Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cousin Camp - Carrowinds!

Yeah!  Carrowinds Day!  I think all the cousins agree that Carrowinds is the best day of cousin camp!  My kids talk about the rides year round and look forward to riding their favorites each time.  Here is part of our group at the front gates.  Madison, Olivia, Lia, Jed, David, Annaliese, Emily, Ainsley and Christopher.

I love this picture of Annaliese and Lia holding Anthony's hand.  I remember Stacey saying to me, "Wow!  He really fits right in, doesn't he."  And yes, he does.  I love the way all the big cousins take care of the little guys.  Annaliese had been in charge of holding Lia's hand for the last few years and now that Lia's a big girl, she can help too.

So nice to see David looking at the camera and smiling!  Love my guys on the pirate boats.

And here are the big girls.  Ainsley made it to the 54" mark but Emily just missed it.  It wasn't a big deal this year because Ainsely is scared of the bigger rides.  Emily, however, has turned into a dare devil and would ride anything they would let her on!  She even rode the upside-down loop the loop, Carolina Cobra with me!
Next year, look out because she'll pass 54" and be ready to ride the Intimidator with her teen age cousins!

Lia and I spent a lot of time together at the park.  Here we are on the train.

And she was very proud to ride all by herself.  Mommy was too tall!  (Now that's a phrase I don't hear very often!)

That would be my son acting like a monkey b/c I want to take a picture.  Typical.

And our first time to ride Windseeker!  Emily is holding on to her glasses so they don't fly away.  This ride takes you high up over the park for amazing views.  Next year, we're going to ride it at night b/c it is all lit up.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cousin Camp: Peach Picking

One of the last things we do at cousin camp is pick peaches to eat at the beach.  There are "slim pickins" for pictures because I didn't go this year!  I'm very grateful Chris thought to take this one on his phone!  Lia and I stayed behind to do laundry and play with Anthony while the big kids picked peaches for us and you can see they were also rewarded with ice cream!  And I have to chuckle because there is Emily with a huge waffle cone and her kindle in her lap!  Yes, that's my kid.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Video - Foamy Long Beach

Foamy Ocean

Our first day at the beach was like playing in a giant bubble bath.  I had not seen the beach foamy like this in years.  It only lasted this one day but it was really fun for the kids to play in!  I'm glad I got some pictures of the fun.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pier and Museum Outing

Every year, during the men's luncheon and when we are kicked out of our house, I take the kids to the pier for ice cream and lately to the Maritime Museum in Southport.  This year Emily came along too.  Every year, I have asked David to hold Lia's hand so I can take a picture of them on the pier.  It is my tradition and I dearly love looking at the pictures from years past and reminiscing about how much bigger they grow each year and so on and so forth as any proud mother deserves to do.  So, I was a little annoyed when these two couldn't, and I mean seriously could not smile for the camera!  They may look cute here... but zoom in and you will see that they are not even trying!  So I just took their picture anyway and I plan to torture them with it when they are older.  Really!


My big girl, on the other hand, for her credit did not really want her picture taken either, but she still sucked it up and smiled.  Thank you Emily!!!

 We all enjoyed seeing the pelicans perched on the poles.  It was kind of funny the way they looked down at us as we walked by... a look of disdain... a look that said I own this spot and don't mess with me!
But, 7 year old boys can't help themselves when it come to messing with the pelicans.  David took great joy in running up to the pelican and making loud noises until said pelican flew away.  Boys.
And here we are at the Maritime Museum.  The kids really enjoyed the scavenger hunt inside and I really appreciated the free admission and hour my children enjoyed exploring the museum.  I also appreciated the 50 cent animal toys in the gift shop that made my children so happy.

Pop Pop's Surprise 86th Birthday Party

After Pop Pop's heart scare earlier this year, Stacey was inspired to organize a surprise birthday party at the beach to celebrate how happy we are that he is in such good health after his surgeries.  She booked a local Veteran's hall and had everyone gather to surprise Pop Pop.  He knew we were having a family dinner but he didn't know it was to celebrate his birthday.  He kept asking us who was providing the food and who paid for it all... which we just responded that it was taken care of and not to worry!  Here he is entering the hall after we all yelled, "Surprise!" and sang Happy Birthday in pure hideous Nelli fashion.  I'm nor sure the final headcount but she planned for 75 adults and we certainly had a full house.

Stacey had a king's crown for him to wear, which I think he secretly loved, though he won't admit it.

The theme was NC State Wolfpack, hence all the red.

The first dance was for Pop Pop and his daughter, Jeanne Marie.  All the grandkids eagerly hit the dance floor as well.

I'm thinking this was the electric slide.  What a party!

Anthony came decked out in NC State colors and sporting a red Mohawk!

David tore up the dance floor the entire night.  He had no interest in dancing with anyone else.  When asked, he replied, "No thank you, I dance better by myself."  Ha!

And here is Pop Pop with his children.  Left to Right:  Rob, Jamie, Jeanne Marie, Pop Pop, Tom, Chris, Bill and Steven.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kate's Surprise Wedding Shower

Our nephew Patrick proposed to his sweetheart, Kate and they plan to be married next year.  My girls were super excited to learn their cousins had planned a surprise wedding shower for Kate.  Last year, the same was done for Katie Gray so these girl parties are starting to be really fun for them.

How cute is this!  I love the way Katie Gray and Emma announced how excited they were to have a new sister.  What a wonderful welcome to the family.


Checking out the goodies.

I love all the smiles.  And my girls enjoyed all the sugar!

Emily and Ainsley enjoyed fetching all the gifts.  We are very excited about the upcoming wedding!


Favorite Beach Pictures

After digging through a lot of candid beach pictures, I picked these to share:

Emily was cooperative this day and what a pretty picture!  It is rare that the ocean is calm like this and you can see the breezes are not blowing!  It makes for a hot day on the beach but I am grateful for this picture of my big girl!

The thing I love about Anthony is the way he joyfully announces his family as they come into his sight.  We loved hearing him call out "Lia Bear!" and seeing all the hugs and kisses given and received.  If Lia headed out into the ocean, Anthony was quick to follow.

Ball!  (It's the simple things, really.)

Look!  I was on this vacation!  Thank you to David for taking this picture.

I have always loved watcing the pelicans flying down the beach and especially seeing them dive head first into the ocean.

And impromtu visits are the best!  Here is David visiting with Peg Jones.  You can see he is telling her all about something.

And one with Uncle Crab from game night.  I have to get this every year!

And the big kids were playing spoons one night but it got too noisy so they changed it up to be pencils instead.  I love that they include the younger ones too.

Long Beach Ghost Story!

One of the most beloved beach traditions of the Nelli family is the telling of the Long Beach Ghost story by bonfire.  All the Nelli children, and the older grandchildren fondly share this memory... especially of being so scared as a child!  Unfortunately, bonfires were outlawed on the beach and the story, in its true tradition, had not been told in over 15 years.  Chris has shared this story with me and his own children so we were familiar with the tradition, but we had never experienced it in its full glory.  This year, the older grand kids decided to resurrect the Long Beach ghost!  They built a bonfire in hopes we could share the story before the local authorities told us to put it out!  Here we are gathered on the beach.

Nick was chosen to be the storyteller.  The Nelli kids, grand children, a great grand child and one on the way, spouses and friends gathered to hear the story.  Do you want to hear it?

I couldn't possibly tell the tale as eloquently as Nick did or create the atmosphere of being under the stars around a bonfire with your family... but here goes:

The year was 1954 and a family was vacationing on Long Beach.  There was a Mom, a Dad and two kids:  a boy and a girl.  The kids were playing out on the beach and it was almost time for lunch.  Mom and Dad realized they didn't have enough food for lunch so they asked the neighbors to watch the kids while they ran to the store to get sandwiches.  While Mom and Dad were gone, a hurricane began to blow in from the ocean.  This was Hurricane Hazel but nobody knew about it because there were no cell phones or tvs at that time... The neighbors were concerned at how quickly the winds were picking up so they called the kids off the beach and drove them to safety.  The kids left their toys on the beach because they were in such a hurry.  Meanwhile, when the parents realized how quickly the storm had blown in and how bad the weather was turning, they rushed back to the beach to collect their children.  By this time, the winds were howling and the rain had begun to pour and the waves had gotten really rough.  The Dad ran up and down the beach screaming for his kids.  A rogue wave came in and he was swept out to sea and died.  And so... if you look out on the ocean on a night like this, you just might see him coming out of the sea to look for his lost children.  (Everyone looks out to the ocean)
And suddenly... (lit by a bright flashlight)
The Long Beach Ghost comes out of the sea!!!!
(or rather a cousin draped in a white sheet)
And everyone screams!

Pretty scary eh?  I hear in previous years, said Long Beach Ghost actually grabs a kid and takes them out to the ocean...

So yes, the Long Beach Ghost tradition was a huge hit for those who had never heard the story and for those who grew up hearing it every year.  After the bonfire, we all gathered on the porch for fireworks to end another wonderful beach week.