Monday, July 23, 2012

The grandmas and the grandpas and the uncles and the aunties!

Texas is rich in family, that's for sure. 

Our children are so loved and celebrated by our families, and there isn't a much bigger gift in life than seeing that! Jen
P.S. Boo- missing pics of Gma Shari, Aunt susan, Uncle Tim, and more!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

It was a LONG road trip, and it was good.

When we went to Texas in June, we decided to drive! Ticket prices were double what we normally pay and we would have to rent a van for 10 days, so it was much cheaper. Plus, we knew it would be an adventure! We knew the kids were good car travelers, but we weren't sure how Jubilee would do at 9 months old. The drive is 25 hours (plus traffic, stops, etc) so we did it in three days. I have to say, it was (mostly) great! The kids were incredible, all three. Two decisions I'm glad we made and that I think made the trip much smoother for us: No screen time and split the big kids up. 
First, screen time. Because there was no expectation for movies or games, they didn't ask or know it was a possibility! So, they listened to music and colored, slept, asked many questions, sang, looked out the window, etc. I kept all of the books, coloring sheets, snacks, etc. up front with me and would hand them back a new one every once in a while to keep things fresh. When we were considering trying to borrow a dvd player Joel said, " No way. When we made trips to OK when I was little I remember looking out the window for hours and dreaming of being a cowboy. If I would have had games to play or movies to watch, I probably never would have cowboyed when I grew up!" I love that. So true that kids need time to think and "be bored". So, bless there hearts, they really were such troopers. 
We put Amelia in the back and kept Sam in the front with Jubilee and that helped a lot too to cut down on bickering, etc. For Jubilee, we would leave right at her nap time in the morning and then stop about an hour after she'd wake for a nice, long break. Even if that meant stopping at Target to let her crawl around if there wasn't a nice park to be found. Overall, minus hotel stays (it's SO much harder in hotels with a baby who doesn't co-sleep! Yikes!), she was pretty easy peasy. 
Another goal of ours was no fast food, and we succeeded until we reached the first TX Taco Cabana we came across!:) We just took an ice chest and would stop at a grocery store at meal times when need be and then ate out a couple of times. We could have gone even cheaper with camping along the way, which we considered, but thought a good nights rest was a better option (which, ahem, we didn't get anyway dear Jubilee). Here are some pictures along the way. Pagosa Springs, CO and Santa Fe, NM were our favorite picnic/park stops! 

Though the days were long, there is something special about being in this little "capsule" with just your family. Joel and I had some of the best talks ever on our way home and I'm so thankful for that time (he didn't stay with us during the stay in TX, just flew in to drive us home). I always say I'm not a good road tripper. I get antsy, I get car sick, etc. But like so many things, once I had kids there just isn't time to think about my own complaints, and wouldn't you know it, I was grown and stretched and enjoyed it all the while! Anyway, we are gearing up for another long drive, this time to the Oregon coast, and so I knew I better get or Texas trip documented first or it would never happen! Lots more to catch up on!! Jen

Sunday, July 08, 2012

My brothers' children plus my children plus three matching dresses from Mammy, equals lots of cuteness. I'll treasure these cousin pictures and even more so watching them all play so busily together that afternoon during our TX visit. What a gift these little nieces are- such amazing girls! 

Wish I could kiss their cheeks right now! Jen

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

So, it has been a while! Goodness, I'm so ready to get back into a rhythm of writing about our daily life. We are ordering me a new hard drive tonight, so hopefully it won't be too long until I'm back here much more often. We've got a lot to catch up on! To start, we had a great time celebrating the 4th this year. We dressed Jubilee up in a little sunsuit the other day that was my dad's when he was little and had a quick photo shoot with she and Sam (Amelia is not big on photo shoots:). Love it!

Then mom had her "full moon date" with the kids and they made delicious cupcakes from scratch, hula hooped the night away, and just had a fun evening together. This will be their last date for a while as mom is moving back to Texas in about a week. Sob. :(

Then today we went to a beautiful mountain lake with friends and the kids got to ride in a boat for the first time! Amelia, our little wild one, loved tubing and riding on the surfboard behind the boat. Faster, faster!!

So, good times! I hope you guys had a great day too! Jen

P.S. I forgot how much Sam loves fireworks!! I shouldn't be surprised since he appreciates beauty so much. As we watched them from our bedroom window tonight he said, "It looks like God is coming down to earf." Oh Sam, our thoughtful little guy:)