Saturday, August 29, 2009

We Be Jammin

As much as I am not a fan of clowns, or anything circus related, this little Rastafarian Clown was too cute not to take a picture of. I got this Jojo costume for $4 in the clearance section of Disney Shopping last year sometime. I was shocked at the quality of it, considering how little I paid. It is very well made. Maybe I'll get lucky and she'll ask to wear it for Halloween...fingers crossed.

Music Lessons

B and J started music lessons this week. It took me ages to find a teacher for J to take violin. She started asking for violin lessons (as her activity choice) as soon as we finished soccer in the spring, but finding a violin teacher in our area proved to be difficult. Luckily for me, the teacher that I wanted, didn't end up moving away this summer. She agreed to take both the girls. B for piano, and J for violin. B decided on piano lessons after failing to think of anything that she might be more interested in for her activity this fall. She seems pretty excited about it though. They have both been practicing without complaint (so far). Since J needs so much help practicing her violin, I've had to practice with her. I'm pretty sure that I will be able to play the violin too at the rate we're going, lol. I'm having a hard time playing her 1/4 size violin with my adult sized fingers.

Ketchup

In the news this week: Xander discovered the glory that is ketchup. He's a big fan.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

Big day today. It is strangely quiet here. I took the below picture of J right before she started crying. Luckily she pulled it together after a minute or two of wiping her eyes and sniffling. No picture of B at her desk (there were no parents in the room and I didn't want to embarrass her).
The rest of my crew heading home. L was royally ticked that she doesn't start pre-school until next week. She's going to be even more annoyed when she realizes it is only 2 days a week. I need to find a 3 day, longer day, preschool for her for next year. She would happily march down to the elementary school 5 days a week with her sisters if she could.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Starfall

So, I know that it has become abundantly clear that summer blogging is low on my priority list. Sorry about that. It's busy and I've had writer's block lately. I was chatting with a lady at the pool the other day who suggested the website Starfall for Jules. Apparently, my kids had already used it in school. I swear, they don't tell me anything. But I digress. So, she's been having fun with that the past few days, brushing up on her reading skills before school starts Monday. The real surprise was how awesome their pre-reading section is for Leia. She absolutely loves it. It is so much easier for her to use (with her limited computer skills) than sites like PBS kids or SesameStreet.org. I highly recommend it for the 3 year olds out there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is it over yet?

The room formerly known as our office.
Summer is coming rapidly to a close, and my blogging time has been near unto non-existent. We are almost finished with our whole house rearrange, but its been taking forever. Those of you who have seen our office know that Daniel suffers from some kind of hoarding tendencies (genetic, and I hope the kids don't inherit it). I have spent the last 9 years trying to keep his junk isolated into one room of the house. The junk is mainly electronic in nature. He says I make it worse by throwing all of his miscellany from the rest of the house into his designated space. I'm just trying to keep mess from overtaking the rest our home. As we considered a rearrange though. I think that it is best that he doesn't have a room with door for cluttering at all. Why not fix the problem, instead of isolating and hiding it into a confined space right? Granted he probably wouldn't have a problem at all, if he had more time to deal with stuff and stay organized. But free time...is at a premium around here. So, his giant desk is now in the loft and he has been diligently attempting to deal with all of the mountain of things that were removed from the office. So, I guess I can't complain. I wish he was finished sorting through it all though. My patience is wearing thin.

We are enjoying the kids all having their own space though. And, I have been spending a lot more time playing toys with the little kids now that we have that room to keep toys and things downstairs.

Here is a picture that I took of the office from the doorway about a year ago. It had not changed much in a year...except to get slightly worse. So glad to not have to look at that or close the door anymore.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Birthday Date

We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary and Daniel's 31st birthday a few weeks ago. They fall in the same week. I decided at the very last minute to pull off a surprise birthday date for Daniel to celebrate. My parents graciously agreed to host all 4 miniature crazy people for a sleepover at their house. It was a miracle they survived (the grandparents not the kids).

I sneaked around packing and hiding things, and told Daniel that we were going out for a Saturday lunch date. After I dropped off the kids, and the Mystery Machine (mini-van) at my parents house, I revealed the details of our date. He was pretty surprised. I am AWFULLY sneaky. :)

So, we started heading up toward Brenham, making a stop at the bookstore to get Daniel a copy of Dune, and stopping at 5 Guys Burgers, because I've been wanting to try it out. We stopped at Home Depot for a couple of odds and ends, and then checked into our Bed and Breakfast at 3pm. It was a really cute little place...we would definitely recommend it. I had purchased tickets to see Harry Potter 6 at the little theater there in Brenham, so we headed straight to the movie. After the movie we parked back at the B&B and walked across the street to a restaurant that had been recommended to us called Volare. After dinner, we walked around the historic downtown area while a summer concert was going on.

The next day, we had a yummy gourmet breakfast prepared by the inn keeper, put together a puzzle that was laid out in the living room (Daniel gets fixated on things like that), walked around the downtown again, and then checked out. I had wanted to see the Antique Rose Emporium, and this seemed like as good a time as any to go. So, we went out there, walked around, took tons of pictures, and bought a climbing rose bush for our backyard arch. Finally, we stopped and got Daniel a desperately needed haircut, and got some Blue Bell ice cream before heading home.My mom made an early dinner and birthday cake for Daniel. So we ate, and sang, and did the traditional birthday stuff. It was totally fun and I think he enjoyed it. Next year, for our #10 anniversary, I'm still shooting for a 2nd honeymoon to Hawaii. Hopefully we'll be able to make that happen.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bedroom Shuffle

My entire house is in shambles. We decided...well, I decided really...that the kids needed to be separated into 4 rooms. Jules had decided that she was ready to not share with her little sister, Captain Destructo anymore. So, we were going to put the 2 little kids together so that both big girls would have their own rooms. That lasted 1 night. Then we realized that Xander is a light sleeper and Leia is a loud sleeper, tossing and turning and kicking the wall (Bella claims that she snores too). So, needless to say it didn't pan out. So we went to plan B (which was my original suggestion). We completely cleaned out the office downstairs (it has solid doors, just no closet), moved Xander in there (which is more convenient in many ways) and moved Leia back into Xander's room...which was hers before he was born. We moved all toys into the kids own bedrooms, and are getting rid of a few old furniture pieces in the loft. It will not be a playroom anymore. They never really did much playing in it anyway...just kept destroying it over and over. So, they have plenty of space to play in their bedrooms, and the loft will now have the "office" stuff in it, bookshelves and a couch. It will be like an open library. That was the concession that I made in negotiations with Daniel. He still needed somewhere to have a desk, and the kids would rather have their own private bedrooms than a big messy playroom and shared bedrooms. So, it's a win/win. The win part for me is that I don't have to look at Daniel's horrifically messy office anymore, and I don't have to keep a bunch of diapers, clothes, toys, etc of Xander's all over the downstairs to avoid going up and down 5,000 times per day. When Xander is ready to get out of his crib, I'm going to get a twin bed and a wardrobe piece for that room so that he will have hanging space. Right now it just has his crib, dresser, and IKEA toy storage unit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Doh!

par⋅a⋅pher⋅na⋅lia

[par-uh-fer-neyl-yuh, -fuh-neyl-]

*This just totally rocked my world. I have been mispronouncing and misspelling this word my entire life. I had NO idea there was an "R" in there. How embarrassing.

It's just like the time I found out that the expression is "second wind" not "second win".

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Montana Trip: Day 10, 11, & 12...finale

Saturday morning we were up and out early headed to Yellowstone and all points beyond. I took a few pictures of Cooke City as we were leaving town.

"Seriously?! I just spent 3 days in the car LAST WEEK!"
I have no idea what kind of animal this is...but when you see animals in Yellowstone, you take a picture.
I love the Buffalo. I think they are one of my favorite things about Yellowstone.

The first official sight that we stopped at was tower falls (I think). We also stopped at the Yellowstone store there and loaded up on Yellowstone souvenirs, and yummy ice cream.


Scenery.
I want to say the below pictures are of the upper falls...but it's been so long since this happened, I'm not 100% sure about that.



There was a bit of a problem by the time we got to Old Faithful. Let's just say it involved Leia and her entire digestive tract. Daniel accidentally ended up alone with Leia and Xander while this episode was taking place. Bella, Jules, and I were sitting around watching Old Faithful (unable to get him on the phone, and unable to find him at the car).


After we saw Old Faithful, we headed out of the park and started making our way down to Rock Springs Wyoming, where we were staying that night. We saw this beautiful area on the way.
I can honestly say that I had never been so happy to see a hotel in my life when we got to Rock Springs. It was the first night that I hadn't woken up shivering in a week, everything was clean and shiny and wonderful. After a good night's sleep, we spent a LONG day on Sunday driving from Rock Springs to Amarillo. And finally, on day 12...we drove home...arriving at our house around 8pm, Monday night. It was quite an adventure. :)

Montana Trip: Day 9

On Friday morning we got the cabin cleaned up and packed up. Daniel took the kids for rides on the 4-wheeler, then we packed lunches and everyone who was still in town took a drive up Lulu Pass Road. It was a mini-van invasion.We saw this deer on the way down the pass as we were leaving. I had to get down on my stomach in the gravel to take the picture below...but it was worth it.The whole way up the pass is like an ocean of beautiful wildflowers.There were some old decaying cabins along the way, and various remains from an old copper mine.We all picnicked up on a hill.After we ate, and the kids played for awhile, the girls and I followed some others up to an area that had some snow still on the ground, and played some more. It was quite a walk up a steep incline.It was Leia's first time in snow. She wanted to make snowballs, but couldn't get the hang of it. Bella decided to help her out.Below is the view back down to the car from where we were playing in the snow.Believe it or not, that concludes the reunion portion of our trip. I'm guessing you never believed that you'd have to hear quite so much about it.