Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Patch

We loaded up on Thursday and headed out for Sweetberry Farms in Marble Falls. We have done the pumpkin patch here several times, but for some reason, only once before have made it out for strawberry picking.
My main memory from the last time is hearing Ally from across the rows, yelling, "Puuuullll!" She was about 2 1/2, I guess?

This time the phrase of the day was,

"I found one, Mama! I got one! Come look! I found a good one! I got a good one!"

Each girl picked about a pound apiece (say that 5 times fast!), and we had SO much fun. I didn't have to tag behind either of them this time. Even Ally really got it-she'd see a nice red one, then turn it over and say, "nope, still some white there!", and move on.

We had no agenda, no schedule, we just took our time, and enjoyed a beautiful day in a strawberry patch. Does it get any better?

We did have to hunt a little bit. It was Spring Break after all. It was the busiest I've ever seen the place, but we still have rows and rows to ourselves. There is definitely a lot of room to roam.
I would LOVE to go back in a few days and snatch up the hundreds of berries that will be ready this week. Man, it was so hard to pass up all of the 'almost ready' ones!

We picked (or 'patched'...Ally kept telling everyone she went "strawberry patching!"), then visited with the animals, then broke for our pack lunch (and had some bee issues and low-sugar moments from Miss E), then picked some more.
Topped the visit off with some nice homemade ice cream and called it a day!

Grammy tagged along on this trip. I heard she made some jam with her batch. Yum! We polished ours of in a couple of days alongside some French Toast and Belgian waffles!

It was a wonderful trip! Here are some pics-I wish I could include them all!

The Funeral

The girls went with us to Jason's Uncle Eddie's funeral last Monday. They knew him and had met him a couple of times, but were not extremely close with him, so I thought it would be okay for them to attend and to be introduced to the fact that we do sometimes lose our loved ones.
Emma was pretty upset that morning and didn't want to get out of the car when we got there. She was sad and did not like being at a cemetery. After a couple of talks she loosened up, and she was excited to see some other family members there.
Ally had no clue. She kept asking where he was. I think we had phrased things like, "We're going to say goodbye to Uncle Eddie".
She would try to run around, being her usual goofy self. I did my best to contain her and I hope no one else was bothered by her antics. The girls and I sat in the car for most of the wait time.

Eddie was a veteran and had a very nice service. Two guards folded and presented the flag to his son, and another guard played Taps behind us. It was beautiful.
Emma sat still and quiet through the whole thing. Ally sat still, and was very quiet, but was VERY curious! She kept asking about the flag, whispering,

"What are they doing with the flag, Mama? Why are they doing that? Why are they making it into a triangle? Why are they giving it to his son?" and on and on and on...
Then she noticed "the box".

"Why is that box there, Mama? Why is that there? What is in that box, Mama? Can we look in there? Are they going to open that box?" etc. etc....

When the service was finished, I whisked her away and we took a walk along a pretty little tank and found some geese and ducks to occupy us.

I know this in not my typical, upbeat, fun and games post. I'm trying to include more of our life events, simply to help me remember them down the road.
I think this was an important event-both girls understand that Uncle Eddie is in a better place, and them being a part of the event opens up doors to discuss other concerns or fears.

The two of them had included him in our prayers lately, asking God to take care of him, and to make sure Eddie finds his Mama and Daddy.

They have also had an argument about whether or not he has met Dr. Seuss.

All in a day...


Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Big Day

For Emma's actual birthday day, we went to SeaWorld. It was quite a bit busier than the last time we went (in the fall), but I know it's going to get much worse. We managed to squeeze in 3 shows and several rides. The girls love the ShamuCoaster in the kiddie area. They also had a ferris wheel sort of thing that we did.
Our second stop was the Shamu show. We did this one in the fall and were able to walk in as it was starting and pick our seat. Not this time! There were people lining the top of the bleachers, standing in the isle, etc. Determined to find a seat, we kept going down, down, down the stairs. Until we ended up on the second row.

In the Splash Zone. Clearly labeled. You WILL get wet.

Oh Dear.

We left the place soaking wet. Drenched. Head to toe, socks and underwear, dripping hair.


Wet, like, we were the lucky bunch that, after the usual three rounds from our big whale, and after they lined all 5 whales up at the big stage in front, they called THREE of those whales back over to our section to give us one more go. THREE Killer Whales who somehow are both graceful and ginormous, with perfectly synchronized form, showered (or pelted, IMO) us with fish water.

Really? Was that really necessary??

This was a somewhat chilly day. If you're wet, anyway. It was about 64 degrees, and we were walking around dripping with 52 degree fishy salt water.
Jason wasn't as wet because he had Ally in his lap. Somehow most of Ally's legs were dry too. Emma was wet through and through, but once we took her jacket off, her thin wind pants and t-shirt dried pretty quickly.
I was soaked from the waist down and had a mop for hair. I kept my sweatshirt over me to protect what I could, and also tried my best to hide behind Emma.

Yeah, I hid-you would too!!

I had on a sweatpant like suit, so it was heavy, holding water, and sooo uncomfortable.
We tried another show and left with chills, so decided to walk to the car to eat lunch and let our clothes dry some. The girls were fine by the time we got back. I still had wet socks when we left, and my undies had not been dry for long.
And I swear I still smelled like fish. ;)

The other big event of the day was Emma riding the BIG Steel Eel roller coaster with her daddy. I never thought it would happen. I was fully expecting them to come walking back down the entrance ramp, having changed her mind.
Nope. They waited through about 5 rounds until it was their turn.
She had the biggest nervous smile as they were getting loaded in. Here's a snap of the "pep talk".

Here's a shot of the second big hill. The first one was even bigger.

How I WISH I had a picture of her sweet face when they excited the ride. Emma did not follow the crowd down the walk and towards the ramp. She came straight to her Mama. She walked straight over to me where I was waiting (a WRECK, by the way) and said....

"I don't ever want to do that again."

And here is a picture of the picture you can buy at the little booth after the ride. I was fully prepared to pay for this picture! Such a momentous occasion!
Where's Emma? She was scrunched so far down in her seat with fear, it looks like Jason is riding by himself. Ha!

A few of my faves:

Wet girls.

Watching the "Viva" show.

Riding buddies.

My smiling Sea Lion.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Party

Emma had a pseudo-sleepover last Friday with a few of her girlfriends. I was a little disappointed at first that so many of them could not make it, but I SURE got over that quickly! Emma didn't even seem to notice once we got started that half a dozen or so of the invitees were missing.
I cannot imagine what the decibels would have topped at if everyone had showed up. Wow. Four 7 yr. olds (plus one very excited, show off little sister) can really stir up some noise.
I guess by throwing them into a room with a karaoke machine and a video camera, I really was asking for it!
We had fun. The kids decorated pillow cases, sang karaoke, played "hide-and-sleep" (a game that Emma "invented", then wrote out the rules and explained to her friends), dressed up and giggled their way through the evening. They ate pizza and made ice cream sundaes and had a very special cake (more on that in a minute).
Emma "allowed" Ally to invite one friend over, and she choose best buddy, Lil' J. He came decked out in spiderman pjs and never once seemed to care that he was the only boy. He and Ally played so well-staying in her room most of the time. He joined right in with the crafts and treats, and even took a goody bag filled with girly treats like an eye mask and a Hannah Montana pen. :) Such a good sport!

Anyway, I have ZERO pictures from the party! I did lots of filming, so I guess it's one or the other with me. I did get a picture of the cake though, and each attendee has a likeness on the cake....

That's Emma on the far left. Notice the marshmallow pillow and bubble tape bedskirt? :) The girls LOVED this cake. Seriously!

And although NO pics of the bday girl (I know, it's terrible), one of Miss A all dressed up, then one of her with buddy J in their awesome hiding spot! They were not IN her little house, but behind it-for at least 20 minutes! I don't think the big girls even knew they were playing along-no one was looking for them, and they stayed so quiet!

It was a lot of fun-AND little stress for me~thanks everyone for coming!


With a catch!

To the first 5 people who comment on this post will get something made by me! Lucky you!

My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
What I create will be just for you.
It'll be done this year.
You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a book or a re-gift. It may be poetry or a copy of my favorite recipes. I may do you a favor. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog. Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Not to disappoint, my family has already managed one Easter celebration. Why pay attention to calendars? We plan holidays when they're most convenient. :)
We had some family in from Europe for a few weeks, so we decided to do our big bash a month early. I mentioned this in a previous post. And I think I jokingly said there would be approximately 200 eggs to be found between the 6 kids. Well, I was wrong. The top 5 egg-gatherers collected, respectively: 85, 84, 71, 67, and 64 eggs. I didn't add it up, but I know that's more than 200! Plus there were two little ones that had maybe a couple dozen eggs each.
This event is all about good food, good fun, and good company. We had to get on the road early this year, so we missed hot tub time, but the kids had plenty of time to swing, run around, assault each other with their mini-marshmallow blow guns (a first for me!) and feed the horses.
I saw a certain three little boys attacking their sweet and innocent great-grandmother with imaginary webs and force shield something-or-others while she was guarding the door during the "big egg hide".
I even enjoyed a leisurely swing myself while watching the kiddos dig up a dog grave. Come on, I didn't know it was a dog grave until I actually got off my rear and walked over to where they were so quietly "working". ;)
Some of my favorites:

My Girls.

The loot.

Cutie Pie.

****Operation Arrival!****

Last weekend we all trekked in to DFW Airport to surprise Uncle Shawn with a big welcome home from his 10 month assignment to Iraq. And when I say "we", of course I mean...

my girls and me
my sister and her 3
my other sister (his wife) and the new babe
my parents
my grandparents
one cousin, with his wife and 2 sons
4 pairs of aunts and uncles
one family friend (considered an aunt)
3 of my parents' cousins and one of their kids

I'm sure I'm leaving someone out, but you get the picture. We had 30+ people there. My sis had made arrangements through a USO rep to get us all through security and to the gate. The kids had made signs with their classes, and all the little ones had t-shirts that read "Proud Niece/Nephew of an American Soldier".

This guy didn't know what hit him when he walked through those doors. He was overwhelmed, relieved, elated, and in shock all at once! He gave my sister a big hug, then was handed his little boy for the first time ever. The little guy was half asleep, and on the transfer, snuggled down in his daddy's chest. Precious.

He had a great welcome then we all drove back to my parents' house for a big spread. Lots of his favorite foods, plus more.

We are so glad to have him home!
Here are some of my favorite pics:

The kid crew.

My girls going through security. So cute!

Emma with the sign her class made.

A kiss.

Daddy and baby

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I'm going to throw a post together while I wait for a phone call. My week has been crazy and it's not slowing down yet. If I don't get to pics today, stay tuned...

Monday-last minute Dr. Seuss playgroup event that turned our kids into green-egg-and-ham eating, blue haired "Things"!

Tuesday-beginning of Dr. Seuss week at school. Had a class full of blue haired "Things", painted Cat Hats, ate Cat Hat snacks, played with rhymes all day. After school, had a call from MIL that she needed to be in Temple ASAP and could we come get the cats????
Drove MIL to Temple, brought cats and all paraphanelia home (except the all important scratching post...who knew??? more on that later)

Wednesday-continued Dr. Seuss stuff at school. All about fish today. Read One Fish Two Fish, graphed colored goldfish and made fish-sickles. Came home to one missing cat, later to be found IN the lining of my GOOD couch!! Swatted other cat for scratching on my GOOD couch!
Actually made a balanced meal for dinner.

Thursday-culmination of Dr. Seuss stuff at school. All about feet today. Funky Feet Day!
Got to school and realized I left my foot shaped cookie cutter at home. Drove home, got the foot, drove back to school. Read The Foot Book, and Fox in Socks. Ate Toe Jam, made foot art. Witnessed the rescue of a huge turtle in the parking lot (we named him Yertle. Get it?).
Realized I will be going to Emma's class tomorrow to help make a poster for Uncle's arrival from Iraq.....start researching ideas for poster for Uncle's arrival from Iraq...
Got home to discover that when I ran back this morning for the cookie cutter, I left my house key on the end table. Tried the back door. Locked. Tried the garage door. Locked. Luckily...remembered I had MIL's keys still in my car and she has a house key. THANK YOU!
Got in the house to find the cat in the couch again, and my heavy glass bowl with plastic fruit on the floor in front of the china hutch. I'm going to skin a cat!!

Waiting on the call from Grandmother saying she and cousin and cousin's new baby are finished with the Dr. appointment and ready for pizza dinner.

***there's the phone!!***

--------------4 hours later------------------

Took pizza to cousin's house and saw the beautiful baby. Had a nice visit w/Grandmother.
Girls in the tub. Emma convinced that she's going to make the dolphin costume for her QUEST fair when she gets out. ;)

Friday-must pack for the weekend away! Laundry, house making playdate in the AM for Miss Ally. Quick lunch then to Emma's school for poster time. We'll probably leave early to pick up visiting Grandmother and head to Ft. Worth.

Saturday-BIL's arrival at DFW around 3. Big crowd expected to greet him then head to Mom's for huge spread.

Sunday-early Easter w/extended family in Denton. Probably have 6 kids there and a total of 200 eggs.
Okay, I may have overshot, but I promise not by much. This crowd does eggs w/money, eggs w/numbers for door prizes, etc. Lots of fun for the kiddos.

Wow. If I make it back, I'll update next week. :)