Friday, December 2, 2011

A New Accessory

Our beautiful girl is now donning a new accessory...glasses! Thanks to a very thorough vision screening at preschool (and a diligent screener who caught what our pediatrician's office missed), we discovered that Kate has an eye condition similar to what her dad was diagnosed with in elementary school. She has one strong eye and one weak eye (amblyopia). We were concerned that she may have to wear a patch to strengthen her weak eye, just as Josh did as a child. We took her to a pediatric opthalmologist, who told us the current research says to start with glasses, and if things don't improve then a patch may be the next step. We're praying that the glasses do the trick, because a patch just doesn't sound like fun at all. But, for the time being, we are so thankful that Kate loves her new glasses! And, doesn't she look all grown up!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kate and Kiwi

In Kate's preschool class, every child gets to take Kiwi the monkey (sort of the class mascot) home for a weekend. They are told to record their adventures with Kiwi and take pictures, then add them to a class journal. Kate was so very excited for her chance to take Kiwi home. He went with us everywhere!

They made bread together, enjoyed snacks, went to mom's allergy doctor's office, and even took a trip to a local farm with Adelaide & Abe.

Halloween 2011

I'm playing blog catch up tonight. Here are some pictures from Halloween this year. We invited Bible study friends to join us, so we had a whole herd of trick or treaters. Kate and Jill were, of course, princesses. However, these princesses also wore super hero capes. I think it gave them a regal air.

We hadn't even started, and Kate already had the gleam of candy in her eyes...

The whole gang.

"Hey guys, wait up!"

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Camping Trip

I've been rather slack in blogging this summer. I'll blame it on the extreme heat. Thankfully, we're finally getting a break in the weather. And, of course, the record setting drought that has stricken Central Texas was brought to an end . . . on the weekend we scheduled a camping trip. :) If we'd known that was all it took, we would have gone camping 6 months ago.

We met some friends (the Conlys, Carters, and Kinmans) at Inks Lake State Park. The plan was to camp Friday and Saturday night, but the rain forced us to pack it in a day early. Still, the kids had a lot of fun--during the day. Sleeping was another matter. This was Jill's first camping trip and she didn't quite take to sleeping a tent, even though it is a XL 3-Room Vacation Lodge.

We were teased just a bit about the size of our tent, but I was happy to have the space. :)

The kids were great at entertaining themselves and getting very dirty. We spent Saturday morning at Sweet Berry Farm and really enjoyed the pumpkin patch, feeding the goats, and picking beautiful flowers.

Saturday afternoon we fished at Inks Lake. Jill was a really determined fisher-girl. She didn't want to quit, even though we didn't get a nibble.

Jill also enjoyed riding around in our wagon. She had the best mode of transport.
Despite the rain and lack of sleep, we enjoyed spending time with our good friends and look forward to our next camping trip in the spring.

Monday, July 4, 2011

10th Wedding Anniversary Trip

The 2nd of June marked our tenth wedding anniversary, and to celebrate Josh and I decided to take a cruise. (We'd never been on one before.) The kids spent a week with their grandma and grandpa, and Josh and I set off for a 7 day Carribbean cruise out of Galveston. It was a wonderful mix of relaxation and sightseeing. Our favorite parts of the trip were the excursions...the ports of call were Jamaica (Montego Bay), Grand Cayman Island, and Cozumel.
Here we are on the stern of the ship, overlooking a beautiful sunset, on "Elegant Attire Night."
Our room was on the bow of the ship and had a window, but only a few steps from our room was the access door to the deck. It was almost like we had a private balcony, because that deck was often empty. Here we are on the deck, docking at Montego Bay.

Jamaica was probably the least fun port, mostly because we didn't book an excursion there--we just decided to wing it on our own. We did see some interesting sights and haggled with friendly (though eager) locals for some souvenirs for the kids. But the area we were in seemed very economically depressed and dirty. The port was very industrial and just not what we were expecting. We bought a hop on, hop off bus pass to see a few sights. We found a local restaurant and enjoyed delicious Jamaican jerk pork and rice. It rained on us a bit, but we made the best of it. When we hopped back on the bus, we were the only riders so the driver decided to take us on a private tour of the city center, where the local fruit stands and vendors were. It was good time, but we definitely recommend a guided excursion in Montego Bay...I think you'd be able to see more of the beautiful countryside instead of just the commercial areas.

The next morning we arrived in Grand Cayman, which is the complete opposite of Montego Bay in almost everyway. It is very obvious that there is a lot of money on that island. Everything was very pricey, and there were high end shops everywhere. We split a pork sandwich, appetizer, and coke at this seaside restaurant, and the total was $40 US.

We opted for a snorkeling excursion in Grand Cayman, and it was so much fun. Our cruise ship is in the background of this picture.

We saw beautiful reefs and a shipwreck, and the water was gorgeous. There were many fish, though not as colorful as I would have expected.

The third port was Cozumel. We found this to be a nice mix of cleanliness, hospitality, and decent prices.
We bought a day pass at a private island to enjoy a full day of hanging out on the beach. We (and about 100 other cruise passengers) took a small boat about 45 minutes along the Mexican coast to Isla Pasion.
We swam, relaxed, and enjoyed the Mexican buffet & bar.

On the way back from the island, our boat came across 4 teenage Mexican boys who had somehow gotten separated from their little sailboat out in the ocean. (We couldn't tell if the boat had capsized or if they got out to swim and the boat got away from them.) They were in distress, so our 3 person crew rescued these kids! Everyone on our boat cheered. It was exciting.
Having now taken a cruise, we can compare it to an all-inclusive resort vacation where we previously stayed...and I think we'd opt for the latter option in the future. Not to say that the cruise wasn't fun, but I think we got a little bored of being on the boat. Our ship was on the small side, so maybe larger cruise ships have more to offer. At any rate, it was marvelous not to do any cooking, cleaning or child-rearing for 7 full days. It was a great getaway for us as a couple, and a wonderful way to celebrate 10 years of married life!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kate's 4th Birthday: Princess Party, redux

Kate is still very much into princesses, so it was no surprise that she requested a pink princess-themed party for her birthday. So, much like last year, we invited Kate's friends to join us, decked out in their own royal attire. The timing of Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton made this year especially neat. Kate and I watched the wedding (recorded...not at 4am!) on Friday morning. She was so excited to see a real Princess Kate, and wanted to put on a "wedding dress" and crown for the occassion.

On Saturday, we made preparations for her party, and she was all smiles.

Once our party guests arrived, I had them all sit down and told them about a real royal wedding that happened just yesterday with a real Princess Kate! We played a little clip of William and Kate walking down the aisle and getting into their horse-drawn carriage. The girls were enthralled to say the least.

Afterwards, we played a few games in the backyard. Then, onto cake and presents.

Jill enjoyed the cake as well. :)

Kate received many lovely gifts from her sweet friends. Josh and I got her a "big girl bike," which was a big hit.

Kate, we can hardly believe that you are four! We are so thankful for you. Happy Birthday!