Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We were BOOed!

Early in October, we were finishing up the kids' baths, and our doorbell rang.  Claire was already dressed, so she and Daddy ran to the door and were surprised to find a plastic pumpkin filled with goodies, a sign and a poem - we'd been BOOed!

It's a fun tradition in our neighborhood - you put a sign on your door to alert everyone that you've received a Halloween treat, and you leave something for another neighbor who hasn't already been BOOed.

The next day we did some shopping and prepared two baskets to leave for neighbors.  We all got a lot of laughs - especially when Will got excited and started to run off still carrying basket after we'd already rung a neighbor's doorbell.

We had a good time participating this year and enjoyed seeing so many "You've been BOOed!" signs appear on houses in our neighborhood!

It's a princess party!

One of Claire's friends from church, Lindsey, invited her to a princess birthday party.  It was at a local salon for kids, and the girls had their hair, nails & makeup done and got to pick a princess dress to wear.  They had a blast checking each other out and twirling around the salon.




It took about 3 weeks for all of the glitter to come out.  :)



With the birthday girl - we gave her a copy of one of Claire's favorite books

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

State Fair 2013

We recently went to Dallas for our annual visit to the State Fair of Texas!  We picked Claire up from school a little early on Friday and started our trip.  Robert thought to find the wireless headphones (that came with the van when we bought it 3 years ago) and see if the kids were old enough to use them.  Will had a little trouble taking them on and off, but overall it worked well, and we got to listen to a sermon and the radio while they watched part of a movie.  Success!

Saturday morning we got to the fair early, and our first stop was the "Little Hands on the Farm" exhibit - the number one attraction on Claire's list.  It's basically a pretend farm set up - the kids go through and water trees, gather eggs, feed goats, care for cows & sheep, practice planting and harvesting, and end it with a tricycle-tractor ride.  Then they receive play money to purchase a snack at the "store."  It's always cute and a lot of fun for the kids.
Fair Collage 1


Next was a stop at the petting zoo, and then on to the Midway.  We let the kids choose one ride to do on their own, and they picked the swings.  They had a great time!

We love riding the Texas Skyway - it gives a great view of Fair Park.

The Skyway ends near Big Tex, so we gave him a wave before getting our Fletcher's Corny Dogs and a big-as-your-face lemonade.
Fair Collage 2

We always check out the Auto Show - Claire and Will loved getting in the cars (even the 15 passenger van) and pretending to drive.
Fair Collage 3

This year we got to see a new exhibit - "The Life and Times of Big Tex".  Will got to dress up like Big Tex in the Kids' Corral...

...and then almost got us in trouble by giving the Big Tex statue a high five.

Big Tex history lessons:
Fair Collage 4

Also, for the first time, we watched the Children's Backyard Circus, and Claire got to participate as a butterfly fairy.  She played her role wonderfully with some twirls and a flutter off stage!  ;)
Fair Collage 5

Last but not least, we enjoyed a funnel cake and got a photo with Big Tex - with all of us looking at the camera (a first!).


We had a great time - looking forward to 2014!

Decisions, decisions

A couple of weeks ago we had plans to Dallas to go to the state fair (Claire had a school holiday on Columbus Day, so we could take a long weekend).  However, on Thursday afternoon I realized both kids had a fever.  We went to the doctor Friday morning and found out both kids had a virus.  They didn't feel terrible, but they were tired and feverish and needed to stay home and rest, so we had to cancel our trip.

The fair continued through the next weekend, so we had another chance to go, but it would mean missing Claire's school's first fall festival.  We had been looking forward to it, and Claire was excited - they'd been talking at school about the different games and activities that would be at the fair.

We decided to include Claire on the decision to stay in town and go to the festival, or go to Dallas and go to the fair.  It was so sweet listening to her talk about the pros and cons of each choice - stay and go through the hay maze with her friends, see her teacher, play the games, or go to Dallas and play on the "farm", see the cars, see Big Tex, get a big lemonade, and visit with family and friends.  After talking through it, she decided that her preference was to go to Dallas.  I was so glad - not only was that my first choice, but that she was able to think through what each choice entailed and happily reach her own conclusion.  She's growing up!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

San Diego - Day One

It's been two months since we went on a vacation to San Diego - time to get it on the blog!

Midway through the summer, it began to hit me that once school started, our flexibility in taking family trips was going to drastically decrease.  I wanted to get in one big trip before we got on the school train!  We started thinking about options, and my top three criteria were:  1.  Lots of activities for the kids; 2. Easy to get there; and 3. Not hot (this might have been my #1 concern)!  We settled on San Diego.  Robert had never been, and I'd only been a couple of times for day trips, and it fit all of my top issues.  I started researching hotels, and I kept coming back to the Hotel Del Coronado.  One of my most memorable moments from a previous trip with a church group was seeing that beautiful old hotel right on the beach, and I knew that I wanted to stay there one day.  We were able to find some available days that worked with our timing, and we booked another place in La Jolla (a suburb of San Diego) for the beginning of our trip.

We left on Sunday, August 11th.  Claire already seemed back to her usual energetic self after her concussion, and both kids did great on the flight.  Between the portable DVD player, a new LeapPad, and some new little toys that we pulled out of their backpacks as needed, the trip went smoothly.
1 Airport

2 Travel

They both took short naps in the car on our drive to La Jolla, and we checked into our hotel, the Grande Colonial.  We were only about a block from the coast, and after we got settled, we strolled down to the beach to see the seals at Children's Pool beach.

By then it was time for dinner, so we walked into the main part of La Jolla and had what was to the first of a few meals at Burger Lounge.  Robert and I became obsessed with their quinoa salad (thinking about it has me craving one now!), and the kids loved the chicken tenders on a stick and the lemonade!
3 Dinner

Not My Favorite "First"...First Concussion

This summer the kids' preschool had the option to attend on Fun Fridays - they provided special programs and activities with a different theme each week.  They went to a few and loved them.  On the Friday before we left for San Diego, the special activity was a splash day, and the kids were really excited (and it was a good chance for me to finish packing and getting ready for our trip).

I got to school around 2 to pick them up.  They were all still outside playing, and Claire started crying when she saw me.  Her teacher told me that Claire had slipped and hit the back of her head on the sidewalk about 10 minutes earlier, and while she had been upset for a few minutes, she had stopped crying and seemed to be okay (eyes were fine, she was responsive, etc.).  They hadn't called since they knew I would be there in a few minutes, which was fine.  I got them to the van and started changing them our of their swimsuits, and Claire just sat on the floorboard and laid her head against the seat.  It was hot, and they were tired, but I knew in my heart that something wasn't right.

I finished buckling them both in, and Claire kept closing her eyes and not responding to my questions.  I called Robert, and he said to head towards the pediatrician's office.  I started driving in that direction and called the office to speak with a nurse.  She reviewed the head injury signs and told me to watch her and just head straight to the hospital if necessary - that they would send us there anyway, so there was no point in driving all the way over there.  I called Robert back to tell him what they said, and turned to head home.  As soon as I hung up, Claire started vomiting.  I was scared.  Will was worried, too - he said "Mommy!  Claire's mouth is leaking!"  It was the one moment that gave us a little humor in the whole experience!

I started driving straight to the ER, called Robert, and he said he was leaving the office and would meet us there.  It was so hard not to freak out, but I knew I had to just focus on my driving and get us to the hospital.  Robert got there at the same time, and I started crying as soon as I saw him - I was able to let go for a moment.  He grabbed Claire and took her to admissions while I got Will.

Inside there was someone at the desk, arguing about a bill or something.  Robert was standing there holding Claire, who was obviously out of it, and we were just looking at each other wondering when someone would help us.  Finally a triage nurse started asking about why we were there, and it still like it took forever for them to go ahead and take us back to triage.  Claire roused enough to answer some basic questions, and they put us in a room.  The doctor came and still seemed a little too unconcerned at the moment, but then she vomited again, and they seemed to step up the intensity of care.  They gave her some Zofran and told us to let her sleep - they were monitoring her vitals, and came in periodically to wake her up and check on her.


Robert and Will left for home - Will still hadn't had a nap that day and was restless in the hospital room, and my mom came up to sit with us.  In between Robert leaving and my mom arriving, the doctor sent Claire for a CAT scan.  Fortunately she slept through the whole thing, and they got a good image.  We were so thankful that the scan was clear!

They let her sleep for a few hours under monitoring, and then wanted her to drink a few ounces of Gatorade slowly over about 30 minutes.  If she kept it down, we could leave, but if she didn't, they were going to admit her.  She wasn't excited about having to drink something at first, but after the first ounce, it was like she'd received some sort of infusion - she was alert, the color returned to her face, and she was asking when she could have some more "medicine."  She finished the cup without any issues, and we were sent home with instructions to keep her as quiet as possible the next day, and that we should be able to go on our trip without any concerns.

She asked to stop and get more Gatorade on the way home, and that was an easy request to fill.  I probably would've given her anything she asked for at that moment, so I'm glad it was something small (and easy to find)!  The next day, it was like it never happened.  We had to remind her several times to walk instead of run and not to try to jump off of anything.  :)

When Will and I went to his Meet the Teacher session a few weeks later, I spoke with the director about what happened after we left that day (there were 4 weeks between the end of Summer session and the beginning of the next year).  She was horrified, but I assured her that we weren't upset with the way it was handled and just wanted her to know what had happened.  She said she would talk with the teachers who were there that day and make sure that if they did the splash day again, they would make sure that the sidewalks stayed dry to avoid something like that happened again.  It all worked out as well as possible - I was glad that we were already in the car when she first got sick and were able to quickly get to the hospital, and that she recovered as quickly as she did.  God truly protected her throughout the whole incident, and we are so thankful that she was okay!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Summer 2013: Treats & Eats

While going through my random snapshots from the summer, there were enough food related photos to warrant their own post.

Homemade popsicles - we really like our Zoku

Robert gave me a pasta maker attachment to my Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas, and we finally tried it out.  We made spinach fettuccine for our first attempt - we learned some lessons for our next try, but the results were pretty tasty.
Homemade pasta

We picked up Krispy Kreme donuts for their teachers for the last day at their old school - and got a couple for the road.
KK Donuts

First trip to Baskin Robbins - clown cone for Will and an ice cream sandwich for Claire.
Baskin Robbins

Frozen yogurt during a shopping trip on a hot day at La Cantera - mmmmmm!

One of the recipes I found on Pinterest - Zesty Shrimp Salad.  I thought it was so bright and summery - and yummy!
Shrimp salad

Pizza on the patio after playing in the sprinkler
Pizza Picnic

We are trying to get the kids to try some new foods/restaurants - this was our second try at Kumori (Japanese/sushi restaurant), and they both found something they loved.  Success!

Early morning trip to Krispy Kreme in pajamas - we love donuts!
KK pjs

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Patch 2013

Our family (including my mom & dad) traveled to Medina to visit Love Creek Orchard's annual Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch.  This was the second year the kids and I have been - we have some photos from last year on our digital photo frame, and they regularly ask when it is time to return to the patch.

We got there close to opening and first did the activities that we knew would have long lines later.  First up was the barrel train, and we got the first ride of the season.


It took a few tries, but finally - a cute photo in a pumpkin patch!

Petting one of the ponies - they were so gentle.

Pony rides!  Will asks at least once a week if he can go ride a horse - he was thrilled.




Hayride through the orchard with the Roberts (we were so excited that we picked the same day to visit!)


Petting zoo - Will's favorite animal was the rabbit.  He tried to feed it some hay - so thoughtful, but I'm not sure the rabbit appreciated it.

Hard day's work on the hay bale tractor

There was a sand art station, and Claire was really excited to make one (although that isn't obvious from the photo - she was wiped out by this point).
Sand Art

Last stop - pumpkin painting!

The kids also did several runs through the hay bale maze.  We tried to get a few treats, but it was too close to lunch/naptime, and they both started to melt down.  We made our exit and stopped for barbecue in Bandera, then home where we all had a nice long nap.  Looking forward to going back next year!