Recently, Daniel found a present in his closet from Uncle Dan that hadn't been used yet. It was a Explorer Trek Pak belt with tools (bug tweezers, magnifying glass, you get the picture). He paired it with a ranger vest that Mimi and Pawpaw brought back from a trip to Yellowstone a few years back. So cute! We set out today to explore the lake nearest to us, but it was big-time raining when we got to the entrance. Plan B was to visit a park across town near my sister's last house. I managed to get there with only a few turnarounds! It wasn't raining, but it was crazy muggy. We hiked around on the trails there, then sat down to enjoy a quick snack. We found our first victim, um... I mean specimen - a grasshopper! We managed to catch him with the net and put him in the bug jar to examine him. We did release him back into the wild, did a bit more exploring, and then got caught in a pretty good rainshower. We managed to make it back in the car before the downpour started! Daniel thought it was cool that God let us get back in our car before the big rain came - so sweet. Hopefully, he'll want to keep exploring!!
The kids love all the fun new stuff we get to do here in Austin. Our latest adventure included a trip to Radijazz, which is a huge indoor playscape with this big riverscape, a huge volcano with a foam block pit and a big climbing playground. My sister was the official photographer for the outing, so I'll post photos once I get from her. I think the kids ran, jumped, and rolled for 2 hours straight!
Leslie took Halle home for a nap, and I took the 3 cousins for pink Sprites (cherry Sprite from Sonic) and to get Daniel a haircut (he has Kindergarten Camp next week!). We have a great Toys R Us near us with a Cool Cuts for Kids inside! I managed to get the three preschoolers past ALL the toys and into the studio, where they had tons of kid-friendly video game stations and toys. The girls played with plastic zoo animals while Daniel played a Nemo game during his haircut. We managed to leave the toy store with only 2 balls and a $4.32 pricetag!
We finished up the evening having dinner with my sister's family, complete with boys wrestling match. This game involves Uncle Kevin, Dave, and Daniel as well as all of our couch cushions. Daniel's getting much better at this and really looks forward to it. He's getting pretty tough, even when he gets hurt. I love that he has great men in his life that can teach him how and when to be rough!! Definitely not a good mommy role. In Peck tradition, you have to name your moves, which Daniel LOVES. If you take the two small cushions and use them at the same time on either side of your opponent, you yell "Sandwich Shop!" as you make your move. Fireball, tornado, and Special Delivery are Daniel's favorites. Too nuts!! The little girls played a little; their favorite move is to run into the cushion and fall down while Uncle Kevin holds it up (can't remember the name). Wow, I've got to get the video camera out next time!!
...the mice will play!! While my sister was on her mission trip, my brother-in-law Kevin took on some home improvements! Leslie has no clue that her sweet husband ripped up the carpet in 2 downstairs rooms and replaced them with hardwood floors!! They look awesome and she is going to LOVE it!! He also had a guy come to put up a rock border in the front & back beds.
This superdad even made signs!!
Here's Ellie with painted fingers and toes to show mommy at the airport!
... the arrival of this baby is one of the highlights of my week! Moving to a new house has meant lots of new purchases - but a new washer was definitely not in the plan, or the budget! My old washer (which was generously donated to us by my parents when we got married 10 years ago and was well used at that time) had a small leak in Granbury. By the time it arrived in Austin, the small leak turned into a HUGE one! Nothing like breaking in your new house with a watery mess. :) AND if you are familiar with how my husband works, there was some serious washer research going on: best brands, front load vs top load, cycle features, energy savers....you get the picture. We finally found a good match and ordered through a good friend with a great discount! The first washer arrived Tuesday, but had a huge dent on the front. Sadly, I watched them haul it back on the truck and took another couple of loads over to my sisters house. It felt like the old college days!! Finally, the delivery guys called this morning at 6:20am!! We were the first delivery on the list and by 7:30, it was hooked up and ready to go!!!!
I put my best Stay-at-home-mom hat on today and decided to make some cute bug cakes to have as a treat after nap time. I have a fun mold with ladybugs, butterflies, dragonflies, and bees. I made up the cake mix and baked up some yummy bugs! It was a small miracle that all 4 kids were down for a nap at the same time!! I woke up the big kids at 5 for their yummy bug party. I brushed on a pink glaze and let them decorate with sprinkles. As you can see from the pictures, my big event was VERY short lived - I barely got a picture of the cakes before they were gone!!!
They quickly moved onto the next activity, which was rock band. Daniel took his role very seriously, while the girls were more concerned with changing imaginary batteries in their instruments. Halle & I enjoyed the show - maybe she's using the brush as a microphone?!
They've now moved on to playing Dora - with Halle as Swiper!! Never a dull moment...
While my sister is gone on a mission trip, I'm helping take care of my 2 beautiful nieces. Ellie (3) plays really well with my 2, so it's a blast!! Halle is 10 months and is one of the happiest babies on the planet. Leslie did a great job lining up help, meals, carpool to get Ellie to school, etc. On Monday, it was just the 4 kids and me! I needed to drop off a form at Daniel's school (guilty of procrastination!), so I loaded up the gang and set out. Daniel told me it was his lucky day, because he got to sit in the front seat while the girls took the back. We found that our school commute is going to be around 40 minutes - praise the Lord that we only go twice a week! We made it there safely, dropped off the forms, said hi and made introductions and headed out. We quickly made it to Barton Creek Mall, for some chick-fil-a and playscape (so I thought). We had a great lunch, successful potty break, and set off to play. I quickly figured out that playscapes are not mandatory at Austin-area malls like they are in Dallas/Ft. Worth! We made it down to Nordstrom's, where they had a Nemo/Marlin/Dorrie aquarium in the kid shoe department, then walked through Build-a-Bear, and made a final stop at the candy store. We loaded up and headed home without major meltdowns, tantrums, or scenes!! We had a great time. :)
One of our inside jokes from our honeymoon is the phrase "i know this cool putt putt place..." although I can't remember the rest of the story. Last Thursday, we took more time off from unpacking to have a little family fun. We found Putt N Funn Zone nearby and practically had the place to ourselves! The kids had fun playing the preschool version of mini golf, which is really no rules and no order. Daniel did really well and seemed to catch on really quickly. We both took turns in the go carts, which the kids loved! We played video games, ate pizza, watched the batting cages, and had a great evening!
Nothing like celebrating Independence Day all weekend! Saturday morning we joined great friends from StoneWater Church in the annual parade. We hand out 5000 bottles of water and info about our church. This was one of the first events that kicked off the church 3 years ago!
After the parade, Mom and I cleaned up and headed back to town. My high school choir director Duncan MacMahon (aka Mac) is retiring and one of my fellow classmates helped put together an alumni concert in his honor. I didn't get to sing, but really enjoyed the afternoon. It was also a great time to see old friends and catch up! GHS will not be the same without you, Mac!
We then switched gears again and headed out to the Riemondi's Triple Joy Ranch just outside of town for some Stewmondi fun! My family (the Stewarts) grew up with the Riemondis - we lived down the street from them, rode the bus together, and went on crazy Delta-kid vacations together. They have a beautiful place with lots of toys! Here is my mom and Regina with grandkids.
Newest addition to the fun was Nick's dirt bike. Not to be outdone, eldest brother Wes puts on some boots and takes a ride on the toy. Keldie and Knox look on - Knox was not so sure about the boots!
It's a bad picture, but this is the "bardominium" at the ranch, which has hosted some wonderful parties! Daniel and I learned how to play shuffleboard, which is painted on the smooth garage floor! We had a blast - thanks everyone for a wonderful weekend!
After a few days of living with and among the boxes, we headed back on the road for a little R&R. Our first "vacation" spot? Where better to spend the 4th weekend than Granbury, TX?! We opted out of the traffic that goes with Granbury-proper fireworks and spent the evening on the rocky beach of the Brazos River with our wonderful friends!
Bailey loved swim time in the river and playing with the kids. She was a little skittish around the fireworks, but mostly wanted to fetch them. We managed to keep her away from them. More about our sweet dog soon...
Yes, we did let our children play with fire. Here, Justin Sprayberry and I help the kids with sparklers. Moments later, many of these same children decide they are afraid of sparklers. It was a hoot!
I was going through the pictures from my camera over the past couple of weeks and found these! Daniel loves to grab the camera and have fun with it! ;) Here is a photo shoot of 2 of his favorite things - his sister and his cars (not necessarily in that order). As I clicked through the photos, I found a series of pictures like this one:
Anna was photographed holding each car in the line up! She is usually never this agreeable when Mommy is on the other side of the camera. Too cute!
We made it! It's now been over a week, but for those who have been holding your breath, you can let it out slowly.
Our moving crew definitely added to the adventure. To make a very long story short-ish, the guys started loading up the truck, van, and trailer at 8:30ish Monday morning. It was apparent that the truck was too small and that another trailer would be needed. Eventually, the lead moving dude Sgt. Murphy (not his real name) left to pick up another trailer from the local U-Haul and promises to return soon with lunch for his two guys who are left behind to finish loading. Fast forward to noon, when the majority of our stuff was loaded onto the existing truck and trailer. No Sgt. Murphy, no trailer, no lunch - Dave finally heads out with kids and moving dudes, who he feeds at Chicken E in Glen Rose! I follow soon after the house is clean. My dad goes by our house at 5 pm, to find the rest of our stuff STILL SITTING ON OUR DRIVEWAY! Sgt Murphy finally makes it to our house by 5:30 with van and trailer and heads out. The truck with most of our stuff arrives at our house in Austin by 6 and is unloaded by 7ish. The moving dudes are still hanging out, with no food and no money, so they chill with us and eat pizza! Poor guys!! Sgt. Murphy finally shows up at 9:30ish, where the final stuff makes it inside the house. More drama ensues, but I did promise the short version. I think they left our street around midnight. AAGH!!
We did have a very warm welcome to our neighborhood (Shadowglen), where my sister and several other Austin Stone Church families live. Our moving dudes told Dave they had never seen so many people show up to say hi to someone moving in. :) Many came and brought kids; it was fortunate that we were able to find the princess dress up clothes right away!
My sister blogged about it already - you can click here to see the pictures she has. I was a little distracted!! I did manage to grab a couple from the next day: