Thursday, September 15, 2011

Surfside, Texas

Once a year, one of my college roommates' (Brie) family (The Newtons) gets together in a beach house in the Galveston area...  Every year, they invite my sister, Amy, and me to join them for the weekend...  Even after having my flock, they still keep inviting me.  (It'll be interesting to see at what age, they will conveniently forget to call!  Ha!)  

A little history on Brie and her fam....  First, Brie started out as a unknown person on Amy's potluck dorm roommate assignment her freshman year at A&M.  My parents made each of us live on campus our freshman year and Amy didn't know anyone staying in the dorms so she went potluck....  After pilfering through each others closets, wondering what they had got themselves into, they became best friends fast... I mean TIGHT.  And of course, once you know Brie, you love her as I did after meeting her.  The next year, as I headed off to A&M, my bestie Misty, didn't get on campus housing, so seeing Amy's experience with potluck, I decided to do the same, thinking I was going to meet this amazing jewel of a friend that we would all fall in love with and add to our fabulous group of girls.... Wrong!  That story is for another time, but let me just say, I spent many of nights my freshman year sleeping on the floor of Amy & Brie's dorm room!!!  It took another year after that, but we were all finally together in an apartment!  To this day Amy and Brie will swear that living with someone you never met is a fantastic experience, but don't believe them!!

The closer we became with Brie, the closer we became with her family...  The Newtons.  Like Brie, to know them is to love them!  Her mom and dad are amazing!  Her brother Brad and sister Laurie are identical versions of Brie...  Same laid back happy personality.... very active, very smart, very interesting to talk to and they all have sickening gorgeous naturally blond hair.  Their mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at an early age and to see them pull together to take care of her is incredible...  Each of them has made HUGE sacrifices in their lives and it is an example of what a strong family should be!  It's always inspiring to be around them.

I thought that I had blogged about the previous time we went, but couldn't find it... Anyhoo...

This year we went to Surfside, TX, which is about 45 minutes away from Galveston.  Believe it or not, it was the first time in my life that I wasn't grossed out about the water and the beach down there!!  It wasn't the Caribbean, but the water was clean and the beach wasn't full of gunk!  It was actually really pretty.

This is the house we stayed in!  It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it was HUGE!  10 rooms, I think... 

Tons of ramps and stairs for entertaining the littles...

Even a media room for chill down time...

The babies love, love, love the beach!!!  It was complete craziness, but so much fun!  
Stephen and Damon
With the Seven

Beach Chaos

It was SO nice having all of the Newtons there... There was always someone willing to go and jump waves (which wore this mama out,) build sand castles, take someone to tee-tee, push a raft, or even just corral a straying kid or carrying an extra bag!!  

P.S. Gone are the days where I can sit under my umbrella drink my fruity drink with a celeb gossip mag!  

Brad and Stephen taking the first group of kids to the Beach

Jumping Waves in the "Big Water"

I left my sunglasses at home and my big beach hats block my peripheral vision, so I ended up wearing Stephen's hat... A titch boyish for me, but oh well!

Aim and Me


Surfer Ivy Girl

LOVING all the action

Miss Priss got a little finicky about the sand being on her hands.

The Newtons had every beach activity you could ever imagine... Boogie boards, skimboards, floaties, kites, frisbees, golf equipment, fishing supplies.... And as if that wasn't enough, they built a pond full of fish for the babies!!!  

Cousin Aiden and Brie w/ Pond

Fish!  Including natural greenery!

Sidney Kissing the Fish

College Roomies
Me, Brie and Amy

Amy, Brie and Brie's Fiance, Darren

Boys with Daddy on Skim Board
Ms. Priss getting over her sand aversion

Floatie Rides w/ Cutie Summer (Brad's G-friend)
Boys Wrestling (this is non-stop now!!) 

Cousin Brynne, Mitchell, Luke and Sid w/ Stephen

Laurie Building Castles w/ Luke and Aiden

We really had so much fun!!  Can't wait to do it again!


  1. Ellen, we love love love your family (you are an inspiration to us!) and so glad you could join us. You and Amy have an open invitation indefinitely for our vacations!

  2. The Rundown
    Ellen - 5 kids, eloquent blog entry and photos
    Brad - 0 kids, photos still on SD card


  3. Hi Ellen! You don't know me but I came across your blog this week while Googling "Terrible Three's," in hopes of finding some internet wisdom on how to get through this difficult stage w/ my otherwise-adorable son Evan. I got completely sucked in to reading your blog and now I'm in total awe of you! I have already told myself a few times "If Ellen Howell can manage FIVE THREE YEAR OLDS, all while looking great and keeping up with her blog, surely you can handle ONE of them!" BTW, Evan was born 2 days after your flock, on June 26, 2008. I now also have a 1 year old son, Dylan, who is getting into everything and adding to the chaos. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you now have a fan in Virginia and I'm anxiously awaiting your parenting book on how to deal w/ 3 year olds. :) - Joanie
    My Blogs: and