Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

garage and bake sale

Last week was our homeschool group's clothes swap.  I started cleaning out closets and the shed in September b/c I had the date wrong.  Over the past few weeks I have accumulated quite a pile for the swap so we decided to have a garage sale instead.  The girls wanted to do a bake sale along with the sale items they wanted to sell.  They raked it in, making $44 for them to split.  Daddy and I made enough to make a second car payment.  Considering it was all items we were cleaning out anyways we are pleased with the day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tiara 5K

I have no idea where this desire came from, but a few weeks back I told Ben I wanted to start running 5Ks.  We started with the ROC race, which really wasn't a run, more of a obstacle course.
This past weekend I ran my first official 5K.  I did much better than I could ever have imagined.  I ran 3.1 miles in 30:55 minutes, that is at a pace of 9:55 per mile!  I came in 42nd place out of 200+ people!  I am so proud of myself, my goal was a 11 minute mile, and to finish.
 I used to tell people, I only run when it is raining and that is from my car to the front door, so this is a huge accomplishment for my short legs.  I could not have done this without Erica inspiring me to join the gym and encouraging me to run b/c it is the best way to drop pounds and Michelle, my trainer.  She has pushed me to do things I NEVER thought was possible at this point in my life.  What's next?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

ballet lessons for 2

I have no problem admitting I am frugal.  Last summer, I used my connections to find Miss Ashley, a daughter of a fellow homeschooling family who teaches the girls piano lessons once a week.  This summer, I set out to find a home school student who could teach ballet.  I found Miss Joelle, a twelve year old who has been taking dance for eight years and assists her instructor with younger students.  She jumped at the chance to offer ballet and tap lessons to our home school group.
We are off to a great start, 4 girls in the older class and five in the younger class.  I have no plans for my children to be prodigies, but Boo loves to twirl and play dress up.  I had to find someone to nurture her creative side.  At the cost, we were able to keep both girls in piano and pursue dance for both of them too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

happy campers

When I start telling people the things that happened on the trip, the most common response I get it, that's the trip from Hell.
1) HR threw up as we were arriving at Gigi's house all over his car seat and the stroller that was at his feet.
2) LE got sick while she was in the top bunk and I was literally holding a trash bag open for her to aim in (from the top bunk).
3) Propane went out on night #4, the coldest night of the trip.
4) U.S Government shuts down on the day we are supposed to take a train ride to the Grand Canyon.
5) Flat tire, low spare $50 to repair, 10 miles away from seeing the Grand Canyon.
6) HR gets an ear infection.
7) HR begins to cry every time he is in the car.
8) We have to leave a day earlier than mom and dad, who keep the girls so they could go to Albuquerque balloon festival.
9) Dad's fuel pump goes out on the opposite side of Albuquerque of the balloon festival.  The only balloons they see are on t.v.
I absolutely LOVED our trip.  I wish we were able to bypass some of the above, but I enjoyed it so much.  We are all ready to go again, except maybe HR.

Monday, October 14, 2013

first haircut

I am so blessed to have found Miss Kerri, she is a fellow homeschool mom with three kids who cuts our kiddos hair for a really great price.  HR has been called a girl a few times and I cannot imagine why.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I love his curls and hated to see them go like his siblings before when they had their first haircuts.  Thankfully, he did keep his curls and hopefully they will stick around for at least a few more haircuts.
October 11, 2013
Miss Kerri

hope for seeing the Grand Canyon

As we were leaving Caesar's Palace, my SIL, Marissa texted me and said we could get to the Grand Canyon via a Native American reservation where the sky bridge is.  We did some searching via the internet and found out the cut off to get their was on our way back where my parents were so we decided to try it.  We drove twenty miles down a country road (along with every other not-Arizonian in the state).  After which the road turned into a dirt road, a dirt road with large machinery trying to pave the road.  After driving for 11 miles on this dirt road, we had to pull over for five minutes to allow the oncoming traffic through and we started back up again Ben said something was wrong with the car.  He pulled over and we had a flat tire on our front passenger tire.  When he got the "doughnut" out, he discovered it was low on air too.  We were ten miles from the Grand Canyon and had to turn around.  TEN MILES!  It took us over an hour to get back to the paved road and when we did there was nothing but the Joshua Tree National Forrest to greet us.  We came upon a very small town with a saloon that Ben went in asked for a mechanic.  The owner/bartender told us of Todd who could fix it, so she called him.  While we waited Ben and I played pool.  Memories that could have never been planned for our trip.  Todd and his helper patched our tire and charged us $50 to do so.  And we were on our way, finally admitting defeat that we were not going to see the Grand Canyon this trip.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

side trip - kids' version, Bearizona

Mimi and PawPaw kept the kids for the day and night while Ben and I headed to Vegas.  They decided to visit Bearizona, a sanctuary for animals in Williams, Arizona.  Below is Boo's account of the day.  Along with their journals, the girls each got a camera to document their trip.  All pics are by my budding photographers.
We firstly saw some mountain goats.  I accidentally picture of its bare behind, but I deleted that picture.  I saw bison, they were white and brown.  I saw black bears.  Every grown up animal did not have gates, we just rode in our car to see them.  After all of the grown up animals, I went into the baby animals place, the fun place.  I got to pet animals in a farmer petting zoo.  I took lots of pictures in the baby bear's place.  The brown baby bear was very playful, he kept saying come and catch me to the other bears.  I kept laughing every time.  One of the bears was walking away and he tagged the brown bears.  I got to see raccoons. I saw a mountain lion with cool ears.  The baby animals were in gates, so we could and see them.  When I was going to see the teenager bears, we saw a tunnel and could go in and see the bears sleeping but they could not see us.  I saw peacocks, a dad and a mom.  After Bearizona, I had ice cream and we visited an Indian shop where I got an Indian flute. -Boo, age 6

Saturday, October 12, 2013

side trip - Vegas Baby!

Another item on my bucket list has been to eat at a buffet in Las Vegas.  I saw a special one time on the food network and it has intrigued me ever since.  When we set out for Vegas that was my only wish.  Lots of people recommended different shows and of course we wanted to try our hand at gambling. Discovered gambling (slots) was not our thing, we blew a whole whopping eight bucks.  We ended up walking the entire strip and visited almost every hotel lobby.  We skipped the shows and opted for the sights and people watching.  We did see the Bellagio fountains, the Pirate show at Treasure Island (total waste of time), and the volcano at the Mirage.  We planned to hit Serendipity for a late night treat but discovered Vegas (with the exception of gambling) closes at midnight?!?!  We ended up getting dessert at the Sugar Factory and pizza at Secret Pizza.  We booked a night with our Hotel Tonight app at the Hard Rock Hotel, best sleep of the trip (probably b/c we didn't have kids, just sayin').  We came in at 4 a.m. Texas time!  Got to sleep late and then hit Caesar's Palace for the buffet.  Did you know it is not the real Caesar's Palace?  We arrived at Bacchanal Buffet at 10:45, so we paid breakfast price and were able to score the omelet bar and dessert breads galore, but at 11 they brought out lunch.  Oh my gosh, it was heaven.   I had lobster macaroni and cheese, sushi, mussels, shrimp, oysters, salads, four desserts, yes four!  It was worth, worth, worth it!  I originally told Ben I would be ok with not returning to Vegas, it was a one-timer trip, but after the buffet I'm thinking we can go back.  I still dream about the food on this buffet.

Friday, October 11, 2013

side trip - the Hoover Dam

I had no idea how close the Grand Canyon was to Vegas, so when we found out we would not be getting to do anymore national parks, Ben and I decided to hit Vegas for the day.  We had already looked into it, but was worried time wise was not going to happen.  We also didn't realize we would be passing the Hoover Dam on our way.  There is no description for this place.  I can tell you how big it is but until you see it for yourself there are no words to describe its' magnitude.  Can you see the trucks in the first picture that are the bottom of the dam?  It was Ben's favorite part of the trip.  He wants to go back.  I just wanted to take the dam tour.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

day five- what should have been, the Grand Canyon

Apparently, when you are visiting a state with thirty-three national monuments and parks and over half of the land is owned by the federal government, you should pay closer attention to current events.  We were greeted in the parking lot of the Grand Canyon Railways by fellow Texans who share the same opinion of our government as us.  They informed us the Grand Canyon was closed and the train was not operating.  WHAT? !?!  Who closes the Grand Canyon and no it isn't b/c I was here last night picking up my tickets and no one said anything about it being closed.  Our government shut down on the day we arrived at the train station to board the train so we could all visit the Grand Canyon for the first time, an event that is on my bucket list.  A very disappointed two year old waved at the train as it was being parked in the rail yard and a very disappointed eight year old did her best to hold back the tears.  Daddy did his best to hold back his feelings about the government.  We quickly made other plans to appease everyone and unfortunately the national parks are still closed.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

day 3 - Montezuma's Castle

When we were planning our vacation and booking our train ride to the Grand Canyon we discovered the national park pass.  We purchased one and planned to use it at as many of the 33 national parks and monuments in AZ (TX has five) as we could hit.  Our first stop was Montezuma's Castle.  A large ruin that has been maintained in the side of a cliff.  The park was just the right size for our crew to walk.  The girls participated in the junior ranger program and had tasks and assignments that had to complete along the way.  Afterwards, they were sworn in; including promising to eat all of their veggies by Ranger Stacy.  We also purchased a national park passport that we planned to get stamped at all of the parks we visited on the recommendation of my friend, Morgan.  This was the highlight of the girls' day.  They girls received a gold ranger badge and had their books autographed by Ranger Stacy.
We stayed the night at Dead Horse Ranch, my favorite park to stay in.  We spent the next morning riding bikes with the girls around the park, and Ben and I set out for a small ride on our mountain bikes through the park.  Afterwards, we packed up and headed to Williams, AZ where we would board the train to the Grand Canyon on October 1st at 9 am.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

day 2 Tombstone, Arizona

Mimi and I packed surprises for the kids to open along the route to Arizona.  The kids loved the atlas I purchased them on our way to Disney World and they "hinted" they wanted the ones that were on the back of the cover for our AZ trip.  I also picked up the National Geographic Kids Ultimate US Road Trip for the girls  as recommended by Amazon.  This book was full of off-the-beaten path things to do, top 5 things to do in each state and more.  In Arizona, it recommended stopping in Tombstone, the location of the infamous gun fight at the OK Corral.  We got into town just in time for the gun fight reenactment.  With the purchase of your ticket to the gun fight, you also get to tour the area where the gun fight actually took place, visiting the original site and stores which were operational during the time, and watch a short documentary.  I would recommend skipping the documentary and picking up the Val or Kevin version.  Afterwards, we walked the streets of  Tombstone while Mimi and PawPaw hit the Harley shop, we had Popsicles and people watching.

Monday, October 07, 2013

day 1- Landry's journal

Day 1- Trip to arizona. travel. sit. travel. sit. travel. sit. today I thought the riding in the car would never end! but we found a shop that poppop's cousin owned.  his name was dusty Henson. then, we drove some more.  afterwards we went to new mexico. the store earlier in the town was named El paso.  that night was freezing.  I wanted to dump every blanket on top of me.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

family vacation '13

Over the summer, my parents purchased a fifth wheel trailer.  The kids have gone with them camping before and often stay in the camper when they go to Mimi and PawPaw's house, but this was the first time we all got to join.  At the end of September we set out for the Grand Canyon, with national park pass in hand, 4 children ages 8 and under, Mimi, PawPaw and Mommy and Daddy.  PawPaw drove his Dodge truck and we followed behind in our mini van.  R2 did such a great job riding in the big truck, that was his transport the entire trip, while the girls went back and forth between stops.  HR rode with Mommy and Daddy, he did good napping, but when he was awake he needed to be entertained.
First stop was El Paso and the El Paso Saddleblanket Co.  My dad kept seeing signs and wanted stop and see what they had.  They had lots of Mexican and Indian imports and these great wooden barstools that I took a pic and sent to Gigi and PopPop with an update on where we were.  When Tom saw the pic he asked where we were and said we should go visit his cousin in El Paso.  It turned out his cousin owned the Saddleblanket Co. and was there.  We had a great visit with him, he gave us all t-shirts and a copy of his book and we shopped around.  Then, were on our way again.  We made it to Deming, New Mexico after dark, so we didn't get to see much but, had a great night of sleep.  The girls slept in the bunk, boys slept in the toy hauler room, HR in the pack and play, R2 on a special pallet, Ben and I slept on the fold-out couch which was the most comfortable inflatable bed ever, and Mimi and PawPaw had their room.