Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School Daze

My babies are off to school. Olivia to Kindergarten (last week) and Claire to Preschool (today).
Olivia's first week of Kindergarten went well, she loves it. She wakes up bright and early (6-6:30)excited for a new day of school even though she has afternoon Kindergarten. She has a wonderful teacher and there are lots of friendly kids in the class.

My hubby and I and Claire all took Olivia to her first day of Kindergarten. The parents have to learn the routine as much as the Kindergarteners. We helped her with her lunch (at 10:45 am for afternoon Kindergarten!) and then we walked with the group to the classroom. Several of us parents stayed in the classroom to check it out. It seemed hard for many of the parents to let go. We just stayed long enough to see how they start their day. When I picked her up after school, the first words out of her mouth were "I had fun there!".

On Friday, Olivia wanted to get the 'hot lunch' because it was pizza, I brought Claire along too and she had pizza, too. They loved it!
Today was Claire's first day of Preschool. She was so excited, she ran in circles when we got there. Olivia and I said our good byes....Claire seemed unusually quiet. When I picked her up at 2pm, one of the teachers said she was quiet. I thought maybe she missed her sister. Later, Claire did pipe up and say "I missed you lots Mommy". When I saw her in the playground, she shouted "Mommy!" and ran straight for me and gave me a huge hug....she was so cute!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fun in Amarillo

Splashing around...

Hanging out at our friend's house.
Fun at the amusement park.
At the zoo where we met up with my BIO friend, Misty and her kids. We met online and have kids that were born in October 2004. We had a blast getting to know them.

The famous "Cadillac Ranch" in Amarillo. Some wealthy Texan's idea of fun. He half buried all these Cadillacs in the ground. They used to be solid colors, pastel, I think. Now everyone paints all over them.

Fun with paints...

Through the desert, over the mountains, into Texas we go....

Windmills in California.

Mojave desert.

No Grand Canyon this time.

We stopped for dinner at La Posada, a historic Route 66 hotel and restaurant. It's in Winslow, Arizona, where we stayed one night halfway through our drive.

Entering New Mexico.
Ahhh...the Lone Star State...back in the Bible belt.
First stop: Amarillo to stay with friends.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Playin' in the sand

Today the girls and I drove to Avila Beach about 2 1/2 hours from here to play in the sand. I have to tell you, I am in love with this beach, the weather was fantastic. It was nice to breath some fresh, clean air. Sorry, no pictures, I had to limit my stuff to carry since it was just me. I thought this would be our last great outing before school starts next week.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

1 loaded van, 2 tired parents, 2 sick kids

Yep, the girls are sick, they got sick Friday evening as we were pulling in for a stop at Santa Rosa, NM. When we got out of the car, we discovered they had high fevers. No wonder they were so cranky and whiny! I have to say I am thankful they got sick at the END of our trip!

Friday was a looooong drive. We left the house around 8am, but had to drop my hubby's nephew off at his house in Fort Worth, TX before we officially left town. It seemed to take a long time. We ended up having lunch at a McDonald's in the small town of Vernon, TX. I was amazed at this McDonald's, it had sinks in the bathroom in the shape of Texas! Where else would you find a state whose shape is so remarkable?

We finally made it to Albuquerque after traveling for about 10 hours. Tired, exhausted. And then of course, the girls kept waking about every 2 hours since they were sick. Poor things! I always feel so bad when they are sick. We didn't get much sleep that night.

At least we knew Saturday would be a shorter drive from Albuquerque, NM to Kingman, AZ. We stopped for lunch in Gallup. There was really nothing memorable about today, except I had to take Claire potty at the El Rancho hotel in Gallup. I think it must be a historic hotel from the days of the old route 66. They had pictures of celebs throughout the lobby. It was very southwestern and old.

Tomorrow we will finally arrive home after crossing the Mojave desert!

Following Route 66

I didn't really think about it when we planned this trip, but we have been following along the historic route 66 and even made some pit stops along the way. We are currently staying in Kingman, AZ tonight...who knows, maybe we will be able to visit the Route 66 museum tomorrow before we leave.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dallas and then HOME

So we have been in Dallas for about the past 2 weeks. We have really been having alot of fun. We have been staying at my in-laws and the girls' cousin stayed over here as well, last week.

Last week, we chilled out when we first arrived so we could rest up. Then we went to a play in Arlington put on at a children's theater. They had a play about Nate the Great, from a book series. Olivia enjoyed it, again, not for 2 year olds. And I thought it was rather boring, but I'm glad Olivia liked it.

The next day, we drove southwest of Fort Worth to Fossil Rim Wildlife center. It was awesome! It's a place where you can drive through and feed wild animals, deer, zebra, ostriches, giraffes, etc. It was lots of fun as we fended off the ostriches who tried to stick their heads in the windows. I highly recommend this place to families. It was enjoyable for all ages. Halfway through the drive, there is a place to stop and shop, eat, and pet goats. It's really an all day excursion to drive out there, do the drive and return home.

One evening, I was able to have a 'girls night out', with my friend, Katy Hubener (you may not recall, she ran for a state office in Grand Prairie, TX). We went to see No Reservations, it was the cutest movie. We were inspired to eat some food and partake of good wine afterwards. I had so much fun!

Another day, we met my friend and her kids at the Frontiers of Flight Museum near Dallas Love field. It was an ideal place to meet since we are staying south of Dallas and she lives east of Dallas. It was pretty nice actually, they had lots of interesting planes to look at and even the actual Apollo 7 module. There is also a small airplane themed play area for kids. My friend and I ate at Campisi's nearby (not the original one though), we recalled how popular it was in college at SMU. We became friends during our freshman year when we lived on the same floor. I was disappointed in the pizza, it just wasn't as good as I remember.

Then, on the next day, Thursday, my hubby arrived to have some vacation and drive back with us to California. While he was here, we did some family things with his family and we also managed to see a couple of good movies, Bourne Ultimatum and I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry. The first was really good but hard to watch because of the shaky filming style (I don't know how else to describe it), the latter one was just hilarious.

Sunday, we drove up north of Dallas to meet up with my friend that boards a horse up there. She boards it at a small farm, run by a really nice couple. We got to meet her beautiful horse, brush it, feed it, pet it. There were lots of other animals, too. Several dogs, one named 'General' which loved to play fetch. We also saw some cows, one poor cow is named Forrest Gump because he was born with a neurological disoder and can't walk properly, but he is really sweet.

This past Tuesday, the girls and I drove way up north to Oklahoma (just kidding) to meet up with 2 of my internet friends from my October mommy board. DJ from the Texas Happenings blog graciously hosted us, her neighborhood has fantastic pools. Our other friend, Kristie, and her son joined us. It was so nice to visit and get to know each other in real life. And all the kids played well together. The pools were lots of fun. One had a slide which Olivia loved going down, but Claire was too scared to go by herself. I ended up holding her on my lap.

Wednesday, I took the kids to show them where I used to work at Northwood University (8 years ago) and introduce them to some people I used to work with. Later in the afternoon, after their naps, we drove north again. First to go shopping at Grapevine Mills outlet, then to meet friends at their house. I've had fun shopping this trip, especially since there isn't much shopping back home. I've most enjoyed shopping the sales at the Gymboree outlet.

Today, Thursday, we have just been spending the day relaxing and packing. We are headed back home tomorrow....woo hoo! We have really been having a great time, but now I'm ready to go home and enjoy our time before the girls start school. We are leaving early Friday and expect to make it home sometime Sunday.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Last week we spent in Houston, actually in a suburb called Katy. We used to live there a few years ago. It was so nice seeing friends and seeing lots of things.

We drove down from Dallas on a Monday and had lunch with my family at Katz's Express (NY style deli) then we went to meet my childhood friend Heather. She has lived her whole life in Houston and this particular week, she and her family were packing up for a move to Utah! I am so excited for her. And it was so great to see her before she moved. She is one of the people who has influenced me greatly in my faith in God.

We decided to take the kids to a bounce house and afterwards, she and her husband had dinner with the girls and I at Johnny Carino's. Maybe someday we'll get to visit them in Utah.

After dinner, the girls and I headed over to our friend's, Laurel and Fernando, where the girls and I would stay all week. They have a 2 1/2 year old and 4 month old, both girls.

On Tuesday, we all headed to the Children's museum where I was able to meet with other friends. I just love this museum, it is one of the best children's museums I have been to. It's too bad we didn't have more time.

Wednesday,we were going to go to the pool, but Claire woke up with a fever :(. Fortunately, it only lasted about a day. Thursday, we headed out to NASA space center and met with more friends. Although I lived a large portion of my life in the Houston area, I never went to NASA. It had some wonderful shows and exhibits, and again, we didn't have enough time to do everything. Most of it is geared for older elementary school aged kids so it was over my kids' heads, but Olivia really seemed interested in hearing about space exploration and was attentive. Claire, on the other hand, just wanted to run in circles!

On Friday, we took the kids to a $4 movie at Katy Mills mall called Surf's Up. It was okay, but not suited for 2 year olds. After Claire finished her snacks in all of 10 minutes, she started climbing on the seats, walking up and down the steps, hanging on the railing in front of us. At least Olivia enjoyed the movie. Afterwards we had lunch at the Rainforest cafe which my kids always enjoy because there is so much for them to look at. After lunch, Laurel and I walked around the mall with the kids and shopped.

Saturday, we finally headed off to Dallas to stay at my in-laws. Although it was very humid in Houston, it just didn't feel as HOT as home and there was so much to do. Next time maybe we can go to the science museum and also up to Brenham to tour the Blue Bell (best tasting ice cream in the country) facility.