Friday, July 26, 2013

New Friends

We’ve been having a few play dates lately with some peeps that we’ve just met at church. It’s such a blessing when the mommies, daddies and kiddos all hit it off! They invited us over for swimming and lunch.

(Ben, Caleb, Jake, Emily, Grace & Noah – Baby Levi was off somewhere taking a nap).


Thank you to Sara and the mini Sisams for a fun day ~ and especially for keeping the Teddy Roosevelts flowing! ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Trip to the Zoo

It’s been forever since we’ve spent time with the Ivans and Heistands, so Missy, Kristi & I decided to meet at the zoo to see some animals and play in the river area.

It was so fun to see these two friends play together – they’ve been buddies since the day Ben was born. :)


In fact, the picture below was taken almost exactly 7 years ago!

(Funny side note – in this shot Missy had just found out she was pregnant with the twins – although I don’t think she knew it was twins just yet. During our zoo trip, she announced that she is pregnant for a 3rd time – little Ivan #4 is due in February!)

Ben and Mia and Missy

We visited the bears, monkeys, reptile house & hippos on the way to the river bank. We also stumbled across a little nature activity and the kiddos jumped right in.


We grabbed a quick lunch and then it was swim time. Everyone was grateful for the cool, shady river bank and a chance to dig and splash!


Oh my Gracie Girl


And my Noah Bug!


Group shot on the river bank.
(Padon was hiding behind Gracie.)


One last group shot before heading home.
It was a hot, fun day with great friends!


Monday, July 15, 2013

McKenna Children’s Museum

I’ve been wanting to take the kids up to New Braunfels to check out their children’s museum, so I was really excited that Brian bought some tickets when they popped up on Groupon. The kids really enjoyed the indoor and outdoor play areas (although it was a little drizzly the day we went). I took way too many pictures, but there was just so much to see! :)

Na na na na na na na na…




They had a small aquarium with some alligators and turtles in it, which apparently caused Ben to make this creepy face.


We headed outside the first chance we got (while there was a break in the rain). Noah made fast friends with Mr. Seal.


Then all 3 gremlins hopped up onto Mr. Camel.


Noah tapped out some sweet tunes on the piano…


while Grace made her own music on the xylophone.


Brian & Ben were testing out the different elements on the ginormous water table.


Speaking of ginormous, they had this really cool climbing thingy. You can see teeny Grace starting to make her way up.


And there’s Ben all the way at the top.


Ben put together this see saw in the foam area and then he took his brother for a ride.


After the kids tried everything outside, we headed back in. Grace went straight for the grocery store.


Noah, knowing how much his sister loves carbs, reminded her not to forget the bread.


With the shopping done and the groceries put away, we headed to the hospital. The boys did a full work up on Daddy in the ambulance.


Gracie scrubbed in just in time to admit this newborn into the nursery.


She gave him a clean bill of health.


Noah headed to the next room to play Dance Dance Revolution (or whatever this floor-video game thing was).


My junior scientist spent some time looking at slides.


Brian did a few more activities with Ben while I took Grace & Noah into the art room.


I love the colors Noah chose for his painting.


I did NOT love how he sucked on his paint-covered fingers when he was done.


Brian came in to check on us and it was a few minutes before I realized he didn’t have Ben with him. I went out to look for the man child and found him wandering around looking worried and sad.

His art project pretty much says it all.


“Please tell me where your going from now on!!!! (angry face)"


One of the last areas we visited was the space station. Ben put on an astronaut uniform.


Then we took turns seeing how fast we could play the sort the planets game. Brian competed with his eyes closed.


The boys headed outside to run around for a few more minutes while Gracie played dress up on the prairie. She and I were sitting on the teeny couch in the cabin having a nice tea party when a kid climbed through the window behind us and shouted, “I’m robbin’ yo house!” There’s nothing like a little pretend crime to bring you back to reality.


Make-believe burglaries aside, we enjoyed ourselves and would recommend visiting the McKenna Children’s Museum – especially if you can catch one of the Groupons for a deal on admission!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ben’s Alien Party

It took Ben FOREVER to decide on a birthday theme this year. I finally had to threaten to re-use all of the My Little Pony decorations in order to get him to make a decision. He quickly came up with an “Out of Space Alien Party”. It was really fun to involve him in so much of the planning now that he's older. He helped me pick the alien to go on his invitations and informed me that he didn’t want his picture on it (like Gracie’s had) because “Everyone I’m inviting knows what I look like.” Fair enough. :)

Alien blog version

We did it at the pool again this year. Good thing because I think it was 286° outside.

The decorations were all blue, green & orange to match his invitation.


Ben & Brian (& Pinterest) helped me to come up with space themed foods. We had orbit oranges, asteroids (cheese balls), extra-terrestrials (teddy grahams), rocket fuel (orange kool-aid), & planet pops (chocolate covered marshmallows).





I would like to go on the record and say that the marshmallow pops were a hot mess (figuratively and literally). They were advertised as an “easy alternative to cake pops". While I’ve never made cake pops, I can say that these weren’t “easy” and certainly didn’t take 20 minutes as the tutorial promised. They also turned into gooey blobs within seconds of being set on the table due to the aforementioned inferno-like temperatures. Ah, well, live and learn.

I’m melting… melting!


I pinned a bunch of different space and alien cakes that I thought I could maybe pull off and Ben picked his favorite. He requested a flying saucer one. The party started at 4 p.m. I finished the cake at 3 p.m. Slightly stressful. Why can I not learn to decorate the cake AHEAD OF TIME?!?!?! It was all worth it ~ Ben loved his cake and the “red alien with 4 eyes, 3 horns and fangs” as requested.



We also had cupcakes with little mini aliens on top (fondant wrapped gum-balls).


Ben & his guests got right to playing and splashing around in the pool.


Grace & Noah also found pool buddies to hang out with.



Then we took a quick break to eat the planet pops before they completely liquified.




After pops there was a bit more swimming, and then the pizza arrived.


This is how aliens eat pizza.


Gracie and Daddy enjoying their dinner together.


For a game, Brian led the boys in a round of Frisbee golf. It was really simple and fun and the Frisbees doubled as flying saucer favors for our friends to take home with them.




After Frisbee, it was time to sing and eat cake!





Ben had a blast and we are so grateful for all our sweet friends and family who celebrated with him!


Happy Birthday, Ben! We love you as big as the (outer space) sky!