Friday, February 29, 2008

Olivia's 1st Field Trip

Today was Olivia's first ever ride on a school bus - and mine, too, for that matter. We were both very excited! The entire Kindergarten (4 classes) went to the Children's Museum today. It turned out to be a pretty good time. Even though we have been to that museum more times than I can count, it was definitely more fun to be there with a big group - and with other moms and a 'tour guide' who led us around and played games with the kids.

Preparing to board the bus...

First stop: KID-TV
The kids pretended they were contestants on a game show, manned the cameras and 'worked' behind the scenes. We had never actually been in this room before b/c it was always so crowded. So this was our favorite part of the morning.

Olivia really enjoyed working the camera and seeing herself on-screen.

Face-painting is always a hit, too.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Belated pictures: Park City trip

Better late than never! Here are a few pictures from our trip to Park City in February. We had a great time - we heard from the locals that we had the best snow that they'd seen in 8 or 10 years. That was a good thing considering the fact that I had not skiied in about 12 years. There was plenty of soft snow to break my fall(s). Once I tried out a few green slopes (with a very bored Will!), we separated so I could try some blue slopes while he braved the double black diamond thrillers. I fell a few times, but didn't do any major damage. It was a great time - and now we're looking forward to a Spring Break trip to Vail next year with the kids. We'll meet Dawn, David and Andrew at Dawn's parents' house.

Here we are before taking off on the chair lift for the first run of the day. I was still really nervous at this point - not even sure if I'd be able to manage the short trek to the chair lift!

This was a little later in the day - you can tell that I had a tad more confidence by this point.
A view from the top of the mountain.

Thanks to Celestine for sending the pictures to me!

Gearing up for the Rodeo

It's Rodeo time again. This is a BIG deal here in Houston. By BIG, I mean, there is an entire day (tomorrow) called Go Texan Day where all of Houston dresses up in rodeo/cowboy gear to celebrate the kick-off of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, a three-week, rodeo/party/concert/state fair/barbecue cook-off affair. It truly is an official day where the entire city is encouraged to 'grow beards, wear big hats, boots and spurs..." (per the rodeo website!).

O & Mac had the perfect outfits our first year (the 2006 Rodeo) here so we didn't have to go out of our way to prepare for Go Texan Day. I felt like a bit of a poser so I didn't bother getting dressed up (unless you call wearing jeans being dressed up). Take a look at how little O & Mac look in these pictures.

By the time of the 2007 Rodeo, we had invested in a pink cowgirl hat for Olivia. McIver was still pleased as punch to be wearing the red cowboy boots. He wasn't interested in a cowboy hat at all. He was fine to wear the farmer-looking hat. As a teacher, I had to dress up (to a small degree) last year for the Rodeo Parade. I think I just wore a brown t-shirt and straw cowboy hat that I had found at Target (but did not feel compelled to go further than that). The Rodeo Parade at school is terribly cute - the kids are all decked out in their finest western attire, we march down the hall to the gym where parents are waiting for us. Then we sing about 6 cowboy/girl songs. (Most) Everyone loves it.

Now that the 2008 Rodeo has arrived, I felt the need to "do as the Romans." So, McIver and I headed to Cavender's Boot City (with the other 500 people who 'needed' new cowboy duds) yesterday afternoon. He had inherited some boots a few weeks ago, but was still in 'need' of a shirt and hat (and, according to him, spurs and a horse, but I told him Cavenders didn't sell those). As you can see from the picture, he selected the ugliest shirt on the racks. Believe me, there were plenty of ugly ones to choose from, but I think he found the very ugliest. I kept trying to convince him to get a nice plaid shirt that he could wear again and again. Before I knew it, though, he had stripped off his shirt from that morning and was snapping up his new shirt. You see, since it is a 'cowboy shirt it has to have cowboys on it!' And it has 5 of them, on bucking bulls no less. It's very Garth Brooks circa 1990. But, McIver loves it and has already worn it 2 days in a row.
We also purchased a cowgirl shirt and boots for me - which I love and do not feel the lease bit ridiculous in! - and a new shirt for Olivia.

As we loaded into the car to pick Olivia up from school:

Me: Well, Bud, are you excited about your new hat and shirt?

McIver (in a bit of a sad voice): Yes ma'am, but I very wanted a horse.

Snaggle Tooth - Part Two

It's Official . . . Olivia is a true Snaggletooth! Just a few minutes before we walked in the door from our trip to Park City two weekends ago, Olivia lost her second top front tooth. She was so excited she could hardly stand up! The Tooth Fairy came through with another 4 quarters for her. She said it felt 'weird' to eat for a few days, but has since managed to bounce back just fine.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

We're SO not lame...

... and that's how the planning began last May for a trip to Austin with six friends from church.

We stayed in the Writers' Cottage at Carrington's Bluff B&B in Austin near the UT campus. It was the most relaxing weekend I've had lately. We drove up Friday afternoon and had time to visit before our evening plans kicked in.

We made our way to Guero's Taco Bar (and heard some not-so-great live music) while we waited in their outdoor bar. After dinner we crossed the street to the Continental Club to hear Elana James ( We had heard her last May when we went to Austin with the Stricklins and loved her. She plays the fiddle (or maybe it's a violin) and the band also includes a bass player, drummer and guitar player. I'm always super-impressed by the bass player.

Lucy, Margaret, Gay, Sue, me and Jacquie

After the band finished, we headed back to the cottage for some relaxing and more talking - and a whole lot of laughing.

Saturday was a beautiful day! I'm sad (but not too sad) to say that Gay & I spent much of the day indoors watching 2 movies in a row - 27 Dresses and Juno. It was my idea of heaven! The other gals spent some time shopping and relaxing. We met back up at the cottage with plenty of time to spare (and drink wine) before our dinner reservation.

Dinner at the Castle Hill Cafe was delicious - and the conversation was a RIOT. I'm sure the other diners wondered just how old we were with all the giggling going on at our table.

Sunday was another gorgeous day. We took our time getting up and dressed before packing up. Gay & I knew that no matter what anyone else did, WE had to revisit Kerby Lane cafe before we left town. It's a cute little restaurant with interesting waitstaff and clientele (read: lots of tattoos and piercings) and the best queso you've ever tasted. Sue and Margaret joined us there and afterwards, we headed home.

I returned home rested and ready for a busy week. Will had kept the kids busy all weekend - even took the training wheels off of Mac's bike. He's not at all adept at riding it yet, but at least he's interested. I may have a few more pictures to share later this week...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentines gifts

In all the preparation to get ready for our trip to Park City last weekend, I forgot to give the children their Valentine gifts (I know, I'm not winning Mom of the Year!). I decided it would be an easy way to get the kids out of bed this morning, even though they were up late last night waiting for us to get home. They look like sleepy heads in the pictures!

Spider Man PJs and an alphabet workbook for McIver.

A new frog nightgown for Olivia and some level 1 books that she can read to us.


Me: McIver, what do you want to do when we get home? Play outside?
McIver: Nah.
Me: WHAT!? It's a beautiful day!
McIver: Nah, that's another word for 'no.'

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!

HAPPY VALENTINE' S DAY!!! We've had a busy, busy day today. McIver had a party in his LadyBug class and I had a party in the Rabbit class. McIver went to gymnastics after school, which he loves. Then we quickly made our way to Kolter for Olivia's class party. It was a little bit of a zoo, but I think everyone had a good time.
As soon as we got home, the kids ran up to the playhouse to check out their Valentine goodies.
They promised they would brush their teeth as soon as the finished their candy.

Olivia chose just 2 pieces - she does not get her self-control from me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Snaggle Tooth

Olivia lost another tooth yesterday - front and center! She lost it at school so now she has gained a bit of notoriety among the kindergarten set which she is enjoying. She was able to go to the nurse's office to get a 'cool tooth necklace to keep the tooth in so I can show it to people.' Wow - just what her dance teacher wanted to see yesterday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bathing Beauties

Yes - those are bathing suits . . . in February! The kids and I stopped by Target yesterday on the way home from church. Since it was a beautiful day, I couldn't resist the bathing suits. Olivia and McIver wanted to "just try them on, pleeeeease!" this afternoon when we got home from school. The weather isn't quite as great today - lots of clouds and a tad cooler, but they were not deterred.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Amelia turned 1 on Friday! We gave her a call earlier today to sing Happy Birthday. Olivia and McIver love their cousins so much. McIver often brings me 'baby' toys that we have at home and says we should send them to Amelia and JuliAnna. (There are some, like an Elmo guitar, that we have saved to send as 'payback.' JuliAnna has an Old MacDonald Tractor coming her way soon!) We heard Amelia say "CaGa" for Carter (their dog) and "GaGa" (or something like that) for Daddy. We can't wait to see her when we go to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break next month!

This picture was taken back in December so it doesn't do birthday justice to Amelia. But, I couldn't resist putting up her picture in honor of her birthday!

Artwork by Olivia

In anticipation of the rodeo . . . a cowboy.

Inspired by Matisse (when Olivia was taking French earlier this school year).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mac the Builder

My little Trouble-Maker (with a capital "T" - is it coincidence that his initials are TMM - Trouble-Maker Merritt, maybe. Maybe that's what they'll call him when he's on the NASCAR circuit one day!)) was at it again today. All was quiet in the living room so I went to work at my computer earlier this afternoon. We had gone to the library after school today so I assumed that everyone was reading their new books. Then, I heard the sound of the stool being dragged across the floor. It's my fault - I should have gotten up then, but I didn't. Then, I heard the the front door open and slam shut. When I got up to see what was going on, I found this...
McIver had unscrewed the deadbolt on the back door. He got a screwdriver as a rebate from Lowe's b/c of the gift certificate we bought for GranDaddy before Christmas. This would be why he was quiet in the living room - NOT because he was sitting and quietly reading books to himself.
Olivia was happy to point out the obvious - "We can't go outside because the lock is missing." Which explains the dragging of the stool so he could go out the front door (he can't undo the lock on the laundry room door).
Now we have a new made-from-scratch playset. (The tape measure came in today's mail - another freebie, although, I thought we only ordered the screwdriver.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday morning bowling

It has been a long time since we've been able to spend a Saturday together around here. So, we let the kids decide what we would do together. They chose bowling!

After a few pointers from Dad, McIver started to get the hang of it. He ended up being a pretty good bowler.

As nervous as I was, noone's fingers got smashed in the ball-return machine.

This was O's 3rd time bowling, so she didn't need much instruction.

We're not sure why, but this is actually part of McIver's form - he finished every throw of the ball with a quick roll around the floor.

For the record, Will was the winner, McIver came in 2nd and Olivia was a close 3rd. I had to sit out this time b/c I seem to have hurt my back. I will give Will a run for his money, though, when I'm back to 100%!

McIver's new boots

My friend Kathy, and her son Joshua, earned themselves a place in McIver's Hall of Fame because now McIver has a new (to him) pair of 'radio' boots thanks to Josh's growing feet. McIver is looking forward to being able to buy a black cowboy hat to match once the rodeo begins. Yahoo!!