Right after school let out for Summer vacation, we took off for a quick getaway in Austin. We rented the same home we stayed in last December and really enjoyed exploring the city in beautiful, shining sunshine!
So, we’ve been to Austin, and this specific ranch, twice in the past year, and just love it! The trees and nature feel so good to my Seattle lovin’ guy (I’m not complaining either) and the kids go wild chasing giant dogs, feeding horses, riding a hot walker-turned-swing, and just being kids! Its been such a great way for us to disconnect and reconnect with each other.
Some of our favorite things about this vacation were exploring the Hope Gallery, searching for arrowheads, Hopdoddy’s fries with cheese sauce (!!), making up very complicated secret hand shakes while sitting on the porch at sunset, sneaking the big girls out of bed to chase fireflies with me, the hot walker. They could spend half the day on the hot walker.
I’m updating this 4 months after the fact, but I’ve got to make space on my computer by transfering pics the my external hard drive. I’m afraid once they get there I’ll never get them on the blog/blog book. So here I sit, less than a week prior to putting our home on the market, and I’m blogging! However, I just don’t have time to edit the pictures too. It kinda hurts to put them out here in their less than perfected state!
Visiting the State Capital
Whew! This was a hot, hot trip! But the kids and I raced to the top of the Texas State Capital (via the stairs!)
It was fun to wander the grounds with the kids because I’ve heard stories of my mom waiting on a bench for my MeMa to get out of meetings with the State House of Representatives back in the 70s.
Jake and Jacquie’s Family visits the Ranch
We’re so lucky that Mike’s cousin Jacquie and her husband summer in Texas while Jake sells security. They came over for Sunday dinner and play while we were in Austin. Love those two and their cute little boys! Clara thought Grant was the coolest, even though he insisted on driving!
Do you see the deer? Its wild, but was so curious about us! There were FIVE of us standing on the other side of the fence, and it was obviously nervous, but still approached!
Jake’s face! :)
Visiting the Hope Outdoor Gallery
I love yearbook day! Ok, who am I kidding: I love anything that unifies these two! They had such fun comparing friend lists and signatures when yearbooks finally came home.
Nora’s 1st birthday was 4 days after Madilynn’s and since it was a party year for this big girl, we invited a couple families and MiMi and PaPa over for a small party. (Small is relative when your closest friends’ families have 3-6 kids each!)
We had a bit of a market theme with tons of farm fresh fruits and veggies, fresh baked items and izzies! I didn’t worry about activities, other than letting the kids play together like they really wanted.
Our Nora girl is such a snuggly little love! At 12 months she has no interest in standing or walking- not even in our laps or while holding our hands. She just wants to sit and observe, snuggle with mom. Actually, she doesn’t even crawl! Her first word (other than Ma and Da) was “bye!”, combined with the sweetest little wave, and she shares it frequently. Her sisters and brother adore her and are always happy to sit and play.
She’s my pickiest little eater. Actually, she wouldn’t be picky at all if I gave up and fed her carbs and avocado all the time, but I’m still fighting for a balanced diet!
We love this sweet girl!
Love these boys! Of the 15 kids we had at the party, there are only these three, kindergarten boys! Think they’re going to have a pretty strong bond as they grow up dealing with their many sisters??
The 8 and 9 year olds
Little girls! (Missing Addie, who is going to be in their Joy school in the Fall!)
The big ones! Love these silly, intelligent girlies!
Ok, this cake series is an absolute crackup. She liked the attention of the singing to her, LOVED all the big kids around her, but once she tasted a bite of that frosting she LOST it!
Madilynn turned 10 this spring! We celebrated with a scavenger hunt at the mall with a few friends, followed by her favorite: Auntie Annies!
She’s such a fun, determined little learner. She feels strongly her roll as leader in our home, and is so wonderful with little children. She is a creative playmate to Clara and Nora and always willing to babysit, even if she’s not always willing to do her chores! Madilynn is still imaginative and a great, creative problem solver. She reminds me of my PaPa in this, if a chair was wobbly he would quietly go about fixing the problem. Madilynn does this with things around the home, often using creative (and sometimes messy!) solutions to problems or ideas!
Lily’s 2nd grade class had a career fair this spring and invited the kids to each make an inexpensive item to bring to class for trade. Lily made stress balls out of animal print balloons, but had an extra that Nora was obsessed with. Here is a series of images of the two of them playing together after school. Cash also hops in on the fun.