Friday, April 27, 2012

Family Staycation 2012

A few months ago, Jeff came to me and said he wanted to take a week off in April and to start thinking about something we could do as a family. So, we both started thinking of fun family things we could do and when we came together to share our ideas, we had two totally different vacations in mind. I really wanted to do a short, during the week trip either to San Antonio Sea World or Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, but Jeff had something else (a little cheaper) in mind. He was thinking more of driving to Arkansas or Tennesee and staying in cabins for a week. As much as I LOOOVEEE camping and the woods, I really wasn't in the mood for the long drive. Plus, I told Jeff that I would rather go to Colorado this summer and stay with the sisters and cousins in the cabin that Kyle's family owns. With the Colorado trip in mind, I really didn't want to do two long road trips less than 3 months a part.

So, back to the drawing board we went and we both settled on the idea of a Staycation. We would plan something every day and make no plans with other families, watch other kiddos or bring any other kiddos along, just the five of us, doing something fun, every day, for an entire week. I was a little worried at first staying put because I thought stuff would come up and we would change plans and be too flexible. I was really proud of us. We stuck to our plans and we were together, doing something fun everyday. I loved the idea of not having all the stress that comes with getting ready to go out of town. I am one of those freaks who likes to have the grass all mowed and trimmed up, house cleaned and picked up before we head out of town, so for our family, getting ready to leave town can be pretty stressful . It was really nice not having any of that for this family vacation.

The vacation, I like to say, started Friday night when Jeff got home. That Saturday was my birthday, so it was a pretty awesome way to start our vacation. Friday night, Jeff surprised me with one of those cookie cakes and I was super excited. I had mentioned wanting one for my birthday, but then we decided to go to the Cheesecake Factory for my birthday dinner, so I told him to not worry about the giant cookie cake and I would just get cheesecake at dinner Saturday night. Jeff went ahead and bought me one anyway and we all enjoyed it very much. 
Saturday morning (my birthday), Jeff let me sleep in and made us a big breakfast. We then went to Joseph's tball game and came home and relaxed until it was time to drop the kiddos off at Marnie's and Poppy's. As we were leaving M & P's, Jeff told me that we were going to pick up one my favorite couples, Mark and Megan. I was so excited and very surprised. We then headed out to the Cheesecake Factory. I have never been, which is acutally pretty surprising since Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts. I really enjoyed the meal and of course the cheesecake was awesome!

Sunday, we went to church and just lazed around, not doing much of anything. I actually took a nap Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with the boys. This is a very very rare thing for me to do. I felt so rested the rest of the week!

Monday was our first day to go do something as a family. We really wanted to do things that I always want to do with the boys, but can't do by myself, with all three. So the first day we went to the Houston Space Center and to McDonald's for lunch. The play place at this particular McD's is pretty awesome!
Then that evening, Jeff cooked us all dinner!

Christian looking for space balls.

 I love this picture, because Christian is totally wiping out on one of the balls.

 My little (and big) engineers.'s nap time for this little guy.

Tuesday, we woke up and went to get Shipley donuts. Such a wonderful way to start the day. Our plan for the day was to go to the Houston Zoo and ride the train. I get to do this often with the boys, and they always have a great time so I wanted Jeff to get experience that with the boys. Well, we made a HUGE mistake by leaving past 10, during the Spring, when field trips are going strong. We arrived at the Zoo close to 11 and we couldn't find a parking spot anywhere!! So, we had a change of plans and drove down to the Children's Museum. I wasn't crazy about the idea at first because we don't have a membership anymore and you have to pay for parking, but it ended up being a fun day. I got to go to the tot spot with Nathan, which I have never been able to do because the older boys are too big to be in there. Nathan had a blast!! We came home, had nap time and then Jeff had arranged for our carpets to be cleaned. They look so puuuuurttty now!!! Since we got the carpets cleaned, we went out for dinner so they could dry. 

Wednesday, Jeff had arranged for a sweet lady, Maria, to come and clean our house first thing in the morning. Since she was coming early in the morning, we didn't want to eat breakfast here, so we went to IHOP and after eating so much and wanting a nap at 9 in the morning, we went to the library to kill some time and stay out of Maria's way. After a while, we left and dropped off Nathan and Jeff and me and the older boys went to see the movie Lorax. Pretty good and the boys seemed to really enjoy it. After the movie, I dropped the older one's off at home and then I went back out to go shopping with all the birthday money and gift cards that I had received. Jeff cooked us dinner again that night! It was yummy!

Then Thursday, we headed down to Galveston and played at Stewart Beach. This was the absolute highlight of our week. It was such a perfect day for the beach. It was overcast and had a really nice, cool breeze so we didn't feel like we were baking in the sun. The water wasn't too bad unless you tried to go waist deep to boogy board, then it was pretty chilly. When we first got there, the older boys were excited and took off. The little one, well, it took him a while to warm up to everything. He reminds me so much of Joseph and that he doesn't like to be forced to do things. He likes to take it at his pace and if you try to get him to do something he isn't too sure about, watch out! After about 45 mintues of a grumpy attitude, I look to where the chairs are and Nathan is sitting behind Jeff playing in the sand and loving it. After that, oh and some lunch, he was loving it. He wasn't crazy about the water when we first got there either, but at the end, he wanted me to put him down and he would crawl into the water. I was so happy that he didn't do what he was doing the first 45 mintues the entire day. It would have been exhausting.
After the wonderful day at the beach, we headed to our hotel and got cleaned up. Then for dinner we took the boys to The Rainforest Cafe. My little animal lover (Joseph) loves this place. Christian, tolerates it, but Nathan, I forgot one thing about him,  he is pretty frightened of thunderstorms. If you have never been here to eat, they have thunderstorm sounds about every thirty minutes where the lights flicker on and off and the animals go crazy. Nathan wasn't thrilled about this at all. Plus, we were right next to this giant elephant, so yeah, we ate quickly. 
Then Friday morning, we had breakfast and then drove to the end of the Island to ride the Ferry  to Bolivar Peninsula. The boys really enjoyed this. We rode the Ferry to Bolivar and right back. We didn't drive around Bolivar at all. After the ferry ride we went to lunch and then to the strand to take the boys to one of our favorite candy shops, La Kings. Then after this, we came home....... :-(

 When Nathan realized he could play in the sand and I wasn't going to tell him to 'Stop,' he went crazy. At home, I have to stop him from playing in the dirt because he loves to eat it. I was really surprised that I didn't catch him putting sand in his mouth.

 This was the start of our beach day. As you can see, Nathan IS NOT thrilled.

 This has been such a fun, relaxing week with my boys. Monday is going to be horrible in so many ways. Not having Jeff home, having to do chores, having to cook, no naps for me and having to get back to my diet. BLAH!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter and a Birthday Weekend

This weekend we crammed a lot of fun into 72 hours. My mom's birthday and Easter fell on the same day this year, so we thought this would be a good weekend to go to Dallas and be with my family for the holiday and celebrate.
My mom had no idea we were coming up, so she was completely shocked, surprised and very excited to see all of us. We left pretty early Friday morning since we were coming back to Houston on Sunday and we wanted to have as much time with Mimi and Papaw as possible.
Friday, we just hung around the house and the boys swam...
NO, their pool isn't heated.
And NO, it wasn't warm enough to swim in. The water was freezing, but the older boys really wanted to get in the pool, so we let them. Joseph seemed to enjoy it more than Christian. Christian would only stay in about 5 minutes and then have to get out.

Here he is testing it out to see if he really wants to take the plunge...
After grilling hamburgers for lunch, swimming and naps, we all loaded up and drove 3.3 miles to a house that belonged to a high school friend of mine. Her house was completely devastated by one of the tornadoes that hit the Royse City area last week. It was absolutely heartbreaking! They lost everything!
Saturday, my sister and I had arranged for the dad's to watch all the kids so the girls could all go get pedicures and take my mom to lunch. I cracked and took my little guy so Jeff wouldn't have to chase three around their house and worry about the pool. Nathan did great, so the outing was a success. After our pedis and lunch, we stopped by Target to get a few things and then I wanted to stop by and see my friend whose house was damaged. Her and her family are staying with her folks for the time being and they are right there in town, so I wanted to take advantage of that to see her and give her a huge hug. She told us about her experience and what she went through and I am so heart broken for her. I can't imagine going through what she did with my child and my husband on the phone having to hear it all. Please please pray for comfort, healing and peace for this family. They are such a sweet family!
Then Saturday evening, Stacey and Josh brought stuff to make fajitas. Josh grilled and pretty much prepared our entire dinner and it was amazing!!! I have never had that awesome of fajitas at home. He also made some awesome pico, and I am not the biggest fan of it, but I couldn't stop eating it! Simply wonderful!!! After dinner, we enjoyed some wonderful cake Josh and Stacey had ordered for my mom's birthday. We all sang to her and enjoyed the delicious cake and some ice cream.
But before all this wonderful food, we did a little Easter egg hunt for the boys. They seemed to have enjoyed it this year.

I thought Cooper did really well for one of his first hunts. I am pretty sure when my boys were this age, they would pick up the egg and open it right away to see what was in it or crying about something, so they ended up missing the entire egg hunt.
This is the cake Josh and Stacey ordered for my mom. It was so yummy, but the picture angle isn't that great. I didn't want to move it and take the risk of dropping it.And this brings us to Easter morning......It was a rough start for our little guy. After church I learned that he didn't eat much for breakfast and didn't drink any of his milk, so poor little guy was probably starving. However, for Joseph, he was his chirpy, morning self.
We learned this weekend that Christian likes to close his eyes while taking a picture. I seriously want to do a post called, "Phases of children in photos." Joseph just got out of this "goofy smile" phase, now Christian is going through it. When am I ever going to have a 'normal' family picture again?
Joseph playing air guitar and Christian, again, eyes closed.
And now, attempting a before church photo of the boys. As you can see, that isn't going to happen. (Nathan is in the photo phase of, 'if you make me stand next to him or do anything I don't want to, I am going to scream!') he's mad because he fell down and the sun's in his eyes. So that means, we're done.
Jeff found a branch with some thornes on it, so him and the boys started talking about the crown of thornes. There are always teachable moments. Love it!And now that Nathan had a nap at church and some lunch, he is a much happier baby. I would have tried to take more pictures of him since he was happy, but he was covered in his lunch. And no, Jeff and I are not in the photo phase of closing our eyes, it was just super bright and sunny.
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend!