Each year we try to get together with a group of Reagan's friends from college for the weekend to just hang-out, catch up, and relax. In the past, we've spent time at each others' homes. Last year we decided to rent a condo in Orange Beach for the weekend. We did the same this year right before school started.
As soon as the girls got to the condo, they changed into their swimsuits and jumped in the hot tub that was on our balcony. And if we weren't at the beach, pool, or somewhere else outside the condo, that's pretty much where they could be found all weekend.
Once everyone was there and things were unloaded, I took our first group photo (less Connor). With my selfie stick, of course.
It was overcast the next morning, but we had plans to spend time on the beach, and we did. It was so funny seeing us with all the gear needed for three families to hang out at the beach.
About an hour after we went to the beach, the kids wanted to go back to the pool. Jellyfish were awful. You couldn't walk two feet without stepping on one or almost stepping on one. The waves were rough and the kids just weren't able to enjoy being in the water. So, the guys took all the kids to the pool and the mommas got to sit and talk under the umbrella at the beach.
We always take one evening before dinner and make family and group pictures. My camera was not working correctly this year, so we started out with just pictures on our phones and then took a few with a smaller camera Reagan had with him. I like this picture of the kids and how they look like steps going from the youngest to the oldest.
Another selfie stick group photo.
We'd had a big day of swimming and playing. These girls were so tired they took a little nap on the way to dinner.
We went to one restaurant and waited almost an hour and still weren't seated. We were hungry, so we decided to go to the nearby Shrimp Basket. Sara Madalin ate a few bites and then had to catch another nap. Bless her little heart.
When we left she went on to bed back at the condo. The other kids went crabbing at the beach. They've learned that they don't talk about what they do after SM goes to sleep. She gets a little upset if she misses something.
The next night we had dinner in the condo. After dinner, we went down to the beach to catch crabs again, this time with SM. Can you tell she was excited? She even wore her "head light" that you'll see in another picture below.
After crabbing, Mrs. Julie made a chocolate and peanut butter dessert topping and we had it with ice cream. Grant and Sara Madalin watched every move she made. They were ready for that chocolate.
The next photo is out of order, but here is Sara Madalin with her head light as we were out crabbing. Girl is serious when it comes to catching crabs.
Sunday morning, after breakfast, we cleaned and packed up to head home. But not before one last selfie of the group. This time Connor was in the photo, and you can see how excited he was about that. Teenagers!
The next week after the beach trip, Sara Madalin started school. I had Reagan take this next picture on her last morning to sleep late.
She goes to sleep in her bed at night. Then a few hours after we go to sleep, she makes her way into our room and lies on her pallet for another hour or two. Then she crawls in our bed at some point. And she takes up almost the whole bed - our bed.
We met her teacher, Mrs. Hosemann, a couple days before school started. She has a very sweet, very patient teacher this year. And SM has really enjoyed her year so far.
Just like that, I have a 2nd grader.
This is a picture of her class on the first full day of school. She has some really sweet kids in her class this year.
Morning play break on the first day. That's probably the only day all year she played with the girls. She is a little intense and prefers to play with some of the boys.
She had swim practice after school that first day. After practice, she was out.
The next week was our Fall consignment sale. I put my selfie stick to good use.
Here's a few of the girls on one of our set-up days. The floor had been covered, racks and tables were being placed, and we were excited for the week to start.
My friends JLowe, Carrie, Eddie, and Kasey. Mr. Eddie is our number one volunteer the week of Little Feet. He truly has a servant's heart. We all love him.
Getting bags ready. Opening the bags and putting them in boxes saves us a ton of time during check-out.
The afternoon before our pre-sale. Everything had been dropped off, checked-in, sorted, and placed in their sale area. We were ready for prayer time before the volunteers and consignors began shopping.
A full shot of our team. The guy in the back is the Brain, or Brandon as some refer to him. Without him, we'd be lost. His computer genius makes item entry, check-in, check-out, and everything else computer related needed for the sale, happen.
Look all those items ready to sale in order for us to raise money for missions.
Even after two days of being on our feet, break-down, and sorting of items to return to consignors, we were still able to smile.
This past sale I only bought a few things for SM. I allowed her to look around before the pre-sale and told her she could pick one thing. She picked a pair of plastic skates. But when I looked through the costumes, I knew she needed this...
The Force is strong with this one. She has definitely become a Star Wars fan. And it makes her momma and daddy so proud.
The next day was my birthday. Reagan and Sara Madalin made me a great dinner and had bought me a little cheesecake and candles.
Sara Madalin also decided to make her profession of faith public that Sunday.
A photographer was sitting down front, preparing to take pictures of the girls who were going to sing during the offertory. He said when he saw Sara Madalin come forward with a big smile on her face, he couldn't resist capturing this picture. I'm so glad he did.
Our minister of music also teaches at Liberty University. After the shootings in South Carolina this past summer, where the shooter killed several members of The Mother Emmanuel Baptist Church, he felt that our community needed to band together and celebrate the unity we have in Christ, regardless of race. Many ministers and pastors of area churches were invited to share scripture. We also had a staff member present from the church where the shootings occurred. Our choir joined with the Mississippi Mass Choir to lead in worship that night. It was an amazing event to be part of.