June 30, 2011


Happy Birthday to my sweet baby, Jack-Jack.

It is hard to believe that you are two years old, today. I don’t know where the time has gone. I still look at you and see my little baby. I still refer to you as a baby. I don’t know if I will just always think of you as my baby since you are my youngest, but I can’t imagine you being anything else. But today you are two years old, and it’s hard to call you a baby today.


You are so busy at two. Your days are very full. Most days you roll out of bed around whatever time your sister does. She wakes you up because Quiet is not a concept she understands. Once in a while, you’ll sleep later than her. One day last week, you slept until 11am. As if you were 15. Once out of bed, you give a smiley hug to me and always answer “yeah” when I ask if you slept well. It doesn’t take you long to demand your ba-ba. Your ba-ba is a sippy cup of milk. I don’t know why you call it a ba-ba. But you do. And it is very important to you. You need one when you first wake up, before you can go to bed and any time you are tired or upset. You love your ba-ba. You also love your brother and sister. You call Steven “Wee-wee” and Gabby “Bobby.” If they leave your sight, you ask where they are, “Where Wee-wee? Where Bobby?” Daddy thinks it’s funny to ask you to say Gabrielle. “Blab-blel” you reply as if it is exactly what he asked you to say. There are a few things you say throughout the day that I get mixed up. Strawberry, granola bar and Gabrielle all sound very similar. Lots of “blah”s in each of them. You refer to yourself in 3rd person as “Da-da.” You say Mommy and Daddy perfectly.


You love dogs. And airplanes. You get very excited to see both. Many times a day you yell out, “Doggie!! Doggie!” Always followed by, “Bye-bye, Doggie” as the dog leaves your sight. Same with planes: “Ray-ray! Ray-ray! Bye-bye, ray-ray!” You call all letters and numbers “E.” Which is why you are getting flash cards for you birthday. We’re going to start working on that. I love to listen to you talk. I love that I can understand most things that you say. And I love that you can communicate so many of your precious thoughts to me.


You sleep in a big boy bed, the bottom bunk of a small bunk bed you share with Gabby. You sit in a booster seat at the table, and when Gabby is not present, you prefer her booster seat to yours. Your incredible eating has slowed down a bit in the last few months. You are beginning to be more picky and we are no longer quite as shocked at the amount of food you can consume in a short amount of time. You don’t like green vegetables very much. If we can get you to take a bit of one, you will usually just hold it in your mouth for an eternity.


You had your 3rd haircut just last week. You complained one day of “hair…eyes” because it was getting a little long. But I just love your long, blonde curls so much that I keep it pretty long. I only trimmed enough to get it out of your eyes. I love that you still look like a beach bum. I’m sorry that strangers occasionally think you’re a girl.

Today you are two, my sweet baby Jack-Jack. I love you so, so much. Happy Birthday, my sweet baby.


June 24, 2011

Vacation 2011 Part 2

Part 1 left off on a high note – Steve and I sitting by the fire on the beach listening to the waves and holding hands. Aww. The night went downhill from there. We went into the tent, where 3 children were supposed to be sleeping. There was much tossing and turning and a bit of sitting up and talking and playing. And not as much sleeping as I had hoped for. Then Steve and I laid down. You see, usually we take an air mattress when we camp, but on this trip we did did not bring it for 2 reasons: a) We were packing light so that we could fit everything in the car. This was a long trip, with lots of stops and we needed a ton of stuff, so packing light was important and b) We figured “We’re sleeping on SAND! Sand is soft, right?” Well, turns out all the walking around in the tent we did when setting up the sleeping bags, sweeping all the sand out of the tent, putting the kids to bed etc., left the sand under our tent quite hard-packed. Around 3am, I asked my wide-awake husband for the time and found that time had STOPPED MOVING. I was hoping it was almost morning and I could just get up and be done trying to sleep. So, I did the responsible thing and helped my family the best I knew how. I moved to the truck and passed out in the front seat. It was a selfless move because if I was too tired to even be nice the next day, the vacation was going to stop being fun for everyone very quickly. I’ve never been so thankful that Steve insisted on finding a Ford Expedition with a front bench seat. I got a good 4 hours of sleep after that. Steve also slept better once my tossing and turning and whining was gone. And the kids – they can sleep anywhere. So around 7am, Steve scared the living daylights out of me by knocking on the car window to wake me up. Pretty much the most confused I’ve ever been.

We got up, packed up the tent, and quickly gave up on keeping the sand out of the car or keeping the sand off of anything. As with when we arrived, it took us FOREVER to maneuver our front wheel drive truck in the sand. It was a careful system of driving forward to get momentum, backing up, getting out and digging the sand out from around the sunken tires, then repeating. Many times. We left the beach feeling gritty and sweaty and stinky and gross. I’ve never wanted a shower more in my entire life. But all of our searching for a shower house was in vain and we finally gave up on the idea of personal hygiene. It was around 9am when we left our campsite and we could not check into our condo (where we’d be spending the next 2 nights) until 2pm. We begrudgedly drove into Port Aransas to kill time for 5 hours and ended up having a wonderful time. We stopped at a long pier and had a picnic breakfast and walked up and down the pier. That’s when I noticed Gabby’s hair.



I quickly gave my dirty haired little girl some pony tails and then we then went into a few cute surf shops and browsed the overpriced clothes. The fun level really picked up when we rented Bevo, the UT Buggie. We drove it up and down the beach and through Port Aransas. We went out to lunch and picked up some groceries for our condo stay.P6100383



We were so excited to finally check into our condo. While I unpacked and finally got my shower, Steve opted to take Steven and Gabby down to the pool. Then I made us a home cooked dinner for the first time all week. It was great. We hit up the pool a little after dinner and then everyone got cleaned up and we played cards. Our time in the condo couldn’t have been better. We spent most of our time at the pool, ate home cooked meals and walked past the pool out to the beach once. I got attacked by THESE little boogers and that ended my attraction to the ocean. Thankfully, I didn’t get much of a rash, and even more thankfully I was holding Gabby when I got attacked and she didn’t get any at all. Just me. Because I’m special. Because I’ve never swam in the Gulf Coast without being stung by something.


The view from our balcony, the ocean in the background



Our 3 days in the condo ended all too soon. We packed it up and hit the road again and drove up to Randolph AFB for the night. We stayed in TLF and drove around the base and surrounding area a bit. We lived at Randolph AFB for a little over a year back in 2008-2009 and it was fun to go back and eat at our favorite sub shop and go to a Target that doesn’t reek of fish (Is it just me? Does anyone else smell that horrible stink in the Abilene Target?) and Steve even took me into Best Buy there and bought me this nice new laptop that I’m blogging from right now. My 4-year-old Dell just wasn’t cutting it anymore. And by cutting it, I mean going 20 minutes without crashing.

The next morning, we got up and around lazily and got to Sea World around 10:30. We were out of there by 3:00. We saw the shows, tried unsuccessfully to put the kids on a kiddy-ride and then we were out. We are thankful for our free yearly tickets because we can go for just a few hours and then leave without feeling like we wasted money.


After Sea World, we headed back to Abilene. After a wonderful week of fun in the sun in beautiful 90 degree days, it was a big wake up call to drive into the dry 106 degrees of Abilene. But it was good to sleep in our own beds.

We made some pretty wonderful family memories during our week and are so thankful to the Lord that Steve is here with us and that we had that time to bond with him again. God has blessed our family so, so much and we are just thankful to have had that time to just be in His rest and love and enjoy His gifts.

And now, you’re all caught up!

June 21, 2011

Vacation 2011 Part 1

We’ve been home for over a week, now. So I guess it’s time to post the pictures of our wonderful vacation. The task has felt a little daunting to me since Steve is a little camera-happy and took about 400 pictures during the week.

Since posting pictures of everything we did would result in a post so long you’d just stop reading since you need to do things like eat and work today, here is just the first half:

On the first day, we left Abilene early in the morning, drove down to beautiful Canyon Lake, met up with Steve’s Dad who brought his jet ski, rented a pontoon boat and spent 6 hours on the water. We had a picnic lunch on the boat, spent a lot of time swimming in the clear, clean water, played on the jet ski, swam to an island where Gabby collected sea shells, and rode around on the boat with the wind in our hair.


That evening, we cabin-camped at the lake. Grandpa had the cabin right next door to ours and the big kids slept in his cabin, because Grandpa is so much more fun than Mom and Dad. Apparently, we’re pretty lame.


The next morning, the kids enjoyed one of their all-time favorite activities: throwing rocks into water. Oh, the fun.


It didn’t take us long, though to change out of real clothes and back into our swim suits to hit up the sandy beach of the lake and spend the morning swimming and running from geese.

P6080239P6080237Jack napped on the picnic table. Vacationing is exhausting when you’re almost 2.

P6080240P6080242My little under-water swimmers.

That afternoon, Steve and I kissed our sweet children goodbye and left them with Grandpa where they camped for one more night in the cabin, did some more swimming and apparently went our for a pizza dinner where Gabby did not share her pizza with Steven, the bottomless pit. This is all hearsay since I was not there and am only gaining my information from the arguments of a 5 and 3-year-old.

Steve and I left the lake and spent our evening holding hands, laughing, having uninterrupted conversation and basically pretending we don’t have any kids. We stayed at a beautiful hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio with a rooftop pool, which was our first stop.P6080264The view from the pool was amazing.


After relaxing in the pool, we got dressed up and walked out of the lobby right onto the Riverwalk and found a place to eat some food without kids menus or high chairs.


We spent the rest of our evening walking around the Riverwalk and the highlight of the evening was when I noticed about 5 gray hairs in Steve’s beard. He was elated. He’s been wanting to go gray for years. He seriously can’t wait to have gray hair. I took a picture so he could see them. He put on his super-excited-face for the picture.


The next morning, we went out and did a little shopping before meeting the kids and Grandpa for lunch.

P6090288We were a little sad to leave our beautiful hotel and go back to carseats and diaper bags and boogers.

After lunch, we said goodbye to Grandpa and we headed out - just us and the kids - and drove down to Mustang Island State Park where we camped on the beach for the night.

P6090295My husband is a genius. That, and he’s been to SERE where he learned to stake a tent in the snow, which helped him prepare for staking a tent in loose sand. He got to work as soon as we got there and got our tent staked down good and tight very quickly. Then we hit the waves. Oh, how my children love the seashore.


For dinner that night, Steve cooked us hotdogs and jalapeno poppers over a fire he built in the sand. Have I mentioned his high level of awesomeness?

P6090350After dinner, we played in the sand and waves some more and then I showered each of our children off at a near-by outdoor shower with freezing cold water and put them to bed in our tent, where they stayed up playing for the next several hours. Steve and I sat by our fire after dark and listened to our camping-neighbor play her guitar and sing with the waves playing back-up. P6090362P6090364

That was the first half of our trip. Stay tuned for Part 2!