Thursday, April 18, 2013

March 26

Dear Harper, Harper-girl, Harper-lo, Lolo, Lowly, Lowly-worms, 

March 26, 2013 you turned FOUR years old!  What a four years it has been, Lolo.  You are such a fun, spirited little girl who is CONSTANTLY keeping us on our toes.  You are finally showing little glimpses of the 'big girl' you are going to be soon (ie, giving us a glimmer of hope that the last of our family's screaming-toddler years are behind us).  

Harper, you are the FUNNEST little one.  No matter where we are, or what we are doing, you can always find something to do.  One of your favorite things to do right now is dig around in the fridge for a snack and sneak it upstairs while mommy is folding laundry.  Some favorite snacks that we have found upstairs with you?  Butter, a jar of grape jelly with a spoon, apples, grapes, entire containers of strawberries, packages of lunchmeat, and lunchbox filled with granola bars and food coloring.  

You go to a new preschool twice a week this year, and you love it!  You know how to spell your name and sign with an 'H'.  You have been, thankfully, fully potty trained for a while now, and still bear a strong resemblance to your mommy and brother Dane-o.  Your best friend in the world is Emerson, and you want to wear a dress every day.  When you're not in your swimsuit, that is.

For your fourth birthday, we kept it pretty low-key this year.  Several weeks before, when we asked you what you wanted for your birthday, you IMMEDIATELY, without hesitation, exclaimed, "Unicorn Stomp-eez!"  Yup.  Those As Seen On TV slippers for kids that feature animals that open their eyes when you walk in them.  Ummm, okay.  You were pretty excited to open your Stomp-eez:

After you blew out candles with your fellow birthday girl 
(birthday Momo was at her house this year)
you opened up the new twirly dress that Daddy and Mommy got for you.  
You love a good twirly dress.

After enjoying cake and present-opening, we headed out with your good friend Reed to Build-A-Bear.  You picked out a pink Hello Kitty animal
And you, Reed, and Emerson had a big time stuffing and cleaning your animals at the drying station.  Aidan and Dane served as Bear Assistants this year.
Happy birthday, my sweet Harper-girl!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Break

Brandon was out of town over Spring Break (such is the glamorous life of youth ministry) and the kids and I were on our own for the whole week.  After the Stomach Bug of 2013 finally left our house on Tuesday of Spring Break, we spent a day at our favorite little park.  The kids (and by 'kids', I mean Harper) are finally at an age where they're a little easier to take out on my own.  For the past several years our brood has been a two-man job, at least for me anyway.

This little girl enjoyed the PERFECT Spring Break weather
Oh, the popped hip.  In almost every picture :)

The ever-present sister picture:
Speaking of The Sister, I apparently have decided that she is at a very photogenic age.  I have quite a few pictures of just her.  On our walk around the little lake, she found something pink and SUPER sparkly on the path:
She was SO excited!  "Mommy!  I found a super sparkly pink worm with no head!"  It was the find of a lifetime.

It was a fishing lure.  In unrelated news, we're in the painful process of growing out her bangs, and pictures like these make me want to trim them again and keep her hair like this forever.

Any guesses as to what motivated all four of my kiddos to sit down in the middle of our walk and stare intently?

Sleeping ducks, of course.
We did other super-fun stuff during our daddy-less Spring Break, but I was too distracted by the stale cigarette/stinky foot smell at the bowling alley to take any pictures.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Heart February

In a lame attempt to get caught up on blogging (Hi, Dad!), I'm just going to, hopefully, spend this next week dumping pictures on the blog with very thoughtful explanations like "We did backyard camping in February.  It was fun.  It wasn't too cold.  I promise Dane was there too, even though I didn't get any pictures of him.  Because when you're nine years old, you're too cool to think things are super-fun even when they are, and you think mom taking pictures is lame-o."

But I have a couple of kiddos who have never met a camera they didn't like:

And this girl...
Oh, Harper-Lo.
I'm not sure where Emmy got this pose,
but it was soon copied by her best friend in the whole wide world,
And then we roasted weenies in the chimnea, before the girls and I headed inside and the boys spent the whole night sleeping in the tent and peeing by the fence.
Now if I can only remember what we did in March...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

In Celebration Of Texas Independence...

I hope everyone this weekend had a wonderful time celebrating Texas Independence Day!  It's a huge holiday here in our neck of the woods, and we always love to celebrate as a family.

Ummm, not really.  I had no idea that Saturday was Texas Independence Day (okay, I may not have known this was something that existed at all), which is exactly how we found ourselves at Washington on the Brazos on Friday, a mere one day before The Big Day.  Did you know something super important happened at Washington on the Brazos a really long time ago?  Yeah, me too.  So we pulled the kids out of school early on Friday and had ourselves a little educational field trip, so they could experience all of the Living History for themselves.  (More on why on earth we were here later).

We were very fortunate to have a day of PERFECT weather to enjoy with our little family, and after we parked, hit up the bathrooms and giftshop (of course), Emerson couldn't resist a photo op:

Where do little girls learn the hip-pop?  Because this one has got it down PAT.

As we arrived at the park a day BEFORE Texas Independence, we noticed suspicious looking figures setting up tents and dressed in period costumes.  If you were there on Saturday, you experienced huge crowds of people and booming reinactments.

If you were lucky enough to go on Friday, you got a one-on-one musket lesson from this guy:

who was all set up to camp out for the entire (chilly) weekend with only his musket, tent, and buffalo skin rug.

That and his chair, which Harper quickly adopted as her own:
 The sweet lady at the visitor center suggested that we drive down to Barrington Farm, the small homestead set up as it was in the 18...somethings.  So instead of taking her advice, we walked the scenic route instead.
Where I provided photographic evidence of my presence on the road trip:

Please ignore my hair in this picture.  It was windy.

Then we got a picture of this girl:
 Before we spied the homestead:
Complete with a cool red cart to stand on.
 Oxen used to pull this cart.  OXEN.  See?  I did learn something.  And this house?  It has a hole in the middle because when it was super hot in the summers of yore, the families would pull their chairs out into the breezeway and enjoy the sweltering 95 degree "breeze".

Another wagon I made my children take a picture with:
They were OVER pictures for mom at this point in the afternoon.

After we finished touring the homestead (Aidan learned what a 'chamber pot' is, and we're just praying he doesn't get any modern-day ideas), we dragged the kids to this building, where something was signed by a bunch of people at one point in Texas' history.
 And the trees were big and pretty.  Which is the real reason this building is probably here.  Someone knew a little something about "curbside appeal" in the 18somethings.

Since my children are incapable of passing by a statue without climbing on it, I didn't pass up the opportunity for another photo op:
 And Harper's head buried?  That should have been an omen for the next several hours.  Unbeknownst to us, the day was about to take a vomit-infused turn for the worse.

Let me back up a minute...the reason we had pulled the kids out of school a little early and embarked on a lovely afternoon of Texas history, was that we were headed up to cousin Laurel's 2nd birthday party in Temple on Saturday morning.  Our Friday evening destination was Aunt Val and Uncle Izzy's house in Georgetown.  Which I *mistakingly* thought was about an hour away from this picture-esque little 'Washington on the Brazos' detour.  Georgetown-ites, it is not, in fact, an hour away.  More like 2+ hours.  Which means we would not get to have fun-crazy-cousin time till about 7pm.  It would have been more like 6:30, except at one point in the Van Ride I Wish I Could Forget, Harper stopped fussing about being in her car seat long enough to puke.  When I say 'puke', I mean "hurl a greater volume of gastric contents than I thought possible to fit inside a 3 year old ALL OVER herself, her car seat, the van, and everything in a 3 foot diameter".  It was a super-fun added adventure to the road trip.

Fortunately, Brandon made a timely stop at a Shell station, where the basketball team that was standing in line at the check out was gracious enough to let my hubby cut in line to purchase his baby wipes and bottled water, while I stripped Harper down in the parking lot and just threw away the clothes she had on.  Some laundry just isn't worth it.  She danced in the front seat in her panties, puke-chunks in her hair, waving out the window in the parking lot of the Shell (she wasn't the least bit bothered by her gastrointestinal mishaps) while I scooped chunky bits out of the crevasses of her car seat.  After we finally got back on the road, I had just about convinced myself that this was an isolated car-puke and she was fine, when Harper threw up again.  About 10 minutes before we got to Georgetown.  So instead of playing fun-crazy-cousins, Harper got an immediate Georgetown shower, while Brandon commenced with Operation Car Seat/Van Decon.

The kids still had an awesome time playing and rough housing and talking (till *gulp* 11pm), and then the boys were up at 4:30 in the morning.  That's right.  4:30am.  We only knew that because Harper was awake ALL NIGHT, fussing and talking and wanting to get up and eat something.  She's not a great sleeper anyway, but throw in a stomach virus and no one but Emerson slept much at all on Friday night.  Harper kept Brandon and I up, but Emerson SNORED through everything.

Saturday morning dawned, and I had decided that Harper and I would drop the others off at Laurel's Puppy Party instead of infecting the entire party of people with the lovely stomach bug.  Which ended up being a good call, since Harper slept all morning, only to wake up and puke again.  The others had a great time at Laurel's adorable party:

Complete with Puppy Faces

and Puppy Snacks,
and two little 5-year olds who stayed in Puppy Character for the entire party.

Can't say the same for Dane and Aidan, who, by the looks of the pictures Brandon took, played football the entire party.
Except for cupcake time with Grammy and GranDoug, of course.
And the special guests at Puppy Party?

Hey, Adrienne.  Can you please plan every birthday party my kids have from now on?  Pretty please?  Mkay, thanks.
Happy birthday, Laurel Ann!

We made it home after the party (and lunch for the non-pukers at Ade and Jeremy's house) in one piece, with just one more vomiting episode out of our littlest traveler somewhere near Plantersville.  My van will never smell normal ever again.  Here's hoping and praying that our bout with the stomach bug is limited to just one of the four.