Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to School

1st and 3rd grade are here! Jackson and Audrey are wrapping up their first week of the 2016-2017 school year, and I'm thankful to say they're off to a good start (knock on wood!). This is their second year at the same elementary school...a first for our kids. It was fun to see Jackson walk up to the school confident and comfortable, and Audrey was adorably excited and nervous.

After waking up and eagerly getting ready for school, we did our 1st day photo shoot. In preparation I asked each of them what they want to be when they grow up. Jackson still wants to be a scientist, but he's also added app maker and robot designer to the list. Audrey wants to be a photographer and a gymnast this year. They both have a wide range of capabilities, so I have no idea what they'll end up doing as adults. I do know that getting some real smiles from these two involves some silliness in the process.

The kids picked their photo spots and asked for some silly, serious, and happy shots. Here's what we got...

I love these kids! They are so much fun!

Mountains and Lakes

We had such a great week at Pinecrest Lake with some friends from our life group a few weeks ago. We spent a few days in a beautiful cabin and enjoying the great outdoors. All of it was amazing! The kids loved playing on the "beach" at the lake. We rented a kayak one of the days and took turns checking out the lake. When the adults were done, Audrey decided she wanted a turn, so Ross took her out on the Lake. She did awesome! The boys were busy making their own tide pools, which they thought was a blast.

When we weren't at the lake, we were busy eating, playing games, and looking at the stars and planets and rocket boosters reentering the atmosphere. It was incredible! We saw Saturn and Mars through their telescope. We saw a few shooting stars, and then we saw this huge mass entering the Earth's atmosphere and breaking apart across the sky, which we later learned was a Chinese rocket booster. Pretty cool for a couple of space geeks.

We were back at the lake each day, so we did a little boating, fishing, and hiking while we were there too. It was a great way to spend one of the last weeks of summer. Great friends and great experiences make wonderful memories!

There are more pictures in the album as usual!

Friday, July 29, 2016

4th of July in Texas

We spent the week of the 4th of July in Texas again this year. Our first few days were spent in Leakey with the Rodriguez family. We shot fireworks on the 4th. Jackson and Mitchell helped with the display. They both had a blast and only got minor injuries. Really they both just got sparked enough to learn to be careful. We also floated the Frio river, played on the ranch, and celebrated Taylor's first birthday! Everyone was excited. I enjoyed watching Audrey drink in the smell of the cake, Mitchell help his little brother blow out his candles, and Jackson grin from ear to ear watching his baby cousin investigate cake for the first time.

It didn't take long for Taylor to dig into the cake and enjoy driving Mickey around on the icing while singing the hot dog song.

Taylor loved his presents and playing with family. There were lots of giggles and laughter, especially when Mickey did his songs and dances.

If that wasn't enough fun, both kids became go-kart drivers while we were there. Not something that was easy for me to watch! Mitchell taught them to drive...he can't reach the brake, which means they only know one speed, fast. Audrey almost crashed once, and when we had her stop so we could talk to her about how to be safe, we pointed out that she almost crashed. Her response was, "But I didn't!" We all couldn't keep ourselves from laughing since she said it with a huge grin on her face. Watch out world when this one gets her license!

We spent the remainder of the week in Fredericksburg with my Dad and the Money family. We went swimming and checked out the local farmers market and their vineyard. The kids loved playing together, and we had a wonderful time visiting and helping out however we could.

We wrapped up our visit to Texas with a visit to one of our all-time favorite restaurants in Austin, Trudy's. It was even better than we remembered! Great way to end a great week!

There are more pictures in the album.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Spring Baseball

Yes, I know it's summer. Yes, I'm always behind on my posts these days, but I want to capture these moments so I don't forget! This spring Jackson played baseball. The opening day ceremony was really neat. All of the teams stood around the field, said the pledge, and sang the national anthem. Then their special needs team, with the help of their mentors, threw the opening pitch. It was a great way to start the season.

The season was a tough one for Jackson's team, the A's. We had a new team that had several first time players. I was amazed at how much they improved over the course of the season though. In addition to learning the basics of the game, they started player pitch part way through the season.

Jackson was persistent and resilient during practices and games. He steadily improved throughout the season, and most importantly, he enjoyed playing!

There are more pictures in the album.

Memorial Day Weekend

The annual Stone Family Reunion took place over Memorial Day Weekend. We made the trip from CA to be with everyone. It's always so fun to catch up and see what has changed and what has stayed the same each year.

We started with a visit with E's grandparents and mom, as well as a visit to the Mudbug Festival where we enjoyed some crawfish, art displays, and good music.

We always have three hosted events during the weekend. Aunt Dottie has everyone to her house for an evening of BBQ and fun. Susan hosts brunch the next morning, and we wrap up at Uncle Ronnie's for swimming, karaoke, and fajitas. I only took pictures at Susan's house this year, which means I captured the annual puppet show organized by Aunt Carol. The younger generation loves this part of the weekend!

We managed to get a large group picture this year, and we had almost everyone there!

I also played with a new-to-me lens while we were there. There were lots of beautiful flowers to take pictures of!

There are more pictures in the album!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lovely Easter Day

Jackson and Audrey awoke early this morning eager to hunt for eggs and see what was in their baskets. We had to slow them down so they weren't simply a blur in didn't really work. They had lots of fun anyway and were excited about all of the candy, of course. We spent the morning playing games and enjoying some time together before church.

After the church service, we made our way to our friend's house for lunch and an Easter egg hunt. The dads hid the eggs outside while the mom's kept the kids corralled inside. When the eggs were all hidden, the kids gathered at the door and eagerly waited to hear the word "go!" Then they were off! They had lots of fun searching high and low, and eating candy again. They also love the food and playing with their friends.

When we got home I convinced the kids to do a mini photo shoot in the backyard. Audrey was first and loved posing and smiling for the camera.

Jackson was next. He's always a great helper with picking spots for pictures and posing. He especially loved taking the picture above with Audrey.

It was a beautiful Easter day both because of the weather and the people we got to spend it with. There are more pictures in the album

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Audrey is 6!

Six years ago when this beautiful little girl was born I almost died. The first few hours of her life I remember being so scared I wouldn't get to see her grow up, and now she's 6! I will never forget the peace I felt the moment they finally let me hold her. I'll never forget the joy I could see in her eyes in the weeks and months to follow. Audrey has a special light inside her that she can't contain. She brings love and joy to everyone around her. Her smile and laugh and that sparkle in her eyes are contagious.

Thursday was Audrey's birthday, and we celebrated with cake and presents and lots of phone calls from family.

Today we continued the celebration with a few of Audrey's closest friends. Audrey chose to have a trampoline party. I wondered to myself if she was going to be happy with her choice, but I don't know why. She LOVED it! She loves to bounce around, climb on things, and swing from anything hanging in the air. This place let her do all of those things with some of her favorite people!

Audrey invited friends from school, her best friend from pre-K4, and friends from our church to celebrate with us. It took a long time to decide, but she settled on Strawberry Shortcake decorations and cake. It was between that and Care Bears because she liked the toys on those cakes the best, and they didn't have Power Rangers. I love that she's so well rounded. ;-)

The most fun occurred after everyone was done with pizza and cake. We had about 15 minutes of jump time remaining, and Ross was ready to be a kid again! Unfortunately, I am sick, so I didn't join in. I really wanted to though!

Ross won the most fun dad of the year award for his running and jumping and playing with the kids. I loved watching his face just as much as the kids. They all had so much fun!

Audrey smiled and laughed and had lots of sparkle in her eyes today. It was a wonderful way to celebrate six years of her being in our lives!

There are more pictures of the fun in the album!