Thursday, August 10, 2017

Summer Roundup

Apologies in advance for the photo roundup known as this post.  I'm trying to cover a lot of ground/not get too far behind and summer doesn't always lend to a lot of blogging time when naptimes are filled with getting work and other projects done.

Uncle Luke and fam came to visit us at the pool one night.  It was extra special because it's likely the last time we will see them before Baby Thomas #2 will be here!
These two were on a mission (and it's so fun to see Charlie walk!)
Sweet boys...
Ole Uncle Luke's still got it: here's the last time he threw Palmer in the air (at the age of four):
And today:
Next up, an annual visit to Six Flags with family.  Grace was all ready to hit up some rides, but unfortunately, she's a little shorter than Palmer was at her age and was limited in options.  Luckily, she didn't realize her limitations and was happy with the small things.
Meanwhile, Palmer conquers more and more every year and wishes for a taller height so that he can move onto the big rides.

Date night at a new favorite hot spot, complete with tableside submarines, a Ducati, and an MG.  Simple.
Grace took a summer dance class this year that capped off with a show-and-tell for parents (and brothers).  Add a second kid to our list of children who tend to act out when their parents are watching the class demonstration.  Grace started off great, but by the end was trying to mainly make Palmer laugh by doing the opposite of what was supposed to be done.  I told Palmer to stop laughing at her, but he said, "But mom- she's just so funny!"  (Insert mom eye roll.)
Here are some "sweeter" photos and video moments...
video video
Dance lessons back at the apartment from big brother:
Busy summer days sometimes mean crashing poolside for an evening nap...
Too often, Palmer and Rick pair off together and Grace and I pair together for outings.  In an attempt to balance that, Rick and I both took the opposite gender kids for a date.  Rick and Grace filled their time with kayaking and cake pops at Starbucks.  Palmer and I had croissants and did a little bit of organization at our house (under construction).  I know, I know.  One of us parents is fun.  The other is practical about not having a three year old at her heels.  Whoops.
Here's a funny story: I was the lead art teacher for the juniors at VBS last week.  I know, I don't like crafts.  Somehow, we all managed and our idea to build a robot from trash turned out to be a big hit along the way.
Rick's been traveling a lot for work and so one Friday night, I took the kids out for dinner and a magic show.  Palmer loved the show, but after fifteen minutes, Grace got fidgety.  I threatened her with being "sent to kids club" if she didn't sit down and watch.  Her response? "Can I please go to kids club now?" Ugh.  That girl.
Aunt Samantha moved to Fort Worth last week!  We are so happy to have her back in Texas.  Palmer even built her some furniture for the items currently missing in her apartment.
And house construction is moving fast.  We have a completely framed new section above the garage for the kids bedrooms.  And walls have been built downstairs off of the (gutted) kitchen for a new mudroom and laundry room.  Fun stuff.
Moving onward... School is in sight: three weeks to go.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lake Ouachita

Wow.  We went to the Blythe's home away from home on Lake Ouachita last week and were blown away by the beauty of the national treasure.
Since the lake is surrounded by a national forest, it is not the kind of lake where homes are built up around the shoreline.  Instead, people either camp or keep large boats at the marina so that the boat can be a home for the trip.
Around the lake, you can see houseboat after houseboat settled into private coves and tucked away for personal getaways.
Brandon and Kalee recently settled their boat at Lake Ouachita and made the commitment to visit Arkansas every other weekend during the warm seasons.  This year, they upgraded and traded in their boat for a house boat due to a growing family.
We welcomed their new purchase when we were invited to finally experience their beloved special place.  Between the four bedrooms in the boat and a pitched tent for Rick and Palmer up top, the two families were able to settle in for such a fun weekend.
We all wore out the water slide...
video video
...sometimes in more creative ways than others.
The gorgeous shoreline was explored on jet skis.

Thank you, Blythe family, for our wonderful Hot Springs weekend.  And guys, us ladies kicked your butt in the games department.  Next time, study up and be ready!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lake Days

Our next major construction project is in full swing over here and we have a little time of being "homeless" between the project starting and our move-in to an apartment.  

Luckily, we timed the gap with some wonderful lake trips at friends' homes.  

First up, we went to Cedar Creek where my dear friend Jill's parents have a home just a 5-minute boat ride across the water from our family place.  Jill lives in Boston, but was visiting for a few weeks and we try to annually connect on the lake.

Grace loving lake life...
Girls day on the water...
 Picking fresh tomatoes for lunch...
Meanwhile, Palmer stayed across the way and had some special time with Pops where they enjoyed go-carting and fishing.
Palmer joined us later in the trip and the kids tried out a water skiing trainer tube on the boat.  
Little Grace never wants to miss anything and proved her capabilities on the water skiing tube, too.
When we realized Palmer had a handle on the ski trainer, we moved him to water skis.  With great assistance from Aunt Jill in the water, Palmer got up a few times and was so tickled with himself.
The Hogue family is always such a gracious host with perfect Southern hospitality and food.  Thank you, Hogues!

Moving on, we went down to the hill country for another annual trip to the Sarpongs lakehouse.
The week is perfectly relaxing and adventurous.  Amongst five families, we ranged on any given day to have in our possession between 8 and 15 kids who spent their mornings in rock climbing camp or horseback riding camp.
When Grace picked up Palmer from camp, she asked to try to climb the wall.  By golly, she went all the way to the top...she's a spunky little one.
Visiting the horses at horseback riding camp...
The afternoons were filled with lazy summer activities of swimming, games of Marco Polo and Sharks and Minnows, and large games of Base Tag and Sardines in the house.  The land out back is perfect for hiking and mountain biking.  Perfect summer childhood memories.
Between the moms (who we like to reference as "sister wives"), we split up the carpooling duty and kitchen obligations with feeding such a large crew (can you believe they want to eat THREE TIMES a day?)
Sunscreen application fail...
Now, back to reality....where our home has been torn apart upstairs near the kids bedrooms and downstairs in the kitchen.  The roofline is raising as we change the kids "closet bedrooms" to real bedrooms.  We are also gutting the kitchen and adding a mudroom and laundry room.  Super fun progress to show in the future.  We are likely displaced for four months during this project.