It. Was. Awesome.
Being there for several weeks really let us feel like we could visit, relax, and just have the best time with our favorite people while getting to do so many of our favorite things. We were spoiled beyond belief and left with our love tanks totally full. Thankful for family and friends who put up with us for the whole month- that's love, y'all.
PA to AR ... 1,216 miles ... That equates to around 18 hours and 56 minutes of car travel (in case you were wondering).
My mother-in-law is better than your mother-in-law. There, I said it. And I'm pretty darn sure it's true. The woman would move mountains for loved ones and is the most unselfish person I've ever met ... ever.
Lynda flew up to Pennsylvania again at the end of June to make the lonnnnnggggggg trek home with us since I really can't do it by myself and Aaron got super busy at work last minute and couldn't take off to take us back. So, off we went. (It's so bad, y'all. So. bad.)
To make the trip a little bit worse, I just got a different vehicle and it's the first one I've had in a long time that doesn't have bucket seats in the middle. (I know, I know, "First World Problems") I told myself that was totally fine, but for a 21 hour car ride, with three semi-small children, and said children reverting back to the terrible two's around hour six of travel ... it was bad. Like, B to the A to the D.
Did I mention it was bad?
Clearly, I was totally pumped and dorked out all at the same time over heading home!
We got started on fun almost immediately! After lots of hugs and kisses we went up to the country club to eat and swim. I was so excited that several of my friends were eating dinner upstairs and so I got to see lots of long lost buddies-
like my Caroline (Haley, I kinda can't stand it that we didn't get a picture!).
Vacay on Vacay:
The next day we loaded up and started south to Lake Ouachita to spend the week at one of my very, very favorite spots:
This next series of pictures makes me laugh every time I run across it ...
The first picture Avery and Dalton are kind of laughing because Sawyer is getting into trouble causing him to be removed from the tube; next, they realize that Sawyer is trying to put on Dalton's goggles and we're in a "I will never share with a sibling" phase so Dalton was slightly perturbed. In the third picture you can see where Sawyer chose to hurl the goggles into the lake and Avery and Dalton's faces kill me here. Jack Kella is really not bothered by this at all.
*And yes, I did of course throw down the camera and sunglasses to jump in to save the beloved Target $5 goggles from sinking to the bottom of Lake Ouachita.
It was really fun (and totally crazy!) having all of our littles at the lake that week. It's fun to think we have literally grown up spending summers at Shangri La and now our kiddies will have some of the very same memories.
Sawyer (2); Dalton (5); Evie Lammers (1); Avery (6); Jack Kella (4) and Davis Kella (2).
*Noah Wellons was napping and isn't pictured! So sad!!
Also excited to welcome new babies Hallie Grace Wellons and Baby Lammers next summer!
Most days we would get out on the lake right about the time it was time to come back in for naps. Luckily we all had rooms right by the pool where the monitors would reach and we could sit, chat, and sip margaritas. So, it was still fun!
Cutest boys. Dalton was of course THRILLED to meet another animal lover.
4th of July
Thursday morning was the 4th of July, so we left Lake Ouachita and drove to North Little Rock to celebrate with the Boone's yearly bash. We loved getting to see all the Boone's and the kids were especially glad to swim in their pool.
Aunt Jean, Aunt Diane and Aunt Leta ...sweet, sweet ladies!
Wish I would have gotten more pics of everyone ... the kids were making me super nervous since this was one of the first days Avery and Dalton started swimming floatie-free in the pool! They were really bonified fishies by the end of the summer. We drove back to Lake Ouachita for the night and watched fireworks by the lake. We had planned to go out the next day on the water, but I think the baby-mamas (Whitney, Amanda and I) kinda decided simultaneously that we were kinda done. It's definitely a lot harder getting out on the lake and not nearly as relaxing as I remember when we were in high school! Now there are lots of heads to count, plus countless things to tote along like diaper bags, snack pouches, countless life jackets, sunscreen, and baby wipes- oh my!
So, I packed up the kids and continued our Arkansas adventure to Hot Springs Village to stay with Aaron's parents.
From One Lake to Another ...
Aaron's parents live on one of the smaller lakes in Hot Springs Village and this was one of the first years that we could really enjoy all the kids jumping in and swimming and playing in the water without having constant panic attacks. Lynda may still have had a couple though. ;)
From speed boats on Lake Ouachita to Paddle Boats on Lake Pineda; they loved it all the same.
The kids found an old hatbox Lynda had: Avery is pictured wearing her great-great-grandmothers bonnet, while Dalton is wearing his grandfather's Hendrix beanie. Sawyer is donning a modern day ball cap ... origin unknown.
More Arkansas Adventures
I left Avery and Sawyer in HSV for the night and took Dalton to move into the condo Dad graciously rented us for the month. My grandparents were staying with my parents while they were waiting on their house to close and they thought that it would be nice to have our own space (and theirs)! It turned out to be SO nice and made our stay feel even more like we "lived in Little Rock" again ... which was of course, right up my alley. Once we got all moved in and settled the kids showed back up and we were able to get started having more Arkansas fun!
Country Club Swimming and snacking definitely nears the top of our Arkansas highlights.
Hallie Grace Wellons
The most exciting, BESTEST, thing that happened was Miss Hallie Grace Wellons arrived while I was in town!!!! EEEEKKKKK!!!!!!!!!! I still just light up talking about her perfectly darling self. After a bit of a scare during Sarah Baker's 38 week ultrasound the doctor suggested that she go ahead and induce. She went in the next morning and Hallie Grace was born early that evening on July 11, 2013, weighing in at six pounds, nine ounces of pure preciousness. At closer examination the doctors said she was perfectly fine and she was just ready to meet all these people who were wanting to love and snuggle on her! ESPECIALLY her favorite Aunt Rebekah. We just absolutely positively bonded immediately and I think it's safe to say we'll be super close.
Our first glimpse of baby Hallie!! Ben was texting us pictures from the delivery room.
Grandaddy and Mr. Bill guessed the correct weight! Pretty proud of themselves ...
She's very, very, VERY special!
This concludes Part I of our Arkansas Adventure ... there's just nowhere else to go after seeing that sweet face!