Wednesday, August 07, 2013

First Lost Tooth

On June 25th, Claire lost her first tooth!  How is my baby girl old enough to be getting permanent teeth?  Since she started getting baby teeth early, we knew it was a possibility, so we had been trying to prepare her - talking about how she might have a tooth get loose, what it meant, and that it wasn't something to be frightened about.

After dinner Robert and I were talking and cleaning up the kitchen, and Claire ran in and said "I lost a tooth!"  We looked at each other in shock - we didn't even know one was loose.  She opened her mouth to show us, and we asked her where it was - "I don't know!"  We thought she might have hidden it, so we asked her a few more times and told her it was fine - that we were excited for her - and became convinced that she really didn't know where it was.  The first lost tooth was really lost.  We hadn't talked about the Tooth Fairy, and probably are going to come up with something different to celebrate lost teeth, so it wasn't a big deal.  Would've been nice to have, but at least she wasn't upset about it.

Lost tooth

Will's version of Claire's photo

New smile!

She lost the second one a couple of weeks later - it started coming out while Robert and I were out on a date night, so my mom pulled it for her.  We love her little gappy smile!  :)

Wildlife Ranch

One of the activities on my personal Summer Bucket List was to visit the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.  We arrived close to opening time and got a glimpse of the baby twin giraffes - they were so sweet.  I wanted to do the drive through part of the ranch before it got too crowded.  We started out with the kids in their car seats, but they were having a hard time seeing the animals and throwing food out the window, so I let them move up to the front seat (I felt like they were safe as we were rolling along at a crawl and it wasn't too busy).  I think they were more excited about their freedom than they were about the animals.


Best Buds

Checking out the zebras

The zebra who wouldn't move - we were stuck for a couple of minutes waiting for it to move out of the road

All of the animals were fun to watch except the ostriches - I'd been warned that they are a little aggressive, so I rolled up the windows as soon as we got to their area to avoid having one stick its head into the van.  Yet, we still had one try to bite the rear view mirror.  That was the second most memorable part of the trip - and the part that Will still talks about a month and a half later.

The most memorable part was when I broke the van key.  Good times.  After driving through, I parked and let the kids out so we could go to the petting zoo and get a closer look at the giraffes.  I realized that I'd left a window rolled down, so I leaned across the passenger seat to turn the van on, slipped with my hand on the key in the ignition, and the remote just snapped off.  I got the van started again, and I was afraid to turn it off.  I loaded two tearful, disappointed kids back into the van (fortunately, they seemed to understand and calmed down quickly) and drove straight to the dealership.  They assured me that as long as I kept the pieces close together, it would still work, but ordered a key that I could pick up the next day.  Such a hassle (and so expensive - remember when a car key was just a key?), but it worked out, and we are planning to return once it gets a little cooler.  Definitely a memorable excursion!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Hot Springs, AR

In June we traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas for a family reunion with Robert's grandmother's family.  We were a little apprehensive about how the kids would do on such a long drive, but I'm happy to say that I don't think it could have gone any better (thank you minivan DVD system, dinosaur masks, lots of snacks, cheap new toys and flashlights, and great-grandparents who were happy to help entertain the kiddos).

HS Collage 1

We drove to Arlington on Wednesday, spent the night, and drove the rest of the way to Arkansas on Thursday.  After we settled into the hotel, Robert, the kids and I drove over to Bathhouse Row to see the historic houses and get out some energy.  The path behind the bathhouses was really pretty, but it was hot, so we didn't last long.


On Friday we took a tour of the city and the lake on a WWII duck.  Driving straight into the water was a little unsettling, even though I was expecting it!

HS Collage 2

On Saturday we toured Tiny Town and Dryden Pottery.  The kids especially enjoyed Tiny Town - it was very interactive, and Claire & Will loved seeing what would happen when they pushed different buttons.

HS Collage 3

We mostly just enjoyed catching up with family over meals and just hanging out together.  We think Will's favorite part of the trip was watching the fountain in the Embassy Suites.

Second favorite part of the trip may have been watching Monsters Inc. multiple times.  I bought a copy before the trip so that they would have something new to watch - and watch - and watch.

Dinosaurs at the Witte

The Witte Museum has had a special dinosaur exhibit this summer.  Will loves dinosaurs - like, LOVES them - so I knew we had to check it out.  Some friends told me that some of the exhibits moved and could be really intimidating, so we talked ahead of time about how the dinosaurs were going to be huge but that they weren't real.  They were so fascinated by the movement (and the iPads at several exhibits that you could use for additional activities) that they handled everything fine.  But for any locals that haven't been yet - try to prepare your kiddos!


Members received a free dinosaur mask (and I was able to purchase an additional one for just $2) - I think the mask only left Will's head for bath time and bed time over the next 3 days.  Will was in little boy heaven!

Will with the T-Rex, showing off his mask, and with what he said was his favorite dino
Dino collage 1

Clockwise from top left:  Hatching dinosaur eggs with the iPad, future paleontologists, and enjoying some other exhibits at the museum
Dino Collage 2

We had a blast, and Will kept asking "Can I go to the dinosaur exhibit?  I need to see the dinosaurs!"  We went back in July and plan to go at least once more before it ends in September.

From the second trip:
Dino Collage 3

Educational AND exhausting - dinosaurs for the win!

When Mommy's Away...

I had a short overnight trip the last weekend of May for a MOPS retreat, so Robert took the kids to Austin to spend some time with Grandmommy & Granddad Martin.

Making faces at Hut's
Austin 1

Sno Beach!
Austin 2

After the sugar rush wore off

A good time was had by all.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Summer Projects

At the beginning of the summer, my friend Lindsay posted a link to the Christian Mama's Guide Pin-Tastic Summer - a collection of activities posted each week using things that you can easily find around your house or at Target/grocery store.  Using that blog and Pinterest, I've been able to find several activities that were age appropriate and that I knew would be fun for the kids, and we've enjoyed having some different experiences while trying to avoid the Texas heat.






Rainbow Rice (this was a favorite - they played with it for so long and have asked for it a few times since)


Homemade bath paints (from my MOPS group)


(Will was more interested in splashing around than painting)

Diaper Free!

If you don't have kids or aren't comfortable with preschooler bathroom stuff, feel free to skip this post.  :)

Will is potty trained!  There are no more diapers in our house!

In early May, I started putting him in Pull Ups to practice pulling pants up and down and sitting on the potty, and one day I realized that he was dry almost every time I took him to try.  After a few more days of keeping the Pull Up mostly dry, we tried underwear...


...and he did great!  We rarely had more than a couple of accidents a day that first week, and then he quickly got it - mostly.  It took another 5-6 weeks to get comfortable with the "#2" part of potty training, but we kept at it, and he figured it out - and finally got the promised bowl of ice cream.


Since then, it has been smooth sailing.  He rarely has accidents, and it was so much better than I was expecting!  A couple of weeks ago I realized I hadn't changed a diaper in almost two months, so I gathered up every diaper I could find and gave them away.  He still wears a Pull Up at night (and usually wakes up dry, but I plan to keep him in them until he can use go to the bathroom without assistance), but other than that, he is totally in underwear.  Way to go Will!!!

Claire's Selfies

Claire usually gets a few minutes to play on my phone at bedtime, and one of her favorite activities is taking photos of herself.  I've deleted hundreds, but here are some of my favorite gems that I saved.


Perfect "duck face"




Enjoying a yogurt stick



Memorial Day Weekend

Robert's family arranged a surprise family get-together for his grandparents' anniversary.  Uncle Lee & Ashlee came from Houston and met us and Carol's family at Rudy's in New Braunfels.  Uncle Clark, Aunt Gayle, and Tom picked up Ma & Bob in Arlington on their way from Brentwood, TN under the guise of dropping them off at our house before spending the weekend with some friends in Austin.  Bob & Ma thought they were just making a quick stop at Rudy's and were so surprised to walk in and see all of us - and find out that most of us would be together for the entire weekend.

We enjoyed a lot of special family time just hanging out at our house and on a River boat ride.
Collage 2



Collage 3

Bob & Ma opening their anniversary gift with a little help from Will
Collage 1

Some quiet activities after all of the excitement

It was a fun, whirlwind weekend!