Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vacation Part 2, Claire loves Daniel

We left Baton Rouge just after lunch on Friday and started to make our way to Milton (just north of Pensacola). We thought it would be a quick little trip, but there was traffic out the wazoo.

We finally made it there, grabbed a quick bite at Pizza Hut, and then headed to the hotel. Mom drove with Gav, Holly & Michael, and they were just behind us, along with Dad & Dee. Even though it was late, the kiddos wanted to stay up to see their crazy uncle.

On Saturday morning, we had just enough time to grab some breakfast and pick up a couple of things at the store before it was time to get ready for the wedding. We got there a little early so we could be sure to get good seats.

I made Gracie’s dress ~ I love the big red bow! She was so proud of it and told everyone, including the pianist up on the alter, that “My mommy made me this dress!”

Noah took advantage of finally having a friend to play with.

Check out this Motley Crew.

Gav was sporting a sassy pink tie. They are the cutest little family.

The ceremony ended and we were ready for the par-tay. Noah managed to land himself a date.

Claire was a beautiful bride. I can’t believe I’m old enough for her to be old enough to be married! She’s just my little Claire Bear!!!

The happy couple!

See… she’s gorgeous!

There was a ton of silliness and cutting up, which is just Claire’s style. (Her wedding was all DIY and it was perfect. She had the cutest ideas!)

Not sure what to do with these two.

Or these two… let’s not even talk about how grown up Logan is or I’ll have to cry.

My three favorite guys.

Ben ate his weight in strawberries.

Catching up with the sister and mother of the bride. Love them!

These two were nothing but trouble. I wish I knew who/what they were laughing and pointing at.

Uh oh… busted! I have the best Aunts!

The bride and groom had their first dance…

And then everyone else joined in. Grace wasted NO time finding herself a partner.

Look at her go!

I'm sad that this picture is blurry, but I can’t believe that my 6 year old is smooth enough to wink at me. He was showing off some pretty good moves on the dance floor as well!

It was such a sweet and beautiful wedding and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! Congratulations, Claire & Daniel! I am so happy for you guys and I’m anxious to hear about all of your adventures in Germany!

This is just a bonus pic, because my little nephew is so scrumptious. I love you Michael!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vacation Part I, Baton Rouge

After six days in a very, very quiet house (my little people were spending time with the Barrick grandparents), Brian and I set out on Thursday morning for a family vacation. We were heading toward Pensacola for my cousin Claire Bear’s wedding. We had 752 miles to cover, with a couple of detours set up along the way.

First, we stopped in Silsbee, TX (just north of Beaumont), where Grandma Evelyn lives. Diane was meeting us there to return the kiddos, and we also wanted to visit Grandma for a bit. We were about 1 hour out of San Antonio when Diane called us to let us know that a savage stomach virus had infiltrated her house and was taking them down one by one. Noah had it on Tuesday, Ben was hit Wednesday night, and Diane and Grace were struck early Thursday morning. I felt so sorry for her! She had a four hour drive, alone, with three small children (already a bit of a challenge). Then, one of the kids was recovering from being sick and up all night while another one was still puking (an absolute nightmare). On top of all that, she was sick, too. I do not know how she made it, but she did. We took the kids off her hands and once we were on the road she laid down on the sofa and didn’t get up until the next morning. :(

While the stomach bug was a problem in and of itself, we also had an issue because we were planning on spending the night with friends in Baton Rouge. They also have small children, and the last thing I wanted to do was to bring this thing into their house. I called the Ballards and explained what was going on and that we were just going to drive straight through to Florida and check into our hotel early. They were SOOO sweet and insisted that we stay at their house anyway. I don’t know if I would have been so gracious, but they truly treated us like family! I told them we would see how things went on the trip. By the time we got to Baton Rouge, the kids seemed to be on the upswing, so we kept our plans and stopped. Ernie had made us a delicious dinner of fried shrimp po-boys. YUM!!! Ashley, not to be outdone, whipped up some caramel stuffed brownies. The kids played and played and played some more. On Friday, we had breakfast together. Everyone was definitely feeling MUCH better. The kids played inside and outside while we visited some more and packed up our things to head out.

Boo for a foggy camera lens, because this was the cutest thing!

Fun times on the swing set.

Popsicles all around!

These guys are pros.

Fisher is concentrating pretty hard. Grace was, of course, holding a conversation while eating her frozen treat. Chatty Cathy.

After some quick sandwiches for lunch it was time to get on the road again.

Thank you thank you thank you to the awesome Ballard family. We’ve been able to visit with them when they were here in San Antonio, and they’ve also made an effort to get our kids together to play when we’re visiting my parents in Louisiana. We have really enjoyed their friendship, even though it’s long distance. It’s definitely a shame that we don’t live closer to each other!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rats on the run

It’s been almost a month since we brought our new family members home, and they are doing great! At first they were terrified of us. After about of week of just leaving them be, we started to set their cage down on the floor with us, open the door, and just let them explore at their own pace. Hammy is definitely the braver of the two. Within a day or two, she would hop right out of her cage and explore the four corners of the play room. She’s very smart… she’ll run off to check something out, then come back to the door of her cage to make sure it was still open for her. Then she’d take off on another mini expedition.

It took Sophie a while longer before she would even venture out. The first time she did, she made it to the futon and the got spooked and wouldn’t come out from under it. Eventually I had to take the mattress off and pull it away from the wall in order to get her out.

Neither of the girls like to be held very much. They’ll crawl across your hand or leg if it’s their own idea, but they want no part of being constrained. I’m still hoping they’ll come around and decide they like snuggles (I know Ben would love it, but until then we’re enjoying watching them run around and play together.

There goes Hammy...


She’s become VERY brave and will wander far away from her cage.


When she’s ready to come home, she races back!


Little Sophia is often content to just sit back and watch.


But sometimes she’ll venture out… especially if there’s a treat involved. She is much more food motivated than Hammy.


Still, she won’t stay out for too long… back home I go!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the Promise Land… it’s gonna be so grand!

For those of you that don’t know, the Promise Land is College Station, TX! It’s one of the greatest places on Earth and we have no problems with brainwashing our children until they agree with us. :)

Ben, Grace & Noah were going to spend some time with Grammy & Grandad, so Brian met his parents in Aggieland to bring them the kiddos. They were a little early, so he gave them a brief tour of the campus.

Here they are enjoying the spray from Rudder Fountain.

Noah’s not completely sure of the Aggies yet… we’re just getting started with him.

It’s ok, Noah, Aggies are AWESOME!

Paying their respects to the the Reveilles of the past.

Ben & Sul Ross

Gracie & Sully

Noah trying to get away AGAIN.

Seriously, dude, stop trying to escape. You will go here, and you will like it.

I was bummed that I didn’t get to go with them – I stayed home and worked. I was even more jealous that they stopped at Layne’s for lunch. We’ll all be back in October, though, to watch our boys try their hardest to BTHO LSU.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fun at home – Colored Fizzies

I’ve been wanting to do this little activity with B&G since I pinned it a while ago. It’s a very basic spin on the tried and true baking soda & vinegar volcano. I don’t know about the claims of keeping kids busy for hours, but it definitely held Grace’s attention for a solid 30-45 minutes. Ben loved it, too, of course, because according to him “science crafts” are his favorite.

The kids dubbed this colored fizzies and that’s pretty much what it amounts to. I poured some baking soda in the bottom of two glass dishes for them, mixed food coloring into 4 small cups of vinegar, gave them each a medicine dropper and turned them loose. Quick break for Mommy to take a nap rotate the laundry and clean up breakfast dishes. :)

They were really sweet about sharing and taking turns with the colors.

Mastering the art of the dropper – such concentration.

Fizzies = cool!

Ben’s Fizzies

Grace’s Fizzies

A brief word of caution:
Do not bring baby downstairs (after his nap is over and big kids have abandoned their craft) and then leave the baby downstairs (for 4.8 seconds) while you run back upstairs to grab your phone and use the bathroom. You may or may not come back to find the baby conducting his own version of the science experiment. Apparently, Noah’s climbing skills have progressed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

It’s Independence Day

Woo to the hoo for another Fourth of July with our favorite peeps. We left for Corpus on Tuesday to spend a couple nights with the Collins Fam and enjoy some patriotic activities. We got there just in time for a DEE-licious dinner: crawfish etoufe√© (my mom’s recipe, actually, which Aaron executes so well) and garlic biscuits. SOOOO good. I can still taste it. I could do an entire post on the wonder that was the etoufe√©, but I’ll move on.

We woke up on the morning of the 4th, and Brian and Ben had this amusing conversation:
Brian: Happy 4th of July, you guys!
Ben: Huh?
Brian: Happy Independence Day!
Ben: So we each get to do what we want all day?
Brian: No - it's the 4th of July!
Ben: Oh, yeah, Fireworks Day.

I guess we need to focus a little more on US History. Once Ben had been properly schooled, we decided that we would spend the day swimming at the home of some of A & L’s friends. (We tossed around the idea of going to the beach – but decided at the last minute that it would be way too crowded.) I think that decision was a good one. The kids had a great time swimming and jumping off the diving board, and our hosts kept bringing out cookies fresh from the oven.

How many kids can Aaron hold at one time?

Brian showing the kids how it’s done (and blinding us with his whiteness).

Gracie braving the diving board.

Noah preferred to chill on the boogie board…

…until I pulled him too fast and he went for an unplanned swim.

Lunch time!

Worn out!

After our swim, we headed back to the house for clean up and naps. Once everyone was rested and dressed in their 4th of July finest, we loaded up the vans and headed to the baseball field to see the Corpus Christi Hooks play.


First things first, we had the annual Red, White & Blue group photo shoot. I lowered my expectations from everyone looking and smiling to everyone in the frame and not crying.

Our tickets were for the grassy hill behind right field, and I honestly did not see a single at bat. It was still totally worth it, though, because we were right next to the recreation area for the kids and we also had a prime spot for both the stadium fireworks, and then later the city’s fireworks that are fired off of the USS Lexington. Liz and I held down the fort with the babies while the men-folk took the bigs to play on the playground.

Once the play area closed, there was lots and lots and lots of waiting.

We broke up the waiting by rolling down the hill, waiting in line for dippin’ dots, wrestling, and eating lots of popcorn.

Both sets of fireworks were awesome, but it made for a very hot, long night. Noah & Rylan were a little bored with the whole thing before it all started.

I took this picture of Ben as Brian was explaining to him that the fireworks couldn’t start until he sang Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”.

Fireworks time – so worth the wait!

Noah wasn’t too sure about things… but what else is new?

The princesses thought the fireworks were a little loud for their delicate hearing.

Noah got a second wind, right as the festivities were ending.

Sooo purty.

The next morning we had a little bit of play time before it was time to head back to San Antonio.

It’s always sad leaving (especially when Ben & Tanner go on and on about being best friends). We’re definitely looking forward to our next opportunity to spend time together! Thank you, thank you, Collins Crew for putting up with the crazy Barricks for a few days. Happy Fourth of July!

PS. Due to the aforementioned wrestling on the hill, we had to take Ben to the doctor when we got home. He spent the next week wearing this lovely contraption. Good times!