Friday, July 20, 2012

Horse Camp 2012

Wooohooo....Benjamin had an amazing time at Horse Camp. They were some loooooong days in the sun and he slept great every night. He is now a total horse-kiddo! He's also decided he wants to continue taking riding lessons into the school year!

I am actually super excited with his new love for this amazing creature. From the ages of 6-12, my family lived right outside of Austin on some land where I was able to have my own horse, "Shotgun". While I wasn't a great rider {I did spend five summers with riding lessons at Double Creek Farms....but apparently it just didn't stick}...I am thrilled that Benjamin wants to take this up. Maybe I can brush up on my riding skills as well....maybe.

Benjamin is in the green shirt, riding JJ. 

Camper cool-off time! Yes, 9 boys and 1 girl. But, everyone loved Katie...she held her own with this crazy bunch. And she could trot & jump on a horse like no other eight-year-old I've ever seen!

Taking JJ across the cavaletti on an English saddle. Benjamin learned both English & Western riding, but he much preferred the Western {I totally agree, kid}!

Swimming with his buddy, Zachary 

More cavaletti... 

Working on jumps....slowly at first. 

Riding & chatting with Katie. 

Toes & Hands Up! 

Learning about English style. 

JJ & Ben 

Brushing out Tex's tail. 

Painted horses...LOL! 

Getting Que Pasa ready for her saddle. 

Hanging with P.T., a mini horse. 

He learned all the aspects of good horsemanship.

 P.T. taking them for a ride!

Riding western-style on Que Pasa. 

Working the lasso...kind of. ;) 

 Benjamin & P.T.

Love, love, loved horse camp!! Can't wait to see him start his regular lessons in the fall!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mid- Summer Post

Summer is flying right along. 

We started the summer off with a week at the Hilton in Austin for the annual TASSP conference {at which I forgot my camera}. David actually was a presenter this year, so the boys spent part of that week at my parents' house so he could finish preparations. He did wonderfully! 

We came home and our new floors were installed shortly after that. You can read about them HERE. We are loving them! So easy to keep clean and they look fantastic. 

David had his time off from work and we spent the majority of those two weeks at the Peloton pool. He had several interviews for Ellison positions scheduled sporadically during his break, so we really weren't able to travel this year. 

With all of the time in the pool {it seems like at least 3-4 hours every day but weekends}, the boys have become fantastic swimmers. Benjamin likes to swim down and retrieve his diving sticks in the twelve foot deep end of the pool. And Jonathan can now dive into the water almost flawlessly. We still will have lessons in August, but I think they'll just be fine-tuning swim techniques at this point. 

Benjamin will also have a combination Horse & Swim Camp next week...thinking by the end of that, he may not need those August lessons at all. He's all set with his riding helmet & cowboy boots...he can't wait!

We had an *interesting* fourth of July. At least one that won't soon be forgotten.

These photos were taken before the mayhem. We spent the whole day at the pool, came home & grilled steaks, then headed out to find a {random} spot to watch the fireworks show. They are shot off on post, but we didn't want to go on post because of the traffic and not wanting to hassle with getting a visitor's pass. Most civilians camp out along 190 which has fantastic views. We found an off-post military shopette with a big field that lots of people were parking in. {About as close to post as you can get}. There are dozens of spots like this that people gathered at. We managed to pick the same spot as some folks we would have rather not shared out FOJ with. Ugh.

Benjamin has a child who has been in his class the last two years who he is encouraged not to hang out with due to behavior issues we don't want duplicated. We've tried to be accommodating and have let this child come over to our home on occasion...but we don't allow Benjamin to go to his home {it's very chaotic with multiple families living there...their friends in & out, etc.}. Over time, we just try to hang out more with our friends from scouts and stuff...they are good influences and Benjamin can be such a follower {just wanting him to follow those with good characteristics}.

Of course, this child's family {and the dozens of ill-behaved siblings} all show up at the same place for the fireworks. David was {at first} giggling at the irony...then the reality set it. The family put their kids into our truck bed with us {without asking or being invited} and went off to their own area....yelling loudly at the kids back & forth {very loudly & embarrassingly}. They ate our picnic, played with our kids' DSIs the entire time and were loud, horribly behaved and obnoxious. Ugh. We packed it up in the middle of the firework show and left just to get away from them.

Then of course, our kids got a lecture the entire way home on how not to behave and how some grown ups don't even know how to behave. We decided then and there we will not even be inviting this child to our home anymore. Hard lesson to learn...but, our kids are just too impressionable to be regularly involved with that kind of behavior.

It was a good show...too bad we only saw half of it!

We've also seen lots of movies at the theater this summer. And watched lots of Star Wars at well as played lots of Star Wars legos and collected about every Star Wars figure that Target & Walmart carry. The boys are obsessed!!

In a couple of weeks, Benjamin & I are going to McKinney for a long weekend to help Lori paint her nursery for the arrival of Baby Lola. Benjamin is going along so he & Jackson can go to Legoland together. He's been pinching pennies and picking up lots of extra chores for the trip. He can't wait to go to the Legoland store and collect a couple of new Star Wars sets.

Hard to believe school starts in a little over a month. We've already started school shopping and getting into a school mindset. It's all downhill from here!


Thursday, June 07, 2012


So happy it's summertime! Our schedule has a bit more breathing room and we can relax. David still works all summer, but does get Fridays off so we can hang out a bit more!

Since we already did a major vacation at spring break, we've decided not to do any major trips over the summer. Maybe a few weekend ones, but nothing crazy. Knowing we'd be in town a lot more, we decided to join the country club in Harker Heights {it's a country club with no golf course, which I think is so bizarre, but nobody else seems bothered by it}.

A bunch of our friends are members there, which makes it so nice. Literally, the last week, we've spent oodles of time by the pool and swimming with our buddies. The boys are LOVING it and we feel like it's been totally worth it. There's also an entire fitness facility there which David & I are taking full advantage of {they also have a cool kids' area for the boys to use while we're working out...complete with tons of Wii games that have totally kept Benjamin in heaven}. David & I are also hoping to learn racquetball there, too. They also have karate classes for the boys on Tuesdays & Thursdays and Jonathan wants to sign up for the kids' tennis camp that we've seen going on the last week {they run all summer long so we may have to do that!}.

Summer will also be busy with next week's annual Austin trip to the "hotel with the big red H" as the boys call it. We'll be there all week for the TASSP convention for David {he's presenting at it this year, too!}. The boys and I will probably just log in more pool time as well as running around my hometown.

Benjamin is attending Horse Camp in July and will also have ongoing piano lessons all summer. We even got a new-to-us-piano that the boys are already loving...kind of ready for Benjamin to learn actual songs, though. {Although, I did manage to teach him Hot Cross Buns and the high part of Heart & Soul...they're *kind of* sticking}.

We've also done a complete overhaul of our eating around here lately. We've gone gluten-free and low-carb and are really enjoying it (kind of Paleo eating except we still use dairy). I've done so much research on it and we decided it was a good fit for us. We're loving it...just wishing the grocery bills weren't so high...ouch!

I'm starting to taper off the graphic design end of my least streamlining it more and making it easier to manage. A while back (okay, over a year ago), I created a crafty/DIY blog. It started as a fun way to meet other crafties...but has grown into something that I'm dearly loving. I recently received my first actual "paycheck" from Google and it kind of blew my mind to realize I could work on this as an actual "job".  I adore it so much that it doesn't seem like work at all. And I've met some wildly talented friends via the craft/decorating blog world. Feel free to follow along on that site (I blog there a lot more than over here...yikes):

Here's our latest creation from my site:

We're currently working to update our kitchen from its boring builder-grade look. Our next project is extending the height of the cabinets and painting them all white. I'm going to try to do 90% of it on my own...trying to let us have weekends as free time and not project time!

That's about all I know for today! Toodles.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I've had a series of posts {formed in my head} covering our activities for the last few months. I really, really want to be a good {family} blogger, but it just isn't happening right now. I just have so little spare time these days. But, in order to preserve some family history, and to save myself from feeling overwhelmed about the sheer amount of posts I need to put together, I thought I'd just throw it all on here in snippet form.

At the end of January, Grandma & Grandpa paid us a visit. A fun time was had by all {although I still am hoping we didn't wear them out too much with all of our crazy activities}. From double soccer games to the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby to an Ellison basketball game, we had a great weekend.

In February, we participated in our first Blue & Gold Banquet for scouts.

Jonathan played on the Killeen Parks & Rec Winter Soccer League for the Dragons. It didn't go over too well at first...he was the kiddo not interested in soccer at all. But, by the last couple of games, he really enjoyed it and got into it a bit more. 

And every single game was COLD!! We bundled up, sipped cocoa and had a good time.

 Benjamin received a Knighting Award at school. Every month, one child per class is given this special award based on nine different characteristics.

The characteristic for which Benjamin won his award was Confidence. So proud!
This is the second year he's won a Knighting Award.

We took our obligatory Bluebonnet photos. The Bluebonnets were gorgeous this year!

We had a wonderful Easter as well. We hosted my whole family over for Easter lunch & egg hunting.

It was a really FUN time! This is my nephew & niece jamming out to Just Dance 2. 

This is another nephew and MY MOM jamming out to Elvis on Just Dance 2!

The littles had a super fun egg hunt! 

And letting the teenagers do the egg hiding was...ummm....interesting.
Trevor was determined to get that egg!

We all sat on the patio and visited for the good part of the afternoon while the kids played soccer & had some great cousin time. 

Jonathan's preschool held a three-day Olympic festival. It was fantastic. 

Jonathan and Gigi carried their class banner during the opening ceremonies.

And some major athleticism was displayed during the "javelin" throw.

An awesome relay runner!

The first grade put on its play: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
 It was so precious! They did a wonderful job.

Jonathan's school hosted its annual Mother's Day Tea. I love this event and will miss it so much!
We also had a great Mother's Day weekend with church, lunch at Freebirds, a shiny new stainless kitchen trash can (that I requested...heehee) and a gorgeous new birdhouse. We had a great afternoon together and David grilled out for dinner. It was a wonderful day.

Benjamin also bridged from being a Tiger Cub Scout to a Wolf Cub Scout (he gave up the orange kerchief and hat for bright yellow ones)! 

This is the whole group of Wolfs (Benjamin is on the far left). Their two leaders (pictured above, one in a scout uniform, the other in his Army uniform) are FABULOUS and so dedicated to this group. 
And another ironic twist, I somehow ended up becoming the secretary for the entire pack next year. Yikes! Hope I can live up to it...

Benjamin wanted Jonathan to have his old Tiger stuff...a year and a half and J can be an official scout, too! Jonathan even sleeps in his Tiger cap...he adores it!

Earlier this afternoon, we went to Jonathan's preschool graduation. How in the world is he already graduating? I was a big boo-hooing wreck today. I can not handle leaving St. Christopher's...I adore everything about this preschool and am not sure how to picture my world without it. Those two to the right of him are the buddy & the bestie. Nate & Katie are both moving away due to change of commands in the Army. I know this is a way of life here...but it still hurts so much. I'm close to their moms, too, and we were all a mess today. Nate is headed to Fort Leavenworth and Katie is going to Fort Knox. Sniff, sniff.

Getting our diploma! 

"Hey, Mom!"

One last hurrah with Katie & Nate! 

Jonathan's teachers: Mrs. Carthey & Mrs. Bickford. Mrs. Carthey is retiring this year after 42 years in happy to have been apart of her career!

Jonathan & my parents who came to celebrate with us!

My girls who are heading away...Erica left today (this is Nate's mom) and Marla is heading out the first week of June (she's Katie's mom). I will so miss our craft dates, coffee times, lunches and playdate fun. Ugh, I'm ready for a big ugly cry.

I don't know what's up with my scary smile, but this is the one where we were all looking at the camera! Congrats, JonJon! We're so proud of you!