Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet boy!

On June 16th, my son celebrated his 2nd birthday. When we found out that I was pregnant with a boy, we were very unsure about our feelings about that. We were so used to having girls. We knew girls. And we so loved them. So to throw a boy in the middle of all that was uncharted territory for us. I have to tell you...everyone was completely right. Having a boy is so much different than having a girl. He has so much energy. Everything is revolved around balls and trucks. He LOVES to wrestle and will throw himself on you if you're on the floor. He NEVER walks - it's always a dead run! And playing in the potty is one of his favorite things to do! Dirt is his best friend and he will do things that totally gross me out! But...he's my son! My snuggle-bug, loving, falls asleep on mama boy! And I love him for everything his is now and for everything he will be. God knew that we needed a boy among all the girls. And I'm so thankful for him!

Cole the day after he was born!

Happy Birthday, Cole! We never buy donuts, however, the girls were gone to VBS at their grandma's church on Cole's birthday. So, we needed a little something to celebrate. This was supposed to look like a catepillar, however, the frosting melted, shifted and looked like this by the time he sat to eat it. Oh well...he didn't mind!

Oh yum!

We celebrated his birthday with cake and ice cream two days later. We went out together to pick out his cake and this is what he chose - a hot wheels cake. Hmmmm...go figure!

You can't go through a birthday without presents. He was spoiled this year. He received a Chuck dump truck and bath toys from Papa and Mimi.

Some tractors and books from grandpa and grandma.

And a Mater (Cars tow truck) lawn mower that blows bubbles from dad and mom.

This kid is a GREAT kid! I couldn't imagine life without all the chaos and love that he adds to our family! I love you, Cole! Happy Birthday!!!

Winters/Rader Family Vacation - Gatlinburg, TN - May 2011 (Part 2)

I apologize in advance for these pictures being totally out of order. I wasn't paying attention when I uploaded them so it's not going to flow the greatest. Anyway, on to finish the rest of our vacation!

Picture taken in the park of our entire family except my sister-in-law.

We went to the Wonderworks Museum (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) on our last day in Gatlinburg. Lily really, REALLY wanted to do the rock climbing wall. I didn't think she'd make it all the way up to the top -- TWICE!

My dad plays guitar and the kids LOVE it when he brings it with him on vacation. They love to sing with Papa!

My nephew, Luke, and me.

My brother, Dan.
The Wonderworks Museum had this really cool ropes course. So, the men decided to try it out. I didn't realize (until after I got on and then immediately got off) how far off the ground this is. And you're only held on by a harness. Oh, by the way, everything moves!

My brother, Brett.

My dad. He was a pro at this!


They also had what are called 360* bikes. Marc and Brett went on this ride. Needless to say, I will never go on them. They do exactly what their name says - goes in a 360* circle.

My sweet little Eva. She loves to pose!

Almost all of the grandkids.

On the way back from the park.

All of the grandkids ready to go for a walk.

Aunt Missy and Cole.

The Smokey Mts.

Towards the end of the week, my nephew really liked feeding Eva.

Cole doing what he does best - climbing!

Run Cole, Run!

Most of the cousins.

The reason they call it the Smokey Mtns.

We had such a GREAT time together as a family. We're looking forward to making an annual trip down here. God has blessed me with an amazing family. Looking forward to next year's vacation together!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Winters/Rader Family Vacation - Gatlinburg, TN - May 2011 (Part 1)

This past week we met up with my family for a large family vacation. We rarely ever all get together at one time. With my parents in New York, a brother in Ohio and another brother in Texas, the chances of us all getting together in one place at the same time is pretty slim. Anyway, back in January we decided that we would vacation together this year. Gatlinburg seemed to be the only "central" place we could meet up. It was close for some but quite a distance for others (my parents had to drive over 16 hours). We searched tons of websites and looked at hundreds of "cabins" to find the perfect one for us. We needed something that would sleep 18 people. Finally we found one that would work. The picture below is the cabin behind us, but the one we stayed in looked almost exactly like this.

It was a beautiful place to stay! It had 7 bedrooms and a bathroom almost off of every room. The kitchen wasn't huge but the dining room table fit 12 of us. We brought a kids table and a few ate at the bar in the kitchen. There were 3 floors to the house. The top floor had a jacuzzi tub in which the kids LOVED taking their baths. There were 3 bedrooms up there as well. The main floor had the kitchen/dining room, living room, master bedroom and bathroom. Then the bottom floor had 3 bedrooms, laundry room, game room and hot tub. One of the bedrooms on that floor had a set of bunk beds and also a king sized bed. Since the room was so large, my 3 older girls slept in there along with my niece. Also, Eva slept in the closet (it was big enough for her pack-n-play to fit into). The game room was used non-stop as there was an air hockey table (that the kids used) and a pool table (that the adults used). The adults also took full advantage of the hot tub. We had a great time in there just laughing with each other. Anyway, on to the next pictures.

On Sunday we woke up and headed to a church not too far away from the cabin. It was a nice church and we really enjoyed it. That afternoon, after the kids got up from their naps, we went down to the park that was just down the hill from the cabin. The kids had so much fun there!!! Here are some pictures from that.
Our group picture - we were missing my sister-in-law, Emily, as she had to drive down (she has a broken foot).

Three of the cousins.

My Maggie Rose

My nephew, Luke.

My brothers, sister-in law and mother. I wish I could do that!!!

Cole - he LOVES to climb!

Run Cole, Run!

My nephew, Alex.

My dad with his two youngest grandsons.

My sister-in-law, Emily and her son, Jack.

My sister-in-law, Melissa and her son, Alex.

Marc and his two youngest.



A few days later, we headed out to explore the town of Gatlinburg. We were house-bound for a few days as it rained non-stop Monday through Wednesday morning. My aunt who lives in South Carolina came to visit for a day. Anyway, we went out to breakfast and then took a trolley ride around the town. It was fun just being together.
Alex and Lily - our two athletes. They were together the whole trip.

Emily and Jack

Papa and Emma

Lily, Mimi and Maggie

Brett and Luke

Dan and Kate

Melissa and Ben

Aunt Karen, Cole, Eva and me

Maggie, Marc, Lily and Alex

The whole crew (minus Marc - he was taking the picture).

There is definitely a ton more pictures. Those will follow in a later post. All I have to say is: WE HAD A GREAT TIME!!!