Sunday, August 31, 2008

What's that Smell?!

From baby humans to baby skunks (see slideshow for more info), the last two weekends have been really fun, interesting, and kinda stinky for me and Emily. We got to spend both with very good friends that we have not seen in a long time. Last weekend, Gwendolyn and John came to Longview with their 4 month old girl, McCollum. Gwendolyn and Emily met at OBU and have kept their friendship strong over the years. She married John a few years ago and they live in north Arkansas now. I've only been around John a handful of times, but he's a great guy and we hit it off right away. They are definitely two of our favorite people and we wish we could see them more often.

This weekend we went to the big city of Brownwood, Texas to help Dalton and Kristen break in their new house. They just moved there from Columbia, Missouri and are about to have a baby. Kristen is teaching biology and Dalton is coaching tennis at Howard Payne. Dalton's family and Kristen's mom were there as well. Dalton and I met in college. We pledged S together, roomed together for most of college and then for a year after college in Little Rock. We were groomsmen in each others' weddings, and he's one of my best friends on earth, but I consider him more of a brother. Kristen, Gwendolyn, and Emily were all Chi Deltas at OBU.

Here are some pics from both weekends. Enjoy!

John, Gwendolyn, and McCollum

She's a cutie!
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Sushi at GZ's
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McCollum got to kick it with our nephew, Garrett, while we were eating.

Brownwood, Tx.


John and Gwendolyn, McCollum is beautiful. Dalton and Kristen, I'm sure that bun-in-the-oven Hutchins will be too! We had a blast with you guys the past few weekends. Thanks for being such great friends. We feel really blessed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gulf Shores 2008

Every summer the entire Pope family packs it up and heads to the beach. It's been a family tradition since Max and Margaret got married and I believe they've only missed one summer since. And for anyone that knows Max, this is the only week out of the year where he actually does nothing. I know it's a shocker, but he actually defines "relaxing" when we're there. We always say Gulf Shores, when in actuality, we usually stay in Orange Beach. Gulf Shores is a few miles down the road and is better known in the Pope clan as "Nerd Beach". Speaking of the Pope clan, just look at the picture below and you'll see what I mean.


It's a pretty routine vacation that I know Em and I really look forward to every summer, and I'm sure everyone else does too. Things have mellowed out in the last 7-8 years, with 8 kids and all, but we have an absolute blast regardless. And Liz is a big help and great relief to some of the parents. Entertain the kids for a free trip to the beach... no brainer. To give everyone an idea of what a typical week at the beach is like with our family, I'll just share a few things from this year. There is a show that comes on HDNET here called Beachgoers Exposed. I saw an episode recently and they did this whole bit on families/groups that go to the beach and take everything under the sun with them. They claim an area, they set up tents, and they pretty much live on the beach. Well we've always had a tent set up, but after this year, I think the verdict is in. We are officially "those people". Eighteen people, a giant wagon carrying 2 coolers, beach chairs galore including 4 super high tech "zero-gravity" chairs (eyes rolling), a kiddy pool, kites, 2 little baby tents, and four 10'x10' party tents put together to make one massive shaded area. Once the "structure" is up, activities include laying in the sun, relaxing in the shade, napping, visiting, iPodding, reading, trafficing kids back and forth from the pool, building sandcastles, and flying kites. I think Faber read about 10 books on the beach. I read half a book and Emily actually read an entire novel in one day. I'm such a proud husband. Mason and I flew our stunt kites and schooled some guys in the group next to us that had no idea how to fly theirs. Amateurs. A little bit of shopping, a movie, eating out a time or two, it was a great time. The water was pretty murky the first 2 days... lots of seaweed and jellyfish. It cleared out the third day and the waves were still pretty big, so Mason and I managed to get some nice body surfing in. The water was very clear and calm the rest of the week. We got some good pics, but the slideshow function will only let me include 50 pics, so I made two. Here is the first one.

It is inevitable that whenever we are around all of these kids, there is always a "question of the month". Well it was a 3-way tie this time between Anna Kate, Maxwell, and Olivia & Maxwell. I don't think I've ever heard a kid ask "why?" as much as Anna Kate. "Adam, what are you doing? Sitting down. Why? Because I'm tired? Why? Because I played on the beach and built sandcastles all day? Why? Because I wanted to. Why? Because it was fun? Why? It just was. Why? BECAUUUUUUUSE!!!" And every single time a plane flew over with an advertisement banner, which was approximately every 20 minutes, Maxwell asked "what does that say?" He was very enthusiastic and determined to know the information that those planes were carrying. And between Maxwell and Olivia, I think I heard "Adam, can we build a sandcastle?" about 200 times. And of course by "we" they meant "me"! As you'll see in the pictures, they were really excited and motivated to help for about 5 minutes, but somehow always ended up "supervising and/or spectating" with Papoo! It's a good thing I like building sandcastles. We had a wonderful time this year. My only complaint, as usual, is that it always goes by too fast. But then, next year will be here before we know it.