Thursday, October 27, 2011

Living amongst the wild and the not-so-wild

The great blessing of living in a neighborhood kinda out of the way is that we come into contact, every once in a while, with some wildlife. There's the alligators we see in our neighborhood ponds, the many long-legged birds that fish in those ponds, a deer on occasion (usually really late at night, or really early in the morning), frogs, hummingbirds, and on a wonderful but rare occasion... a family of rabbits. We had a nest of rabbits in our backyard, right up against our house. It was fun to visit them every day and watch them grow. We were sad the day we went outside to visit them and they were all gone, but that is life. Babies will grow up and leave the nest. :C

We also, on another rare occasion, ran into a flock of migrating wild turkeys who decided to migrate right through our neighborhood. Josh really enjoyed watching the enormous birds and thought they sounded a little funny. :)

Then there's the not so rare occasional visit from the many friendly neighborhood dogs. This is our next-door neighbor's dog, Dante. He is the sweetest little guy ever, and my kids adore him!

Project Master Bathroom: Before and After

The boring, mundane and cheap look BEFORE:

We painted most of the room together in August, before we left to Texas. While me and kiddos were in Texas, though, Matt finished painting it all and then installed the new mirrors, shelves, and lights. AWESOME!

The awesomeness that is AFTER:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Texas Trip Part 4: Museum and then some...

After saying our sad goodbyes to the Smiths, we stayed a few nights at Marc & Sarah's home in Lantana. They have such a beautiful house and again, so many toys. We wish we could have spent more time with them, though. Josh and little Brielle followed each other around the house and even snuck a few kisses, and Brooklyn, of course, loved playing with Liriel and Savannah and even watching Dallin and Christian play. My favorite part was reconnecting with my long lost brother and becoming kindred spirits with my sister-in-law. I hadn't seen them in over 4 years prior, so this was long overdue. I loved spending the evenings talking and sharing, and I learned so much just listening to them. Marc is so wise, and Sarah is the most amazing example of a woman.

Playing with their toys in their garage.

Avanlee doing what every 13-year-old does.

Playing with more of their many toys.

We went to play at Alicia's house one night:

Afterwards, we moved on to our last destination, Melissa's house (Matt's sister) in Azle, to await Matt's return to Texas. While there, me and the kiddos went swimming in their pool and one day met Alicia and Ian at the Science Museum (all the other kids were already in school and very busy). After Matt got back into town, we swung by my old roommate's house (Crista) to say hi. Back at Melissa's house, we enjoyed spending time with all of Matt's family, or at least the ones that still lived there in Texas. Even his parents came into town to visit with us all together. We had fun swimming, eating and playing soccer.

Playing with Madison

Brooklyn and Josh both LOVED their cat and dog, too.

The Science Museum:
This giant Light Bright was a hit with both Brooklyn and Josh.

Brookly sitting in a giant dinosaur footprint
Seeing the dino stuff was Brooklyn's favorite
part of the museum.

The enormouse dino skeleton.
Even Josh was impressed.

Brooklyn's favorite exhibit - diggin' up dinosuar bones.

Josh at the dino dig.

Brooklyn and Ian in the kiddie area.

Ian dressed up Brooklyn for the stage.
Ian, Brooklyn and Josh playing with legos.

Brooklyn and Ian grocery shopping.

Brooklyn's grocery cart. She knows how to shop!

This is how Joshie goes grocery shopping.

Me and my old roommate, Crista:

Family gathering at Melissa's:

Hangin' out at the pool at night.

A little bit of night swimming for the kiddos

Look what Brooklyn can do, now!!!

Brooklyn swimming with Daddy and Uncle Patrick.

All the cousins swimming.

My beautiful in-laws looking on.

Playing kick-ball!

Josh hangin' out with Grandma.

Josh's passion - anything that has wheels.

Playing soccer.

Well, the kids were playing soccer while Matt
and the other adults tried to keep up with them. :)

After a couple days in Texas as a complete family again, we hit the road back to South Carolina... back home. I missed being home, but we were very, very sad to leave all that family behind for another who knows how many years. We had a wonderful extended vacation there in Texas and enjoyed every day of it.
Brooklyn enjoying stickers in the car ride home.
Who knew stickers could be so entertaining!

Thank you to all those who opened their homes to me and my family and for entertaining us. We all love you all SO much and can't wait to see you all again!

Texas Trip Part 3: Six Flags and then some...

After overstaying my welcome at Michelle's house (J/K, Michelle; I know you cried when I left... but so did I - love ya sis!), I stayed with my older sister Cass and her family of 5 kiddos for a week or so. While there, we hung out around the house watching our children play with their many toys, went to the park/splashpad, went out to eat, played at the church, went bowling, swimming, and of course there was SIX FLAGS!! Brooklyn was so excited to ride her first rollercoaster and she developed a love of rollercoasters just like her momma. :) Fortunately, she was just the right size to ride all the family rides and even a couple of rollercoasters and then all the kiddie rides by herself. And boy did she have fun! Granted it was hot, but with unlimited refills on drinks, and all the water rides and sprayers, we stayed pretty cool. Here are some pics from our fun and adventurous time with the Smiths:
Josh walking up to the Smiths' door.

 Six Flags!!:
The crew in front of the fountains.
Josh & Brooklyn riding the carousel.
Our first ride.

The log ride.

The other half of our crew on the log ride.
Gettin' nice and cool on the cave ride.
(formerly known as Splash Water Falls).

The big splash!
Brooklyn was brave enough to stand on the
bridge and let that giant wave of water soak her!

Ridin' the airplanes in the kiddieland.

Josh didn't like ridin' without Momma.
It took him a few rounds to finally see
how fun it was even without Momma.

You can tell who this ride is supposed
to entertain... the ones with big smiles
on their faces. :)

Ridin' a roller coaster!

Josh and Chanelle enjoying the truck ride
in kiddie land. Josh really loved this ride.

Can't go to Six Flags without having funnel
cake at the end of the day. :)

Josh loved his cousins, Chloe and Chanelle. They read him books almost every night. They even babysat him and Brooklyn one night for me while I went out with my friends, and my kiddos did not seem to mind at all. :)

Chanelle and Chloe, again being awesome cousins, put together a fun little tea party for the little ones. And since Brooklyn just loves tea parties, she had lots of fun.

Brooklyn's first time bowling. She even got one strike.

Swimming at Cimmaron water park again.

Josh loves going under water!

We had such a blast staying at Aunt Cass' house and playing with Cannon, Camilla, Cameron, Chanelle and Chloe. They are all so such fun and we love them all so much, and we can't wait to visit with them again. But, our Texas trip was not quite over, yet...