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

Day 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.