Summer Vacation to Shreveport, Sunset, Baton Rouge, and Gulf Shores!

We made our journey [without Mike :( ] to Shreveport the evening of the 3rd of July.  Mike was so helpful getting us packed and ready to go.  I wish he could've gone with us at least for a little bit, but he couldn't take off from work and I really wanted a little break from Odessa.  Halfway through the drive to Shreveport, I was wishing I would've left Roxy so Mike would have a little companion and from having to take her from place to place.  Oh well.

I got in town at about 2 in the morning and woke up early to run the Firecracker 5K race.  (I swear every year it seems to get bigger and bigger.)  I love doing this race and especially with my family because there is so much energy and patriotism there and I remember doing since I was about 12 years old.  I don't know how I did it, but ended up running my best 5K ever with a time of 25:30!  Amy run her best 5K time too!  [It must have been from Amy's Advocare Gold.  ;)]  At the beginning, Amy and I thought we'd just run the first half and then wait and walk with everyone else the rest of the way, but we just decided to book it!  I actually had to tie my shoes in the middle of the first mile.  Once I got to the 2nd mile, I put my headphones on and took off!  Macklemore's Can't 
Hold Us did it for me; that song makes me want to push harder.
I just tried to go faster and faster at the end, and I wasn't about to let those two ladies beat me!  (Even though I didn't sign up for the race, I thought I would just see if my picture was taken...and it was!)
My dad was so great to push Eden and Shalom in their stroller even when the stroller wasn't very easy to push.
She was so excited to see her Big Daddy!

It was so good to run in to my friend, Becca, at the race!
Most of the family right before the race!
After the race we hung out for a little bit at Amy's house then gathered up the kids to head to the pool at Southern Trace.

Brooke is so sweet!  She loves to take care of Eden when she can.  She is always asking me to hold her.
 Later in the evening, we went back to Southern Trace to watch the fireworks by the 8th hole.  

Amy is such a sweet Aunt. 

Carson decided to cover himself with sand in the 8th hole bunker.
Nathan and Jenny (didn't want to be blinded by the fireworks)
Shalom was asleep the whole time we were there.  She missed all the fireworks.  :(
 The next day, we went to Sciport for the kids to play and get wiggles out away from the house.  
The kids got to make their own "fireworks" on a paper plate. 

Rylan and Bryce "cheesing" on the train.

Ava and Shalom (aka Shloane as Ava calls her)
 Across the street from Sciport was the water sprinklers.  We met up with some more friends to have a picnic and play in the water!  They absolutely loved it!

Right after Sciport and the water sprinklers we were off the pool again at Southern Trace.
The kids love their older cousin Caroline!  I'm glad she is such a great example to them!
Ava and Shalom kept fighting over GiGi saying, "My GiGi!"
Shalom and Brooke were cuddle buddies a few nights!

 The next morning, Tracey invited me to her Pilates studio to show me some exercises.  My kids and her kids were actually pretty good most of the time.  It was so nice of her to invite me over to her studio!
Shalom posing while I was actually trying to get a picture of Eden.

Shalom showing me her biceps!
 Later in the afternoon, Judd's dad let us use his boat!  Everyone took turns on the inner tube and watching the babies 

GiGi was Shalom and Bryce's buddy in all throughout Primary!  They loved it!

 We were bad and went to the pool on Sunday...nothing else to do with everyone together!

They get so many Icees at the Southern Trace...so spoiled ;)  They would just go up to the window and have then put it on the tab.   It's just funny because when we were little, we were not allowed to get anything because everything is so expensive.  

Playing outside at Amy's house after the bath.  It was early the evening and we got a little bored so we went to Scott's house to see their new house.

We had a nice night at Scott and Tracey's NEW house!  She made an awesome dinner and made ice cream afterwards.  It was the highlight of the night for Shalom and for Eden with the M&M's!
We went to the corn maze Monday afternoon so the kids could run around and play and so Shalom and Eden could see Papa and Grandma.  Poor Papa wasn't feeling good so we didn't see much of him.  Leilani was so sweet to make all the kids peanut butter sandwiches for the kids.  I had all the kids this day because Amy went to Dallas to get certified in Camp Gladiator.  I actually survived the day...except for I just couldn't get Brooke and Rylan ready on time for their Vacation Bible school.  I'm just glad I'm not at that stage yet to get kids ready for school! 
Playing on the jumpy thing!
I'm glad we got to see Kelvin and Brian.  Kelvin has become a really good guitar player....he was playing a lot of songs for us while we were inside.

Of course, Shalom didn't make it to the potty in time, and I didn't pack extra pants and underwear so she had to wear  and 8 year-old size underwear (from a girl they babysit a lot) and they just weren't fitting too well....oops!

Al the kids having a good time in the car.  Rylan is sitting in Shalom's carseat because he and Brooke were fighting too much in the back.  Roxy came along with us to the farm and had a good ol' time playing in the dock pond luckily not getting any of the ducks!
Well, by Tuesday night, we finally made it to Big Daddy and GiGi's house!  And, what did Shalom want to do?!  She wanted to get in the hot tub with GiGi!  Big Daddy got home a little too late from church meetings :( 

She got out of her bed and got in Big Daddy and GiGi's bed.

 The next morning, we got up early to go to a 10 a.m. session at the Baton Rouge temple.  Sarah was so nice to watch the girls so my mom and I could go together!  It was so nice to go to the temple, especially after not going for about a year!  I really want to show my girls how important the temple is and how important it is to me.  Being inside the temple made me really wish everyone in our families and extended families were on the right path to go to the temple.  It made me think that I need to ponder and pray about how I can be a good example and show my love more to all of my family members.

Sarah's baby, Audriana, is SO stinkin' cute!!
 We got home from Baton Rouge early evening, and of course Shalom wanted to get in the hot tub again!
For some reason, Shalom would put her face down in the water and throw her legs out...so silly!

 The next day, Sarah came over and hung out for almost the whole day!  It was so good to spend time with her!  I wish I could've gotten to see Helen and her baby.  

Friday. we stayed at home and took it easy and later in the day we went to the pool and Shalom had the best time swimming with Big Daddy!  

Afterwards, Big Daddy gave Shalom a golf lesson (as much as you can give one to a 3 year-old) with the new golf clubs that Daddy got her!

Finally, the next morning (well late morning...it always takes us a while to get out the door) we were off to Gulf Shores, Alabama!

We just took it easy once we got in, and the next morning we went to a park area with tennis courts and  took turns watching the kids and playing tennis.

At last, the beach!  
Of course, all Eden did was play with the sand.

Poor Annabeth kept getting scared of the waves. 

Camilla was always climbing on top of Laura...silly girl!

I always have to get a shot of Big Daddy taking it easy on the beach!

So sweet!

My mom loves making sand castles!
Amy and her kids came in Sunday evening!

Eden, Shalom, Brooke, Annabeth, Camilla, Ava, and Rylan - all of mine, Amy's, and Brent's kids
My dad made up a song for GiGi:  "GiGi's great!  Better than chocolate cake!"  

My dad and Brent watched all the kids except Eden so us girls could go shop.  While we were out, my dad sent us this film of them at the beach!

So sweet!

Poor Rylan!  I just had to get a shot of him throwing a fit!  Sorry Amy ;)

My dad is, of course, getting the kids to drink Dr. Pepper.
Thanks to my dad always packing a bazillion things to beach, Rylan and Shalom had fun trying to figure out how to play with the paddles...of course with a little fighting too ;)

They all had a blast kicking the volleyball around!

Shalom started to dig a hole and the other girls joined in...with all their bums in the air!

They all wanted to be buried in the sand, and I turned them in to mermaids making mermaid fins with the sand.

Trying to get them all to look at the camera was such a battle!

My dad - always bring tons of toys and floats!  Gotta love him for it!

I love this picture of Scott and Amy!

The kids loved going straight from the beach to the pool!

Again, trying to get them to look at the camera...aaahhhh!

The view from the bathroom from the condo on the 14th floor...not bad at all!

They are angels when they are sleeping!  ;)

I just can't get enough of those blue eyes!
All the grandkids with Big Daddy and GiGi - except Nathan and Jenny's kids :(

 Right before my family and Brent's family left, we did one more fun thing...Grand Prix!  They went from one ride to the next and had a blast!

I always have so much fun with Amy!  I'm so glad we got to spend time together, especially at the beach!

Shalom ended up being collateral damage and got soaked!

The whole 17 days was a blast...and exhausting!  I sure did miss Mike and wished he could have been with us and part of our memories there, but I had so much fun with my family and seeing some friends! I will always cherish time with them!