Aug 31, 2014

Annual Awards Picnic

I know you think all we do is party around here and sometimes it feels like it!!

Tonight was our annual Girl Scout Awards Picnic. We had BBQ chicken and Princess made a huge pile of brownies. The other families brought salads and we all enjoyed an hour or so together eating and talking about the Girl Scout troop.

Princess decided they could all do cartwheels all the way across the field to the back fence. I did NOT participate. :)

Near the end I presented the girls with their awards for the year although it was a bit anti-climactic this year because half the year we spent working on our Silver Awards.

I love the scouting program and the way it helps me teach values and hard work to these sweet girls. I am looking forward to a month off before we start up the new year. There are just so many things going on right now that my head is starting to swim.

I love the changing of the seasons, but they always come with a bunch of stress. It takes me a couple of weeks to get my head around the new schedule and there is always a new schedule...

Aug 30, 2014

We Sure Missed You, Teach!

Remember a long time ago when I told you that Teach was into taking selfies long before that word was even invented?

I had to smile today when I was kicking myself for not taking any pics at the swim party for Sport's football team and their families tonight.

My photo gallery in my phone is full of new selfies of Teach and whatever sibling she happened to recruit at the time. It's been awfully fun having her back home with us! She and Baby Doll are best of friends again.

We have had a lot of time to be together this week, shopping, cleaning the house, and running errands. It's just fun to be with her and to talk and laugh.

So glad you are home, Teach!

Aug 29, 2014

It's Football Season!!

Guess what we did last Saturday? OK, I admit it. I already gave it away...

We got to watch the pre-season Pee-wee football games! I love it that Sport is so good at football. He's not big enough for the A team, but he made Super B again this year and he is playing Center and both sides of the line. He was just given a spot on starting Defense this week which is saying something because they have 20 boys on the team so very few are playing both teams.

Taco is also playing both sides of the line on his Gremlin team and Bossy is ecstatic about his progress this year. Last year was his first year and he just wasn't loving it, but now he is right in on the action all the time.

Last Saturday was nice because both boys were playing on the same fields and the games were one right after the other. Sport's team played first and although he did a great job, I think some of the boys on his team were a little shell-shocked and they lost 16 - 2.

Taco's team won 26 - 14. It was a beautiful day to be at the park... definitely beats cleaning the house!

Aug 28, 2014

The Trebuchet

I borrowed this definition from Wikipedia.

A trebuchet is a type of catapult that was used as a siege engine in the Middle Ages. The counterweight trebuchet appeared in both Christian and Muslim lands around the Mediterranean in the 12th century. It could fling projectiles weighing up to 350 pounds (160 kg) at or into enemy fortifications. Its use continued into the 15th century, well after the introduction of gunpowder.

I'm here to tell you that it was definitely used after the 15th century. We used one last night at our pack meeting and the Cub Scouts thought it was the coolest thing ever!

At some point in his scouting career, Bossy's neighbor made a real working trebuchet. I had heard about it before and we had hoped to convince him to share it with our pack. He was very willing to volunteer his time and equipment. It took him about 20 minutes to set it up and then he spent another 20 minutes shooting balls way up in the air so the kids could try to catch them.

We then had our summer picnic with sloppy joes, chips, salads, and cupcakes. When we were finished with our awards, the kids all got to make their own little catapult. We learned this pattern at the Scouting Expo back in May and I've been wanting to share it ever since. The kids had fun flipping pom-poms all over the church gym. It was a great activity and about 75 cents for each kit.

Baby Doll was helping us count out the pom-poms for the kits and I noticed that she carefully placed 5 pink ones in her bag...

Aug 27, 2014

Free Flowers from Bouqs

She was so surprised!
A couple of weeks ago I was approached by the Marketing Director of The Bouqs Company. He had this great deal for me, I could get an amazing bouquet of their gorgeous flowers for free if I would just agree to write a blog post about it.

Now you know me, I LOVE free stuff, besides, I had just the right person in mind who would be so happy to know that her family loves her! Nope, you're wrong. It's not Teach although I'm sure she would have loved the flowers too.

The Drama Queen had just headed back to begin teaching high school for her third year. That put her an hour and a half away from us and I have to confess that I was going through some pretty major withdrawal from her bright and sunny personality. It has been so nice to have her home all summer. She has been so amazingly helpful and sweet with the kids. We all miss her!

So I jumped at the opportunity to send her some flowers. They offered me about a dozen different bouquets to choose from and I timed it just right for her to receive them at the high school on her first full day.

She was so excited to receive a package at the school! I was able to add a little personal note and the flowers arrived in beautiful condition. Since I couldn't see them myself, she snapped me a couple of pics so I could share them with you.

They were so easy to order at

These that I ordered for Drama Queen were called Desperado. She loved them! Next time you are in the mood to send a few flowers, I highly recommend heading on over to the Bouqs website. You won't be disappointed.

**I did not receive monetary compensation for this post, only some beautiful flowers for my amazing daughter, but as always, the opinions are my own.**


Aug 26, 2014

Teach's Homecoming and Party

First let me confess right off that everything was so crazy I didn't even think to take pictures until almost everyone was gone. Then the Drama Queen snapped a few for us so I will share those with you in a minute.

Our Sunday morning started really early with Teach's report to the High Council. We had to be at the Stake Center at 7:00 AM, and I had been up late on Saturday trying to make sure everything was done and ready to go. She did an amazing job and then I was asked to speak for a couple of minutes which was pretty stressful.

By 8:30 we were back home and my sweetie started working on the food. I took a short nap and then jumped in to help get everything prepared. We had no idea how many people would be here, and we didn't want to run out of food.

Princess had made hundreds of cookies and now it was time to put together the pork for the party. We left everything at the house and made our way to the church. Thank you so much if you came to support Teach! She did a wonderful job on her talk.

We finally got back home about 2:45. It was wall-to-wall people and they were all hungry and waiting for a prayer on the food.

For the next 3 or 4 hours we were visiting and talking, eating and laughing. It just feels so good to have Teach home!

We went through so much homemade peach salsa!

Aug 25, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I'm sure you have all heard about the Ice Bucket challenge by now! The theory being that you can make a donation or have a bunch of water poured on your head. Well, my awesome little nephew, Mark, decided to nominate me. Since Princess received a totally unrelated nomination, she and I decided to do it together. Then soon a bunch of the kids joined in.

I hope you enjoy our little videos. And if you get a sec, go back and read the Dog Walker's guest blog from yesterday. We have talked before about him impersonating me. I think it's funny that he believes you can't tell because our writing styles are so not similar! :)

It was also Teach's Homecoming speech today, but I will save that part for tomorrow since I'm on a time limit for these challenges.

Aug 24, 2014

Guest Blog: Fun at the Zoo by Elder Dog Walker

We went to the Hogle Zoo to celebrate my dad's work party. We got tickets to do a lot of the fun things we never usually do at the zoo, like getting ice cream cones, riding a train and carousel, and having a delicious dinner in the private pavilion.

Anyway, when we got to the zoo, it was really crowded, but on the bright side, we got to look at almost all the animals before we headed to the fun activities I told you about. While we were walking to see the animals, we noticed a lot of different things at the zoo, like they re-polished the lion drinking fountain, they added a Savannah exhibit where they put the zebras and lions.

 There was even some rearranging on some animal exhibits, like the giraffe building used to be on the west side, but then they moved it to the east side right by the train station and the private pavilion. They even added a new playground area where the slide was shaped like a lighthouse and they had a splashpad in there where kids could get wet and even pretend to be pirates on the fake pirate ship.

Baby Doll and Scout
Along with our adventure at the zoo, we were up by the Elephant Encounter and that's when we looked at our bracelet tickets that would let us ride the carousel. We were waiting in a long line, but not very long because there are a lot of animals on the carousel that anybody could sit on. Teach sat on a tiger while mom helped with Baby Doll to ride, especially with her broken arm.

I sat on a peacock pretending to be the King of Sheba (but not literally), since the Peacock was the shape of a seat instead of an animal saddle.  The kids enjoyed  the ride. Right after it, we went in line to get an ice cream cone. We used our ticket coupons to get a cone. Most of us picked flavor burst cones, like I picked blue goo, because I thought it sounded delicious, while the rest of the kids mostly got twists and caramel flavor burst cones.

Then we went on to see the other animals. Dad wanted to see the Polar Bears, but we decided to look at the tigers in the Asian area and probably see what else is there after we passed the tiger den.
Crafty, Princess, and Prima Donna

When we got back down, we headed over to the pavilion to see if the long lines to get some food had cleared up. They had and we got right through. We enjoyed the delicious hot dogs, potato chips, water, and soda (even though we prefer diet instead of regular). Right after dinner, we got in line to ride the train. The train was fun especially when Baby Doll was saying "Hi" to almost every animal we passed, like the zebras, lions, ostriches, giraffes, and buffalo.

Right when the train ride was over, we still had a few more things to see before the zoo closed at 9:00. Dad still wanted to see the Polar Bears, so we all went there and we explored all the other animals like the rhinos, bald eagles, sea lions, and finally one polar bear. We were a bit disappointed to not see it outside swimming in its pool. But we saw it inside trying to sleep. It was getting close to dark and the air was starting to feel like autumn already. We had a feeling that the zoo was almost ready to close, so then right when we were done with the polar bears and having a little fun on the playground and the turned-off splashpad, we started heading up the hill and to the exit.

We all had lots of fun, especially Teach on the Carousel. I hope you like all the pictures.

Aug 23, 2014

Fun at the Safety Fair

We have had so many things to concentrate on lately! Teach is speaking in church on Sunday and we have a party planned afterward so today we cleaned the house, got groceries, and Princess made a couple hundred cookies. So when Drama Queen finally arrived around 5:00, we got ready to go to the Safety Fair.

Don't they look like twins?!
We weren't sure if they would cancel it this year. Last year the rains came and they put it off for a couple of weeks. It had been raining most of today and the fair is typically outside so we sent the Dog Walker up to see if anything was happening. He came back with the news that things were being set up but inside the Community Center this time.

It was fun but crowded! So crowded in fact that I didn't even think to take any pics inside the building. They had booths set up everywhere. We got a ton of free stuff including shirts, pens, pencils, sunglasses, bags, toothbrushes, calculators, Teach even got a flash drive! They gave us a hot dog and a drink and they had live music on the stage. My favorite freebie was a new flyswatter. I hope it works!

As we splashed through puddles and the drizzle on our way back to the car, I was glad we took the time to support this fun event put on by our city.

Aug 22, 2014

Teach is Finally Home!

It was a crazy morning! We got everyone up early and my sweetie made our favorite special occasion breakfast, chocolate Malt-o-Meal with lots of marshmallows. We still had all the smiley-face plates to put on the lawn before we could leave for the airport.

We were finally loaded just after 9:00 and we were off.

It's a 20-minute drive to the airport, but we already knew the flight had taken off about 10 minutes ahead of schedule and we didn't want to be late. The airport was a zoo! We found out later that there were 19 missionaries on that flight and all of their families were waiting for them to come down the escalator.

It took a while. We tried to wait patiently, but our eyes were constantly scanning for suits and skirts and name badges. After what seemed like forever, we saw that first name tag, but it belonged to an elder and his family was super excited to see him. Then a second elder came down. His cheering section wasn't nearly as big.

Then we saw Teach. She was crying and waving. I waited until she was about halfway down the escalator before I ran to meet her at the bottom. It was one of the best moments of my life. I hugged her for a long moment and then released her to share with the rest of the family.

After many tears and hugs, we finally left the airport. We didn't have to be at the church until noon so we had about an hour for her to become reacquainted with the house and the changes we have made over the past 18 months.

Her release was quick and simple. She interviewed with the Stake President and then she bore her testimony for us. After that she took off her name badge and we had a closing prayer. We drove back to the house and ate pizza and talked and talked.

Teach was worried because she had brought very few clothes home with her. She is also about 10 lbs lighter so most of what she left here wouldn't fit so I took her shopping. That took most of the afternoon. She was exhausted since she had to be up this morning at 4:00, but I couldn't convince her to lie down for a while.

We had tickets from the Read Today program that let us all into the Bees baseball game for free, so after a quick dinner we took off for the ballpark. We were a little late, but it was still a great time. We talked and giggled and enjoyed being together in the beautiful night air. I know I had other family members there, but we didn't see any of them. (Hope you all enjoyed the game!)

The kids even got 2 seconds of mini-fame on the Jumbotron for their crazy dancing!

I took Teach and most of the kids home after the 7th inning stretch. Bossy left with her family too. Only my sweetie and Sport stayed and the game went in to extra innings. They didn't get home until about midnight.

It was a wonderful, glorious day! Teach is sleeping in her own bed again. She keeps calling me "ma'am" which is a little weird but in a good way. She is mostly still the same sweet girl we sent out in the world a year and a half ago, but there is now a maturity and a confidence about her that I hadn't seen before.

A mission is a wonderful thing!

Aug 21, 2014

Ten Hours and Counting...

Dear Teach,

I am so excited to see you tomorrow! Almost 18 months without you has been so long. I wanted to make sure I don't forget to say some things to you.

First of all, I am so proud of you! I didn't have the vision or testimony to devote 18 months of my life to teaching the gospel before I was married. You have been a great example to our family and I'm sure to the other missionaries and people of Texas.

I love that you are so strong in your convictions and that you make goals and achieve them.

I know you have loved your mission, but I am selfish enough to be glad that you will finally be back home. The family has never been complete while you are gone. There is an empty chair at every party and I miss your sweet voice.

I can't wait to hug you and hold you and welcome you home.

See you tomorrow!