Thursday, February 23, 2012

This is the Kind Of Day

This was the kind of day that reminds me how great it is to live in Houston. There aren't very many of them, so I need to take note and remember this during the dog days of summer.  It was low 80s and it is February!  Shorts and playing at the park weather.  Beautiful!

This was not our first day at the park this week, but it was the first day I brought my camera.  Most of the time, my kids are in such a hurry to get out the door that I don't have time to grab the camera.  I made sure to grab it today since I wanted to document how great Justin is doing playing at the park.

I have to say that this is a very steep bridge.  When you step off, it goes down fast.  For Justin to maneuver this bridge I have had to hold on and almost drop him down to the lowest part because he cannot maintain his balance while he steps himself.  Not this time.  I tried to get the usual awkward grasp on him and he had already stepped off before I could get him.  And he stayed up!  All by himself.  Well, that seemed video worthy so here you go.  Not just one time either, but back and forth. 

So proud! 

And for Justin to ride the big boy swings has always required a mama underneath, until this week.  He has been holding on so well when sitting on my lap, I decided to try without me.  He's not going to very high, believe me, but it still counts as a solo swing.  He loved it!  I didn't need much prompting to get this smile.  He was as cool as big brother (who can "pump" by himself so I don't need to help him swing anymore - yeah!!)

Travis needed some silly shots, so here's Travis' antics at the park.

Then we needed to run.  Just because. 

"Let's run, Justin!"

So Travis takes off in the parking lot and Justin promptly runs back and... 

...jumps on brother's scooter!  Sneaky little guy!

Unfortunately for him, Travis is a fast runner and Justin didn't get a very long turn.

But it still was a great day to be a kid in Houston!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Light Saber vs. Pirate Cutlass vs. Nerf Gun vs. Swat Machine Gun

I went on the Ladies' Retreat with our church this weekend and when I came home, the boys said they had really missed me.  They showed their emotion by killing me.  Multiple times.

We each had a weapon, and somehow they were all equally capable of causing damage.  Justin (machine gun) liked when we would die and then he picked up our heads to get our attention and then he would shoot us in the face.  As if we weren't dead enough.  And when someone would get away he would request a lift to chase that person.  I am getting too big to tote him around and shoot a nerf gun at the same time!

Randy was Darth Vader (light saber, duh!) and I was a Storm Trooper (nerf gun).  Travis liked the pirate sword because he could actually hit us with it.

Justin is getting really good at (fake) dying.  He did an incredible face plant death faint and when I tried to get him to recreate it, this is what I got.  But it's still funny!

This is what happens when you lose your weapon.

Randy's pretty dead now.

It's good to be home!

Friday, February 17, 2012

King Tut

We went on a field trip to see the King Tut exhibit today. So much fun! We went with our friends, the TD family. I think I have seen this exhibit before, but some things have been added and it was fun to see again. Travis actually enjoyed it and there were some fun boy gross-out things that made it memorable for Travis. The actual mumification process is very interesting and Travis will remember about the spices and the strips of cloth for a long time.  They had a replica of the real body too which was incredibly fascinating.  Now if only he could remember King Tut's name!

No pictures from inside the exhibit of course, but here's a few from after:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Travis' Wisdom

We were getting breakfast together and I had to leave for work so Randy was making Travis a waffle (his request).  Then he got out the leftover scones I had pulled out of the freezer earlier in the week.   Randy decided to eat the ones that were left.

Just then Travis walked by and said, "Oh, I think I'll have one of those too!"

Randy replied, "No you won't, those are mine!"

"You're going to eat them all?"  Travis asked.

"Are you calling me fat?" Randy retorted with a huge grin.

"No, Mommy's the fattest." Travis shrugged and sat down.

Thanks hon, Love ya'!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Scrubbing Day

After the repiping project there was a thick layer of drywall dust covering everything in our house.  The plumbers did a good job of cleaning up the big stuff, but there was no way they could get it all, so the first thing we had to do when we returned was clean.  Everything.  It also was a school day for Travis so we had to start with that and then I would work on cleaning while they played.

You would not believe my luck!

The history lesson was about Scrubbing Day in Holland, when all of the families go outside and scrub the windows and houses and even the house boats on the canals.  So one of the projects was to pick something in your house to scrub!  It was awesome!  Of course Justin wanted in the fun so he got a sponge and scrubbed right next to Travis.  Travis had a lot of fun and he even cleaned the bathtub.  The plumbers cut holes right above the counter where my toothbrush was sitting (yuck!) so it was relegated to cleaning toothbrush and Travis even scrubbed the grout in the shower.   

Sometimes homeschooling has its perks!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


As part of our repiping project we had to take everything out of the attic.  It got removed to the garage temporarily.  So of course I got to reorganize!  So much fun!  I went through the few baby things we had not passed on, including clothes for Ami to check out during her visit.  (Bring an extra bag, honey!)  And I found 6 boxes labeled "Danielle - Mementos".  So of course I had to go through them and see what I had deemed save-worthy in my earlier years.  Of course there were the obligatory yearbooks and tassels from high school and college, plus scrapbooks from Mexico and Spain.  But I also found all the letters from my friends in Mexico and all my journals - yikes! - I didn't realize there were quite so many!  The letters went in the trash, but here's the journals.

When I told my mom I found all my journals, she said that I had better not get rid of them.  I reassured her I wouldn't, but I was't really sure what to do with them.  She said I should read them to Travis.  To put him to sleep??  I don't think that's a good idea...

The other fun thing I found was a diving trophy from my one season of family diving.   I know I said I was a bad diver, and I truly was, but there was one invitational meet where they lumped my age group together with the younger divers and I actually won!  Pretty sad victory, don't you think?  My sister got second and my brother got first (or maybe it's the other way around, I am not quite sure...)  We have a great picture (somewhere) of the three of us and our trophies.  I thought this was long gone, but here is eveidence of my one sporting victory.

Now what so I do with it??

Friday, February 10, 2012

34 Holes

We finally got our repiping project completed!  It was quite an ordeal, and it was a mess to clean up, but this should be the end of our pipe leaks.  Yeah!  We were all sick when the project began so we decided to pack up and head to Me-Me and Pop's for the duration.  I love packing in laundry baskets when we go to their house so that's what we did.  We even packed a little light reading.  (But no decisions on names yet, sorry!)

When they finished we had pretty new pipes, but also quite a few holes.  Thirty-four, if I counted right.  (That's not counting Randy's hole from his foot...)  Behind every sink, every bathtub/shower, every toilet,  the refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater. Plus a few spots between.  This bathroom has eight holes, but you can only see 5 in this picture.  Look high and look low and you'll find them all!

Our master bathroom has eleven holes and the back hall has eight.  The holes in the back hall are the largest.  And we're going to have to cut out even more.  There's another hole behind the water heater that you can't see.

And here's the ones in the ceiling.

We are now in the process of getting bids to patch the holes.  We also got new fixtures to get rid of the residue from the galvanized pipes.  So much better!  The new shower head makes such a nice pretty rain that I don't want to get out.  It might have something to do with the cold air that blows in from all the holes in the walls!  The plan is to get patching done soon.  We are having Ami, Uncle Jerry, and Thatcher come to visit and we don't want any babies crawling through the open holes!  That would be hard to explain!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sick, Sick, Sick, Sick - That's All Four of Us

I think Travis started it.  It began with a runny nose and then he complained that his ear hurt.  His 6 year check-up turned up an ear infection.  He gave the runny nose and sore throat to Randy and me.  We have been going through every box of kleenex in our house.  All of us were going down, but Justin was doing fairly well.  For a little while anyway.

It had been a while since we have been to the ER.  Justin went to sleep just fine and around midnight he woke up struggling to breathe and we knew that croup had returned.  Having been briefed by our nurse during at our last ER visit for croup, we tried all the tricks to calm Justin down and get him back to sleep.  We steamed in the shower and I went for a drive with the windows rolled down.  While we were driving Justin listened to his favorite Veggie Tales songs.  "If You're Happy and You Know It" came on and I wasn't sure if he was asleep or awake until the verse "If you're happy and you know it shout hooray" came around and I saw a little fist pump go up in the rear view mirror.  No claps, no foot stomping, not even a "hooray", but a fist pump.  I thought that meant we were headed in the right direction.  The only way we could get him to sleep was sitting up so that's what I did.  Until we had to start all over with the shower and the drive.  That lasted most of the night until I had to get up at 6 am and make a casserole for church.  But we made it through the night without an ER visit, so we thought we were out of the woods.

Justin didn't seem to get any better during the day and I didn't think I could make it another night like that plus it was Superbowl Sunday, which we knew would bring lots of traffic to the ER after the game.  So we gave up and went in early.  Of course Justin improved immensely.  Darn it!  Happens every time.  He even let us watch the first half of the game from the room.   

How do you convince a doctor that this is the face of someone who is sick?

Or this?

We had a great doctor.  He even called Justin's cardiologist to confirm that he didn't think Justin needed any other treatment.  We also got more medicine which truly helped us make it through the night.  He started getting better the next day and finally the third day was the charm.  Yeah!  We love healthy!  ALL of us!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Party Time

Birthdays mean parties, so it was time for another party after Travis turned 6.  We had a little confusion about what the party's theme would be and it was finally decided to be "space pirates".  Aaarg!  The party was really small this year since our repiping project was set to begin the day before the party.  (More on that later...)

   My amazing seamstress mother (she cooks and she sews!) whipped up 6 space pillowcases to give as goodie bags.

We used the pillowcases to collect the candy from the pirate ship pinata.  Perfect!  Randy enjoys this almost as much as the kids.  As soon as I would blindfold one of the kids, Randy started pulling the pinata out of their way.  They had a great time and we finally had to take the blindfolds off and let them hit it.

Travis got his Millennium Falcon spaceship that he has been wanting.

All the kids got into the action, but it was hard to get any pictures.

Travis got to choose what he wanted for his cake, and he chose volcano cupcakes.  Basically chocolate with a coconut and cream cheese filling.  Of course with the appropriate "6" candle!   

He's getting so big, but even with a tricorn hat and a cutlass, he's still my cuddly firstborn son.

Shiver me timbers, it's another year come and gone.  Here's to many, many more!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Neighborhood Soup

My neighbor sent her kids over with a huge bag of turnips last week.  It was close to dinner time and my creative mother was here so she set to work coming up with some way to cook the turnips for dinner that night.  I texted my neighbor to thank her for the turnips and told her that we were cooking them right away.  She replied with, "Great!  How do you cook them anyway?"  It turns out her cleaning lady gave her 20 pounds of turnips and she had no idea what to do with them so she just planned to pass them on to other people!  I gave her a recipe we found on the internet and we went back to our dinner.  The first attempt cooked the turnips like potatoes (boiled) and added milk, molasses, and brown sugar.  The kids were NOT fans and the molasses flavor was too strong.  I think the words, "Yuck!" and "I will never eat turnips again!" were some of the phrases tossed around.  Justin learned "yuck" from his older brother.  Go figure.

So later that week I decided to try a soup that combined potatoes, turnips, and onion.  It is pureed, which I have learned covers a multitude of dislikes.  My mom decided that we shouldn't call it by its name so the boys wouldn't know it had turnips in it, so she decided we should call it "Neighborhood Soup".   We topped it with a dollop of greek yogurt, a sprinkle of cheese, and some bacon bits. 

They gobbled it up!

As we were finishing our meal, my mom asked Travis how he liked the soup on a scale from 1 to 5.  He gave it a 4!  And he said he would eat it again.  I heard him telling someone about the soup that we had made and he was able to tell her exactly what is in it so apparently we didn't fool him at all.  I think it was the cheese.  I was just happy to get some vegetables in them without arguing.  Huge surprise!  Neighborhood Soup might become a family favorite.  Now I just need to figure out where the turnips are in the grocery store!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Travis Had Another Birthday!

Travis turned 6 this week.  Where does the time go?  Every year he is gets so much bigger and I can't imagine how he could possibly get any more fun and crazy and yet, he does.  I love it and I love him!

Travis got a day off of school, which he loved.  The perks of homeschooling!  My mom was in town so he got to stay home with her instead of going to therapy with Justin and me.  That was an awesome treat for him too.  It was an unplanned, relaxing, loosey goosey kind of day.  And we ended it off with dinner out with the family and ice cream for dessert.

Happy Big Birthday Travis!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Justin's Words

This week at therapy Miss Sarah video taped Justin doing some of his words for me.  Every time she comes out aferwards and tries to get his to say something for me, it's never as good as what he does in the room with her.  So she tried to get him on her phone saying some of the words.  So forgive the quality of the video, she was trying to cue him and tape him so he's not always in the center of the frame.  I sat in a session this week since I had my mom in town to stay with Travis (and do school, how cool!)  Justin does so much better in the room with her, so I need to get better at some of the cues she uses so I can do them more naturally at home.  I find myself running to the wall where we have them all put up so I can remember what they are.  When she cues him he gets it almost every time!  It's so awesome.  And Miss Sarah is awesome too!

This videos shows words: boo, bee, bye, bow and pay.

This is words: pea, pie, moo, me, my, mow, weigh, we, "y", and whoa.  (I think...)

This is words:  two, tea (tasty!), tie, toe (he points to her toe), day, "d", dough (mama does this...), and neigh.  (Check out that yawn.  Still struggling with sleep, this was at 9 am!)

So, what do you think??  Making progress, right??  And he says "thank you" and "book" very, very clearly that anyone can understand.  Don't you just love how his lips just curl around those words?  Adorable!