Monday, July 25, 2011

Grandma and Grandpa

Grandma and Grandpa are like super hero's. They swoop in and give children exactly what their little hearts desire. They say things like, "Oh, the kids don't really need to go to bed yet." or "How about another bedtime story?" Naomi flies off to get manicures with Grandma, Asher has endless questions answered by Grandpa, Isaiah gets never-ending cuddles from both, Sammy was never lacking somebody to hold him.

Making cookies with Grandpa!
Having Grandma and Grandpa around was definitely the best part of staying in Texas. Hands down!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Splash Pad

I don't want to sound like I'm hating on Virginia by loving on Texas so much, but there are some very cool things around Dallas that they just don't have in good ol' VA. For example, splash pads. It's a playground with water squirting all over. It's genius! It's also free - just like a playground. Grandma took us one morning and everybody had a great time (except Isaiah who is still a bit of a party pooper when it comes to water). Even Sammy loved crawling around in the puddles. As you will see from the pictures, my camera just couldn't get enough of that cute baby crawling around.

I really, really, love this picture:

The kids were so close to Grandma and Grandpa by the end of this trip. That's definitely one of the perks of staying so long.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big Adventure -Dallas Science Museum

The Dallas Science Museum is quite a remarkable place! I wish there was something like it near us here - we would certainly be there regularly. It is so fabulously geared toward children. We dug for dinosaur bones, saw replicas of dinos dug up in China, learned about tornadoes, blew huge bubbles, explored a farm, learned about the human body, had a picnic, and splashed in water. It was a great day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Adventure - Dallas Arboretum

Once Angela's family left, we resumed our Summer schedule, including Big Adventure Monday's. Our first Texas Big Adventure (not counting the whole 10 days of 10 kids in 1 house or Great Wolf Lodge...come to think of it, we had plenty of Texas Big Adventures! Monday or not!) was the Dallas Arboretum. I love the Dallas Arboretum and had visions of beautiful flowers and grassy meadows before we went. Well, let's just say that any previous Dallas Arboretum experiences that I had must not have been in July. It was hot! And there weren't a ton of flowers. Plants, yes. Flowers, well, not so much. But there were two different fun exhibits going on: Beatrix Potter (of Peter Rabbit fame) houses and Princess castles. Plus, Grandpa was able to come along for added fun.
It just so happens, that we went during "family day" so there was a little petting zoo, too!

Here are the big kids sitting on King Triton's throne outside of The Little Mermaid's castle.
Here they are exploring Squirrel Nutkins cute little house.
And since it was really, truly, stinkin' hot, here they are splashing in a fountain.
Here we are having a little spot of tea with Peter Rabbit.
Sammy was a real sport about being driven around in a stroller in the crazy heat.
But he was much happier once I discovered that I could pour water into the tray of his stroller and he could splash in it and keep himself cool.

Here are the kids hanging out the windows of Beauty and the Beast's castle.
And here we are heading back to the car after just one hour of exploring the beauty's of the Arboretum. Can you see the drooping shoulders, red faces, and sweaty hair? It was really too hot to be walking around outside. But we had a good time anyway!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Texas With Angela

I love my sister Angela. We talk on the phone almost daily. We tell each other details of our lives that nobody else wants to hear (you know, the parts that involve children's bodily functions and fluids or total failures on our parts, etc.). So getting to be in Texas at the same time as her was a great perk. But it was also great because Angela's younger children correspond in age to my children. My Asher and her Jesse are, in fact, less than 10 days apart from each other age-wise. My Naomi and her Haley are less than a month apart from each other, age-wise. And now my Sammy and her Betsy are less than six months apart from each other age-wise. It's great. Haley and Naomi are the only ones who have really bonded, so far. But the strength of their bond makes up for the fact that so far all Jesse and Asher do is antagonize each other. I think that in the 10 days Haley and Naomi were together, they were only apart when forced.

Here they are swimming in my Uncle Bill's pool:
And here they are showing off their professional manicures that Grandma took them to get:
Really, this group of "little's" got along very, very well. Here they are out in front getting ready for a bike riding party (despite the near-100-degree temperature).
And here is Angela with her sweet Betsy.
One day we took the kids to an indoor "amusement park". The rides were insanely small, but they managed to have fun anyway. But really, would you call this a "roller coaster"?
(Above: Naomi and Haley in the first car, Isaiah, Jesse and Asher in the second, and Levi in the back with his hands up)
Here's my mother and Angela enjoying some chit-chat as the kids ride bikes and run around in the front yard. The thing about my family is, we really enjoy being together.
My Dad always says that his favorite place to sit is anywhere with his grandkids on his lap. So here he is being happily (or maybe slightly begrudgingly) sat upon by three gandkids.
The stars of the show were Itsy Bitsy Betsy and Sweet Sammy:
Everybody wanted a turn holding these two.
The time was a blur, in a good way. 10 kids in the house made for some definitely intense moments. The best parts were the craziest moments and the calmest. Angela and I didn't get nearly enough time to just be together. But some day we'll have that time to just sit around, and all we'll do is reminisce about the times like this and wish we had babies to cuddle and teenagers to coax and big dinners to fix.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Great Wolf Lodge / 4th of July

I got home from Girl's Camp on July 2, expecting that we would be driving to Texas on July 6 or 7. What actually happened is that while I was taking my post-Girl's Camp nap on July 2, Richard bought us plane tickets to fly to Texas on July 4. It was a great deal and I'm thankful that we didn't have to drive, but the change was a bit sudden and really threw me for a loop. Those were a couple of crazy days. Another side effect of this change in plans was that my parents weren't actually going to be at their house when we got there. So Richard booked us a night at Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas. The kids have seen the commercials for the one near our house, so they were super excited. And it really lived up to the hype! The water park was awesome, the food was decent, our room was big enough - it was really great. Naomi, Asher and Sammy really got into the water park and enjoyed it. Naomi and Asher rode their first big water slides, rode their first lazy river, and bobbed in their first wave pool. Isaiah is still a smidge chicken in the water, but we like to think he's loosening up every time. He doesn't NOT enjoy himself, he just doesn't relax and go with it. We also watched fireworks from the front parking lot of the Lodge. It was seriously underwhelming. The fireworks were so far away that we couldn't even hear them. Isaiah slept through the whole thing, laying on the concrete. Sammy never really saw them at all. I think we all were kinda just wishing it was over and we were in our beds.
So we stayed there one night, playing in the water park the evening we checked in, and the morning before we checked out. Then it was off to my parents house!