Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Latest

The Rest of Our Week

We have had a busy week getting back on track after vacation...and it's my turn to teach Ella's Joy School group again for the next 3 weeks. I didn't realize when I picked this unit it fell right at Spring Break time - I just saw that this unit was called "Individual Confidence and Uniqueness" and knew I wanted to teach it. One thing I hope I am able to instill in my girls is to not only appreciate what makes them unique, but others as well, and to realize that it is the differences in all of us that make our world so wonderful.This week we talked about how we all look different and have different names and that is part of what makes us unique (and discussed how none of them are better to have (brown vs. blue eyes, etc.) they just make us special). We colored self portraits, made life-size cutouts to paint, and focused a lot on their names.
One of Ella's Joy School friends, Lauren, stayed at our house Thursday afternoon while her mom was gone and the girls were dressed as princesses all afternoon. She came along with us to the splash park where Andrew brought cupcakes to share for his birthday...

Addie has really not been into "sister" pictures lately you may have noticed :-), but when they are matching I HAVE to get one, although this is definitely the worst one yet!The next morning, a little exploring proved profitable with the discovery of the toilet paper roll - loads of fun!She already knows what to do with my makeup......almost...
Addie was trying to put Ella's crown on her head for her and I just thought it was cute.
Andrew's birthday party was Saturday - Ella was sooo excited all week for it. It has been fun now that she is older because she really cares about what she gives her friends. For Johnny's party a few weeks ago she told me the instant we got the invitation that she wanted to get him a dinosaur :-).
With her 2 favorite boys, Johnny...
and birthday boy Andrew...

Addie's diaper was definitely full this morning when I went in to get her out of bed. She is still sleeping in until 8:30am since our trip, which in so many ways is great, but I need to start heading back to the gym this week and I need her up in time to eat and get ready for the 8:30 class so we'll see - I hate waking her up, so I end up not going.
And lastly, some videos:
Addie putting on a bracelet, which I just thought was cute:

Her improved walking skills (and so kind to clean up along the way too!):

And saying tree (listen closely at the begninning), this is one of my favorite ages because they are suddenly starting to understand how the world works and learning new things constantly:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Latest Madness

All I can say is my bracket is a lost cause - go Davidson :-)!

North and South

I finished my latest book club selection (North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell) on the drive home from California and we had the meeting Thursday night. It is really the first novel we've read (I missed the meeting for To Kill A Mockingbird) and I definitely thought it was the most interesting discussion we've had so far! I must admit I was a little wary of the book when I first started reading it. It was written in the 1850's I believe, so the writing style took some getting used to and it was slow going for a little while. I honestly don't think I would have continued reading if not for the book club - I need something to grab my attention pretty quickly - but by the end I really loved it. There are interesting comparisons made between male and female roles, the different social classes, and the northern and southern parts of England at the time. Elizabeth Gaskell does an excellent job developing the characters into people you really feel you know and I definitely became invested in what would end up happening to Margret, the main character. Although all the relationships in the book are interesting and explored in great depth, I am a romantic at heart and was glued to the last 100 pages or so of the book just waiting to find out if Margret was finally going to find love (and by the way you don't find out until the last 3, that's right THREE, pages....the book is over 400!) - I was really worried I would never know :-)! I highly recommend the book - just keep trucking through those first chapters - it is definitely worth it in the end!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Some Fresh Air

We spent Monday recovering from our trip. Addie slept in until 10:30am, went back down for a nap at 1pm and slept until almost 5pm! Then she still went down for bed at 7:30pm - it was CRAZY! - she was clearly ExHaUsTeD! Ella and I had been cleaning-up, unpacking and doing laundry all morning so when Addie woke up (finally) we decided to take a walk over to our little park for some fresh air. We packed a little lunch and stayed a good couple hours until the lawn guys came and interuppted our flower-chain making by mowing the grass.
(Please forgive my children looking like little orphans - remember we were doing laundry...and Ella picked her outfit out :-)

I just had to put up this picture from Addie last May (4 months) to compare...she is so HUGE now :-(! (14 months)
Ella kept trying to put flowers in her hair and was getting frustrated they would fall out, but she was putting them in backwards :-)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Sunday

The girls finally got to wear their cute Easter dresses! I just took a few pictures really quickly before rushing out the door for church and plan on trying to get some better ones, but here is what I managed that day. At least we got one of Addie smiling :-). The girls were still a little out of sorts at this point - they had yet to catch up on their sleep completely.

We went to my parents' house for Easter dinner after church and I just had to take a picture of my mom's cute table. Ella is always excited to see their house at each new holiday! Both my mom and my grandmother definitely have a gift for decorating and the ability to make anything look amazing. One thing I really missed when I left for college was all those little touches my mom added to everything. I only hope that someday I can exhibit just half of their talents! The good news for our girls is that Mike's mom also has a knack for making their home beautiful, so with all those genes in the pool, they were bound to pick up some - the odds are in their favor!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Journey Home

I try not to put up 2 posts in 1 day, but our internet has been tempermental (hence no post yesterday) so I'm just getting them done while all is going smoothly.

The best word to describe our journey home is LONG! The girls were great and everything went smoothly, it was just a long trip, no way around it. We added on quite a bit of time compared to the trip out to CA because we left from Fresno and drove straight through to Katy (opposed to San Antonio to LA on the way there). But we all survived (although I think it was a close call for Mike who did ALL the driving while I took care of the girls) and looking back even he says he would do it again!
Our last day in Fresno March Madness had begun (wooo hooo) so we relaxed, watched the games, and took a lunch break to Rubio's for some fish tacos (this isn't a great picture, but I was trying to capture all our fun food destinations).
When Addie woke up from her nap later in the day I went to change her diaper and discovered she had managed to get a pacifier down her onesie - it was hard to capture with the camera but it was pretty funny.

We left early Friday morning and the girls slept and slept in the car - they were both exhausted from the constant activity and lack of sleep. When we made it to our hotel that night they were ready to get their wiggles out! Ella ran all around the hotel room acting crazy and Addie pulled out all the kleenex from this conveniently placed (at exactly her height) dispenser. The next morning as we packed up to get in the car yet again Ella told me, "I don't want to leave this hotel!" Poor thing - she knew what was ahead :-)!

Our saving grace on the trip was the DVD player - Ella thought it was such a treat to watch so many shows in one day that she would have driven even further I think. She also loved her "magic" markers that only colored on their "magic" notebook (thanks Sheree for the idea!). By the second half of that last day we were definitely all ready to be done :-)!

HOUSTON!!! It was so exciting to finally feel SO close (Katy is even 30 miles closer than Houston :-)! It was especially exciting to walk into our house and find that my mom and sister Hope had cleaned up for us! We had been hurrying to finish packing and running our last errands before we left and I was literally cooking up the last of the gluten-free pancakes to bring on the trip while Mike was buckling the girls in the car. I had every intention of leaving our house spic-n-span so it would be nice to come home to, but just ran out of time. It was the most wonderful surprise to walk in to a clean kitchen and the girls rooms all picked up :-)! Thank you mom and Hope!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fresno = LOTS of Freemans!

We spent the rest of our CA trip in Fresno visiting with Mike's relatives on both sides. There were lots of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to squeeze into our trip. Ella LOVED playing with her "cousins" (I think they are technically 2nd cousins?)! There were lots of kids just her age to run around with - and hopefully she'll have some real cousins to play with some day :-)! We stayed with Mike's uncle Ralph and aunt Linda and it was the ideal place for Ella. All of their grandkids live close by so in addition to having cows, sheep and chickens in their backyard, they were also equipped with a playhouse and lots of bikes and cars to ride on - Ella was in heaven! Here are pictures from our first 2 days there:
Our first stop in Fresno upon our arrival was this tasty little Mexican restaurant that Steve and Diane have been going to for years and years. Not only was it delicious, but it seemed SO cheap after our time at Disney :-)! We were able to see Diane's sister Jenny who was visiting from Colorado and Addie and Ella quickly fell in love with her little dog Tiny - he was just their size!

Here are the girls playing in Great-Grandma and Grandpa Gibbs backyard - excited to be free from their carseats and strollers for a few days at last.

Chloe and Brittany were kind enough to occupy Ella with countless rounds of Hide-n-Seek on our visits to the Gibbs' house. Ella is SO great at hiding :-) - I don't think she quites understands the concept yet - she would just stand against the tree in plain sight and wait for them to find her. Below is Addie with Great-Grandpa Gibbs...when they came to visit TX a few months ago I failed to get a picture and I thought this one turned out cute.

All the girls together...and 4 generations of girls: Great-grandma Gibbs, Meema, and Addie.

Our first night in Fresno, Ralph and Linda had everyone over for a barbeque. Ella loved playing with all the cousins - she was especially excited to meet Michelle's kids because she looks at their pictures on her blog. Here she is with Aaron and Charlotte and below are ALL the Freeman Great-Grandkids...only 3 boys out of the 14 (and quite a cute group if you ask me)!

The next morning Chrissy went through the Fresno temple and tons of family was able to be there, which was really neat! We owe a big thanks to Mike's cousin, Jordan, who watched our over-tired girls in addition to his 3 little ones so we could both attend! Most of the group went to lunch at DiCicco's after - a Fresno family favorite. That night another of Mike's cousins, Jared, came by with his family. Ella had so much fun with their oldest Hannah!

Uncle Ralph caught one of the 3 little lambs so Chrissy could hold him and the girls were able to pet him. Addie wasn't so sure about petting him (she just used her little pointer finger to barely touch him) but Ella thought it was pretty fun chasing them around during the catching process.

Here are Emma, Ella and Hannah watching Peter Pan and eating popcorn while the adults visited. Jared and Shannon also have a little boy Landon who is only 2 weeks younger than Addie and is so cute too. We had a lot of fun visiting with all the cousins and family in Fresno and really appreciated Ralph and Linda not only letting us stay at their house but feeding us delicious, fresh "farm" food too :-)!