Sunday, July 27, 2014

Little Treasure

Oh how I love this little girl child!

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But please little girl, I am starting to feel guilty that I don’t have many pictures of you on the blog. We could remedy that if you would ever stop moving long enough for me to get a non blurry picture of you! Would you start working on that please for your mommy? Ok thanks baby!

Love,

Your Mama

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Biker Chick

Nick has been dying to teach Isla to ride her bike for a while now. I had bought a bike early last year from a garage sale, and it was too big for Isla for a while. By the time she grew into it, we realized the training wheels were broken and it just took us a while to get them fixed.

Well we finally fixed the wheels last month and Nick has been working with Isla at least every other night with her to teach her how to ride the bike! I am really proud of her, when she first started, she would peddle a few feet and stop, peddle a few feet and stop, and the want to quit. We ran into this problem trying to teach her to ride her trike or her scooter and we could NOT keep her motivated to stay on it. She would very pleasantly tell us “Oh no mom and dad, its ok, I’ll just go and … (do something else)”. I think being able to ride along side her dad on his bike helped. Now she is going long distances and getting much better at steering and controlling the bike on hills. We are trying to do family walks/rides almost every night to keep her practicing and getting her muscles used to the motions of riding a bike and balancing.

Nick has also made a rule that “we always ride bikes on Saturdays!” So Isla gets so excited when he reminds her its Saturday. They are pretty cute.

Hopefully by the next update and the end of the summer… the training wheels will come off!

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Also, because I feel like I could use some extra levity lately… anybody remember this classic moment? Smile

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The older I get, the less funny that movie gets to the point where I can’t believe I ever liked it… however this “biker” moment… gold. Pure comedic gold.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Fun: Andrew’s Splash Pad

Midland is very, very wealthy town. You would not believe the monster houses here… or how high the cost of living is! Last year it became that nation’s town with the highest income per capita… yesiree folks, fracking has been good to Midland! So with all this wealth… I cannot figure out for the life of me why there is not a single, water-coming-out-of-the-ground splash park in this blazing desert town! Ok its probably because they are using all of said water for fracking… but still, just one, little splash park for the kids to play in… is that too much to ask? I mean seriously, with the taxes I pay!

There is supposedly one splash park in Odessa, but there is no way I am venturing into an Odessa park again (my last adventure brought me just a touch too close to a tattooed, toothless meth head!). A Midland Mommies board on Facebook shared that there was a splash park that recently opened up in Andrews, TX about 45 minutes away, and so my neighbor Dawn and I planned a trip out with our girls. Mondays and Tuesdays have special ages 7 and under hours, which is so nice with smaller kids. I am sure that I am not the only mommy who appreciates being able to go to a park and not have my babes trampled by 12 year olds. I don’t begrudge older children being able to go to parks, but since they rarely seem to look out for the little kids, its nice to be able to let Isla run free without getting knocked around.

Poor, poor Gemma. She has a little skin tag removed at the dermatologist that morning, and so she wasn’t allowed to get in the water at all. I felt so bad for her, but she was really good. We will definitely be going back and then she will be allowed to run and play to her heart’s content! Once again, being the neglected, soon-to-be middle child, I didn’t get a single picture of her, but I promise we love her to bits!

It was a lovely splash park anyway, and the girls had a blast. It also had a big pool with a water slide. Isla really wanted to get into that big pool, but we are not doing big pools right now without Nick. She isn’t allowed to swim with floaties anymore so we don’t ruin what she is learning in her lessons, and she isn’t ready to swim completely unsupervised so until then, we need at least one adult for Isla and one adult for Gemma. I really want to come back with Nick to spend the day sometime.

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The park closed at noon for an hour, and so we went and ate a picnic lunch at a nearby park before heading home. That was fun too!

My big girl had so much fun! She really is such a sweet girl, and I love it when I can provide her with fun activities that make her so happy. I love my sweet, joyous, fun loving big girl!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Too Funny

I think that good grammar is very important so please don’t think I don’t, however, one of my pet peeves are the grammar police on Facebook who always act so holier-than-thou over simple grammar mistakes… like seriously, you’re telling me you have never messed up you’re/your or there/their/they’re? Get off your high horse people! Everyone makes grammar mistakes. I’ve noticed them on every single blog that I read regularly at one point or another.

So feeling a little tongue-in-cheeky, I posted these on Facebook because I found them amusing…

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Judging from the reactions and corrections I received, apparently some people didn’t get the joke <smacks hand to forehead>! My parents always did say that I didn’t have a sense of humor that people really understood… well, consider that confirmed!

Summer Fun: George W. Bush Childhood Home

Ok, so I don’t know if anyone remembers this, but George W Bush lived in Midland for a large part of his childhood and most of his siblings were born in Midland. Its also his wife, Laura Bush’s hometown, and her 90-something year old mother still lives here.

I am going to decline to comment on W’s politics or my opinions on “compassionate” conservatism because this post is not about this. He was a former two-term President, and deserves some measure of respect. Politics aside, I think that the Bushes are very, very nice people. I have met many people who worked with W, and everyone agrees, he and his wife are very kind, down-to-earth people. There are people that I have met here, around town and in my neighborhood who worked with the Bush administration and came home from Washington after his term ended, and everyone agrees, he is just so nice and genuinely interested in people. This makes sense given the family’s ties to Midland because I kid you not, you will never meet nicer people than the people in Midland. My friend Dawn is from New York, and she told me that it has “taken some getting used to” that people are so nice, lol. When I first met Dawn, she was still trying to get used it, and confessed that when she met someone who was so nice to her, her first thought was almost always along the lines of “what’s your grift!?!”.  I’m from Texas and used to nice people, but people here just really take the cake for sweetness.

Another interesting thing to point out, the Bushes originally came from Connecticut and were old money trying to make some new money in the energy industry. There are a lot of old money families that came out here in the 50’s and 60’s and it really shows. For starters there is a POLO CLUB. Seriously. Polo. In West Texas. There are a lot of older houses that look like they came straight out of Nantucket, and at one point there was apparently a Rolls Royce dealership. I think the old money mentality helped shape Midland into being such a nice, clean community. It might be the “town that oil built”, but it is certainly not the “town that roughnecks built”. Just compare Midland to Odessa right next door, and there is a big difference. It is really such a nice, clean, safe town. We were told when we moved here that Midland was more white-collar and Odessa was more blue-collar… after having ventured in to Odessa a few times, I think people really need to reconsider what blue-collar means because I do not think it translates to dirty, crime ridden and meth addicted… needless to say, I steer clear of Odessa whenever possible!

Another side note – Bush Sr. has his presidential library at my alma mater, Texas A&M (have I ever mentioned that I’m a fightin’ Texas Aggie, lol?) and we used to see Barbara and him around campus all the time and especially at baseball games. Very cool.

Anyway, we live here, George W Bush, our former President is from here, and my neighbor Dawn and I decided to take our girls to visit his childhood home that has been made into a museum.

Our tour guide, Louis, was 86 and just the sweetest little old lady. She had a pretty hefty limp but she had no problem proudly showing us all over the house and explaining all of the restoration work that had taken place. She also attends church with Laura Bush’s mother. She was so sweet to our girls too! The house was not as kid friendly as I would have liked, and the girls tried to be good… but still, they were 3, 4 and 5 and there were a lot of vintage toys that they were not allowed to touch! Very hard for any age, and Louis was so sweet and patient with them.

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I knew that the Bushes had lost their oldest daughter Robin to infant leukemia, and this was the house they lived in when she died. Honestly, I couldn’t get past that part of the tour without tears (and typing this now), I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child. W was 7ish when she died and Barbara always said that his talking about Robin made it easier for them talk about her and get through their grief.

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The only other part of the tour that I will point out was that I learned about the Roy Roger’s club, which W was a member of, and that I did not know about before. The Roy Roger’s club was a club for boy’s with “Rider’s Rules” that all of the boys agreed to live by.
 
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  1. Be neat and clean.
  2. Be courteous and polite.
  3. Always obey your parents.
  4. Protect the weak and help them.
  5. Be brave but never take chances.
  6. Study hard and learn all you can.
  7. Be kind to animals and take care of them.
  8. Eat all your food and never waste any.
  9. Love God and go to Sunday school regularly.
  10. Always respect our flag and our country.

How I wish we still had something like that for our boys today! Sometimes I think that there is no hope for boys in America with so few role models for them and so few daddies who are willing to step up and show them what it means to be men. You can argue that those rules are hard to live up to, but I think there’s no harm in trying!

GWB’s childhood room.

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Anyway, Dawn and I really enjoyed it, even if the girls were a little antsy! It was very informative and I look forward to bringing visitors to Midland there to learn more about one of our Presidents.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Fun: Cousin Blake and Zoofari!

I know that one thing that I complained about Midland is that we didn’t have any family here… BUT, I did fib a little bit because we have been so blessed that my first cousin Richard works in Midland every week and commutes from Houston. We have been able to have him over quite a bit and we love it! We get to see him far more than we would if we lived in Houston.
Sometimes Richard brings his son Blake with him, and Blake comes and hangs out with us. Blake is such a good kid, and even though he’s 15, he doesn’t complain that he has to hang out with his little second cousins or his big, boring 1st cousin, once removed! Earlier in July, Blake had a baseball tournament in Lubbock and so he spent several days with us hanging out and then we were able to attend one of his baseball games. We watched the game for a bit and then I took the girls over to the softball field and Nick stayed to finish watching the game. The girls and I had SO MUCH FUN running the bases and playing with a random soft ball that we found!
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After the game we took pictures with Blake. He seemed so happy that we came to his game Smile. You can’t tell, but he’s a redhead… Nick and I have redhead genes on both sides and I keep hoping we’ll end up with a ginger… maybe they will pop up with Baby Shaka?  On a related note, Blake is 6’2” and still growing, his dad is 6’2”, and I have another first cousins who is 6’4”, another who is 6’1” and several other tall cousins… where does all of this height come from and how come I didn’t get any of it?
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One of the days that Blake was here, we went to the downtown library for Zoofari. We didn’t know what Zoofari was, we just saw it on the calendar and showed up, but it turned out it was a lady who travels all over with 6 or 7 exotic animals and shares them with kids.  It was very cool. She had a kangaroo, a parrot, and several other very exotic animals, I was very impressed… (I wish I could remember what they all were, that’s the peril of not blogging in a timely manner!). The crazy thing is that she had all of those animals, herself, her 3-month-old, and her mom in ONE hotel room!
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Isla was pulled up onto “stage” with her friends Kaylinn and Hannah to dance to “We like to move it, move it!”
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LOVE this video, I could watch it all day long. Girlfriend knew just what to do. Smile

We were able to pet a lemur from Madagascar on our way out! It was very cool. I have always wanted to go to Madagascar. I looked into going on one of our R&R trips from Russia, but the flights alone were over $10k… maybe when our ship comes in!
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It was so fun to go to Zoofari and even more fun to get to hang out with our adorable cousin Blake!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Fun: Trips to the Library

July really feels like the start of our summer. I planned so many structured activities for June that I didn’t really have to worry about filling our schedules and finding things to do until July. We are having a blast! Our mornings are filled with either swim lessons, play dates or little activities that I find around town. Then we come home for lunch and quiet/nap time (naps for mommy included!). Our afternoons are usually a little TV (30 minutes) or play time in the play room and then dad comes home and we go for walks or to the pool or just hang in the back yard! Note – no time for cleaning or errands…

I have a mommy confession – Nick is gone this week, and right now afternoons are Too Much TV Time as in I let Isla watch for 2 hours or so. I just need a little something to help absorb that energy. This is why I limit her TV during normal times – so that I don’t have to feel guilty when I really need it to help me get a breather. Like right now being 7+ months pregnant in 100+ degree heat without Nick, I need a breather!

We are so lucky to have Midland’s Centennial Library very near our house. Nothing is very far in Midland, but this is very close and its such a fun, nice new library. We have been going since right after we moved here, and we absolutely love it! Story Time is at 10:30 AM, which includes songs and movement exercises, then the story, followed by a themed craft, and then the staff brings out these huge building blocks that the kids can climb on and use to build things. It is very cool and free, and I am so glad that we have this resource!

One tip that I learned by accident – it gets SO CROWDED in the summertime. I can’t believe how crowded it gets. I accidently switched my days and I showed up for Spanish Story Time on off days, and it was much less crowded! Isla is taking Spanish in school and I speak decent Spanish so we just go on those days and beat the crowd, and as a bonus, expose Isla and Gemma to a foreign language. Isla kept asking a lot of questions, and don’t think that the reader appreciated a little blonde gringa interrupting and asking questions in English… but most of the kids were speaking English with their obviously immigrant/native Spanish speaking parents so I stopped worrying about it after a while. I think it was the interruption she minded more than the English! But that’s just what kids do, or at least my kids, they ask questions about the story!

Dancing to Spanish songs before story time!

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Gemma mostly just wanders around and then moves from Isla’s lap to my lap!

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A fun little tent activity with “snow” after the story (no pictures of actual story time for some reason).

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Craft time! Isla is so slow and meticulous at this activity, she is always the last person done and I usually have to move her along before she’s done because the library workers are cleaning up. I usually spend craft time chasing Gemma around and keeping her out of people’s hair… oh boy, what will craft time look like when Baby Shaka comes!

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The giant blocks! These are SO COOL! The kids always have a lot of fun crawling all over them and building structures. I always make sure Gemma has one or two away from the big kids so that she can enjoy her time at the library too.

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Queen of the Hill Smile.

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After that, we usually head home with a stack of books! We are allowed to bring up to 30 or so home at a time, but I limit Isla to 5, otherwise we would lose some.

This is such a wonderful resource, and I am so thankful to have it! Smile

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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