Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lia Tortilla

The little kids and I have a great schedule going... We have breakfast and do "school" time in the morning. Then we pack up a lunch and while the kids eat in child watch, I get to take a class like Body Combat today. Here is little Lia Tortilla.. I think this nickname might stick... it just sort of rolls off the tounge. Anyway, she got a haircut today and we are definetly making progress from the damage done back in January by her sister. We may be one to two months away from a complete recovery! Again, good thing she's so stinkin' cute!

And of note to Nana.... this adorable outfit is the one you gave Lia last spring. It took an entire year for her to grow into it but I think it was definetly worth the wait. It is so pretty on her! I think this may have to be her Easter Sunday outfit. Thank you again and we all send our love to you!

Austin Trip, Part Two

We spent Sunday afternoon at the Austin Nature Center. What an amazing place. Price of admission - Free! We started off at the science center where there were all kinds of hands on activities for the kids. Here is Mr. Big Eyes:

And Abram is all boy... He didn't think anything of picking up these bugs. Ewww...

Then we made out way to the Dino Pit. A huge sandbox with buried dinosaur bones. It doesn't get much better than this.

I think they found some big teeth...?
The next activity involved the kids stripping down to their undies and splashing in the creek... I didn't get pics of this but believe me... they had a ball! Then we went to look at all the animals, owls, hawks, foxes... and ended up here at the nature trail. Our two years olds were still going strong and were a bit disappointed to see that it was closed for the day. We'll have to leave more time for hiking the next time we visit.
We headed out at 5:00 after shutting the place down. It was a long ride back home but well worth the effort. A very fun Austin trip!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Austin Trip, Part One

We went to Austin this weekend to visit with our friends, Lowell and Cynthia. Together, we have six children ages 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 2. Needless to say, the kids had a ball! But goodness, it is not easy to get 6 children to look at the camera and smile! Here is the best one I got:

The weather was awesome and the kids were able to have a picnic dinner outside...

...followed by ice cream inside! It is amazing how quietly our children eat their ice cream.

Emily and Abram are still the best of friends. They also pose very nicely for the camera!

On Sunday, we all went to church together and got to visit with our friends Travis and Mary Alice while the kids got to play at the little playground by church. After that, we headed to one of our favorite Austin restaurants, The Hula Hut. Emily took this picture of me with Gabriella and Lia. So nice to have a daughter who likes to take pictures. Or rather, that allows me to be in a few of them anyway.

The wait was over an hour... but we found a table at the bar and were lucky to get quesadillas for the kids and Haleakaladas for the grown ups. The kids were awesome for us and we got a great big table inside fairly quickly. Here is a sweet picture of Cynthia and Gabriella.

I think all the big smiles show we had a great time... or maybe it was all those Haleakaladas! ;-)

We went to the Austin Nature Center after lunch... What an awesom place. I'll post those pictures next.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rock Band!

Stan and Peg had us over for dinner last Saturday... They have Rock Band... or Lego Rock Band, the more family friendly version. It is a lot of fun... hard to believe how far video games have come along! I asked the gang to strike their rock star pose for this picture. And it is a very good thing we don't have this at our house! I would get nothing done because I would want to sing Ghostbusters on vocals all night long! Ah... memories of childhood.

Emma liked singing Ghostbusters almost as much as I did! She's fun!

And David, looking mighty serious on the drums!

Fine Arts in the Park, Friday Feb 19

Last Friday, Emily was able to attend an Arts in the Park Day with our homeschooling group because she was on Spring Break. I was very excited for her to see what it was all about since we have officially decided to homeschool her next year. The artist we studied was Mary Cassatt. We had checked out some books from the library to prepare... so Emily was familiar with her. Cassatt liked to paint mothers with their babies. I really like this one... because Lia always puts her hands on my neck or my face when she wants to be held. It is a very sweet and intimate gesture. Cassatt captures it perfectly here.

I got to lead the discussion for the 1st and 2nd grade table. We looked at this painting. The girls at the table liked the big flower on the Mommy's dress. We all agreed this was a morning scene after a bath. The kids pointed out that Cassatt often used mirrors in her paintings. I had an awesome guide with questions to ask our group and I was really impressed at how much all the kids had to say and how closely they looked at all the details.

David and Lia were more interested in playing... They had a good time too. It was a beautiful day.
David likes to climb rocks. He asked me to take his picture.

We had a picnic lunch and stayed for Nature club. The discussion was on parts of a flower. The kids got to take apart different flowers to find all the parts. It was a great activity for Emily. She was very interested and the hands-on part was great. She was happy to see her friend Grace Ann from choir too.

Here is what they learned:

I believe the talks are given by a master gardener and the kids are on a track to earn their junior master gardener certificates by following a set lesson plan. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it. The teacher led the kids on a nature walk after the discussion on a sort of scanvenger hunt to reinforce the lesson. I was really impressed and looking forward to being more involved next year.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Patio is Done!!!

Our contractor got the job done in TWO days! We wanted to start this project in February but had to submit paperwork to our community association to get the job approved and to get permission to cut down a couple of trees. The patio fell under an easy approval but the trees sent us to committee review which only takes place once a month.... I got the approval last Friday, talked to our tree removal company on Monday, had the trees cut down on Tuesday, the patio started on Wednesday and finished on Thursday! Once we got started the timing worked out perfectly... and we are very happy with our BEAUTIFUL paver patio.
So on Wednesday, our contractor Tim took down our back gate so he could get his excavator in our yard. He ground up all the tree roots and removed the massive stumps from the trees we had cut down... can you believe the size of these things? Tim said the big tree stump could have easily weighed over 1000 lbs! Chris said that explained why these trees barely moved during the last hurricane...

After clearing all the roots from our yard, the crew mixed in concrete with the dirt to get the foundation for our patio set. The next day they put down the polymer sand and more concrete. They spent quite a bit of time getting it level and then they were ready to start laying the brick pavers.

Here is our truck load of pavers. We got a discount for using pavers Tim already had in his stock yard. These were left over from a project he did laying a road. We were told they are quite a bit thicker and more expensive than your average patio paver. Worked out well for us! Tim said they hold up to 8000 psi... so we can use our patio as a driveway if we like. :-)

Here are the first pavers being installed. You can see little Lia's legs. The kids watched the whole process from the kitchen window. Emily even made some videos to document the event. "It's not every day we have a patio put in, Mommy..." The foundation was already flat, so they layed the pavers very easily. The edges were a little tricky because they have to cut the paver to fit the curved edge... this part took the longest. Then they filled the cracks with polymer sand, and put concrete along the edges to hold it all together. We have to stay off of it for a day so the concrete can set and then the patio is all ours!

Top view... The pavers are beautiful.

Finished product!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Look what's in our backyard!!!!

Our very own excavater... (for today)

Very Exciting!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trees are down... and off to the Rodeo!

We got the thumb's up from our community association to remove two trees from our back yard and install a paver patio. The tree guys came today and it was so EXCITING for the kids to watch them work. What a show! The guys were way up high in the trees cutting all the branches first and then working their way down the trunks. There was a huge chipper too and the kids went crazy watching them grind all the wood. Now, we will try to wait patiently for the patio...

Chris got two tickets to the rodeo from a vendor he works with. If that wasn't cool enough, they even have a private room... I am quite jealous... David is too. He says he'll get to go next year. The kids thought their Daddy looked awesome in his hat. Emily asked, "Daddy... where did you get that hat? Is it real?" And his response, "You know, I did have a life before you." :-)

And Emily, who has to be persueded to brush her hair was all excited to have braids and bows... She wanted help with her creation and insisted on wearing the Longhorn bow because, "the rodeo is all about Texas." Her dress in more 4th of July but, "the Texas flag has the same colors as our country's flag, correct?" Ah yes, to be age six.

Monday, March 15, 2010

David is sick...

It has been rough on our little family with the winter colds... David had a difficult time getting out of bed this morning. He only ate half a bowl of cereal... he usually has 2 big bowls... and was laid up on the couch all day. He is running a fever of 100-101 but is being stubborn and says he won't take medicine. I wish he would because it would make him feel better! He didn't eat lunch and is now resting in his room. I hope he feels better soon! Say a little prayer for him!

Spring Gardening

Our front yard looks awesome! We trimmed our plants back to get rid of all the dead leaves, had mulch put in, and planted some spring annuals for color. We had fears that we had lost our big beautiful varigated gingers and even the elephant ears but we are already seeing new little green shoots coming out of the ground... new ones every day! We call them our little baby plants and coo over them. :-)
Here are some pictures we took today as we were admiring our yard. The Camelia is going crazy... It usually blooms in December or January but we had a really wierd cold winter. Emily and I cut a few blooms to put in the house. It doesn't last long but I love this plant!
The Red Bud is also in bloom. It gets better blooms every spring.
And here is the nice color we added on our driveway. We got yellow marigolds and red impatients this year. Emily took these pictures. She is becoming quite the photographer!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Barn Yard Mooosical

Emily was in her 1st/2nd grade musical tonight. It was called the Barn Yard Mooosical... The first graders did the singing and the second graders had the dancing and speaking parts. It was cute. I just took a short video because we were sitting on the side and it isn't the best view. Emily is in a jean dress on the bottom row, to the right... There is a kid in a big chicken costume that makes it hard to see her... And she is wearing her dress backwards on purpose... because, "It looks more western that way."

"Mommy, It's a Mosaic"

Last night, I was working very diligently in the yard trying to trim away all the dead leaves on our plants and finish planting my spring flowers because we were getting mulch the next day and because I really just wanted it done. It was a beautiful night and our kids were running around with the neighbor's kids as kids are supposed to do... Anyway, Emily was in the house by herself for a good amount of time reading Book #2 of the Jewel Fairies series.... We got her the 7 book set at the book fair and I'm only letting her read one a day and only after homework is done.... Well she finished her book and then was inspired to do this:

I found her furiously tearing and glueing the last bits of paper on her masterpiece. "Mommy, I just had to make this mosaic...." Not bad. Good thing I have such a good craft supply cabinet.

David and Lia's Quiet Time

David informed me the other day... "Mommy, Lia and I are going to do quiet time now.... okay?"
And there they are. David even ran upstairs to fetch his pillow and blanket. Quiet time quickly turned into "boat games"... they pretend they are on a boat and David uses a broom for his paddle. Sometimes the paddle turns into a sword or a gun... But this day they both played very nice and I heard lots of giggling.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Lia's a girl..."

I got it... Yes, my 2 year old does her own laundry AND makes such astute observations as these!

Someone is stealing the avocados....

Lia is my little helper around dinner time... especially if she's hungry. Or "I'm Hungy," she likes to say.

And so I don't forget... Lia has it all figured out. We hear this mantra every day: "Lia's a girl, Mommy's a girl, Daddy's a boy, David's a boy, Emily's a girl..." I'd like to get a video clip of her doing this too. ;-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Emily has Strep Throat

I was suspicious last night when Emily told me her ears were hurting.... I gave her some Tylenol and she felt better, but I was pretty sure we'd make a doctor run the next day. Yes... wails of pain could be heard this morning so off we went to the doctor. But, it was not an ear infection but Strep throat. So... antibiotics have been picked up, a milk shake was purchased for lunch, and Emily is now resting in her room. While we waited for the prescription to be filled we were conveniently able to go to story time at the library... so that was kind of cool. Emily will be cleared to return to school tomorrow once she takes her second dose of medicine tonight. We never know what each day will bring! Luckily, strep throat is a relatively easy fix. :-)

The Midnight Unicorn

Emily got to say thank you to Tony for giving her such an awesome Unicorn picture for Christmas. It is hanging in her room so she can look at it while she's in bed.... She made this sketch of it with the new sketch pad her Nana gave her this weekend.

Congartulations to Ben and Andrea - Just Married!

We went to Dallas on Feb. 27th to see my cousin Ben get married to his fiancee, Andrea. It was a beautiful wedding... though I didn't get too many pictures. Obviously, I was too busy enjoying myself to do a good job at the picture taking! We all had a ball at the reception. Chris and I managed to dance together many many times which is what I love to do the most!

Emily befriended the lovely flower girl, McKenna. They danced and played all night!

I did manage to get this great shot of my cousin Joe dancing with my Grandma. She looks so happy here!

We were lucky to stay with my cousin Tony and get in a good visit with him. After mass on Sunday, we headed home. The drive home always seems very long... but we did find a great highway rest area to stop at. It had a park, a museum, and a nature trail. Score! So the kids played, we took a nice walk, and learned a bit about Sam Houston, cotton plantations, and more! Chris will remind me what I forgot so I can edit this later. ;-) I will also add a better picture of Andrea and Ben when I get one.
And before I forget, we listened to the entire audio recording of God's Troubador, The Story of St. Francis of Assisi by Sophie Jewett on the way up. It was an awesome story! Now how about that for some Lenten reading!