Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend 2015

Ma-mas and Ellie relax on the front porch.
There is nothing like a typical busy weekend with family capped with a holiday to make a Mom feel special, appreciated, grateful and loved.  Our posse of five hung out together all weekend, doing what we do.  Friday we relaxed, Saturday we had soccer games in the morning, a friend's birthday party in the afternoon, and a visit from Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa in the evening.  On Sunday, Mother's Day was marked by farm fresh eggs for breakfast (cooked by Daddy), honey in my coffee, gifts and cards, and a long dip in the pool.   All this mama could have wanted!
This sweet guy.  
A little grumpy, but a still a lot cute.
Cards from the kids...made my day!
Cooper decorated a cake at school for me!  He couldn't wait for Sunday so we cut into it on Friday night.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Adventures in Chickening

Elsa (the rooster), Peck,  Zoe, and Cocoa.
The last week has unfolded a noteworthy chicken event around here.  About a week ago, Daddy went to put the chickens up for the evening and found our first two eggs!  Through the week we found three more eggs in the coop, though two were broken.  (Amateurs!)  On Friday, our friend's son found a cracked egg on the porch of the playhouse.  This led me to believe that their had to be more eggs!  As our girls are free range, we had to do a thorough yard search to see if we could find more eggs.   This morning...Eureka!  We found a clutch of ELEVEN eggs!  So exciting!  Though not exciting for the chickens...they will now spend the next week confined to their coop and run so that they learn to lay IN THE NESTING BOXES!
The hidden cache.
Our very first eggs.
Zoe and Cocoa take a dirt bath.
Peanut, Maia, and Cocoa look for the hole big enough to fit through the pool fence.  They like the spilled seed from our bird feeder in there.  Poor Peanut is too fat (or too dumb) to fit through and has to look on longingly while the other girls enjoy the spoils.
This guy, though very handsome, is noisy!  He loves to cock-a-doodle at random times of day.  He does seem to keep the flock in line and protect them so I guess we'll keep him for now.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Violet Sparkle


For the last two weeks we have been enjoying a new family member...our new puppy Violet!  After we lost Ralph last year our remaining dog Brewster has been lonely and sad.  He needed a friend!  So even though our home life is FULL, we took the plunge and added just one more.  Penny was super excited, mostly because this one is a girl.  We let her name the puppy, and she decided on Violet Sparkle.  I think it fits...what do you think?  

Such a sweet girl!
Brewster is thrilled!  These two never seem to stop playing together!
Yes, this puppy is like most puppies...she's a stinker!  I admit we are maxed out with three kids, a dog, a house-training puppy, and chickens, but the time will fly as it always does...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter at the Ranch 2015


Happy Easter!  This year we continued what has seemingly become a tradition.  We spent Easter at the ranch!  Ma-Mas invited her family to spend the holiday with us, so we got to spend time with many aunts, uncles, and cousins!  The weather was a little soggy and humid but it didn't dampen our fun!  Since so many people joined us this year, our party of five opted to camp out which worked out great and was super fun for the kids.  We spent the weekend visiting with family, taking walks around the ranch, enjoying the wildflowers, and getting dirty.  We colored eggs on Saturday night and the kids had a blast hunting eggs on Sunday morning.  Such a fun weekend!
I wanted to do the cliche mom thing and get an Easter picture in the wildflowers...this was our best one.  
Ellie was sooo not into the photo shoot, and the other two were intent on being goofballs.
One I managed when they didn't know I was still taking pictures...
Doing what he does best at the ranch...having fun and getting dirty.
Ellie's second Easter, but the first one where she could participate!  She liked finding eggs!
Checking out big sister's basket...
Happy, dirty, egg-finding princess.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Life on the Farm

Somebody besides the kids have been enjoying the playhouse...
Thankfully Spring is here and we have been spending some time outdoors!  We don't live on an actual working farm, but it is starting to feel like a funny farm for sure!  We spend a lot of time enjoying our little plot of land with yard work,  rock-moving, cactus-killing, chicken care, gardening, and just plain playing and running around.  With three kids, NINE chickens and a dog we stay pretty occupied and entertained!  We couldn't have anticipated the dimension that "farm life" has added to our lives, but add it has.  I couldn't help but want to document some of the scenes we've had before us in the last week or so.

Ellie has discovered her love for the outdoors...and the indoors of the playhouse.
Penny likes that the chickens are all girls...
Except SOMEBODY has been cock-a-doodle-dooing...
We recently had a chicken run off and we couldn't get her in the coop for the night.  The next morning, I went out early to let the chickens out, hoping it would lure the missing chicken back.  Elsa, whom we THOUGHT was a hen, started calling for the missing chicken, hence I heard the first "cock-a-doodle-doo", confirming our suspicions of a rooster in our mix. (The missing chicken, Peck, came back by the way.)
I am not much of a gardener but it's on my list to change that!  We finally got our vegetable garden in last weekend so we'll see how I do.  (Luckily the hubs is a little better at it than I.)  Since I can grow almost nothing, I couldn't help but be proud of these green onions I grew over the winter.  Seriously, who knew they would do that???
The babies of the family...Emily, Apple, and Peppa Princess
Baby meets baby.
Coop in the coop.  We love watching him love the chickens!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

For the second half of spring break, we did something we hadn't done in a while and not once since Ellie was born...we went away without the kids!  Ma-mas came to stay with the kids for two nights and three days so the parents could visit Las Vegas! (Neither of us had experienced it as adults before.)  We met some long-time good friends of ours there and had so much fun!  We walked the Strip many, many times, gambled just a little, ate and drank quite a bit, and saw a Cirque Du Soleil show.  We explored Fremont Street and enjoyed our hotel.  We brought home a pink piggy bank for Penny, a mini Statue of Liberty for Cooper, and funny stories of general Las Vegas craziness. (The $300.00 steak, "You Gotta Have Faith", the mohawk guy, and the like.) I hope we get to make the adult getaway an annual thing!
The Strip through our hotel room window.
We arrived in Vegas at 6:30 a.m!  We couldn't check in and our friends hadn't arrived yet.  What else were we to do?
Truly I'm not much of a gambler, but I did enjoy the experience.  My big winnings for the weekend...
Komodo dragon at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef.  Took this guy's picture because he looked like he was smiling.
We visited Fremont Street, or "the old strip."  Very cool and seemingly more authentic than the strip.  (We weren't impressed that you could eat at a Chili's or an Outback on the strip.)
Picture sent to me via Ma-Mas on our first morning away.  We had a blast and came back relaxed and refreshed...but we missed these faces terribly!  I think they had fun...we came home to painted rocks, new dry-erase board drawings, and homemade cake with sprinkles.  (We chose Spring break to leave the kids because we thought it would be easier on Ma-mas if she didn't have to worry about getting three kids to school, dance class, soccer practice, etc. and got to just chill out at home.  They stayed busy though!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

15 Months Old!


In just a few months our little baby Ellie has transformed into a toddler!  In January she started walking...and I mean walking!  In just one weekend she went from having taken a few tentative steps to almost running all over the house.  By February she was walking all over house with some kind of toy in hand and opening all the cabinet doors.  Now she has figured out that she LOVES to be outside and would spend an hour or more walking up and down the driveway if I let her.  She has really reached that "fun" age where constant movement, playing, and discovery are the name of the game.  Some other facts about our big girl are:
  • She weighs 21.7 lbs and is 30.25 inches long.  She had a well-baby checkup this morning and received three shots.  Her health and development are good but she did not enjoy the visit.  As soon as we started to take her clothes off she started screaming!  I guess she's old enough now to remember her last visit and how it wasn't fun! Poor baby! 
  • She sleeps very well and on a consistent schedule.  She has dropped from two naps to one, but it's a good one!  A lot of the time I have to wake her after two and half to three hours so we can go pick up her brother and sister from school!
  • She eats well...when you feed her her favorite foods!  She loves yogurt, eggs, bacon, applesauce, any kind of cracker, toast, chicken nuggets, raw carrots, celery, cucumber, apples and french fries.  Mama is constantly giving her new foods to try and sometimes she eats them but mostly she feeds them to the dog.  We just keep on trying though.  Surprising to Mama is her unwillingness to eat what I thought were baby staples like pasta and most fruits.  Luckily she has decided she likes baby food that comes in a pouch so we are able to get some vegetables down her!
  • Ellie still loves to drink from a straw but tolerates a spouted sippy cup too.  She enjoys water, drinkable yogurt, and almond milk. (Can't tolerate cow's milk, just like her siblings couldn't at this age.)
  • Ellie loves to baby-jabber all day while playing.  She loves to point at things and say "ah?" as if to ask what it is.  She has learned to do this when she sees something she wants.  She likes to say "ball" and "an" (fan).  She can point to Daddy, Mama, Cooper, Penny, and Brewster when you ask her too but really doesn't see the need in naming us.
  • She can find her nose, ears, belly button, and feet. 
  • Ellie likes to dance!  She will not only bust into her moves when she hears music, she seems really intrigued when we watch Penny dance at her class.  We can say, "Do the chip (or whatever snack we are holding) dance!" and she will!
  • Ellie loves to be outside and goes crazy when she sees the chickens!  When it is time to go back inside, she throws a fit! 
  • The art of throwing a fit is still being perfected, but she is well on her way!  She has figured out how to throw herself on the floor in such a way that gets her point across but doesn't hurt. (We are wondering if she is going to fall into big sister's footsteps and start the "terrible" twos early.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Break 2015!

We had a fabulous spring break!  Even though the week started out with less than spring like weather, we made the most of every day.  We got to sleep in (a.k.a. we were awake but we didn't have to rush off to be anywhere), NOT do homework or be on a schedule.  It was glorious, but now we are all yearning for summer!  (11 more weeks of school to go!)

First up, we spent the weekend at the lake house, which was fun since it had been a VERY long time since we had done that.  On Saturday we made the drive to Austin for a friend's birthday party at  Chuck E. Cheese.  All the kids had fun even if Penny was wary of the pizza (rightly so) and "that mouse."  The other notable thing of the trip was that Cooper very sweetly let Penny use most of their game tickets to buy a princess figurine.  All he wanted was some Nerds candy.  (Have I ever mentioned how much I adore that boy??)
On Monday the kids and I braved the awful rainy weather to see a movie.  We saw Paddington, which was really cute.  The real victory was all THREE kids were as good as gold.  Ok so I didn't get a picture of this day...I was lugging a squirmy baby, a purse full of stowaway water bottles and baby snacks, and an umbrella, and shepherding two kids out of the rain and into the movie theatre.  Yet I didn't "have my hands full."  We were just in the moment and it was awesome!
Tuesday was the BEST day! We finally gave in to Cooper's pleading and went to Fiesta Texas!  Cooper was scared of all the rides at first, but once we talked him into riding one that had a big drop, he was hooked.  He then proceeded to ride every ride he wanted twice.  First with Daddy, then with Mama.  
Penny was very particular about what she would ride, but I know this girl had fun too.  We rode the carousel twice just for her and got her some ice cream dippin' dots.  Plus she was wearing a pink dress that day so all was right in the world.
Little Ellie didn't get to ride much but was such a good sport.  She even took an hour nap in the stroller!  Here she is having her first experience with dippin' dots.  
Super Penny!  At the end of the day, we divided and conquered...Daddy and Cooper went to ride the train (again) and Penny, Ellie, and Mama went to find something else to do.  Penny finally decided to ride the airplane ride, but couldn't because she was too little!  Luckily I was able to smooth over her disappointment by spotting a "every player wins a prize" booth.  You mean I pay $5.00 and my kid is guaranteed a pink super hero cape?  Done and done!

And that in a nutshell was the first half of Spring Break.  For the second half, Ma-Mas came to town and stayed with the kids for two nights so Mama and Daddy could enjoy a long-awaited getaway.  That is a whole other post.  Happy Spring everyone!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February.

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

Siblings!

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

Siblings...
Siblings...
Siblings!