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!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eleven Months Old!

 Holy moly is Ellie's first year going fast! So fast, in fact, that there is only a month left!  This sweet baby has really started to show us some personality in the last month.  She's becoming quite the big girl and quite the little stinker! (It's ok, she fits right in with the rest of us stinkers.)  Ellie will be cruising (literally) through her last month of her first year with quite the stats:

  • Now weighs 19.6 lbs and is  27 and 1/4  inches long.
  • Suffered her second illness just a few weeks after her first...this time it was a double ear infection.  She really didn't fuss...much.
  • Mixed up her sleep routine...again.  She is napping better, as in two fairly consistent naps from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day.  Lately however, she is finding the fun in waking up at 4 a.m.  Mama isn't enjoying it as much.
  • Has six teeth.  Last month I mistyped reporting that she had six at 10 months.  She had four bottom teeth last month.  Since then her top two front teeth have emerged.
  • Crawls super fast, pulls up on furniture, cruises along furniture and is starting to try and "walk" while pushing a walker or ride-on toy.  She also delights in getting into ANYTHING in her reach.
  • Has learned that she doesn't like to be told "no-no" or have something taken away from her.  If she starts getting into something she shouldn't and we tell her gently, "no-no" she wails as if her heart is broken.  
  • Talks and talks in that sweet baby babble.  She finally started saying dadadada and she is loud!  
  • Can clap her hands, give "five", and likes to sit up on her knees and wave her hands in the air.  
  • Has gotten to that stage where she isn't content to just sit!  That means no more schlepping her around town to just anywhere all day.  She wants to move and play!
  • Adores her big brother and sister!  She will crawl uber-fast through the house looking for them when she hears their voices from another room.
  • Traveled with us to Dallas for a weekend, attended a baby shower, went to both Cooper and Penny's soccer parties, and attended Coop's school Thanksgiving Feast.  Despite what I wrote above, she was as good as gold through all of it!  Such a little team player most of the time!

Hanging out in Dallas.
Fun afternoon at the mall!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


My poor camera, complete with the new lens I got for my birthday, has sadly sat idle for two weeks!  Here are a few shots I pulled off my phone, just so I can remember some of the things we've been DOING all month. (Besides school and homework and soccer games and end-of-season soccer parties and meeting all of our fabulous neighbors and getting together with said fabulous neighbors and braving some CRAZY cold snaps and planning for the holidays and projects around the house.  Besides all that.)
We got a much. fun!
The kids and I goofed off at the mall while Daddy was out of town.
This little thing just keeps changing by the day!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014 was a great success!  Being new to our town, and not living in a neighborhood conducive to trick-or-treating, we weren't sure what to do for Halloween.  Luckily we have met some really great neighbors who invited us to attend a block party and "neighborhood bomb" for trick-or-treating.  Their kids are older than ours, but I was impressed with one, how nice they were to our kids, and two, how well our kids were able to hang with the rigors of trick-or-treating.  Every year previously we have gone to a few houses in our neighborhood, then called it quits.  This year we walked street after street with the big kids and it was so fun!  Miraculously we were even home early enough to get the kids to bed almost on time.
The mermaid, the kangaroo, and the knight.
This was Ellie's first Halloween!  She was a happy, go-with-the-flow baby all night!  She didn't even seem to mind her costume!
This little mermaid had a blast trick-or-treating and really surprised us how she was able to hang as long as she did.
Our courageous knight had fun trick-or-treating with the big kids and made sure they were in sight all night long.