Thursday, September 30, 2010

First Astros Game

A few weekends back we attended our first Astros game. Work gave me two free tickets to the game and to the Mercy Me concert that followed the game. (Amegy sponsors the Astros and has all the ATM’s at the ball park)  I thought it would be fun if we could all go, so I went online and bought two cheapie tickets for Bella and I and we let the boys have the good seats. Then for the concert part we were all able to sit together. OK, how cute is this picture????


I love to see people at baseball games with tiny babies – I think it is so cute, especially when they are all dressed up in baseball clothes or tiny jerseys. However, I have never taken my own kids to games while they were very little because I am a total klutz. Just in normal life I drop things, I fall down, I walk into walls. I have no depth perception, truly my vision is not good (I am negative 7 in one eye and negative 6 in the other – sad I know!)  Those steep steps at Minute Maid Park scare me and I have never wanted to brave them with a baby or toddler in my arms.  But now that the children are older I feel better about it (although I still had that really tight Mom grip going on Bella when we were on the stairs)


Bella and I were WAY up there.  I was surprised that she actually followed the game somewhat. Although mostly she was primarily interested in eating snacks.


First hot dog at the ball park!


Cotton Candy


That’s Mercy Me performing down there at third base.


Jacob had a grand time,  he has been building ball parks out of blocks.


 photo 2

It’s hard to tell in this picture, because it was taken on my phone and I couldn’t zoom out or in, but she is actually standing up, with her head in the seat, sleeping – right there during a loud concert!  We ended up leaving after a few songs, she was really wiped out.

photo 3

Bella Ballerina

Bella began asking about taking dance classes this Spring.  I looked into it and discovered there isn’t a lot available for children younger than 3, and that she needed to be potty trained.  The day of her 3rd birthday she woke up at 6:30 AM and said “Can I go to ballet class today? I’m 3!”  The following week when we went to Las Vegas marked the first full week where she went without having any potty accidents.  It was time to start dance classes!

Here she is buying her first pair of ballet shoes – size 8. 


Of course we had to wear them home in the car.

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First day of class!


One thing about the quality of the studio pictures – they don’t let parents in the actual room during class – so these are all taken through a glass window without flash – so if they look a little odd sometimes that is why.

This dance studio believes that tumbling and dance go together – so each class has some gymnastics  activities.  I think is great because Bella already takes gymnastics at her school, so it means at least some of the class feels familiar to her.


Bella has a great sense of balance, she is very steady, I guess her center of gravity is low or something.  There is a sense of purpose and sturdiness about her that  I love.  Whenever we go to Gymboree or the playground I can see parents looking my way, as if they are thinking “You are going to let her do that? “  But I let her because I have watched her and know that she can be trusted in that way.  She has none of my fear or clumsiness or hesitancy. She will not be a girl that rides her bike into trees or gets hit in the head with volley balls.


One thing I like is that they pack a variety of activities into the one hour class so the girls are not ever bored.  In between activities they line up by the wall – so cute when they are all in a row! 


The barre work – Bella is still working to really understand what they want her to do. Mostly she hangs and climbs around on the barre, I think she thinks it is monkey bars or like uneven bars from gymnastics. She is so tiny that it is way up level with her head.

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First position! (Sort of)


Dancing around in tutu’s with big strips of Pink organza – it was little girl heaven!


We have been to three classes so far.  In October she will be doing some tap. I remember when I was a child I got some tap shoes at Goodwill or something – man I LOVED those things, I wore them around until there was just no way I could cram my foot in any longer.  Her first recital will be in December.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I saw this video on a blog that I follow…


“Be content in the charm of God’s image in your life…Shaped by self control, modeled in good works and pleasing first to God.”  Wow.

Jacob’s 6th Birthday

The weekend before last we celebrated Jacob’s 6th birthday.  On Saturday we had a birthday party for him at Shankz Blacklight mini golf.  09.201000000026
Past experience has taught me that out of a class of 20+ kids not everyone will be able to make it, so we also invited a few friends from daycare and from church. We wound up with 15 kids at the party – it was a big group but everyone had fun.
Here are the kids sitting on the bench waiting to get their clubs and balls.  The kids were also excited because they all got glow necklaces.
I was really impressed with the place where we had the party, the host really interacted with the kids and kept them moving through the course and kept it safe and fun.  I also really liked that you got your party room right away, so there was a place to put all your stuff and even a cabinet for purses.
The party rooms all have different themes, we were in the Dino room, which had huge scenes of dinosaurs painted all over.  If you haven’t been to a blacklight place, the pictures don’t do it justice, it is really pretty neat but of course the 3D and blacklight doesn’t show up in the pictures.
Frankly I was sort of amazed that the kids did such a good job taking turns and putting. There was some pushing and fussing, but more or less things went very smoothly.  We did have one injury where a kid swung his club and clocked another kid, but an ice pack and some cake and it was all better.  Naturally some of the younger ones just kind of ran around and climbed on stuff which is also fun. I really enjoyed chatting with the other parents.
neat dinosuar arch
Grandma gives Bella a little help
Lisa and Anna
After the golf we had pizza and capri suns. At one point there were kids that wanted cheese pizza and all that was left was pepperoni so the party host tells the kids - “OK kids, we are going to make our own cheese pizza, everyone take off the pepperoni and put it on this plate”  And they did it and were happy. I think that is why I liked the host, he was funny and thought like a Mom!
Love this shot of Seth!
Next came the cake – I really worked hard to make it exactly as Jacob asked me to make it. The design was a little different than what I maybe would have done but Jacob was VERY specific about what he wanted and I love how it turned out.
The above picture shows how it looked finished off with the two candles but the below picture shows the colors better – the trim icing was the purple and green colors from Buzz Lightyear’s uniform.  I tried to replicate the Toy Story 3 logo, I was really pleased how it all came together.  I have NEVER worked with fondant before so it was a whole new thing for me. I like my cakes to be iced with icing, but I love the crisp clean lines of fondant, so this cake uses fondant for the logo but the rest is all icing. 
The “JACOB” letters I cut out with my alphabet cookie cutters , the 6 I did freehand. 
The “birthday” letters I printed out on my computers using a free Disney-like font called Mickey. It doesn’t exactly match the real Toy Story one but that real one is a font that costs like $30, so whatever. Those letters were hardest because I sort of outlined them through the paper onto the fondant and then had to figure out how to cut them out.  It really made me wish my tiny carving tools for Halloween pumpkins weren’t in the attic. But at the time I was doing it, it was like 11 PM so I just cut them all out with the tip of a knife.  This year, I will buy another pumpkin carving set and keep it specifically for fondant work with my cake stuff.
Anyway I got that “Oh wow” moment from the kids when I put the cake down and we all know as Moms we live for that moment! Ha!
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After the party we went home and my in laws came over and we ate spaghetti and watched the UT game. The kids went nuts with all the presents and we charged up Jacob’s big big present from his grandparents – a Nintendo DS.
The next day was Sunday and Jacob’s actual real birthday.  In the service we sang “Come Now is the Time to Worship” which made me tear up because it was a song we listened to when I was in labor the day he was born.  After church I tried to get some nice photos since the church has such pretty places to take pictures.
Jacob decided he wanted to wink in these pictures. He does this big ol' super exaggerated wink.
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This one ended up being my favorite of the bunch.
After church we let Jacob pick a restaurant, he chose Sharkey’s.
I do have to say I think Bella was uber cute this day with her pony tails and her new kicks from Old Navy.
I told him to stand straight and not to wink, this is what I got…
They do this whole thing where they all come sing and put a shark mask/hat thing on you and serve you a big bowl of ice cream and snap your picture. It happened so fast I didn’t get a picture of it and Jacob wasn’t altogether pleased with the sparkler that they had lit in the ice cream and so we were kind of in a rush to blow it out. But anyway they took a picture so if you live around here look for it up on the birthday wall at Sharkey’s.
So that was Jacob’s big birthday weekend. We love him so much and he is such a fun kid.  He loves to build with blocks (his big present from us was an extension set for his wooden blocks) and sing and dance around.  I see him stretched out on the couch with his DS (he likes pac man!) and I simply can’t believe he is SO tall and grown up. He is doing great in Kindergarten, he comes home everyday bursting with new things to tell us (he tells us about wedgies, and mushy kisses, and which part of the tongue we use to taste sweet things, and the proper way to do jumping jacks and a million other things.)  I love it that he is so independent but yet still very sweet and cuddly, he is quick to give out kisses and hugs and shows concern for others. Jacob still thrives on structure and knowing what to expect but he has begun to really open up to new experiences as well. A Mom at his party that has known him for a while from Kids R Kids, could NOT believe how much he has changed in just a year.  She still remembers him being so reserved and shy and when she looked over and saw him dancing and laughing in a circle of friends she couldn’t believe the transformation. Me either! God is so good and it is a blessing to see his goodness in our children!
Coming up – Bella starts ballet and both kids attend their first Astros game.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vegas Part 2

Saturday we were up early to drive out to a nearby National Conservation Area called Red Rocks Canyon.  The visitor facility was brand new and just beautiful.  They had an activity where the kids could go on a scavenger hunt and if they checked off everything they were supposed to find then they got a ranger badge.  We all got into it and had a fun time finding all the dessert animals.



This was an exhibit where you could handle all the different kinds of rocks.


Outdoors there was an entire display which discussed the wildlife, environment, ancient peoples, climate etc. in the Canyon.


In here is a “cave” where the kids can explore.






After earning our badges we made the 13 mile scenic drive to see the canyon. It was breathtaking!






We got out of the car and explored one of the trail heads down a little ways. By this time it was nearly noon and probably 112 degrees out in the rocks. We saw people hiking but I think I would have wanted to wait until some other time than noon in August to try that myself.


There’s something about seeing your children walking in the dessert, they suddenly seem so small and vulnerable in such a majestic landscape. It was really awe inspiring to see this canyon and to understand how so many animals can live in such a rugged landscape. I was struck by the juxtaposition of all the manmade “wonders” of the Las Vegas strip the day before compared to those that are God-made. Simply no comparison!




The rest of the day was spent enjoying family back at the house. There was a pool and we ate BBQ and looked at old family photos and listened to stories. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I was busy visiting!

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All in all it was wonderful trip.  We saw the sights, had great food and fellowship, swam in the pool, played ping pong and laughed and had a great time.

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