Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hunter Jumper Horse Show


I don't know if you remember, but for Chase's birthday I took him to a Harlem Globetrotters game, and it was so amazing that I decided to start giving birthday "experiences" for the kids instead of just "stuff."  I'm hoping I can make it a tradition (or at least enjoy it until they stop wanting to hang out with me).  After Chase had his birthday "experience," Chloe kept asking what her birthday experience was going to be.  Of course a lot of thought has to go into what kind of experience would be the most exciting for them, and for Chloe it was pretty easy to zero in on a target:  My daughter loves horses.  I'm sure I've mentioned that before.

So today we had our "girlz day" and went to a hunter jumper horse show.  I know very little about that world, so it was a new experience for both of us.

I picked her up from her dad's and we started our day with freshly painted toenails and a pizza lunch (her choice), and then headed to the horse show!

We spent a lot of time just walking around and looking at the horses in their stalls and watching them warm up:


Chloe's favorite horse was one that we found chewing on his stall.  She found him so absolutely hilarious that we had to go back to see him later in the day, only this time he had found something more edible to munch on.  Still, she begged me to take his picture so she could remember him forever.  Meet Oliver:


We also watched some of the competition, and we both decided this one was the prettiest horse we saw:


After awhile it was time to go and Chloe turned to me and said, "Mom, will I ever see these horses again?"  I told her she probably wouldn't see these exact same horses again, but that there would be other horses.  The poor girl burst into tears:


(Only I would take a picture of this moment.  But I promise I did it on the sly!)

Fortunately, frozen yogurt cures everything:


To end our super fun day we curled up on the couch and watched a horse movie together.  Chloe loved her "girlz day," and asked if we could have another one some time.  Well of course!  

I love both my babies so much!  Quality one-on-one time with each of them is really awesome to have every once in awhile.

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Family Vacation


For our annual summer family vacation, we decided to explore east Texas and into Louisiana.  Since my friend Katie and her daughter Ashlyn live in Houston, we picked them up on the way and did a joint trip!  It was packed with adventure.  The kids were so excited when we left for Houston...


...and Mom was excited we made it there without killing each other:


After staying the night at Katie & Ashlyn's we squeezed all the booster seats into Katie's car and hit the road!


First stop: Beaumont.  Day 1 was pretty chill....  Picnic lunch, sprinkler pad, hotel check-in, and POOL TIME!


I should mention we also had dinner at a fantastic seafood place that was recommended to Katie, and the kids thought we had completely lost our minds:


I thought all I would be able to get the kids to do was take pictures with the crabs...


...but all three kids actually tried it!  We couldn't believe it.  Here are the results of the taste test:


Chase's "half-way" thumb rotated to a "thumb's up" only after Ashlyn gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.  Chloe's vote was a hard thumbs down.  She did not give in to peer pressure!

The next morning we headed to Port Arthur and walked the boardwalk:


And then after lunch we headed to Orange to check out the Shangri La Botanical Gardens.  It was hot:



We interrupt this post for an obligatory crazy family selfie:


We all felt much cooler when we got on the boat for the swamp tour (as long as the boat was moving)!


We were looking really hard for gators but we didn't see any.


We did, however, see some amazing trees and other wildlife.


After the gardens we headed into Louisiana to check out a horse race.  Chloe loves horses, so she definitely inspired this part of the trip (and she was so excited)!



There were storms in the area so the races were delayed.  The kids waited pretty patiently:


Ice cream helped:


And suckers (which they got from a nice man on one of the horses they got to pet):


While we waited we also checked out the area (stalls? stables?) where the horses and riders waited for the storm to pass:


Chloe picked out her favorite horse (of course she picked the purple one!)...


I totally should have bet on it, too, because it WON the first race!  She thought that was so cool. 

We got up close and personal to watch the last race (well, it wasn't the last race of the night, but it was the last one for us because it was getting late):


The next day we headed back to Houston to check out the Barnum & Bailey circus!


We saw tigers...


...and high wire acts...


...and a woman shot out of a cannon...

video

...and of course the elephants!


It was a slightly crazy weekend but the kids had a blast and the moms had fun, too (though we are definitely ready for a little R&R)!

The kids took a ton of pictures with their camera and tablet, too.  I created a Shutterfly site for all kid pics from here on out, but you have to have permission to view it.  Contact me if you want to see them and I'll add you to the site!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Home Makeover!

When I bought my house in July, it was in major need of a paint makeover. I have slowly been tackling rooms since I moved in.  I started with my room so, well... so I could sleep.

BEFORE (at move-in):


AFTER:


The biggest painting pet peeve I have is that all the trim and all the doors were painted dark brown (except in Chase's room where it is all gray)... and upstairs some of the browns don't even match.  The whole house just feels dark.  I really wanted white trim to brighten things up, but that is a daunting task!  I started with the kitchen when I moved in (and while I was at it I also painted the walls).


BEFORE (at move-in):



AFTER:



My living/dining rooms had to be transformed, for sure.  Sorry for the blurry "before" picture, but it's all I have from the day I moved in.

BEFORE (at move-in):


I had to get rid of that red wall so I did paint that room when I moved in, but I still had that dark trim and orange dining room, which just had to go.  That's what the past 4 days have been about.  While the kids were at their dad's I:
  • Painted all the trim and doors white on the first floor
  • Painted my orange dining room
  • Painted my stairwell
  • Painted the trim up the stairs (ugh)
I'm tired.

At any rate, here are the before/afters!  I am so thrilled with the results!

BEFORE (taken last week):


AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:



BEFORE:


AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:


And then of course when I got to the stairs I realized I couldn't leave it like this...


So I had to go up (sigh):


I am so happy to be DONE.  It was a lot of work but it was so worth it.  Everything feels so much fresher, brighter, newer and bigger.  I'm not even going to think about the upstairs right now because there are way too many doors to deal with!  Baby steps.  :)

I love my house!