Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Museum Day

June 30th I realized a whole month of summer was over and we had yet to go to the zoo or the museum.  Well, that just would not do so we packed up and headed out. By we packing up I really mean we- I put the kids in charge of making lunches. Joseph's sandwiches were great, Jon packed a plum for each of us but forgot to pack the 2 apples he worked so hard to slice.  And I left my water bottle- thank goodness for drinking fountains. It was a good group effort!
 We were photo bombed by a dino skeleton. 
 Jon kindly helped Lily create her own bird.
 The snap circuits were a hit by all of the kids. 

 This boy is growing up way to fast for me. 

One group shot before we left. 
The kids really wanted to stay longer but after 5 hours I was done and was a bit worried about traffic. 
It was a good thing we left when we did because about 5 miles from home we hit total stand still traffic and I was in the far left lane. It took 30 mintues to travel about 2 miles but I was eventually able to get off and take a frontage road home. 
We are looking forward to going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in a next week on our way to Utah! I do have great kids!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cub Camp 2015

Cub Camp this year was a family affair!
Peter helped make swaps and to keep the house running while I was gone from 6:55 am to 4 pm Monday to Thursday the last week of June. 
This was Jon's second year going as a cub scout and he was really grateful he did not have the flu this year and was thus able to enjoy the whole week at camp! 
It was a wild west theme and so there were many fun activities and crafts. 

Monday I was able to be a be a walking den leader with Jon's group and was even able to shoot BB guns with him. It was so much fun! 
The rest of the week I helped out in the Tot Lot - babysitting for kids potty trained and up that can not attend cub camp. We only had a few girls that were over the age of 8 but averaged 16-22 kids each day. I was thankful by the end of the week that I ended up helping all week. I met some great women and gained a new love for the woman from my ward who asked me to help out. 
 Arabella and Lily thought it was the best thing to be able to go to tot lot all week. 
Samantha spent Monday at a friend's house and the rest of the time went with me. She is obviously not potty trained but since I was going to be in tot lot they let me take her. That was nice because she does not really like to be left with other people. She overall liked it, hated it and found it completely exhausting. 

 One day a fire truck came up and sprayed the campers during lunch. I just barely went in the spray with Samantha and it felt wonderful!
 Lily also chose to keep a safe distance. But Jon and Arabella were soaked!

You might be wondering where Joseph was in all of this. Well, he was up there with us as a Junior Staff. The first 2 days he helped with a craft station.  The next two days he spent the morning moving 5 gallon buckets of sand and gravel to various trails to fill in potholes that had formed due to the excessive rainfall.  I had the supervising leader tell me how impressed she was with how hard he worked and that he did not complain, he just got it done. One afternoon he helped in tot lot a bit too. 
I am pretty sure you will see a similar post next year - it was good for all of us. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Arabella's Dance Recital

Arabella had her first dance recital with Ballet Conservatory on June 10th. 
She was beautiful and graceful and I loved watching her shine! 

Above without the crown but still some sass!
Below, with her crown and plenty of sass! 

Her class did a dance to Frozen. I tried to get the video to upload from my phone but it is not cooperating. Oh well! She also loved wearing bright red lipstick - required color by the dance studio (they actually have a specific shade you buy from them).
She loved that Dad gave her flowers and being able to watch the rest of the recital after she danced and changed. 
Samantha loved the sonic shake we stopped for on the way home. 
It was ordered by dad, she was offered a drink of it and it was never returned. Happy Baby!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Yard Things

Over the last few months we have gotten a ton of rain! 
I mean like flooding, roads shut down, lakes at 100 year highs, lakes that were at 19% of normal and now are at 95%.  Crazy rain! I was wondering if I needed to start building an ark.  
It is amazing to see though how once the rain stops for a week or two the ground dries up quite fast. Oh well, it has made for a more mild summer, if not a bit more humid, and I am not complaining about that. 
We also decided to cut down our trees in front of our house. 
It was a sad day but Peter got to buy a new chainsaw and spend a day playing with power tools. 
The trees were so big that they were drawing so much water from around the house they were leading to foundation issues- a common problem in Texas, the foundations not the trees. 
We have since finished cutting down both of the trees and are going to begin working on removing the stumps and then we will plant Crape Myrtle trees. 

And in this picture if you strain your eyes you might be able to see the repaired foundation. Okay, I am just kidding but after writing such a sizeable check and sending the workers on their way, I had to take a photo to document the occasion. They did remove a fair number of our front bushes which I am okay with because now we can plant new ones. It will take some time but I think in a few years it will be beautiful!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer Swimming

It is summertime and so we have been swimming! 
 Samantha loves to put goggles on her head! 
Peter suggested that maybe I should try attaching hair bows to the goggles and she might just keep them in!

 The above pictures were taken while swimming one evening as a family at the rec center. I had the kids all lined up by height perfectly and then Jon had to jump. You can see Joseph's foot so he is still there but too bad Jon also hit Joseph in the jaw when he did this. 
 We have also been doing swimming lessons.
Lily was so excited to start this year. I thought she would do really well but she did not let her guard down and try what the teacher was asking until the last day or two.  I was so grateful I had signed them up for another session.
This picture perfectly captures Arabella's growing confidence in the water. She rarely wears her life jacket anymore at the pool and she is always working on getting better and stronger. I love it!
This is from the second session of swimming lessons- Day 1. It is a semi-private lesson with just Lily and Arabella. 
This was Arabella trying to put all of the parts of breaststroke together and doing a really good job of it. I am really so proud of both of them. 

New Orleans

Peter travels a lot and therefore, he earns all  kind of travel points- air, hotel, rental car. 
For the third year now, he has earned a companion pass.  This means that if he flies, I fly free. 
I know that sounds incredible but it only is incredible if you use it. 
It took some planning but we made it work for us to go out of town for just over 48 hours and it was well worth the effort. New Orleans was the perfect getaway!
Friday we went to plantations: Oak Alley and Houmas House.
The oak trees in front of Oak Alley were undeniably impresseive as was some of the items inside. I also enjoyed the restored slave quarters with the information in them.

Houmas House was enchanting.
The current owner lives there and has gone to great lengths to restore it. 
I was actually allowed to play the Steinway Piano in it. 
The gardens were so beautiful!
The picture 2nd from the right is a vampire slaying kit. 
We also had lunch with our dear friends Andy and Lindsey Maas. 
The company was the best part - so great to catch up. I am sad we did not take a picture.
The food was delicious too and my first time eating oysters- better than I thought they would be. 
Saturday we spent time at the French Market and driving by some of Peter's old stomping grounds (aka his old schools).  We also went on a swamp tour which was really cool! Yes, we were that close to the alligator.  We then ate at this middle of nowhere restaurant and it has ruined all other fish tacos for me. They were so good. Driving across Lake Pontchartrain at dusk and early sunset was beautiful!
I know there have already been a ton of pictures but here are a few from my phone. 
We used Peter's rental car points and for $10 more a day we were able to upgrade to a convertible! Totally worth it! The weather was perfect and we drove with the top down everywhere.

 The mighty Mississippi River behind us. 

 And of course, no trip to New Orleans is complete without beignets. We enjoyed them Friday and Saturday nights. 
I loved spending some quality time with this amazing man! He works so hard for our family and tries so hard to give his family quality time though there are many demands for his time. He is my greatest blessing! I love you Peter! I don't know when or where our next trip will be but I am sure it will be fantastic!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Old Camera

I have yet to share the joy that was Joseph's first scout camp but here is a sneak peek.
I found an old disposable Kodak camera just the day before they (Joseph and Peter) left, that had half of it's pictures left on it.  I sent it with Joseph, along with a crash course in how they work. I don't know if you can even buy those anymore. 

Anyway, there is a sneak peek of what camp was like. They did have a great time! There was rain, mud, swimming, laughing, food, and learning. 

Now for what we found in the other half of the pictures.
 Joseph stole the camera!

No idea whose feet those are but they are not mine. 
 These pictures made Peter the happiest. He remembered making this huge mud pit for the boys. 
 Based on the fact that Jon is still in diapers, these are from 2007 or 2008.

 My boys loved parks that had sand! 

This picture makes me so happy! You are asking why because Jon has a blank look on his face. 
Now, look at Joseph (he was okay being called Joey when this was taken).  He has his blankie, which I believe he called his "B", and he is sucking on the corner and tickling his nose with another corner.  This was his second blanket because of the sucking thing.  His first one though it was repeatedly washed I had to trim the corners and refinish and so when it was needing a trim a second time we opted for Grandma Bird to make him a new blanket.  This time it had trucks on it.  He took to it well and soon the corners started to fade and turn brown.  I will always remember the times he could not find it and he would ask "Have you seen my blanket? It is blue with brown corners and trucks on it." We finally just took it away and it was sad- much like a pacifier thing.  He continued to tickle his nose with the edges of his blankets and may still do it but I have not caught him in a few years. 
Sweet memories of motherhood, early childhood, muddy boys, and happy times.