Thursday, January 21, 2016

Winter Ranchin'...2016

Apparently we like to go the ranch in January.  Right before I posted this I realized this is the fifth year in a row I have posted about a ranch trip in January. We had a family tradition going on here and didn't even realize it! We just hadn't been to the ranch in awhile and just felt like going.  The little jeep was the name of the game this trip, as ALL THREE kiddos took turns driving.  This was big because Penny has never wanted to drive before, always preferring Coop to chauffeur her around.  However, once Ellie took an interest in driving, Penny was not to be out done!

Girls on the go.
Look who thinks she can drive!!
Love this face.  That is all.
This old pro is getting a bit big...
The other ranch tradition...playing in the dirt.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy 2016!

Christmas 2015 did not disappoint!  We had lots of guests, gifts, friends, family, food, and fun in our house!  Ma-Mas, Pa-Pa, and Uncle Clint joined us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and Nonnie came to visit the day after Christmas.  Our break from school and work flew by because we were in constant motion! After Nonnie's visit we weren't done!  Our friends the Naisers joined us to watch the Aggies play their bowl game (disappointing, of course) before we all headed out on New Year's Eve Day to go to the N-Cinco Ranch!  It was cold but so nice to get away, be outdoors, and decompress after the holidays.

Just one of our activities over the holidays...We also shopped, went to the movies, attended neighborhood holiday parties, played outside (Thank you El Nino for so far a mild winter), and vegged out to countless Christmas movies on DVR.  
Mornings on the porch.
Santa came!  (And so did the kids.)  Penny and Ellie were THRILLED with the Barbie Dreamhouse, Mom not so much with the fights that ensued.  Cooper couldn't believe he got his very own Red Ryder BB gun, golf club and ball retriever. 
Feeling festive and getting into big sister's new markers...
 Christmas night.
The guys played darts in the garage, the kids played with their new toys, and Ma-Mas and Mom just RELAXED.  
Nonnie came after Christmas and took this rare shot of all five of us in one spot. 
Penny hams it up at the ranch.
These two outdoorsmen had the most fun out of anyone.
Nine days apart but on the exact same page.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ellie is Two!

Yes it's true!  Ellie is two!  Now that we've gotten this far as parents of three, its a little easier to reflect and enjoy who this sweet girl is and is becoming!  Ellie is a real sweetheart and a real stinker!  She has a very serious side but if you make her laugh it will just make your day.  She loves to be doing whatever her brother and sister are doing.  They play together all the time!  If she runs into trouble and Mama isn't immediately available, she goes to Cooper to get help.  It is so cute to watch Cooper carrying her around or trying to soothe her when she cries.  Of course there are skirmishes, as there always are with siblings, but she can hold her own.  No more taking toys from this girl!  She won't stand for it and has learned how to tattle.  Ellie has recently been getting into Penny's things, which of course doesn't go over well.  We tell Penny it's because she just loves her and wants to be just like her!

Into Penny's and Mama's things...
A few things to know about Ellie...She is a little thing!  Only 33 inches tall and weighing 23 pounds and 12 ounces.  (For comparison, Penny at age two was 36 inches tall and 27 pounds.) Perhaps she comes more from the Graham side and less from the Kirk side.  Her size can fool you as she looks too little to be able to be doing the things she can do.  She already knows most of her colors, can count to ten, sing a few songs and say anything you ask her to say.  She likes to run around outside with her siblings, swing (NOT on the baby swing), and go down the slide.  At her well visit with the doctor this morning she impressed the doctor with how she could use both hands to stack over ten blocks and how she kept bringing me books to read saying, "Nother Un!"  She got two shots and didn't even grimace!  Tough girl!

We just exclaim over her all the time because she is just so stinkin' cute!  The older two crack up when she says what they tell her to say.  She loves books and lately has been insisting, "NO Mama, Ellie read it!"  About a week ago she tried to climb out of the crib and flipped herself out of it.  She was fine but clearly ready for the big girl bed.  Thankfully that was a smooth transition.  She is so proud of sleeping in that bed and has cut the night routine from two to three books to just one so she can hurry and get in bed!  Ellie attends preschool three days a week and loves it!  Her teachers didn't believe me at first that she could talk because she stayed completely silent at school until just a few weeks ago.  That's just how she is.  She had to warm up to all the new people before she would start showing off who she is.

We celebrated Ellie's birthday yesterday with our friends Sara, Jack, and Ford.  They came over and played.  Then we had pizza and cupcakes and Ellie got to open her presents.  Jack and Ford gave her a princess puzzle and we gave her a little tricycle.  She enjoyed the presents.  I'm not sure what she will think when in a few days we have Christmas and there are more presents!

We are so thankful to have this little sweetie rounding out our family.  She is so fun and we can't wait to see how she grows and changes in the coming year.  Happy Birthday Ellie Boo!
Big girl at the top of the slide!
Our serious girl blows out the candles.
Ellie got a tricycle and she loves it!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Just a Swingin'

We got a new playscape a few weeks back and we couldn't be enjoying it more!  Daddy and I got the area cleared and ready for it just in time to spend the cool fall evenings outside.  Here's to hoping for a mild winter so we can keep on enjoying it!

Penny in pink.
(Naturally, but note it isn't a dress...somebody has been branching out!)
Then there's THIS crazy kid!
We have a baby swing for this almost two-year-old,
but she likes to do what her big bro and sis are doing!

Friday, November 6, 2015


For us, October was defined by these moments, places, and faces!

Little Ellie LOVES school and is really coming into her own.  She can and will say just about anything and wants to be right in the middle of everything going this case, sidewalk chalk and hamming for the camera.
Penny, sidewalk chalk, and Violet Sparkle.
This budding artist LOVES to draw and color.  Just give her a medium.  The driveway is perfect!
Mom got to visit the fire station with both Cooper and Penny's classes.
Penny was Student of the Month!  (For the entirety of kindergarten, for the whole month!) Cooper  was a little bit jealous until we saw that he made the newspaper front page for his trip to the fire station.  
We had an early dismissal day that we spent in San Antonio with Ma-mas, Pa-Pa, and Uncle Clint. (Happy Birthday Ma-mas!) Of course we visited Brackenridge Park and rode the train.  We then took the three to a fancy restaurant for dinner and they were so good!  (That was a nail biter!)
Mom's birthday was rainy but it was perfect thanks to this view, family in town, ALL DAY football watching, hot soup, and gourmet cupcakes.
The pirate, the lion, and Sleeping Beauty.
This year for Halloween we enjoyed a visit from Nonnie!  She went with us to trick-or-treat and it was so much fun! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cooper is Seven!

Last Sunday Cooper turned SEVEN years old!  This big guy needs to stop growing because it is hard to wrap our heads around the idea that we have such a big kid in our midst!  I know I think this every year, but really so far this is my new favorite age of his.  He is still the sweet, sensitive guy he has always been but now he is really just so fun!  He is such a happy soul and is always having fun and just plain glad to be there.  He is willing to try anything (except for new foods) and seems to enjoy everything!  Just going for a drive in the car seems like an adventure if Coop is with you. He asks lots of questions and comes up with all kinds of ideas.  (Hmm, reminds me of somebody...Can we say his Daddy??) Its so amusing and cute to have a conversation with him because we are always so impressed with the things he can come up with and the things he thinks to ask.  

Coop is in first grade and is doing great!  Now that this is his second year at his elementary school, he is much more comfortable and confident.  I just recently had a conference with his teacher and she had such glowing things to say.  He is very good about doing his work and doing it well.  I was also told how helpful he is in the classroom.  If he sees another classmate struggling with something he takes it upon himself to go and help them!  This news just makes us that much more proud of him!  

Cooper has many interests.  He is STILL the train nut that he has been since he was a toddler and we think that is so cool that he likes something that much.  He can be found playing with his trains just about any time.  Recently it seems he has caught the college football bug from Mama and Daddy.  Last year when we would turn it on, he would complain.  This year he watches with us.  (Its all fun and games until the kid actually wants to PLAY football and this Mama becomes a nervous wreck!) Coop also likes the outdoors and loves to swim, ride his bike or scooter, play soccer, and just "do stuff" around the yard.  We are on soccer hiatus this fall which has given us the chance to let Cooper try some different activities.  So far, he LOVES golf and has a blast at cub scouts.  Of course, it helps that Daddy is the den leader!  He often talks about things that you can "exploded" and recently was amazed when a neighbor took him to shoot off rockets at the park.   He is always asking to do science experiments, usually redoing ones that they did at school.  He is just so intrigued by how things work!  Just this morning on the way to school he had Daddy explain how and why the turn signals on the car work.  (I'm pretty sure I never once as a child even thought to ask that.) 

Cooper is also such a good big brother!  Even though he has figured out how to push Penny's buttons and how much fun it is, they are still the best of friends.  When I pick them up from school, they are usually holding hands and he sort of leads her to the car.  During Penny's first week of school, Cooper took it as his duty to make sure she knew where to sit in the cafeteria before the bell rang.  It is a big ease on my mind to know that he looks out for her!  Cooper also is patient and kind with Ellie. (Most of the time.)  Quite often he plays with her, carries her around, and sits by her on the couch.  So cute!  All in all, we have one awesome, special now SEVEN year old on our hands and we couldn't be more happy about it!

For Coop's birthday this year we celebrated with a joint birthday party with Penny a week before his actual birthday and with a weekend trip with Ma-mas, Pa-Pa and Uncle Clint to the ranch.  The kid couldn't have been happier as he adores being at the ranch.  All that running around, driving the little jeep, doing tasks around the ranch with Daddy, and riding in the tractor with Pa-Pa is just the perfect setting for this active boy. Since we got home from the ranch on Sunday, Mama didn't have a chance to make a cake as usual.  But he did get to take cupcakes to school on the Friday before to share with his class.  We also went out to eat and for frozen yogurt to help him feel special on his day.  I think he did, because he went wild over the new train set he got!

Ranch kid climbing all over the place.
Coop gives rides!  Ellie demands rides!
Ok, so frozen yogurt AND a cookie for this birthday boy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Birthday Party!

This past Saturday we celebrated both Cooper and Penny's birthdays with a pool party! We had a great mix of family, old friends, neighbors, and friends from school come to help us celebrate.  I don't think we have ever had that many kids in the pool at one time!  All the kids had a blast swimming, playing on a slip-n-slide, eating cake, and playing with some of Cooper and Penny's gifts.  Overall the party was a giant success!  We topped off the evening with our friends the Naisers staying over night and some neighbors and Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa staying to watch the Aggies beat the Arkansas Razorbacks...Whoop!  Some party pics...

Not one but TWO cakes!
Kids in the pool, kids everywhere!
How many kids can you fit in one hot tub??
Kids eat cake!
Cooper and Penny were nice enough to share some of their new toys!
The morning after..everyone just wanted to lounge.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall Fredericksburg Weekend 2015

This past weekend while Daddy, Pa-Pa, and Uncle Clint were hunting, Ma-mas, Mama and the kids spent some time in Fredericksburg.  We walked up and down Main Street, went to the Fall Festival, a family reunion, and Trade Days.  Mama and Ma-mas tried to squeeze in things that the kids would enjoy, so that they would let us shop!  It sort of worked, because all three kids did  have fun!  The highlight of course was attending Ma-mas' family reunion.  It was fun to see family and watch the kids run wild. (They enjoyed that too.)  Overall, what a great weekend!
We drove straight to Fredericksburg after Cooper and Penny got out of school on Friday.  They were anxious to visit the park and run around.  We happily obliged.
All three kids' favorite spot on Main Street...the toy store with the playhouse in front!
On Saturday morning we hit the town early!  We stumbled upon a Fall Festival going on, which had many free activities for kids.  Coop loved the "train."  Naturally.
Penny rode too!
Ellie enjoyed the playhouse.  Another thing to note about this little one...she said "Ma-mas" for the very first time!  She was so excited that she could say it that she kept saying it over and over.
(Ma-mas was thrilled.)
After a full morning on Main Street, we ALL took naps back at the hotel.  We wanted to have energy for the Becker Reunion!  Here they are waiting to find out if we won anything.  We knew it was time to go back to the hotel when we didn't win any raffle, silent auction, or guessing items and Cooper burst into tears.  I guess since we won the giant jar of cheeseballs last year, they thought it was a gimme.