A weekend in San Antonio

The girls had a half day at school one weekend so we headed out to San Antonio to explore Texas a little bit.

Our first stop was In n Out, because, yum!

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After we checked into the hotel, Jeff and I took the girls to check out the Riverwalk.

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The next morning we had Texas shaped waffles, then headed out to a nearby mission.  We were in luck and they had Archeology Day going outside in the common area and there were all kinds of things for the kids to do.  They dug for artifacts, identified bones, shot arrows, made bricks and lots of other stuff.

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Our next stop was the Natural Bridge Cave.  We had a good time exploring the cave, and the kids seemed to enjoy it quite a lot.  It was muggy and humid, but we got in some good exercise!

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The next day we headed down to the Riverwalk again.  We decided to take the boat tour through the canal.  It was nice and explained a good deal of history, we just couldn’t always hear it over the chattering of the cousins.  They had a good time together!

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After lunch Andy and his family headed back to Houston and we stayed to walk around the Alamo, because it was just right there, and shouldn’t you visit the Alamo when in San Antonio?!?

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A quick whirlwind tour of San Antonio, and a good time exploring a new place.

Dewberry Farms- Pumpkin Patch Fun!

Having Andy and his family here during the month of October was fun.  We got to do a whole lot of fun things, one of which was driving out towards Katy and visiting Dewberry Farms.  We had a great time on the hay swings, at the playground, in the corn maze, and shooting the apple cannon (which was the boys favorite, hands down).  We watched the pig races, which were sadly disappointing, the pigs did not want to run or race, just sniff around and lolly gag, but the kids liked it!  The farm was huge and full of cool activities.  Definitely the feeling of fall (even if it was over 90 degrees that October day).

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What a fun day!

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A visit to Lukes

To promote the new Gilmore Girls episodes several coffee shops in Houston (and around the country) were turning themselves into Luke’s Diner for a morning.  I really wanted to go, but Jeff was in Angola, and I don’t really have any close friends here in Houston… but luckily, Daisy, who had only seen a couple episodes, was nice enough to join me.  We figured out which one had the easiest, free parking and headed out after Hattie’s gymnastics class.  The kids kept busy by watching movies on Daisy’s phone, and then Hattie decided to have a meltdown screaming for ice cream (where did she hear there was ice cream?).  Luckily the people in the long line were all super excited to be there and didn’t seem to upset to have some serious sad toddler action happening!

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The girl in line in front of us was super nice and friendly, and we were all so excited to finally be at the door and order some food and drinks for the hungry kids.  There were signs up for Luke’s, aprons (which they weren’t selling, sad) and a guy in flannel to finish off the morning.  The pastries were good, and milkshakes were good and I got some Luke’s cups for my craft room, and fulfilled a super fun nerdy inner need!  Also great, Hattie perked up with a birthday cake milkshake and a sausage croissant!

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Happy 7th Birthday Violet!

At the end of September we celebrated Violet Ann as she turned 7!

I can’t believe how big she is now, and what a sweet, caring girl she is growing up to be.  Violet is such a creative force, and so full of love and fun.  She is so sweet to her sisters, she is always willing to sacrifice for them, and give them anything of hers to make them happy.  She is quick to make friends, welcoming and fun and energetic.  We sure love her to death.

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Violet was excited to have an ice cream party with her new friends, She was hoping to have swimming be a part of it, but we weren’t sure the pool would be ready to go before the day of the party.  Lucky her, it was done and swimmable just 2 days beforehand, she was THRILLED!  We had her party the day of her birthday, and luckily Jeff had the day off so we got donuts before school to kick of the day!

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That afternoon we had a bunch of little girls over for swimming, ice cream taste-testing and ice cream sundaes with cake.  What else could a person want!

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Violet picked all the colors for her cake, I love how it turned out.  Thank heavens for cute little girls who befriended Vi, they are just the cutest little things!

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We sure love our vivacious little 7 year old!  Happy Birthday Vi!

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September Recap

Another busy month.  We visited the newest cousin in Seattle, and continued to settle into our new home.  Jeff installed some cool organizers in the garage, and finally got his projector installed, it is GIANT!

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Finally got my custom Kitchen table in the house, and I couldn’t love it more, now to change those red chairs to a color that makes me happier!

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I finished painting the piano, but have seriously lazed about finishing the bench (upholstery, or no, or all kinds of other theories in my head).

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Hattie and I had a lot of time to bond, and we hosted our first week of preschool here.  She also got sick, sad, but it meant extra cuddles for me. She also made bread at one of her preschool days, she was super excited!

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Sophie continues to love aerial and learns new tricks regularly.  She is doing great (in my entirely uneducated opinion).

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Hattie keeps doing well in gymnastics.

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The pool was finished and we filled it up just in time for Violet’s birthday party (in the next post).  The girls were so excited it was finally done, and I survived a lot of pool care training.

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Grandma arrived in town for Violet’s birthday, so we played at the children’s museum and she helped out when Jeff had to leave for Angola for a business trip.

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I was asked to help out with Super Saturday, so i had to put together the demo craft they assigned me.  I think it turned out so cute!

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What a busy month!

Seattle and Baby Riley!

We headed out to Seattle for the long weekend for Riley’s baby blessing.  We are so glad we get to celebrate these events with family again, being back in the US has its perks!  WE stayed at Matt’s home so we got some good visit time with him as well.  The girls couldn’t wait to meet baby Riley, my 3rd niece and the girls’ 12th cousin.

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We started our weekend at a children’s museum, and the kids had a great time.  Water tables, scooters, trikes, and bikes, tools and all kinds of restaurant play and shopping.

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We had a delicious BBQ lunch and then headed to what we heard was a great beach for walking around a collecting shells.  It turned out to be a big mud pit, and everyone got pretty filthy!

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We got in a game of bowling.  Always fun, after you get over the smell of the alley!

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The next day we drove out to The Northwest Trek, which was a big park with animals and playgrounds and a tram with what I will call an American safari.  It was fun and the kids were loving the whole park.

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The next day was Riley’s baby blessing and taquitos and visiting.

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Our last full day in Seattle we headed to the Chihuly Museum for the morning and ended our day at the Mariners game and Cafe Rio for dinner.  All wonderful and fabulous, until we had to say goodbye to everyone way too soon.  We love family time!

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Hattie turns 3!!!!

My baby girl turned 3 on the 12th of August.  Can you believe it?  She is just getting so big.  we celebrated with traditional breakfast donuts (yay for being stateside) and opening presents while our floors were being done.

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Hattie is such a sweetheart.  She is my most cuddly, hug-giving, kiss-doling child.  She is just full of light and fun.  She is mischievous and funny, she likes to be “siy-ee” and crazy.  She wants, so badly, to be as big as her sisters.  To go to school, to read books, to be the big kid and not the baby.  But I just would love to keep her little for a little while longer, she is such a sweet addition to our family.  We love her to bits!

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Because our floors were being done we had a little celebration with Angola family at KC and Paul’s home.  We had dinner and cake and balloons, and it was a lot of fun.  We are so glad we had some friends to celebrate with.  Next year I am sure she will have a list a mile long of friends she will want to play with instead of us!

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We love you baby girl!

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August 2016 Brain Dump

Ok… we are moving people, and then Christmas will happen and I will continue to fall further behind, but I am determined, this WILL happen!

We returned home from our trip and found this:

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Yay!  Our pool had been started and the loudest, messiest part had been completed while we were gone.  We found out later tat the gunnite crew, which is the loudest part and basically a giant cement truck, showed up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, sorry neighbors.

We also started other projects in the house.  The floors were redone, no more carpet downstairs, especially the stuff in the dining room.

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The theater room began its transformation, and Jeff started decorating… and decorating!

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More work was done on the pool, tile and finish work.

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The girls started school.  The big girls started 4th and 1st grade at Broadway.  They were good sports.  We had gone to Meet the Teacher night beforehand, and their teachers were nice and welcoming, and we could introduce the girls and that they had never been in a US school system.  They did well and came home pretty happy with the state of things.  But Sophie took longer to feel like she had friends, now, months later, she has fallen in with a group of girls and is just so happy.  In August, we were just happy that they were feeling calm and becoming comfortable.

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The girls also started lessons.  Sophie had auditioned for level placement at a studio in the city, and was placed in the Aerial 3 class!  She started learning new and fun things right off the bat.  Violet and Hattie stared gymnastics, I need to figure out how to get Vi pictures, she is always so far away from where I get to sit… working on it.  Sophie also started Activity Days, which is great, and such a nice way to meet friends.

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Hattie started preschool and just is so excited.  We are doing a co-op with 4 other families and the moms rotate teaching responsibilities.  Hattie LOVES her class and was so mad when I first taught her, she wanted to go to school and didn’t understand why school was coming to her!

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We got in another A’s game and one day we will see them win here.

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We welcomed routine and schedule and started to feel more settled.  but man, buying a house is a whole lot of work!

Orlando 2016

The next morning we headed by the airport to pick up Grandma and OGO and then started the next part of our trip in Universal Studios.  We were so excited to see the new Harry Potter attractions and the girls were so excited to see the world we had been reading about in real life.  We started with the newest part, Diagon Alley.  As the adults had all visited Hogsmead in the past.  We had so much fun riding the new Gringotts ride, visiting all the shops and playing with the new interactive wands.  The girls spent time trying every spell they could find in both parks.  The Hogwarts Express was a great ride and an easy way to go back and forth between parks, and we just had such a great time.  The girls also loved the water slide, and we enjoyed more butter beers than a normal person should consume!  We also raced our way at the park opening our second day to ride King Kong.  Usually a 120 minute wait, we got on in less than 30 minutes!  We were happy Hattie could ride, as she was pretty sick of being left out of things!  We figured cause she was tall enough it would be a good ride for everyone, but there were some seriously scary parts that involved dinosaurs getting their heads ripped off by giant apes… and Hattie, pleased with her ability to ride, just clapped and cheered like it was no big thing!  I realize now, that I didn’t take nearly enough pictures of our trip, but here is what I have, and just know that we had a great time!

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We headed to a beach on the Gulf side of the state for a break from the parks.  I apparently took zero pictures, but the girls played in the waves forever and had a great time.

Then it was time for Disney.  We started our day in Disney,  Hattie was just so thrilled, she said as we walked in the park, “I so cited.”  And she could stop grinning.  It was adorable.

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She enjoyed all the rides, and even got to go on the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster, and she was in love!  The girls all had a great time, the got crowns and were princesses all day long.  It really is such a magical place!

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It was drizzling throughout our trip.  We found Belle’s Storybook area during a rainstorm and Sophie and Hattie both participated in the show.  The best part is that you get a picture with Belle afterwards with no lines!

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The next day we headed to EPCOT.  The new Frozen ride was so fun, and Hattie was in heaven.  We did as much as we could before my parents had to head to the airport.  We ate lunch with the princesses, and Mary Poppins.  Sophie is getting too old for the characters I think, she was acting all old and teenage-y.  But Hattie and Violet loved it.

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After they left it started to rain again, and we got lucky walking by Else and Anna and a 30 minute wait.  The girls were so excited to meet the sisters, and Sophie was actually kind of geeing out.  I was glad to see the magic was getting to her!

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The days we were at Disney we stayed at the Art of Animation Hotel, it had these great rooms with themes, and giant characters all over the resort.  The first night we stayed in the Cars area, then we moved to the Ariel side.  My favorite were the super cute giant seagulls from Nemo.  Such a cute hotel.

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We had a great trip, were so happy to hang out with friends and family, and get one theme park trip in before Hattie turned three!

New Orleans 2016

We planned to visit DisneyLand before Hattie turned 3.  Turns out airfare to LA from here is prohibitively expensive… so we decided to drive to Orlando and see some of the southern sights.  Our first stop was Covington and New Orleans.  We visited NO and got to visit John and Jen for a couple nights.  Jeff also got some work in at the office there.  We had fun!

We started with beignets at Cafe Dumont.  We decided to sit down (as all they serve is drinks and beignets) and made a giant mess eating our way through some delicious breakfast treats.

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After walking around the French Quarter a little, and a quick picture at Bourbon Street, we headed to a Steamboat ride down the Mississippi.  It was a great trip and the girls had fun eating delicious chips and seeing the paddle plug away through the water.

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The next day the girls and I went swimming at the Club with Jen and her kids, had lunch.  And then later went to their super cute house for dinner.  The kids played Mario Kart and we enjoyed some delicious tacos.  And I, sadly, only took these few pictures!  Too busy catching up!

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Fun coincidence.  On our way out of Covington we stopped at Chic-Fil-A for lunch and ran into Jen and the kids, again!  The kids played for a long time together in the play place and we got to chat a little longer before heading to the coast.  Off to Destin, FL.

While driving to Destin we took a couple stops.  First in Gulfwater, and walked the beautiful white beach for a little bit.  Then we stopped at Beauvoir the home of Jefferson Davis.  We took a walking tour, and ran into a whole TON of Pokemon players.

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We arrived at our hotel in Destin, and we noticed a ton of families on the beach with flashlights.  We figured we would head down to the beach and see what was happening.  Turns out, at night, all these little white crabs come out and people were trying to catch them.  the girls had a great time catching them, and then watching the fireworks afterwards over the water.

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The next day was spent boogie boarding in the waves of the perfect Gulf temperature water.  A nice lady gave us her boards as she was leaving and the girls had a lot of fun playing all day long in the water and the waves.  We will definitely be returning, it was a great place to play.

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After all the fun in the sun it was time to head towards Orlando and our theme park fun.  We arrived after dinner to Orlando and decided to go into Universal Studios for a few of the rides that Hattie would want to ride, along with one or two runs on the Hogwarts ride.  An hour of fun time before the park closed and before we started some serious ride riding and walking around!

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