Spring Break Camping 2016

This week was full of camping and family fun. This is the second year that we went with a large group from the ward to go camping over spring break. Last year when we went, James was very young and Eliza was obsessed with mini doughnuts. This year was significantly easier than last year and we had a great time.

We left Monday afternoon after scrambling around all morning trying to get the last things in order. We went up to Lake Georgetown to Russell Park which is on the north side of the lake. People from our ward and our neighboring ward had reserved almost all of the spots on the tent camping loop so it was full of people that we knew. We set up camp and cooked dinner with our friends the Solters who came also. We made Texas Pioneer Pie (it was pi day!). We were going to make cobbler but we ran out of time. Monday night we had a large group family home evening lesson. One of the scouts from my troop put the program together and they had a few skits and then I gave the lesson. I’m sure there were people there that could have given a much better lesson than me, but I am good friends with the scouts, and I think they are comfortable asking me for things. It was a fun evening. Apparently, however, we got in trouble for being too loud and they asked us to disperse back to our camp sites. Eliza and James slept really well that night. It didn’t get too cold and we had a good night.

Sarah cooking dinner on Monday
Sarah cooking dinner on Monday
James waiting to eat
James waiting to eat
Looking out at the lake from our camp site
Looking out at the lake from our camp site
Eating dinner on Monday
Eating dinner on Monday

Tuesday we spent all day out camping. We played in the morning at the campsite and then in the afternoon we went down to the lake to play. They have a gravel beach that they built along the shore and we played there for a few hours. We had borrowed a kayak from another of our friends in the ward and I spent most of the time out on the kayak with the kids. I would hold them on my lap and we’d go out and paddle around. Last year when we tried to get Eliza on the water, she was terrified, but this year she absolutely loved it. She kept asking to go out again and again. She even wanted to try paddling by herself. She got it pretty good. She’d move the paddle back and forth, back and forth. I was so proud of her for being so brave and having such a good time. I took James out also and he had a good time. Sarah also took the kayak out and did really well. This was her first time doing it and she looked like a pro.

Eliza holding a rollie pollie
Eliza holding a rollie pollie
Eliza and James looking at the lake
Eliza and James looking at the lake
James playing in the dirt
James playing in the dirt
Eliza playing in the dirt
Eliza playing in the dirt
James loves camping. He was always asking to beput down so he could walk around.
James loves camping. He was always asking to beput down so he could walk around.

We ate dinner with the Solters again on Tuesday and then we made our peach cobbler. We had promised Eliza that we would roast marshmallows and have a fire but the kids were so exhausted that we had to do it while it was still light out after dinner. We had a good time with the marshmallows (although James wasn’t really a fan of the stickiness) and then read scriptures and put the kids down for bed. After the kids were down, Sarah and I played cards with some of my scouts. It was fun to be able to be camping with them and just be their friend and not have to be responsible for them.

Just out camping with my milk and scriptures. Life is awesome.
Just out camping with my milk and scriptures. Life is awesome.
Reading scriptures by the fire.
Reading scriptures by the fire.
Eliza roasting her marshmallow.
Eliza roasting her marshmallow.
Eliza's completed marshmallow.
Eliza’s completed marshmallow.
James woke up first and was throwing things at us.
James woke up first and was throwing things at us.
Eliza in daddy's sleeping bag.
Eliza in daddy’s sleeping bag.
Eliza showing piglet the lake one last time.
Eliza showing piglet the lake one last time.

Wednesday morning we packed up camp after breakfast and headed home. We had such a good time. This was totally our speed of a vacation. It could have been really stressful, but I was proud of Sarah and me for not losing our cool and just rolling with how things went. We need to get these kids out camping more often.

Thursday was our only normal day this week. I worked and then when I got home I prepared my gear for my Friday and Saturday scout training camp for my Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS) (since I obviously need an introduction!) 

Friday and Saturday I was down in Kyle for IOLS. I was the patrol leader for my patrol and we had a pretty good training session. I’ve been doing scouts for so long that I probably could have taught the course myself but I learned a few things. I mainly wanted to go so that I could check the box that I have been trained finally. I met some other LDS scout people from our stake and started to get to know them a bit which was really good.

Me starting the fire at IOLS. I couldn't get anyone in my patrol to do it so I did it.
Me starting the fire at IOLS. I couldn’t get anyone in my patrol to do it so I did it.

Today we had our ward conference. This was the first time we’ve really been able to hear our stake president speak because we were out of town when he was sustained and we didn’t get to hear him. I liked him a lot and think he will be a great president. We made it to choir after almost sleeping through it again so that was good. So now we’re ready for next week which should be as normal as things ever are around here.

Learning and Growing 2

So this week was week two of potty training for Eliza and we had a much better week! She is pretty consistently going in the toilet for #1 and she had a major breakthrough on #2 this week. We have some bigger rewards for her when she does #2 and on Thursday she finally decided that she would get up the guts to try to go. She told Sarah that she needed to go and then just went into the bathroom to “have some privacy” and took care of business! She was tickled pink with herself! She could hardly contain herself when she told me about it when I got home from work. She got to have a reeses and a cool key chain when she did it and she kept them for a day until she had another accident. We’re still trying to get her to consistently have courage to go. She gets up and then just gets scared and kind of freezes up. I suspect that we’ll have another few awesome breakthroughs this week.

Eliza celebrating her success.
Eliza celebrating her success.

After our week last week of sickness this week has been much better on that front. We’ve actually had several nights that everyone has been able to sleep all night! We’re almost done with all of our antibiotics and feeling back to normal.

James loves to have his hair combed. . . just like his mom.
James loves to have his hair combed. . . just like his mom.
Eliza has been hunting hefalumps this week.
Eliza has been hunting hefalumps this week.
We got a costco membership this week and took our first trip.
We got a costco membership this week and took our first trip.
Eliza has been making valentines for everyone!
Eliza has been making valentines for everyone!

We had a good day at church today and Eliza had a great time in nursery. Sarah visit teaches our good friend Sis. McCullough and Eliza and her are good friends. Sis. McCullough was substituting in nursery today and they had a great time playing together. Eliza told her all about our daddy daughter date we had on Saturday.

The kids love to play on the stairs.
The kids love to play on the stairs.

For several weeks we’ve been planning on going on a daddy daughter date this week. We had a gift certificate to Chick-fil-a and tickets to the Round Rock daddy daughter dance and we were super excited to go to that. Eliza loved getting all ready and dressed up to go. She picked out my blue shirt that she wanted me to wear and got all dressed up in her pretty pink dress. Sarah did her hair like “princess hair” and Eliza loved it! She was just beaming the whole time. We had a fun dinner at Chick-fil-a and then drove to the dance. (She fell asleep on the way over). They had the rec center all decorated fancy and had people there to welcome us and make the girls feel super important.

Getting ready for the dance.
Getting ready for the dance.

Eliza just wanted to dance the whole night away. She had a lot of energy for the first hour of the dance and was jumping and dancing and spinning and flying all over the place. We saw some friends from church there and she had some fun dancing with them too. She was so sweet just wanting to dance with me. I had to convince her to go get some refreshments but she really just wanted to dance. She wanted to stay all the way to the end and was super sweet. I had a great time with her and I’m excited to make this a tradition for us.

08 Daddy and Eliza 07 Daddy and Eliza

We also had a family assignment to clean the church on Saturday and we had a good time doing that. Eliza and James worked with us (they refilled the toilet paper and re-dusted things…) and had a good time.

Cheeze!!!
Cheeze!!!
Mommy and James having a fun time while Daddy and Eliza are gone.
Mommy and James having a fun time while Daddy and Eliza are gone.

Growing up

James has had a fun week of learning. He started kicking a ball this week. Eliza was kind of jealous and likes to take the ball from him. He’s pretty good at kicking it around and dribbling across the floor.

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James also likes to pose for the camera.

James has also grown out of his little baby car seat and it was time to move him up. We went to target this week and got Eliza a larger seat that she can use until she’s big enough to get out of a car seat. Her new one converts to a booster when she’s big enough. We moved James into Eliza’s old seat. He is still rear facing. Eliza loves her new seat and Jame seems happily indifferent in his.

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The new car seat situation.

James has also started actually participating in the toddler music class. We had just been paying for Eliza to go but James likes it so much and was always using the instruments anyway so we decided to just start paying for him too. He love music. He will sing lullabys with mommy (especially “I am a Child of God”) and he likes to direct the music any time he hears it.

Both of the kids were stuffy and a bit sick this week. We’ve been going through tissue like crazy. Eliza will come up to us and say “my nose is running away again.” Then she will go and get a tissue and blow. James doesn’t do this. Instead, he opts for the nose syringe torture chamber twice a day. Hopefully he can figure out blowing soon.

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Doing scriptures after getting back from the temple.

Friday Sarah and I took our monthly temple trip to San Antonio. It was great to go again. I’m thankful that we’ve made this a habit and that we have good friends that are willing to help with our kids so we can go. When we got back from the temple it was past midnight. Usually the kids transfer to their beds pretty well but this time Eliza woke up and insisted that we have scripture study before going to bed. She didn’t make it through too much but we read a few verses with her.

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“Yay! Daddy’s coming home!”

 

Normal on Purpose

Last Sunday when we were planning our week we were taking things off the calendar so that we could have as “normal” a week as possible. After the celebrative busyness of the holidays, we wanted to keep things simple this week.

00 James and Eliza having a tea party
Eliza and James having a tea party

Monday we had our normal family home evening with the kids. We had our lesson on “The Book of Mormon Teaches Me About Jesus Christ.” We showed some pictures from prophets in The Book of Mormon who talked about Christ, and we talked about when Christ visited the Americas. We also sang “Search, Ponder, and Pray” with hand actions for the kids. I’m so glad that we started doing this when the kids are young. They know to look forward to FHE on Monday and it’s just what we do now.

Good morning hugs
Good morning hugs

Tuesday I had my normal day at work and went to scouts in the evening. This week we worked on preparing for our next camp-out. A few months back we challenged the boys to cook a meal that was something other than hot dogs and they’re taking us up on the challenge this time. I think they’re going to do pizza for dinner and mountain man hash for breakfast. We also worked on leave no trace training and talked a bit about how we can better be prepared for cold-weather camping.

Playing the triangles at music class.
Playing the triangles at music class.

Thursday I was assigned to bring snacks to work. We have a tradition on my team called “Snack Thursday” where people are assigned each week to bring something to share. This week was my turn. Sarah and I made energy bites and the team loved them.

James playing peek-a-boo
James playing peek-a-boo

Friday Eliza and James had music class. We started paying for James this year too so that he can participate in all the activities. He probably loves the class as much as Eliza does.

James after his haircut
James after his haircut

Today we had church at 9:00 again. We’re still adjusting to to this schedule a bit with the kids. They didn’t get to bed super early last night and I had to wake them up to get them ready for church in time. I don’t think that Eliza got enough sleep because she broke down after 20 minutes in nursery today. She was excited to go and usually she does fine but her lack of sleep last night made it hard for her.

Saturday chores
Saturday chores

Sarah taught a good lesson today in Gospel Principles class about the Atonement. She has become a really good teacher and shared a great lesson. We both had meetings tonight. I had my scout committee meeting and Sarah had a coordination meeting with the stake Relief Society presidency about the upcoming women’s conference they’re doing. Sarah is doing a musical number and apparently it’s a pretty big production.

Eliza needs a bigger bike
Eliza needs a bigger bike
James playing peek-a-boo again
James playing peek-a-boo again

 

Christmas Traditions Start in Ernest

This week has seen the first of many activities that have started to become traditions for our family. We had two main events happen this week. First we had our second annual Christmas Sing Along on Friday and then on Saturday we went out to see the main street Bethlehem exhibit in Burnet.

Last year we started the tradition of having a sing along at our home every Christmas. We invited a bunch of our friends from church and from my work to come over and sing Christmas carols with us. We invite them to bring their children and also to bring something to snack on. This year we had a great time. Some of our friends from church that live a few blocks away showed up first with their kids and we sang a bunch of songs with the kids. They were super energetic and were asking for all the fun songs. It was fun to see them just being happy! We had a few other families show up through the night and had a good time singing together.

Our front room setup for our sing along.
Our front room setup for our sing along.

Saturday night (after a somewhat crazy day) we went out to Burnet, Texas, to see the main street Bethlehem that the First Baptist Church puts on every year. They have a life size Bethlehem built up that’s probably about a half acre in size. They have people selling animals, making rope, paying their taxes to the Romans, etc. It is very crazy and busy (just like it probably actually was.) Every once in a while the shepherds will come in and tell everyone in the town square that Jesus has been born. They’re quickly escorted out by the Roman soldiers. We had told Eliza that we were going to see baby Jesus and she was focused on that the whole time. While we were looking through the town she kept on asking when we were going to see Him. We saw the star over the manger while we were going around and pointed it out to Eliza that that was where Jesus was born. She kept her eyes on that star the whole time. At the end of the streets, they have the stable (actually a cave) where they ask you to be quiet as you look at the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Eliza and James both got to go right up to the stable, as close as they could get, and look at the baby. Eliza was so happy to see Him and James thought it was so neat. We had a great time on our trip even though we got home late from it.

Daddy and Eliza looking at a donkey in Bethlehem
Daddy and Eliza looking at a donkey in Bethlehem
Eliza looking at Baby Jesus
Eliza looking at Baby Jesus
The kids looking at Baby Jesus with Daddy
The kids looking at Baby Jesus with Daddy
Eliza looking at the star on the way out from Bethlehem
Eliza looking at the star on the way out from Bethlehem
James enjoying a cookie after seeing Bethlehem
James enjoying a cookie after seeing Bethlehem
James saying "wowh, wowh, wowh" to the pretty lights.
James saying “wowh, wowh, wowh” to the pretty lights.

In other goings on this week, on Saturday I took Eliza Christmas and grocery shopping. We got some of our last gifts for Sarah. She and I had a fun little daddy-daughter date together. It was good to be able to spend some time alone with her and strengthen our relationship. Sarah and James also had some good bonding time while we were away.

Daddy put a stuffed animal up James's shirt. He thought it was pretty funny.
Daddy put a stuffed animal up James’s shirt. He thought it was pretty funny.
Eliza joined in the fun and stuffed her piglet up her shirt.
Eliza joined in the fun and stuffed her piglet up her shirt.

James is talking more and more all the time. He still doesn’t have any “real” words but he talks a lot. When we were out in Burnet the other day he was looking at the Christmas lights on our way back and kept on saying “Wowh, wowh, wowh!” He has a great happy attitude. He’ll get cranky, very cranky, when he is hungry but as soon as he has food he’s like a new man! He eats like a horse sometimes. Tonight we had Filipino food and he ate three whole servings. Eliza, our little vegetarian, had a plate of broccoli and green beans and we had to talk her into eating some meat.

James liked the taquitos so much that he didn't want to put them down to get a drink.
James liked the taquitos so much that he didn’t want to put them down to get a drink.
Eliza with her pile of vegetables for dinner.
Eliza with her pile of vegetables for dinner.

Eliza has been having a bit of trouble sleeping lately. Several times this week she has ended up in our room on the floor in her sleeping bag because she gets scared of something. Hopefully this phase gets over quickly. We just got James finally sleeping like a real human through the night and now Eliza is getting up again. Maybe someday we’ll get sleep again (although when I watch my parents I think this is doubtful . . . In fact, I think it just gets worse! Thanks mom and dad!)

Eliza and James like looking at the rainbows from the crystal on our tree.
Eliza and James like looking at the rainbows from the crystal on our tree.
Eliza comforting James when he was sad.
Eliza comforting James when he was sad.
Eliza's basket fills a lot of roles. This week it was a Santa hat. Mommy had to sit on "Eliza Santa's" lap and tell what she wanted for Christmas.
Eliza’s basket fills a lot of roles. This week it was a Santa hat. Mommy had to sit on “Eliza Santa’s” lap and tell what she wanted for Christmas.
Eliza wearing daddy's boots.
Eliza wearing daddy’s boots.

Sarah was gone on Wednesday night to the family history center and again on Thursday night for Relief Society, so I got to stay home with Eliza and James. They are so good at night, most of the time.

Independence Day Long Weekend

Well we had a great week this week. I got to take Thursday and Friday off of work for the holiday and it was fun to have a few days to just spend time with the family. With all the craziness we’ve had lately this was a welcome change of pace for us.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty normal days. On Wednesday evening I took the scouts to  help a family in the ward load up their moving truck. The boys were pretty helpful and I was happy that we could do some service. I’m really impressed with the quality of the young men that I work with. They are really trying to be good and to do what is expected of them.
We had an initiation of sorts this week when Eliza redecorated the wall with her black crayon.
We had an initiation of sorts this week when Eliza redecorated the wall with her black crayon.
We made Eliza clean up the wall.
We made Eliza clean up the wall.
Thursday we had a fun family day. We went to the Thinkery in Austin. The Thinkery is a children’s museum with all kinds of fun things to do. They had a big “farmer’s market” where the kids could shop for fresh plastic fruits and vegetables and then pretend to cook things for the adults that wanted to order lunch. Eliza picked out a bunch of things from the crates and put them in her basket and then she started to pick up all the spare foods she could find on the floor and add them to her basket. She seemed to be trying to keep up with the mess that all the other kids were making. She also had a little personal quest to find all of the plastic strawberries. I think she may have had all of them at one point.
Eliza collecting the strawberries
Eliza collecting the strawberries
Eliza also enjoyed the tumbling room that they had. There were soft blocks that the kids could stack up and climb on She had everything just the way she wanted it and kept having to put it back as other kids moved things around. It was cute to watch her. In this room they also had an instructor come and do a parachute with the kids. Eliza loved shaking the parachute with the other kids, jumping, and walking in a circle. She was by far the youngest kid there but caught right on. She also enjoyed bouncing on the little inflatable animals that they had.
Eliza joined right in playing with the parachute
Eliza joined right in playing with the parachute
She was very pleased with herself.
She was very pleased with herself.
James wasn’t left out of the experience either. They had a room especially for crawlers with things setup close to the floor so the crawlers and toddlers could see them. They even had things built into the floor so that the kids could look down into them. James enjoyed scooting around looking at things.
Mommy and James selfie
Mommy and James selfie
James liked the things in the floor
James liked the things in the floor
James was so tall!
James was so tall!
Eliza was taller and she knew it.
Eliza was taller and she knew it.
James waxing philosophical about the mirrors.
James waxing philosophical about the mirrors.
Eliza felt like she was going to fall and we had to coax her through the mirrors.
Eliza felt like she was going to fall and we had to coax her through the mirrors.
James smiling at mommy through the mirror.
James smiling at mommy through the mirror.
They had a water room that we thought Eliza was going to love and she did. They had smocks and croc shoes to wear so the kids “didn’t get wet.” They didn’t always work but it was a nice thought. Eliza loved splashing in the water and throwing a little floating ball around.
Eliza splashing in the water.
Eliza splashing in the water.
After this room and lunch we went to a colors room where they had a huge ‘light bright” built into the wall. It was completely dark in this room except for the different color activities that were lit up. Eliza loved this probably the most of anything. The board had transparent pegs made out of different colors of resin and when you put them in the board light would shine through. She would name all the colors as she put them into the holes and had a grand time playing with this. She also wanted to clean it up and put all the pegs back where they belonged.
Eliza loved the color wall
Eliza loved the color wall
She made this long line of red and orange and was very meticulous about it.
She made this long line of red and orange and was very meticulous about it.
This wall changed colors when you touched the circles.
This wall changed colors when you touched the circles.
After this room she had a meltdown, and it was time to go home!
On Friday we did all of our normal Saturday things: shopping, house cleaning, lounging, laundry, etc. We wanted to make sure we didn’t have to try to do anything like that on the 4th.
James's first time in the seat of the cart.
James’s first time in the seat of the cart.
We divided and conquered and every time we ran into mommy Eliza was so excited to see James.
We divided and conquered and every time we ran into mommy Eliza was so excited to see James.
On Saturday we got up early and went to our ward’s breakfast. My scouts did a good job on the flag ceremony and the food was good. We had pancakes and breakfast tacos. You know you’re in Texas when you have tacos for the 4th of July! It was fun to see the ward.
After the breakfast we came home and Sarah crashed for a few hours napping. I got to play with the kids and we just played dress-up and duplos. We also did ring around the rosie several times. I let Eliza and James direct what we did and we just played. I had a lot of fun.
James being  a cutie while we play.
James being a cutie while we play.
Eliza pretended that these rings were her shoes. She wore them for several hours.
Eliza pretended that these rings were her shoes. She wore them for several hours.
She is definitely a 2-year-old girl. She's getting comfortable on the time out stool these days.
She is definitely a 2-year-old girl. She’s getting comfortable on the time out stool these days.
In the evening of the 4th we went out to some farm property that one of our ward members has out to the east of where we live. They had invited basically anyone in the ward that wanted to come and there was a big turnout. We cooked pizza in our dutch oven and made some peach cobbler. We also brought along our traditional homemade ice cream (vanilla with chocolate fudge and brownies) to share with people along with the cobbler. Sarah made the cobbler, and it turned out amazing! We got a lot of compliments on it.
Eliza and mommy making pizza.
Eliza and mommy making pizza to cook in the Dutch oven.
The family that invited us out also had a lot of fireworks to shoot off, and we enjoyed the show. Eliza loved the fireworks and would scream in delight at each one. She loved dancing to the music too. James also liked the fireworks and would just stare at them mesmerized. He lasted until almost the very end and then realized he was tired. Eliza wanted to dance with him at the end and he just couldn’t take it anymore.
When we got home, Eliza reminded us that we needed to read scriptures and say prayers before we went to bed. It was already 10:00 and we were ready just to dump her in bed and crash ourselves, but it was sweet to have our little girl remind us that this was in fact the most important thing.
22 - James is 8 months

Happy 8-months James!
Happy 8-months James!

24 - Happy siblings 25 - Goofy siblings

 

Spring Break Camping

Yes I know that we don’t have any kids in school so spring break isn’t actually any different from any other week that we have; however, we decided to “celebrate” it this year. There are some families in our ward who go camping every year on the week of spring break and we were invited to attend this year. We were the youngest family–by far. Most of the families have teenagers but we have some good friends in the group and we had a good time.
We had kind of a crazy day on Monday as we were getting ready to go on the campout. As you know, we’ve been looking at cars for a few months now. We’ve had our eye on a Honda Pilot for a while but have been waiting for a recall to finish on the airbag before we can even test drive it. We got a call from the dealership saying that the car was ready on Monday as we were trying to get everything packed and ready to go. We decided we’d run up there and just be late to the camp because we really want to get this car. Well, when we got there, the salesman had gotten the wrong car. It was the same model year and everything but had two time as many miles on it and wasn’t what we were looking for. We ended up wasting about two hours with that trip.
After getting back from the dealership, we finished getting everything together and somehow got all our camping gear and the kids and ourselves packed in the car. Yes we actually had to pack ourselves in too, that was how crowded it was. We drove the hour and a half drive out to Lake Somerville to camp. When we got there, most of our friends were already there and had already cooked dinner. It was around 6:00 at this point. Everyone was trying to pawn off their extra food on us so we didn’t even have to cook. Lots of my scouts who were there helped us unload and setup our massive 8 man tent. The tent was awesome! I’m glad we got it.
We really packed it in there
We really packed it in there
We had a blast camping! It was so nice to just be away with the family and to have time to ourselves. Every time we’ve gone on vacation in the past we’ve been running all over and haven’t had time just with our little family to sit and have fun. This was a welcome change for us. We still were chasing Eliza a lot and didn’t get to associate with the other adults there but it was a great time.
Eliza with marshmallow all over her hands
Eliza with marshmallow all over her hands
Eliza finally slept pretty well.
Eliza finally slept pretty well.
Running outside
Running outside
Looking at the plants
Looking at the plants
Eliza had a bit of trouble sleeping. Mostly because she was excited about being in the tent with everyone else. She kept running around and wanting to play. She sure is cute. James, of course, was out like a light all night and didn’t make any trouble.
James being happy on mommy's sleeping bag
James being happy on mommy’s sleeping bag
This is the lake where we camped
This is the lake where we camped
We had breakfast tacos for breakfast on Tuesday.
We had breakfast tacos for breakfast on Tuesday.
We stayed at the camp all day on Tuesday and did breakfast, lunch, and dinner, We had originally planned on trying to stay for Monday and Tuesday nights but there was going to be a huge rainstorm on Tuesday and most everyone was leaving. I told Sarah that if it was the scouts we’d be staying but camping in the rain with two babies was not going to be too fun so we just went home after dinner on Tuesday.
"Why are my hands so dirty?"
“Why are my hands so dirty?”
Daddy and Eliza hanging out by the tent
Daddy and Eliza hanging out by the tent
"These are MY donuts"
“These are MY donuts”
Eliza absolutely loved camping. She loved being outside all the time. She picked flowers, ran all over the place, chased our friend’s dogs, played in the dirt, ate way too many donuts, and generally just had a great time. Sarah and I took her out on the canoe on Tuesday and she did pretty well. She’s been a bit afraid of water lately and I wanted to help her face her fears. Sarah held her in the front seat and I paddled. She let us go out for a few minutes and then decided she was done so we turned around and went back. I was proud of her for doing it. She also went out with me in a kayak but that didn’t last too long either.
James holding the umbrella
James holding the umbrella
Mommy and James hanging out
Mommy and James hanging out
Daddy and James snacking
Daddy and James snacking
James was a sweetheart the whole time we were out. He was just calm and loved to be carried around and doted on by all of the ladies we were with.
Eliza and her new friend Danielle Ashford
Eliza and her new friend Danielle Ashford
Eliza zonked after being traumatized by the canoe
Eliza zonked after being traumatized by the canoe
Eliza trying to be happy picking flowers
Eliza trying to be happy picking flowers
In other news, James rolled over once this week. He’s getting really close to having that figured out!
The cute family
The cute family
future missionary
future missionary
James and Daddy time
James and Daddy time
We have a crazy week ahead of us. Our stake is doing a musical presentation for Easter this Thursday and Friday and Sarah encouraged me to sing in the choir. I have rehearsal every night, except Monday, this week so your prayers for our sanity will be greatly appreciated!
Monkey Face!
Monkey Face!

Spring arrives in Central Texas

Spring, with all it’s crazy swings in weather, has arrived in central Texas. Our daffodils are blooming and it’s getting to the point where we have started running our ceiling fans again during the day.

Eliza looking at our daffodils
Eliza looking at our daffodils

Eliza has been her usual chipper self this week. She is a girly girl and likes to twirl around and around in the family room. She is getting supper close to being able to jump!. She has started to interact with James more now that we’re leaving him on the floor. She’s only kicked him in the head a few times but she’s learning to be careful with him. She’s started to be a bit more picky in her eating. We have to make sure that we feed her small pieces of the meal and don’t load her plate up all at once. She usually does great with her vegetables but then has trouble with the main course. We went to some friends house this week for pi day. They have a big dog. Eliza loved the dog. She chased it around the back yard and was fearless when it came up and licked her on the hands. She also had a great time playing on their slide. She had to wait her turn with the other kids that were there and she did a good job. She did really well going to nursery today. She actually was asking me about it after Sacrament Meeting was finished and she didn’t cry at all.

Eliza loves her pizza. She can eat a whole slice no problem.
Eliza loves her pizza. She can eat a whole slice no problem.
Eliza and Adam building a tower from duplos.
Eliza and Adam building a tower from duplos.
Eliza jumping
Eliza jumping

James is a sweetheart of course. He is a super calm kid. He’ll just sit there and be perfectly content. . . until he isn’t anymore. When he wants something he lets you know real fast but for the most part he’s happy. He likes to watch everything that Eliza does.

James is often content to sit on the couch and watch us.
James is often content to sit on the couch and watch us.
Eliza climbed up on the couch to comfort James by holding his hand.
Eliza climbed up on the couch to comfort James by holding his hand.

 

We dragged both of the kids out shopping this Saturday. We don’t usually do that. Lately I’ve just been doing the grocery shopping but we decided to try it. We were at WalMart getting stuff for our camp trip and Eliza was in the cart basket and James was in his carseat. I felt like we were lugging around a huge cart! She liked riding in the cart but we had to keep reminding her to not open things. She really wanted a doughnut at the grocery store so we let her pick one out.

Eliza dressed him up
Eliza dressed him up
James zonked on the floor
James zonked on the floor

We’ve gotten several donations of kids clothes from people in our ward this week. Sarah has had to sort it all out and wash it. Sarah also made a yummy chocolate chip cookie pie for pi day.

Sarah and I finally got to go on a real date this week. It’s been a long time since we got out together and it was fun. We went for dinner to celebrate her graduation from BYU. She graduated a long time ago now but we just hadn’t gotten around to going out to celebrate. We went to dinner and then came home and crashed.

We’re planning a trip to Utah in April and  perhaps the largest part of that preparation has been shopping for a new car. We only have one car currently, our little Mitsubishi, and are needing something bigger to get us comfortably to Utah. We don’t think we can make it for the three weeks that we’re planning on being there in our little car. We test drove a few Mazda5’s last week but they were way too small for me to drive. We found a Honda Pilot this week that we think will work. It is a 2007 and only has 67,000 miles on it. We haven’t been able to go look at it yet because the air bag inflator is on recall and they won’t let us drive it until it is fixed. They don’t even know how long it’s going to take because the part is back-ordered. It may be done this week. . . it may be done next month. We just have to wait. One salesman is being super pushy (and I think a bit dishonest) and keeps on telling us that it’s going to be ready “tomorrow” but the other guy keeps saying that they don’t know. Used car sales people. . . bleh.

I took a whirlwind trip to Utah this week for a work event at BYU. Every spring we do an event called NI Leaders where we talk with select engineering and computer science students about how to be a leader, how to get hired, and how to drive innovation. I had invited a distinguished engineer that has mentored me at NI to come and speak about innovation. He had accepted and so I hosted him this week. I got to take him around Temple Square and have lunch there. He had lots of questions, mostly about minutia, but it was a fun trip. I flew in at noon on Thursday and left at 7:00 in the morning on Friday. Talk about a quick trip. I did get to stop by the house for a few minutes but mostly it was just a crazy trip.

 

 

Utah visit (from Sarah’s point of view)

In September, Adam and I took a quick trip home to do some recruiting for Adam’s work at our alma mater. (I even got to go as the wife recruiter to convince all the wives that Austin is the place to be.)

The BYU Engineering Career Fair was two days long (plus one day of interviews). We flew in the weekend before so we could spend a little time with our families and friends. It was the first time we’ve seen one of Adam’s brother’s since he returned home from his mission in Finland. It was so great to see him! He left very much still a high school senior (albeit mature) and came home a man.

Joint family dinner. So fun!

Our week was packed! It seemed like every free moment–wait, no, we didn’t really have any free moments. Adam and I were going, going, going. We both got sick and got barely any sleep. It almost felt like I was a college student again. (I’ve gotten so used to 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night; it’s hard to go back to 4-5  hours a night.)

Even though it was such a crazy week, I loved seeing so much family and so many friends. I didn’t feel completely coherent whenever I was with them, but it was still great to be with them all. Our families are wonderful. We got to see three of our grandparents, all of our siblings (except Sarah, who is serving a mission), and our niece and nephews, who are a blast! I also got to see various friends from my major and my dear friend, Jenny.

Family at Sister’s concert. (Isn’t she lovely?)

Some of my best friends from high school and I were able to get together for a couple of hours. These gals are amazing. The seven of us haven’t all been together since I think 2009 (and you’ll notice that there are only six of us in the picture. One of the ladies came early and had to leave before I got there because she is a nurse who works really early in the morning). It was fun to get most of us together.

Six of the seven ladies

Oh ya. Adam and I saw the Mitt Romney bus. Too cool.

I got to spend two lovely days at the Family History Library while I was there too! If you live close to the Family History Library (and by close I mean within 2 hour’s drive) and you have never been there, then shame on you! Set a goal NOW to go there. I’m serious–go grab your planner or calendar or ipod or post-it notes or whatever you use and pick a day right now to go there and learn something about your ancestors, okay? Your life will be enriched by the experience. There are hundreds of workers and missionaries who will gladly help you. Just go do it! (You don’t know HOW BLESSED YOU ARE to live sooooo close to the largest family history library IN THE WORLD!)

Okay, so off my rant. I did a ton of research while I was there. I’ve been working on one of my family lines in Württemberg, Germany for quite some time. Here’s an example of a record:

 

Marriage entry for Philipp Jakob Keppler and Eva Maria Kalmbach on 26 June 1792 in Oberschwandorf, Nagold, Württemberg, Germany. They were my fifth great-grandparents!

Oh, doesn’t it just make you so excited?! I LOVE Germanic family history research!

Anyway, it was a lovely, jam-packed trip, but I am so grateful we could go. Yay for families! Yay for friends! Yay for Adam’s great job! Yay for BYU! Yay for ancestors and the FHL!

Our Birthday Adventures

Sarah and I have birthdays very close to each other, and we celebrated several weeks ago. Our awesome families sent us fun packages with gifts and we got each other some fun stuff. Sarah got me a model rocket of the SpaceX Falcon 9, some space patches (which I collect) and she’s making me a fun fleece blanket. (Isn’t she awesome!) Sarah’s family sent us a Michael Buble song book and a cool book by Dr. Minert about Latter-day Saints in Germany during World War II.

Sarah loves making cakes and so she made one for each of our birthdays. She made an awesome German Chocolate cake from scratch for me. It even had scratch frosting!!

For her birthday she insisted that she be able to make her own cake, and so she made a delicious white cake with strawberry filling and strawberry-whipped-cream frosting. It was divine!

I decided to throw Sarah a surprise party this year too. I’d been planning it for months, and lots of our good friends were coming. I took her out to dinner on the Saturday after her birthday, and we had a good dinner for the most part. I gave a key to out house to a friend so people could get in for the party while we were at dinner. Half way through the dinner, however, the friend with the key set off our home alarm system, and the cops showed up. I swear that I had given her a good code, and I was a bit upset that I had to talk to the cop while I was at dinner. (Fortuitously Sarah was away from the table at the time, so she was none the wiser:)) When we got back to the house all our friends were there, and she was really surprised! We have awesome friends, and they brought a cake and filled up balloons. We had a good night playing games and socializing. We’re so grateful for all of the awesome friends that we have here.

Anyways, I hope I didn’t toot my own horn too much in this post, but we did have a fun weekend for our birthdays!