Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Cooper Day"

After making it through a few homeschool days where being entertained is something that Cooper missed out on, he was excited to have a "Cooper Day" yesterday while the big kids were at school.  

For starters, Cooper began taking a Sports Skills class at a local kids' gym yesterday.  He LOVED it!!!  He was so excited about it before we got there, ran right in, and eagerly did everything that the coach asked him to.  He would look out the window into the lobby every once in a while and wave to me and flash that big ol' Cooper smile at me, but other than that he was focused on the sport of the day... Football.  

It was different sitting in the lobby watching Cooper take his class.  The last time that we were at that gym (and for countless years before that - all 3 kids have taken classes there) I have been in a Parent/ Child class with him.  Now, he is old enough to do gym classes alone.  It was nice to sit and watch and video and laugh.  I mean it!  I laughed so much!  I think I was the most entertained mommy in the room as I watched my little man try to do jumping jacks (along with 15 other 3 year old boys) and run in place (which he obviously didn't understand... I realized this when he took off running big circles around the gym) and do various stretches.  I literally was laughing out loud... he was so cute!

~ Cooper sitting on his star waiting for class to begin ~
~ after Sports Skills class ~
He was so happy!
After gym class and a trip to Hobby Lobby, it was time for Cooper's playgroup.  We were planning on meeting at my sister's neighborhood pool to take advantage of the summer temperatures that we are having, but when we arrived at the pool it was closed due to maintenance.  (try explaining that to 2 and 3 year olds that are excited about swimming!).  So, we loaded up and headed to a little neighborhood shopping center that has fountains that the kids could run and play and cool off in.  Cooper loved it... eventually.  When we first pulled up, he yelled, "I can't float here!!!"  See... he used a friend's "floaties" a while ago and swam really well with them.  Ever since then, I have been looking for some to buy for him.  Well, evidentially the summer swimming things in the stores had been replaced by fall decor (and Christmas decorations in some cases)... even though it is still over 100 degrees outside and swimming is the only way that a person can survive outside these days.  Finally, I thought to go to a pool supply store, and they had floaties!!!  Cooper was so excited and even wore them around the house the night that we brought them home.  :)  He found a way to merge his expectations with his reality though... Floaties in the fountain!

 Claire took her time getting wet.

Mommy helped her see how good the water would feel on her toes. 

~ buddies ~
We took a picnic break, and Cooper enjoyed his Gogurt...
... while Claire REALLY enjoyed her mommy's bar.

First Day

Yesterday was Allie's first day of 6th grade.  At a new school! For her 6 previous years of school she has been at the same school.  With the same friends - friends that we  know well.  With teachers that we know or knew of.  In a classroom with the same teacher all day, every day.  Yesterday, not only was she going to a place that the friends and teachers and curriculum and atmosphere would be different... she was going to change rooms for every class for the first time ever and was going to be intermixed with kids through 12th grade.  It was a big step.  (maybe bigger for the mommy than the kid :) )  Allie impressed me so much as she confidently stepped up to the challenge.  She was excited about her new school and all that awaited her there.

~ our first-day-of-school morning at home ~
~ the traditional pancake by Daddy ~
~ the traditional in-front-of-the-house  first-day-of-school pictures ~
(This is the first year that Allie has ever not worn a uniform to school, so the back-to-school clothes shopping was a fun experience for this fashion-loving, shopping-loving girl this year!

~ pictures with the family ~

I was not sure if Allie was going to "allow" me to come into the school with my camera this year like I have always done, but she was very gracious and said that I could.  Thankfully, I was not the only mommy that was documenting her child's first day of school.  :)

The whole day that Allie was gone to school I was so anxious for her to get home and tell me all  about it!  Information doesn't flow freely from Miss Allie, so I had to ask her lots of questions.  I was beyond thrilled that she had a great day!  She liked her classes and teachers and loved one teacher in particular.  She made some friends.  She ate lunch outside with a group of girls.  And Math was her favorite class of the day!  

The decision to try a new school was a very, very hard one for us, so to have Allie come home excited about learning, a new school, and new friends... I can't even put those feelings into words!

Sea Animals, Rides, & Rain

Day 3 of our weekend in San Antonio was spent at one of my favorite places... Sea World.  Really... I LOVE it there!  

Sunday morning as we were preparing to pack up the hotel room, get dressed, eat breakfast, and head to Sea World, I got word from my very pregnancy sister, Sara, that she may or may not be heading to the hospital to have a baby 4 weeks early.  Yikes!  We kind of procrastinated getting to the park, so we would have time to hear back from her... would we be going to Sea World or Oklahoma?  Finally she called... the baby was okay.  She was okay.  We could go to the park!  Yea!  We met Coby's family there and spent the day with them which was, again, a joy.  It's so fun to make memories with family, and our families and parenting styles and (sometimes bratty) kids seem to mesh well together!  (Just kidding about the kids... They were all angels.  The whole time.  Really!  :) )

We started the day by going to a couple of shows.  We saw sea lions, an otter, a walrus, Killer Whales, and a mama & baby Beluga Whales.  It was great!   The big kids sat in the "Splash Zone for the first show, and Coby & Skyler joined them there for the Shamu show... and they got wet.  Cooper was a little more cautious and hung out with in the "Baby Chloe Zone" with me, Corey, Adrielle, & Chloe.

~Cooper watching the sea lion show~
~ beautiful girls ~
~ Shamu! ~
Of course, we made time to ride some of the rides.
Dolphin Cove was one of the highlights of the day for me and the kids!  I have always LOVED dolphins, so to get a chance to be so close to them and watch my kids feed and pet them... WOW!
~ waiting for their chance to touch the dolphins ~

After our time at Dolphin Cove, we were headed to the water park when... you guessed it... It Rained!  A lot!  Like, a ton!  We were really sad!  We had been really looking forward to going to the water park for weeks!  We tried to wait out the storm under an awning, but finally the kids just decided to "make lemons out of lemonade".  The danced and played and chased in the rain, and I must say that brought some joy to all of us!  

After a while, Coby & Adrielle needed to make a run for their reservations for Dinner With Shamu, and we decided to make a run for an indoor show.  They got to their dinner only to find out that it was cancelled, and we got to our show only to find out that it was full... arrgh!  Finally, a nice Sea World lady found us a seat, and we got into the show.  This is how incredibly wet that we were after our run through the rain...  (and it is about the only photo of this picture-taking-mommy to prove that I was actually a part of this adventurous day) 
After the show, the kids spent the last of their souvenir money in the gift shops, and we headed to the little car to make the 6 hour drive home so we could do school and Corey could work on Monday.

I must say that it was not the weekend getaway that we thought that it would be with the car, the rain, etc., but we made memories.  A lot of them.  And that is a good thing no matter how hot and tired and wet and sore that you are!

Coby & Adrielle... thanks for sharing this adventure and your lives with us.  We loved it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fiesta Texas, BBQ, & Olympics

On Day 2 in San Antonio we took our little family to Fiesta Texas in the morning and later that day my brother and his family joined us.  We had a good time... some of it was spent waiting on the rain to pass, but we still had fun.  It was really great to share a mini-vacation with Coby & Adrielle and their girls.  The cousins had so much fun together, and it was fun for me to get to watch Skyler experience the rides and shows for the first time!

~the rides~
The big kids are always so good to spend time with Cooper on the little rides!
On this trip Jack also rode a super-duper-tall "grown-up" ride with his daddy & Uncle Coby.  

~Corey videoing me & Cooper while I took pictures of him & Jack~
~Skyler's 1st Roller Coaster Ride~

After waiting in vain for the rain to pass, we decided to make a run for it and go to an indoor show.  Curiously, the daddies left before it started and got "locked out" of the theatre.  ;) 
~ the cousins sharing cotton candy ~
Miss Chloe was very entertained by her toys... 
no roller coasters for her yet.
Cooper was very excited about seeing the characters! 

We tried for several hours to go to the water park that is in Fiesta Texas but were delayed by the rain.  Finally, we got to go for a little while.  The big kids loved racing on this slide!

After Fiesta Texas, we had planned to go to the resort that my brother's family was staying at for a campfire, s'mores, and a movie under the stars... surprise, surprise... it was cancelled because of the rain, so we got barbecue and ate it in their condo while we watched the Olympics.  All in all, it was a good day.

A Cave, A Fort, & A River

After a day that began in the 5 o'clock hour and included leaving the house at 7:30 am and not returning until almost 4 pm, I am so happy to be unwinding at this computer right now!  Corey & Jack are gone to flag football practice, Allie is at Bible Study, and Cooper is napping.  The house is a mess after a morning full of first-day-of-school-hustle-and-bustle, but it is quiet and calm... Life is good.

So... on to the blog!

Last Thursday we picked Jack up from school and headed out for San Antonio via Waco for a weekend getaway.  The kids had the opportunity to be on a radio commercial that evening and were so excited!  The van was packed FULL of suitcases, a stroller, swim supplies, a Pack & Play, snacks, sodas, school supplies, and every electronic gadget that we own.  And, oh yeah...  Milly... our Old English Sheepdog and her bag of dog food.  We got several miles down the road and it happened... The van started making a loud noise accompanied by pretty bad shaking.  It was obvious that we were not going to be able to proceed, so we turned around and headed to The Hon-Da Doctor (catchy name, huh?) which is near our home.  En route, the car absolutely almost died several times, and we almost got run over as we traveled up the Interstate at a very slow speed.  Let's just say that there was a lot of praying going on.  Finally, we rolled into the mechanic, my friend Elizabeth came to the rescue and took me home to get Corey's car, and I went back to the mechanic to get my family.  We quickly transfered as much of our stuff into the little car as we could fit and decided to drop the doggie off at the border.  When we pulled up to Glamor Pets (or is it Glamor Petz???) we saw that they were closed, and we really didn't have any option besides taking our big ol' dog to Waco along with the 5 of us in the little bitty car... in rush hour.  But we made it!  Finally.  Milly went to stay at my brother's house while we stayed with my parents, and we got up bright and early on Friday morning and headed to San Antonio.  

On the way, we decided to stop at Inner Space Caverns.  It is a cave north of Austin that we had been to 19 years ago and always say, "We should stop there someday." when we pass it.  This time we did.  It was awesome. 

~ inside of the cave ~
~ the family ~
After the pit-stop in the cave, we started the trek down I35 towards San Antonio.  I can honestly say, in all my Texan years, I have NEVER been on that stretch of road without a major construction delay, wreck, or traffic jam!  I am almost determined to never drive on it again.  Almost.  So... after sitting in that mess for a while, we decided to take a detour through the country and go to San Antonio the back way.  It was a nice drive, and we arrived in Marble Falls just in time for lunch at the World Famous Bluebonnet Cafe.  (Okay, maybe not World Famous... but 'dang good'.)  The line to get in was out the door, but once I got to show my family what this place was all about (pie with meringue as big as Cooper's head) we were glad that we ate there.  (Thanks to a girlfriend-lunch with my friend Jenny last year, I knew about it.)  After lunch, we headed to the Alamo and the River Walk in San Antonio.  Allie had studied Texas history last year in school, and I had wanted to take her to see the Alamo ever since then.  Just as we were about to enter San Antonio, the rain hit (It was the first of several rain storms that intruded into our weekend.), so we decided to stop by the hotel, unpack, rest a while, and wait for the rain to pass then head to the Alamo.  Coop and I took a short nap, and I think that I slept the hardest that I had in months!  The ride in the miniature car had worn me out.  :)  A little later, we all headed downtown.  It was still sprinkling, but we were determined to be tourists.  :)  

~ Corey, Jack, & Allie in front of the Alamo ~
~ Cooper Baby ~
~ me & the big kids ~
~ my little Texans ~
~Boys & A Bridge~
(Isn't this what all little boys do on a bridge?  Hang over the edge?  
It's enough to stop a mommy's heart!)
~ my beautiful gal ~
After we toured the Alamo, we went to the River Walk and ate dinner near the water while we listened to the mariachi band.  It was a nice evening... a little rainy, but nice.

Still to come... Fiesta Texas and Sea World .  :)

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