Thursday, November 25, 2010

Houston - Saturday

The girls woke up Saturday morning, left the fellas at the Stricklin compound and headed out for mani/pedis, a trip to Starbucks and some shopping.

Olivia has only had one other 'real' pedicure so this was a treat for her.  Olivia, Abby and Gay were all in the same room getting pedicures while I had my nails done.  I loved listening to all of Abby and Olivia's chit-chat.  They were having so much fun together, it just made my heart smile!

There's nothing like a Strawberry Frappucino to get the day off to a good start.

Fun toenails.

We went to Rice Village for a quick stop at Origins (which Gay introduced me to when we 'lunched' in Houston) and Bath & Body Works.  Everyone came away with a little treat, then we met the guys at Lupe Tortilla for lunch.  No trip to Houston will ever be complete, for us, if we don't get to Lupe's!  It was a gorgeous day (maybe a little hot for me and my sweater) for sitting near the sandbox, drinking ice cold Corona Lights and being with some dear Houston friends.

After lunch, the girls had one last shopping stop to make.  How cute are these girls!?

We got home to find the dads about as relaxed as they could possibly be...

I take that back, they worked hard packing the cooler before we got home!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Houston Trip

Abby and Sam played hooky from school on Friday.  Will played golf and Gay was at work so Don and I took all four kids to Kemah Boardwalk for the day.  We pretty much had the whole place to ourselves.

Letting Sam go on the Wipeout (a very spinny ride) right when we got there was not our best move of the day.  He was a bit gun-shy the rest of our time there.

Abby, Olivia and McIver were a little braver.  They didn't hesitate to jump on the Bouncer.

When the Bouncer proved too tame for McIver, he jumped on the Drop Zone.
 It took him about 150 feet in the air and then dropped down.  He LOVED it - and did it about six times in  a row without even having to get off.  He was the only person on it most of the time, and talked the ear off of the sweet girl  working the controls.

Sam sat out Pharaoh's Fury, but the other kids loved it. Again, they were the only people on the ride most of the time, and were able to just stay buckled and ride it over and over again.

We had a delicious Mexican lunch at the Cadillac Bar and then found a photo booth.  While the girls were having their picture made, McIver and Sam hammed it up right outside the booth.

I didn't think the boys would be interested in having their pictures taken in the photo booth; but they were.  So, the girls had a turn posing with my camera.  They were so, so happy to finally be together again and just kept proclaiming what an awesome day they were having!

Then, THEN, McIver decided he was ready to try The Inverter.  It's a good thing I had not seen exactly what The Inverter did before letting McIver on it ... by himself (not that my knowing would have changed anything).  He was all buckled in and the ride started.  He went backwards from this point...

to this - perpendicular to the ground - this - COMPLETELY UPSIDE DOWN.

Don and I bought a ticket to ride one ride with the kids ... Sam opted out again, but the girls were happy to sit with him and wait for us at the end of the ride.  We had a FANTASTIC day that will not soon be forgotten by any of us.  We hated that Gay and Will couldn't be with us, but we did what we had to do!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Computer Issues

Just wanted to let you know (whoever you are!) that I have not fallen off the face of the Earth.  Our computer is giving me fits - the wireless connection peters out after about 10 minutes so I have not been able to finish loading pictures from our Houston trip.  Rest assured, I'm working on it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Houston Trip

Our trip to Houston last week was SO MUCH FUN!!  As soon as Gay and Don left last July, we decided it was time to book a trip for us to get back to Houston for a visit.  Olivia and McIver were SO excited to skip school for a few days and get back to their old stomping grounds.  McIver certainly remembers our time in Houston more than our time in Greenville, so he enjoyed talking about his memories.  At one point, as we were driving past his old school and to our old house, he took a deep breath and sighed, then said,"I just have so many good memories here."  It brought tears to my eyes.

The kids spent all day at school, then we met Will at home to load up and head to the airport.  It was a loooong, day!  Olivia and McIver were pooped by the time we got on the bus to pick up our rental car.

Once we got to Houston, we stopped to grab a quick bite to eat on the way to Wendy and Jim's house where we spent Wednesday and Thursday night.  All four children played for a little while, then we got them settled down so that we could catch up and enjoy Thai take-out.  It was soooooo good - and spicy.  We definitely miss the restaurant options in Houston!

We took our time getting up on Thursday morning, drove around some of our old stomping grounds (our old house, both children's schools) and then went to the Children's Museum of Houston. I was not really looking forward to it, but it turned out to have lots of updates since our last visit.  The day was beautiful so the kids really enjoyed being outside in the Waterworks.

We met Wendy and Jim for lunch at Amazon Grill, one of our favorites when we lived in Houston.  After lunch, we had just enough down time to relax (read: nap), and then head over to see Shannon and Reagan.  Blakely and I had a chance to catch up, and the children had a ball running around and playing.  The ice cream truck was an extra special treat!

After the much-too-short visit with the Netherys, we got ready for our night out with some more Houston friends.  Gay and Don brought Abby and Sam to stay with the other four kids (and two sitters) at Jim and Wendy's house.  The six of us loaded up to meet some other friends at the new House of Blues in downtown Houston.  From there, we walked up to the Lucky Strike bowling alley.  It was easily the fanciest bowling alley any of us had ever been to.  We were all having such a great time that we stayed there for dinner - it was not your usual bowling alley food. 

Olivia ended up going home with the Stricklins to spend the night with Abby.  Her sweet little face lit up when she found out that was an option!  I was smart enough to head straight to bed while Will and Jim stayed up solving a Rubicks Cube (with a little help from YouTube).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween was a gorgeous day in Columbia.  Once we got home from church (back in the cathedral which was beautiful), we had a good, old Sunday dinner.  Will fried some chicken and I made macaroni and cheese and we told the children that's what we used to do 'when we were young.'  After they rolled their eyes at us and cleared their plates, we sent them outside to enjoy the day.  They rode bikes, played in the yard and got excited about the Halloween festivities planned for the night.

McIver was glad that I found some black hair spray for his hair.  He just could not be Harry Potter without black hair.  I told him I was nervous that his hair would not come clean and he would have black hair until Thanksgiving.  I even offered that I could return the hairspray and give him the money that I had spent on it.  Before committing, he asked how much he would get.  When I told him $2.50, he decided to risk the black hair.  

Harry Potter - Before

Harry Potter - After

Harry Potter - Way After
(By the end of the evening, McIver's shirt was dusted with gray, along with both his hair and face.  He looked like a much-older Harry Potter.  Thankfully, we were able to get the spray out of his hair and he's back to his blond self.)

Olivia enjoyed being a cowgirl this year.  She was able to convince several of her friends to join her.  I think their mamas were happy that they were able to use clothes they already had rather then spending a fortune on costumes.  We did have to buy Olivia some boots, but she loves them and I think will end up wearing them a lot.

Will took the children trick-or-treating while I stayed home to answer the door.  Poor Tex was miserable because he was locked in his room.  I just couldn't risk a black dog escaping up the street every time I tried to answer the door.  He was glad when the kids got home and eager to check out all the excitement.  Olivia had put his ball in her bucket to see what he would do, although, I'm sure he would have preferred candy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween at School

McIver as Harry Potter during his class party

Olivia with friends (Lady Gaga and two cowgirls) during the Halloween Parade

McIver's PEAK Party

McIver's PEAK birthday party was a huge success.  He was totally in his element and had a fantastic time.  It also helped that the weather was perfect for being outside.

On the 'whale watch' - bascially, it's a giant see saw.  Kids pile on it and try to balance it, or knock each other off of it.

The BirthdayBoy on his first climb.

Olivia even gave the Alpine Tower a try.  It took her a few tries, but she ended up making it all the way to the top a few times.   She was WAY proud of herself!  Apparently, there's a log at the top where the children sign their names once they've reached the top.

The Giant Swing was a big hit, too.

McIver on one of his many ascents.  He got to the top in record time.  I started calling him 'my little mountain goat.'

And, then my camera battery died.  Will and I both had a turn on the Giant Swing.  It was really fun, until I started going in circles.  Am I getting old?  Will turned upside down while he was on the swing, so then all the kids thought that was a fun trick to try.  Will also made it to the top of the Alpine Tower.    

In the interest of getting this post up, I'll add the pictures from Will's phone later.