Sunday, October 02, 2016

Happy Fall

A friend on the street is having a new baby girl, so we took the opportunity to get together to celebrate her! The ladies on my street are so fun - I'm lucky to have them closeby!

 
Fall may be coming. It has peeked into our lives this week with wonderfully cool mornings and evenings, so the boys and I have taken some bike rides on days we don't go to the gym. Trust me, it's a good workout. These boys are solid.

Graham didn't seem to be getting enough to drink at night, so I started giving him a bottle. He loves it. I love it.

I also enjoyed going to a ward book club this week. Lots of new families have moved in recently and it's been great to beef up our numbers and get to know some new faces. The girls went to a Daddy/Daughter hoedown at the church pavilion where they had a blast, and Charlotte and I went to the women's General Relief Society Meeting. 

Elliott had a soccer game, and scored a goal! In the wrong team's net, but no matter. They are so cute.

The girls have started up the Silverton street choir in preparation for the holiday season.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Upstairs makeover

The clock came this week, so the room is officially done!

Before pictures:


 After pictures:




The beanbag was not exactly part of the design; someone was just getting rid of it in the neighborhood, so it landed in front of our TV.  The room is much more inviting and fun to hang out in for the whole family now.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Season opener

I joined the local YMCA to get Graham used to being babysat. It is close to Elliott's preschool and the girl's elementary school. The nursery workers there said he enjoyed himself. Elliott went with us on Friday and had a blast.

He also enjoyed himself sitting on the patio while I was vacuuming the couch, but was eaten alive by mosquitoes. His hair is reaching new heights and always attracts attention wherever we go.

Hoping for some cooler weather this week, I made soup for when the missionaries came to dinner. I bought an Instant Pot and used its slow cooker function, as well as my normal crockpot for a double batch. It was still pretty warm out but the soup was good. I also made a delicious cheesecake in the Instant Pot. I am a fan. The missionaries helped me re-position the upstairs rug, so it is almost ready for the reveal.

It is also consignment sale week, so I brought a bunch of items over there to empty out the guest room closet and let those mostly baby clothes and toys continue their journey with another family. I also have a few dresses that Olivia wanted to give to Abby and Alyssa.

Charlotte had her first swim meet on Friday night. She participated in the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle. She did great, taking second place in the backstroke (2 swimmers in her heat) and first in the freestyle (8 swimmers in that heat). She really enjoyed herself, though it went a little long for the boys and me, who had to go home halfway through to get to bed.

The next day was stake temple day, where babysitting is provided for people going to sessions. We headed out at 6:45 am and arrived at the chapel at close to 9am where ours and another family were the only ones. Out of the whole stake! Due to the rains the previous night, the normal route from Midland had an area that was completely flooded and impassable. We had taken another route because Google said it was 6 minutes faster. However, after dropping off the kids, we went out to drive the rest of the way to the temple and the van battery had died. Some people were there cleaning the building and someone quickly gave us a jump.

We picked the kids up afterward and went to get something to eat... and the battery died again. This time it was not a quick jump. It took a while to get back up and running. But, we finally made it home in a peaceful manner, as all the kids fell asleep.

That night we were invited to a dinner welcoming a new hand surgeon to town. We had met them when they came to interview a year ago. The hospital recruiter held it at her home in Odessa, and the kids were excited to go in her pool with a diving board and the bounce house she had there. However, a tornado hit, literally, and made those activities out of the question. When the weather forecaster started advising us to hide under a mattress, we headed for home amidst an impressive lightning show. The tornado did touch down in Odessa, but then made its way south.

In other news, Graham was moved into Elliott's room. Elliott loves this development, and came in with tears in his eyes this morning to my room when he had awoken and discovered Graham already gone, as he had awoken much earlier and been taken out. So cute.

The girls making use of Elliott's soccer training nets





Saturday, September 10, 2016

Summer Update Part 3: Lake Brownwood

To wrap up summer for a last getaway, we headed to Lake Brownwood in May, Texas, an hour southeast of Abilene. One of the doctors at Helaman's practice was nice enough to let us use their home there for a few days. Even though it rained, that didn't stop the kids from enjoying the pool and hot tub all day, and each evening was perfect. We also got out on a boat and jet skis, though Elliott's favorite part was riding an electric truck found in the garage.










Friday, September 09, 2016

Summer Update 2016 Part 2: Dallas/Possum Kingdom

After leaving Galveston, the girls stayed in Houston for a week to play with Grandma, so the following weekend we met up in Dallas to get them back. We also attended the annual Parkland OMS graduation, and marveled at how large Dallas looked compared to our small town. We don't miss the traffic, but do miss the temple closeby.

Tower Club, Dallas
Dallas Temple
Dallas World Aquarium
In July, we were invited to Possum Kingdom lake (an hour north of Abilene) to check out some property in a lakefront community called The Harbor. We rented a boat and spent many hours on the lake exploring, fishing, tubing, and waterskiing.

The Grille in the Harbor was delicious and had a great patio
 

At Hell's Gate. Cliff diving competitions are held here.
Reelin' em in!
 




 

Summer Update 2016 Part 1: Galveston

Summertime with 4 kids is a lot! I regularly alternated between loving the lack of schedule/driving around and wishing for just a chance to get to the store alone. First up we hit Galveston Beach's Pleasure Pier and only got slightly ill from the all the spinny rides (am I old?) At the beach, unlike the previous year, there was no seaweed and the kids had a blast, staying in the sun from dawn to dusk. Even better when the cousins arrived! The condo had great views and was clean and comfortable. Especially appreciated was the pool and hot tub, kid craft hour and a decent restaurant in the complex.








Monday, December 21, 2015

Year End Summary

Year End Wrap Up!

Helaman and Midland Mayor Jerry Morales
This year Helaman took and passed the written portion of his board exams, and eagerly awaits the oral portion in February. He works very hard and at the time of this blog entry is removing a record setting 10 sets of wisdom teeth in one day. He continues to hone his culinary skills at home, as there are not that many places to eat out here. Recent favorites include homemade Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a Thanksgiving fried turkey, and bagels. He puts hot sauce on everything, and has spread that habit to Elliott. We met the mayor at a Medical Society dinner.

This year on Charlotte's birthday we went to LegoLand in Carlsbad, California, and ran into some wonderful friends we knew as a young couple in Tempe, Arizona some 12 years ago. I was elected (unopposed) President of the Midland Medical Alliance, which is an organization for physician wives. We hold various social gatherings and service opportunities for members and are frequently asked to accompany hospital recruiters as they entertain potential employees' wives so we can convince them Midland is a super fun place! I've also enjoyed getting to know the great families in our neighborhood at block parties, neighborhood events and mom's night at the clubhouse once a month. In August, I went back to Dallas for a fun girls' weekend at the Gaylord Texan resort with ten friends (five of whom were pregnant!) I decided having a fall baby was not my favorite time of year, as I had to spend the largest part of the pregnancy in a very hot summer. I recommend early summer babies to anyone.
Charlotte had a big year. She was baptized in April, and started a new school in the fall. She had some problems hearing, so we had her checked and ended up getting tubes in her ears as well as an adenoid removal surgery. She was a champ through it all. She is also the proud owner of a new pair of glasses. She loves reading, and is in the top 5 kids in her school (of all grades) in a program where you take tests based on the books you read. She continues to excel at piano lessons though it is a struggle to get up at 6 am sometimes! This year she also organized a street children's choir (complete with practices, photocopied music, schedules - the works), and recently led them on a Christmas caroling outing that everyone enjoyed.


Olivia started kindergarten this year. She has always been a big napper so I thought it would be tough for her to go to school all day, but she enjoys it and is proud of her perfect attendance and good citizen awards. She also takes early morning piano lessons, and has done gymnastics once a week. She also enjoys her art class at school and is often found drawing and crafting.

Elliott enjoys going to his school twice a week, and is usually too busy to say goodbye to me when I drop him off. He has started talking a lot, and though I can't understand all of it, his sisters can and are happy to translate. He is love with all things truck and car, happily plays with his sisters and currently charms everyone when he asks each day, "Baby Gwam are?"

Graham arrived on November 21 this year. He thought he would make the perfect anniversary gift. I was supposed to be induced early on Nov 20, but the hospital L&D was full and I wasn't able to go in until 2pm. Which was actually perfect timing, since Helaman didn't get done with his patient load for the day until 1. Labor started around 4 and progressed steadily until 1:30am when he popped out. I can't believe he was stuffed inside me. He was big then and has been growing at a good rate since. He is a sweet little guy and we are so happy to have him join us.

2015 Travel Log:

Feburary: Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas
March: Scottsdale, Arizona at the Fairmont Princess and Carlsbad, California at LegoLand
June: Dallas (Arboretum, Torchy's, temple, Northpark, OMS grad night), Buchanan Dam for family reunion
July: Cruise to St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados out of Puerto Rico.
October: Jackson Hole, Wyoming


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Caribbean Trip 2015

Our flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico was uneventful, and we were even able to sleep for a few hours of it after I had a short allergy attack of the variety I've been having since being pregnant this time - sick to my stomach and extreme itchiness on hands and feet. Luckily it went away after ten minutes. We arrived at about 7am and had a cab driver take us to our ship. He said he'd drop us at a nearby hotel since we wouldn't be able to board yet (boarding time was 1:30pm). So we had breakfast at Denny's and passed out on some benches on the hotel grounds. After that, Helaman said it was just .5 miles to the ship, so we set off. Unfortunately, it was a LOT farther than a half mile in the blazing sun and we ended up having to get a cab anyway. Though the cruise documents said to not arrive before 1:30, we have discovered no one reads nor heeds instructions like that. So we showed up at 11am and were able to get on, though the room was not ready. We then went to the ship library which had some very comfortable couches and again took another nap. Once the room was ready, we took much needed showers, went to a round of trivia and then to dinner. We were assigned to a lively table with another couple our age, and a family with three daughters. It was so nice to not have to prepare and clean up meals all week. A welcome variety and comedy show was that night. We wondered if the comedian stayed the whole week after doing his 30 minute show or if he got off somewhere.
Sunday morning we arrived in St. Maarten. The perfectly blue and aqua waters were straight from a postcard, and the most beautiful I've seen. We had intended to find the local LDS branch, but were not allowed off the boat until it was almost over. We took a tour around the island and stopped at a beach that planes fly right over as they land. There was a lot of air traffic for such a small island - a landing about every 5 minutes.




Monday we arrived in St. Kitts. We took a taxi down to the beach and met up with some natives to go stand up paddle boarding. It was not the best day for it, as it was really windy with some decent waves. Even the guide was falling off! That night we enjoyed an ice skating show onboard.





Tuesday we came to Antigua. We had a little speedboat take us around the island. We were with another family from Tyler, Texas and a bunch of Italians wearing what I suppose is normal Italian swimwear, meaning tight white briefs for the men! Funny. We stopped to snorkel and see starfish, then at an uninhabited island where the guides cooked up some lobster for us for lunch. The water was perfectly cool, clear and refreshing, and it was fun to tour the island by boat. That night, we went to the classic "Love and Marriage" cruise game show which was entertaining and fun.






Wednesday we got to St. Lucia, which is very lush and tropical looking compared to the other islands we had been to. We rented a car and drove down the coast (on the left side of the road - yikes). We toured a really nice resort called Jade Mountain which looked amazing with its open air rooms all overlooking the lush scenery and Piton Mountains. That night we sat on the pool deck where they were showing the movie "Insurgent."





Thursday was Barbados, where the whole island is surrounded by beautiful beaches, perfect green/agua waters and mansions. We took a catamaran trip around it and stopped to snorkel around turtles and a shipwreck. They served a nice lunch on the boat. Sitting on top of the catamaran was fun when we could get a spot in the shade! That night was a onboard scavenger hunt.




Friday we had a gloriously laid back day on the ship. We slept in, did some trivia, went from one buffet to the next, read books, caught a movie, H participated in a ping pong tourney, and we went to the farewell show with a clown and a different comedian. Since we had been in the sun all week, we stayed inside and let our skin recover. We had a balcony room this time so we got our ocean and sun fill just by sitting on our little deck.


Saturday we got our last breakfast buffet and headed out into San Juan. Since our flight was not until late afternoon, we took a tour of the area, walked around a bit, had lunch and then headed to the airport.

I'm already looking forward to our next trip - with me NOT being pregnant.