Sunday, May 26, 2013

March Sister Visit

Shortly after we moved to Texas,
my baby sis decided to pursue her 
dream of becoming a nurse.
She had already gone to college 
and received a degree in Biology.
Then she started work as a pharmaceutical sales rep.
She did that successfully for a few years,
but it just wasn't fullfilling her.
She had this nagging desire
to be a nurse.
Even when my oldest was born
9 years ago,
she was talking about being a nurse.

So she bit the bullet and did it.
She applied to
was accepted into 
an accelerated program
about an hour and a half away 
from home.
she quit her very lucrative job,
sold her downtown townhouse,
sold her car 
packed up

And when they say accelerated
they mean
break neck speed!
14 months of non-stop,
no time to see family,
no time to sleep,
no time for nothin'

Once she finally finished classes,
she took the little bit of free time
she had 
and hopped a plane 
down to the big state of Texas
to see little ole' me
and my motley crew!

It was a quick trip 
but we shoved as much Auntie time
in as we could.
She arrived on a Monday around lunch
and daddy was taking her to the airport
Wednesday morning to catch a 6:30 flight back.

Here are a couple of pictures from her
whirlwind trip.

We picked her up right around lunch
and decided to head to my favorite
tourist destination...
the Riverwalk
for lunch.

Aunt Melanie decided to see
exactly how many little
people she could carry at once...

We walked up and down the Riverwalk
for somewhere fun to eat.
We finally settled on a place
saw these guys!
We love mariachis!

After lunch,
we took her to another of our 
favorite touristy places,
the Japanese Tea Gardens.

They are beautiful!!!
And the waterfall was actually flowing this time!

And they have gigantic koi fish!!

After that we hit up a couple of stores
and then headed home.

Ms. Priss has a double bed,
with a twin trundle under it.
So her room is the guest room,
and most of the time,
she gets booted out of her "big bed" 
and into either the trundle
or her "tiny bed"
(canopy toddler bed).
So Aunt Melanie slept in 
her room,
with her.

Then they got up and got ready together too...
and put on their make up.

She's ready!

What a Priss!

We had to find something fun to do,
so we hit one of the up and coming areas of
San Antonio.

It is definitely a neat place to go!
They are redesigning and repurposing the old

The stable is now a beautiful banquet hall,
used for weddings and such!

I wasn't sure what it was going to be like for the kids
but we all had a great time!

We had lunch at a HOT little lunch spot.
And Aunt Melanie treated everyone to a cupcake
from their amazing selection!

This one was banana split,
I think.

Then we wandered through the CIA Cafe
(Culinary Institute of Ameria)
There was one of those on the Pearl Campus as well.
We walked around a bit,
then discovered that the river was
about a block away!
So we walked over
and this is way more beautiful than the 
restaurant row
in downtown!

We even saw a few baby ducks!!
All of us loved these!  
The adults as much as the kids!

They almost got close enough to touch...

We ventured down a little further to this interesting thing
jutting into the sky!

It is a sculpture that someone had made
along the river...
it was so neat!!!

And apparently lights up at night.
I bet that is beautiful!
That is definitely being added to our great date night ideas!
The Pearl 
then walking along this part of the river.

After all of that exploring,
we wound up back at the 
CIA Cafe. 
We had purchased some items at our previous visit
(rumor had it they sold out of stuff FAST)
and asked them to hold it for us.
We went back and got our goodies
and sure enough -
80% of their items were GONE!

This baby was their main light fixture!
How creative?!?!

We finally ventured back to the house.
Daddy was due home and we had a bunch of tired babies,
and adults!

The following morning,
Aunt Melanie had to leave bright and early...
She was trying to be quiet,
but Ms. Priss woke up...
She was sad her buddy was leaving her so soon.

I loved this sweet moment...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kooking with Kids!

My Jackson 
is a very hand on kid.
He loves doing things with his hands:
changing the oil with daddy
building things
washing the cars
He loves cooking!

Most people like others to cook for them
on their birthday,
Jackson asked if he could cook lunch on his birthday!
So I let him!

He made mac n cheese, green beans & pears for lunch...

Then he even helped with his birthday dinner!
He smashed the potatoes!

So I thought it would be fun
 to take him to a cooking class!
My mom had noticed a kids' cooking school
on groupon.
So Nana bought the kids each a groupon for
their birthdays!

It was a 40 minute drive from our side of town.
But we put it on our calendar for 2 Mondays.
I was able to add 
2 additional classes
so Lex could join too!

Jackson loved it,
and appeared to be
"chef's pet".

They even had these neat knives for the kids
that I am determined to find for Jackson,
so he can start helping chop things at home.

Here is how you keep a 2 yo entertained
while his siblings are enjoying cooking classes.

Here is Ms. Priss' first class,
this is obviously 

She got a cute kid's knife to use too!

And more ways to entertain a 2 yo!

Ms. Priss had a ball!!

Their classes were going on at the same time,
so I bounced back and forth between the classes.

The second time we went,
a few weeks later,
Rico was feeling quite under the weather,
so was daddy...
so daddy and Rico had a sick guys' night
while the rest of us went to another cooking class...

Cutting chives...

They had a great time!
And I am trying to figure out ways to let them help
around the kitchen more when I cook dinner,
but that is the closest thing I get to
"me time" 
around this house...
I really don't want to share that chore...  :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Haircut...dun, dun, dun...

Hair is a touchy subject in this family.
I have really long hair
(most of the way down my back)
My husband is ex-military and 
keeps his short and neat!

He expects our boys' hair
to be the same as his
and likes long hair on girls.

boys - short and neat
girls - long

I was blessed with a curly red headed boy
as our second child.
I fought and fought to keep those curls...
I eventually lost the fight 
and we cut it.
His curls/waves come back when his hair is long...
REALLY long!
And we get compliments on his hair
literally every where we go!

I don't remember how old he was when we finally cut it,
it was cute, but it just didn't feel like "him".

Since then, 
I have always kept his hair on the longer/shaggier side.

Kid #3 was a girl.
I could keep this kid's hair as long as I wanted!
But no curls!
She has her daddy's total lack of curl
and her mom's fine hair.

So, she got her first official haircut at 2.
Just a trim to even things up.

Then along comes
baby #4...
another curly red headed boy!

He is now 2 years and 7 months old
and has yet to have a haircut.

Until a few months ago...
He was in the tub and there was this 
ONE straggler in the back.
It was just a lot longer than the others...
so I cut it.
Gave him his first haircut!

hubs said that didn't count...
Does that sweet curl being cut 
count as his first haircut??

This debate is not,
the main issue in this posting...

Do you see how long this hair is here?

That is my daughter...
after 1 hair cut in her life...2 years ago.
I realized it needed trimming.
It was getting a little lopsided
(or cattywhompas as I say)

So took the above pictured scissors,
and trimmed her hair in the tub one night.

The next day,
I realized I had not done the most even job in the world,
so after another bath,
I stood her on the counter in the bathroom
and had another go at it.


Then within a couple of days,
during naptime
(supposed naptime)
there was a whole lot of thumping and 
bumping going on...
but I didn't pay any attetion.
She was quiet,
the boys and I were doing school work...


She came down...
I was at the sink doing something
Jackson was at the table doing school work...
then my sweet Jackson exclaims

"Lex, did you cut your hair?"

I whipped my head around
and saw it...

I was heart broken!!!!
I had left the scissors out where she could reach them,
on the counter in MY bathroom.

And all that thumping and bumping 
was her...
in my bathroom...
cutting her hair...

I found a tremendous amount of hair all over my
bathroom floor,
in the trashcan...
I was carrying my heart in my feet as I cleaned it up...

I texted my stylist and didn't hear back...
so I was on the hunt for someone to fix it...

I was able to find a place,
NOT my first choice,
but I didn't have any choices!

The stylist looked at it,
and looked at it,
and looked at it...
trying to determine if she could salvage the length.

I had already determined that it could not be salvaged...
and eventually the stylist came to the same conclusion...
And off the rest came.

She asked me if I wanted to keep it,
I actually said no thanks.

Ms. Priss totally enjoyed getting her hair cut.
But the whole time I was reminding her
that she was NOT to cut her own hair!

Here is the after...

She likes it
and at the end of the day,
that is really all that matters!
(well mommy has to like it too)

Daddy had to get used to it - 
so did I.
He was not a fan at first,
mainly because she was 
totally different than when he had seen her 
the night before!

So now the debate continues about the 
baby's hair...

I agree it does need some taming,
but I am not sure how they are going to cut it
since the back & sides has grown 
much faster than the front & top!

But I have told his daddy that I would get his haircut,
before Father's Day...

I just didn't say how much...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kamping with Kids!

We went camping!
Tent camping!
With 4 kids!
Ages 8 - 2!
Are we nuts?!?!

Not really.

We only stayed one night,
so we started off easy.

J got a fishing pole from 
papa grande for his birthday,
so we HAD to find a place to get his hook wet!

After purusing the internet,
we settled on Garner State Park...
in Texas!  
Yep, there is a Garner in Texas!
(There is one mere minutes away from our
hometown in NC, too)

It got a ton of great reviews,
the pictures on-line were great,
and their facebook page was VERY active
so we figured we would try it out.

We did J's little get together on Friday night,
then bright and early Saturday morning
we were up and loading the car for the camping trip.
The boys kids were bouncing off the walls
with excitement!

It was just over an hour drive from our home
in San Antonio,
which was perfect in case it didn't work out and 
we needed to hustle home for any reason.
(daddy and the boys rushed home from 
the last overnight camping trip they went on
because R got sick in the middle of the night)

Here is how it went in pictures...
my camera died half way through, 
so you only get pictures of day 1...

This is what we saw on the drive out...
a whole lotta nothin!  

Dry, brown...

The park was rockin!
There was a huge line to check in when we got there,
but luckily we had chosen the quieter side of the park.
I am so glad we did!

As soon as we got there,
everyone ran down to take a look at the 

They also started to gather drift wood
for our fire...
we later learned 
from the kind park rangers
that what we did was TOTALLY illegal!

Snapped this adorable picture too!

Then, Daddy put our cubscouts to work
making camp 
pitching the tent.

R was even showing the littles what things were
telling them how they worked.

"These are to hold the tent down 
if it gets too windy"

We saw this baby on our way to the river access that we backed up to.

Thankfully no one got poked!
This wasn't the only one of these 
bad boys we saw.

The Frio River!
It was REALLY low!

You can't see it very well, 
but all of the white you see on the ground,
used to be covered by water.

I trapsed back from my quick view of the river 
and took a picture of my crew setting up camp.
We had a nice, quiet, private area
for our camp.

The boys successfully got the tent up!
(with a little help from daddy)

Then they started setting up 
sleeping bags and air mattresses.

Mr. T loved it!

So did Ms. Priss!

I said air mattresses...
mommy will gladly go camping,
but I am NOT using a rock for my pillow!
And this princess CAN feel the pea under her mattress!

Apparently those stakes R was showing the littles earlier
didn't get used!
Cause just a little breeze and this happened!

With the boys in it!!

(no children were harmed in the rolling of this tent!)

Daddy finally finished "my" bed,
then Mr. T noticed how inviting it looked.
and decided he wanted to take a nap...

Then he was joined by two of the other youngins...
Wait a second
that's MY bed!!!
Don't get too comfy there youngins!

Then since it WAS his birthday
and HE is the WHOLE reason we were here
and he DID get a new fishing pole...
we figured we would take the 
birthday boy 
to the fishing part of the river
and let him throw his hook in the water

And eventually a tree!

Thankfully we were able to holler at these two in a kayak
and they graciously came over to try and assist,
while we were willing that boat NOT to flip over!

No luck and we called it a day...
since we weren't getting ANY bites anyways,
due to all the swimmers and kayakers and tubers...
but at least the boy got his hook wet!

And got to drown a few worms...

Here are some pre-tree fishing pictures:

My curly red-heads!

Ms. Priss givin it a go.

Then R eventually got tired of casting and reeling in,
so he started climbing...
trying his darndest to fall in!

The view down past the dam was pretty, too!
(if only it were green)

Then we headed back to our side of the park
and let the kids play in the river on our end...
there was hardly anyone else on our end wading 
in the river, so it was great!

The river was living up to its name and 
was kinda chilly...
and all the kids were doing their best not to get soaked
and freeze!

Then this happened and that was the end of swimming!

So we headed back to the camp site and lit a fire.
Due to the extreme dry conditions,
you are only allowed to have fires for cooking.
So since our soggy and frigid Ms. Priss
needed to warm up,
it was time to start dinner!

Unfortunately that is the end of the pictures...
but in a nutshell
we ate dinner,
Tony got sick,
no one got any sleep
because we were all so uncomfortable,
we woke up,
cooked breakfast (daddy did the majority of the cooking!),
went down to the river again,
chilled out,
packed up,
went back over to the main side of the park,
played a game of putt-putt
and headed home.

I honestly did enjoy laying awake in the tent, 
looking up at the stars,
hearing the river flowing meer feet away
and imagining that this is EXACTLY how
travelers, cowboys, outlaws, pioneers!
 camped and slept YEARS ago!
I know they stopped at this same place,
slepts on that same ground.
Had their horses tied up to the trees we were sleeping under...

THAT was neat!

We had a ball,
it was a wonderful family experience
and we WILL be doing it again...
but I really want a camper!