Camping, Apple Picking and Amelia Island

The end of summer and the beginning of the school year has brought a lot of fun activities our way. The air is a bit cooler and we are able to get out more. Recently, we took all three children camping for the first time at Jellystone Campground in Marion, NC. We had a wonderful time!! Unfortunately, I forgot the camera. :( It was awesome though!! I highly recommend it for families with young children. We spent Saturday afternoon swimming, going down the water slide and playing a family version of "Survivor." Gabriel and I also went kayaking. There was a dance Saturday night and Cadence was the center of attention. We left pretty early on Sunday, but the trip was awesome and we will definitely be back.

We also recently went apple picking with Jon, Christy & their kids. This has become an annual tradition for our families. The kids really enjoy picking apples. We went a few weeks early this year, so the selection was a bit slim, but we still stocked up. Of course, we took advantage of the wonderful scenery and took some pictures of the kiddos in the orchards. Thanks Jon for the first one. Amazing.

Last weekend I attended the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustee's conference at the Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida. Chris came down with me and, even though I was in class for a good portion of the weekend, we had a great time. I was really bad about taking pictures, so the first two are stock photos from the hotel's site.

When we arrived on Wednesday evening, our room wasn't ready, so they upgraded us to an ocean front suite. No complaints here, of course. :)

On Friday afternoon, it rained for several hours. We went up to our room to get ready for dinner. I stepped out onto the porch to call to check in on the kiddos and was barely able to make out a faint rainbow. We could see the entire thing. It was amazing. My point and shoot camera doesn't do it justice but, trust me, it was beautiful.

On Saturday afternoon, we went out with my boss and his family on their boat. This, of course, is when my camera decided to die. We passed a barge with a crane that appeared to be dredging the bottom for something. We passed the same barge on our way back in and on top was a small airplane! Turns out that it had crashed into the water the day before. The pilot is fine.

The weekend seemed to fly by. The classes were very informative and I learned a lot. The dinners at night were beautiful and we had fun meeting new people. I think my favorite part of the trip though was the mornings. We had to get up early every day and God painted us the most beautiful sunrises to watch while we enjoyed our coffee.

Love and Soccer

I mostly post about current events, but I thought I'd step back in Hall~Smith Family history tonight:

Once upon a time, I was a single mom. I had signed my then-3-year-old daughter up to play soccer for the first time. I knew nothing about soccer. I didn't even know if the shin guards went on the inside or the outside of the socks! Anyway, the coach had been trying to contact me for three weeks to no avail. Recently separated, I had changed my cell phone number and he was calling the old phone which was no longer in my possession. I didn't receive his messages until less than a week before Cadence's first game. I was in a panic. She had missed every practice and was about to start playing soccer with no instruction whatsoever and I didn't even know what side of the socks the stupid shin guards went on!

I remembered that a friend of a friend of mine used to play and had also coached kids' soccer. I sent him a very awkward message that was something like "Hi. Remember me? Can you teach my kid how to play soccer?" To my surprise, he accepted immediately. Then I thought, "Hmm... I hope he doesn't get the wrong idea." At this point in my life, I had sworn off men entirely. They all sucked. If Angelina Jolie could raise a flock of children on her own than, by God, so could I (this was back in the pre-Brad days).

He came and gave Cadence a few pointers. Then he asked if he could come to her game. Of course! He came to her next game and the game after that. One game night he showed up with a crock pot of chili that he had put together because he said he could imagine how crazy dinner was for me to put together on game nights - especially with a pre-schooler and a baby in the house. It was then that I thought, perhaps it was I that had the wrong idea. This guy seemed pretty amazing. He came to every game she played that season. In fact it was after one of those games, four years ago tomorrow, that he kissed me good night. The rest is history.

Cadence's first soccer game