Monday, August 31, 2015

Penny is Five!

Penny, ready for school on the morning of her birthday.
(Ellie wanted to be in the picture too.)
Who can believe our little Penny is now FIVE YEARS OLD???  It just doesn't seem possible, but here we are!  We have quite the little character on our hands, and it just comes out more and more the older she gets.  In the last year she has grown up a lot!  So much in fact, that we decided to go ahead and send her on to kindergarten, even if she is on the young side.  We know that little brain of hers is always working and needs stimulation!  So far, after one week, it seems to be the right decision.  She loves her teacher and has already made a little friend that she comes home talking about everyday.  (She also informs us everyday that the boys get in trouble everyday.) Penny has many interests.  She LOVES princesses and anything pertaining to princesses. This includes dolls, figurines, dressing up, frilly dresses, shoes, jewelry, and hair accessories.  She can still be seen wearing her favorite purple crown from time to time, though the year long stint of wearing it every day is over. (It had to be!  She wore it so much it stretched out and is too big for her head now!) Her favorite colors are now pink and purple, when a year ago everything had to be just pink.   

Even though princess stuff is her main gig, she can still be found playing in a number of ways.  She has become wild about coloring, drawing, and painting.  She draws and colors at least one picture everyday.   She also plays A LOT with her baby sister.  They play with dolls, in the toy kitchen, and just about with anything they find.  They also like to "read" books together.  We've especially noticed how much more willing she is to play with Ellie, and how much Ellie really loves her sister.  Penny likes to play games, work puzzles (and she is really good at it), play on the iPad, and hang out with Cooper.  She likes being funny and is always trying to get Cooper to laugh.  The other night Cooper was "scared" and didn't want to go to sleep.  Penny to the rescue!  We told her she was allowed to tell Cooper three jokes but then they had to go to sleep.  She did and both slept fine all night.  She also LOVES to help Mama in the kitchen and becomes indignant if I try and bake anything without her.  

We are so excited to watch Penny grow and change!  She is such a funny, sweet and sassy thing, we can't even imagine what the coming year and first year in school will bring.  We are in for a ride,  we know that!

Penny asked to go to Build-A-Bear again for her birthday, so that is just what our family did.  She really enjoyed building her purple pony...until she realized that the princess dresses were for the bears and didn't fit the ponies.  As the lip started to quiver when we told her it was too late to change animals, Daddy saved the day!  He suggested she pick out a princess dress as well to take home and put on the bear she built last year.  Birthday saved! Whew!

Penny gives her pony a bath.
Cooper got to build a character too!  He chose Kevin the minion, which immediately began the minion talk out of Penny.
Afterward, we celebrated at home with a cake made by Mama and presents!
Now the hard part...sharing all the new princess stuff with her siblings!

Monday, August 24, 2015

First Day of School 2015!


Cooper and Penny's first day of school!  Penny is in Kindergarten and Cooper is in First Grade!  All went smoothly for our first day.  Cooper was a little apprehensive but ok.  Penny was super excited!  As soon as she put on her new dress with matching headband, socks and shoes, she was all smiles and silliness and ready for kindergarten!
Parents are allowed to walk their little ones to class on the first day.  Cooper perked up when he saw some of  his friends from last year.
Mama was so sad to drop this one off on her first day!  Luckily Penny was thrilled that the teacher had set out purple play-doh for her and wasn't sad or scared at all! How can we be here with her already?  It just doesn't seem that long ago that we were here:
Penny, one day old.

And, a few outtakes from our picture taking session...

He's being silly, but I love how she's looking at him.
Being minions...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Final Summer Weekend


We made sure to make the most of our final few days of summer with lots of family time.  We enjoyed some time downtown Boerne, dips in the pool, and a visit to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.  We had a great time, but now it's time to relax and prepare for tomorrow...the first day of school!  

Quick stop on our way downtown to feed the ducks.
Ellie didn't like the ducks.  She prefers chickens.
When asked what they wanted to do on Friday, Penny said, "I want to go to the bakery." And Cooper said, "I want to take a walk downtown."  Done and done!

On Friday evening, Uncle Clint joined us for a dip in the pool.  Crazy water kids!
Little water baby!
The kids LOVED not having to be strapped in at the Wildlife Ranch.  We got to see and feed lots of different animals.
First real use of the sunroof...
Buds for life.
Ellie liked petting the goats.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Finishing Up the Summer To-Dos

What's left of summer is counting down, and we are trying to squeeze in as much as we can.  So far we've managed...
Lots and lots of down time!
Chicken love.
Back to school shopping, complete with a stop at the mall play area.
Fiesta Texas!
Uncle Clint, Mama, Daddy, and Cooper braved the heat and the crowds for one more go at a theme park.  Penny opted to stay with the babysitter we got for Ellie stating, "It's too hot and I like to dress up." 
Children's Museum!
Lonestar Lagoon!
Its so fun that we have so many fun things to do so close to home!
and the Public Library.
(We have duplos and magnetic letters at home but I guess they are more fun out in the world.)
Five days left...what else can we find to do??

Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's Still Summer...Hooray!

With only 17 days until school starts (Nooooooo!!!) we are trying to squeeze in as much summer fun as possible.  Since we got back from our big vacation we've managed to have a weekend at the lake house, go to the movies, and visit Ma-mas and Pa-Pa in Corpus Christi.  I think we've had it pretty good...the kids haven't expressed boredom even once all summer!  The goal is to keep that sentiment for the next 17 days!    

Daddy and Ellie on the lake.
All five of us went to a matinee showing of "Minions."  The kids loved it...and have been acting like minions ever since.
Ellie had fun at the Texas State Aquarium...probably her first visit where she wasn't sleeping in a stroller.
Penny and Ellie cool off at the aquarium Splash Pad.
Cooper and Penny got to write their names on the wall at Van's BBQ on the way home from Corpus Christi.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Family Vacation 2015...Walt Disney World and Dog Island, Florida!



We just got back a few days ago from an EPIC family vacation!  We took a few days to drive to Orlando, Florida where we met our friends the Edmonds for our first ever visit to Walt Disney World!  We stayed six nights at a resort complete with several pools and a pool slide, mini golf, restaurants, and bars, which we fully enjoyed in between visiting the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom.  It was a long, action-packed week!  The Disney parks are huge, hot, and crowded which proved challenging at times for both the kids and the parents.  Overall though we all had fun and we believe the kids really did experience some magic.  Cooper's favorite was probably Typhoon Lagoon, as he LOVES waterparks.  (Mom and the girls stayed at the resort that day and relaxed!)  Penny most enjoyed meeting the princesses and watching the parades, mostly because she got to see more princesses.  All of us, even Ellie, loved all the shows!  We saw The Lion King (hands down best one), Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Indiana Jones, and Frozen.   We went to Disney expecting to be glad we had crossed it off our list, but on the drive home we actually discussed not if but when we would be back!  

As if a week in Orlando wasn't enough, we continued our vacation by driving to Carabelle, Florida in order to catch a boat over to Dog Island, Florida.  Our friends' friends had invited us to spend a few days at their beach house with them!  We thoroughly enjoyed three nights spent on a remote island with a nearly secluded beach.  It was the perfect way to decompress after a week at Disney!  Thank you so much Mark and Ginger for having us!!

Naturally our story should end there, yet it doesn't!  After the beach, we met up with Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa for a night in New Orleans! We enjoyed a stroll through the Quarter and a fantastic meal.  (You can NOT beat the seafood or the service in New Orleans. Period.)  The next morning was the beginning of an adventure for Cooper and Penny.   They boarded an Amtrak train with Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa and rode all the way to San Antonio while Mama, Daddy, and Ellie made the nine hour drive back to Boerne.  Cooper, our train connoisseur, loved every second of his first real train trip.  Overall, we were gone 12 days!  We had a great time but it was so nice to sleep in our own beds and get our dogs back!  Who knows what we'll come up with to do next year!

Downtown Disney!  Giant dragons and things made of legos!
Cooper right at home on the slide at our resort.
Penny spent a lot of time in the pool too!
Truly the Magic Kingdom didn't  host a lot of rides that interested Penny.  She sure loved the carousel though!
"Meet the Characters" lunch...Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates!
Sophia the First!
All the first day, Cooper begged for us to buy him a misting fan to keep cool.  We kept refusing, because of Disney's insane prices.  At the end of the day, however, we let each kid choose ONE toy from a souvenir shop.  Guess what he beelined for?
Our final park day was spent at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  First up, a safari!  We got to see tons of cool animals including a lion, elephants, and a gorilla, to name a few.  
Kali River Ride!  Everyone stayed relatively dry...except Mama!
First night after Disney...the beach was a welcome sight.
Cooper, right where he should be...by the water.
Penny loves the beach!
Beach baby! Our hosts ingeniously brought a canopy and a baby pool so the little ones could have fun out of the sun!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

18 Months Old!


Yes, thats right.  Ellie has reached 18 months!  With this age we have a walking, talking toddler that keeps herself busy!  Ellie is really starting to show us who she is...a spunky little mess with a sweet personality.  She loves to get right in the middle of whatever her brother and sister are doing and is learning how to stand up for herself.  If somebody takes away a toy or keeps her from doing something she wants to do, she lets you know right away how she feels about it!  Overall though she is still the happiest little thing and still so easy to be around.  (Occasionally the approaching "terrible twos" rears its head, but mostly she's just so good!)  We all just love our little Ellie Boo!

At 18 months, Ellie:
  • Weighed in at 21.8 lbs and is 30.75 inches long.  We have quite the sweet little peanut! We had a happy visit with the doctor...no shots and no crying!
  • Is my little sleeper!  We are on a very consistent sleep routine, which is indescribably awesome.  She goes to bed around 8 p.m. every night without any fanfare and wakes up in the morning around 7 or 7:30 a.m.  She is down to one nap in the afternoon that usually lasts around two  hours though sometimes longer.
  • Is apparently going to follow her brother and sister into the realm of picky eating.  (Grrrr)  She likes what she likes and will completely ignore any new food on her tray that she either doesn't recognize or doesn't like. (I guess that is an improvement from throwing the offending food on the floor.)  Mama continues the fight to find nutritious things for her to eat.
  • Loves music!  If we turn the radio up she will stop what she's doing to hear or break out into a little dance.  She is always very interested if any of us sing and recently she has really gotten into "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes."
  • Has a growing vocabulary.  She speaks in what sounds like sentences but we can't really understand her a lot of the time.  Words that stand out include ball, bubba (cooper), mama, dada, whos (shoes), suse me (excuse me), pease (please), uh-oh, something that sounds like "violet" (the dog), co-co (popcorn), chu-chu (chickens), bah (bath) and bye bye!
  • Loves books!  Many times during the day I can find Ellie curled up in the chair in her room looking through one of her books all by herself.  Of course she loves it when Mama or Penny sit and read books with her.  
  • Is a a little water baby!  Ellie loves to play in the bath with her sister and has just figured out how to sort of move around the pool when she is wearing her float suit.  Yesterday she even managed to climb into one of the big kids big floats and motor around the pool a little.  
  • Loves my phone!  If she manages to get a hold of it, (like digging it of my purse when I don't notice) she will forcefully put it in my hand and say  "Uh!"  Like, Mom, I want my "where's the water" game! Sometimes (read rarely) she will settle for her play phone.  
Ready for bed and reading with Penny.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day in Houston

The summer fun continues!  This weekend we traveled to Houston so we could visit Nonnie and Mama could attend a cousin's baby shower.  We had such fun just hanging around with family and relaxing.  We made sure to show our appreciation for our Daddy for Father's Day, and spent a little bit of time at Nonnie's neighborhood park.  Life is so fun when we get to be with these cute, crazy kids!

Sisters having fun together.
These two minions...
And this face!
Cooper...always having fun!
Super Cooper!
This little sweetie pie had big fun!
Ellie...big enough to do the slide by herself!