Monday, September 29, 2008

Balloons over Raleigh!

We got back from our Florida trip in time for our first community association party! There was food, contests, pool party, a live band and the playground to keep everyone entertained.

But the big hit for us was the hot air balloon! We only went up about 20-30 feet, but it was great for all the kids and adults alike! A big thanks to our neighbors, who are ReMax agents, for getting the balloon.

Although it was getting late in the day, our little ones made their first ascent with Rich on the ground to photograph it. Ben seemed amused, but was not a fan of the noise as they fired up the balloon. Mae got upset to see Rich still on the ground and tried to jump out of Kirsten's arms, screaming "Daddy! Daddy! I want Daddy!"
All in all, we enjoyed it and will do it again, but new rule: one child to one parent until they are MUCH bigger!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Florida sunsets

Aunt Terry and Ben!

Despite the many illnesses, we were able to salvage what was left of our vacation and have a good time. We were so happy to see so many family members -- our Aunt Terry who drove up from Miami, Aunt Gidget who made it out after a long drive back from Ashville, NC, cousin Kate who was just back from her job in the "Med"!
Cousin Kate catches Mae!

Although we don't have many, we will post pictures in our family album soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vacation Detour

A smiling Ben, just before he got sick
As some of you may know, Ben got very sick Monday night in Florida and had to go to the hospital. (For those of you that didn't know, we are so sorry we weren't in touch but things happened so quickly). Just shy of his two-month birthday (by only a few hours), Ben was admitted as a precaution so he could be fully checked out.

Our poor little guy went through a variety of unpleasant but very essential tests like a champ -- much to the credit of our caregivers. (To our friends who have been through similar situations with their children, we don't know how you the parents made it through). But, it was all for good as Ben was released from the hospital this afternoon and is doing really well now.

We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. We were so lucky to have Kirsten's parents around to help out tremendously and Aunt Charlton who brought over dinner, and that Rich was able to get away from work earlier than planned to be with the family.

We are also so grateful to the wonderful staff of doctors and nurses at Cape Canaveral Hospital who went out of their way to be helpful and make Ben and Kirsten's stay as comfortable as possible. A special thanks also to our pediatricians' office -- Fuquay-Varina Pediatrics -- who not only advised us from a distance, but worked very hard to keep up with us throughout our stay in the hospital and coordinating with the Florida staff. We just can't thank everyone enough.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Last moments of summer...

For a second year, Kirsten, Mae and Kirsten's parents have spent the last full week of September in Cocoa Beach, Florida. This year, Ben (and soon Rich) have joined them for a week of fun, sun, pool, beach, relaxation and family! We are looking forward to hanging out with Kirsten's aunts and uncles this week, but for now it's all about swimming in the pool and digging on the beach for Mae (and resting for Kirsten).

Kirsten and Mae take in the last minutes of the last day of summer on the beach just outside the condo.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Alaskan Collins

We are so excited to learn that another family member has joined the blogging world! Megan, Rich's neice who graduated from college this spring, took a fantastic first job out in Alaska! While we are all so happy and proud of her, we have been a little sad she is so far away.
But no need to worry -- she is now blogging online so we can keep up with her fantastic adventures! We are so excited to read her posts, and hope you will take a minute and say hello to her and the kitties, too!

We love you, Megan! We are with you in spirit, thoughts and prayers until we can be with you in person!


After a week with the ants, a weekend at BugFest only seemed fitting. Actually, we were visiting the NC Museum of Natural Science to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit (very interesting!) with Omi and Opi and it just happened to be BugFest. Kirsten took the opportunity to talk with the Terminix folks about our ant problems while Mae posed with Wall-e's friend, "BUG"! Even Ben was dressed up for the occassion, sporting his own "cocoon." We are looking forward to going next year and seeing the nostalgic flea circus.
Happy 18 months, Mae!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It's not been a fun week in the Collins house. We are under a hostil ant attack! Well, the ants aren't hostile but Kirsten is of a different opinion. The little buggers have invaded the first floor, forcing Kirsten, Mae and Ben to hide out upstairs away from the invaders and fumes from ant spray. But as swiftly as they came, they've disappeared! We don't know if one of Rich's many attempts has worked or if they've decided the neighbors have a nicer pad - but they seem to be gone!

UPDATE: The ants are not gone. It appears they were employing a sneak attack by lulling us into false sense of security so they could attack three days later.
A photo from FSU's Biology Building (June 2008), back when we thought ants were still cute.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tiny tumbler!

Today, Mae's class took their first field trip to nearby Sonshine Gym. Our class leader for the day, Miss Jodie, was fantastic and everyone had a great time! And lucky for Mae -- her cheerleading Aunt Lulu was visiting, making the day even more fun!
While she didn't quite understand rolling, she loved the trampoline and finally tried to crawl through a tunnel (this was a disaster last year in baby class). And after several tries, she even attempted the balance beam!

Thanks, Lulu, for helping out and partnering with our Tiny Tumbler!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Photographer in training

Mae loves small, electronic devices. First it was remote controls, then it was cell phones. Now it's cameras. But now that she is a big girl, she is no longer satisfied with just holding them (and trying to out run us as we chase after her to reclaim these items). She wants to make the work, and gets so tickled with herself when she does (sorry for those of you that have received the random crack of dawn phone calls from a heavy breather!).

While Lulu was visiting and taking pictures, Mae got hold of our camera and wanted to show off. Here's some of her handywork. We don't want to be biased, but she could have a future... at least as a scrapbooker. It is a big improvement from her previous attempts (usually of her armpit).

Mae's foot and the end of the sofa; Mae's playset; the television and Monday nite football

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Sunday was Rich's birthday.

After all the excitement of Hurricane Hannah -- or excitement of anticipating the hurricane -- we kept our festivities low key.

The birthday boy and the family checked out nearby Bass Lake and took Ben on his first nature walk. We didn't go too far, but we were proud of ourselves to tackling the trail at all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

... and for Labor Day ...

And this is what we did for Labor Day... over, and over, and over, and over, and over... I am sure you get the idea.