Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Doz A Way's "raison d'etre"

My husband's family had a beach house when he was growing up. When I met him, I also got to spend many days at the beach. It was a fun place to be. Unfortunately, his Mom had to sell the first Doz A Way when his Dad had a stroke.  The family memories made at that house still circulate among everyone when they gather for holidays.

Ever since then, there was a longing in John's heart for his own place at the beach. He wanted to create the same memories for our family that were created by his Mom and Dad for him and his brothers. Things worked out this past year and we were able to purchase our own Doz A Way, in Holden Beach.

We've been working; fixing, adding to and refurbishing the house to make it a place that our kids and their families will love to come to. We've seen quite a bit of the Wilmington duo, but our girls had yet to be there.

The second weekend of April we had our first chance to have everyone there. It was a wonderful day! John and I were beside ourselves with glee at the anticipation of all being together. Being together is special, no matter where we are, but at the beach, well, that just adds icing on the cake! Beth and Evie Claire came in on Friday night. John, Daniel and his girlfriend, Cat,  Anna, Jamie and Layne all came on Sunday. This was exciting for everyone, as this was their first chance to meet their new niece.

The mommies with their little ones

Layne didn't quite know what to think about another tiny person.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous! We all went to the beach.

Evie Claire had her first taste of the NC beach, (she didn't seem overly impressed). But, when she would get fussy, I'd take her out on the porch and rock her and she'd quiet down immediately.

(Elijah had a black eye~story to come later)

Nothing like napping in the sea breeze

Once back at the house, several went swimming in the pool.

Daniel threw down the gauntlet

and his Dad responded~Both are NUTS!

After swimming we got to spend time together.

This was Layne running to me.

We cooked steaks and chicken on the grill and squeezed around the table. (A couple of days later, I discovered the table had a folding leaf that could expand the table quite a bit. The next time, we'll not have to squeeze so much.)

Yes, indeed, it was a very good day! It could have been perfect, if Greg, Beth's husband, had been able to be there.  He was stuck back at work in NY. We all really missed having him there. Hopefully in August, when we will have our family vacation, he'll be able to join the fun!

So, the new Doz A Way is certainly fulfilling its reason to be….a place for our family to reconnect with each other, make new memories, celebrate the old ones all the while marveling in God's beautiful creation!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Birthdays and Dancing

April is a busy month at our house on the birthday front. John, Sr. and Anna both were April babies. Because Jamie was working out of town, Anna came over for a birthday dinner at our house, followed by strawberry cake. (I didn't have any birthday candles, so I had to improvise with a candle from the mantel)

The big candle required extra help blowing out.

Once again, I realized how blessed I am to have Anna and her family living close by. I really don't take it for granted. I'm so grateful that I get a front row seat while watching Anna grow as a mother. (and of course, I love, love, love getting to help take care of that precious little one!)

We didn't get to linger over dinner though…
Abbey's Chinese dance group had been invited to dance at an international festival, but until the last minute it wasn't for sure they would have enough girls to dance. They ended up with Abbey and one other girl. They both really wanted to dance, so dance they did!

Can you tell she enjoys performing?

Layne loves on Elijah while waiting to see Abbey dance.

A couple of weeks later, John, Sr celebrates another year!

He wanted fried chicken and fixin's, so he got fried chicken and fixin's for dinner. Fixin's included bacon cheddar potatoes, biscuits, and green beans.

While on a recent business trip, John had eaten a new dessert, Napoleon. He raved and raved about this dessert and really wanted to have some again. After looking it up online (I'd never heard of it), I realized it was beyond my culinary ability, so I was determined to find it already made. I looked online and began calling Italian bakeries and restaurants. After talking to about a gazillion, I found a small little Itailian cafe than actually had Napoleon. So the kids and I trekked out and scored some Napoleon.

As we were finishing up dinner, I noticed our dear friends and neighbors coming up our driveway.

What a special treat, being serenaded by 5 little kiddos and their parents! They came over and sang "Happy Birthday" to Mr. John. After the family sang, their parents asked the kids how old they thought John was. Caleb, their 7 yr old little boy, chimed in, "About a hundred!"

Not quite a hundred, but we've celebrated quite a few birthdays together. Lord willing we will have many, many more to come!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Someone loves their Papa

Anna often stops in when she is in our neck of the woods. A couple of weeks ago we had one of those visits. I wanted to try and get a good picture of me with the kids….easier said than done.

Loosing Layne

Not bad, but Layne isn't looking at the camera

Abbey being a goofball

Distracted by the sweet kisses

Elijah's eyes are closed


After our photo shoot, I looked at Layne and said, "Do you want to see Papa?" She took her hands out-palms up and shrugged her little shoulders and said, "Where, where izzit?" I told her, "He's coming, he'll be here soon." She then started looking around inquisitively , saying, "Papa, Papa?"

A few minutes later he pulled up…

That little girl loves, loves, loves her Papa!
And I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Exploring New York

We drove to New York the other week.  We rented a "compact" car to save on gas and wear and tear to our car. When I say compact, I mean very compact, as in small enough to fit two into a car the size of our minivan.

But the kids made the best of it.

We had a wonderful time seeing some of the sights of the big city. But the thing we enjoyed the most wasn't….

Seeing the skyline as we drove into the city.

Driving over the Brooklyn Bridge

Times Square

 Abbey and her beloved Minions (Elijah was afraid to have his picture made)

It wasn't seeing the place where George Washington was inaugurated,

or riding the subway(although that was a thrill)
John is putting his best face forward!

Going to Chinatown to eat at the Congee Village. (it's been forever since I've thought about Congee. When I heard this Chinese staple in the name,  I figured it would be authentic, and it was. It was fantastic!)

It wasn't our visit to the Statue of Liberty

We missed the boat the first day, so Abbey made her own depiction.

On the ferry

Listening to the audio tour

Statue of Liberty glasses courtesy of Greg and Beth

It wasn't getting loved on and loving my fur baby, Bella

We froze during most of our visit, but still enjoyed the exploring. It was great, but the greatest thing about our trip north was…

Getting to see and love on Miss Evie Claire, her Mom and Dad!

She's such a sweetie! She's started to babble and coo when you talk to her. And that smile…well, it can surely light up a room! She's quite the cuddle bug. In fact, she's not really happy unless someone is cuddling her.  I was more than happy to oblige her desire!

I'm grateful for her Mom and Dad allowing us to barge in and make ourselves at home in their apartment. We loved visiting and seeing them all. We made some great memories that help make the distance between us seem not so far.