Halloween! 
We had such a fun time for Caden’s first Halloween. Caden kicked it off with a Halloween Party at his little school. The teachers mentioned that all the kids loved the tails of Caden’s dragon and another little boy’s monkey! They took a ride on their six-seater stroller to see all the other classes and took some pictures together. Soooo cute.

Carissa also had a Pumpkin Party at school. In order to wear costumes and participate in the costume parade, they had to tie their costume in with a book. Luckily, Travis quickly found a book on Amazon about a knight! I was able to go up to school for the party where the kids all had treats galore and they played a couple games of bingo. After school, we went up to Kohl’s and Target - yes, with Carissa in her costume! She thought that was pretty cool.

The day before Halloween, we had Owen over so we could try and take some pictures of Carissa the Knight and the two Dragons she planned to train (or slay). I made some mummy-dogs and spider-web dip along with queso and grilled burgers by Travis. The pictures didn’t turn out too well, but that’s ok. We had a fun time with family.

After dinner, we went up to Stevenson Park for the Friendswood Trick-or-Treat trail. And, omg, was it crowded! I think next year, we’ll plan on sandwiches at the park so we can find a place to park! Odie jumped a curb in Pat’s explorer and parked in the grass; Travis was not so brave and we parked across 518! It was a good time though – lots of booths set up for candy and it was fun to see all the kids in their costumes.

On Halloween, Carissa paced around for hours asking over and over if it was time yet for trick-or-treating. Whoever decided to move the ‘Fall-back’ time change obviously does not have kids. We finally saw a group heading down the street, and she was able to get her costume on. Travis took the kids around the cul-de-sac and then he and Caden stayed home to pass out candy while Carissa and I went farther into the neighborhood.

There was a house down the street that had been setting up Halloween décor in their yard for several weeks. Carissa was really excited to go down to it. They had a dark, blow up tunnel with a strobe light leading to their front door, and I asked Carissa again if she was sure she wanted to go up. She was so brave and walked slowly through the tunnel up to the house… but they had some sort of skeleton and a life-size monster-looking thing that moved and made noises when she got to the porch. She screamed out ‘NEVERMIND’ and ran back over to me with her lip trembling and tears welling up in her eyes! We quickly walked away, but I just felt so bad for her! She really wanted to be the big kid that went up to the haunted house. I told her how brave she was and it is all just pretend, and that she got farther than I would have. She laughed at that… but was still very nervous even when we got home. Maybe next year… though I think she’s likely to stay away from that house for a few more years.

Now, we’re onto Thanksgiving and fall! The weather has cooled off, at least cool for Texas! We went up to Dewberry Farm last Saturday which was a lot of fun, especially for Carissa. Caden enjoyed his time outside as well. The kids were invited to a neighbor’s birthday party last Sunday, and we have Aubry’s First Birthday this Saturday and Carissa has a school-friend’s birthday on Sunday. Joey, Loni, and Parker come into town the following weekend and then it is Thanksgiving week! Busy busy, but with fun stuff!

I can’t believe Caden is already ten months old! This year has just flown by!

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School, Halloween, and Vacation! 
Carissa is finished with her first nine week term of Kindergarten. She really seems to be enjoying school, even though I have to drag any information out. How frustrating is it to constantly hear “I forgot?”. What did you write in your journal? I forgot. What did you eat for lunch? I forgot. Who did you ride next to on the bus? I forgot. How was PE today? I forgot. Did you even have PE today? I forgot. We have a rule where she has to tell me five things that happened during the day. We end up negotiating it down to about three. SIGH.

But, she is truly doing a great job. Her papers and projects come home very neat and complete, and she has had an excellent conduct report every single day. We’re expecting her very first report card on Friday! We are very proud of her. She was rewarded for her nine-weeks of perfect conduct with a trip to the Mad Potter this past weekend.

Caden is also going to school two days a week and is enjoying his time. Pa says that when he drops him off, he crawls right over to the other little kids and they start ‘talking’ to each other and playing. Too cute. Speaking of crawling – I think I’ve said this before, but this little dude gets into EVERYTHING! Oh my goodness, he is so different from his sister.

Both kids have Halloween Parties at school this week. Caden is going as a dragon and Carissa is a dragon-slayer knight. Sunday we have a festival in Friendswood and then Monday we’ll trick-or-treat in the neighborhood. (Tangent – I hate that they moved daylight-savings-time! It makes Halloween so much harder when it doesn’t get dark until close to 8:00. Come on people, move DST back to the Sunday before Halloween so we can go get candy around 6:30 and still keep our bedtime schedules. Thank you for your attention.)

Carissa and Caden love to play with each other. Their favorite game is ‘walker’ where Caden will get into the walker and Carissa will zoom around on one of those little push-trucks that are meant for a two year old. They’ll bang into each other and laugh and laugh. Music.

Travis and I took a long weekend anniversary trip to Washington DC. We had a very busy time trying to hit all the sites and definitely plan on going back again when the kids get older. We saw the Eastern Market, Capitol Building, Botanical Gardens, Smithsonian Castle, Air and Space Museum, Holocaust Museum, Natural History Museum, American History Museum, Jefferson, MLK, FDR, Korean War, Vietnam War, Einstein, WWII, and Lincoln Memorials, Arlington Cemetery, Arlington House, Washington Monument and the White House from afar, and the Bureau of Engraving where we saw more money being printed then we’ll probably even make in our lifetimes.

From Washington DC 2011 - 8th Anniversary


I loved the museums and also seeing Arlington House and learning about Robert E Lee’s wife Mary and her history and ties to George Washington. I also liked seeing the Monuments and Memorials, but there is so much walking! My legs were still hurting three days after we got back! Travis found us a fabulous town house rental to stay at in the historic district that was literally steps from the Supreme Court. And, it happened to be house #8 so it was very appropriate for our eighth anniversary. We had some great food too while we were there! Can’t wait to start planning the next vacay!



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August Surprise! 
Almost another month by again… Carissa finished up with her summer soccer league. She really did outstanding, and that is not just me being a proud Momma. She started the league off not knowing anything about soccer other than you kick the ball to the net. Now, she knows how to be a defender, a goalie, a striker and what that all means. She is a great team-player, but really doesn’t like to sit on the bench. Carissa also had quite the crowd to come out and cheer throughout the season – special thanks to Grandma, Pa, Grammy, PawPaw, Hunter, Grandma Ronnie, Pops, Uncle Ryan, Uncle Ben, and Mark! They had a team party last week and she received a trophy that she is very proud of. She wants to play again, but she also wants to do gymnastics and girl scouts. I think I have her convinced to at least wait until school starts before we commit to too much!

Caden and Carissa both had their well-child check-ups in the last month. Both measure on the high-end of the curve for height and on the low-end of the curve for weight. Though, I think Caden might be evening himself out with all the food he intakes lately! Both are happy and healthy and doing just fine.

I must say I was very impressed with Carissa at the appointment. She was worried about shots, and I told her that she wouldn’t have to have another round until she was eleven or twelve. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the AAP has a new vaccine that she needed. I told the doctor that we would need to schedule another appointment for that because um, yeah, I’m not going to want to deal with that drama at this time. But, Carissa spoke up and said, “No, Mom, I’ll go ahead and have the shot today.” My jaw must have dropped to the floor. And then she said “Because then I can visit the treasure box.” Yeah, my child will have A SHOT to get to dive into a treasure box that is filled with crap like you get in those party favor bags (plastic rings, kazoos, little slinkys, things like that).

My birthday month kicked off too! The Sunday before my actual birthday, my parents kept my kids and Travis and I had a massage and went to see the last HP movie. We had pizza for dinner and played Agricola. Travis won the game which he pretended to feel guilty about when I reminded him it was my birthday!

When my parents asked what I wanted for my birthday, it was to sleep in and watch my soaps on my DVR. The kids had a sleepover Sunday night and I got just that. I had coffee in bed and stayed in my PJs watching Million Dollar Decorator until 2:00. It was heavenly. I should have a birthday every month like my dad does!

I told Travis that I wanted to get new doorknobs for the upstairs rooms for my birthday. I was being perfectly serious too. Instead, he went out and bought me the new 2011 Ford Explorer. Yes, he did. And, the car is GORGEOUS! I went from being completely surprised, to flabbergasted, to mad, to happy, to ecstatic. Did I mention that the car is GORGEOUS! It has any bell and whistle you could ever want. Carissa helped Travis pick it out and she managed to keep this secret from me. Even teasing me about it. I couldn’t get her to cave!

Big things are happening next week… STAY TUNED!

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Where does the time go? 
Carissa starts kindergarten in a month. A MONTH. Crazy, right? No more PJ-days, no more Fridays-off-with-mom treats, no more half-day preschool followed by McDonalds playground trip… It really is the start of the next chapter of her life, and she is really so excited to start. I am excited for her, but I’m also a little sad. Something tells me that I’m going to be that mom who writes the fake ‘sick’ note so that she and I can go play together!

She has grown so much this past year. I was looking at pictures from her first day of preschool last year and she looks so little. This big sister gig has really done something for her.

Caden will also start school soon too. He is going to be in the ‘baby class’ at Carissa’s old preschool starting in September. He is such a cutie pie, I just think about him and smile! He has this hair that is like a little duckling or maybe a baby hedgehog. It just super-fine and sticks straight up all over his head. So funny. He is eating the fruit and vegetable mush along with his cereal. Bottle time is still the favorite though. (Mine too!) He doesn’t have any teeth yet, and we’ve been expecting the bottom one to pop out “any day now” for the past two months.

Caden already gets into EVERYTHING. With Carissa, we never really had to worry about her getting into the cabinets or anything like that. Her brother is going to be the exact opposite. He is using the walker now and will zoom straight over to anything and everything that he isn’t supposed to get into. The dirt from the plants, the leaves, the curtains, the books on the shelf, anything that he can reach. And, even if you think he can’t reach it – that little boy can figure out a way. He is not crawling yet, but he does everything but that. You can’t leave him alone for anytime at all.

Similar thing with the changing table. Carissa – you could leave her there and she literally would not move while you gathered up what you needed, watched the Food Network, vacuumed the floor. Caden – you need two people just to hold him still long enough to change his diaper.

He has such a sweet disposition. Especially when he firsts wakes up. His smile just lights you up inside, you can’t help but smile back at that gummy grin no matter how bad your day is or how much you wanted to sleep in.

Yes, my kids are the greatest. You might think yours are, but you would be wrong. I'm not biased in the least - HA!

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Goings On...  
… with Caden…

Caden is such a stinker. He is rolling over but hates to be on his tummy and can’t seem to remember all the time how to get back over on his back. When he does get on his tummy, rather do a normal baby scoot or army-crawl, he tucks his head under and pushes really hard with his feet. He looks like he is going to get rug-burn on his forehead!

He has started eating the mush of rice cereal and does pretty well with it. His favorite is still his bottle though. He KNOWS the sound it makes when you are shaking it up and looks all around for it with his big, brown eyes. If you don’t get it to him fast enough, look out because he can throw a fit big enough for a three year old! He definitely has his dad’s patience.

Caden has the best smile, but he is pretty shy about it. He’ll grin right at you for a quick second, but then duck his head really quick. He also has very ticklish feet – it is supercute when he curls them up when you are trying to tickle a smile out of him.

Caden LOVES his big sister. His eyes literally twinkle when he is looking at her. He loves it when she talks to him – he almost seems to talk right back with his sweet coo’s and ahh’s. When Carissa is not a home, you can tell he is looking for her. LOVE IT!

Travis gets the kids ready in the morning and they wait in our bed watching cartoons together until it is time to go. Carissa was laying down and Caden was propped up next to her in his boppy. Carissa was holding his little hand and they were both fixated on Mickey Mouse. It was so innocent and loving and precious. I love my life.

… with Carissa…

Carissa has grown up so much the past few months. It is almost surreal. I might have mentioned this already, but she is really into dinosaurs right now. She knows all about them – what they ate, how fast they run, how big they are. And not just the usual cast of characters like T-rex or Stegosaurus or Triceratops. No, her favorites are the Euoplocephalus and Stygimoloch and Diplodocus. Try reading a book with those names in it and then having your five year old correct you! Woo-wee!

Speaking of books, Carissa has discovered the library. I’ve taken her before, but she has always preferred the “library” where you don’t have to talk soft and you can keep the books (Barnes and Noble). I enrolled her in a summer book club to log her reading/listening and she is so excited to write her books down and get her coupons and toys. The library in Friendswood has a great kids section that is separate from the adult section so she doesn’t have to talk too softly. She likes going to the computers, typing what she wants, and then we’ll go find it. She has her own library card that she is very proud of.

You also probably saw on mypics that Carissa has started to play soccer! She is really digging it and is actually pretty darn good too. Her first game was this past weekend. She played a great goalie and got a couple of stops. She also played as midfielder, kept her position as instructed, and got some good kicks in too. Travis is helping out with the coaching. I think they are both enjoying sharing this activity together.

Carissa has also already done a little mini-Girl Scout day camp this summer and is taking swim lessons. She really liked the Girl Scout camp and is already talking about selling cookies! Hopefully the swim lessons will increase her confidence and we can finally take off those silly water-wings that she has become so dependent on.

… with me and Travis….

There always seems to be something going on with our new house. The pool is leaking again, the attic ladder-door doesn’t shut all the way, the downstairs AC doesn’t cool as well as the upstairs, the driveway is settling again after we just paid to have it raised, the yard is so dry because it hasn’t rained in months (literally), Caden doesn’t have any of his pictures or shelves hung in his room, there is always laundry to do, cooking often two different meals because a certain little girl is picky, picking up toys, picking up shoes, picking up clothes, picking up crayons, picking up dishes…

We did just book ourselves a little anniversary vacation in October though! I love vacations! We’re going to Washington DC. I’ve been a few times, but not in years, and Travis has never been! You know me – type-A vacation planner is coming out! This isn’t going to be a relaxing vacation that is for sure! I most looking forward to touring the Smithsonian museums, seeing the Washington and Lincoln monuments again, and going to the Arlington Cemetery.

I read a quote the other day that said something about days being long, but years being so short. How true that is. I celebrated my ten-year anniversary with my company earlier this month. Ten years just truly flew by, I can’t believe it. You wouldn’t know that I’ve been with the same company considered all the email-domain changes! Reminds me of another little saying – If I knew then, what I know now….

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