September 29, 2021

family time

I have been feeling a little disconnect in our family. Everyone’s a little busier these days. Or a lot busier, depending on your perspective. Friends, activities and work pull us in all different directions. I know we have been carrying some extra stress between school, court, and medical appointments, too. We have needed some quality family time. Some in our family may argue that fact, which is probably a good sign that yes we do.

Last night we made sure that everyone was home in the evening. Someone mentioned a couple days ago that we haven’t played hide and seek in the dark in this new house. With the changing seasons, it is now dark again by 7pm. It was a perfect time to play. 

We sat on the floor and put our feet in a circle. An Allen family tradition to determine who will be it: “my dog died last night. What color was his blood? ____. Y-e-l-l-o-w spells yellow and you are not it.”

Layla was last one standing so first one to be it. She was feeling terrified of the dark so I helped her. (By round 3 she was as comfortable as could be.) We searched and felt our way through the dark house finding everyone one by one. It was a pretty intense game in our big house. But it’s another one of those rare, perfect activities for our big family with kids of all ages. I’m so glad we played together!

Families need fun.

A couple of weeks ago we took our camping trailer out on its maiden voyage with our family. Trees, cool air, fire, and uninterrupted family time!

Kyler helped Perry make a walking stick for our family walk.

Poor tough Kacin was hobbling on his crutches and boot because of his slip n slide injury.

Layla found us some “toilet paper” leaves.

We pulled out some candy while we were playing card games. Kacin chugged the bottom of the sour coating on the sour belts—I don’t know how he did it. That’s intense flavor.

I don’t have a good explanation for this picture. Just love for her.

We spent the afternoon at Blue Ridge Reservoir. A gorgeous place for our paddle boards!

Perry and Layla were on kid kayaks and the rest of us got on paddle boards.

Gorgeous trees.

Perry was obsessed with making fires all weekend. Even when it started to rain and most of us were hiding in the trailer, he would run to the fire in between downpours to keep it going.

During one of the big downpours we got all cozy inside the small space.

It was beautiful at night to watch the moon rise and the stars pop out one at a time.

The vastness of the sky is so humbling yet empowering.

These sweet girls gathered wildflowers on our last morning there. 

Whether it be camping trips or family games, it is so essential to connect with some fun as a family. We need each other!

September 26, 2021

Perry’s trip

We have a tradition to take of each of our children on a one-on-one trip when they are 10 years old. Unfortunately, because of covid, we never got Perry's trip to work out when he was ten. But the night before his 11th birthday I looked at our calendar and let's do it!

Right after school on his 11th birthday, we had our quick family birthday celebration and then Perry and I hopped in the car and drove to California to go to Universal Studios.

We were both so thrilled to have this time together. I was so excited to show him Harry Potter land!

He has listened to all the Harry Potter books over and over again so it was so fun to show him all the details of this incredible place. To immerse in the world of Harry Potter for a few hours.

We rode all of the rides at universal studios 2 or 3 times.

It was so cool to take him into Ollivander's.

He was the one chosen for the wand fitting! It was pretty amazing to see him up there. He even knew one of the spells before she even told him what to say--he just needed a minor correction.

The right wand chose him!

Unfortunately, he did not choose the wand though. He wanted to scope out all the whole park before settling on his one souvinor.

He chose a transformer stuffie. Perfect for him.

We got lunch and Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. Man, writing this is making me crave a frozen Butterbeer!

He loved the Jurassic park ride.

A little dancing with the minions...yeah, Perry just stared at me.

A highlight of the trip was the Transformers ride! He even got to meet Bumblebee.

He was mad at first that the doughnut was pink. But he changed his mind after the first bite. Those doughnuts are actually SO good!

I am so grateful to parks for providing a disability pass. We would not be able to get out like this if we couldn't bring the wheelchair and use their wait system. I am so grateful. 

Had a lovely day with my boy! His "ten" year old trip was perfect.

September 25, 2021

Happy 11th, Perry

Eleven seems like a pretty big year for this guy. 

There couldn't be anyone happier than this boy on his birthday. His love and sweet nature abounds on his special day.

On his birthday, we had a short family celebration before whisking him away on a special surprise. More on that later. But at the end of the week, Perry got a pool party with a few of his friends. What he wanted was a Ninjago party so Layla made this Ninjago birthday sign for him.

We had a candy bar at his party. Each of the kids could fill up a box with all the candies they wanted.

We love this boy SO very much. We are so lucky to call him ours.

He is into legos, math, bowling, swimming, baseball, video games and movies, and listening to books.

Happy birthday, you amazing boy!