Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Best.Day.Ever. as a parent

On Wednesday, we drove into Creed, our first official venture out.  It was a little warmer and Dad needed to get some supplies for the front porch.  We walked the downtown area and did some shopping.  One of the shop owners told us there was free ice skating at the edge of town and there was a shed with ice skates to borrow.
Hello, free entertainment, ice skating on a pond, bucket list, CHECK.
PawPaw surprised us by buying a sled in town and it was the best investment.
Boo was not feeling too well, so she didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else.  It was the highlight of my trip, highlight of any vacation for that matter.  So much fun, some of the best memories we've made as a family.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

snow days

Our trip included lots of fun in the snow inside and out.  We built snow forts and threw snowballs.  On day #3, we spent the day at the house so PawPaw could get the hot water installed and we could acclimate to the weather.

We were invited on the trip because my dad is helping a friend get the house ready to sell.  Dad bartered with them and we were able to stay in the house for the week long vacation.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

day #2 brrrrr

On Sunday morning, the "blizzard" had passed through and all of the roads to Colorado were open so we decided to continue on. Dad wanted to put his snow chains on, but they didn't fit.  I'm kind of glad they didn't because the roads were clear and we had no more snowy conditions to contend with.
We stopped in Alamosa for lunch at Chili's and grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.
I planned out the menu and Mom had brought several meals she prepared ahead of time.
By the time we got to South Fork the sun was setting and the temperatures were dropping drastically.  It was 8 degrees and when we got in the house the temperature indoors was 11 degrees.  Ben started a fire, while PawPaw tried to get the propane heater working, except there was no propane.
We ended up having to sleep in coats and ski clothes with temperatures indoors only reaching 24 degrees.  The sun finally came up and we were able to get in town and find a propane company, did I mention we had no cell service so there was no calling anyone while at the cabin?  He informed us the people who stayed before us forgot to turn the heater down and it depleted the tank.  Once we got propane, we were plenty toasty inside the cabin, not so much outdoors though.  The temperatures never got above freezing and the lowest it dropped was -7 (yes, negative seven),

Saturday, December 26, 2015

and we're off

videoDay one, lots of driving and even snow.

When we left Kerrville at 6:15 am, it was 67 degrees.  I think I had the worst attitude of day 1.  Kids did pretty good, but for some reason I was the cranky pants.  I am blaming my second round of hives and the medicine that makes me incredibly sleepy.
We made our first stop in Fort Stockton for potties and snacks at Wal-Mart.  And then off to Roswell for lunch.
We were watching the weather as blizzard conditions were expected that night.  As we were leaving Roswell, it began to sleet on us, but road conditions were favorable.
By the time we got to Cline's Corner, the temperatures had dropped to 17 degrees and we were driving in snow.  Ben and Dad continued to drive, we needed to make it to Santa Fe because we had already booked a non-refundable room through Hotels Tonight.  It was very slow and go, lots of traffic and no one could pass.  Dad lost grip once but it was as he was exiting in Santa Fe for the hotel.
We made it to our uber tiny hotel room which the hotel manager graciously upgraded for us when we asked for more blankets.  All four of the kids and I shared the bedroom and Daddy and Uncle Troy shared the living room.  Mimi and PawPaw got the night off in their own uber tiny room, not fair.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas with the grandparents

After a late night drive, we got up Christmas Eve morning to spend the day with my parents and siblings.  The kids were blessed with new legos, books, and even a gift card to Charming Charlies.  I got some new candles, gift card to Ulta and crocheted hand warmers I saw on our anniversary weekend, handmade by my mom.  Ben got a Home Depot card, which I personally think he should spend on a fire pit.
After a day of fun with cousins, we spent the night at Gigi and PopPop's.  We spent Christmas Day with Ben's parents and brother Greg's family.  Gigi and PopPop went to Mexico this fall and brought us pottery and the girls back embroidered tapestrie  Gigi made dinner and we all went to bed early for our trip the next morning to COLORADO!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas morning?

We have a crazy messed up holiday season this year.  With RSB, wrapping up gym duties, and travel, we HAD TO open presents on the evening of Tuesday, December 22nd.  Yes, my the freakazoid Christmas tradition scrooge herself, initiated it.
Ben and I didn't do presents for each other, we have something else planned.  Boo made everyone's presents and LE used the money she earned from labeling books and dog sitting to buy each of siblings a lovie from the Disney Store and Daddy a device so he can wash his favorite hat.  We got the boys new dress up costumes and the girls got tickets to see Toby Mac this spring.  We also surprised the kids with winter clothes for our trip to Colorado.  We will leave for a week the day after Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Goodbye, farewell...

This week was my last day as a group X instructor.  On Wednesday, I taught my last senior fitness class at PCC, a class I began nearly four years ago with my dear friend, Pastor Steve.  We launched with 12 participants, which has grown to over 150 members.
On Thursday, I was supposed to say goodbye to 24 aqua, but after I learned the gym was going to drop the class altogether I told them I'd stay on board until they could train and hire a replacement.  That afternoon, I said goodbye to Power for Parkinson's, the non-profit that introduced me to the Parkinson's world.
I have shed many tears about this week, including a second round of hives probably brought on by stress because of this decision.  I have met so many wonderful people over the past five years.
I was once told that a good leader is someone who is constantly duplicating themselves.  Over the past five years, I have helped seven of my members to become fitness instructors like a friend once saw in me.  I am so grateful for the past five years, but I am so confident in those who have now taken the torch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas lights

Last night, was our yearly night for hot cocoa, french toast for dinner and seeing the lights in our jammies.  I am so disappointed there aren't lights on 38th Street in Austin any more, but so grateful RR has gotten it right two years at the big park in town.  We rolled the windows down and the kids sang carols at the top of their lungs throughout the drive.  HR danced to the singing.
I cherish these Christmas memories.  They are some of my favorite.

Monday, December 14, 2015

year #17

I cannot believe it has been seventeen years since we got married.  It just seems surreal that it could be that long ago.
Ben planned the weekend getaway to a B and B in Fredericksburg.  We stayed at the cabin we stayed in a couple of years ago when we had an end of school year get away.   On Friday, we met Mimi at the park and the kids spent the weekend split with her and Gigi.
Ben and I hiked Enchanted Rock and explored some really "nice boulders".  After, we had dinner at Jennie's Burgers.  On Saturday, we had lunch at The Peach Tree, the place we had our rehearsal dinner.  On Saturday night, we went to Mamacita's for dinner and on Sunday we went to Burger Burger with some of Ben's friends.
We got to take advantage of the hot tub on the back porch and enjoyed the Army-Navy game.  Thank you Honey for insisting we get away.

Friday, December 11, 2015

the red carpet

After four years, (Ben's part took a year plus) Beyond the Darkness has hit the theaters.  We were so honored to be invited to the movie premier, complete with interviews by the press, a red carpet and Crew badges.  Maybe that's the norm, but I've never been to a movie premier.
After the movie, there was a Question/Answer with the producers and directors.  The director asked all of the crew to raise their hands and then called out the CG guys specifically.  My humble husband didn't raise his hand to be acknowledged.  A few minutes later Kip, the CG producer calls out Ben by name and acknowledged his role in creating the Hell sequence and Ben was applauded.
Since, the release Ben has been approached by another Christian producer.  We are praying about what kind of role he could take in future productions.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

young Padawan party

Four weeks in a row, we had nasty cold wet weekends, but on R2's birthday the weather turned perfect.  We went the easy peasy route and got a bouncy house. I even bought cupcakes, fruit tray, veggie tray, juice boxes, Bam, we're done.
I had a very happy five year old, very relaxed Mama and lots of tired neighbor kids.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

last night as a 4 year old

After missing out on both of the girls' birthday dates with Dad.  I instated a rule that both parents get to do birthday dates.  I wasn't going to miss Cheesecake Factory again.
Except, four year old boys pick In 'N' Out burgers and Chuck E.Cheese for their birthdays, not fancy dinners.
Silly boy would not look at me for any pictures.  We had a great time one-on-one with our big guy, lots of talking and lots of memories.
Birthday season is now over in the Richards Family Six.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

a five year old

To say you're a Mama's boy would be a total understatement. I had no idea, how much I would love being a Mommy to a Mama's boy.  You stole my heart the day you were born.
You are the most tender-hearted boy I have ever met.  You can also be quite stubborn, especially when it comes to your schedule.
Breakfast is a banana, two pieces of toast and a vitamin.  You cannot have leftovers for lunch because that is dinner food.  And most nights, dinner includes multiple trips to the bathroom because you are not pleased with what I have served.  You no longer take naps.  You have become quite the duplo master.  You love to build cages for your zoo animals.  You love Star Wars and PBS Kids, especially the Kratts Brothers.  You love your little brother, but he can also be your nemesis.  You still love your pillow and need him to go to sleep.  You have the most incredible vocabulary for a five-year old, especially since a year ago you hardly talked.
Daddy and I love you so much.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Not a Wordless Wednesday

I have too much to say for this to be a Wordless Wednesday.
Last Sunday night, Leslie Stahl did a piece on Rock Steady Boxing and every day since I have been inundated with calls about our program.  I had three boxers prior and I now have twelve with more assessments scheduled for this week.  Over the weekend, we made the very tough decision for me to resign all of my other classes so I could focus on my family and my boxers.  In doing so, I am able to have every morning off to be with the kids.
The past two days, I have 8 and 9 hour days at the gym so I took off this morning.  (I turned in my notice for the week before C-mas)
Oh my gosh, it feels so good.  My day typically begins at 6 am, and the girls have been asking me to get them up at 6:30.  Boo was done with school work before 10 am, LE is about an hour behind her. We've been outside for a bike ride, beds are made, dishwasher run and a batch of kombucha is made.
I know not every day is going to be like this, but I am rejoicing in the small victories.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

camping 101

This past Friday night, we went on our first family camping adventure to Jim Hogg park.  We just did an overnight trip for one night to see if we could survive and because it was supposed to rain on Saturday.  The kids did great, we didn't sleep much, but we had lots of fun.  We had s'mores for the first time (including Mama's first time), we threw rocks in the lake, all six of "slept" in a tent.  We went with our friends from church.
I think we are all hooked and can't wait to do it again in the spring.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chopped birthday party


I wish I could take credit for this party and even though it was a surprise party, it was all her idea.  The party was inspired by the Food Network show Chopped, which is a cooking competition among chefs.  There are three rounds and each round one chef gets eliminated.  Instead of eliminations, we had awards for each category, appetizers, main course and dessert.  For round, they made yogurt parfaits.  Daisy won most creative for dyeing her yogurt blue and adding marshmallows and goldfish.  Angela won tastiest with raspberries and strawberries.  Emery won most unusual dyeing hers yellow and adding chocolate syrup.  It looked like mustard, but tasted like chocolate.
Round two was pizza.  Elise won most creative making a face out of pepperoni and olives.  Molly won best use of ingredients, using all of the ingredients to make a meat pizza and Avery won the cheesiest with a mountain of cheese on hers.
Round three was cake balls.  Jacoby won the most original as he was the first to add eyes to his eyes and make a turkey.  LE's was most creative, her cake balls were kissing.  One was pink, one chocolate.  R2 used the most ingredients.  Boo was the top chef.
It was a super fun party.  I have had multiple parents comment how much their kids enjoyed themselves.

surprise birthday party

I think we pulled off a surprise party for Boo.  It was quite difficult to convince her to have her birthday party a week later, but when Ben got called out of town for the week she agreed.  Instead, I was able to pull off a party on her actual birthday.  She designed a board game and had been wanting to have friends over to test her game out.  So, I came up with a night of games and pizza. When she made her own list of ideas of what her ideal party was, at the very last minute I was able to pull it off.
Her theme idea, yummy to my tummy which included taste testing and Chopped.  I opted for Chopped.  We still got to play her game and incorporate some of her ideas.  She seemed pleased.  We along with help from Mimi and PawPaw were able to get her a new bike too.
We collected board games and have plans to take them to the local children's home before Christmas.

Monday, November 09, 2015

more birthday shennanigans

Boo got her requested pancakes for breakfast and then a day on the town with Mimi.  It was a perfect day for hot chocolate.  While Boo was away, we had just the right time to set up for her surprise birthday party.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Birthday Daddy-Daughter Date

This sweet girl choose Cheesecake Factory for her birthday dinner/date night, which means I missed two meals at my favorite restaurant b/c it was Daddy's month of dates.  It's ok a new rule has been implemented for birthdays, it's going to be a double date from now on with both parents.  

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Happy Birthday sweet girl

Where did this free spirit come from?
You have become quite independent this year, which scares me.  You are the most creative Richards kid.  You seem to have a flare for the dramatic, which suits you in your theater classes.  You write the most creative stories and drawings.  You have become quite the pianist and have even learned to play music by ear.
I love you Bella and even though you are nine now, I am still going to call you Bella Boo Bunny!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Sunday morning art lessons

My favorite part of homeschooling...that school doesn't happen just Monday through Friday in our classroom.
On Sunday morning, Boo was feeling inspired and asked if she could watercolor on the back porch, which led to everyone being creative on the back porch.  Daddy gave LE a sketching lesson.
These are my favorite times.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

new job

The owner at the MMA gym asked if I wanted to try out one of the MMA fitness classes he teaches during the noon hour.  Since I love kickboxing and boot camps I thought I'd give it a try.  After the class, he asked if I was interested in teaching it.  He has been training me for the past few weeks and b/c his girlfriend surprised him on his birthday he asked if I'd cover the class last minute on Saturday.  So, I did.
I don't have my class schedule worked out yet.  Right now I am just teaching for him when I can.  My priority is family and RSB, but this is a fun way to make some extra cash.  Not to mention beating the crap out of stuff is kind of cool too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Rock Steady Launches

On Monday, November 2nd we launched Rock Steady Boxing with three boxers (one was out of town).  We learned some basic punches, fighting stance and LOTS of stretches.  Each of these guys had to take an assessment to begin class and I learned men really need to be more "flexible", just sayin'.  PD takes a toll on the muscles and I am most looking forward to seeing how they improve when we do assessments in six months.
These guys are the definition of fighters.  Parkinson's is a degenerative disease.  So, if all we accomplish is delaying the effects of the disease, I would say we win.

tornadoes and tomahawks

Last week at co-op we got to experience Texas weather at it's finest.  On Friday morning, when we arrived it was storming.  During first hour we were called downstairs and into the halls to take cover during a tornado warning.  My parents were driving in that morning so Dad could teach the girl's history class that morning. Thankfully there was no tornado and we were in the clear by second hour.  PawPaw and Mimi arrived safely and by third hour the weather had cleared up enough that PawPaw was able to do part of his demonstration outside.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Pumpkin Party Palooza

Last night we had a pumpkin party,
That idea was quite smarty.
There was food. There was friends.
I wish that party didn't end.
Pumpkin carving. pumpkin goo.
Pumpkin guts. Ew! Ew! Ew!
But alas, the party soon came to an end,
Goodbye! Goodbye! Please come again!



By,
Landry E. Richards

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Happy Halloween from Mavis (Hotel Transylvania), Eeyore, Girllock Holmes and Iron Man.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Block Party

After our National Night Out Party, Ben said he wanted to have more get-togethers with our neighbors.  I personally was shocked to hear those words.  I being the activator took him on his word and threw together a pumpkin carving party.  It was more attended than the NNO party.  We had two new families come, both we had never met before and both had children.  One couple had a newborn and were planning to get married the next day.  The other had children ages 3 and 5 that we had never seen before.
Our hope was to create new friendships and build relationships.  Our church just finished a series on loving your neighbors, so we stepped out in faith and God richly blessed our evening.
Our next door neighbor brought over his "Big Gas Grill" and we had hamburgers and hot dogs.  I made my mom's famous chocolate sheet cake that was a huge hit.  I cannot wait to see how this builds relationships on our street.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

co-op story of the world vol 4

LE and Boo were asked to do a presentation day for their history class at co-op last week.  LE came up with the craft to make a dream catcher out of a plate  Boo modeled the pioneer clothes.  We made a trail mix of popcorn, nuts, seeds and berries.
This is LE's favorite teacher.  I read in her journal last year, Ms. Coffee is always smiling.  She blessed LE with this beautiful head dress.  She said she would rather see LE use it in her presentations than to know it was sitting in a closet collecting dust.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

National Night Out

We hosted a neighborhood National Night Out.  We were so excited when the police car pulled up and our favorite Citizen on Patrol was with them.  We served red beans and rice, kids ran all over the yard.  We had eight families represented.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Billy Idol

My girlfriend Robin blessed Ben and I with tickets to see Billy Idol in San Antonio.  Never in a million years would Ben and I drop money on a concert like that, so it was a real treat for us.
My parents met us in SA for the night and took the kids to Bass Pro Shop i.e. the fish store, Chick-fil-A and who knows what else while Ben and I rocked out.
It was not the best concert acoustics wise, but at 59 the dude is still rocking.  We had fun singing all of my favorite songs from the 80's.  (Billy is featured monthly in my Wayback Wednesday class at the gym).
We were about seven people deep from the stage.  I (at a whopping 4'10") even caught a paper plate he tossed into the crown.  Why a paper plate, I have no idea.
When we met my parents to drop off the kids, I was wearing hole-y jeans and a tank top.  Dad quickly chimed in that I was not dressed appropriately for a Billy Joel concert.  BILLY IDOL, dad!!  Parents.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

backyard campout

We have been wanting to try camping with the kids, but have been more than a little apprehensive about how it would go. With this awesome weather, we decided to give it a try in the backyard.  It worked, kids slept through the night (noticed I clarified kids).  But, it was a lot of fun. Boo did her schoolwork in the tent the next day and the boys played in it for the majority of the day. I think we are ready to branch out into the real world.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Falcons Football

We were invited to our first homeschool football game by one of my students from Shoreline.  Ben stayed home with HR and Boo decided she didn't want to go, but R2 and LE joined me and they both loved it.  Or at lease enjoyed it better than on tv.  LE found her friends from co-op and hung out for the majority of the game with them or in front of the cheerleaders.
Matthew did awesome, so much taller than when he was in pre-k.  He scored two touchdowns and the game was back and forth all four quarters.  Falcons came up with the win.  We are definitely hooked, but hoping all six of us continue to to enjoy it from the sidelines.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

on the road again

Eight days, seven nights, five cities, four kids, three capitals, two adults, one van; tons of memories.
When we started planning our trip to Indy, we never thought it could be a destination vacation.  It was a great city to visit, not to mention all of the fun things on the way to and back.
The kids did great.  I planned lots of activities for the car ride, so they kids stayed busy.
I hope we get to plan more road trips for this family.

Friday, October 09, 2015

wild animals at Memphis Zoo

Our last planned destination was the Memphis Zoo.  We were so excited to find out it was a reciprocal zoo of the Waco Zoo, so we got in half-priced.  It is voted one of the best zoos in the country.
The highlights of our days were when the girls were chosen to participate in the bird show and of course seeing the giant pandas.  Boo insisted we make a second visit to the pandas and we were so glad we did b/c the second time they were awake and eating bamboo.
It was a huge zoo and we walked almost five miles over the day.  R2 met a friend at one of the exhibits and he joined us for the remainder of the day.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Lincoln's birthplace

On Monday morning, we left Indy and started our trek back home.  When we discovered how close we were to Lincoln's birthplace, we knew our home school family could skip that destination.
The girls participated in the junior ranger program and earned their second badge.
As we were leaving we saw a sign we were in Amish country and we were so excited when we passed a horse drawn carriage on our way to Nashville.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Connor Prairie - Indianapolis

On Sunday, my training was over at noon, so we spent the afternoon at Connor Prairie which was one of the high point's of our trip.
It is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and it was full of hands-on activities for all four of the kids.  There were multiple areas for us to explore, including Native Americans, colonial time, pioneer times and the Civil War era.  Each area had people in character from that time period and as we interacted with them they never left character.
Both girls learned to use stilts, and LE even competed in a tomahawk throw.  We made hand-dipped candles and learned how to use a loom.  If we go back to Indy, we definitely be returning here and making sure to arrive earlier to get more time in each of the areas.

Monday, October 05, 2015

downtown Indy

On Saturday, the kids and Ben hung out at the hotel and took advantage of the indoor pool while I was at class.  That evening, they were ready to get out of the hotel so we could explore downtown Indianapolis.  We found Benjamin Harrison's home, but it was closed for a wedding.  We explored the downtown area, hitting up a mall, the war memorial, and the capital.  We found a great pizza spot on the university campus and then headed back to the hotel.  The weather was perfect, we even had to break out the jackets.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Rock Steady Boxing

Last summer, I was approached about teaching a class for Parkinson's.  Earlier this summer, I was approached about attending a training for therapy boxing specifically formatted for Parkie's.  The only hang up was the training was in Indianapolis.  A Parkie friend's wife wanted her husband to be able to attend classes and at the time there wasn't a Rock Steady Boxing gym in Texas.  After watching a clip on facebook from RSB I knew this was for me and Ben agreed to take all four kids across the Midwest so I could attend the three day training.
I met the most amazing people; trainers, Parkies and their cornermen (care partners).  I was hooked.  Over the weekend I am sure I slept no more than three hours each night wondering how I was supposed to bring this back to Austin.  On our drive home we were outside Waco, I was driving and Ben told me he believed I was supposed to bring this back to Austin also and would pay the affiliate fee to make it happen.  I don't recommend driving I-35 with tears in your eyes, but I was overjoyed.
And God continues to direct our steps toward making RSB Austin a reality.
During the training, I felt God tell me Wells Branch is where I was supposed to be looking and I even had a shopping center pictured in mind.  After several phone calls and closed doors mainly b/c of the lack of ac/heat in traditional boxing gyms, yesterday, we met with the owner of a local kickboxing/martial arts facility that agreed to lease a space to us.  And you guessed it, the gym is on Wells Branch Pkwy in the shopping center I was originally imagining.
I have had countless friends offer to help in any way they could to make this happen, including one friend purchasing me a second heavy punching bag.  So, I am hanging on for dear life on this white knuckle ride that God has us on, I sit in amazement how God's plans are indeed bigger than mine.
#fightback

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Indianapolis Children's Museum

While I was in my training, Ben earned Daddy of the year when he took all four kids to the Indy Children's Museum.  Boo's favorite part was China, R2 loved the dinosaurs, LE enjoyed it all and Hank liked playing in the dinosaur nest.
It is the largest children's museum in the world.  I wish Ben had gotten pictures of the outside of the museum, it was amazing.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Missouri day #2

On day two, we started the morning at the Precious Moments Chapel in Jopin, Missouri.  I had been about twenty years ago and knew the kids would love it.  Ben did not, I think he actually threw up a little in his mouth on more than one occasion, it was not that bad.  In the words of 3/4 of my children, it was so adorable.  Too adorable for Ben.
The man who created Precious Moments created a park and chapel decorated with statues from PM and there is a gift shop and ice cream parlor.  We took a self-guided tour and were on the road by 10 am on day two.
Our second stop was St. Louis, Missouri to see the arches. I didn't know the arches were a national landmark and we had forgotten our national park passes at home.  I also did not print out our free passes we had b/c we have a fourth grader.  There is a movement to get all kids in the national parks this year, so the government is giving every fourth grade student a free pass for their families into the national parks.
We took a tour bus around downtown St. Louis and then got back on the road to Indianapolis.
We had to make an unplanned stop in Effingham, Illinois.  Remember, HR being potty trained.  Well, he told us he needed to go potty and we told him to hang on, except we forgot when the next rest area arrived.  A couple hours later I noticed not only had he had an accident, but I was gifted from his blue football cookie he snacked on the day before.
We arrived in Indy on day #2 after 17 hours of driving over the two previous days.

Friday, September 25, 2015

vacation, all I ever wanted

And we're off... our first family vacation.  This year we headed to Indianapolis for a training, some hands-on learning and some fun.  No trip is complete without a stop at our favorite Czech bakery,
where the kids got to pick out their first treat of the car ride.
 The kids did so great on the car ride.  We did our traditional gifts along the route.  Boo received a rhyming dictionary and she blessed us with poems for the trip.  R2 and HR opened Lego friends and LE got nail polish.
HR is now potty trained, and he stayed dry the entire day.  We made a second pit stop in Oklahoma where we played at a local park and the girls made new home schooling friends.  Then, back on the road to Carthage, Missouri, our first night stay courtesy of Hotels Tonight.  We had dinner at a diner on Route 66.