Thursday, May 28, 2015

Preschool Graduation, Leah's Birthday, Memorial Day

I heard on the radio today that this month has officially been the wettest May on record EVER in Texas. Every time I check the forecast on my phone I just see the thunderstorms picture for 5 days in a row. It's fun to puddle jump and sometimes cool to see and listen to the storms, but there have been so many tragedies with the flooding that it all makes me sad.

Emmy finished up preschool earlier this month. She loved Miss Yvonne so much, and every day she came home with such fun projects and a big smile. 

They were all adorable at the graduation. She loves these friends!

Since her birthday is in the middle of September, she will do one more year of PreK. Because we are military, she will be able to attend a great preschool at Jansen and Natalie's elementary this fall.

Jansen has done some really awesome things in the Alpha program at Scarborough. Last week the whole family went to see the "bubble biomes" the kids had created. We really love and appreciate his GT teacher.

This was our first swim of the year in our neighborhood pool.

Nate took Jansen to dinner at Red Robin just the two of them. They had a great time downing burgers and throwing back lots of chocolate milk.

Leah's birthday was on Saturday, and Natalie worked hard on Friday night to create a blanket for her as a gift. It was so sweet of her. I need to get a picture of the finished product, but it has her name on it and everything.

The first, I'd say, 6 months of Leah's life were very, very hard. She was an incredibly hard baby, and we moved, and she didn't sleep well. I truly am shocked that it has already been a year since we rushed to the hospital and after a traumatic and painful hour or two had this baby girl. She is such a joy. 

Although 25 pounds and just an all around big girl, she really doesn't eat a lot. We still feed her one bottle during the night just because it's a habit, and she still sleeps in our closet in a pack n play. After our summer travels we will get her moved to the crib finally! She has a blanket that she loves to sleep with, and all the corners are chewed on. She really loves to gnaw on and bite her blanket. She still loves to unroll the toilet paper or steal it all together if it's loose. If I hold up a book and ask her if she wants to read she jabbers happily and then runs to me. 

She is really starting to get excited about animals, so we took her to the zoo for her birthday.

We knew it might rain, and I brought 3 umbrellas, but it really poured on us.

We left not long after getting soaked, and it was a good thing we did because it just kept coming down.

 Leah loves Nate, and it just warms my heart when her legs start pumping and she starts blabbing and reaching for him when she sees him.

We had cake and ice cream for her on Sunday. Somehow she got a spoon! That's not how baby's first birthday cake is supposed to be eaten!

That's better.

Summer evenings are here! 

We tried to make Memorial Day a little more meaningful this year and visited the Sam Houston National Cemetery. It was a quick, simple trip, but hopefully it will make a small impression or be a good memory for the kids. I have no words for the gratitude I feel towards the men and woman that fight and die for this country.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Port Aransas

A week ago we took a quick trip to Port Aransas, TX. It was a three hour drive, and we left on a Sunday afternoon and returned Tuesday evening. I think it's the first time we've traveled overnight as a family since we moved from Maryland. Our Pilot was packed to the brim. Every day I would check the forecast in hopes that somehow the thunderstorms predicted would just magically disappear. The weather didn't end up being ideal, but thankfully we were still able to do everything we wanted to.

We rented a condo a couple blocks from the beach. It was quiet and comfortable and perfect for our family.

Nate took the kids on a walk to the beach Sunday night, but Monday morning we packed all the sand toys and swimsuits and really got to play. The birds were not shy and apparently have a thing for Nacho Cheese Doritos. You can see Jansen's orange tipped fingers in this picture. He had a chip snatched right out of his hand.

We spent most of the morning building sandcastles (and trying to reinforce and protect castles from the tide) and digging. 

Leah's little shoes never did recover from this beach trip. :)

There were a few dead jellyfish on the beach. Sunday night Jansen stepped on one and then tucked his shoes under his arm and that contact alone gave him a big rash and he was in A LOT of pain for about 45 minutes. We tried to be really careful, but at some point Natalie got stung on the beach too. It was probably a good 30 minutes of wailing before she felt better.

After lunch and a little break we went swimming. Leah LOVED it. She was really kind of crazy.

We actually didn't eat out a single time on our trip except for an ice cream stop. We eat better if we bring our food, it's less expensive, the kids eat it better, and we don't have to wrangle kids in a restaurant. We found a funky little ice cream place on Monday and stopped for a treat though.

There were some pretty crazy thunderstorms that night. I thought it was kind of fun - being so close to the beach and all - but we lost power in the middle of the night. The neighboring condo had a faulty smoke alarm that was going off for a lot of the night, so it wasn't our best night of sleep.

We were still able to do some exploring the next day even after the bad weather. Emmy is wearing a little mood necklace she picked out at a souvenir shop. We watched dolphins and had a picnic lunch at a park Tuesday morning.

 Port Aransas is a really great place for birdwatching. Nate saw 82 species while we were there, and we saw a gigantic alligator at this nature preserve.

Last stop before heading home was a little candy shop. The kids filled up some bags with a crazy assortment of things to help keep them quiet and happy on the drive home. One of my very greatest treasures is memories of my childhood, and it's so hard to believe we are right in the middle of making those lasting memories with the kids right now. I love to think that we added some great moments to their little memory tanks on this trip.