This won't be the most exciting post but we are still here. After battling a computer virus and problems we broke down and got a new computer. Only problem is there is a BIG learning curve for me and I feel like I have taken many steps back. Frustrating. The other problem is my pictures are still on the other computer. So hopefully we will get everything together and we'll be back in business soon. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year and we'll be back after the holidays.
We have had some major computer probs the past month, so it compounded my delinquency in posting. I figured I will give highlights from the past couple of months.
Paige turned 15. I can't even believe that she already that old!!! Time goes way too fast and she is such a beautiful young woman!!! She is raring to get her learner's permit and drive. (I am definitely not ready for that!!) She had to go to school so she is decked out in her birthday regalia to let everyone know it was her special day. We also had the band bash that evening so her birthday got sandwiched between the activities. Seems like that is the way life is going lately, craziness.
No, Paige did not get a car for her birthday. Ken had a rental from a trip and the girls decided they wanted to enjoy the photo op. Just the thought is scary!!!
WE GOT RAIN!!! It's weird that this is so exciting but we have been in severe draught conditions with no rain for months. We finally got a real rain storm! It didn't make a significant dent in the need but the kids had a good time running around in it for a while.
We went to a Astros game. A friend had 4 tickets they weren't going to use so we went. We didn't think it would be very good since the Astros had a terrible season with something like 100+ losses. We played the Colorado Rockies and WON!! We said we brought them good luck, Hah!! but it was a good time.
Maria turns another year older. The end of Sept is my birthday and despite my age I wanted the 2011 American Girl doll. No matter how I get I love dolls. I usually don't indulge but this one was from Hawaii. My family thinks I'm a bit loony but she is beautiful and I love it!!
The beginning of Sept we flew to California for a quick weekend to be there for my niece Denae and her fiance, Joel's wedding. They were sealed in the Los Angeles temple. We left Wed evening and got there in time to enjoy a bit of the the bridal shower, Thurs was a family dinner with both families, which is a lot of people and then they were married on Fri. It was a beautiful day and we are so glad we were able to be together to support them and their families. The beginning of forever for Denae and Joel.
Paige and Lexi waiting outside for the bride and groom to come out
The handsome guys, Ken, Taylor and Jordan
I even got everyone together for a family shot
The beautiful new bride and groom
Denae wanted a peacock feather theme for her reception. The cake was a topsy turvy with the feathers and orchids.
This was my sister's backyard where the reception was held. It was very nice when the sun went down. Very warm before that. There was yummy taco bar, great music and of course wonderful family and friends to share the joy with. Heather did a beautiful job planning all the details to make it great.
For dessert Denae had a candy bar. There were chinese take out containers that the guests could fill with their choice of goodies. The hard part was keeping the kids from continually grazing so the other guest could enjoy also.
The girls and I at the reception. This was Paige's turn at the guest book
Before the open house the next day we had cousin pool time at Galante's. The kids filled up the water weinie and it took them all to hold it up. It was a quick but fun weekend
Paige has been involved in the jr. high band for the past 3 yrs. playing percussion. With the start of high school comes marching band, YEAH!!! This is not just learn some music and play in the stands. The schools each have a 1/2 time show that is very intricate with movement of the band members in different formations with each music movement
As a percussionist Paige had many instruments to choose from but she is partial to the xylophone. She is actually playing the vibraphone for this marching band season. She had a special percussion camp the last of July and summer marching started Aug 1st. This is 6-8 hrs/day with a break midday. She may not have to march but she still had to stand in the 100+ degree heat and play. The commitment of these students is incredible. Going from jr high to high school has been a huge leap and it is amazing to watch the show these students put on. Paige was overwhelmed and never thought she could memorize all that music to begin with but now she plays it with no problem.
This is the kids outside practicing. Paige is on the far right by the black box. The kids are not locked in, they practice in a student parking lot that is striped off like a football field so they know where to go for their part. I'm on the outside so I don't distract Paige (that's her version of it)
Getting set for the 1st game. The kids didn't have to wear their marching uniforms because it was still 100+ and the band directors didn't want to add heat exhaustion into the mix of everything. Paige is front and center right below the drum major's stand. She plays the 1st notes that start out the show.
This is a partial overview of the band. Paige is on the silver vibraphone to the left of the drum major's stand. It's cooled off to the 80's so the kids where their uniform now.
This is Paige after an all day band competition. After their performance the band boosters fed the kids and then it was more fun with a football game. It made for a very long and tiring day, for kids and parents alike
It has been really fun to see how much Paige is enjoying band. She has gone from being tentative and unsure to very confident about what she is doing. She has made lots of friends and hasn't even complained about the long practice hours and heat. I look forward to the next 6 years-that's with both Paige and Lexi through high school
August 22, 2011 was the 1st day of school. Lexi in 7th grade and Paige starting high school in 9th. We do our traditional pictures out front. Both girls were excited with their new clothes, ready for a new exciting year. Paige had already been busy with marching band so she knew quite a few kids already. Lexi had gotten her schedule and gotten to check out the classes. Great things are to come!!
As of Aug 16th Ken and I have been married 25 years. Since this is a big milestone for anniversaries we wanted to do something special. When we were married I did not know where we were going for our honeymoon. Ken planned it and told me what type of clothes to pack and it was awesome. (I like good surprises). So we decided on a repeat. Ken planned a celebration, told me what kind of clothes to pack and we headed out. I'll admit I did try and figure out where we were headed. My hints were it was for 5 days (thought cruise) and 75 degrees. (threw out cruise idea and thought mountains). We left in the wee hours on Aug 13th and headed to the airport. Finally when we checked in I got a further hint. First 3 letters of destination-New. Aha!! New York. I was very excited, since we had gone in December and it was freezing. I looked forward to seeing the city in warmer weather. 75 degrees seemed a bit cool though...
Gate showing our destination, or so I thought.
Ken cashed in some frequent flier miles and upgraded us to 1st class. Very nice and very relaxing! They even fed us a real meal!!
When we got to New York we got a cab and headed out. I'm thinking we're headed to New Jersey and we'll go to the city by bus. This is where we ended up. Now I'm confused. Ken says we're doing a ferry cruise around Staten Island. Still believing the story at this point. We get to the terminal and all I see is signage for Carnival cruises. Finally, DUH!!! We're going on a cruise!! But why did we fly to New York? Still didn't know where we were headed.
It wasn't until we got to the cabin and I saw the itinerary that I found out we were on a 5 day cruise to St. John New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. So I was partially good on my guessing. Ken had picked somewhere neither of us had been and that was cooler weather. After Houston's 100+ heat we were ready for a break!!! We were a day at sea, then St. John, then Halifax, another day at sea and then back to New York.
Heading out of New York with Lady Liberty leading the way.
It was a wonderful, relaxing and cooler trip. It was so nice to just let someone else take care of the basics. I don't think I've hung out that much in a long time. We were checking out the shore excursions and while there were a few that looked interesting we decided to go with the Big Pink bus, where their motto is "Hop on, Hop off" For one fee you can ride the bus around different routes in the city and get off when you want and catch the next bus when you want to continue on your way. We got to see things at our leisure and the tour guides told us about the city as we went along. We did this in both St. John and Halifax.
Ken and I in front of one of the natural wonders of St. John. In the Bay of Fundy as the tides go in and out the falls reverse direction. We went back in the afternoon to see the phenomenon. Mother Nature is pretty interesting. Notice I even got to wear a jacket-in August. Unbelieveable.
This was some street art Ken decided to be a part of. A couple of people walked by and had to look twice. Goofy guy!!
As we came into Halifax, after being delayed by thick fog, the sun came out and there was this charming lighthouse. It's a necessity in this area.
Ken and I on our anniversary while we were waiting for a show to start.
Coming back into port in New York in the early morning. It was a great trip and unfortunately reality hit immediately after touch down in Houston. It's been 25 wonderful years with my best friend and looking forward to many, many more. He can plan the trip anytime!!
"The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys" This is so true and Jordan loves toys. Jordan also loves Halloween, so just a month and a half ago he started plotting part of his contribution to the decorations for this year. He purchased a skeleton online and began making it into a corpse. He is very imaginative in his material usage and it will be interesting to see what it looks like when he is done. I'll post a finished product later. In his search for skin material he checked out the dollar store and found a vuvuzela (the obnoxious horn blown at many sporting events) and added that to his toy collection. We have mandated outdoor usage only. Sorry neighbors.
This toy was not purchased at the dollar store. Jordan did extensive "research" and decided for his computer to go for the iMac. So now he is enjoying playing with this toy also. The hard part is realizing that some toys come with a big price tags and mommy and daddy aren't buying the toys anymore. Isn't it fun being an adult?!!!
Since I am so far behind on blogging I was lazy and put most of our July activities in one post so lots of pics. The end of July Ken's family had a family reunion in southwestern Colorado where Ken's dad was raised. Because of the timing Lexi was our only child able to go with us. She thought it was great to be the only child for a week. On the way home she told us it was kind of boring being the only child. Easy way to learn the grass isn't always greener. Anyway, we drove to Colorado which was about 16 hrs from our home. It was beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed the cooler weather and mountains. You don't think about what you miss until you're in the midst of it. We got to meet quite a bit of Ken's family who we (Lexi & I) had never met. His dad's brothers, cousins and families. Lexi was one of the few "younger" ones. There was time to ourselves as well as activities as a group.
Ken, Lexi and I just before taking off back to Texas.
One of the group activities was going to see Summitville. This was a mining town that Ken's grandpa worked at. It is no longer operating but amazingly many of the old structures are still standing. Ken's dad spent several years here as a kid and is a great storyteller of his experiences and tour guide. This is Ken, his sisters and dad. One of the events of the weekend was Ken's dad was celebrating his 80th birthday.
We stayed in this cute little cabin while in Colorado. It had a kitchenette even.
One day Ken, Lexi and I went hiking. At first Lexi wasn't too excited about the whole idea, wanting to know what the purpose of walking up a mountain was, but gradually got into the whole experience. It was beautiful along the way and we had a goal to make it above 9,000 feet elevation. This was at the highest point we went.
On July 21st Ken celebrated his 46th birthday. Luckily Paige only put enough candles to spell out the numbers, we would have needed a fire extinguisher if there were actually 46 candles.
We spent a day down at Galveston with good friends. It was nice and relaxing and the kids all had a good time. Jordan got to make good use of his skim board. Taylor was in California so he missed out.
The girls and some of their friends just hanging out.
Jordan on the skim board
Lexi decided that she wanted to cut her hair off after seeing a girl in the airport with a haircut she liked. She had been growing it out and had been aiming for the middle /bottom of her back. The stylist was a bit hestitant to just go for it, but Lexi assured her she wouldn't cry when she was done.
After-I think it's a great cut and looks really cute on her. You can see-no tears
One of the things we worked on this summer was teaching Lexi to sew. I had taught Paige a couple of years ago and even bought material with Lexi last year but hadn't sat down and followed through. So this was the year. She did a great job, made herself a pair of pj shorts-of a modest length, of course. She is anxious to try something else soon.
The finished product.
The beginning of July the girls and I headed to California. We had planned on being there with my sisters to go through some of my mother's things. A big job became huge when the plan changed to my youngest sister and her husband and 3 children moving in with my dad while my brother in law attends nursing school. They had to take their full house and add it to my parents already full house and make it a place where everyone could still function. There was LOTS of packing, rearranging, and purging and we did a huge garage sale at the end to sell much of the excess. My sister and her husband had already done a ton, but there was still lots to do so we got busy. It was not only the sheer amount of things to go through but also the emotions tied to my mom's things. One of the positive results is it makes you reevaluate the "stuff" we keep and if we need to do our own purging of the extra.
Sara and I going through papers. I thought the paper would never end.
We did take some time off for fun-the girls and I as well as my sister's family went to a concert in the park. It is free and offered a couple times a month with different musical themes. That night was a tribute to patriotic music and to those who have served our country.
One of the things we went through was my mom's Madame Alexander doll collection. Each granddaughter got one, this is the girls with their dolls. My mother loved dolls and we hope the girls will enjoy their doll and it's association with grandma.
All the cousins enjoying the hot tub at my sister's in-laws. They're so kind to welcome our family, not only my sister but us all. They didn't know what kind of package deal they were getting 11 years ago when my sister got married but that's what family is all about.
As part of the garage sale we had, the kids decided to sell fresh orange juice. They all pitched in and did a great job. No help from the adults and they ended up making over $50.00. And that was even with lots of sampling.
This is the prep crew in charge of cutting, juicing and straining the pulp-Lexi, Tori and Emily (not pictured).
This is part of the selling crew-Mackenzie, Abby, Cori and Paige. It was a job they rotated in and out of. They were all good salespeople.
We even got in a awesome day at the beach while we were in California. I know it's kind of known for the beaches but many times the beach is foggy and cold, no matter what the time of year. This was a perfect day. Sunny, breezy and lots of friends. The girls even got to boogie board.
Paige and Lexi being goofy, they didn't want me taking pictures, they wanted to play!!
Paige being buried and made into a sea turtle by cousin Emily, Lexi and friend Paige
The girls were having a great time catching sand crabs. They were on the hunt for the pregnant ones that had their egg sacks just under their hind legs. I thought it was gross, but whatever. A great lesson in marine biology.
This is the 4th of July in Houston. We had a great day swimming with friends, bbqing, and just visiting. The fireworks were put on hold because of the fire ban. Houston hasn't had any significant rain since March and there was too much of a risk. We did have sparklers so that was the best we could do for the pyro Taylor. Although he had the job of the official lighter.
Hard to see but that's Taylor on the right with the kids lined up for their sparkler. As soon as it was out it went in the bucket of water to prevent any accidental burning.
The fireworks that weren't. Taylor goes to Louisiana with a fellow pyro Mike and they get the "good" fireworks. You can see they were all ready for a awesome show. Since fireworks of any kind were banned throughout the area they are all patiently waiting to be lit.
One of our main entertainments and a must have in the Houston summer is swimming. We are lucky good friends have a pool down the street and are so generous to let us swim. The kids have made frequent use of it and it's nice to not have to travel too far.
Lexi getting some "help" in from Taylor
Paige and friend Andrea showing off their shade style
Lexi with friends Andrea and Quincy
I got all four to pose for a picture. Not an easy feat, but I love it.
I am a homemaker, wife for 25 years to Ken and mom to 4 awesome kids. Jordan, Taylor Paige, and Lexi. I am usually busy with church responsibilities or something to do with my family. The gym is my stress relief where I participate in group exercise classes. I also enjoy scrapbooking, reading, stamping, and home improvement projects.