Monday, March 26, 2012

Bragging about your kids never gets old....

G had his Belt Promotion testing on Saturday to move up to the next level in Tae Kwon Do and he did so good!  Yes, I am biased....but he did perfectly.  He also had a blast, which is even better. 


He was so proud of himself.  I am so happy that he has found something he loves.  We are so used to being a soccer family that I forget there are other sports out there....he has had more fun with TKD than he did this fall with soccer.  Of course, we are still a soccer loving bunch so we will have to make time for both.
On another note....anyone getting any spring cleaning done?  I have to confess....we just found some snow gear (still wet) hanging out in the car from our Spring Break trip...needless to say they are drying right now and I am hoping that the mildew smell goes away in time. 
Something about this weather always makes me want to garden and sit outside in the hammock.  I can not do both at the same time.....so we chose to swing in the hammock this weekend.  I did pull out the leaf blower, if that counts. 
We also discovered a cardinal nest in our flower bed this weekend.  I feel like a 3 year old as much as I am going to the window to check on them.  Cardinals happen to be my favorite birds....my grandmother would always point them out to us and tell us to make a wish on the male Red Cardinals.  I still to this day make a wish every time I see one and I tell my kids to do the same.  A little wish never hurt anybody. 
Look closely....there are little Cardinal eggs in there.



On a completely different note.....this week is the STAAR testing for both of my bog kids.  Raise your hand is you hate standardized testing.  (MY hand is raised and waving wildly right now)  These tests drive everyone crazy, especially the teachers.  I don't know how they handle all the stress.  My daughter, is a horrible tester.  I am not saying she does horrible ON tests, I'm saying she doesn't handle tests well.  She is one smart cookie but when it comes to tests she lets the stress outweigh her knowledge.  My oldest, on the other hand, doesn't ever worry about a test.  In Texas, the STAAR test has taken on a new weight of it's very own.   I take the approach of telling my kids to think of the test like any other.....
STAAR testing is Tuesday and Wednesday so send up a special prayer for students and teachers.
Well, the weather is gorgeous and it's about time for me to go outside for about the 10th time today....so have a wonderful rest of the week.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The busy days...will be gone before we know it

Yesterday was a busy one, that's for sure.  As soon as I woke the kids up it was Go time.....R had a 4th grade field trip to the Sea Center and G had Rodeo Round Up at his pre school.  Luckily, the time worked out to where I could be at both, I just had to leave an hour early from the field trip. 
The field trip turned out to be really fun, I even learned some interesting tidbits about redfish.  The Sea Center is a great (free) place to visit to learn about marine wildlife, they also house a hatchery where it is believed that 1 in 5 red fish in the Gulf come from.  We had little stations that we traveled to where the kiddos learned about all kinds of stuff from fishing safety and lures to tying knots.  Then, they got to try their hand at fishing (catch and release, of course).  R had said for days that she didn't really care about fishing, especially since she has a cast on her arm....but she loved it!  My family is full of great fisherman and I told her she must have been channeling them yesterday.  It seemed that every where she moved on the pier the fish swam on over to her bait.  Check out the Sea Center for yourself and if you are local be sure to stop by, it is a great place to take toddlers, they are mesmerized by the huge aquariums.  All three of my kids like it there...even my too-cool teen.





Rodeo Round Up at G's school is when they all get decked out in their country attire and show us how smart they are with their Texas knowledge and how darn cute they are with their attempts at line dancing and stick horse racing.  It's always a blast. And super cute.


At the end of the day I was unnecessarily tired and so hot I could have emptied a trough of Diet Dr. Pepper.  It was so stinkin' hot by yesterday afternoon, I was wishing I was back in the snow.

Happy Weekend to you!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Snow to sunshine....nothing keeps these kids inside!

It is funny to think that we were just sledding down huge hills of packed snow last Monday and since we've been back in Texas it has been nothing but 80 degree weather and humidity.  The kids have been outside non stop with bare feet and minimal clothing.  They have played soccer and kickball and gotten so sweaty that I actually fear the day I take R in to get her cast removed.  We had a fabulous last Hurrah! at the bestie's house for a Spring Break finale and a St. Patty's Day celebration.  We all had on some form of green, which would have made a really great tacky fake family picture but I forgot about doing it. 
I am trying to get myself back in gear for the rest of the school year....which basically means counting down to summer.  Getting up at 5:40 this morning was not an easy thing....getting the kids up was even worse.  At least I can hook up my coffee IV drip....I don't think it would be very kosher for my kids to head to school with a coffee buzz from the strong coffee I had to brew today.  I still have 2 suitcases to unpack and I am know that I have to get this done before small group on Wednesday but ugh. 
I will go and get motivated to do something other than Pinterest, Polyvore and Words with Friends while you enjoy pics of good old fashion outside fun....I know sometimes we forget that it exists.








Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vagabonds and road trippers.....

Finally home.
The End.

But really....our Spring Break was so wonderful.....albeit with quite a few bumps in the road.  When you finally get home from vacation your house has a comfort to it that you don't really understand until you haven't been home in a while.  My shower with the less than optimum water pressure was amazing, my bed with the lumps and bumps...had never been more comfortable.  My couch has never been softer, I know this has to be true because when G and I were reading a bedtime story last night, I swear I only closed my eyes for a second but I was in Dream Land. 
We left Ouray about 11am on Wednesday....driving straight through the night to get to Kerrville, Texas so we could pick up my poor car that gave up on our way to Colorado.  I am definitely known to live my life with rose colored glasses on....I tend to believe that people are over all good and they don't really want to take advantage of people.  I am wrong, of course, some of the time.  One of those times would be assuming that the Crenwelge dealership in Kerrville, Texas, would be good people that wouldn't take advantage of people that were basically stuck in their town. 
My car was there from the Wednesday we left.....we called yesterday morning and spoke to them for the first time since we left.  I talked to them first so of course they put on their mechanic-talking-to-woman-voice and told me that my car just wasn't going to make it and that the whole engine needed to be replaced.  Uh, no.  I put B on and they simmered down quite a bit on the dramatics, B told them he would be there soon to look at it himself.  Long story short (kind of) they were trying to squeeze some money out of the people who were stuck in their town. 
I called my dad in tears....doesn't matter how old you are when you call your dad in tears, he comes to your rescue.  So, my amazing dad, who just had a heart transplant about 5 months ago....traveled 4 1/2 hours to pick us all up, he also brought my father in law's trailer and we loaded up my car and brought it home.  Now, we can get the car looked at by people we actually trust and ones we know won't try to take advantage of us. 
I am sure that Kerrville is a town full of really nice people but I have to say that if I ever get back to Kerrville in this lifetime....it will be too soon.  We started calling it The Sinkhole because both of the times we were there, it seemed to swallow us in.  While we were waiting for my dad to make the road trip to pick us up we had to waste some time.  We still had our rental car and didn't have to get it back until 2:30 so we at least had a car most of the time.  B had driven all night long and was pretty much a zombie.  I had him to take us to Hastings...where I changed my clothes in the car.  We hung out in Hastings for what had to be an hour and half.  We forced B to sleep in the car in the parking lot while we headed in.  I felt like a gypsy mother, herding my little gypsy children into the bookstore to hang out for hours.  We went to the children's section where G found the Thomas the Train playset and R pulled out some American Girl books.  T rummaged through all of the used video games and walked around on his own finding clearance books. 
We read book after book, played trains, searched for good bargains....for what seemed like forever.  We did buy some books and of course, G gad to have a Webkinz so I didn't feel too bad being a complete vagabond in their store.  After Hastings, we got in the car and wasted some more time....we hit up Sonic for some drinks and a bathroom, the parking lot at Tractor Supply for some people watching, parking lot at Lowe's where we though about going in but decided not to, we looked for a city park but our GPS took us through a not so friendly part of town that we figured we probably wouldn't want to play in anyway and finally B dropped us off at Schlotzky's while he took that car back to the rental place.  They brought him back to us and we hung out in Schlotzky's for the rest of the time.  After all, we didn't have a car at this point.  Luckily, we loaded our Durango up with all of our stuff so we didn't seem to be gypsies with luggage, the only clue would have been our unwashed hair and disheveled appearance.  We bought lunch...yummy soup and sammies.....and ate, played, did magic tricks....I'm sure if I would have laid a hat on the floor we could have gotten some cash.  Quite the experience.  When Dad arrived, it was like the Rescue Squad had come!  We loaded up, went to the above mentioned (crooked) car dealership service center and drove our car into the trailer and headed home....again. 
It actually turned out nice, I hadn't taken a road trip with my dad since I was about 16 so even a 4 1/2 hour drive was fun.  We made some stops, had good conversation, listened to T and endless useless facts and got home safe and sound.
Thank God for Dads!

Now, you will have to excuse me while I unpack.  I might be back sometime next week....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What else can we do but improvise?!

Even on vacation your plans can get totally wrecked.  Actually, it seems it happens more on vacation.  We had big plans today to head up to Red Mountain Pass and ride the snow cat ( a gargantuan snowplow type of thing with seats like a bus), sled and zipline. 
We made it to the pass.  We even made it up the mountain, enough to sled.  We were joined by another family who would be snowmobiling and snowboarding.  The family had 2 grandparents and their daughter's family of 3.  Very sweet people, from Illinois.   About 15 minutes of sledding in immaculate snow, the grandmother of the other family got on the sled with her daughter....they went down....FAST....and the grandmother broke her leg.  It was pretty bad and she was in a lot of pain. 
Her family got her comfortable enough in the snow to wait for the EMT, her grandson rode the snowmobile to the emergency call phone and we (my family) loaded up in the snow cat to head back to our car so that the owner of the guide company could pick up the EMT.  We told him we would meet him back after we grabbed lunch in Silverton.  It just didn't work out so we improvised and headed back into Silverton to sled our hearts out. 
Greg, from San Juan Jeep Tours was wonderful.  The bit of time we had with him today he was very informative and gave us tons of history we didn't know.  It would have been a beautiful day, I'm sure.  The pass where he took us, was just out of control gorgeous.  But....things happen and who knows maybe that zip line just wouldn't have worked out too well for us today.  If we had more time here...I would definitely get another tour lined up with San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours because the short experience we did have was tremendous (except for the whole broken leg thing).  If you are around Ouray, definitely check them out. 
Here we are before leaving Red Mountain Pass:










These pictures got a little mixed up....the last pictures are of us on our way up the mountain in the snow cat.  The old house....is either an old mining camp or an old home from years and years ago, when in the pass....there was a town of 10,000 people.   I feel like all of our pictures look like we have a green screen behind us.  Some of the backgrounds just look unreal.  That's just how beautiful it is here.  I can not tell you enough how great this little town of Ouray is.  The people here are extremely welcoming and friendly...and so stinkin' laid back.  I thought as Southerners we could pull that off...but no way, I feel super uptight compared to the laid back Colorado folks.    Traveling to Ouray, you need to know a few things....pack Cd's for the car because you will not get any reception on the radio. prepare your peeps back home that you won't have much cell service on the way up either, places around here close up pretty early...but they open early too so just get out early and get your shopping and stuff done.  Ouray is a place for adventures and family bonding.  From relaxing in the Hot Springs to going to extremes and climbing ice...they have it all.  We have thoroughly enjoyed Ouray...and would love to come explore Ouray during the summer, when they are at their prime.  Hard to imagine, it could be prettier than this though. 
Here we are in Silverton....






We had such a great time sledding....even though it took me forever to climb up the hill.  And by climb, I really mean bear crawl because I am such a weenie.  The kids could climb much faster than we could.  Everyone had a great time, just sledding, playing in the snow and throwing snowballs at each other.  We played for a few hours and headed back towards Ouray to change and grab a bite to eat.  We stopped right outside of Ouray, near Look Out Point to catch these amazing views for the last time.







So, tomorrow morning we say "so long" to Ouray.  I am ready to get back to Texas....I miss my pups!  And the rest of our family!  Hopefully, we will be back.  But until then, I hope we have many more adventures as a family. These memories and experiences are ones that the kids will never forget.

Pray for safe travels for us tomorrow as we make the trek back!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A vacation on vacation....

This morning we woke up whenever we wanted...no alarm needed!  And....the first kid chose 6am to wake up!  After shooing him back to bed, we all got up and moving around 9.  We were determined to make it to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool today.
We were all really excited about this while planning our trip to Ouray....that was before R broke her wrist and had a cast put on.  I have to say, our day would have been much more fun if she would have been her normal self...or at least had a waterproof cast.  Walking up to the Hot Springs, you are very welcomed.  There is the cutest park and the mountains that are a constant backdrop don't hurt either. 
We didn't plan ahead as well as we should have so....we didn't have any towels to take other than the bath towels in the cottage.  No good.  So, luckily they rent towels to people like us!  The unprepared people of the world.  We also rented a locker to stuff all of our clothes and my camera bag in.  Then we shivered our way to the pool. 
The warm, steaming...pool.  R was glad there was a rim all the way around the springs so she was able to relax too.  We did wrap her arm up like it was being sent to Alcatraz but....we failed.  She still had a bit of water in the baggie.  The kids were bummed that the slides were closed for winter but they still managed to swim and enjoy themselves.  The water really does feel amazing.  Soothing and warm, the shallow part of the pool we stayed in was 99 degrees today.  
G loved it....he was swimming all over the place, chubby face flushed with the warmth from the waters.  The big kids tired of the Hot Springs a little quicker....I know for R it was her cast that was the problem.  She even asked if we could just take it off and let her swim!  T could have ventured all over the pool but stayed with us....I have a feeling he was up late texting a certain girl back home. 
The water was wonderful though.  We stayed a few hours and headed back to the cabin.  While we were eating leftover pizza (from the Ouray Convenience Store last night-killer pizza! and better prices than anywhere else in town)....I looked at B and asked him if he felt super tired and if his muscles felt all...loopy.  He said, "Yeah, you're relaxed."  Wow.  It's been so long since I have felt relaxed that I just thought I was a little off.  My shoulders were all tensed up this morning from sleeping on the super soft beds here in the cabin...I guess I just can't hang with a soft bed....but now they are loose and feel great.  We all seemed to be in a trance after the Hot Springs and lunch...and I'm assuming the hot, soothing water had something to do with it.  
Anything that relaxes my kids.....I am willing to try again and again.  My boys wake up going full speed and do not stop until they finally just....pass out. 
B headed out to the boys. They are in the shallow end at 99 degrees.  The lanes were 77 degrees and the hottest area was 106!








We have enjoyed our cabin so much, being able to spread out and have use of a full refrigerator has been a life saver.  The Elkhorn Cabins are very spacious and open, the high windows show off the mountains behind us.  We also have a companion in the house....Root Beer the Elk.  I find him a bit sad, you know with only half of a body and all.  But the kids still named him.  The loft in the cabin is huge....3 beds, a bathroom and plenty of room for play.  Even though we have all of those beds...only one of the kids is sleeping upstairs.  The younger two decided that the couch bed downstairs would be much more comfortable....I have a feeling it is because Mom and Dad are downstairs too.  The stairs have come in handy at drying all of our snow gear and the gas stove that heats the entire house is amazing.  Remember, if you mention my blog you can receive 15% off on the rental of an Elkhorn cabin for your own family adventures.  I really should have taken pictures of the cabin before we uh....settled in.  Now, it just looks like home, scattered with hoodies, books, games and blankets.  Blankets are a must because my kids are native Texans through and through they are used to stripping down the moment they walk through the door and not thinking a thing about it.  They have come to the realization that they may be able to strip down but they will most definitely need a blanket at the ready. 

G catching up on a little work....

The snowgear hanger....




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