Monday, July 21, 2014

Garden Update

Back in March, Chris and Walt built a garden. In the months that followed, we've had a wonderful time nurturing the garden and watching it grow. In fact, because our summer was so mild up until now, we've had quite the crop!  We thought our cucumbers were never going to make it (they started out pretty pitiful), but they ended up being the best thing we had.

As the weather starts t get out of the 100s (I'm thinking September), then the jalepenos should pick back up.
Our flourishing garden. Tomatoes on the far left, cucumbers on the vine, and bell and Jalepeno peppers in front. 

This was one day worth of picking.

This was such a fun and easy project. Can't wait to plant more stuff! I'm going to plant a dollar and see if we get a money tree :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Summer is one of those few things in life that's universal. No matter where or how you grew up, you probably have vivid memories of summer. As a kid, my summers read like a book. I spent a lot of time at the pool (wearing very little to no sunscreen) and many summers we were lucky enough to take vacations to Colorado.  In my college years, summer meant searching to find myself, and one summer in particular played a big part of that (thank you, Walt Disney World College Program!). In my early adulthood, summer meant always working for the weekend and finding our way to the closest pool with lots of cold beverages. I really miss leisurely pool days, I'm not going to lie! #passthepinacolada This is also when vacationing really hit its peak (Mexico, Miami, Mexico, Vegas, Mexico, Napa, Mexico...).

Admittedly, since having kids, summer has taken a different turn. Everything has to be planned around naps and schedules and God forbid you don't have to pack all of your belongings just to take a trip to the pool. In our case, during the past four years our summers have been dictated by kids (Earth to Nicole: your kids dictate your lives from the time they are born until forever!). Walt was just six months old in 2011, so that summer was spent showing him new things, but not really doing anything exciting ourselves (Look, Walt! Water!...oooh!) The next summer we really hit our stride when Walt was 18 months with swim lessons and fun outings, but then --BAM-- 2013 we were hit with a newborn :) That summer was spent trying to keep Walt entertained and wondering when in the world we would ever sleep again.

While I think we had some pretty amazing summers up until now, it's been Summer 2014 that has truly felt like what I imagine summer to be for my kids.  All I want to do is rush home from work and do summer things like ice cream, movies, fireworks, swimming, etc. It's the first summer that I've seen this vision into our next 16 years and boy, if it's not exciting. This summer we took our first family vacation, we have made countless trips to the pool, we indulge in treats like lemonade and ice cream, and are ok with breaking the rules every now and again.  All this to say, the summer isn't even over yet! I just needed to document how much I'm loving this summer. Here are some random pics to enjoy:

Walt is such a great swimmer this summer!

Play dates at Starbucks with our friends is awesome (so are electronics)

Splash parks are SUPER awesome!

Oscar loves swinging

Walt loves snow cones (Thanks, Henry Duncan!)

Oscar is a MANIAC on the playground. Totally has no fear.
 I know this summer is a microcosm of what summers to come will be like. It's a very, very, very special time and we are loving every second!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

4th of July

Happy Birthday, America!  Having just returned from our family vacation, we didn't have anything lined up for the Fourth of July.  Admittedly, it's really tough to plan things since Oscar still takes (and needs) two naps.  Not to mention he can easily saw logs for two hours for EACH nap.

Walt kept referring to the 4th as "America's celebration of life" (this is what they call kiddo's birthdays at school). He kept asking when we were going to USA's birthday party (thanks, World Cup). It was cracking me up.

In the morning, I took Walt to our neighborhood pool.  Seriously, it was the most relaxing morning, I've had in months. He's perfectly fine in the kiddie pool, so I just lounged and watched (then, eventually got in and we played). We had the pool all to ourselves.

Then, after naps (rewrite: after nap...Walt chose to not nap), we went to Frisco FreedomFest with my family.  The boys had a wonderful time despite it being hot (and we had a good time despite there being no alcohol...seriously??).
Here are my boys trying to not be hot

Walt got his face painted with "USA" (his choice)
Walt taking some shots at dunking the fire chief (not sure that was a good example to set!)

Daddy tried too. Nice form, babe!

And they took a wagon ride (Oscar was an excellent waver. I see a future in politics)

We came home and put Oscar to bed, then sat on the front lawn and shot poppers. The Allens came over and the boys had a great time playing with these little things loaded with gunpowder (please don't call CPS). Walt isn't quite ready to stay up for fireworks. He was exhausted (probably still catching up from vacation), so we put him to bed and he knew no different. He'll see fireworks eventually :)  I'm so happy to live in a place that has so many wonderful things for families and celebrates this great country we live in.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

First Family Vacation - Galveston 2014

It's a minor miracle that I even have the energy to write this. Chris and I just survived our very first family vacation. Don't get me wrong, we had an amazing time, that you'll read about in the coming paragraphs. But the word "vacation" is misused in every instance in this blog. There was not a single second of this that was relaxing. Even when things were less crazy, you're just waiting for the next bomb to go off. Let me offer some background...

Other than a trip to NYC in August of 2012, we have never gone anywhere except to see family (Gilmer or Houston). And even those trips aren't as frequent as we'd like.  With Oscar being born last summer, that put us pretty out of pocket for traveling for some time.  Enter our awesome neighbors, the Allen's and the Bloem's.  They both have experience with Galveston and came up with the idea for all of us to rent a house and do a group vacation. Our kids range from almost 5 to one year old. And there's six of them.  Three are all right about the same age...3 1/2.  You know a lovely little age that always listens and never throws tantrums. Even knowing all this, I still think the family vacation is a great idea.

A number of things had me nervous nelly about this trip (none of which had to do with all the company we were bringing). I was worried about the drive (it's five hours non-stop and there's no way we're not stopping with the two boys). I was worried about sleeping arrangements (our idea was to put all the big kids in one room. A sleep-over first for Walt!). I was worried about sleeping in general (Oscar takes 2 naps still, and Walt is the only big kid who still takes an afternoon nap).  I was a little worried about the ocean (sharks, jelly fish, riptide...).  Honestly, every single one of my worries was a non-issue.  The boys did amazing on the drive (both there and back). Walt was a stud sleeper and functioned decently without a nap (Oscar slept with us and also did outstanding). The ocean was barely a factor, mostly because there was a ridiculous seaweed problem (understatement) that really prevented us from a) getting too close or b) spending too much time out in the water.

The weekend was planned perfectly. Each family owned certain meals, so we were always well fed. We got to eat many dinners outside looking at the ocean and the kids had a blast.

I'll share the rest of the vacation through pictures (while it looks like Oscar was barely there, he's only absent from pics because he's a snoozer and sleeps a lot):

And a partridge in a pear tree...

This was the lovely view as we drove onto the island. The chunks of black is all seaweed. It smelled as lovely as it looks.

A little seaweed wasn't stopping us! While it looks like I have a drink and a cigarette in my hand, it's just a drink. #classymom

Oscar was super excited about the beach
Big boy :)

Here was our view for three days. Not too shabby!

Another big boy flying a kite.

These boys were excited about their ice cream

Him too...

We got a family pic!!! Thanks, Heather :)

Here is my beach hair. Tie it up and forgetaboutit #humidity
On the last night, we had an Italian dinner on the deck while listening to Frank Sinatra. My handsome little big man danced with me :)

Ready to go hunt some crabs!

Bruns Family Selfie (minus one... Sorry, Oscar)

One of the crabs we tormented found
Hunting crabs makes you goofy

My beach buddy (and a Bridgette photo bomb)

This is what three days at the beach will get you

 We had a really fun time with everyone. I was so grateful for the older kids who did a great job entertaining each other (and annoying each other too). We can't wait to share many more years of family vacations with the boys!