Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Longs Park Playgroup

I love our ward's Friday playgroups where we head to assorted parks to let the kids play their hearts out and the mom's talk theirs out. But Long's is great because they have a petting zoo area.
Although I was a little concerned to hear that the people who man the petting zoo area do it as community service and so I spent the next ten minutes eyeing the guy up suspiciously. In the end I just love to watch my kids have a good time. And I love all the girls in our ward. You guys rock my world.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Saturdays

I don't know who ever said the "lazy days of summer" but I just can't buy it. And when people talk about relaxing Saturdays, I know that they don't live my life. Today started for me at 5:15 but it was a fun filled packed day.
We headed to the temple first thing this morning while my sister in law and brother watched our kids. Then we headed for the birthday circuit. We had two parties to attend. Each was so fun and involved water and pools. My kind of party.
Travis was in cupcake heaven. Then I got home, bathed kids, put them to bed, did two loads of laundry, made cookies for a choir treat tomorrow, and planned my primary lesson.
There wasn't anything lazy or relaxed about my day but I still loved it.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spoiler Alert:

Anyone who knows anything about me at all knows that I am a voracious reader. I love reading and yesterday was no exception as I read three books, two start to finish and the other one in a more skimming fashion. This book by Janet Evanovich was released yesterday. I had already put every single copy at the library on hold in anticipation. I still am cheap: come on people do you know me at all? Anyway...after a good laugh with my librarian friends they handed over this book. I snatched it with energy so cataclysmic that my daughter said, "Sometimes it seems like you love books more than your kids." After calming her tender fears we headed to the pool. Not conducive reading ground since I am trying to watch kids and they think getting me wet is funny. Once I got them home I put them to bed for naps and embarked on the journey of a well told story.

This is the fifteenth in the series and I had definite preferences how I wanted this book to go. And her is where the spoiler comes in...the heroine of the book a not so apt bounty hunter embarks on bringing in people who skip on their court bonds and although the stories are funny and I laugh out loud during each of her books, the thing that has kept me going through fifteen books is this twisted love triangle between her and 2 potential love interests. One a mild Bad Boy turned somewhat domestic and two a feral Bad Boy. Well people I just want her to hook up with the Bad Boy number two. Seriously I have waited for fifteen books now and I am still left waiting. Although at first I would have gone the other way I am deeply entrenched in my current opinion that BB2 is the best choice. And with each book I get more angry and aggravated. Will she never pick a man, will the series never end, will I feel so annoyed over writing that has gone a little downhill, and the heroine's dumb decisions that I will be forced to fork out my own eye. Probably but you know what I still am waiting for next year's book to be released. For the first time in my life I am deeply entrenched in a soap opera, although this is of the written variety. I need a help group. Someone-Anyone?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Isn't He Cute?

For all my weird feelings concerning Mother's Day, I have nothing but love for Father's Day. Maybe it's because the attention isn't on me making me feel all awkward. Maybe it's because I truly have been blessed with the best father for my kids. Maybe it is because I feel a need to appreciate all the men who work so hard and do so much and get so little recognition because they are just more emotionally low maintenance. No matter the reason Travis is the best father: Here's to you babe.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our Summer So Far

Although summer officially started yesterday in our family it started the day Bella got out of school. And we have been filling our time. Not only have we gone to Texas but we have done many other things like:
Being Tourists in our own Town
Wilbur Chocolate Company
Yeah everything in that picture is edible.
Reverting to some of our old naughty ways. Kill me now.
Swimming/pool time with cousins and at the local pool.
Swimming with family is so fun. The kids play so well and I don't worry about how I look in my swimsuit. I love family.
The community pool is more kid friendly but invariably I see people who I would rather not have seeing me in my swimsuit. The kids teachers, principals, friends, neighbors, etc...
Engaging in America's Favorite Pasttime - Baseball.
The backyard games are amazing and Travis decided to take wiffle ball to a whole 'nother level. I the pitcher ending up with a welt and mark. This is more than 20 minutes past the end of the game and being hit.
Body painting - Nana in Texas got the kids bath paints. They are the biggest hit in the tub, on the trampoline with sprinklers, and with Kody any time he can find them.
Is this not the cutest little I've been caught face. And I know you're going to take them away from me.
I love summer, being outside, being so exhausted by playing that the kids fall fastly asleep once you lay them in bed. I love the fireflies, cool evening breezes, far off wind chimes, and various forms of vacationing. I love that I read an article about dropping even your cleaning routines during the summer to play more with your kids now that they are home. And I love that it inspired me. I love that this past week I did just that. Now I just have to keep it up all summer long. Already my OCD ways are nagging me to fold any one of the four loads of laundry in my room. But summer is perfection.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 8

This day is hardly blog worthy but shouldn't be skipped as it is part of a series. We woke up, moved slowly with our heaviness over the week being done so quickly and our having to get back to real life. Travis's dad hung out for a bit to see us off. We left for the airport. Sad goodbyes. We had a two and a half hour layover in Atlanta. Due to thunderstorms in the Philly area we had an additional 1 and 1/2 hour delay. Four hours later my kids were done traveling even though we were just boarding the last leg of our flight. So as you can imagine the last flight sort of sucked. Nothing so terribly horrible but they weren't on their best behavior. Glad to get to Philly finally, get our car out of long term parking, and get out of there. Drove home to a huge thunderstorm, I love thunder. Got home exhuasted but not too tired to read a whole book from midnight to four. Perfect ending to a perfect vacation after all. Although got a call at 7:59 am on Sunday morning. Vacation officially over.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 7

Feeling sad knowing that today is our last full day and that tomorrow we would be leaving.
Jumped out of bed at 7:30 wanting to fit every little last thing in.
We took the kids on a hike, they showed us the fairy homes.
We went to see Grandpa's barn, and to just walk some of the property.
Then Julie's, another cousin, husband, Mike, came over to clay pidgeon shoot.
We headed to the mounds to dig. I found my own arrowhead.
Ate lunch. Took naps.
Nana, Me, and the boys went shopping for clothes. Bella had gone on her own with Nana earlier in the week.
Had one last get together with family coming over to visit.
Turned into a huge party with standing room only.
Everyone brought dessert. That's all that is important to Travis's family.
We talked late into the night and had such a good time.
I love our family. They are all so great and so much fun.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 6

We woke up this morning ready to move. We had a lot to do and I was worried about time and heat. It is scorching here in Texas. We all got ready relatively quickly and jumped in the car. We were headed for the San Antonio zoo. Nana was with us and the kids were dying with excitement to spend the whole day with her and to see all the animals. Each child was interested in a particular animal and so we decided to just systematically walk the whole thing. It was very fun and I took at least a hundred pictures.
There was a butterfly place that cost a dollar extra for each person. I was like it's not worth it I've seen butterflies but Nana insisted knowing that the kids would love it. We got the tickets and entered with all these rules about touching the butterflies, etc... I was speechless. It was spectacular worth the dollar and a lot more. It was my favorite part of the zoo and just so beautiful. Hundred of butterflies flying around, landing on you, landing on these spectacular blooming plants that scented the air with the sweetest smell, and landing on the fresh fruit that was sliced and laying everywhere to feed the butterflies. It was heaven. A butterfly landed on Wyatt and he kept all the rules about not touching it and waiting for it to fly away again. But the kids were filled with awe over watching it so up close.
From there we saw Cheetahs, Wyatt's favorite, Elephants, Issac's favorite, Rhinos, Travis's favorite, and Bella loved every animal. After exhausting ourselves at the zoo we left to go take a train ride that goes around the outside of the Zoo, Breckenridge Park, and by some museums. The train ride was 20 minutes and the kids loved it but were starting to be rocked to sleep. When we left there we got to the car and headed to McDonalds for lunch. We ate and played at the playland. We headed home for naps and Travis and I changed our temple reservations because we knew we would miss our four o'clock appointment. Yes you heard me. The San Antonio temple is a small temple that does a session every two hours but it is by reservation. And Wednesday night they are closed and Thursday morning because of lack of attendance. But after changing our reservation to six and going through it is now my favorite temple. It is beautiful, amazingly beautiful. So new and clean and the stain glass everywhere is so breathtaking. And the murals are awesome. And the details are phenominal.
Travis and I went to the temple, while Nana watched the kids. They went hunting for fairies, built fairy houses in the woods, and ran around. She then took them to play in the sprinklers in the front yard afterwards. Then she got them bathed, fed them snacks, and then that is when we got home. We put them to bed and then talked, laughed, and watched our way through the basketball game.
Travis and his brother Rocky left for a bit to help their Uncle move some furniture back into their bedroom since they had it remodeled. On the way home they saw a bobcat on the property and so they rushed home to grab a gun and go back to shoot it, but with no luck - it had disappeared. It seemed this was the mood of the day as earlier the dog had found a snake and Rocky went out to see it and found that the dog had trapped a coral snake. Apparently this is no big deal to them. But it got away before they could kill it and they all reassured me how not a big deal it is. Whatever. And that is not to speak of the several scorpions Travis had been finding and squashing along the way this week. Eeks creepy crawlies scare me. I ended the night by finishing my fifth book this week. What a vacation. I loved it. I hadn't brought more but was wishing I had. And then headed to bed for some restorative sleep.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 5

Today was our day to visit family. Travis started the morning by heading out to the arrowhead mounds again. He practically lives there when he is home. He came home all excited because he had gotten things all prepped for me so that I would most likely find an arrowhead next time I went.
After he came back we got all the kids ready and ourselves and headed over to Pawpaw's house. Pawpaw had a 4wheeler that he wanted to use the old gas out of to put new gas in.
Then we headed out to visit Grandpa. As we headed into town to the nursing home where Grandpa is we prepped the kids about being quieter. The conversation was struggling, the kids were getting bored and misbehaving, and Nana suggested I played the piano because Grandpa loves music. Of course I hated this. But seeing him only once every couple of years softened my heart and I played. The older people started to gather in the room happy to hear someone playing. Such a simple thing and I couldn't believe how happy they were.
After naps we headed over to Travis's cousin Grace's house. She also has a little boy Kody but he is four. They had a swimming pool and all the second cousins had a crazy swimming party. It was super fun. We then toured their new house which we had never seen. Her husband is a cabinet maker and so there were these incredible cabinets but not only that but she had this amazing furniture that he had built all over the house.
After we headed back home for a dinner and a little birthday party to celebrate Travis's birthday since we are never in Texas in January. The kids had an early bedtime to get ready for our next big day. After the kids were in bed the adults laughed and watched basketball. Just being with family is so much fun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 4

Tuesday was also a great day. Lots of dog play. Boomer kept those kids entertained for hours on end all week long. Travis and boys hit the arrowhead mound again. And they all found more heads to add to our ever growing collection.
Bella was pretty exhuasted from the previous day and so by ten she was ready for a nap. Kody also stayed at the house with me since he still hadn't woken up from the previous day. He had fallen asleep at eight the night before as we left the river. And slept clean till eleven the next morning. At around ten I started getting nervous and antsy and would sneak my head in his room to check on him and peek in. He was still breathing the heavy breath of a toddler with his almost snoring sounds. I just let him sleep it off.

We took huge naps to prepare for the Alamo and its rich cultural history and to walk the famous San Antonio Riverwalk. Bella having napped waited for the boys to go to bed and then Nana, Travis's mom, took her to get some more groceries and shopping for some new clothes. Bella got in touch with her girly side and just lived it up. On the way home they shared a chocolate milk and Bella thought she was in heaven.

The Alamo rocks. We got there and did an abbreviated tour and they really start kicking people out by five thirty. Just a note for future travelers. We headed over to the riverwalk. Our family went to Rocky's work, building a new hotel on the riverwalk, and Travis got an inside tour. The rest of us headed down to buy tickets to take the boat/barge rides tour of the riverwalk and to learn the history. Coolest fact, they love to save the historic buildings and so they floated a three story hotel totally intact from one spot down six blocks in six days on air filled tires. It made a world record being the first entire building to be floated down a river and repositioned. After that we came home late and had cereal for dinner at almost nine ice cream for dessert and headed off to bed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 3

Monday was a blast. Travis was antsy to get down to his favorite pasttime. So Monday morning we drove out to the arrowhead mounds and got started. We all went as a big family including William and his son Ben. We hadn't planned very well and so we didn't have enough tools for every child to have his own set. This created some fighting since everyone wanted to find arrowheads. Travis is the pro and found some rather quickly. After that he would throw the heads he had found in the kids' next shovelfuls of dirt so they thought they had found them. What a great dad. In the end each kid walked home having found an arrowhead. Wyatt said, "Dad you are not very good at finding arrowheads. We all found some and you found none."After we were all sweaty from that we came back and got ready to head over to the Medina River another property they own about forty five minutes away. We took the camper so kids could take naps, people could use the potty without squatting in the woods, and we could bring oodles of river toys and food. Travis's Great Aunt Wanda, Aunt Terry, and Aunt Anita all came. They all had spouses, kids, and loved ones along too. Since it was a work day people were coming and going from noon to eight pm that night. We played, waded in the river, searched for crawdads, went fishing with our bait of crawdads, bbqed, and just ate ourselves silly. It's always fun to see the extended family and I love how close they are. My kids have now met a Great, Great Aunt of theirs. It's amazing to see the four generations coming together so frequently when we are here. That night the kids fell asleep in the camper on the way home and we just let them sleep there. We plugged it back in once we got home so the air would go and Travis ended up sleeping out there with them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 2

It was a sunday and so of course church was top of our agenda. It was at nine o'clock. We headed in and were welcomed by the people who had helped raised Travis and who came to gawk over the fact that he had four kids and a beautiful wife, Hey that's me. Yeah. After church we came home and hit the naps. After it was time for business. Rocky, Travis's younger brother brought his girlfriend over for us to meet. Travis grilled her the most by saying, "so what is your story?" Untypical for Travis but made me laugh as he cut to the chase to weed out if this girl was potential Whiting material. The kids played outside with the dog, Boomer, apparently hitting him with a piece of rebar somewhere along the way and he ran off to the neighbors house to hide, which is actually Travis's aunt and uncle's house. After all of this we drove to the peak, the highest point on the ranch (the last post has a picture of the peak), but the next county over technically divided by the creak that runs through their property. We got in this old jeep and the rest loaded in the Ford F150 and we started our country dream. We got near the top, hiked the rest of the way up, and enjoyed the view. We had a small run in with red ants, but was avoided successfully from being a full scale attack. We found tons of ant lions and just played for a bit.
On the way back we hit up the creak, the swimming hole, that was drying up at an incredible rate due to the drought, and to see the fields and other parts of the property. It is over three hundred acres so even in a car it takes some time to catch up with Travis's favorite spots. We got close to the one neighbor's fence to spot some Zebras and Ostriches. And we had seen at least a half dozen deer already. We got home and cooled off. And then all engaged in taking a personality test from Lacey's, Travis's sister, psychology class. It is the Kiersey test which is pretty famous and I took the quiz although I had a pretty good idea about myself. But it was amusing to hear everyone else's results. After more talking and playing it was time to get some sleep to prepare for tomorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Texas Trip: Day 1

Well we had been preparing for days. And all we needed was to execute this day with little drama and I would be thrilled. We left our house and headed for the airport at 7:30 in the morning. We got there and checked in with little to do, headed to the gate, and then I got myself a tasty treat to avoid motion sickness from the flight. I ordered a three egg omelot with peppers, cheese, and onions. The men attending to my order were joking amounst themselves and hitting on me. Never mind my seven year old daughter beside me. As I continued to wait for my order they tried to win over my affections and in the end they sent me with my omelot and a load of sausage on the house. Enough to feed Travis, the boys, Bella, and me. Really I can always count on having a confidence boost when in the presence of black men. What can I say truth be told, I have ghetto booty, a decent rack, and "my curves are kickin'." What's not to love?
We boarded the flight. The first leg went excellently. The kids were excited and contained. And...we got to our layover in Atlanta, our old stomping grounds. We got lunch for the kids and us. And there was just enough time to hit up the bathrooms and board. The second flight didn't go quite as smooth because of naptime, Kody was having none of this sleeping on the plane business. Until I walked him up and down the aisles 6 times, three round trip jaunts, and he fell fast asleep. From there we got into San Antonio, we loaded up and got home. The evening was perfect filled with fun and family. We talked and caught up with Travis's two siblings and their families and his parents. We had a camper parked out back to help accomodate all of us. It was a relaxing yet exciting way to start our adventure.

Home Sweet Home, the view from the deck. Yeah this is all their land. It doesn't matter how many times I've been there it still seems staggering how much land it is.