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July 24, 2011 / Dan

Elle’s Party

Thursday night we had Elle’s First Birthday Party! Family and friends gathered to eat sandwiches and cake & ice cream. There was a movie night complete with popcorn and candy for the older kids.

Elle loved her cupcake and everyone singing to her.

Happy Birthday Girl

And after a little encouragement from her big sister, she got the hang of digging into the cake.

Help From Big Sister

Going for It

We were happy to host friends and family for the celebration and hope that everyone had a good time. Rabun certainly enjoyed the opportunity to play with friends.

Rabun and Abbi Kate Being Cool

The Cake

July 19, 2011 / Dan

Elle Turns One

Today Elle turned one. She woke up happy as always and we spent some time playing before I had to go off to work and Jess got busy seeing the grandparents and making preparations for the party.

Me and Elle

Elle and Jess

Happy Birthday Elle!

July 18, 2011 / Dan


Each year for family vacation, we spend a week with my family at my mom and dad’s lake house on Jackson Lake in Jackson, Ga. With nine adults and twelve kids, it’s a whole lot of craziness and a whole lot of fun.

The Whole Crew

This year, Rabun and Elle both enjoyed playing in the lake. Rabun was very brave and jumped into the lake repeatedly from the dock and even let people throw her into the air and then splash down. She loves the water and wonders why she can’t take off her swimmies.

Rabun Playing on the Beach

Not only was she a big fan of swimming, but she also wanted to ride the tube every chance she got. The faster and bumpier it was, the more she liked the ride.


Elle also enjoyed playing in the water, but of course isn’t as ambitious as Rabun. We’ve got plenty of time to get her used to it.

Elle in the Water

Elle also enjoyed playing outside with Jessica on a picnic blanket. Jessica and I are thrilled that both our girls love to play outside.

Elle with a Toy Car

Of course, there’s more to family vacation than just the water and the outdoors. There’s cousins! And boy do we have cousins. But we love playing with them. It’s great to have a big family; Jessica and I hope our girls appreciate having plenty of friends on family vacation.

Girls and Mom

Jack & Elizabeth

Samuel and Rabun

Sadie Grace

We had a great family vacation. It was refreshing to get away for a little while and spend some quality time with my brother, sisters, mom and dad, the in-laws, all the kids, Rabun, Elle, and Jessica.

Rabun and Elle

For more pictures of the vacation, check out my flickr photoset for tons of pictures.

July 16, 2011 / Dan


For the Fourth of July this year, we hung out at our house most of the time and then that evening headed over to Jessica’s parents’ farm to celebrate. All of the activities were outdoors, which Jessica loved.

Outdoors and Happy

While we roasted hot dogs over a fire, the kids played in a sprinkler and fed the cows day-old bread. Rabun enjoyed playing with her cousins, especially Luke.


After dinner, we made ‘smores. While yummy, I didn’t remember them being this difficult to make. Must have been something about an impatient audience.


When it got good and dark, we were ready for the fireworks. The kids waited patiently and Jessica’s brothers and myself put on a good show.

Waiting on Fireworks

Finally, Rabun enjoyed playing with the sparklers. She believed they were her magic wands.


We enjoyed celebrating our freedom on the Fourth, and remain thankful for those who have sacrificed themselves in many ways for the numerous privileges we have today. Thank you to those who have served to protect our freedom.

July 9, 2011 / Dan


In our house, we have the concept of a “birthday week”. Everyone has a birthday, but we┬áhave birthday weeks. The week surrounding your birthday is full of celebration, fun & getting out of things you don’t want to do. In order to help spread this to our kids, we spread Rabun’s birthday celebrations out over a few days.

On her actual birthday, she got to where her “wedding dress” (a dress she wore as a flower girl in a recent wedding). But perhaps what she enjoyed most on her birthday was a chance encounter with a famous restaurant mascot.

Birthday Girl at Chick-fil-A

She also got to open a gift from us: a frilly apron so that she can help me cook.

An Apron for Her Birthday

We visited my parents the next day and she opened their gift, a few dresses she has been wearing out since.

New Dresses for Birthday

And from Jessica’s folks a couple days later she received an assortment of wonderfully girly things that included a new Tinkerbell nightgown.

New Tinkerbell Nightgown

For her actual party, we had a full house of family and friends over for some outdoor water play. We borrowed a large blow up water slide from my parents that was a huge hit among the kids.

Blowup Waterslide

Rabun managed to blow out all the candles on her Rapunzel cake.

After Blowing Out the Candles

Elle had a blast and participated in the party, too.

Elle Eating Birthday Cake

And despite the fact that it wasn’t quite dark enough, we lit a couple of floating lanterns to celebrate.

Floating Lantern

Then she opened some more presents, including a new Spiderman bike helmet from me and Jess. (Rabun loves Spiderman, which makes the geek and the dad in me happy.)

New Bike Helmet

Her birthday was amazing. A great celebration for a girl turning three and we enjoyed sharing it with all the family and friends that participated. Thanks everyone!