May 31, 2018

May Roundup

May is in the books! At the beginning of the month I made a big list of unsavory tasks that had been put off for several months, and called it the "May List," because our goal was to get them done in May, between Dave's spring and summer courses. Stuff like get new driver's licenses, dental appointments, scheduling physicals, cleaning our showers, settling insurance claims, etc... Sadly, we only crossed one thing off that list, so hopefully June will be more productive.

The end of May also marked the official start of summer here in Amarillo. School is out and the weather has gotten hot. I am just grateful that we have relatively low humidity here and access to a pool, since we've already been hitting triple digits some days!

Random May photos:

I have started taking Sophie to the library in the evenings after Davey is in bed because it's just too crazy if we all go together. He heard about our plan one night, though and said, "I wanna go library too, PLEEEASE" and I couldn't refuse. 

Sophie's first words that she figured out how to spell on her own

The kids always look forward to the first-Friday Discovery Center presentation. This time we got there late and there weren't enough seats, but Sophie scooted over and pulled Davey up to sit next to her 

Davey wanted me to take his picture while I was trying to take pictures of Charlie

Sophie is a puzzle master! She loves the ones from the Dollar Tree that have all her favorite characters. 

Watching shows on the coffee table, even though there is a perfectly good couch right behind them. 

Sophie did another round of swim lessons and is getting so good! She can dive in and swim the width of the pool now. After have to skip a class, due to another round of swimmer's ear, we got her a swim cap and it seems to be helping her ear and her confidence!

We borrowed a ladder and light pole from a neighbor and spent the day switching out all our traditional bulbs for LEDs. We spent over $100 on lights, but our house is so much BRIGHTER! and we hope to start seeing savings on our energy bill as well. Either way, it was worth it!

Let it be known that we have passed 2,000 levels of Candy Crush. Dave and I share an account on the iPad and this has been our go-to distraction over the last 5 years. This represents many, many hours of nursing for me :)

Sunday afternoon nap

Sophie snuck out during quiet time one day and took this picture of me and Charlie. Then she brought my phone back to her room and took another 500 photos of her toys.

Charlie and I like to chase the sunset on our walks at night. We've had some pretty ones lately!

Party in mom's bed!

Two of the kids in their Memorial Day outfits. Davey was patriotic too, but didn't want to be in the photo. 

We were invited to a party with a group of friends on Memorial Day. Davey really went to town on the watermelon. He kept appearing with more slices and we finally realized he was taking the half-eaten ones out of the trash and finishing them off. 

Amarillo doesn't have much nature, but I do try to get outdoors with the kids from time to time. We went to Wildcat Bluff one morning, before it got too hot, to walk around and dig in the sand. Davey seems to have developed a serious fear of ants, however, and spent most of our outing clinging to my leg and crying. 

The boys watching Paw Patrol together

Davey is still figuring out how to sleep with a pillow. We're pretty sure he's part puppy :)

May 18, 2018

Sophie's Last Day of Preschool & Graduation

We moved in right before school started and really had no clue what we were doing when picking out a preschool, but lucked out immensely. Unknown to us, Sonlight at the Church of Christ, was where a lot of members attended, and Sophie actually ended up with three other LDS kids in her class, who are now her good friends. The academics were great, it was located in our neighborhood, and each day started with "chapel," where a cute, old lady that Sophie called the "grandma" would teach them bible stories and songs. I've already put Davey on the wait list for 2019.

On Thursday Sophie had her last day of school and her graduation ceremony. We always knew she would love school and this was truly a great year for her. She learned so much, but also had so much fun being in a classroom with friends. Her teacher was amazing and I heard on multiple occasions how "Ms. Elisa knows everything, never forgets anything, and never does anything wrong." Her favorite parts of preschool were recess (of course), centers (where she got to rotate through different activities), and music class. She came home almost daily with a new song to sing for us.

We got her end of year assessment back and she got 100% on everything, which was awesome. Heading into the year she still didn't know all her letters and now she knows uppercase, lowercase, their sounds, how to write them, how to count to 100, all her shapes and colors, and is starting to read! This girl is ready to start kindergarten!

Sophie on her last day of school. First day of school pictures are here

Her best buddy at school this year was Ethan. He will not go to the same school next year, which is sad, but he is in our stake, and I know his mom so they will still see each other. 

Receiving her diploma from her wonderful teacher, Ms. Elisa

We love this girl and are so proud of her!

May 15, 2018

Dallas Fun

Right after Dave finished teaching his winter classes at WT, we drove down to Dallas for a quick trip to see family and friends. The drive takes us about 6.5 hours (including a lunch stop) and the kids did amazing!! Charlie slept the entire way, and we didn't have to get out the tablets for the big kids until the final stretch of the drive. It is encouraging that they did so well since we will probably make this drive 3-5 times a year.

Our trip was less than a week and the time went by so fast, but we are going back for another visit in July after summer classes wrap up. Here is what we managed to squeeze in while there (warning - it was a lot!):

THURSDAY: In the morning we made a Costco run, since we only have Sam's Club in Amarillo, to stock up on a few essentials that we needed. Not exciting, but still important. Then that evening we had a family dinner in downtown Dallas before attending the pinning ceremony for Liz, who was graduating from nursing school! We were planning to only bring Charlie since it was late at night, but after Davey had a freak out at bedtime the night before, we cancelled the babysitter and brought all the kids with us. With the help of tablets, they did amazing well and sat quietly during the entire 2.5 hour ceremony!

Hooray for Liz (sorry for stealing this from your Facebook)

Liz receiving her pin from her parents. While they were up on stage Sophie kept shouting "grandma!" and waving. Notice that her post-graduate placement is at Northwest Hospital in Amarillo. She will be joining us out here in a few months!

Family photo afterward. Amy was there with Ally and Jack, but left before it ended since the ceremony was long and it was a school night. 

Dave carrying out our two tired kiddos

FRIDAY: Elizabeth had her actual graduation on Friday morning, but we didn't think the kids would handle another long event, so instead we met some friends at the Dallas Zoo. It's a great zoo (about 10x more exciting than the one in Amarillo) but we had to share it with a ton of kids on end-of-year field trips and the place was packed! So many kids everywhere, but we didn't lose anyone, saw lots of animals, and even found a shaded picnic table for lunch.

Our friends have a membership and were able to get tickets to ride the carousel, not once, but twice!

One of Sophie's favorite animals to see has always been the crocodile. Here is a recreation of a photo we took of her at the zoo on our last visit. 

May 2018

October 2014

 One of the most exciting creatures of the day was this little green caterpillar she found during our lunch break. 

Gazing at the elephants

Attempt at a family picture by the lions

Sophie with her friend Grayson

Grandma Howe gave Sophie a few dollars to feed the giraffes, which is actually a really fun experience. Unfortunately the giraffes had already been very well fed by the millions of school kids, so we fed the birds instead, which was also fun!

Prenteding to be dinosaurs hatching out of an egg 

Exhausted on the way home

After the zoo we had just a short time to clean up before heading out for more fun. We took all the kids to the Palmer's house to play while the dads supervised, and the wives went out to dinner! First we drove to the airport to pick up Tiffany, who was flying in to see Todd for the weekend, and then we ate some delicious food at Pappadeaux's. It's a cajun/seafood place and I ordered salmon, but also tried some fried catfish and fried alligator that was actually very tasty. After dinner we went back to the Palmer's where the dads had given all the kids baths and put them to bed. We stayed up way too late playing games, but love these nights with friends. 

SATURDAY: Dave took the big kids to a splash pad to play with their cousins while I hung back with Charlie. Later that afternoon Charlie was blessed (separate post) and then after the blessing we had farewell celebration for Todd, who will be moving to Utah soon. First we went to dinner, and then we came back to the Howe's to eat all of Todd's favorite desserts - snickerdoodles, peach cobbler, key lime pie, and Bluebell ice cream - yum! We were supposed to play Whirlyball after dessert, but the place accidentally double booked the court, so we got bumped and were compensated with unlimited games of free laser tag.

Dave and I at dinner - we ordered the 1 pound fajita platter to share!

Group shot with our friends

SUNDAY: Happy Mother's Day! It was nice to be able to spend this holiday with family. I would have loved to have slept in, but Charlie had other ideas so we started the day nice and early. We attended church, where I ate more chocolate in one sitting than a person probably should. They gave out candy bars after Sacrament meeting, followed by eclairs and cookies during Relief Society, and then the speaker passed around another huge tub of chocolates for us to enjoy.

After church we went over to Greg's house for a Mother's Day feast. We had picked up some amazing, 2-inch thick steaks at Costco for dinner, and it was one of the best meals I've eaten in a long time. After dinner we opened presents. We brought a huge, red rock from Palo Duro Canyon for Dave's mom to put in her garden, and Dave gave me an entire day to do what ever I want while he takes the kids somewhere (or multiple somewheres...) I can't wait to redeem it!

Sophie's paper she wrote about me. The picture is of me and her watching a movie of ourselves :)

Love these kids who call me mommy!

On the way home from church we gave Davey a piece of cookie to try and keep him awake. He managed to get it all over himself and then still fell asleep. Right before nodding off, though, he looked at his hands and declared "I chocolate," which we all had a good laugh at. 

MONDAY: Time to go home. The kids did amazing again on the way back, and we found a new lunch spot - Braum's in Vernon, TX. We've tried a different place every time we make the drive, and this was definitely a winner. The food was good, reasonably priced, and it was the perfect distance from Dallas.