Friday, September 23, 2011

25 year anniversary

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!!

Jordan's toys

"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?!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

July 2011

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.

Jordan and Taylor showing off their flip form