Wednesday, October 2, 2013

first day

The first day of school is here!  I love all the nervous excitement that accompanies the first day of school!  Brody was more than ready to go back- that kids loves school!  I told him I'd wake him up and when I walked in his room- he was wide awake staring at the clock, waiting for "wake up" time!  

On his way to first grade!
 Here he is with his teacher Mrs. Cook
 Crew and Kade started preschool a week later, I opted for separate classes again, that just works best for us.  Ironically Crew has a set of twin boys in his class.  I asked him if they look alike and he said, very matter-of-factly, "no, they're different."  Huh.  Sometimes I think maybe it's easier for kids to tell the difference!
As you can tell they're also pretty excited to get back in the swing of things!
As for me, it nice to get back a little quiet time.  But sure enough, each day I end up counting down until I need to pick them up!  As much as I love the quiet, I miss these guys more!

august

I feel like it's so hard to get outside during the summer months.  It's a terrible irony for the kids, you're finally free from school to play all day and it's just too dang hot to play outside.  We've tried to do a couple bike rides when justin gets home from work, and I just was to publicly declare that I totally get the easier ride between the two of us!  Brody's wee-ride can pedal with me:
The twins are more dead weight... and a lot of it!  But justin's a trooper and doesn't really complain- well, except when they reach out the trailer and try to grab his tire.  we don't endorse that.
We also hit the parks later and try not to get bitten by mosquitos (west nile anyone?)

The boys all finished their swim sessions.  I really love watching swim lessons.  I know I loved lessons as a kid, and the boys are the same, they did great!  
The twins can each swim the width of the pool and can swim out from coming down the big slides.  Brody has been able to swim the length for a while and started working on breaststroke this session.  They all try so hard, it's just so fun to watch!
on justin's day off we went to legoland discovery.  i would love to take the boys to legoland in san diego, but this will have to do for now.  luckily they were having a star wars exhibit, so they we're super excited, and we spent most of our time "admiring the possibilities!"
Crew trying to work the death star (surprise, surprise)
darth kader marveling at darth vader
brody by the x-wing.  that kid is longing to get and build an x-wing.  lucky for him, about an hour later he got to use his birthday money to get one.  it was like christmas morning!
 These two long to be Han and Chewy.  And they make pretty awesome wookie noises!
We did more swimming at the pools.
We hit up the kids summer movie series at the the theatre.
Before school started we made a trip to the dentist office.  All three were cavity free!!  They definitely were not whine free!  I'm sure they whine more because it's dad so they can.  Brody got this fake mustache in the reward box, i don't think he's a fan.
I'm relieved to say we made it through summer!  I'm also 100% ready for school to start!  I should also mention that i'm 1000% (yes dad, i know that's not a real percentage) ready for cooler weather!

july

well needless to really say, july, in texas, is really hot!  so we've spent a little time trying to stay cool:


the twins belated birthday gift was a fort building kit, which has really come in handy for afternoon activities!
justin and i celebrated our 9th anniversary!  we pretty much called costa rica our celebration but we also made sure to have a date night closer to our special day!
Brody turned 6!  He's been waiting to turn six since last September, so we're glad his big day finally came!
engrossed in the new star wars paper airplane book
celebrating with cake!
Brody had another semi-annual eye checkup.  His dr totally tricked me, he said "well after checking him his eyes can see perfectly at 20/20."  I was shocked since he has an astigmatism.  Then, noticing my surprise, he continues "well, with the help of his glass of course."  Oh, right.  I felt a little dumb for not realizing that initially!
Anywho, just minor changes to his prescription and some fresh glasses on order!
CrewKade had their 4 year old check up.  They each got 4 shots in their legs.  It still makes me cryto hold those little guys down!  Kade was such a champ.  He didn't even cry!  His lips trembled and he took some deep breaths but he totally toughed it out.  Crew, on the other hand, totally lost it.  He was screaming and crying.  Not fun for any of the involved parties.  Luckily they took him to get a popsicle after so that calmed him down.  The nurse warned me they might want to rest today since their legs will be sore.  But here they were right after we got home:
Oh yea, those are definitely their "i just want to rest" faces.
And finally, Brody got the Y wing for his birthday, and after about 4 -uninterrupted- hours of building it was finished, he was so excited!
That's our July in a nut shell.  We're moving on to August, and trying to stay cool!

may to june

I'm definitely playing catch-up with summer, so here goes!  We came home from Costa Rica and jumped right back into all the busyness May had in store for us.  First up:  Brody and I completed a fun run the school district put on.  The run was a little over two miles and he did absolutely great!  He's been in running club the past couple months and really worked hard to run hard!  We ran past this dad walking with his middle-schoolerish son and the dad told him "come on, you're going as slow as a kindergartener!"  I wanted to yell over my shoulder "actually you just got passed by a kindergartener!"  But this wasn't a race, it was only to promote fit families in the district, so I withheld my comment.  Here's me and Brody after the race:
About two minutes into the race I went to retighten my ponytail and my band broke!!  So I did the rest with the lions mane, that part was dreadful!
A week later Brody had his end of the year running club party, he logged 15.5 miles over the course of the 2.5 months he joined the club (40 mins running once a week.)  I was proud of this little guy!

The next week the twins had their last days of preschool, here's Kade with his teachers:
The assistant teacher Mrs. G holding Kade was Kade's ultimate favorite!  Oh, how he loved his time with Mrs. G!  She will definitely be missed next year!
Here's Crew with one of his teachers:

The next week these guys turned 4!!

They were so excited to be bigger boys!  They got to move up to booster seats, and loved it!!

They got to eat gigantic cookies for lunch!

They had a gacc cookie with darth vader on it- they were in heaven!  And yes, they kept the masks on while we sang happy birthday to them!
A couple days later we had mormon ranger night at the ballpark.  
At the start of June we celebrated Father's day early with a surprise party for Justin so he could open his new gift:
The boys love going on the electric scooter with dad, and of course Brody loves having dad cruise him up to school in the mornings!
A week later this big guy finished kindergarten- do you think he was excited?
His school had a little kindergarten promotional ceremony so we took a little family picture together afterward:
And here's a pic with his teacher, the fabulous Ms. Bradanini!  We loved Ms. B, and I hope one of the twins get in her class for kindergarten!
This month month had so many big things for our family- I glad we were able to pack it all in!  Now we're off to pack our stuff to head on vacations!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Costa Rica- a picture overload!

Nearly 12 years ago I took a geology class and lab in college.  It was super fascinating, and totally made me want to be a volcanologist.  Mom and Dad said no; something about being too close to death. I still think volcanoes are amazing and I remember learning about the Pacific's ring of fire and my teacher  mentioned that in Costa Rica there are natural hot springs at the bottom of the volcano, and while sitting in hot springs you can relax and stare out at a volcano.  I was enthralled!  Since then it's been a dream to go, and Justin happily obliged!  This is probably one of my most exciting boarding passes ever:
We had a quick flight to Houston, and then a little over 3 hour flight to San Jose.  With turbulence.  With lots of turbulence.  I was worried, to say the least!  I was so relieved when we landed!  We met our driver and then had a 3 and-a-half hour van ride to La Fortuna.  With bumps, twisty turns, and gravel roads.  My stomach was totally growing more squeamish by the minute.  I tried to just look out the window at the amazing beauty of this country, I was amazed!
They plant lots of coffee and fruit, so it was so green and lush!  Our driver learned we grew up in Los Angeles and pulled over to take this picture:
Finally we reached our hotel.  It was so pretty!  The rainforest is so thick!  It's like they literally have to cut into the bush to make roads and houses.  We got to our room and this was the view from our balcony!! I was seriously in heaven!
This was Justin's view:
I could stare at that volcano for hours!!  It actually had two peaks, one old with green hillside, and one younger that still steamed and had a gray/brown hillside, naturally without vegetation.  So interesting!!
The next day we had a canopy (rainforest) walk and zipline tour.  I should start by saying that the word "walk" was greatly disillusioned.  It was a 3-hour hike through the rainforest.  A literal hike.  Beautiful!  But a beautiful hike!  We did three suspension bridges, which Justin liked, two lookouts and two waterfalls.
Here's look out one:

Waterfall one:
Just down from the first waterfall was the second:
Both waterfall were so pretty!  Our guide told us he knew a great spot for a picture, this was it:
A couple in our group said we should definitely include it on our Christmas card.  I thought I'd just slip it in here.
Caution falling trees:
Justin on the suspension bridge.  There was one bridge that really swayed and they said its hard to get across without holding on.  I lasted like a quarter of way without holding on, but this guy:
made it across the whole thing! Bazinga!

After our "walk" we took a tram up the mountainside to start our 8 ziplines down.  Here's some views from the top.  These were some of my favorite views of the trip:

Here's a quick video our guide took of the zipline views, it was sunset and it was gorgeous!  It's quick, but really loud from the zipline, maybe mute would help.

video
The next day we went into La Fortuna and walked around and then went to some hot springs.  We stopped very quickly at another more public hot spring the next morning too:
 This pic is me, sitting in a hot spring looking at a volcano.  Life dream: met!
 Waterfalls
 Later that morning we sadly left La Fortuna, and my Arenal volcano to head to the beach.  Our trip coordinator gave us the option of a 6 hr van transfer or a 30 minute flight.  We obviously chose the flight.  Here's the 12 seater ride:
 This plane was so small they weigh your baggage and each passenger.  Nothing will make you rethink your breakfast options like standing on a scale in front of the rest of the other passengers!
take off
views from the sky

We arrived in Manuel Antonio and checked into our second hotel, we immediately checked the view.  
 That will definitely do!  It was so relaxing!  
We had an extra day at this hotel, and we took some time to enjoy the beach!  Our hotel had two beaches, one private with a restaurant, and one that led to public beaches, and eventually the town.
 We hiked on some rocks, but this was not a 3 hour hike, it was more of an "at your leisure pace."

doing some swimming
I love how the rainforest stops at the sand of the beach, it's so pretty!  With the hotel being in the rainforest, there was lots of wildlife, like this guy:
these iguanas were all over the place.  They're big, and fast... I was worried.
This little guy was in our room, thankfully it was a little crab, and not a gigantic spider!
One day we went into town and got some shirts for the boys, another day we went to the national park and a guide helped us find the monkeys, birds, lizards, raccoons and sloths.  Here's some sloths, it was actually a mom and baby.
 As you exit the back of the park there's an amazingly beautiful cove that looked like something right out of Pirates of the Caribbean.  The water was so warm and perfect for a little swimming.  I can't remember the last time I "played" in the ocean, it was fabulous!
 some more views (these are my other favorites)
 We had a light hike back to our hotel and had to take a mini boat through this creek.  I thought, tiny boat, little creek, no big deal.  I was surprised no one was swimming in it!  Oh, then he explained there's crocodiles, so no swimming allowed. Suddenly the tiny boat seemed very collapsable.
We made it through!  The next days we enjoyed the beach and were sad to pack up for home, but we really missed the boys.  This trip was amazing!!  We really loved our time visiting a new country!  It was so beautiful, we definitely miss these views:
 and this:
 We took one more mini flight to San Jose.  Then back to Houston.  Then back to Dallas, and our boys!  As a side note, I loved the re-usable, laminated board passes from Manuel Antonio airport!  
We really recommend a Costa Rica trip, the boys now are asking to go!  We're especially grateful to Clarke and Diane for watching the boys for a week, and keeping up with those three!  I really loved this trip, mostly I come away from this feeling overwhelmingly blessed to visit such a beautiful place.  It has, yet again, made me in awe of the beauty our Father in Heaven has given to us on this earth.