Monday, November 19, 2012

NC Trip - Week 1

Our visit in NC started off 
really slow
compared to the rest of our time there! 

We went to the NC State campus to visit.
That is where the hubs and I went and MET!
We didn't pick the best day,
we got a little wet,
it POURED down rain...
we are NOT used to that in S. Texas!!
After getting drenched and not really seeing a whole lot,
we decided to grab a bite to eat. 
We had been missing NC BBQ,
so we went to "The Pit"
It was good...
Then unfortunately we had to take daddy to the airport.
He was in town for less than 24 hours.

Side note:
We have lived in the same town as my parents,
So we have never had a reason to 
sleep under their roof,
Weird is sleeping in your old room
with your husband...
for the first time
(especially knowing "your house" is 15 min away
and you can't sleep in it because someone else is currently living there!)
End side note.

After dropping daddy off,
 we went back to get acclimated to our
home away from home...
Nana & Papa's house.

After we got their bonus room modified to a more
kid friendly space,
and attempted to find room for all of the mess we brought with us.
We dove into schooling.

We spent most of our first few days in that playroom 
trying to get a bit of school work done,
since most everyone else was working.

Our first Saturday was still beautiful and warm out,
so the Godparents of the two littles
(who also happen to be my preggy sister's in-laws)
took us to the lake on their boat.

I had brought our life jackets for the littles with us to NC
because I knew
we would be going to my grandmother's
and going fishing...
so those came in HANDY!

I had a ton of pictures,
super cute pictures,
but unfortunately my phone died,
and the yahoos at Verizon
proceeded to erase my SD card
while they were attempting to fix my phone!

So here are a couple that were posted on FB 
and then downloaded from FB
for me to use...
of the lake:

sweet baby face on mommy's lap as we sped through
the water

Crazy big boy hot dogging while we sped through the water!

lathering everyone up with sunscreen!

lunch on the boat

Then there is this one...

Are you kidding me??
As her godfather said
"here is the princess on her float".
Tough life, ain't it?
She didn't move off of this thing
and started to fall asleep.
She was the only one 
who willingly went in the water.
I got pushed 
(thank you Nana!)
R got threatened to be pushed
(thank you mama!
if I had to go in, so did he
one of the many curses of being the oldest child!)
J and Mr. T,
well, we just let them
chill on the boat...

We had a BALL!!!
The ONLY reason we left
was for the only reason
that would have gotten us off the boat 
at that time...

An NC State home football game!!!

Our first Saturday in NC happened to be the 
"Military Appreciation" Game at 
our beloved NC State.

That is, by far, my favorite game of the year.
And we went to every home game!
My husband spent a few years in the military.
So since marrying him,
I have a whole new level of 
 for our armed forces
what those men & women do for us!

NC State always does such wonderful things
for the military appreciation game.
And they even recognize and honor some of our
wounded warriors
on the field during the game.

We had a fantastic time!
But it was bittersweet.
It was just me and the big boys.
And we were lucky enough to sit in 
some of 
"our seats".
(We have lifetime rights to a couple of seats)

But walking into the game,
this game,
the military appreciation game...
without my husband
best friend
football partner
was TOUGH!
I got a lump in my throat
and tears in my eyes
as we walked through the stadium to our seats.

Silly, I know,
but it doesn't take much to get me emotional!

my phone was dying
so I didn't get as many pictures as I usually do,
nor as I would have liked.

we made friends with the couple behind us
and she graciously took a picture
with her phone 
and sent it to me!

This is the lone picture from the night...

Needless to say,
we had a BUSY day
but an
AWESOME first Saturday
back in NC.

Definitely made it easy to be back!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The BIG Trip!!! - The Drive!

Back in February-ish,
my sweet sister surprised us via Skype
and told us that she expecting 
her first child!

I was beside myself and literally cried
on and off the whole weekend.
I was deeply saddened that I was
not going to get to be there with her
as she ventured through this!

When we found this out,
we immediately started planning on
how we were going to be there!

So we planned our trip back to visit
to be when she was due.

The months ticked by and
 finally the month of August was upon us...
(we weren't leaving til September)

My sweet oldest boy had been 
literally driving me NUTS
with the questions:

When are we leaving?
When can I pack?
When are we going to get there?
How long does it take?
When are we leaving?

So he finally started packing,
3 weeks early!
I had to unpack his suitcase 3 times!
Yes, 3!
He didn't have any clothes to wear
because they were all packed!

I got tired of the "when can we pack"
question, so I put it on our calendar.

He was allowed to pack on the Thursday
before we left.
So 2 days before we left.

That Tuesday,
his laundry hamper mysteriously appeared 
in the kitchen/laundry area...

This was a little unusual,
they don't usually bring down dirty clothes without being asked.
But I figured he was out of something.
So I didn't think my of it.

Then I heard this rhythmic

I followed the noise to see my oldest bumping MY
laundry hamper down the stairs!!
Then I watched him drag it in to the kitchen
I looked at him like he was a stranger standing in my kitchen!

I finally mustered up the voice to say
"Honey, what are you doing?"

He told me that he wanted me to do laundry
so he would have his favorite clothes to take on our trip.
He wanted to look his best!
Awe, what a smart kid!

Then after we had all of our piles
strewn out across the floor,
that stinking child had the NERVE
to ask me if I would have it all done by Thursday!
(Recall its Tuesday and I had told him he could pack on Thursday)

That turkey!
I told him I would have it done that evening!

And I did!

Daddy had something to do Saturday
that he had been waiting for MONTHS for...
so we let daddy do his thing,
Saturday night,
we finished packing
and loaded the car.

Sunday morning,
daddy and I arose at 3am.
Showered and packed 
4 sleeping kids in the car.

Well that was the plan anyways...
they all decided to stay awake for the first 30 minutes
out of SHEER excitement!

The finally fell back asleep...
except Ms. Priss is TOTALLY faking here!

We got about 3 hours in before they started waking.  

 5+ hours in and we FINALLY made it out of Texas!
And by this time, J had only asked twice
"when are we going to get to the hotel"...
it was only 9:30am!
We still had a ways to go before our stop for the night!!

Welcome to Louisiana!
(trust me, that's really what it says)

We decided to eat our way through Louisiana...

first we stopped at 
In Rayne, LA.

We had the most amazing
red velvet fudge. 

We let the kids wander a bit...
and pick out a couple of items.

I only wish I had gotten a bigger piece of fudge!!

We loaded back up and decided to continue to eat our way
through Louisiana.  

Next we stopped at
in Lafayette, LA.

This was for daddy.
Man there was some WEIRD stuff in there!!

I snapped a picture of the kids with this fella,
and got a wicked fire ant bite in the process!
That little bitty ant left me with a spot on my foot
that bothered me for the next 3 days!
Holy cow!

Our final stop in Louisiana was at
The plan was to fill the kids up on a bunch of fried food:
crawfish cakes
gator bites (which J LOVED!!)
corn & crab bisque
fried oysters
fried shrimp
fried catfish
Then hop back in the car and hope the kids fall asleep
we didn't!

We didn't
but neither did they!

 (snagged this from their FB page)

We quickly made it through Mississippi,
and on into Alabama.

We stopped for the night at 7:30pm just east of Montgomery.
We had been traveling since about 4am...
so that seemed like a good time to stop!  

We got a much later start on Monday morning,
we were not on the road until almost 9am.
My very pregnant sister was all but pacing.

That morning I was constantly getting texts:
"where are you?"
"have you left yet?"
"why aren't you answering my texts?"


We quickly made it into Georgia,
grabbed a bite for lunch
climbed back in the car
and made it into South Carolina.
That was a pretty site.

This Carolina girl was almost home!

But the best site in the world was when we passed
"Welcome to North Carolina" 

I think I had tears in my eyes!
I was HOME!

We finally rolled into my parent's house around 7:30pm.  
We were greeted by my folks and my very preggy sister and her hubs.

It was so nice to be back "home"!!!
And the fun was only just beginning!

Home is where the heart is.

But my "home" is now where
my husband and kids are...
where ever that might be...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Road Trip USA: Texas

I have discovered that I really like
the a lot of the material from 
I have given her a shout out before!

I purchased her
"Road Trip USA"
curriculum months ago
but haven't used it yet.
I finally decided this trip was the
time to get started.

So before we left,
I printed and compiled notebooks
for each of the boys to take with us.
But before we left,
we decided to start on the state
we were leaving from
and use our notebooks
to learn a little
about each of the states we were traveling through!

So we started with Texas!

Here is what we learned about Texas...

The state bird is the
but we feel it should be the
Cause they are all over the place
but I digress.

We learned that the large state mammal is...
can you guess??

Imagine that...

The state small mammal is the 
we haven't seen any of those in person,
I do think I remember seeing one on the side
of the road and asking the hubs in shock,
"Is that an armadillo?!?!?!"

The Texas state flower is the 
beautiful blue bonnet
and after living here through 
the spring...
I see why it is the state flower.
The sides of the roads are COVERED with
these beauties...
our daughter actually asked where all the 
pretty flowers were earlier this week as we were driving around...
so she remembered them!

The state flag is strikingly similar to our home state flag...
I think NOT!

Texas State Flag

North Carolina State Flag

We also learned that the "Stetson" hat was born in Texas.
And guess what...
we, no the hubs!, actually had a real Stetson!
It used to be his grandfather's...
So, of course, we had to try it on!


We made a recipe from Texas...
the Texas Sheet Cake!
LOADED with chocolate!

I let the boys do MOST of the work!
And Ms. Priss got in on the action too
and lent a hand...
er, tongue,
with the clean-up!

We were taking these on a "Go See It" with our
scout group,
so I opted to make cupcakes out of our
Texas Sheet Cake.

I whipped the icing and made it fluffy so it was easier to ice cupcakes.
The original recipe called for it to be poured over the sheet cake,
while still in the pan.

I was so excited when a mom in our scout den
said it tasted just like the Texas Sheet Cake her mom used to make
but the icing was different. 
(Baker's Success!)

Here is a picture of our
scout den at our "go see it",
the fire station.
We left most of the cupcakes with them
when we left.

Back to our Texas lesson:

We learned that the state vehicle is the 
Chuck Wagon!

So what did we do?
We made chuck wagons!!!

 I think they turned out pretty cool!!!

And looked awfully close to the real thing!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Labor Day Fun, Texas Style

Labor Day,
as in over 2 months ago...
I am THAT behind!

So why not just pick up where I left off!

Since we had a 3 day weekend ahead of us,
I wanted to do something interesting...
something to get us out of the house...
something to explore part of Texas we hadn't seen yet...

I found the 
"Celebrate Bandera Festival".

It included a Longhorn Cattle Drive...

I got so excited!!!
It didn't take too much convincing before
the hubs agreed.

So Saturday morning we headed into part of the
Hill Country... Bandera
the self proclaimed
"Cowboy Capital of the World"

On our way,
we saw this neat cross on the top of a hill.

The Longhorns led the parade,
it was a little
daunting being this close to these horns!!

But I didn't look too worried...

Did I??

The rest of the parade followed...
Here are some of the more interesting parts of the parade...

Some neat
Some of which, 
there is no explanation...


(um, huh?)

(kinda disturbing!)

Then we went over to see a 
"Wild West Showdown" 
There was a man from the show
 "cracking a whip",
about 5 grown men got up 
pulled their britches up
attempted it...

Then my sweet 6 year old decides he wants to 
give it a try...

He didn't succeed either,
but the man sure got him running!


We drove around a bit after the
festivities and looked around the
outlying area.
We saw a couple of creeks that
totally looked wading worthy.
We also found a small
waterpark inside of a
The Flying L Ranch

 Monday, we decided we would
go back
and hit the creek
and the little waterpark!
(no pics of that though -
we were too busy chasing children
and keeping the littlest one from doing
all the craziness his older siblings did
and drowning!)

Here are a couple of pictures
of the creek wading...

(It was really FAR down)

Ms. Priss finally made it down
the cliff of roots to her daddy's arms!

R found a rope to swing from,
but it made mommy rather nervous since 
the water level was rather shallow!

Mr. T and I kept dry for a bit,
then finally ventured in ourselves...

This is what we got the pleasure of wading in! 
How beautiful!!!

Mr. T totally enjoyed grabbing rocks off the bottom
and throwing them...

So did his big brothers!

One last swing before we head out...

As you might have noticed,
Mr. T had on a "real" diaper.
We peeled it off when it 
weighed more than he did...

So I leave you with this...

I am sure in 20 years (or less)
he will NOT be pleased with me
for plastering this on-line!

I couldn't resist!