Monday, October 31, 2016

Texas Life

One morning we found this spider in our kitchen.  Andrew thought it was a recluse but because of its stripe down its back I think it is definitely not one.  At least I hope so.
Homemade chicken pot pie stew is so cozy, warm, and filling.  A family fave-- it pleases every time!
Though our electric bill is literally less than half of what it used to be in California, produce out here in Texas is definitely higher priced and not quite as high in quality.  Not complaining, just more of an observation.  So, when grapes go on sale for $1.29 a pound, 
I stock up and we enjoy them while we can.  
Our "new" home was built in 1996.  Though it is a lovely home, it is in need of some TLC.  John and the kids have been working on the deck.  It is nearly done being stained. 
Natalie and Oliver like to play in the kitchen while dinner is being cooked.
Sveta is a wonderful big sister.  She does lots of different things with the kids.   
Playing games is just one.

Happy Birthday Anastasia!

 Happy birthday to one amazing young woman.  Anastasia is a treasure that we are blessed to call our daughter.  She is caring, hardworking, happy, and trustworthy.  
For Anastasia's birthday she got to go on a shopping spree to buy some new clothes and shoes.  It was fun going to the different stores around town.  She picked out two really cute pairs of shoes and a couple of pretty tops.  She is stylin'!
We then went out to lunch to a little Mexican burrito shop.   Their food was so yummy!
Later we all went to see Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children.  The company was awesome but the movie not so much.  Still, it was a nice outing with some of my favorite people in the world.  A few days later we went out to lunch again-- Sveta's gift to Anastasia.
All in all, Anastasia's birthday was a festive one.  We love her so! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Rain, Poison Ivy, and Another Birthday

Good morning. It's Friday! It's also Anastasia's 18th birthday!  

Our day starts at 5:15am around here. It used to be 5:00am but we've gotten into a good routine that has allowed us to shave 15 minutes off of our time. You don't know how crucial those extra 15 minutes can be to this tired Mama. 

Normally everyone rides the bus, but since I had to take the older girls into town for their job training early this morning, I drove the middle and high school kids to school-- in the glorious rain.

Wow-- lots of info in that last sentence, right?

Yes! (smiling ear to ear)

It has been raining the last two days which is awesome because it hardly ever rained in SoCal.
Annalyn, Sveta, and Anastasia just started new jobs all at the same place. (Annalyn also works at the local movie theater.)
Two nights ago we went to Wednesday night church. It's awesome because the church serves dinner and it's free for all of the kids. Not only do I get a mid week break from cooking, but it is also very affordable at only $5 per adult.
Plus the kids get some spiritual nourishment midweek alongside kids their age and I get a chance to socialize a bit.
Lexi loves our new home.
Here she is relaxing on our back deck.
In the woods you see behind Lexi is a breeding ground for poison ivy and probably sumac.  John has sprayed our whole property a few times and the kids know to be extra cautious now, but only after getting an itchy rash we battled for two weeks.
Not fun that's for sure, but it comes with the territory I guess.
Stick bugs love it around here.  We have seen quite a few hanging out on the deck and around our front door.
I still love to bake although I don't do it as much as I used to.  Still getting used to the ovens and electric cook-top.  I made a couple of buttermilk pies, and they weren't a huge hit like I thought they would be.  Oh well, I think I'll stick to pumpkin and blueberry.
John and the boys pressure washed the deck this past weekend.  Now if only it would stop raining long enough for John and the boys to stain it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Happy Birthday Nolan

Nolan is our outgoing, adventurous boy! It seemed appropriate to go to the park for his birthday!
So that's what we did!
This past weekend we took the kids to a local park where we walked around the whole lake.

Often times, kids were off doing their own thing, but we were always in ear shot of each other.

The kids got a kick out of the geese and ducks.
John and the boys even found a snake and a turtle!

Natalie likes being outdoors too.
For dinner we all went out to a Mexican Restaurant.  We all enjoyed the endless chips and salsa. 

It was a nice surprise that made Nolan smile from ear to ear when the staff brought out a sombrero and birthday dessert.
Back at home we did cake and presents.
Happy birthday to our kind, smart, flirtatious, funny, puzzle-loving, boy!

The next day Dennis helped Nolan put his Lego set together.

Happy Birthday to Jonathan!

One of my biggest hopes for moving to Texas was for my kids to make some new, good friends.  Well, it didn't take long to Jonny to do just that.  We got to meet them when Tanner and Reign came over for Jonny's 13th birthday.
First John took the boys to a trampoline park for an hour.  They had so much fun!
Once they came back, we had dinner.
Then the boys swam.
Next, it was time for cake and presents.

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to Jonny
Happy birthday to you.
It has been a pleasure watching you grow up so far.
It is obvious how wonderful and loving your heart is.
Happy birthday son!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Life in Texas

Good-bye Stater Brothers.  Hello  Brookshires.  I wasn't crazy about the store at first, but then as I started watching the ads and shopping the sales, it kind of grew on me.  
William and I came across this cleverly packed meat bundle all taped together.  Not sure why, but we thought it was "cool" enough to buy because we had never seen anything like it back in Ca.
I normally only buy the chicken breasts so finding other ways to incorporate the other cuts of meat into my meal planning proved to be a little challenging.   Oh well, it was interesting and the kids liked the change of pace.
This might as well as been a scene out of a horror movie because that is what it felt like.  On of our children had a blow out and I didn't realize it until I had picked her up and felt something gooey and slippery all over my forearm.  Not fun... but I am sure many of you can relate.
Annalyn and the friendly caterpillar
Sveta got a new haircut.

My Mom and Sister live about two hours away.  They came over one weekend.
It was fun with all of us cooking in the kitchen.
 My Sister brought us fireworks to celebrate our move to Texas since she knows we haven't had them living in SoCal for the last six years.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed them except Natalie and Oliver and of course, the dog. I ended up taking them all inside.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Simple Things

Some of the smallest things in life bring the most joy.  Over this past weekend, John and William put up this swing.  It has brought many smiles to the kids.

On a side note, Lexi is really enjoying country life in Texas.  I had my worries about there being no fences, and how well she would do with strangers and other dogs, but she acclimated better than I could have imagined.  There are at least half a dozen other dogs, all running free in the neighborhood and they hang out together.  The dogs pretty much all know which is their own property although most of the dogs end up in our front yard.  I'm sure it is because all of our kids pet, play, and feed them. Lexi goes on walks with us, runs with the other dogs, and yet stays close to home.  So thankful that she is content.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Back in the Day

I'm loving Texas.  It is so different from California. Take this park for example.  We passed by it one day and I squealed with excitement.  I haven't seen these kind of playground toys in ages... pretty much since I was a kid.  
Of course we had to plan a time to come back with the kids.

The kids had fun playing though it was a very humid day.  I'm sure we would enjoy ourselves even more if we were to go back now.  The weather has been amazing here!
Still, there is nothing like shooting down a slide out of a rocket ship!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Happy 10th Birthday to Dennis!

What a blessing to call Dennis our son! Happy birthday to a most amazing young man.  He has come so far!  It was a pleasure to spend the day with him.

We went to Jucy's Hamburgers .  Apparently they are voted the best in Texas so we had to see what all the fuss was about.
We got there just before the dinner crowd poured in.  The manager was so nice that he gave Dennis a birthday drink on the house.
William (whom change doesn't come easy for) walked across the street to Jack in the Box and brought Dennis back a milk shake.

Back at home we had cake and ice-cream and opened presents.

All Nolan could think about was that his birthday was coming up next.  At seven years old, it is hard to think about anything else. I disappointed him when I told him that Jonny's birthday was actually next.  
Dennis loves Legos!  He is a master builder!
Happy birthday Dennis!