Total Pageviews

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"It's because I'm five now."

That's Arden's response to all of her accomplishments this past week.  This past week she learned how to ride her bike without training wheels, go across the monkey bars, hula hoop for a whole minute, and tie her shoes!  My baby is growing up.  *sniff, sniff.  She also attributes her achievements to all of the apples she eats.  "They make my muscles really huge," she says as she flexes her bicep.

And lastly, which surprised me and made tear up, she gives credit to me.  Right after she rode her bike for the first time, she said excitedly, "Mommy!  I did it all by myself.  I didn't give up!  Just like you.  You didn't give up on your marathon and I didn't give up trying to ride my bike, so I did it!"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, Arden Rose

Happy birthday, Arden Rose.  You are the bubbliest little girl I know.  You are in a happy mood almost all of the time (unless you're tattling on Jack or Halle).  Your mouth naturally turns into an upward smile, which makes you look like you are always cheerful.  You are an extrovert and thrive on other people's presence. You love love to be the center of attention, however you have recently developed a bit of shyness when all eyes are on you.  You have a unique and surprising way of communicating your thoughts.

You love to turn on music, whether it's slow and romantic or fast and hoppin', and perform dances.  You have moves, girl!  You have a natural sense of rhythm and know how to shake your hips.  You also love to sing.  In fact, you're singing right now as you're dressing for the day.  You sing the thoughts of your mind as if you lived in a musical.  "I am putting on my shoes!  And they are twinkle toes!  They have velcro.... and no laces....They are so sparkly and beautifuuuuuuul to meeeee!"

Yellow is still your favorite color.  It absolutely makes your day if you randomly end up with something yellow: a yellow straw, a yellow sticker from church, a yellow flower from the yard."  Pink and purple are your next favorite colors.  You are a TV junky!  If allowed, you would spend your whole day watching Caillou, Jesse, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Frozen, and The Croods.  I can't say that I haven't let you do this from time to time.  However, I just asked you your favorite show and you said, "Duck Dynasty."  "What?"  "Because I'm five now."  Silly girl.

If not watching TV then you love to be outdoors.  Swinging, sliding, running, hopping, bike riding.  You couldn't care less about dolls, but you love your stuffed animals, Catarina and Bell.  Sweet Blankey is still your favorite.  She had to be mended by Aunt Sarah, because after five years, she's falling apart.

This year has been a "water" year of accomplishments for you.  You've learned to swim, ice-skate, and snow ski!  Speaking of ice-skating, this is by far your favorite activity, and you call it "finger skating."

You took gymnastics for a while.  If we had more time you would continue to do it, but you were forced to make a choice between it and skating.  You were deathly afraid of the bars at gymnastics, but overcame your fear.  You learned how to do bridges and almost have a cartwheel down.

In school you catch on quickly.  You like to read and write.  You know how to add/subtract simple problems, and like to tell time.  You still have trouble reading clocks, but are very interested in how much time something takes.  For example, you have concluded that it takes five minutes to get to the rock gym to pick up Halle, it takes an hour to watch two Caillou episodes, and if it's Wednesday, then it's four days until Sunday.  My favorite was when you were counting down the days until your birthday.  "It's 4 days until it will be two weeks until my birthday."  Or, "It's 7 days until my birthday party and 9 days until my birthday. Tomorrow it will be 6 days until my birthday party and 8 days until my birthday."

You are a terrible eater.  It takes you forever to finish your dinner.  I give you very little food, but still it takes a decade to eat it.  Unless it's pizza with cheese stuffed crust.  We have to limit your chocolate milk intake.  Now you're only allowed to have it once a day, after you've finished dinner.  And then thirty minutes after dinner you complain that you're hungry.  *Sigh

You are tall and thin.  You eyes are a beautiful blue, and your hair is GORGEOUS.  You usually have a wild mane, and it takes an awful amount of conditioner to tame it; but when brushed you have the most beautiful golden locks.

You say that Jesus is your best friend because He made you.  You understand that you can't see Jesus, but that His presence is everywhere.  You have lots of questions about God, and are frequently trying to make sense of it all.  I can see your wheels turning when you ask a question.  "How can I know if Jesus is talking to me?  I can't hear his voice." or "When I die I'll be in heaven with Jesus, but then I won't be able to see my friends and family anymore and I'll miss them."

You are a loud mouth.  I'm constantly telling you to lower your voice because quiet isn't in your vocabulary.  You are your loudest when you're "talking" (shouting) at Maggie and Cole through your bedroom window or across the backyard fence.  "Hi Maggie!  Hi Cole!  Wanna come over and play?"  I have a bandaid because I fell and hurt myself.  I'm going to the Y in a few minutes.  Ask your mom if you can come over!  What?"  Bring your bike, too!"  I had a Popsicle today!"  All at maximum volume.  The whole neighborhood knows your story.

This past year you have become a sweetheart.  You are more considerate of others, share willingly, are polite and obedient.  You still possess an underlying feisty-ness, though, that makes you a very dynamic individual.  I love you with all of my heart.  I know that you are meant for great things, and am excited to see how the next year unfolds.  Happy birthday, Arden Rose!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ski New Mexico 4

I probably made our trip sound like it was terrible, but we really did have sooo much fun!  There was just so many Griswold moments that I had to blog about it.  :)

This last post is just about the weather and our trip home.

  I was bummed because there wasn't snow in the forecast while we were there.  We were pleasantly surprised when it started falling.  I immediately grabbed my camera and bundled up the kids for the photo opportunity.  These are my favorites from the fresh snow.  

The night we drove into town to buy food, we stopped along the route at the darkest place we could find.  There were no street lights or cars around.  We killed the lights to our van and stood outside, staring up at the stars.  It was magnificent!  The sky was clear and the sky twinkled.  I can't begin to describe how beautiful it was!  We saw full constellations and it seemed as if every inch of the sky lit up.  I was amazed.

Our drive home was rather boring.  We stopped at a Red Box and picked up several movies.  Made me love Red Box even more because we rented them in New Mexico and were able to return them in Houston.

We saw a 7-11!  I haven't seen one since I was a kid.  This made me happy.  Yes I took a picture of it.

We also stopped in at a peculiar Mc Donalds.  It seemed like a futuristic Mc D.  Instead of a playground they had a lounge area with video games.  And the tables were light-interactive.  It was so weird.  I didn't know what to think of this McDonalds, taking away the old-school playground and all.

Well that wraps up our trip.  We had a great time, and I learned how to ski, something I've always wanted to do.  Now when we go visit Sarah and Adam in Colorado we can hit some of the ski places there.  Can't wait!

Ski New Mexico 3

Brian and I took turns taking care of Arden and Jack while the other went up the mountain.  Jack was content with hanging out on the swing or playing on the snow castle.  Halle watched the littles one or two times, but she mainly got to go off on her own and ski.
all of our ski stuff lined up
Halle's snow man by the snow castle.  Look, Google did it again with the snow!

The Hargraves hogging the swing.

After we got the hang of skiing we decided to hit the mountain.  I was a nervous wreck on the lift.  There was no cross bar to keep us from falling and the chair would shake occasionally.  I fell on my butt the first time I attempted to exit the lift.  Halle and I were with our ski instructor the first time we went down the green slope.  Really the instructor didn't want me going since I wasn't ready, but since my daughter was ready, I had to man-up and accompany her.

I fell about twenty times getting down that stupid green.  My heart was racing because although it was considered a green, the lane was rather narrow and the edge gave way to a huge drop off.  I was scared to get going too fast and not be able to round a corner.  Had I been younger without the thoughts of broken bones, insurance co-pays, and the sheer hassle of finding the closest emergency room, I probably would have done fine.  It really made me mad that I passed NO ONE on the way down.  Ever.  Like in the whole trip.  Little seven-year-olds would fly by me, just inches from the edge and I would just cringe, fearing for their safety.  Then I would get pissed that some seven year old was going faster than me.

By the last day my only goals were to 1) exit the lift without looking like an injured deer, and 2)make it down the mountain without falling.  Halle was a pro by this time so I told her to go on ahead of me.  She could make it down a good ten minutes faster.  I planned to take my time and enjoy my final run and the beautiful morning.  The snow was perfect, not too powdery and not too slushy.  It was nice!  I was finally getting the hang of this skiing stuff.  I was admiring the day and beaming because I hadn't fallen yet when all of a sudden I realized that no one else was on the slope but me.  And it was a lot steeper than what I remembered from the day before.  It turned out that I landed myself on a blue slope by mistake.  The green trail has turn-offs in order to go down harder blue and black routes.  That's exactly what I did; my dumb self wasn't paying attention to the signs and went the wrong way.  Immediately I fell.  I couldn't get up because the trail was too steep, so I scooted down the whole way on my booty.  I didn't achieve my second goal of not falling, but thank goodness for waterproof pants!

Once I reached the bottom, a much longer time later, I told Halle and Brian what I'd done.  This gave them the confidence to go for the blue.  If I could make it down the blue (regardless if it was on my backside) then surely they could make it down.  Gee thanks.

Back up a day to when Halle and Brian decided to go up higher on the mountain, to another set of lifts.  They were so excited to try some different trails.  I went back to the hotel room while the littles napped.  I noticed they were taking a really long while to come back, but thought they were just having a blast and didn't want to quit.  They returned a couple of hours later.  I expected them to come bouncing in the room with excitement and a story of how much fun they had.  Nope.  Both of their faces were drained of all energy and there wasn't a smile in sight.  You should really hear them tell their story in person because their mishaps are HILARIOUS!!


It doesn't take much to entertain our family.  Yesterday we were at 14526 because Adam and Brian were working on Van Gogh's rotors.  After they were finished we hung out in Adam's garage.

Someone got the bright idea to have a wasabi pea eating contest.  Wasabi peas are dried edamame coated in a wasabi powder.  They are potent!  These peas are so addicting.  They give you that burning nasal feeling and make your head feel like it's going to explode, but it hurts so good!  You have to just keep going back for more to see how much you can handle.  Yeah, I know.  We're morons.

We tried eating them different ways to see if that reduced the burning intensity:  eating them without breathing (that makes a back draft in the back of your mouth, I do not recommend that technique) eating them with your mouth open, and holding your nose while eating them with your mouth open (the latter is Brian's recommended method.)

Our contest was to see who could go the longest without making any sort of face or having our eyes water.  We tried this with 6, then 8, then 12 wasabi peas at a time!

Here's our pictures.
our handfuls of peas
Ready, set, go!
I'm the first one out

My head!!!!!
I can't take it

Neither can Adam.  these pictures are blurry because Halle's laughing so hard and can't keep the camera still

Brian trying out his nose holding method.  Brian is the winner

I thought Jack was crying from all of the commotion.  Turns out he found a wasabi pea that fell on the floor and ate it. 

My boy turned two!

Happy birthday, Jack.  You are the cutest little boy I know.  You constantly have your sisters and I rolling with laughter.  You and your daddy have a special relationship and y'all love to play rough.  You look like a little man because you frequently walk around with your hands in your pocket.

Give you a mop or broom and you'll be content for hours.  Give you a car or something large with wheels and you'll be content for the whole day.  You don't sit still.  You are busy busy busy!  You love to figure out how things work.  You love to take apart toys and put them back together.  You are the most observant kid I've ever met.  Your favorite toy is the cozy coupe.  I laugh every time I see you in it because you look like Fred Flinstone, especially with your caveman feet!  Another favorite of yours is getting into your dad's socks and shoes.  You'll pull all of the socks out of his drawer and put on several pairs at a time.  Then you'll stick on his shoes and walk around.  And let's not forget about Bear.  You affectionately call him "Beh" and get excited to see him at bed time.  You still fall asleep with one thumb in your mouth and the other hand rubbing Bear's ear.

You don't have time for TV.  The only time you'll sit and watch a movie is when you're strapped in your carseat in the van with the DVD player on.

Your absolute favorite food are bananas.  You eat about five a day!  You do not like lettuce or raw brocolli.  You're leery about any green stuff for that matter.  I have to sneak those in with other foods.  That's about all you're picky with, though.

You're almost 35 inches tall and weigh 33 pounds.  You have a big round belly and chunky legs.  Your eyes are sky blue, your hair takes on natural highlights when in the sun for a while, and you have the cutest nose.  Your dimples and smile light up your face.

You loooooove Halle.  She is like a second mom to you.  You and Arden love to play and laugh together, but you pick on her and she picks on you.  You want everything she has.  Y'all are happiest when she pushes you around in the wagon or gives you rides on the tricycle.  You hate it when she takes your Mater or Cozy Coupe.

You annoyingly and persistently call me "Ma!" until I answer.  You love to tell Arden "stop" and "don't."  When I try to video you doing something cute you look at me with a pointed finger and say, "Don't!"

You are starting to love books.  You bring me a book and will now sit for a short story.

You feel comfortable enough to wander off a distance (which I'm told is a sign that you have a strong sense of security.)  Therefore we have to watch you closely.  Your daddy had to install another lock up high on our gate because you figured out the lower lock.  You also know how to unlock the front door.  You always have me on my toes.

Loud noises like the vacuum or the yard blower scare you and you'll run to Brian, Halle, or me for cover. You will warm up to the loud object as long as we assure you it's safe.

We love you so much, and are so glad our family has been blessed with you.  Happy Birthday!

your John Deere tire cake.  Halle baked it and I decorated it.  My homemade fondant didn't come out well so we had to get the store bought kind, which is gross-tasting.  The black fondant was perfect for this tire cake, though, since it's so rubbery.  Uncle Adam actually liked the fondant, and made himself sick with how much he ate of it!

your birthday present from us.  A horse tire swing
you and your John Deere tire cake
we went to eat at Valley Ranch barbecue for your birthday dinner.  You loved the train that goes around and around the restaurant.  Aunt Sarah also kept you entertained by acting silly.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ski New Mexico 2

The ammenities:
We knew going into our trip that this was a bare-bones type of ski resort.  We wouldn't have a fridge or microwave.  Therefore we didn't pack our own food.  What we didn't realize was that we wouldn't have cell phone service or wi-fi.  Or..... a coffee pot!!  We were out in the middle of nowhere!  The closest "town" was thirty minutes away.  

When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised that they had recently upgraded the room with a microwave and fridge.  We originally planned on eating at their only restaurant for our meals, but it was overpriced and not that good.  So we took advantage of our "upgrade" and headed to the Walmart an hour away to buy food for the week: breakfast sandwiches, hot pockets, oatmeal, those crappy kind of filler foods.  While I was there I bought the cheapest coffee pot they had.  It was a $15 five-cup Mr. Coffee, but it would do for the week.  We had to have a coffee pot.  That's a necessity.  If I were on a deserted island and could only have one thing from home, it would be a coffee pot.  (yes I realize there would be no place to plug it in, but you get my point.)  After stocking up on groceries we headed back.  I then realized I forgot to buy cups so we pulled into a Dollar General.  Once inside I saw they had a $10 10-cup coffee pot!  It was cheaper and bigger!  I bought that one, too, with plans to return the original one when we got back from our trip.  Well guess what?  While we out shopping, a staff member came into our room and upgraded our room with a coffee pot!  lol, so now we had three pots!    
our second fridge, the window.  With the freezing temps the extra stuff stayed fresh sitting on the ledge.  We couldn't figure out how to turn down the heater so we had the window open to let the heat out. 
What we didn't like:
The restaurant/ ski store area was the only place that had wi-fi.  Even that had spotty signals.  We were cut off from the rest of the world for the whole week.  No TV, wi-fi, or cell service in our room.  Not only that, but it was "quiet-time" from 10 pm to 8 am.  That's a long time to keep your kids quiet when the walls are paper-thin.  The skiing closed at 4 pm everyday, so there little for them to do from 4 until bedtime.  After being outside all day the kids didn't want to go play in the snow...which was really the only thing there for them to do. So we just passed the time by playing with Rudi, playing phone games, and hanging out.  We had A LOT of family time in that small hotel room.  Halle and I played chess, the only game on her computer.  I love my kids, but I was happy to return to our four-bedroom house.  Next time we'll find a resort that has a town nearby to shop or see movies.  This was a great first trip to see if we like skiing (which we do!!!), but we probably won't return here.

What we did like:
HAPPY HOUR! Happy hour was 3-5.  The restaurant is only a 100 yards from our hotel.  Halle babysat the littles.  The littles were crashed out during this time anyway.  Brian and I took advantage of this and went for a margarita or beer at the restaurant bar.  It was really nice to have some alone time together on our trip.

Sleeping arrangements:  Agghhhhhh!  This is how a typical night would go:

10 pm
Rudi whining in kennel,  Jack is crying because he wants to sleep with me and is elbowing Arden in face
Arden/Catarina/Sweet Blankey
10:30 Jack is pushing me off the bed and Rudi won't lay still

Jack wakes up and realizes that I'm not sleeping next to him, so he comes and crawls in bed with the girls and me.  Rudi starts whining again.  I put zombie Arden who is taking up the whole bed anyway into bed 1
Brian, Jack/Bear/blanket
6 am
Still two hours before quiet time is over, but we are done trying to sleep
Catarina/Sweet Blankey

Like I said, I love my kids, but I was happy to return to my four-bedroom house.  :)