Sunday, October 29

Pumpkin Patch Pics

The kids enjoyed a fun afternoon at the local pumpkin patch last week. They picked out our perfect family pumpkin, which Sammy is in the process of carving right now! They each got to pick a pattern to carve on the pumpkin, so we have 3 different images carved into it. There's hardly any pumpkin shell left! Sydney picked out a kitty cat, Samuel picked out a spider web (which is why poor Sammy is STILL carving!), and Nick picked out a bat. It'll be a nice surprise for them in the morning.

Here are a couple of great shots of all three kids together:

Sydney & Nick are "loving" on their baby pumpkins. Samuel just loves to smile!

My sweet twins!

Sunflower Sydney

Scarecrow Samuel

Nick wanted a picture all by himself... so, he got it! Such a big boy!

Thursday, October 26

Halloween Crafts

I'm in search of some fun & easy Halloween crafts to do with the kids the next few days. I found some great ideas in a magazine called Family Fun. (And, their website is just as good, if not better!) After school tomorrow, we're making Paper Bag Gargoyles. They looked so easy & I know the kids would really enjoy making these.

This weekend, we are carving our pumpkin & toasting the pumpkin seeds. (The kids can hardly wait to eat more pumpkin seeds. They love them just about as much as I do!) And, Monday, we're making either a pumpkin cake or a graveyard dessert. I've made this graveyard dessert several times before & it's always lots of fun to make & to eat. It makes a great Halloween centerpiece!

(By the way, if you don't receive the wonderful Food & Family magazine from Kraft, you need to sign up for it ASAP! It's a great magazine & it's totally free!)

But, I'm searching for some other tried & true Halloween craft ideas that other kids have enjoyed creating. What are some things you have done or are planning on doing?

Wednesday, October 25

Owen's Farm

The kids went to Owen's Farm last week with their class at school. (Think pork! Ewww!) Anyway, they had a great time & we got some cute pictures.

Samuel & Sydney

Samuel & his friend, Braeden


Lately, I have become addicted to some games that I downloaded from the Yahoo! Games site. They are so much fun!! You can download the games & play a free trial version for one hour. You don't have to enter any credit card information, so there's no risk of "accidentally" purchasing something you don't want. It's totally FREE!! They'll just cut you off after your one hour of use. And, if you only want to play 15 minutes at a time (which is IMPOSSIBLE for me!), you can quit the game & play your remaining 45 minutes later.

You can purchase the full version for $19.99, but for now, I'm playing all the freebies I can get my hands on.

So, here are my recommendations:

* Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects
This game is so cool! It's like those I Spy books, where you have to find all sorts of little hidden objects. This is the same premise. They give you a list of hidden objects to find, but you have a time limit. It really is so much fun, even if it is just for an hour. (I may splurge & buy this for myself soon!)

* Mystery Case Files: Huntsville
The same as Prime Suspects above. It just has a different story line to go along with the "hunt". Fun, fun, fun! And, free for one hour!

* Hidden Expedition: Titanic
Once again, this is the same idea as the two Mystery Case Files games. However, this one takes place underwater (obviously). Still tons of fun & pretty challenging!

Have fun!!

Tuesday, October 24

Pizza Pros

Here are my little chefs at work...

Making pizza is always fun for the kids... and messy for Mom & Dad!!

Mom & Kids

My sister took this picture of the four of us & I really liked the way we all turned out. In the past, it has been so difficult to get a decent picture of all the kids together, but I've noticed it gets easier & easier as they get older. Of course, I could have done without Nick's hand in his mouth, but I love it anyway!

(Mom, that is the color of red that I painted in my dining room.)

Cross Gun

Boys can turn just about anything into a gun! For instance, a lovely cross...

I've been "shot" several times with this cross!

Tantrum Time!

Wanna see a four-year-old's temper tantrum at its worst?

Monday, October 23

Zipping through the trees!

This one's for you, Mom...

As I mentioned in a previous post, part of our Mother/Daughter weekend was an adventurous canopy tour through the TX hill country trees. We zip lined at the Cypress Valley Canopy Tour ranch in Spicewood, TX. It was awesome!!

Here are some great pictures from that beautiful morning.

Walking across our first sky bridge...

Time to fly!





We are loving this!

Our tour guide took a group shot of all of us on our very last sky bridge...

And, Mom bought us all t-shirts to commemorate the event. Thank you, Mom!

This was truly a wonderful experience! I would do it again in a heartbeat, if I had the opportunity!

Saturday, October 21


When I got home last night, Nick was walking around with a Batman cape & mask on. I asked him, "Nicholas, are you Batman?" And, he answered me, "No, I'm BatNick!"

So funny!

I asked Sammy if he had told him the name "BatNick" before & he said he hadn't. He's got a great imagination!


If this is not the cutest picture, I don't know what is!
(Thanks, Aunt Jon!)

Thursday, October 19

I Love Hand-Me-Downs!

Thank goodness for great friends & used clothes!! My friend, Dixie, has been so wonderful about passing on her boys' clothes to Samuel. Sometimes, I can't even keep up with all the clothes she hands down to us. (I am NOT complaining, though!!) So, when the weather started changing here & cooler days were on the horizon, I realized I better start thinking about getting warmer clothes out for the kiddos. Nicholas will always be set, since he gets all of Samuel's old clothes. However, I was bummed because I couldn't find anything for Sydney or Samuel. Until... I found a couple of large bags the other night FULL of boys winter clothing in size 5T!!! Thank you, Dixie!! You saved me!!

Sydney, however, is a whole different story. She & I will be making some trips to Target soon...

Tuesday, October 17

Girls' Weekend

Here are some group shots of our fun weekend in the TX hill country!

This first picture was taken on our first morning. We were headed to Round Top, TX for their Antiques Fair.

Erin (Middle Sister) ~ Mary (Mom) ~ Amberly ~ Jonetta (Oldest Sister)

On Saturday, we went to Wimberley. Their Market Days were HUGE & so much fun!! Our Aunt Diana joined us for this shopping trip.

On Sunday, we traveled to Spicewood for our treetop adventure. Here we are, waiting for the fun to begin:

I'm so lucky to have such a fun family! My mom & sisters are great & I really enjoyed my time with them!

Thanks Mom, Jonetta & Erin! I love you all!

Purple Undies

Samuel has a favorite pair of underwear. (Is that normal?) He always wants to wear the same pair of purple Batman underwear. Now, before you worry about him, it's not a pretty, girly purple. It's a "Batman purple"! :) Very manly!

Anyway... he wants to wear these same undies every day. Therefore, I wash them almost every day. Yesterday, he asked to wear them, but they were in the dirty clothes basket. So, I promised him that I would wash them & he could wear them the next day. Well... I did wash a load of clothes, but I apparently failed to include the purple Batman underwear. This morning, he asked for them again & I told him to go dig through the freshly laundered clothes in the dryer. When he didn't find them, I told him they must be in the bottom of the laundry basket & that I would wash them in the next load.

So, of course, when we got home from the grocery store this afternoon, he asked again if his Batman undies were clean. I explained that I had not had time to start another load, but I would do it as soon as I could.

Samuel gave me an exasperated sigh & said, "Mom, just tell me what to do & I'll wash them." And, he did!! He proceeded to open the washing machine, take the dirty clothes out of the basket & one by one, throw them into the washer.

I love it!! Help has finally arrived! And, his name is Samuel!

Monday, October 16

Terrific Two!

I wanted to post some pictures of Nick's 2nd birthday party, but got to thinking about my very first post on this blog... a picture from Nick's 1st birthday party. Has it really been a year already? I am so excited for my kids to grow & learn new things & experience new adventures... but, it's also very hard to realize that as each minute passes, they are closer to being independent young adults. You always hear how fast time flies, but this cliche has never held as much meaning as it does after you have kids. I love this stage where my kids are presently at & I really don't want to change a thing right now! We have so much fun during the day... they love their preschool... and the twins are getting along better & better each day. It would be great if we could stay in this moment forever. But, I also know how much I would be missing in years to come. Like more great birthday parties...

So, I'll cherish these moments while they're here & try my best to make our time together full of laughter & love!

And, I'll post pictures that will keep the memories fresh!

Nick had a train themed 2nd birthday. Our friend, Becky, made his darling & delicious train cake! (Thank you, Becky!)

Ava, Mackenzie & Sydney in the bouncy house

Nick is trying to escape from his girlfriends, Jenna & Elise

(Continued on the next post...)

Terrific Two! (Cont'd)

We couldn't get a picture of the cake with a lit candle, because he would blow it out immediately after it was lit. (We tried 3 times!) So, we settled on this picture:

And, finally, his new train table was the hit of the party when rain ruined our outdoor activities:

Nicholas got boots from Mimi & Papa, but decided they looked better on him without pants! Whatever makes him happy...

(By the way, that is our dog's tail sticking out from under the train table. After looking at the picture again, I realized that looked a bit odd if you didn't know what it was.)

Overall, he had a fun birthday party & we are thankful for his friends that were able to help him celebrate. I'm looking forward to another fun year!

Wednesday, October 11

Mini Darth Vader

Nicholas loves to wear this Darth Vader mask that changes his voice to sound like the Star Wars character. He likes it so much, he took it away from his Daddy, who actually bought it for himself. Imagine that...

Sydney, on the other hand, is scared to death of this mask! I don't think it's the actual mask that scares her, but the voice that comes out of it. She runs fast when she starts hearing that heavy breathing that Darth Vader is famous for. Even when it's on Nick. Silly girl.

I have a feeling Halloween might be a little tough for her sensitive little self this year.

Cowboy Climber

We were at a birthday party the other day at this really cool kids play area that has a rock climbing wall. Several people, including the employees, told Samuel that he wouldn't be able to climb the wall in cowboy boots, but Samuel was determined to prove them all wrong!

He's on his way...

Going higher & higher...

He did it!

After he rang the bell hanging from the ceiling, he proudly kicked his way back down to the floor & did it all over again... several times!

First Day of Pre-Kindergarten

I FINALLY downloaded my pictures off my camera, so I'll have lots to post about...

Like the twins' first day of Pre-Kindergarten at Arapaho Road Baptist. They really like their teacher, Mrs. Mezzell. She's wonderful!

Tuesday, October 3

Going Short

Well, I cut my hair off! It was pretty long, by my standards. And, it's now gone. My friend, Becky, kept Nicholas for me last Thursday while I went for my first cut. (That's right... I said "first cut"!) The stylist did a great job & gave me a really cute cut with flippy hair & all. However, I absolutely could not recreate the look she gave me! I just plain couldn't do it. And, if I can't do it when I have lots of time to try, then I sure can't do it when I'm in a hurry... which I usually am. So, after messing with it all weekend long, I gave the stylist a call back & told her I needed help. She was very sweet & told me to come in whenever I could & she would give me a "no fuss do"! YEA!! So, back I went with a cute magazine picture. "That's what I want", I said. She looked at me as if I was crazy & wanted to make sure that I really wanted to go shorter. "Absolutely!"

And, I love it! It's so much easier!

Sammy once saw pictures of me with really short hair. (Probably in college.) And, he used to call me "Amboyly". Although, I didn't go that short this time, I'm betting that was his first thought when he saw me walk out of the salon. It took a little while, but last night, he finally said, "It's cute." I'll take that!


Lately, Nicholas has become obsessed with one particular movie... The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl. He demands to watch it atleast once a day, every day! There are times when I tell him that Shark Boy & Lava Girl have gone to bed, so that I don't have to "fight" with him because I won't turn it on again. It's just easier that way. I don't understand this obsession. He's only two! This movie was obviously targeted for older kids & therefore, should be more appealing to that age range. The twins first saw it after their 4th birthday, when we rented it at Blockbuster & really liked it. It was cleverly done (and cheap!), so I bought it for them. And, now, Sydney & Samuel don't even watch it anymore. But, Nick is glued to the screen whenever it's on. Not Sesame Street... not Blue's Clues... not The Backyardigans... not Clifford... only Shark Boy & Lava Girl! I'm really sick of those two characters!

When the twins were younger, they had an obsession with Finding Nemo. Sydney used to ask constatnly for "Memo". And, I always had to fast forward through the first part of Nemo, when the shark attacks Marlin's home & eats his wife & kids. Sydney & Samuel hated the beginning! They wouldn't watch it at all! Who can blame them? That is pretty scary for toddlers. However, I didn't think that obsession was too strange. I mean, it was a cartoon & it did appeal to small kids. The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl, however, has me perplexed.

Or, maybe he just takes after his Daddy, who can watch the same movie over & over & over. And, who has a passion for Robert Rodriguez films. Yep, that's gotta be it!

Sunday, October 1

Girls' Weekend

I am so excited about this weekend! Exactly one week from today, I will literally be flying through the treetops in the Texas Hill Country. But, I'll get to that in a minute...

My 2 sisters & I are meeting at my mom's house in Bastrop for a long-awaited girls' weekend. My sister, Jonetta, turned 40 this summer & for her gift, her husband gave her a plane ticket to Texas. (She lives in Atlanta.) So, we planned a fun weekend for all four of us girls!

On Friday, we'll be visiting Round Top, TX for their Antiques Fair. (Sure wish I had lots of money for this!) On Saturday, we're heading to Wimberley, TX for their Market Days. (Lots & lots of walking...) Then, on Sunday, we are driving over to Spicewood, TX to do some "flying"! I had seen an article in one of my Texas Highways magazines about this new recreational activity & knew instantly that this was something I wanted to try. It's called zip line canopy tours & basically, there are cables strung throughout the tops of trees that you hang from & "fly" from tree to tree. We have reservations at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours in Spicewood to experience this adventure. I can't wait! I know my mom & one of my sisters is very excited about this... I'm not so sure about my middle sister. She may decide to leave early on Sunday & skip this adventure altogether. But, I am pumped! I think it will be so fun & a wonderful memory. Hopefully, we'll get some good pictures to share when I return.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Here are some pictures of our girls' weekend last year:

Visiting a beautiful, historic home in Bastrop

Eating lunch at a tea room

Sunday morning church