Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Children's Museum

A couple of weeks ago the boys attended the birthday party of my cousin's son.  We don't see that side of my family very much and it was good to catch up and spend time with them.  We'd never taken the boys to the children's museum where the party was held.  It's only 25 minutes from where we live, which makes it easy to get to.  Now that the boys have been to it, they have been asking to go back.  That let's me know they had a great time, and I'm pretty sure we are going to have to take them back this summer.

Ben is all about tractors and he loves anything John Deere.  He played on this riding lawn mower for at least 30 minutes.

The pretend play grocery store was a big hit.  My boys spent another 30-45 minutes shopping in the grocery store. 

Since it's a local children's museum, they have items from around our area.  This brought back childhood memories.  I grew up in a rural area and we'd cross the railroad tracks to get to our house.  I can't tell you how many times I heard my grandparents give directions to our house "Go about 3 miles on the FM road and we're the 3rd house on the right after you cross the railroad tracks." 

There's an airplane in the museum and the name of the museum is painted on the side.

The honorable Judge Will 
Being a history teacher, I'm loving the mock setup of a courtroom.

It's always a challenge for me to select what photos I want to share on the blog.  I took over 50 at the party.  I hope these few give you a good time had by Will and Ben.

I'm having a little (big) winter blog funk.  I have lots of things I'd like to share, but I'm lacking the time to write the posts.  Maybe I'll get back in a routine soon.

Hope you're having a great week!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Fun

It's Friday!!!  

That means the weekend is near and I get to spend time with Will and Ben.  Things are so hectic during the week, and the weekend is my time to relax and recharge.  In the past we were guilty of trying to cram too many things into a weekend.  That's all changed since the beginning of 2012.  We've stayed at home a lot since the beginning of the new year because one of our resolutions was to save money.  One way we are saving money is driving into Dallas less to save gas.  (You know we live in the middle of no where so we have to drive at least 20-45 minutes to get to civilization.) 

For the first 3 weeks of January, we didn't make the drive into the suburbs.  That's right, no Super Target for 21 days!  We had to run some errands so we ended up in the north Dallas burbs last weekend.

On Friday we ate pizza at our favorite pizza place, Grimaldi's.  
We try to limit eating out to once a week (another new year's resolution).  Since eating out is a treat now, we try to choose a place we really like.

Brick oven pizza 

While we waited on our pizza, the boys played with pizza dough.  It kept them happy. 

This is Ben's "fish" face or at least that's what he calls it. 

I texted this photo to my sister-in-law because I knew she'd be excited.  It's opening 30 minutes from where we live.  The suburbs of north Dallas keep growing and so many stores are now within 30-45 minutes of where we live.  My husband probably broke into hives when he saw the sign.  He doesn't like Hobby Lobby or Michaels, and I'm pretty sure he won't like Jo Ann.  I could spend hours in each!

I know shopping usually wouldn't be considered "fun" for my boys but they are pretty good in two stores: Gymboree and Old Navy.

Will tried on some sunglasses while we spent our 'gymbucks' at Gymboree. They love watching the Gymboree TV.

Ben likes petting the dog and talking to the mannequins at Old Navy.

The boys are worn out from shopping.

This photo is thrown in just because my boys are cute! 
And you can see the vintage sports pennants that I finally hung in Will's room.  You know I started redecorating his room over a year ago.  Maybe I'll finish it before he graduates from high school.

Staying at home has allowed us a chance to play games with the boys.  Will loves playing board games.  Ben is just a little bit too young to really play along, but we try to let him be involved as much as his attention span will allow.  

Family fun can be simple
Ben and Will seem to think climbing on their daddy is great fun.

The only thing better than getting to watch TV in mommy and daddy's room is getting to use daddy as a pillow :)  Will seems to be pretty comfy.

The last thing I love about spending time at home with my family...
wearing my PJs!

Happy Friday, Friends!

Have a great weekend!

life rearranged


Life In An Instant 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Family Photos

In November we had Will's 5 year photos taken and our family photos taken for our Christmas card.  I've shown you our Christmas card, but I don't think I ever showed you other photos from that day.

It was a cool, cloudy day when we met Lauren at the Dallas Arboretum--perfect for photos.

We took this photo at the end of the photo shoot.  Both boys are happy.  Ben loves to ride on his daddy's shoulders and Will is laughing at something, probably Papaw Jerry.

Mark's parents were with us and Lauren took this group photo of all of us. 

I really like this photo of Mark's parents.

The boys look really good in this photo.  My hair is a mess.  The wind started to blow just as we sat down.

This is the photo we used on our Christmas card.

Some of my favorite photos from that day were taken at this temporary castle that was constructed at the Arboretum.

Will looks so big here! 
He wouldn't be still or pose. He's moving in all of his photos, including this one :)

Ben's getting so big, too! 

This photo is framed in our bedroom.  

There are more photos of the boys that I'll share later.  Just wanted you to see these.  Lauren is a pleasure to work with and I'm always excited to see the images she captures of our family.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Boys, Music, Movies, Pinterest and John

My Boys
Sometimes Mark and I can't get over how lucky we are.  Our boys aren't perfect, but they are pretty special to us.  They are smart, funny, sweet and loving.  I took this photo after church on Sunday.  They weren't very excited about posing for a photo.  They were ready to change into play clothes and eat lunch.

I’m currently crazy about The Head and The Heart.

My old roommate in Seattle (Kayreen) has knack for finding good music. She’s my cool, hip, go-to friend for recommendations on music and movies. Kayreen and I only lived together for six months, but we became fast friends. She was such a good friend when I lived in Seattle, and her friendship is one of the reasons I still have such fond memories of living in the Pacific Northwest. I’m so happy that we’ve recently reconnected. I finally got a smartphone and now we can text back and forth. {Side note: I’ve also reconnected with another dear college friend, Andrea. She doesn’t do facebook or blogs, but she texts! She and I text photos back and forth of our kiddos and other random things. I wouldn’t have been such a holdout on getting a smartphone if I’d known how much fun it’d be. }

Back to the music…
The Head and the Heart—You should really give their album The Head and The Heart a chance.

Another group you should checkout —The Civil Wars, their album Barton Hollow is excellent.

You know I can’t talk about music and not mention my loyalty to The Avett Brothers.

Ben (he’s two) has been requesting the song “Horchata” by Vampire Weekend. For a two-year-old he has great taste in music. Will’s always had good taste in music, too. He’s been a big fan of The Avett Brothers and Sarah Jarosz since he could talk.

Just to throw in something random from years ago, The Bends by Radiohead is still a really good album.

And, because we love Christmas music so much we still listen to it even though it’s the end of January.

Mark and I used to go to the movies almost every weekend. Each week we had our Friday ritual of reading movie reviews and deciding what we wanted to see. That was all before we had children. Since I’m away from the boys during the week, I want to spend as much time with them as I can on the weekend. Toddlers and movies don’t mix so we haven’t gone to the movies very much since having children, and I don’t think Winnie the Pooh and Cars 2 count. I know we could get a babysitter and go, but that’s expensive and I’m a weirdo who doesn’t like leaving my children with a babysitter (other than family). Call me overprotective, it’s a label that fits me.

What got me to thinking about movies is the recent Academy Awards nominations. They have me interested in the seeing several movies that I’ve missed. There are a few on the list that I’ve seen thanks to Amazon video on demand, but there are a lot that I’d like to watch.  The last movie that I watched that was nominated for an award was Midnight in Paris.  I really liked it.

Is Pinterest your "happy place"?  It's definitely mine.  I have almost 4,000 pins. 

We have started a ladies Bible study at our church. We are studying the Gospel of John. I led the class one week and my friend, Jami, led this week. John is such a great book to study because it’s so different than the other gospels. This week we are studying Chapter 4 & 5. The most exciting thing so far is friends who don’t go to our church are attending our Bible study. It’s been such an encouragement to study the life of Christ with the ladies of our church and our friends. Another thing I love about our Bible study group is that the ladies are all various ages. For example, we have a younger lady who just graduated college and older ladies who are grandmas. It’s refreshing to have the perspective from the younger ladies and the wisdom of the older ladies. Thank goodness the older ladies bring knowledge, insight and understanding that I lack. If you are interested in studying the life of Christ and the gospels, a very helpful resource I’ve used in preparing for the class is The Fourfold Gospel by J.W. McGarvey.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy Rider

The warm weather this January couldn't be more opposite of last years--snow, snow and more snow!  We had a beautiful day at the beginning of the month, and the boys were able to ride their new bikes.  Will was adamant that he didn't need to wear a coat because he was too busy riding.  The driveway at our house slopes so we headed over to Mark's parents' house.  They have the perfect driveway for bike riding.  It's long and level. 

We scored at the after Christmas clearance at Toys R Us and found Will's bike for a super deal.  Ben's bike is used but new to us.  Some friends passed it down to Ben.

Will is so proud of his new bike!  We're so proud of him for learning how to ride it.  He learned (with training wheels) much faster than we imagined.  Look at that big smile on his face.  My boy is growing up!

Will's passing up Ben.

Ben was more reserved on his bike.  He was more comfortable straddling the bike and scooting with his feet.  He's still little and there's no hurry.  I'm thankful our friends gave him the bike so he didn't feel left out.  Also, I'm thankful we didn't have to buy him a bike since he's really not big enough to ride it.

Just a little accident while making a turn.  He feel off the driveway onto the grass.  No harm though because he's still smiling.

Just a little help from Mamaw and he's back in the saddle.  Ben hurried over to make sure Will was okay.

There you have it.  Will and Ben's first bike ride.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Texas and More

I love Life in an Instant and InstaFriday.  I can share all of the moments captured on my phone throughout the week (or in this case the last couple of weeks.)  I'm mostly using the hipstamatic app but I've used the instagram app a couple of times.

Over the Christmas break we stopped by Central Market in Plano.  (Nicolle, this photo is for you!)  Central Market is a fantastic grocery store that carries a lot of local Texas fare and produce and they support Texas farmers and ranchers.  They have this giant painted Texas flag in the entrance. 
God bless Texas!

On Monday, we were invited to celebrate the 3rd birthday of my cousin's son.  They had the party at a local children's museum.  What a terrific idea!  My boys had such a great time that we had a hard time getting them to leave.  This is a colorful mural painted on one of the walls at the museum.

Forty-two, anyone?  Do you play dominoes?  My grandpa used to play dominoes every day with the old men in our small town. 

Ben thought it was pretty neat to throw the dominoes and because of that I had to quickly take the photo so I could tell him to shuffle not throw. 

We haven't had a very cold winter, which is great, but I miss having chili on a cold night.  We had chili last week when we had a cold front.  This chili mix is made by my cousin and her husband's family.  Their line of gourmet dip mixes and other goodies is phenomenal.  You must check out Pepper Springs.  Mark and I love the Manana Mexican Dip and the Baked Enchilada Dip as well as JR's Chli Fixins'.  Delish!

I made frito chili pie. 

To redeem myself for the unhealthy frito chili pie, I also made something healthy.  Whole wheat penne pasta with spinach, tomatoes, olive oil and a little Newman's Own light Italian dressing.   

Lately my boys have been all about these smoothies. 

Last Friday we went to visit my grandma in the nursing home.  On the way there, the boys watched some movies using their headphones.  So darn cute! 

Poor Will scraped his hands when he fell at daycare.  Can you see the band-aides on each hand? 

We had another wonderful visit with my precious grandma.  She lives in the nursing home because of her advanced Alzheimer's.  Mama Winnie was in a pleasant mood.   

After the nursing home we treated ourselves to some Tex-Mex at our favorite restaurant.  Yum-o chips and salsa! 

Last week it was a beautiful day and we walked to the library after running some errands downtown.  Our small town has a really nice public library considering the size of our town.  We are definitely going to take advantage of it this summer. 



Will and Ben 

One more thing...
On Monday on our way home from the birthday party, we saw this beautiful sunset.  This was our incredible view while driving down the country road back to our small town.  We probably didn't pass 10 cars the entire 30 minutes we were driving home.  This is one of the benefits of country living--a beautiful, peaceful drive.

life rearranged

Also linking up to Life in an Instant
Kids Stuff World


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