Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had as wonderful of a holiday as we did! We spent the holiday in Lexington with my in-laws and they were gracious enough to let us invite a few friends for lunch, too. Our crowd consisted of us, the Hadley's, the Cervantes', the Walkers', Eric's parents, Meemaw, Aunt Elaine with Angie and Jordan, and Uncle Roger. It was a houseful, but that's what Thanksgiving is all about!

Ashlyn did an excellent job of supervising the morning preparations.

Here are a few of the kids. I didn't do a great job with taking pictures this year.

Jordan and Isaac taking down there Thanksgiving dessert!
Claudia showed us all up shooting. Her husband, Glenn, said that now she's been offically Americanized! There's no place like Texas!

It's hard for me to give up the wishbone to the next generation, but I decided to be the bigger person and let the kids do it. Deep breath...

Hooray for Carter! (I'm sure the second hand on his side had nothing to do with his victory!)

Ashlyn was content all weekend as long as she had a book and was often chasing us around with big armfuls of them, so we decided to leave her with Nana and Papa and take the boys for some real fun....Sea World!

The 4-D theater was showing a portion of "The Polar Express." The snowflakes and spurts of Hot Chocolate flavored air was enough to get anyone in the spirit!

The boys didn't want their picture taken with "Shamu" Claus, so Eric and I had Isaac take OUR picture. Someone had to have one!

When we went to Sea World in May it was only a few more dollars to get a two-day pass, so we went this time to use the second day. Since it was paid for so long ago, it felt like a free trip, so we splurged a little and got some fish for the boys to feed the dolphins.

We were watching a scuba diver feed the manta rays, when Santa thought that he'd like to take a dive! I love the glow around the boys' heads as they went to say "hello."

Eric won't ride roller coasters with me, so I have to get my thrills on the kid rides with the kids. I'm not embarrassing Isaac, am I?

Carter just being cute!

We liked the Christmas Shamu show better than the regular season. It was the highlight for Isaac and Carter and Eric, too!

We love Ashlyn to pieces, but it sure was a different experience without her! It was great not fighting a baby or pushing a stroller or changing diapers, or, or, or....
After Sea World, we stopped off at IHOP for some pancakes, then headed back to Lexington to rest and relax for another day. I had such a FABULOUS weekend and loved taking the time to reflect on all of my many blessings, especially with all of my favorite ones surrounding me!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas?...Birthday?...or 1/2 Mile Fun Run!

November 15th the boys got to run in St. Francis's 1/2 mile Fun Run. Isaac has been wanting to do a race, and I finally found one. They were both SOOOOO excited. We were having a daily countdown and regular training sessions. Isaac would run home from the bus stop every day as fast as he could without stopping and I took them running a few times also. The morning of the big day FINALLY came and it was FREEZING! My camping nightmare all over again! :) The wind was howling and all of the poor kids were practically convulsing they were shivering so bad. I, of course, didn't think it would be that cold, so no heavy jackets on my kids!

Taylin, Isaac, and Carter waiting for the excitement to begin!

Isaac refused to wear his coat while he ran. I thought it was silly, but once he gets an idea in his head, it is very hard to get it out. He acted pretty tough, though. He wasn't about to let on that he was cold!

Here the big man is ready for take off. We had been trying to drill it into his head to start slow and steady, even if the other kids took off fast, assuring him that they would eventually poop out while he still had some steam.
Here he is crossing the finish line. He ran his little heart out and was so proud to have beat that other little boy. We were glad he had that small victory, because he wasn't exactly in first place. He was quick to let us know our advice was wrong. "They started out really fast, Mom, but they never pooped out!"
Carter wasn't too proud to let us know that he was cold. He was so miserable standing at the starting line.
Thank goodness Dad came to the rescue until the race started!
Carter decided he wanted Eric to run the race with him and here they are coming in.
Our advice worked a little better for Carter. He was definitely one of the smallest in his age group, and was second to last the first leg of the race. But he kept at it and slowly passed one crying or walking kid after another. We were proud of how well both our boys did!
Every kid who raced got a medal. You would have thought it was a million bucks!
After the race we celebrated with some hot chocolate and then took them to El Chico that night to use their gift certificates they got in their race packets. It was a really great day and lots of fun!
(And yes, we cut Isaac's hair that very afternoon after seeing these pictures!)

Dinosaur Valley State Park

The boys have been to a couple of Father and Sons campouts, but I haven't been camping since before I was pregnant with Ashlyn, so it was at the top of our "to-do" list once Eric's schedule lightened up. So last weekend, we picked Isaac up early from school and headed off to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX. We had hardly pulled into our campsite before the boys were ready to be off exploring. Down a cliff from our sight was the Paluxy river where there are some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. The light made the water and trees absolutely beautiful, but our camera didn't even begin to do it justice. Someday Eric would really like a photographer's camera. Anyway, here are the boys showing off the beautiful evening.

We found some really good tracks, but had to hurry back to camp to set up before dark. Camping dinner is always easy because the kids just want to cook hotdogs and marshmellows over the fire, so that is what we do!

It started to get pretty cold, so we headed into the tent for a few mean rounds of "Go Fish" and "Old Maid" before bedtime.

The night was SOOOOO cold! Our campsite had water and electricity, so we took an extension cord and space heater because a cold front was coming through and it was supposed to get down in the low 40s, high 30s. There were two spots that we could set up our tent, and since it was such a NICE day and we had plenty of blankets, we chose the more secluded spot that DIDN'T reach the electrical outlet, even with the extension cord. NOT a good idea! We DIDN'T have plenty of blankets, and I don't think I have ever been so cold through the night in my whole life! But alas, we survived, only to tough out the wee hours of the morning! We stuck Ashlyn in the van with the heater, in addition to her onesie, two sets of long pajamas and her coat. Oh yeah - the boys were in there, too! :)

The kids finally braved the cold for a little breakfast around a little fire. (Note -next time take LOTS of wood!)

The next day our real dinosaur exploring began. Carter was so excited to be a real paleontologist. It's pretty funny to hear him say it. It's a mouthful for me, but he says it exactly right.

Here is one of the small to average sized footprints. Ashlyn's boot is smaller than it's toe spread!

Isaac was trying to compare his foot to another print and almost landed in the river!
We equipped all three kids with rain boots so that they could wade and not get too soaked. They brought a lot of chuckles from other people, especially Ashlyn.

Carter found Ashlyn a walking stick and she took it with her everywhere. I think it helped her get around in her boots!

Ashlyn's wading didn't get much deeper than side puddles, but she had a blast in them.

The boys got a little farther out into the river. All of the small craters around them are dinosaur footprints.

It was a really neat park and the boys are already asking when we can go back. We'd like to go camping again after Thanksgiving, but we'll probably try a different park just for a new experience, but that's ONLY if it's not during a cold front!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A little...or a lot...of Ashlyn

Ashlyn's the baby - a girl - and so dang cute - so naturally I have to take a lot of pictures of her. Here are a few of my favorites.

After Halloween, Ashlyn got caught with two suckers in her hands and a variety of other "samples" all around her. I had already cleaned up the samples, but I didn't dare touch the suckers!

"I've been caught..."

"Still not sure I'm out of the woods, but I better say 'cheese' since she has the camera out!"

"Why was I worried? Mom usually thinks I'm pretty funny, and it's true. I'm hilarious!"
Carter had a friend over the other day and I ran upstairs to investigate some questionable sounds and this is what I found. She was a pretty good sport about having Desytin smeared all over her face and I'm just glad it didn't burn her eyes. She smelt diaper fresh the whole rest of the day!

Eric caught her putting goldfish into his IBC. Who could ever get mad at a face like this?
I pulled out our potty chair to begin encouraging Ashlyn to use it, or at least get her used to seeing it around. It is now her favorite thing to sit on before bathtime and we've got her to sit on it a few other times, too. It will be a long time before she's potty trained, but who can resist a bitty girl on a bitty pot? Especially a modest one!

"Seriously, Mom? I'm going potty here!"

Gotta love her!