Saturday, February 28, 2015


For our first winter in the hill country we were glad to actually have seasons, but now, on the last day of February, we are ready to see the end of this...

Saturday, February 21, 2015


A recent warm day gave way for three siblings to enjoy the weather and each other...


Monday, February 2, 2015

Who Are You Callin' Chicken?

Cocoa, Maia, Elsa, Peck, Peanut, and Zoe enjoy the "woods".
Back in November (two days before Thanksgiving in fact) we added to the general chaos around here by adopting six baby chickens.  As I have only briefly mentioned them before, and they have taken on such a significant role in our daily life, I thought I ought to provide an update on these funny girls.  At least, we think (and hope) they are all girls.  The kids adore playing with, holding, and petting the chickens.  Quite often Cooper can be found carrying Elsa around the yard as she is the smallest and the nicest.  For now Mama and Daddy meet the basic needs of chickens such as feeding, watering, and cleaning out the coop, but we look forward to teaching the kids animal care and responsibility as they (both kids and chickens!) get bigger.  
Peanut and Zoe peck around the cedar "woods" by their coop.  These girls are still too young and its too cold for them to be laying eggs yet, but they are well on their way to "free range" status.  Predators are a big problem (as we have heard from the neighbors) around here so we keep a close eye on them and make sure they are locked up in the coop at night.  During the day, however, they are free to leave the coop and peck around the yard. It's hilarious to open the coop door in the morning and watch them all come flapping and clucking in a frenzy outside. 
They are starting to roost!  On very cold nights the chickens can be found all huddled in a heap under the heat lamp but they are starting to act less like babies and more like hens as they have started roosting.  Pictured here are Zoe and Cocoa.  Its true, chickens may be adorable but they are dumb.  We got them a bigger, better watering bucket and it took them a MONTH to figure out how to use it!  To their credit, they are animals of instinct.  When we go to put the chickens up in the evening, they are usually already bedding down for the night.  Only a few times ever have we had to coax them in.
And that's our new girls in an eggshell!  #kirkfamilychickens

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ranchin'...Naiser Style!

After this past snowy Friday (Yes, snowy.  It snowed for nearly four hours in Boerne on Friday morning, very exciting even though nothing stuck), we enjoyed another break in the weather!  This past weekend was still chilly but had lots of sun!  We got to spend this glory at another ranch with our friends the Naisers.  The kids played so hard and only came inside when we made them.  They played so hard in fact, that Penny even took a nap at school when she went back (she never does that.)  The weekend was marked with lots of sunshine, wildlife, polaris rides, sitting by the fire, rock throwing, puddle-jumping, walking and running around.

The kids just couldn't get enough of the old truck in the yard.
Penny had a blast jumping in "muddy puddles."
"Dad!  Look what I found!"
This little one basically made the switch from crawling to walking over the weekend.
Geology nerd shot.
I always get a kick out of photographing these two.  It's easy to catch them looking like they are up to something.
Picnic time!
Thanks again Naisers!  We had a great time!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Break in the Weather = Ranchin'!

Last week was the beginning of a break in the cold, wet, icy, nasty weather we'd been having.  Kids and parents were both overjoyed and relieved to spend some time outside!  We took advantage of the 70 degree weather and a school holiday to head to the ranch for two nights.  We enjoyed lots of sun and a weekend spent with Ma-Mas, Pa-Pa, and Uncle Clint.  
This little boy was beyond thrilled when for the first time he got to watch Daddy (and Mama, and Pa-Pa, and Uncle Clint) shoot a rifle.  He has been extremely curious about guns and shooting ever since December when we let him watch "A Christmas Story" for the first time.  We thought this was an excellent opportunity to teach him about gun safety and respect.  (Though it made this Mama a little sad...he is getting too big!)
Penny will not be left out!  While she did not enjoy the loudness of shooting, she did enjoy her new pink safety glasses and ear protection and wore them most of the weekend.
Ranchin' baby!  This little girl could be found taking tentative steps on the porch or on Mama's or Ma-Ma's hip for the weekend.  Here she is trying to figure out a kid's chair.
And she got it!  Lounging on the porch and basking in the sun?  No problem!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Goodbye Sweet Ralph

Amongst all the fun and joy of the holiday, we had some sadness too.  Our sweet black lab Ralph passed away just a few days before Christmas.  Ralph by far was the sweetest dog I had ever known and we all miss him.  For nearly 14 years Ralph was the companion of first David, then myself and my dog Dooley, then the kids and Brewster. Ralph was a typical lab in that he was sweet, wonderful around children, and LOVED the water.  Ralph enjoyed anywhere he could run free, chase things, fetch things, or find good chewing sticks.  He was happiest at the beach, the lake, the ranch, or trying to "worm" up into a warm lap.  (Not easy as he was 85 pounds in his heyday.) I believe all dogs have souls, but Ralph's was easy to see.  We love and miss you Ralph!
Ralphapotumus Maximus Duderino Kirk
aka "Ralph"
February 1, 2001-December 22, 2014
How Ralph the car or anywhere, he wanted to be as close to you as possible.  Back in 2003 when David and Ralph moved to Corpus Christi, Ralph rode on top of the stuff in the fully packed car so he could see and be near.
Ralph enjoying a favorite spot.
Being a good sport for a Christmas photo with his life-mate Dooley, whom he lost this time last year.  It feels like the end of an era of sorts...both of our first "kids" are gone.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Everybody Had a Holiday!

We enjoyed our first Christmas in Boerne this year!  We stayed busy and had LOTS of visitors.  It was fun to enjoy the holidays in a place that actually has seasons, even if cold weather isn't our favorite.   Ma-Mas, Pa-Pa, and Uncle Clint joined us for Christmas Eve and night and we enjoyed the good company, good food, and good fun building legos and playing with toys.   After Christmas we spent two days in Houston visiting Nonnie and the cousins.  After THAT we had several old friends stop in to watch the Aggies win their bowl game.  And after THAT the Eggers joined us for New Year's!  We were so thrilled that we got to spend so much of the holiday with so many people! Such a great way to end the year!
Cooper and Penny got to play in the hot tub on Christmas Eve.   Ellie wished she could too!
Santa came!  Three kids and three extra people visiting meant LOTS of presents!  Our cups ran over this year and we have a ton to be thankful for.
The after picture...
Coop got a camera for Christmas!  We can't wait to upload from the Cooper-cam!
The name of the game this year was legos.  Penny really enjoyed Uncle Clint helping her build.
We spent the weekend after Christmas in Houston.  Here is Nonnie and all six of her grandkids.  This was another two days of good company, good food, and good fun.  (Nonnie and Mama got a kid-less trip to the fabric store, and Mama got a quilt binding lesson.  Two extra presents for Mama!)  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy First Birthday Ellie!

 Baby Ellie reached an important milestone on Sunday...she turned ONE! It's hard to believe that just one year ago Ellie was born and gave us the best gift we could ever receive.  Last Christmas we had a tiny four-day-old and this Christmas we have an energetic, sweet, and bustling baby starting to show us who she is!  Mama feels a little sad to think that her infancy is over because it went by at lightning speed!  We are eager though to watch her continue to grow and change!  At one year of age Ellie:
  • Weighs 19.8 lbs and is 28 and 3/4 inches long.  She had her well check-up this morning and is in great health!  She received three shots and had her iron checked, which didn't please her too much.
  • Has a fairly consistent sleep schedule!  She takes a morning and afternoon nap, goes to bed at 8 p.m., sleeps through the night, and wakes up at 6 or 7 a.m.
  • Has nine teeth.  Two of her recent teeth to cut have been molars.  She marked this occasion with some fussiness, but that was all.
  • Loves to push her ride-on toy or baby stroller around.  She doesn't seem to have much interest in walking without those things but has figured out how to climb onto her ride-on.  (Cooper has taken it upon himself to carry her from room to room, which is probably partly why she isn't motivated to walk. Ah that little third baby!)
  • Is a little stinker!  Ellie gets a certain twinkle in her eye when she wants to do something she knows she isn't supposed to.  We try to keep her out of the playroom (Waaaay too many legos for a baby in there!), and she will give me that certain look and crawl uber-fast towards that room.   She makes that same look right before she throws or knocks her food off her tray.  (Feeding the dog is way more fun than eating, apparently.)
  • Loves finger foods so much, the only things I can feed her with a spoon are applesauce or yogurt.  Her current favorite foods are goldfish crackers and toast but she also likes scrambled eggs, peanut butter crackers, bacon, Gerber fruit and oat bars, yogurt melts and she likes to gnaw on raw carrots or apples.  She doesn't seem too inclined to try new foods but we keep on trying.
  • Can drink from both a sippy cup and a straw.  She LOVES to drink from a straw.
  • Ellie can say "mama", "dada", and "bye".  We thought she tried to say "dog" and "cuh-puh" (cooper) the other day but we weren't sure.
  • Has enjoyed lots of visitors in the last month!  Nonnie, Aunt Amanda and Matt, the cousins, Uncle Laurin and Uncle Rosendo joined us for Thanksgiving and Ma-Mas, Pa-Pa, Uncle Clint, and Steve, Mary and Sterling Bennett came to celebrate her birthday.  

One year old photo shoot via Mama...she is just too big and wiggly to get a good picture in the same chair I've taken her other monthly pictures in.  To the floor we go.
Ellie has a seriousness about her but is such a happy little soul!
Ellie loves to point at things and whisper baby-babble.  This is insanely cute.
Outtake one from the photo shoot...
Outtake two...clearly not going to cooperate.

We celebrated Ellie's birthday with a small party at home on Saturday evening.  Daddy made pulled pork for the adults and Mama made a giant cupcake.  She received several presents including a light-up, music-playing monkey ball sorter from Mama and Daddy, outfits and a doll from Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa, blocks from the Bennetts, and a gift card from Uncle Clint.  A few pictures from  Ellie's party:
Birthday cake!  
Little ham for the camera!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Through Late Fall 2015

Starting in November, our controlled chaotic household leans more toward chaotic.  Holidays, family, school activities and more dominate our days.  Life over the last few weeks...

Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast.
We spent a weekend in Dallas so Mama could attend a baby shower.  Mama, Daddy, and Cooper went to "ICE!", a hotel convention room cooled to four degrees and full of big ice sculptures.  It was spectacular! (The caboose Daddy is standing on here is made completely of ice.)  Penny and Ellie hung out with Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa; they weren't interested in being cold...or the community parkas.
Our hotel was a winter wonderland and the kids got to see Santa.
We were thankful to spend our first Thanksgiving in Boerne with the Kirks. 
The cousins were here for five days over Thanksgiving!
We've spent many cool evenings outside with both family and friends.
We took a day trip to the ranch for Pa-pa's cousins' annual Christmas party.
All of us are enjoying our new pets (and future egg producers).  Say hello to Elsa, Zoe, Maia, Peanut, Cocoa, and Peck.  These girls spent a little over a week in our garage but are now adjusted to life in the coop. They love to be let out into the run in the morning and are starting to see us as friends.
We spent half a weekend in Buda for a 1st Birthday Party.
We are ready for Christmas and the rest of the year (I think)!  Next up, one baby girl turns one, Cooper and Penny can stop asking, "how many minutes 'til Christmas," and of course the New Year.  Happy Holidays!