first of these amazing pictures on this page. I'll post the rest in the photo section after I get done editing them.  You can now view the rest of the pictures by clicking here

Saturday  -- June 28th

Kristen and the kids are due home this afternoon. I didn't get much in the way of pictures. What I received I posted but I'm sure they'll be a boatload of pictures coming tonight.

Kristen did leave me a rather large list of items to do while she was away. She posted it on the wine rack, right where I couldn't miss it. I might have gotten half of them done had she been gone a month or two, but as it was it was everything I could handle just to get one of the office screens back in the window. 

Friday  -- June 27th

The kids were so excited to learn where they were finally going. Kristen had to tell them as they were checking in at the airport. When they got to Miami a giant stretch limo was waiting for them and whisked them off to the Marriott hotel downtown. After Kristen, Jeanne and the kids unpacked, they spent most of the day hanging out by the pool. As I understand it the kids swam and Kristen and Jeanne spent the afternoon poolside trying out exotic drinks (you know, the kind with the little paper umbrellas), then dinner and an early bedtime. Today's the big swim with the dolphins. I'll post the pictures when I get them.

Thursday  -- June 26th

At the request of Lina I've posted some pictures of the Miley Cyrus concert (Note the special pictures of Kristen's idol).

This morning Kristen woke Maddie and Michael and told them they are going on a very special trip. A car is going to whisk them off to the airport. Once they are airborne I'll post the secret location they are heading off to. Thanks to everyone who made this special trip possible!!

8:20 am -- Now that they are gone I can spill the beans:  They are off to Miami Seaquarium to swim with the Dolphins.  I'll keep you posted on their adventure.  In the meantime I'm dragging my bike training equipment back up from the basement and putting it back in front of the tv where it belongs.

Sunday  -- June 22nd

Just a quick update on things until Kristen can write something more formal....

As usual, the vacation got off to a slow start. Maddie went to clinic on Friday for a blood transfusion and ended up having a bad allergic reaction. They brought her over to the emergency room and she and Kristen didn't get out of there until 9:00 at night. It was everything Kristen could do to convince them to let Maddie go home for the night. (A true testament to Kristen's tough negotiating skills which she has keenly honed and developed on me). Needless to say nothing was packed or cleaned at home so we didn't get out of the house until Saturday afternoon. (I know a lot of women out there are now saying "Why didn't Ernie just clean up and pack things up. I honestly would have done it but I know Kristen would never have trusted me to pack everything correctly. She would simply dumped out the suitcases and started over. I figured by not doing anything I was saving her a lot of anxiety.)

The weather in RI has been great and we are only blocks from the beach. Sunday we had a surprise 40th birthday for Kristen. I've uploaded lots of pictures. Enjoy.

Thursday  -- June 19th

We had such a great time in Bethlehem, NH, staying at our friend’s gorgeous home and going to the theme parks!

Our first stop was Story Land on Friday. It was so great because nobody was there. The season isn’t in full bloom yet, so we got to get on every ride over and over again! No lines! We got some great pictures there and the highlight for William and Thomas was when they got their Story Land driver’s licenses. All four of the kids got one, but of course, William and Thomas thought they were real and that they now had privileges to drive any of the rides!

The next stop was Whale’s Tales on Saturday. It was the first day they were open, so again nobody was there! It was so great! The kids went on every ride. William wanted so badly to go on the Bonzie Splash, or whatever it’s called, but he was about an inch too short. The lifeguard said he would bend the rules for Thomas and William, but only if I took them on the ride. Me?! I was terrified! I told him Michael could it! Nope, I had to go! So, William and I climbed to the top. That alone is a work out. When we got there I started to have an anxiety attack! I told the lifeguard up top that I didn’t think I could do it. I was walking back down. Of course, William started to cry and Michael, Maddie, and Thomas were shouting from the sidelines, “Go Mom! Go Mom!” So, down we went! You go flying down this huge hill down onto what looks like a huge skateboard ramp. It feels like you’re going to flip right over in your tube! Yeehaw! We did it!

Ernie came over a minute later and I asked him to go down it too, so that Thomas and William wouldn’t have to take turns and wait. Well, Ernie was just as terrified as I was, but he was chanted into going down too! It was so funny!

The kids really had no fear of any of it. I, personally, preferred the heated pool, the Jacuzzi, and the Lazy Man River. Although, Maddie kept trying to flip me over in my tube in the river! We had a blast and we stayed for most of the day.

Our time spent at the house was just as much fun. The kids loved playing with the intercom system. They called each other from all different floors, pretending to be a hotel, a disgruntled customer, all kinds of scenarios. I even got a call, inviting me down into the entertainment room, where Michael and Maddie stood behind the bar, served me a glass of wine, then escorted me into the Jacuzzi. Wow – what a resort and what a competent staff!

Also in this huge home, there are several bedrooms and beds, but it was so funny that every night, we all slept in the one big master bed!

One of many great memories made for me, was on our last night there. It was raining. William and Thomas had each caught a firefly, or lightening bug, with Ernie, and brought them inside. I brought them both outside on the side balcony and showed them some lights way off in the mountain top (it was a small opening in the trees where you could see headlights). I told them that it was the Firefly Village. That was where all of them came from. I told them that when it rains, the Queen and King come out and shine their lights extra bright, along with the Firefly Army, signaling all the fireflies to come home. It was such a magical moment, watching their little faces, seeing how they were so intently listening, taking it all in, and believing, as they stood there cupping their fireflies in their little hands. In fact, I was almost starting to believe my own story! After hearing the story, both boys let their bugs go, and told them to fly home! It really did look like a tiny village way off in the mountains. After Thomas fell asleep, William and I laid in bed and watched the Firefly Village until we fell asleep.

We had a really nice time and again, can’t thank Michael, Carol, and Johanna Brait, enough for their kindness in letting us use their home!

When we got home, we had the Brait’s to our house for dinner. We always have a great time with them! It was Father’s Day, so I picked up two cakes, one for each of the Dad’s. Maddie asked Michael Brait to smell his cake. With that, she shoved his face in it! He was such a good sport! In fact, I think he even knew it was coming, but went for it just the same! We hope to see you guys real soon!

After school yesterday, Hope caught a baby bird on the ground. She had it in her mouth when Maddie came to the rescue! Maddie and the boys put it into a box with napkins and we called the Animal Rescue. While we waited for them to arrive, Maddie named the bird “Courage.” She said it was because he was so brave and strong. After a little while, Animal Rescue arrived and took Courage. The kids were proud of their good deed.

Michael and Maddie finish school at noon today. They’re both very excited. I can’t believe the year is over. I am so glad for so many reasons, but also sad, for so many other reasons...

Tomorrow we go to clinic for some blood work and Maddie will probably receive a transfusion.

Tomorrow will also be Stephanie’s last day with us. She is going back down South to start her new job. We will miss her terribly!

We will be heading down to RI this weekend, for a family reunion with my siblings, parents and all the cousins. It will be a lot of fun. The kids are really looking forward to it!

We will be adding more pictures tonight or tomorrow.

Have a great day and a great weekend!

Friday  -- June 13th

It took a while but we finally made it out of the driveway and up to NH. This place is beautiful and one of the most relaxing spots we have ever stayed. Take a look at the pictures and you can see why.

When we got here Maddie realized nobody had bothered to bring her suitcase down from her bedroom and put it in the car. Apparently all of the servants had gone on vacation before we left. She was quite upset about it and refused to go to the store to get some new clothes and hair supplies. We called the Knowles to find out if they could Fedex it to us but the cost was a little prohibitive. However, they were enough to meet us at the NH border in the middle of the night so Maddie could have her supplies when she awoke first thing in the morning. How awesome was that!  Today we're off to Story Land. Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day!

Thursday  -- June 12th

It was a hot, busy, fun weekend!

We had our yard sale Saturday to raise money for the PMC. It was brutal sitting in that sun all day, but in the end we made a few hundred dollars for the cause!

Sunday- the PMC was a great! It was very hot and we still had a great turn out. The kids all had a fun day and there was actually a nice breeze. No injuries, no little riders steering of course, all in all a success! Thank you to everyone who came out to support a great cause. Thank you to all the volunteers. We live in a wonderful community. Thank you to the Lutes’ for starting this ride and for continuing to make it happen!

Went to William’s Kindergarten Memory Show yesterday. It’s always the cutest show ever! The kids did such a great job singing and dancing about their year and then we got to have juice and snacks back in the classroom. William was so excited that I wore the special pin he made me for Mother’s Day. He proudly showed me all of his work and silly pictures of himself and classmates. It was a great year for him. Thank you Mrs. O’Shea!!

I know there are requests for Miley Cyrus pics. We have them and they’re coming – promise!

We pulled the kids out of school for the rest of the week. So, William and Thomas are officially done for the year. Thomas had a great year in Pre-K. Thank you Mrs. B!

We are going to take a trip up to NH for the weekend. A much needed getaway. We are excited to borrow the house of our friends, the Brait’s again. It’s so beautiful up there.

Have a great weekend everyone. This one should be a lot cooler!

Monday  -- June 9th

Despite the heat, the kids PMC went off without a hitch. Thanks so much to everyone who helped out, especially the Lutes! The ride raised over $6,000 this year. Since the Norfolk Kids PMC Ride started it has raised over $25,000 for the Jimmy Fund. Pretty impressive stuff. I'll let Kristen follow up with the details. Just wanted to get this out there with a few pictures.

Wednesday  -- June 4th

Been a busy week. Michael had his year end band concert last week. It was great! Very talented kids! I always love how the kids stand and try to find their parents in the audience. It’s so sweet to see the huge, proud smile on their faces once they spot you.

Spent the weekend finishing up house projects and just enjoying the weather. Ernie’s been trying to get bike riding in here and there to get himself ready for his PMC ride.

Maddie had to go in for a blood transfusion all day Monday and then missed school yesterday. Hopefully, the new juice will kick in and she’ll get some more energy!

Busy weekend coming up. My Mom is coming up from CT. for the weekend. We are having a yard sale on Sat., Ernie is selling raffle tickets at a booth at Norfolk Community Day on Sat. for the Kids Ride Raffle, and then we are running the Norfolk Kids PMC Sun at 5pm, with the Lutes’.   If there are any kids in Norfolk who would like to sell raffle tickets to raise money for their own ride, please contact us and we will get you a stack.  This is a great way to raise money for a great cause.  We have over $1,000 in prizes. 

Not too late to register to ride in the Norfolk Kids Ride. Fliers went home again this week in the backpacks. It’s going to be lots of fun, with the moonwalk, great raffle prizes, face painting, ice cream…hope to see you all there! It’s always a great day when the community comes out to have fun and support each other! Go to https://kids.pmc.org/kids2006/Events.asp?EventID=171 to register.

Lots to do! It will be a sunny, but hot, fun filled, busy weekend!

 

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