Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The End

It's time to say good-bye for now.

I have loved every minute of blogging, but for a number of reasons, I have to stop. Hating to be the one to hang up first, I'll give you some of the reasons and then a quick update on our lives before I abandoned my captive audience:

  • Blogbooks are stupidly time-consuming to make...and blogbooks are 80% of the point of me having a blog. Besides that, the company that used to slurp my blog into a book stopped offering that service. Dang them!
  • Facebook keeps me in touch with friends and family as well as I could ever hope for.
  • The books I've made from this blog are real treasures for my kids. And it's mostly because of the pictures and quotes. I can do that with chatbooks.
  • Chatbooks are a thing!
  • I have no more time to blog. I have four kids,  one of which is a very busy toddler. We just moved and I've got a super long list of things to do. I don't see it shortening anytime soon. And soon I'll have a job (I hope)!
 Family Update:

In July, we arrived in College Station, Texas--three hours from our beloved San Antonio. Jared has started medical school at A & M. Isaac still loves to read, Noah still loves animals, Ellie still loves being creative, and Natalie has discovered the joy of changing fancy dresses a hundred times a day and dancing in them. We have started going to a Spanish-speaking congregation in our church, which has been fun and interesting. We haven't taken a family picture in two years, or I'd leave it here. Love you all...ciao!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Natalie's 2nd Birthday

If you know my baby girl, you know she loves Elmo. Oh, does she love Elmo!
So, OF COURSE we had to make her birthday have an Elmo theme. I don't think we've ever enjoyed a little one's party so much, from the planning and decorating to the celebration and watching her face as she enjoyed everything.

One of the snacks was Goldfish, in honor of Dorothy (Elmo's goldfish). Natalie felt like using utensils on this apprized appetizer.

Her face while hearing the birthday song is so priceless.
She approves!

NiƱos approve.
Presents! This party just got unbelievably better! Elmos for everyone.
 The best thing I ever bought (to date) was this Elmo balloon. It provided hours (I'm not even kidding) of fun. I can still see in my mind: Noah running in the backyard with Elmo tied to him, seeming to chase him, and Natalie's in stitches. But the day it finally died, it was saluted for all its service.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

March with Friends

We are going to miss our San Antonio friends when we move! In March we got to do a couple of fun activities with some of our besties.

Green Lunch at Wildhorse Sports Park

I think my favorite part of this day was what I didn't get a picture of: me playing volleyball with a bunch of young women I didn't really know before! Such sweet girls--it doesn't surprise me because I know all their mommas and siblings and they are sweet, too. But it was all fun. 

Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne

My favorite thing about this day was how well my kids get along with like-minded spirits. But then when Natalie had to go home early (she had a big sore on her toe and she wouldn't stay away from the mud & water), that got bumped to number 2. My favorite part about this day was how amazing my friends are. Alecia and Kate volunteered to have my older three kids stay, despite the fact that mud and wet clothes were inevitable. The kids had such a good time, too!

The main March activity other than these outings and homeschooling was...getting ready for a garage sale! No pictures, but it came and went and we had a lot of fun and learned a lot.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Roommate Reunions

You may remember that Wendy, my Freshmen roommate, moved with her family to San Antonio a couple of years ago. It was like a dream come true--one of my favoritest people from my long life, living in my same town [The same goes for Cheyney when she lived here, by the way]! Well, Wendy has now moved to Saudi Arabia and is having wonderful adventures in the dunes there. But, before she left, we were the recipients of some fantastic roommate visits and near-visits. 

First, Cami almost came. She was super close to making the trip, but she had a lot working against her: firstly, her husband was away, serving the country in the Air Force, so she'd be driving alone with four small kiddos; secondly, her kids needed a chance to spend time with their grandpa in California because his health was failing. So they went west instead of south. But we decided all the planning and anticipation were almost as good as a real visit. We love you, Cami! And we think you're amazing for even thinking of coming to see us!

Next, Carina came through San Antonio for a race in Houston--we are just that lucky!! What a beauty; am I right?! It was fantastic to see her and how much her boys have grown!
Then, Tammy came with Jeremy for a surprise visit! Those two are still just as much fun as ever--who does that without a mighty planning ahead powwow? The Ramptons! So, we didn't get to meet their beautiful children since this was a get-away weekend for them, but my kiddos got to bond with them and know the awesomeness of the Tammy & Jeremy phenomenon!
This was all within the period of a few weeks. We were wondering, isn't it Jenna's turn?? We might just have to pull a Rampton some day and show up in California....

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Having Daddy Home

"I'm so glad when Daddy comes home...!"

Jared had the job in El Paso from September to February; he came to visit a handful of times and we loved it. Then he had a few out-of-town weeks here and there. We have learned to take advantage of Daddy when he's home because now (May-July), he's working in Nevada! Here are some of the memories we were able to make while he was with us:

The Toilet Seat Museum
This San Antonio treasure will not be around forever. The owner is quite spry for his age, but...he's getting up there. See it while you can; there's nothing like it!

Palmetto State Park
Never expect to sleep during a family camp-out--that's my new motto. If I have low expectations, it's more fun. Also: babies need their own sleeping bags. Some day we'll get it right! It's been quite a while since I've been camping, so I'll count this as a win.
Sleepy baby and mommy; beautiful scenery while they slept!
Starting our hike after breaking camp

Palmettos are not typically found in this part of the country, but this are's unique (for Texas) geography make all kinds of animal and plant life possible here. It was fun to learn all about it on the hike.

After our Palmetto adventures, we were hungry for some pizza and then some history, so we headed to historic Gonzales, just 20 minutes away.

This is where the "come and take it" cannon is. We had been wanted to make this trip since we heard about the cannon during our first visit to the Alamo. It was actually lost for a hundred years because the guys who buried it were killed in battle soon afterward. The whole story is fascinating, from before they even had to say "come and take it!" to the mail man who stored it in the post office for years....
The museum was fascinating for each of us to visit. So much cool old stuff! History is awesome.
Look closely for the puncture from the Mexican army to render the cannon useless
 San Antonio Rodeo
The San Antonio Rodeo is always fun to visit, and we finally got Jared to go!
There was more than enough to count this field trip as an educational day, but our favorite part may have been the petting zoo. Sorry, no pictures. But imagine a hundred adorable and varied soft and fuzzy animals of all sizes in one place with my kids--the ones who love animals but are deprived of having any of their own--loving every minute, sometimes pursuing, sometimes being pursued, brushing, petting and holding. It was so much fun to watch...and I got my animal fix in!

Road Trips: College Station, Bryan, Austin
 We took lots of road trips with Jared for track meets and house-hunting. Since we're moving to College Station for med school this year, we saw many many houses! We also looked around for good neighborhoods for running trails. And, of course, there were many restaurants to explore.

NCAA Indoor Track Championship
We were able to time one of our College Station trips to be when the NCAA Indoor Track Championship was held. We attended both days and got inspired for our own track season, which the kids were already training for. Natalie spent lots of time going up and down the bleachers, getting in trouble with the security guard for swinging on the stair rail, and she eventually learned how to get a back massage from Ellie.

George Bush Presidential Library  
Another great thing in College Station is the George Bush Presidential Library. We learned so much and really enjoyed it.

My sassy girls with the president
 The boys' favorite part had to do with the CIA phase of Bush's life.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Homeschool = More Family Time

In January, we started homeschooling all three school-aged children. Natalie was thrilled to have more time with her brothers and sister. Although it was a lot of work and frustration because we're all new at this, it has been very rewarding! Right away we started seeing benefits of being together more and having more freedom and flexibility (and less crowds!).

One day for lunch, we decided to pack a picnic and run to a park in a nearby neighborhood. You can't do that in public school on a weekday!

We went to the movies one day when everyone finished their work in time (It was to see Rogue One, not King Kong, but they were having fun with the "dirty hand" display).

I love to see them hanging out together! I wish I could say it was always easy-going between them, but that would be unrealistic. I will take what I can get!

It's crazy and chaotic sometimes. It can be dramatic and difficult, too. But it's also really fun and rewarding and...just so worth it. They're making memories together. They are bonding. And they're giving their little sister a chance to be less isolated than her age would normally require. I know it's probably temporary, but we are enjoying the benefits of homeschooling!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Nine on the Nineth!

 Noah turned 9 on the 9th! He chose to go to Laser Tag with his best friend Jayden. In order for Jared to make it, we went while he was still in town.
 These guys love this stuff! And, apparently, picking your nose in a picture is the cool thing to do. I guess Jared's not cool.

Afterward, we went to CiCi's Pizza...where only Natalie would stand still for a picture. That just tells you that had fun and kept getting up for more pizza. Actually, they spent the majority of the time in the arcade.
 Jayden's gift for Noah was the coolest--Minecraft and animals!? Pretty good combination, coming from a fan of both; going to a fan of both. Noah was pretty proud of this stack from smallest to biggest:

On the day of Noah's birthday, he woke up to a phone call from his Dad and some presents--of course the cheetah shirt was a favorite!
This guy is a sweetheart. I can't believe he's nine already!

His Uncle Danny knew he'd love this building set. Noah worked on it for hours (he had help here and there, but it was mostly just him). You can see just the beginnings on his actual birthday.
 For his birthday dinner, Noah chose wisely (steak!). And all the kids were pretty excited about their very own bottle of carbonated sugar.

Noah's cake was from Cold Stone Creamery--deliciousness!