Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Of course, they are enjoying the box more than the gift.

**25 days of blogging challenge - FAIL.  I tried to do my yearly challenge and even did it without bullying you into doing it too, Mrs. W.  But, I am caught up for the year and have thoroughly enjoyed looking back at 2014 for our top ten list that will post at midnight.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in Kerrville

We enjoyed Christmas night at PawPaw and Mimi's with my brothers and their families.  We opened stockings and had our yearly tradition of opening presents one at a time.
We were all blessed with great gifts  a great evening with all of my family in one place.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Richards family Christmas

This year, our Christmas schedule was a little off compared to the past.  We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at home and then traveled to Kerrville to see the grandparents.  We invited a family from our church who doesn't have family in the area to C-mas Eve dinner.
We did our first ham dinner, which included sweet potatoes, homemade (THM) mac and cheese, spinach salad, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and cupcakes.
The kids went to bed very easily so we could wake up for our Christmas morning festivities.
Each of the kids got four things, I tried to follow the mantra, something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.  With the help of Mimi she supplied most of the something to wears (shoes for L.E., shirts and jackets for boys and I got Boo a new coat), and I was able to get them all books they have been asking for.  The boys each got a SW character that talks.  R2 got a new alarm clock that lights up when he can get out of bed (AND IT WORKS!!), HR got SW bath toys, Boo got walkie talkies and LE got the original Kirsten dress for her doll and Kit's scooter and dress.
This year's scavenger hunt had them up and down stairs until they ended in the garage with a new trampoline.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Jesus

The boys baked their first cupcakes in honor of Jesus' birthday.  They did everything from picking the mix and icing, to mixing the ingredients to icing and decorating.  I even caught Hank at one point taking a sprinkle out of his mouth to put it back on the cupcake.  A few may have ended back on the cupcakes, but we share everything in our family, even germs.
Happy Birthday Jesus!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

a Christmas hospital visit

Bella was sick all this past weekend with a stomach bug and fever.  On Sunday evening, we made plans to visit the doctor on Monday morning, but around 1am, I could tell something was really not right with her and felt we needed to go to the ER.  She calmed down and went back to sleep and I did too.  At 5:30 when she woke again, I asked Ben to get up with her this time and he couldn't touch her stomach area without her crying in pain and we decided we needed to go ahead and take her to Dell Children's hospital.
When we started driving downtown she started perking up a little, and I almost went back home thinking we could make it till 8 am when her pediatrician opened.  We were finally seen around 7:30 and at that point her fever was 102, the highest it had been.  They gave her some Tylenol for the fever and some meds for the nausea and soon began an IV for fluids as she was very dehydrated.  She had an ultrasound on her appendix which was one cause for concern, but they found nothing.  They did discover she had an urinary tract infection that had refluxed into her kidneys.  She was admitted into the hospital around 11:30 for a strong antibiotic that needed to be administered through an IV.
She had four doctors watching her case including an urologist.  They did an ultrasound on her kidneys and discovered no real issues other than the infection.  The urologist decided she could be seen as an outpatient and discharged so she could be home for Christmas.
During her stay, she was visited by our family pastor from church; bearing gifts of stickers and an Abominable Snowman, two clowns and an invitation to choose a gift from Amber's Angels.  Boo and I got to spend some special one on one time together that often doesn't get to happen.  We checked out a couple movies from the hospital, had "room service" and snuggled on her hospital bed.
By midday Tuesday, they released her and we were able to go home with some antibiotics and a couple of follow up appointments scheduled for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Run 4 Rachel

This past weekend, we participated in a fun run/5K to benefit our pastor's wife and friend, Rachel.  Even PawPaw and Mimi came into town to participate as Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Bella wasn't feeling well so Mimi stayed behind to care for her, but everyone else enjoyed the morning.  The pink fire truck was there in honor of Rachel's battle with breast cancer this year.  279 racers participated, including  Read.  Ben and I ended up doing the fun run so we could run with the kids.  Read started out running full tilt, but about three minutes in, Daddy and I were alternating ostrich rides (piggy back) with him for the remainder of the mile and a half route.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

bookshelf makeover

My cousin has blogged several times about things she has made over with chalk paint, so when Ben threatened to throw away my bookshelf I pleaded with him to try and paint it.  We found Annie Sloan paint, which is pretty pricey at a store downtown and now we must paint everything!!
Crafting is not my forte, and if it includes paint, chances are Ben has done it.  But I did this.  I painted it, and Ben roughed up the edges with sand paper.  Took about 3 hours and 1 quart of cream white paint.  We originally wanted to paint the inside of the cabinet black, but I want to use the black paint for my kitchen table instead.  We also thought since the room was kind of dark especially this corner the white would brighten it up.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

anniversary weekend

Ben has been saving for us to go on an anniversary weekend getaway since our birthday fiasco.  But, we decided to use that money towards redoing our 360 sq foot master bedroom, seeing as for the past 10 years it has kind of been the room that was neglected, laundry collected, least decorated...

I didn't take before pics b/c I thought I had an original blog post from when we moved in, yes the room has not changed in over four years.  The room was painted half a dark reddish-brown (the original color of downstairs bathroom that I hated) half khaki color.  I had the denim comforter and browns and red pillows.
We painted the walls gray, added the green comforter and shams (a Ross find), the red chaise came from Ben's office (he wants to replace with a hide-a-bed love seat sectional), blackout curtains (Ikea), remote controlled electric candles over the bed (Sam's). Ben built the shelf out of our leftover fence pickets, new bedside lamps (Ross), bookshelf (repainted from a brown one I had from Ikea), black lantern on dresser (Ikea), and floral pillow (Ross).  The pictures do not do the colors justice.  The space is so much more relaxing than the red blaring at us, plus laundry folding is not allowed in the bedroom any longer.
There are still a few touches we are wanting to do.  Trying to decide if we want a tv on the wall opposite the bed or more pictures.  We took down (
and stored) the large mirror down that was attached to my dresser, and leaned the full-length mirror that was hanging one the wall now against the wall.  I also want a new pillow on my red chaise and a new lampshade for the floor lamp behind it.
And yes, if you follow me on pinterest, we have the decorating bug.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Monty P. Mouse

This is Monty.  He is our alternative to Elf on the Shelf.  Every morning we find him encouraging us to do something kind for someone or a special activity we can do together as a family that day.
He arrived at our house on December 1st and since then we have made our pastor's family dinner, made cookies, ornaments, gone C-mas shopping, visited a nursing home, were official judges for our neighborhood lights contest, a dance party, saw the Rockin' Lights in Old Settlers Park.
The kids enjoy finding him each morning and then they return him to his bed under the Christmas tree each day.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

special house guest

This past week, my grandmother came to stay with us.  She has been a widow since before R2 was born and she mostly stays by herself.  I took her to several of the classes I teach including my Parkinson's class.  The first couple of days, the boys weren't too sure of her, but by day 3 they were taking her by the hand leading her around and even fighting over her attention.  My favorite moment of the week was when I came downstairs to find her with a firemen's hat and a pop gun shooting the boys.  She was so helpful b/c she kept my sink empty, laundry folded and entertained while the girls and I wrapped up the fall semester.  She has gone home, but we plan to have her come stay with us again after the new year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Visit from Santa

Last week, we heard a knock at the door and then sleigh bells.  When the kids answered the door Santa Steve made an early Christmas stop.  He came bearing candy canes.  Merry Christmas

Friday, December 12, 2014

16 years and counting

Sixteen things I was happy to share with you this year (in no particular order)
1. our weekend getaway to San Antonio
2. hearing you ring the bell
3. discovering we like ceveche
4. screaming my way down the water slide at Wolf Creek Lodge
5. Brazilian steak nights
6. massages
7. home-improvement projects
8. your amazing scrambled egg concoction
9. tearing it up at the gym together
10. joining Legacy Church
11. celebrating my 40th birthday at Cheesecake Factory
12. serving on the tear-down team with you
13. your well-deserved promotion
14. time with the kids
15. shopping for smaller clothes
16. late-night episodes of Big Bang Theory, Blacklist, Downtown Abby and Person of Interest

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Seniors' C-mas Party

This past weekend was our Christmas party for the participants of the fitness classes we started at the church.  We have consistently had over 35+ participants in each class since my birthday in September.  And we have even added a class on Fridays that one of the members have become SS certified so she can teach.  We had 40 people come to our C-mas potluck where we played the Newlywed Game with our instructors, gift exchange, drew Christmas trees on our heads and almost had a fist fight over some thieving of C-mas presents.  My grandmother is staying with us this week, so she can come to my exercise classes with me.  She had an absolute blast, she picked a red scarf and was not letting it go.

Monday, December 08, 2014

co-op presentations

This past Friday was our last week of co-op for the semester.  I have anticipated Christmas break, but I am also disappointed it is already over.  The girls participated in the end of semester program with their theater classes.   Boo actually taught her class a dance she learned this past summer at VBS.  They also recited the Preamble to the Constitution and played Silent Night on the Harpsichord.
LE's class performed the Ugly Woodpecker.  LE was the ugly woodpecker, a turtle found in a woodpecker's nest.
Daddy surprised us after the program with flowers for each of his three girls.  Mimi, Gigi, PopPop and my grandmother drove to Austin for the day to enjoy the kids' accomplishments.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Star Wars birthday party for a 4 year old

R2's request this year was for a Star Wars themed-party at Gigi's.  Talk about a busy weekend, two birthday parties, two Thanksgivings, and a parade.
I wanted to do an over-the-top SW blow-out, but when it came down to it, I knew what we wanted and knew I didn't have to do the star-studded party on pinterest to make him happy.  Mimi made yummy cupcakes and he got exactly what he wanted, Darth Vader on top.  My friend Morgan's son had leftovers from his SW party, so all of the cups, napkins, plates, party favors were gifted to us.
We had noodle wars in the front yard with cousins and Uncle Troy gave him a huge Darth Vader for his new SW themed room.  Happy Jedi was he.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Christmas in Comfort

On the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, it is our yearly tradition to head to Christmas in Comfort for the night time Christmas parade.  It is one of Mimi's favorite activities and she loves it when all of her kids attend with her.  All of the kids got night time glow wands or sabers to kick off the parade.  Our favorite floats were the Charlie Brown Christmas and Frozen float.  Lots of fun and memories each year.

Friday, December 05, 2014

60th Surprise Party

This past weekend, we were able to pull off a surprise party for Mimi's 60th birthday.  We were able to use their church's fellowship hall which had already been decorated for C-mas.  My cousin Anna loaned me frames from her event plannings which we filled with pictures from the past 60 years.  We used additional poinsettias to decorate the tables.  All of my brothers and their families were in attendance and several of her friends from church, neighbors and friends from her past were able to attend.  We served muffins, a Collins cake (from Peach Tree cookbook), deli meats, crackers and punch.
Happy 60th Birthday Mimi/Mom!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy 60th Birthday Mimi!

Mimi is really fun.  Way more reasons to love her than I can explain. -L.E.
I love Mimi b/c she is family and I love her, that's why.  - Boo
I love her, mom. (after he said, stop it, mom) - R2
Mimi- HR (his 8th word to date)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

train ride take 3

Do you remember our last two train ride attempts?  One ended in the Grand Canyon being closed by the federal government and then earlier this year we rode the Austin Steam train which ended with us sitting on the tracks and then riding backwards by to the train station b/c of another train having an electrical fire.
This past weekend was our make-up train ride to Burnet and Mimi and PawPaw took the kids so Ben and I could do some home improvements.  This trip had it share of woes too as Central Texas was under flash flood warnings yesterday.  The train ride happened, but when they arrived at the station in Burnet, they had to stay on the train for two hours as it was pouring rain.  Thankfully, we had been on the train earlier this year and we knew to pack snacks and books.  It was a long day, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

a whale of a tale science experiment

We are learning about Swimming Creatures in our biology class this year.  This unit's lessons is on cetaceans (whales).  We have been waiting for almost a week to get out and measure the whales to see how they compare to each other.  Yesterday afternoon the temps finally climbed into the 50's so we braved the cool to measure.  The girls are at the sperm whale marker (6o ft).  We also measured the narwhal, beluga, orca, dolphin and porpoise.  When it gets warmer we will measure the blue whale.
LE- I say it was fascinating but we did it outside so it was a very cold experiment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

our first Mommy-Son Date

This morning as we were driving to the gym we passed Whataburger and Read asked if we could go on a date and get some french fries.  I have no idea how he knew Whataburger had french fries, but he did and I was flattered he asked me on a date.  We have already spent our November eating out money so told him we would go on a date as soon as I got some money.  Which he then reminded me he had a dollar that Miss Sue gave him for Halloween.  How could I refuse?  As we were packing up to leave he said he couldn't wait to play on the playscape.  So, we decided to go to Chick-fil-A instead.
We had such a fun time out together, just the two of us.  After our date we made a stop at HEB, which is typical for all of my dates (wink, wink Daddy).  I have been trying to eat clean and stay on plan this week, as I have had a difficult time lately with self-discipline. But, when a four year old asks you on a date, no meal plan will ever deter me from these special memories.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I did it!

In the past nine years, I have never stayed overnight with the kids without Ben or someone to stay with me (my mom or Gigi). But last night I did it.  I also did something else I have never done as a parent, fed donuts to my kids for breakfast.
We stayed up really late (boys 9:45, girls and I till 10:30 reading books).  The girls slept with me and the boys came in around 7am wanting breakfast.  We bundled up and were grateful for a van in the garage that we could sneak into and searched for a doughnut drive-thru.  Which I'm quite certain doesn't exist any longer.  After three strikeouts we found an almost empty doughnut shop and snuck in decked in our pj's and no shoes to order donuts for four.  I was not willing to drive across town after our first three strikeouts, to wait in line for an infamous yellow donut.  (but I should have b/c the donuts we got were not that good).
I  wouldn't cut it as a single mom.  Ben is at a guys night out with friends from church, they are playing paint ball this morning and stayed over night at the Texas Baptist Children's Home.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Operation Christmas Child

We packed Operation Christmas Child boxes for this month's community outreach.   Each child packed their own box (with a little assistance for the boys).  The girls and I had a great time on our shopping spree.
We packed our boxes with a small stuffed animal for the girls' boxes, and a nerf football + matchbox cars for the boys.
Each box also contained reusable plastic cutlery and water bottle, Skittles, rings, bracelets and beaded necklaces, pencils, map pencils, journals, crayons, pencil sharpeners, stickers, wash clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloths, soap, chapstick, brush or comb, a copy of the All About Me letter and picture of the kids and a slinky.

Monday, November 10, 2014

an 8 year old's costume party

Boo did an excellent job planning her own costume party.  She helped pick out the invites, planned the theme, food, party attendees, games, and my one job was to pick the date and time; which I messed up.
She wanted to do an obstacle course in the backyard and games on the playscape.  She also wanted to play Spin the Bottle.  We were unable to do two of her planned activities, one b/c I planned the party for 6 pm a week after Daylight Saving Times ended, it was pitch black at 6 pm.  I also didn't expect for every child I invited to be able to attend, so I was not up for 20 little girls running around with wet finger nail polish.  We were able to do the costume party and the winner assisted Boo in blowing out her candle.  She received so many nice gifts and had such a fun time with some of her favorite friends.  Daddy got in on the action and dressed as Boba Fett, it was like Santa coming down the stairs on Christmas morning when he joined the party.  I thought for sure he would win, but Boo wasn't as impressed.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Granny's surprise birthday dinner

We traveled this past weekend to surprise Granny for her 80th birthday.  All three of my brothers and their families met up at Mom's house and we went to Gran's favorite restaurant.   We gave her some money to pamper herself and my mom got her a new purse to put it in.
On Sunday, we were able to celebrate with our nephew Wyatt, for his first birthday.  Birthday season is still in full force as Ben's brother's birthday is Thursday, Boo's and my twin brothers' birthday are this Friday and Mimi's is Thanksgiving weekend.   Happy Birthday to everyone!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloweenies

Our yearly tradition of attending the Richards' birthday dinner/Halloween was interrupted this year by the sell of their home.  We were really disappointed, but decided to host our own party.  We invited our friends from our legacy group over and we passed out hot dogs instead of candy to the neighbors.

The kids picked their own costumes again this year.  LE wanted an elf costume to assist PawPaw Claus, so when we found this one yesterday she changed her plans to be a wolf to a jester.  Boo was Foxy Loxy, R2 was a dinosaur and this past weekend at church HR "borrowed" this costume, i.e. would not take it off when church was over so we borrowed the jacket to match his firemen hat and rain boots.
We passed out 60 hot dogs and water bottles. I made a pot of red beans and rice for the adults in attendance.  It was a nice cool evening as a cool front blew in last night and a great night of memories.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

touch a truck

This past weekend, we took advantage of one of the free events in the area, Round Rock Touch a Truck at Old Settler's Park.  There were firetrucks, hummers, army transport trucks, buses, semi-trucks, garbage trucks, tow trucks, lawn mowers, excavators, a drone, and many others for the kids to climb in and on.  The kids (and I) got to operate the back hoe and move some dirt.  It was an absolute blast.  Every where we go now, Hank grunts and points to trucks and R2 informs us which type of machinery it is and what it does.  Hands on homeschooling for boys.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy 80th birthday Granny!!

This year, I turned 40, my mom turns 60 and my Granny turns 80.  Happy Birthday to an amazing lady, my Granny.  We love you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Several churches in the RR area participated in Love the Rock this past weekend.  They did many community service outreaches including cleaning up flower beds in parks and trails, doing handy man services for elderly, preparing Old Settlers for the Trail of Lights, beautifying the Community Service Center and Texas Baptist Children's Home.  By the time, I got to sign up all of the opportunities that involved young children were filled.  We decided we would bake cookies for the trash guys, recycle guy and mailman.  As we were wrapping up our delivery to the mailbox, LE told me doing things for other's made her feel good.  She said this is very much like love the rock, just not as big, but just as important b/c we got to serve those who help us every day.

Monday, October 27, 2014

gross motor memory work

Each month (or week depending on the scripture) we have been memorizing scripture.  We have learned John 3:16, Psalm 23, and  I Corinthians 13:4-7.  We use the New International Readers' Version for reading and memorizing.  The Love is scripture took us FOREVER and I knew we needed more ways to commit the scripture to memory than just reading, writing and reciting.  This week our scripture is Genesis 1:1 so we created a hopscotch to help commit it to heart.  Needless to say after all of work for Love is patient, Love is kind, this was one a breeze to learn.
The girls are also working their way through the New Testament.  They have already read Matthew and Mark and are presently reading Luke.  Each day they journal or illustrate what they have read.   We use this website as a resource for scripture ideas.

Train up a child in the way the should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

co-op happenings

We are absolutely LOVING co-op this year.  It is one of the best decisions we have made for our home school.  Both girls participated in a feast this past week where they sampled foods from the countries we have been studying.  We made Native American hasty pudding and green and oolong teas (Japan).  They also sampled Swedish Apple Cake, Wild Rice and corn bread (North America), seaweed (Japan), Danish cookies, pottage soup (Great Britian), potstickers, English Parkin, pompion and shortbread cookies and baklava.  The girls both tried everything and discovered some new things I would have never thought they'd enjoy.  Boo loved the seaweed, LE loved the green tea.
They are both participating in theater and getting ready to perform for the co-op in December.  They have made so many new friends and we started participating in park days on Wednesday afternoons after the boys nap.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Fest '14

This past weekend, we went to an area fall fest at a  church for the kickoff to Halloween season for our kiddos.  Of course,we don't have costumes ready or even decided upon at this point, but the kids did a good job of creating ones out of the dress up closet.  R2 does have his costume, the dinosaur.  HR decided to be a crossover costume and stole the head when R2 became too hot to wear it.  He looked like a creature right out of the cantina scene in Star Wars.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

belated birthday present

Yes, that's a motorcycle and yes, it's a beemer.  Ben got his dream motorcycle this week.  He has been drooling over one for years and he found his dream bike this week in my hometown.  Happy Birthday, Daddy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nursing Home Outreach

Our Legacy Group (life group) has adopted a nursing home that we plan to visit once a month to host a game night.  It is part of a study that we have been using called the Barefoot Church Primer.  We wanted to do a meaningful outreach and one the kids could participate in, as the kids outnumber the adults in our group.  I was told the gentleman playing with HR NEVER talks, but he started talking to Hank and participated in the evening.  It was a great night for our family and I am pretty sure the residents of the assisted living facility enjoyed themselves too.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

big boy beds

The day came today, and we no longer have a baby bed in the house.  HR has been sleeping on R2's toddler bed and R2 has been camping in his sleeping bag on the floor for weeks.  I found Cargo beds on CL that are very similar to the girls with a trundle bed.  We spent this weekend swapping out Ben's office and the boys' rooms (office was bigger) and are in the process of creating a Star Wars rooms for two padawans.  HR looks so tiny in his big bed, and R2 thinks his room is "not cool" b/c it is not complete.  The furniture purchase put us over budget for the month, so painting and decorating will be budgeted next month.  They do love their beds and their freedom.  HR has started waking up with R2 at 6 am, that part I could live without.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Community service project #1

Our church  has been inspiring us to be more intentional and being aware of needs around us, which has inspired us to help others more.  My hope is when we see a need that the kids will step up to help fill that need.  This past month, we heard of a young boy in the area who had been a patient at Dell Children's Hospital and wanted to collect crayons, coloring and activity books in honor his birthday to donate to the hospital.  We were able to collect five bags of crayons and books to donate from my fitness classes and friends.  The kids were invited to deliver them to the PFL police department.  The kids were rewarded with an opportunity to sit in the patrol cars and get a tour of the police department.
Hopefully it will be the last time they are in the back part of a police car.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Pumpkin Patch field trip

This month, we went on our first field trip for the school year with RRHOME, our home school group.  We ventured to Elgin Christmas Tree Farms on a Monday morning.  We spent the morning decorating pumpkins, a hayride, petting baby animals, running through mazes, creating scarecrows and playing with friends.
The gym recently hired two new instructors that gave me the freedom and peace of mind (along with Ben's new pay raise) to give up classes and be able to secure a substitute when opportunities such as these arise.  I am so grateful for the job I had the past three years, but I am even more grateful that I get to focus on the most important role God has given me in raising and teaching our children.  We have been able to get all of our school work done by Thursday afternoon piano lessons for the past two weeks, which has given us off all day on Fridays to attend co-op and rest before our weekends.  The first time that has happened since August.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Mommy/Daughter Date

Daddy suggested Boo and I get out of the house and take a Mommy/Daughter date to get pedicures.  Before our planned trip, I had discovered gel manicures and mine was in need of an update.  I decided to just get a pedicure, as the spa only had time to do mani or pedi, and I wanted to make sure Boo could get her choice too.  She had so much fun, as did I, but I think she was in heaven.   My cousin Anna had recommend Plum, which was a little more than I can afford on a regular basis, but it was a great relaxing time for Boo and I.  We also had a quick bite and a trip to Toys R Us to cash in a gift card that has been burning a whole in her purse.  

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

big man on campus

Congrats to my amazing husband, an awesome daddy and apparently really loyal, hard worker for his team.  Yesterday, he received a promotion and a 20% pay increase.    We are so proud of you, Daddy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

weekend getaway

 When we had to cancel our trip to the Caribbean, we decided we still wanted to get away for the weekend, just Ben and I.  Mimi stayed with the kiddos and we went to San Antonio equipped with our hotels tonight and Yelp! apps.  We found a great deal at the Double Tree Hilton in downtown.  We walked the downtown area including the market square, Alamo, Riverwalk, and mall.  But mostly, the trip for us was about the food.  We used yelp to plan our stops and we were not disappointed.  We had ceviche and margarita's at Rosario's.  We had Authentic Munchener Apfel Pfannekuchen (picture) at Magnolia Pancake Haus, which we shared as this thing was bigger than my head.  We discovered MPH on Triple D on the food network and was the reason we chose SA for weekend getaway. It did not disappoint, so much so we went back on morning #2 but had omelets to try something new.  We had the mozzarella truffle and a pizza at Dough.  We have been here a couple times before, but love the mozzarella  They make it after you order it; another Triple D discovery.  We learned how to make guacamole (which was voted the best in SA.) at Boudro's, and had prickly pear margaritas.  We also tried Nao and the Esquire Tavern for drinks and appetizers, they were good, but probably won't venture to them a second time.   It was a great weekend to refresh and have adult conversation, looking forward to our next one, back to NOLA for our anniversary.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

an Epoch adventure

Since the beginning of summer, we have been attending a homeschooling friend's church, Legacy Church.  I have known Rachel for a couple of years since her twin girls were in Keepers and American Girl clubs with us.  At the RRHOME field day, I met her husband and was so impressed with how he interacted with the children.  We decided to visit their church, where he was the pastor.  I had no idea why we were visiting but just led to do so.
During praise and worship, LE leaned into me and told us she thought we were home.  Funny, didn't know we were looking for a new church, but Ben and I both felt she was right.  We decided to give it a month and each passing week, we felt more and more comfortable.  The first night we met the family pastor and a within a few weeks he invited us to their legacy group (life/small/cell, whatever your church calls it).  We have been attending the LC for a couple of months and this past weekend we went on our first family retreat where we felt confirmation that this was indeed our home.
Ben and I loved Austin Stone, but the kids never connected.  I could not figure out b/c our kids love church and our really sociable kids.  But they were right, it just didn't fit.  Over half of the population at LC is under fifth grade, so it is young families and big families.  They don't care we aren't perfect, that we are loud, and often messy.  There are quite a few homeschooling families in the church and a lot of the families are foster parents or have adopted children.  The church is also very mission-minded.  This past week we decided as a family we want to serve on the tear-down team as we meet at Old Settlers Assoc, so we have to set up and take the church apart each week.
We are looking forward to great things in our new chapter of life.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fort Worth Zoo

We have a new favorite zoo and will definitely making the trip back to the Fort Worth Zoo.  We originally planned for this to be the first stop on our mini vacation, but after some research I discovered the zoo was half-priced on Wednesdays.  By lunch time it was starting to warm up.  We originally packed snacks (the only zoo I know of that lets you bring food indoors), but we decided to go ahead and take advantage of air-conditioning and eat at the zoo's Dickey's BBQ and then finish the last leg of the zoo and call it a day.
It was pretty warm for a September day (100 degree by 3:00) and most of the cats were lying about.  But almost all of the other animals were active and playful, some a little too playful.  We met several zoo keepers and were able to learn interesting facts about a few of the animals.  We were able to get up, close and personal with a turkey and owl.  We loved seeing the baby elephants and the exhibits were all so elaborate.  It was a really great zoo, especially at half priced admissions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Great Wolf Lodge

The week before our big trip I noticed a groupon for Great Wolf Lodge.  We probably would never considered going here without the groupon, it is really pricey for a family of six.  It still was pretty pricey for us, but decided we needed to do something for our get away.  It is a beautiful facility, and we were right next to the airport so it was like two birds b/c HR loved the constant flow of airplanes outside our window.  The kids had their own special area in our room with a set of bunk beds and a daybed.
We played MagiQuest, thanks to my friend Morgan for loaning us a set of wands so we could play.  However, I wish we hadn't, not my favorite part of the trip (but I guess it was some form of exercise climbing up and down eight flights of stairs). And of course we took advantage of the indoor water park.  It was pretty cool b/c only the indoor water park is open after Labor Day.  The kids loved it and it was a great memory for them.