August 31, 2017

August Roundup

The first half of August was spent traveling, but then we came home and were able to officially start settling in. Our trips were fabulous, but it was a relief to stop living out of suitcases and finally just have "normal" things to do, like going to the grocery store every other day.

Our back patio has been a great place for bikes and other outdoor fun. Don't tell the kids, but Santa might be bringing a water table in a few months :)


The family room set we ordered at Ashley arrived the week we returned from our trips! We got a couch & love seat (both came with pillows), an accent chair, a coffee table, end table, and a rug. I've been really happy with the way they look and hopefully they will hold up well over the years. The napkins under the legs in the picture were to protect the floors until we could go buy furniture pads :)


It has been great to have a playroom in our new house. The toys wander out of there all the time, but at least we don't have to store them in our family room anymore and sometimes they do actually play in there. 


There are several of these large bushes in our neighborhood and Sophie loves to burrow her way in to try and "disappear." Sadly the yard crew came a few weeks later and shaved them back, which was probably for the best because they were starting to take over the sidewalk.


Davey in the "time out nook" for hitting Sophie. He just loves to hit and I'm hoping it will be a phase that passes soon.


Snuggled up with her snakes


The doll house family was kicked out and the dinosaur tribe moved in


I put Sophie in "quiet time" in her room and then went to my room for a nap. Apparently she didn't want me to be lonely because I found her like this at the foot of my bed when I woke up. 


Blurry pic, but you can still see his joy and the mess. We had pudding for dessert one night and he got his own serving. I was cleaning chocolate off the walls, floor and high chair for a week after this. 


We normally end up at the grocery store at least a few times a week so the kids were thrilled to find that the United stores have car shopping carts! They also have cookies & fruit for kids and special parking spots reserved right up front for expectant mothers - yes!!


Preschool open house! Sophie has been looking forward to school for years now and was so excited to see her classroom and meet her teacher. There was some jealously that the class next door had purple chairs, but I'm sure she'll get over it. School officially starts for her the day after Labor Day. 

August 30, 2017

August Amarillo Adventures

We arrived back in Amarillo after a little over 6 weeks of travel. Dave had to start training right away, so the kids and I were left to explore some of the city on our own. We made trips out to the Amarillo Zoo, the Discovery Center, the Botanical Gardens, WTAMU campus and a few different parks and splash pads. There aren't quite as many opportunities here as we had in Utah, and Sophie has really been missing her weekly trips to the aquarium, but it was fun to find some new places to visit and enjoy.

AMARILLO ZOO

When I looked up directions to the zoo, Google informed me that most guests spend less than an hour here and that was pretty accurate! It's a nice zoo, but small and we were easily able to see everything and get home in plenty of time for lunch. There is free admission on Mondays though, so this will be a fun spot for our little family to visit.

One of the featured local species, and mascot for WT - the buffalo!


Turtles and snakes are always a favorite of Sophie's



The enclosures aren't very large, but at least that makes it easy to see the animals



There is also a sand pit that the kids enjoy digging in when the weather is nice


All worn out - this is when Davey gave up his morning nap, so he often falls asleep in the car if we are out around lunch time
bota


DON HARRINGTON DISCOVERY CENTER

Right now we are able to visit the Discovery Center for free admission with our Thanksgiving Point membership. When it expires in February we'll probably get a family pass here. It's no Curiosity Museum, but there were a few fun areas for the kids and traveling exhibits come in every few months to change things up. They have free movies that play every hour, so I took the kids to one about bugs. Turns out it was the same video I saw on a field trip at the Seattle Science Center back when I was in Jr. High almost 20 years ago!


AMARILLO BOTANICAL GARDENS

The gardens share a parking lot with the Discovery Center and one of the better parks, so we decided to go check it out one day. They were beautiful and the kids loved all the flowers and critters, but unfortunately all that vegetation also meant mosquitoes EVERYWHERE 😬 Next time we will definitely bring bug spray. The kids would have likes to stay longer, but I kind of hustled us through so we wouldn't get too many bites.



Sophie with a snail she "rescued" from a rock near the stream





WEST TEXAS ACTIVITY CENTER

We made a trip south down to Canyon, TX to visit Dave at the university. We saw his new office, I picked up my spouse ID card and we got our family pass to the activity center. At the center there is an exercise room, huge gym, racquetball courts, climbing wall, bowling alley, and a pool! Dave is planning on working out at the gym after classes each day, and we will probably visit as a family a couple times a month to swim.


SPLASH PADS

The splash pads in Amarillo shut off at the beginning of September, so we tried to make good use of them before they were done for the year. Sophie has a great time in the water, but Davey is still warming up to the concept of spraying fountains and unexpected blasts to the face. School for the big kids had already started so we were often the only people there.



Of course the snake was her favorite feature





August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse

On August 21st there was a solar eclipse! We were not in the path of totality, like some of our family members, but it was still neat to see. Eclipse glasses were hard to find (the Walmart employees had never even heard of them) but I was able to get one free pair from our public library, and my mom had some from a friend and sent us one more. At the peak we had about 77% coverage. There will be a total eclipse in Texas in 2024 though, so next time we will get the good show!

Our view with and without the glasses. It was pretty cloudy, but there were enough sun breaks to get a glimpse of the eclipse


Sophie and I took turns with our pair of glasses since Dave took the other pair with him to campus


This guy had to be left inside since he couldn't be trusted




August 12, 2017

Emerald Isle Beach Trip 2017

From Seattle we flew all the way across the country to North Carolina for a Howe family trip on Emerald Isle. We spent the first night in a hotel, and then drove out to the coast the next morning to our beach house! We had an amazing house this year with plenty of space for the whole family and even a hot tub on the back deck! There was also a closet stocked with chairs, boogie boards, sand toys, and a kite so we had plenty to keep the kids busy.

Sophie had a great week with her cousins and it's amazing how much smoother the trip went now that the three "littles" (Sophie, Emma, and Liam) are older. We went with them as babies, and then as two year olds, and now they are four and able to be semi-independent. They had a blast playing in the sand and waves every day and they happy moments definitely out numbered the breakdowns. Davey loved being around his older boy cousins and especially bonded with Jack. Wherever Jack was during the week, Davey was not far behind!

Waiting to board one of our flights. They did great, but I'm glad we don't have to travel coast to coast on a regular basis - it makes for a long, tiring day.


These three hit the beach pretty much as soon as we got there


Enjoying the hot tub! It was nice to take a dip after the beach to warm up and wash off residual sand


There was a miscommunication with the rental company and the pack-n-play we had arranged for Davey never showed up. We ended up building him this cage in a closet out of baby gates, and it worked well enough that we just canceled the crib and let him sleep here for the week. 


So many shells and treasures to find!


My Beach Boys


Sophie "baked" lots of cakes and other desserts for us during the week


We found out there was a sand castle competition for our stretch of beach so the family got together to create this rather large sand sculpture. We ended up placing second!



There were several turtle nests down the beach from us that we were hoping would hatch during our stay. A group we trek down to the next each night to check if there was any progress. We saw baby turtles once a few years ago and it was really neat to watch them march down to the water, but no luck this year.


Enjoying a beach rainbow off the back porch one morning



Grandpa made a DQ run and brought back a whole bag of Dilly Bars. Everyone knows that Dillies make you silly, and messy!


Davey and his buddy Jack. He loved to sit on his lap to watch videos of babies and puppies :)


We had lots of wind, which is great for flying kites!


Sophie requested to be made into a sand alligator


Our last night at the beach. We took the kids down in their pajamas for a quick photo, which turned into playtime, and of course they ended up very sandy and wet





The Howe Family - photo taken by a kind stranger from the house next door who saw us trying to balance a cell phone on a table in the rain and ran over to help


Another big trip meant another 100+ photos, so here's the full album in the Emerald Isle Beach Trip 2017 video. Plus the videos have been fun to have and the kids really enjoy watching them, so I'll probably keep making them whenever we have something big going on.