Monday, August 18, 2008

Vietnam Summer Camp at the Beach

Sorry for my absence. We have had an awesome long weekend at the beach in St. Augustine with some of our friends. I can't even begin to describe how much fun this was. We were there with 5 families total, all of which have at least one child adopted from Vietnam. These are people that I have known for a long time, but have never met in person (except for Nicki of course). Let me begin by saying who was there.

We stayed with Laurie, Travis, Jackson, Shane, and Finley from Pho for Five. I think everyone reads this blog, so you should all be familiar with them. But for those who aren't, Laurie and Travis adopted Jackson about a month before we adopted Lucy. Lucy and Jack are about a month apart in age. Then they adopted Shane this past January. While in the adoption process for Shane, Laurie got pregnant with Finley, who was born a couple of months after Shane came home. So, they have 3 little ones who are very close in age. I don't know how they do it, but to be perfectly honest, they make it look pretty easy. They don't miss a beat. Laurie and Travis are an incredible team. They manage to do anything that everyone else does even with three littles. They are really relaxed and energetic and that is what it takes to handle their family dynamics. They are really just like I expected them to be. Laurie does a really great job of portraying her precious family on her blog. Jackson is just like I expected him to be - a firecracker. He is full of life and energy and is scared of nothing. The boy would run out into the ocean and the waves didn't intimidate him one bit. They would knock him over and Travis would pull him up and he would have a huge smile on his face and be ready for more. Don't worry, the water was very shallow and Trav was always right next to him. Shane just might be the easiest baby I have ever been around. He sleeps all of the time. When he is awake, he is smiles every time you make eye contact with him. He let me get lots of good loves in. He is so chill that once on the beach Jackson dumped sand on his head and face and he just smiled and kept playing. And then there is Finley. She has these huge eyes and she gives the most precious smile when you smile at her. She LOVES her momma. She is a tiny peanut and Lucy was in love with her. I swear, Lucy loves babies so much. Any time she saw Fin she would touch her hair and say, "Hi baby. Hi Fin-yee." I think Nicki got some pictures of Lucy lovin on Finley. Thanks so much for giving us a great place to stay!! You guys are awesome.

Nicki, Tony, Dalton, Teegan, Noah, and Addy from Stepping on Legos also stayed at the beach house. I have already written about them, so you know how much I love them! I will say, Lucy had issues with Dalton and Teegan. It was so strange, but any time she got close to one of them she would freak out. It is so weird because they are so great with little kids. I can't figure out why she was like that. Sorry boys!! Nicki confused Lucy for Addy a couple of times again. It was so cute when Lucy and Addy were both in cherry swimsuits. When things kind of settled down on Sunday before we left, Lucy totally took to Nicki. She was having Nicki throw her around and chase her. It was so nice to see Lucy really playing and letting loose.

Jena, Sheldon, Bailey, Sam, and Khai from Two Different Loves were also there. I have to say that I fell in love with Khai. He is the most precious little boy and just melted me. He is a total ham for the camera. He would see the camera and pose and look right at it, but in a totally natural way. I probably got more pictures of him than anyone else because he was the only one who would ever even consider looking in my direction. I can't say enough good things about this family. Jena is every bit as warm, kind, funny, and simply wonderful as she comes across in her blog. Sheldon is an amazing dad. He was always taking the kids back and forth to the beach, cooking burgers, or just doing anything else that ever needed done. Sam and Bailey were so sweet. They remind me of Lucy because they were more of observers most of the time while the other kids were running wild.

And on Saturday afternoon, S came over with her kids M, L, and A. She uses initials on her blog, so I am going to do that too. Anyway, her blog is Our Vietnamese Ladybug. I didn't get to spend near enough time with them. I have no idea how S does what she does. Her two youngest are full of more energy than I have maybe ever seen in my life. Go to her blog and read some of the stories that she writes about the trouble that they get into together. A is her baby from Vietnam. She has candy pink colored lips that make me smile. She has done an awesome job of keeping up with L. I swear, she might be the toughest kid I have ever seen. She can absolutely hold her own! M went with us to downtown St. Augustine and she was just a delight. She kept Lucy laughing the entire car ride, held her hand while we walked around, and has the best manners. S, your family is awesome. You inspire me to stay calm and joyful all of the time. I wish we would have gotten to see you more. I am embarrassed to say, but I didn't get a single picture of any of your kids. That is ridiculous. I hate that we did not get our group VN picture while A was there. I am so sorry!!

I am so tired. We stayed up so late every night talking our heads off. There is just so much to say when you never get to see one another in person. We had to force ourselves to go to bed each night. I love how we are all so different in so many ways but just mix well together. I love how we have the common bond of Vietnam adoption. I love how our kids will know each other forever. They may not get to see each other often, but they will know one another. I admire each of you so much. I consider you all lifelong, very close friends. I think that it is pretty cool the friends that I have made through adoption. Thank you for sharing this awesome experience with Lucy and me. We miss you all already!

Lucy did really well with the whole trip. She was definitely overwhelmed with the number of people and loudness of the situation. But there were several times when she really opened up and shined. She did better at the beach when everyone could spread out a little and it wasn't so loud. She was pretty clingy to me, but I totally expected that. I could not believe that she slept a wink the whole time that we were there because the adults were so loud once the kids had gone to bed, but she did amazing at night.

Here is what I know you all want to see. Enjoy! You can click on my flickr badge on the sidebar to see more pictures.

Here are the little busy bees one day at the beach. Tony, Travis, and Sheldon dug some deep holes in the sand and the kids loved it. Can you even stand the cuteness of this group.
Busy Bees
Lucy, Addy, and Jackson. They all have these balloon things tied on their ankles. Addy had it first, and Jack and Lucy wanted one too. Addy is such a trendsetter like that!
Lucy, Addy, and Jackson
Khai, Jackson, and Lucy
Khai, Jack, and Lucy
All of us had to bribe our kids to participate in this group shot. Well, all of us except for Jena. Addy was most annoyed. I think it is so funny how both girls are scowling and all of the boys are having a great time. Ha.
This is my favorite picture I took this weekend. I just love how sweet Khai is. Don't you just want to snuggle with him??
Shane Bug
Lucy and Addy getting ready for another round of ring around the rosey.


Anonymous said...

How absolutely fabulous!
Looks like a fantastic time ladies *and gents*!

Mer (Lulu's Mommy) said...

This is pure joy. Thank you 80 times over for sharing. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, what a dream team of bloggers to get together with - so many of my very favorites, I'm so jealous! What a fun weekend and amazing group of photos. Always so hard to pick a favorite, though that last one I think is it (seems like one you'd see in a vacation brochure, not that someone just casually took!!!).

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stacy - that last one is my favorite! But you took so many awesome ones!! you really have a gift!

We miss you already and feel so blessed to have had this experience! Hope you don't mind but i'm totally just going to link to your post! It is perfection!

Kelli said...

Looks like you all had a wonderful time. I agree with Stacy- a dream team of bloggers! The pictures are fantastic!

Heather Field said...

TOO FUN!!! What an adorable bunch!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a super trip for you and 'the gang'. I started following your blog a couple of months ago and just think you are so fabulous. You have such a sweet heart and loving attitude towards everyone, thank you...the world needs more Kelly's! Your precious Lucy, is just that precious, I want to squeeze her!

Thanks for sharing stories of your sweet family with the rest of us.

By the way, I am with you on Khia, too adorable, my goodness.


Nancy said...

How fun! Wonderful pics!!

S. said...

You are one talented photographer, I loved so many of those pics, bummer A. wasn't in the group shot, but it is great...too funny! I need to do a post of my own...but to sum it up...waaaaaahhhh! It wasn't long enough!!!!!! I wish I could have worked it to spend more time with you all, Lucy is so beautiful. Khai is totally precious--A. thinks so too! I can't wait for the next time!

Anonymous said...

That is so incredible that you were all able to go on vacation. What a wonderful trip!

KrisJ said...

What a group of heart breakers you all had at the beach! I love that you all got together I think its great for the kids and gotta be great for the parents! Love the pics I love how you capture everyones personality!

Josh and Marcie said...

That is so awesome! What treasured moments. I pray my little girl will get to experience those adventures some day as well.

Anonymous said...

Kelly--the only thing that could have made all this more perfect is if Justin could have gone! The pics are fabulous--such precious, precious children. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during eating times, getting ready to go place times, etc. Bet it was a riot! Glad all are home safely. Love, LeeLee

Jo said...

Great pictures. Looks like such a great time, I wish I could find some families here locally )or kind of local) with kiddos from Vietnam.

The Baxter Family said...

What an incredible experience for everyone!
And the photography is amazing!!!

Emily said...

so fun!
and i love the pics.

Anonymous said...

It looks like you have SO much fun! Your photos are amazing!

Kate said...

Awww! I'm so jealous! What fun! I wish I could have gone. Now--if only I could be able to adopt from VN, I could participate in "summer camp"!

Glad you all had such a good time AND missed the storm heading that way!

Jena said...

we *just* got home from our 2nd drive thru the night in 6 days.... and I had to get my blog fix....
I am trying really, really hard to convince Shel that I NEED an eye-phone....
fabulous pics and I miss you guys so much already.
here's to only growing in our friendships!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sniff, miss you guys too! I agree with your mom - the only thing that could've made it more perfect was if Justin had come. Actually, I would've loved more time with Shannon, and it would've been awesome to see her husband too. But you catch my drift. Your pictures are AMAZING, like I knew they'd be. PLEASE think about becoming a professional photographer. I told Trav I was so bummed I didn't ask you to take a family picture of us. Next time!

S. said...

Maddie wants to keep looking at your pictures--I agree--you have a career in photography ahead of you!

Anonymous said...

are you ever going to consider expanding your family and adopting more children from vietnam?

Mab said...

You can tell you all had a WONDERFUL time. LOVE LOVE LOVE all the pictures!!! :)

Anonymous said...

what a BEAUTIFUL group of kids. every. single. one of them.

Anonymous said...

Thought you or some of your followers may like this! :) love ya!

Meredith Woodruff said...

Oh my gosh!!! How much fun!!! I LOVE THE PICTURES!!! Not to boost your ego or anything, but you are REALLY good:)!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You got some amazing shots. It looks like such a fun time!

JMCS said...

Oh look at those adorable babies. I just want to plant a big kiss on each one of them. Great photos Kelly. :)


Anonymous said...

warhammer gold warhammer money warhammer accounts tibia money tibia gold tibia item runescape accounts buy runescape accounts runescape money runescape gold runescape gp runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling cheap rs2 powerleveling runescape equipment buy rs equipment runescape runes cheap rs2 runes runescape logs cheap rs2 logs runescape items buy runescape items runescape quest point rs2 quest point cheap runescape questpoint runescape gold runescape items runescape power leveling runescape money runescape gold buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape items runescape accounts runescape gp runescape accounts runescape money runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling tibia gold dofus kamas buy dofus kamas wow power leveling wow powerleveling runescape questpoint rs2 questpoint Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling World of Warcraft Power Leveling Hellgate money Hellgate gold buy runescape logs buy rs2 items cheap runescape items Hellgate London gold Guild Wars Gold buy Guild Wars Gold runescape items rs2 accounts cheap rs2 equipments lotro gold buy lotro gold buy runescape money buy runescape gold buy runescape runes lotro gold buy lotro gold runescape money runescape gold cheap rs2 powerleveling eve isk eve online isk buy runescape power leveling rs2 power leveling tibia gold tibia item runescape accounts Fiesta Silver Fiesta Gold Scions of Fate Gold Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London Palladium SOF Gold Age Of Conan Gold AOC Gold ArchLord gold tibia money tibia gold runescape accounts runescape gold cheap rs2 powerleveling buy ArchLord gold DDO Plat Dungeons and Dragons Online Plat