Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gone Fishing!

The day after Christmas Jackson was begging to go fishing, so that afternoon we did! It had been raining all weekend, but the afternoon provided a little break. We headed to Bay Area Park and let him make his first real cast. Of course, I documented it in photos for you. Ross helped him get set up, and then he went for it. It looked like a great cast! Then as you can see in the last picture, everyone was looking up instead of down. He'd landed his line in a tree on the first cast.

Ross was able to get it out. Then we moved down the pier a bit a tried again in an area with no trees. He was SO excited! Then he realized fishing requires patience, which is really tough for a 3 year old! There really wasn't much water around the first pier we tried, so we moved on to another. He had fun casting and reeling in the bait, but he was a little disappointed not to catch a fish, which just means we'll have to try again!

There are a few more pictures in the album.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

This was our second year to have Christmas at home, and we LOVED it! Leslie, Philip, Mitchell, and my Dad all joined us on Friday, and Susan and John came down on Saturday. Ross cooked a delicious meal for us on Christmas Eve before we headed to the Christmas Eve service at our church, Gateway Community Church. Then we came home, ate some more, and let the kids open one present before sending the them off to bed.

In the process of getting ready for bed, Jackson left cookies and water out for Santa, which he told me Santa needed to share with his reindeer. Then we said "goodbye" and "see you next year" to our Elf on the Shelf, Henry. All three kids were worn out from playing so hard all day, so they crashed!

The next morning Jackson and Audrey woke up at 6:00 on the dot and were excited to see what Santa brought them. They must have been good this year because they got exactly what they asked for! Jackson got his fishing pole and umbrella!

And Audrey got her dollhouse and an umbrella too!

Mitchell was pretty excited about his truck and the "itkawa" (AKA motorcycle) he'd gotten the night before!

After playing with their Santa gifts for a while, we took a break for breakfast. When Susan and John arrived, the present opening began, and oh. my. goodness...there were a LOT of presents to be opened! We had to move our coffee table out of the living room to give everyone a little extra room!

Some of the favorite gifts included puzzles made from pictures my Dad, AKA Pop, drew of the kids; their very own luggage; a sleeping bag and a baby for Audrey; and a hot wheels wall track and legos for JD! I think they were a little overwhelmed by the time we finished unwrapping the last gifts, but they loved every moment! It was so much fun to have everyone here!

Everyone except my Dad headed out around lunch time. JD and Audrey spent the entire day in their pajamas, and after nap time, we went back through all of their gifts and played and played and played! Pop left in the mid-afternoon after a fun game of Old Maid with Jackson, which JD won!

It was a fantastic Christmas for us, and at the end of the day when we asked JD if he remembered what Christmas was all about and why we give presents, he sweetly replied, "It's Jesus' birthday!"

More pictures in the album as always!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas with Nana

Our first round of Christmas celebrations started last weekend when my mom, also known as Nana, came to visit. She was able to join the kiddos at the day care for their visit with Santa on Friday. Then on Saturday morning Jackson and Audrey helped us make some sugar cookie dough. While we waited for it to chill, they got to open their Christmas presents, which you can tell they loved!

When the cookie dough was ready, Jackson and Audrey helped us roll and cut out the cookies. Of course, a little taste testing of the dough was done along the way too. When we were done, they had lunch and headed upstairs for a good nap.

Then the fun began! The icing and sprinkles were flowing all over the counter and floor, but it was lots of fun! Jackson was very deliberate in his decorating, especially with the snowmen. Whereas, Audrey was all about the quantity of decorations she could fit on a cookie...and her hands. Can you tell which one was decorated by which kid?

On Sunday, the kiddos got to take more pictures at church. They had Santa pictures, as well as pictures with Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Again, Audrey wanted nothing to do with Santa, but she warmed up to the idea of pictures with Baby Jesus. She likes to say "Happy Jesus", which means "Happy Birthday, Jesus" in Audrey-speak.

We had a great first round of Christmas and are looking forward to more this weekend! There are a few more pictures from the weekend in the album.

All I Want for Christmas...

Santa came to visit the kiddos at the day care last Friday. Audrey is still a little scared, but Jackson was eager to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas this year. I got to be one of the photographers for the big event, so it was fun to see each kids' reaction to seeing Santa and sitting in his lap (for those that weren't afraid). Jackson, however, was the first kid of the day to crawl into Santa's lap and talk to him. In typical Jackson style, he talked and talked and talked, but it was all about what he wants for Christmas. This year he umbrella and a fishing pole! It was so cute and so sweet, and we did manage to get him to stop talking long enough to get a picture. As soon as we were done, he kept right on talking!

Christmas Tree Decorating

The weekend after Thanksgiving we spent the day decorating our Christmas trees. We have a big tree for the family and a little tree just for the kiddos. Jackson got to put the topper on the big tree, and Audrey got to put the topper on the little tree.

They both had lots of fun finding a place for each ornament, but in the process I realized just how much of a control freak I can be! I like my ornaments evenly distributed, and I had strong opinions about which tree certain ornaments went on. Needless to say, I learned to relax about most of those things in the process...after all, I could move them around later. ;-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tree Farm Field Trip

Jackson got to go on a great field trip a couple of weeks ago to The Holiday Acres Tree Farm, and I got to join him, which of course, means I took lots of pictures! It was a beautiful farm, and a fun way to spend a gorgeous day!

Holiday Acres Trees

There were two classes of 3 and 4 year old kiddos on this trip. While the other class went on a hay ride through the trees, Jackson's class visited the miniature horses...

Miniature Horses

dressed scarecrows...


swung on a tire horse, and played in the dirt and hay, which included a little Texas sledding! Uncle Philip would be proud of his digging skills!

Then it was their turn for a hay ride!

Hay Ride

They stopped along the way to checkout some very small oranges (sorry, I don't remember their actual name), which Jackson's friend, Jayla, graciously showed the camera.


They also stopped to find out how old one of the trees that had recently been cut was and to talk about how quickly the trees grow.

When they were done with their hay ride, they roasted and ate marshmallows!

After a little more playing in the dirt and hay, we managed to get all of the kids in each class together for an attempt at a group picture...everyone was either wired or tired as you can see in this picture of Jackson's class!

Holiday Acres Trees

Then we loaded everyone back on the bus and went out for pizza before going back to the daycare. It was a great way to spend the day and start off the Christmas season!

There are lots more pictures in the album!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Picking out a Tree

Audrey and Jackson helped us select our tree this year. We went to our favorite spot to pick out a tree Sunday evening after driving home from Shreveport. It was a little chilly, but they were excited to bring one home!

JD & Audrey


This Thanksgiving was very special for me because I got to see my grandparents and ALL of my aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as their kids! Here's a picture of everyone on my Mom's side of the family. Unfortunately, I didn't get one of everyone on my Dad's side.

Napper Family

The little ones had a lot of fun playing together all day. Hide and seek, swinging, pulling the wagon, and tree climbing were the primary means of entertainment for them. It was a gorgeous day for it too!

Aside from Thanksgiving day I wasn't very good about pulling out the camera, but I did get a picture of Jackson learning to use his Granddad's sling shot!

Ross, JD, & Audrey

I also got one picture of my Dad with both kiddos at my Mamaw's house.

Pop with JD & Audrey

It was wonderful to see everyone! We got to spend Thanksgiving day with my Mom's side of the family, Friday with Ross' family, and Saturday with my Dad's side of the family before heading home on Sunday. I'm really disappointed that I didn't take more pictures the rest of the weekend...I'll try to make up for it next time! There are lots more pictures from Thanksgiving Day in the album though.


We moved into our house almost 2.5 years ago. Within a month or two we bought a new light fixture for our entryway, and it's been sitting in the garage ever since. In addition to that, all of the bulbs in the old fixture burnt out about a year ago, so we've been living in the dark for a while. The problem was that we have 26 foot ceilings in our entry. They don't make ladders that big, and paying someone to do it involved building scaffolding, which was really expensive. Being the clever guy he is, Ross began doing research and finally decided to rent a single man lift. It fit through the front door and would lift him all the way up!

It was a great idea. We rented a trailer, and two men loaded it for us. It weighs a little over 800 lbs and lays down to be hauled. The challenge was getting it off the trailer and into our house. Ross spent almost an hour debating what to do when several guys showed up across the street to work on refinishing a pool. He was over there before they were out of their truck and asked for their help, which they eagerly provided for $20! It was the best $20 we could have spent.

Single Man Lift

Once the lift was inside, Ross went to work! I think he enjoyed playing with a piece of heavy machinery for a few hours, and when he was done we had a light fixture we love and one we can change the bulbs in easily!

There are a few more pictures of the fun in the album.

P.S. That's my new car that towed the trailer...I'd gotten it 3 days earlier!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Zoo

We spent the afternoon at the Houston Zoo with our friends, Emma and Clara, today. We always have fun when we get together, and today was no exception! The kids walked hand in hand to the entrance of the zoo...such sweethearts!

We picked up a wagon, and everyone had a turn pulling it around.

It's been a while since we've been to the zoo, so this was really the first trip where Audrey has recognized the animals by name or sound or both, which was lots of fun! They were all simply fascinated by everything.

There are more pictures of the all the action in the album!

Daddy Time

I absolutely love the laughter that fills our house when Jackson and Audrey have a little Daddy time!

Little Indian

The daycare did a Thanksgiving Feast this week, and Jackson's class dressed up like Indians. They each had their own Indian name, which was painted on their shirts. If you've been around Jackson for any length of time, you know his name suits him! Their teachers did a great job on their outfits!


Friday, November 04, 2011

Big Girl Bed

Audrey's big girl bed arrived on Tuesday afternoon, so we set it up and began the transition that night! We transitioned Jackson when he was right at 19 months old, and he did great! Audrey is almost 20 months, and she is doing pretty well too. The first night was definitely rougher. She kept climbing out of her bed and crying, but after several rounds of consoling her and getting her to relax, she finally fell asleep. She fell out of the bed twice that night and once the following night. Last night she made it through the night without falling out of bed at all. Hooray! Most mornings have been similar to how Jackson responded. She wakes up, starts talking, and waits for one of us to come into her room before she gets out of bed. The first night she slept much later than usual, so we actually had to go into her room before we heard her say a word. I think she was already awake though. Here are some pictures of her crawling into her bed for the first time, and as always, there are more pictures in the album.

LA Tech Homecoming

We made our annual trip back to Ruston for engineering advisory board meetings and LA Tech's homecoming. This is the first year I haven't had to go to any meetings, so I enjoyed some extra time with friends and family! Here are some pictures of Jackson and Audrey playing in my grandparents' backyard. Jackson enjoyed pushing us on the swing and pulling Audrey around. He was quite the gentleman. He would pull one of the sides off of the wagon to make it easier for Audrey to climb in and out. They were too cute playing together!

G.G (Great Grandmother) spent some time swinging with us too, and I just love this picture. Can you tell they are related? I think they look so much alike!

G.G. and Audrey

We missed the homecoming tailgating since the kiddos needed naps, but we did make it to the game again this year. They loved it! I didn't take any pictures at the game, but there are some more of the kiddos playing in the backyard in the album.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

Jackson and Audrey had a great time trick or treating tonight! Here are a couple of pics, but there are lots more in the album.

They also did some trick or treating at school today, so I'll try to work my way through those pics soon to get them posted.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall Fun

This week finally felt like fall in Houston, and it was perfect timing because there were lots of fall activities planned for this week. Jackson's class had a field trip to the pumpkin patch on Wednesday. The school's Fall Festival was on Friday. We went to the pumpkin patch as a family and carved our pumpkin this morning, and we went to a friend's Oktoberfest party this afternoon!

Jackson's class had a blast together at the pumpkin patch. A lot of his friends from last year are in a different class this year, but they all went on the field trip together. One of the moms made some adorable pumpkin cookies for everyone for snack time, which they ate while sitting in a pile of hay. Then they sang the "5 little pumpkins" song and talked about the life cycle of a pumpkin before grabbing the wagons and playing in the pumpkin patch. One of Jackson's friends found a pumpkin with a ladybug on it, which just fascinated them as you can see below. They also had story time at the pumpkin patch and heard a story about the bumpy pumpkin. Before leaving, each kiddo got to pick out their own little pumpkin to take back to school with them, which they decorated later in the week. There are a lot more pictures from the flied trip in the album

The Fall Festival included games, face painting, sno cones and popcorn, and "scary hair". Audrey loved the sno cones, and Jackson loved having scary, orange hair. I didn't take my camera with me to the festival, but I took a couple of pictures when we got home. Some of the orange in Jackson's hair was already coming out, but you get the idea. Before the end of the night, there was orange dust everywhere, and their bath that night was a lot of fun water!

Today we went back to the pumpkin patch to pick out the pumpkins for our house, and of course, to try to get some cute pictures, which you can find more of in the album. Jackson immediately spotted a bumpy pumpkin like the one from the story and decided that was the one he wanted to take home. He spent the rest of the time we were there carrying it around in a wagon.

Audrey decided on a little larger sized pumpkin, and spent the majority of her time climbing around in the pumpkin patch.Audrey's pumpkin

They both had fun climbing around in the pumpkins and playing with the wagons before we headed home to decorate our pumpkins. Jackson used stickers on his bumpy pumpkin, and we carved one for the family.


This afternoon, we all had a great time at the Gerty's Oktoberfest party. I didn't take my camera, and it was nice to relax and visit with folks while the kiddos wore themselves out jumping in the moon walk, playing on the play set, and just running around. It was a great way to spend the day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Adorable Audrey

Audrey looked so cute dressed up for church this morning and was having so much fun playing in this box that I couldn't resist snapping a picture of her. Isn't she adorable!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Dewberry Farm

Jackson, Audrey, and I celebrated Columbus Day at Dewberry Farm with our friends, Emma and Clara. Ross was on his way to Canada, and Chris had to work. We, however, got to enjoy a gorgeous day on the farm! It poured down rain for the first time in many months the day before, which meant the temperature was nice and the ground was pretty soggy, but that didn't deter the kiddos. They had a blast checking out animals and playing around. Here are some pictures from the adventure.

I really do think we have the sweetest kiddos on earth...most of the time.

JD & AudreyJD & Audrey

I also took a few pictures of JD and Audrey at home before we left.

Of course, there are more in the album.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Splashing in Kemah

We took full advantage of another weekend at home by not staying home at all! We celebrated one of JD's friends' b-days Saturday morning, and then headed to another friends' house to watch some football in the afternoon. On Sunday we went to church as usual and then headed to Kemah for some outdoor fun. We spent the majority of our time at the fountain splashing around, but we also rode the train, which both kiddos loved. I got lots of pictures of the kiddos splashing around. I think I could tell a separate story for each one, but I'll limit myself to a few...for your sake!

Both JD and Audrey were a little hesitant to get started playing. They watch from the sidelines for a while before Audrey got up the courage to try it out. She walked over to one of the holes, stood on it, and waited. I guess they're smart enough not to spray when you do that, so she waited for a while. Finally, she stepped off, and when it sprayed she stuck her head in! This was quickly followed by a shocked look and running back to Ross and JD. Then she just giggled and took off!

Ross was able to persuade Jackson to move a little closer to check it out, and then Audrey took him by the hand and showed him what to do for a change!

After that, both kiddos couldn't be stopped! They would run around, find a spray of water, stick their heads in, and squeal with delight as they ran back to us. I especially love the picture in the bottom right of this collage where it looks like the boys are all standing around watching the cute, brave girl!

She's a Daddy's girl though!


As I said, I took a lot of pictures. You can find the rest of them in the album.