Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Riverwalk

We had lots of fun with MeMa and DeDa during their week long visit. The kiddos were showered with extra attention, love, play time, and goodies! Greg and I didn't bathe our kiddos once while they were here! And we went on a couple dates too (BEYOND excited for HP7 part 2 during my birthday week next year)!

Jared especially loved this dinosaur puzzle box. He loved to bring them down on the floor and build with MeMa or DeDa. Both kiddos also showed their grandparents just how much they love to read, every day, multiple times a day.

The last night of their visit, we took them downtown to see the Christmas lights on the Riverwalk. From our experience {last year} I was really nervous to fight Christmas crowds, but I had nothing to worry about. Seriously, Texas friends, if you want to visit the Riverwalk at Christmas go the Monday after Thanksgiving. Apparently, early in the week is usually a good bet. Since MeMa and DeDa hadn't seen the lights, we went on a night boat ride. It was a fun experience to have and see the lights from a different perspective (even if some of them weren't turned on yet).

Every time we go down to the Riverwalk I get this feeling of overwhelming gratitude of living where we do. It's perfect for our little family. Yes, it is further away from family than one would hope for, but this is our home. We are where we should be, now if I could get that peaceful feeling in every other aspect of our lives... :)

Thanks for the visit, MeMa & DeDa! We can't wait to visit y'all in January!

Lost Maples Black Friday

The whole crew from Thanksgiving (minus the missionaries--obviously) went up to Lost Maples Natural Area on Black Friday. We already have Christmas pretty much done and we didn't want to fight the crazy crowds, so when we got the invite from the Hedges to go hiking--- it sounded great!

Obviously, with two babies, two toddlers, and a pregnant lady, it wasn't very intense or long. We just enjoyed each others' company and the beautiful world around us. In our car, the kiddos watched movies and Christmas sing-a-longs during the drive. And once we got there, we feasted on the rest of the turkey and rolls with turkey sandwiches.

Three of the four kiddos had carriers (I found Annabelle's at a consignment sale a few months ago and have since convinced Greg of its usefulness). Jared spent most of his time on numerous shoulders and walking next to me. Mr. Independent even wanted to cross the river passages all by himself (with a little help from Mama). We also played Superman/Rocketship across the larger rocky passages. I was amazed that my klutziness didn't prevail during those moments. Jared also really liked this puddle which had a slew of new tadpoles in it. This whole time, Annabelle was great (go figure). She tried to twist around a few times and had lots of smiles for everyone. When someone else had Jared, I back and forth from her to get her to giggle. So cute.

Like I said, we didn't get very far, but it was a lot of fun. We even talked about making this a tradition on Black Friday when we're all in town. Sign me up for that!


In the weeks leading up to Turkey Day, us neighborhood gals realized that we were all planning personal Thanksgivings within walking distance of each other, so we decided to combine it all and have one big neighborhood Thanksgiving. (That plus we didn't want Kim to do more than she needed to since she's in her Third Trimester). ;) So, a few weeks before we had a planning meeting and split up the menu to keep stress to a minimum.

We had a total of 12 adults, two 2-yr-olds, and two 1-yr-olds. It ended up working great! We had all of the yummy Thanksgiving staples, including homemade rolls & pies, delicious yams and stuffing and deep-fried bird! After getting the deep-fryer last year, we were all over the turkey. Most at our get-together had never tried deep-fried Turkey before.

The missionaries came over and had us all talk about what we were thankful for. Listening to what everyone had to say reminded me just how grateful I am for my family, but also the amazing friends that we have made here. It truly feels like home. I also thought about Parker and the incredible sacrifice he's making to serve the Lord and further the gospel. Of course, when it got to my turn to share, I got emotional thinking about all of these things. It's times like those I wish I could control my emotions a little bit better.

After dinner, we sat around (which MeMa did dishes--- how amazing is that?), digested, talked, played a little Mario Kart and just enjoyed each other. It was nice ending to a fun day. I hope we are able to show our children just how important it is to be grateful for what we've been given.

*yay for Rachel and Kim taking pictures because I took two... maybe...*

Monday, November 29, 2010

Toddler Property Laws

We're having lots of fun with MeMa and DeDa and I'll have a lot to post (which I will hopefully get done sometime soon), but in the meantime...

I know a lot of y'all have toddlers out there, so I thought I'd share something my MIL sent me... it is so true...

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I am doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it
automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gratitude Turkey 2010

Here's what we were grateful for this time around:

Greg: Mommy, chocolate & peanut butter, wipes, helping hands, french fries, airplanes, blankets, support staff, D&C, Annabelle & Jared, veterans, lunch dates, cake, surprises, plates, pomegranates, family, email, testimony, Book of Mormon, Teachers (as in the boys), texting, steel toed shoes, good job
Amber: Family time, democracy, Daddy, friends, gospel, ear plugs, phones, doctors, simple solutions, Annabelle & Jared, technology, audio scriptures, good music, jackets, strollers, dishwasher, portable DVD player, simple pleasures, Netflix, Saturdays, Tithing, Deals, clean house, personal revelation
Jared: Jesus & Heavenly Father*, Tylenol, fruit snacks, animals, Pixar, booms!*, potty time, Caleb, play time, Annabelle, mommy's phone, missionaries, Gramma, pb & j, warm hats, muppets, funny noises, dinosaurs, airplanes, Daddy & Mommy, singing time, finger paints, good food, grandparents
Annabelle**: teeth, monkeys, hair bands, strollers, Daddy, chocolate milk, puffs, fruit, lil' stuffed monkey, my birthday, amoxicillin, new shoes, Gramma, goldfish crackers, warm blankets, bananas, noodles, Jared, helicopters, chocolate & pb, noise makers, water, peek-a-boo, visitors

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving!

*No kidding, we asked him what makes him happy and he said "Heavenly Father and Jesus." The problem came in later days when that's all he would say when we asked for that day. :)

*This was the day of the air show :)

**These are observations from the rest of the family, since Belle can't really tell us what she's grateful for yet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jared the Photographer

Last week, while taking my millionth picture of the kiddos, Jared asked if he could try to take a picture. I believe his exact words were 'mommy, Jared take picter pleeeze.' So I let him and here's his work.

I was making faces at Annabelle.


and a cute one...
Jared's first self-portrait (and we do brush his teeth... this was just after breakfast)
His second self-portrait.
Maybe I should sign him up for a class? :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Very Hungry Caterpillar

For her birthday, Annabelle got a 10-ft long GIANT stuffed caterpillar from her Gramma.

Don't believe me? Here's the proof:
She and Jared both LOVE the thing! The last couple of weeks it's been downstairs for the kids to play with and wrestle on.
They particularly love to roll on the thing.

Personally, I think it's pretty cool, but I have no idea how she's going to explain this to her future husband. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Little Things

Here's some funny random moments from the month... so far...

They both like Mickey Mouse and I wanted to take a picture to prove it.
Annabelle fell asleep on the floor the week after Daylight Savings... she was still getting used to the change.

One day after lunch, she started playing peek-a-boo with me using her bowl... she looked funny enough to capture.

We had a lunch date with Daddy a couple weeks ago and we're thinking it should be a normal thing. Jared was so excited on the way to Daddy's work that he was laughing; and not just any laugh the 'hoo hoo' excited laugh. I have no idea where he learned that from.
Annabelle is taking more steps each day. She's really good at standing, but I haven't got the steps yet... here's a fashion shot. I love her shirt!
One morning we watched Cat in the Hat talk to Snails about their shell protection. Later that day, Jared started walking around the playroom with the tub on his back saying he was a snail. I HAD to take a picture.
Pretty girl all ready for church.
Super Batman... need I say more?

One day, Jared took a blanket and put in on his car. Annabelle crawled over there (cause that looked funny) and they started playing peek-a-boo (she's really into that right now). I wish I would have taken a video instead of pictures.

Annabelle is ONE: Part Two

Since Annabelle wasn't feeling great on her birthday AND I didn't get a chance to make a cake AND Gramma came down for the Saturday, we decided to have more birthday celebrations on Saturday. So, where do we take visitors first? THE ZOO! You'd think the kiddos would be sick of it, but NO!

Over the last few months, we've noticed Annabelle really liking monkeys. She has this one monkey (that was actually a gift from when Jared was born) that she LOVES! On this trip to the zoo, we noticed how much she loves real monkeys too. She got all excited when one was just across the glass from her.

This time around Gramma, Mama, and Jared only ventured into the Lori's Landing and boy, I wish we didn't. After having a morning full of nectar, they are not very nice in the early afternoon. One particular bird tried first to eat my sunglasses, then my shirt and lastly my hand. Jared and Belle (through the fence) thought it was funny to see birdies on Mama, so at least we had that going for us.

Another giggle from this time around was the little kiddo area. Jared was able to fish, Annabelle bounced on the water bed and they both climbed into the prairie dog hole with their Daddy. (it's meant for kids 6 and under... not late twenties males :O. It was so funny to hear the moaning and groaning as he came in and out; like the good wife that I am, I got pictures.

That evening it was finally time for Birthday cake! The Hedges came over, we stripped and bibbed Annabelle and let the mess commence! Just like her brother, it got progressively worse. She started poking at it, until she realized it was chocolate, then she let off the brakes and went to town! As she continued it just got messier and more cute as she would rub her eyes or lick her fingers. Jared kept telling us that she was messy and would laugh--- what a cook!

We ended the celebration of our little girl by a hose-down in the bathtub. We're so grateful to have little Annabelle in our lives. She's even more awesome then she was a year ago (and she was a great baby)! We're definitely excited to see her grow into a little girl. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Annabelle is ONE!!!

It's so hard to believe that she's already ONE!!! She's a hoot too! She's growing great--- still super tall for her age. She's walking more and more each day, but still prefers a good crawl. She also likes to sing and has a few words--- I've been trying to get it on video but, like my Pops mentioned, sound isn't loading, so I'm currently trying to fix that.

Her actual birthday was in the middle of the week this year, so we did a few days worth of celebrating. Her birthday was our normal playgroup day, so we suggested going to the zoo (surprise)! We had this all planned and she woke up with a fever the day before. Not a good birthday present! She seemed fine, disposition-wise, so we decided to still go to the zoo the next morning. At her 12 check-up the next day, we found out it was an ear infection.

It was our shortest visit, but it was still fun. Annabelle is now at the age where she's interested in the world around her. She really liked the animals this time around--- all except for the Lori's Landing. She DID NOT like the birds and them landing on us to eat. Jared, of course, loved every moment of the zoo. Although two times in two weeks without Greg was really hard. I say that and I'll probably do it again!

After zoo time, I tried to get them home to nap so I could make a cake--- that didn't happen! So, we had to put off cake until Saturday when Gramma would be there to enjoy it with us! However, she still opened presents and had birthday cookies! She was really into opening her presents and like a true girl got TWO pairs of shoes for her birthday! She loved one pair so much that she had to have them on at that moment (she kept bringing them to her feet and pointing for me). She spent the rest of the night with the shoes on! :)

Happy Birthday, Annabelle! We love you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

Last week was SUPER busy (go figure) so over the next few days, I'll do my best to play catch-up. Keep watching below for Zoo adventures, Air Shows, Annabelle's birthday and a visit from Gramma.

I may even throw a cute picture or two.... speaking of.... my awesomely fantastic friend, Kim, who's a frequently guest-adventurer with her family took {THIS} video of the boys and Belle last week when I had to run an errand.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Girl and Her Cake

I have a week of fun adventures to catch up on, but for now here's the birthday girl and all her glory...

Happy Birth-week to Annabelle!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Video: Grooming Goats

The boys had a good time with the goats last week. This was the most calm Annabelle was during the time in the goat pen. She did not like being close to them and so I'm trying to convince her of their harmlessness at the end of the video.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Annual Air Show

The Saturday before Veteran's Day a local Air Force Base had an annual air show. Greg borrowed a couple heavy duty headphones from work and off we went!

We had a great time! We got there early in the morning, got through security and Jared was off (it was a good thing we had the monkey on his back!) Jared wouldn't stop saying "momma, daddie pain (his word for plane), ha-cop-tor, or pain up kie (plane up sky)."

The headphones ended up being super tricky. Jared didn't put them on until we told him multiple times that it would help when the planes flew by. Before he put them on, he just held onto Greg will all his might. After the headphones, all was right in the world. Annabelle thought they were a game. We'd put them on, she'd take them off. Repeat. Unfortunately, the off-cycle happened right when some F-16s did a surprise low fly-by. I jumped--- which means the kids both freaked.

They both looked super cute in their gear and I even stuck Annabelle in her birthday onesie--- yes, a few days early. Once we were all tired out and ready to go, the line to come in was HUGE. We're definitely already pumped to come next year.

We didn't stay long enough to see the Thunderbirds (toddlers and all) but we were able to watch a 'reenactment' of Pearl Harbor. Half of the planes there were from that time period and we got there early enough that we walked right up to the ones we saw later in the show. Jared thought the reenactment was awesome. He kept telling us about the booms! Every time a pyrotechic went off Jared shortly thereafter would yell "boom!"

Later that night, when we asked him what he was grateful for he said... booms! We think he had a good time. I guess we'll be going again next year... :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday Zoo Day

When we got our passes at the beginning of the year, we started planning with our friends down the street to have a fun Zoo day with the mommies and kiddos. Pregnancy sickness (my friend--not me) and a HOT summer later, we finally went on Thursday.

It was a lot of fun. We were able to carpool there and Annabelle rode facing forward for the first time! Our baby is becoming a little girl! The boys enjoyed themselves throughly and Annabelle even glanced at an animal or two. The Mommies even enjoyed girl/mommy talk. I forgot my camera, so all is documented through my phone or Kim's camera.

Getting ready to go and all excited about the zoo.
Mister Grizzly was really active.
Up-close and personal with the Jaguar
There happened to be a few schools there on field trips, so it was a little more crowded than we expected. However, I really liked the picture of the boys looking at the Hippos. One day, they'll be on the same trip...
The hippos decided to move when we were there
The boys really loved the reptiles--- here they're groovin' to the crocodile.
We spent some time with the goats and the boys were really into brushing and feeding them. Cute video to follow.

We also caught a few fish--- of course, Jared calls them gooey fish. Mickey fan, through and through.

They sure like hanging out and they sure like the zoo!

I'm so grateful to have such great friends. It makes the days that much sweeter and I always look forward to a new memory made.

Click {HERE} for the Hedges' tale. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Video: Bouncing

After Trunk-or-Treat last Friday, we came home and all collapsed on Mommy and Daddy's bed. This is what happened after the kiddos got there second wind:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Weekend

What a weekend! We had a great, exhausting, fun, and LONG weekend. Here's photographic proof:

The play-by-play:
FRIDAY: Truck-or-Treat! Jared and Belle's costumes have been planned for a while. Jared's costumes from last year could be easily turned into Luke, so I wanted to make Annabelle's to match--- Princess Leia. It was really easy, much easier than Jared's first costume. In fact, I finished making Annabelle's at the beginning of the month--- I knew the rest of the month would be CRAZY and I wanted to get it done.

So, this whole time Greg and I talked about dressing up as Anakin and Padme, but it wasn't until the beginning of the week when Greg asked if I really wanted to do it? YEAH! So, we got ourselves costumes that I'll spruce up with my crafty skills each time we wear them. The kids may not be Luke or Leia again, but Greg and I will definitely show our nerdiness and be their geeky parents. :) A few people knew exactly who we were and others thought Belle and I were two different versions of Leia. If they got confused, we had Jared tell them who we were (we practiced it during the week).

Since we dressed up as Star Wars characters, we wanted to decorate our car in the same way. I hearkened back to my high school pinata making days and crafted a Death Star the night before. We then found a toy TIE fighter and hung it next to the Death Star. We finished the car off by playing the music on in the background. It was AWESOME. We kept getting complements about how cool it looked and we ended up being one of the winning cars!

Jared loved Trick-or-Treating. Greg took him around and by the time they got back to our car Jared couldn't carry his bag anymore. After the trick-or-treating there was a carnival inside. Greg's boys were in charge of a Balloon room--- exactly what it sounds like--- it was a room filled with balloons. Greg tried to take Jared in there and he did not like it at all--- so sad because it looked like fun! His favorite part, beside the cupcake, was the fishing booth. Classic trick-or-treat game and Jared was so excited to get a Mickey game!

SATURDAY: After the fun of Friday, you'd think we'd take a day off and rest--- NOPE! I happened to be one of the women in charge of our ward's Super Saturday!!! Greg and the kids spent the day trying to relax and have fun while I spent 9-4 back at the church. From what I've been told it went really well and I hope to be apart of the planning next year too!

I got home just in time to have dinner and get the kids costumed up to go to the Zoo. Our Zoo does a family friendly activity with Halloween every year and since we had tickets from getting a zoo membership, we decided to invite some friends and go. IT WAS CRAZY! We had a great time with our friends, but the zoo was PACKED! We thought the animals would be awake too, but it was basically just booths with sponsors handing out candy. Jared kept asking me where the animals were and we had to tell him they were sleeping. We asked a policeman if it was always this busy and he said this was double the amount of people he was used to seeing. At least we had fun enough for the kiddos to pass out on the way home and sleep in their costumes.

SUNDAY: We got up and donned our black and orange for church. We decided not to go Trick-or-Treating since we had two straight days and Halloween happened to fall on a Sunday this year. Jared didn't know either way and I'm thinking, when it happens again in 6-7 years, that we will make a big deal about watch Halloweenish movies and playing games just to make it extra special with staying inside.

We still passed out candy and Jared helped a lot with that. He turned on his little boy charm for this group of girls when he said 'Happy Halloween' to them, they all went 'AAAWWW.' It was so cute. We didn't have as many Trick-or-Treaters as I thought we'd have but that was partly my fault. I thought I turned on our porch light when I accidentally turned it off. Whoops...

Plus, when they were on they were actually black lights, so apparently people didn't know if we were home or not. Oh well... we know better for next year.

I've been planning for this past weekend for a WHILE and it's really nice to have it over.... now I just got to get ready for a little girl's FIRST birthday in NINE DAYS!!!!


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