Saturday, November 14, 2009

one more Halloween picture

We were in such a rush to get to the ward Halloween party that we didn't get a family picture with all of us in our costumes. Thankfully a friend at the party got this picture of me and the kids or we wouldn't have gotten any pics at all. I have decided that trick-or-treating is a very inefficient way to get loads of candy. No wonder people are doing it so much less. Our kids got so much candy from the different parties we went to. We went up and down our street for the true trick-or-treating experience but it was not necessary to get more candy. Give it another week and hopefully all the candy will be gone. Just in time to start overeating at Thanksgiving. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Here she is. Madeleine as Rapunzel. You may recall that this was her winning costume last year that she only wore to the gym and refused to put on again (see this post). Because it was such a great costume (in my humble opinion) and hardly anyone saw her in it (I didn't even get a picture of it for the blog), we agreed that she would wear it again this year. Some may say it's kind of rude to tell her what she would be instead of letting her choose, but thankfully she was really happy with her costume! In fact, she practically wore that braid in her hair for 3 days straight. And she's been begging me to put it in again. She wants to wear it all the time and tell people it's her real hair. I need to remind her that we shouldn't tell lies.

Carving Pumpkins

Last week for family home evening we carved pumpkins. Grandpa Paul and Ian worked hard on their ghost.
Madeleine and I carved a cat. We added some permanent marker to make it more striking in the light.
Spencer took a break from his studies to prove his carving abilities. We got the kit with all the patterns and there were so many cool ones so he just had to do one. He chose the pirate skull.
And here's the finished product. Can't wait to do it again next year!

Crazy Hair Day

The week of Halloween at Madeleine's school was full of fun activities. Each day had a theme and Crazy Hair Day was my favorite. Selfish, I know. If you have seen Madeleine you know she has amazing hair, and tons of it, so I knew we would be able to come up with something really awesome. This was the result:
Her's was easliy the craziest in her class, although I'm pretty sure it wasn't a competition. She wasn't actually all that happy about her crazy hair. Can you tell by her grumpy face in the pictures? Here's a video I happened to get since the camera was in video mode when I first got it out:

She was speaking quietly out of her frown, so in case you couldn't understand she was saying that she looked in the mirror and it doesn't look cool. Sorry, sweetie, but you are wrong. Your hair looked SO COOL!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My new favorite workout

Does your gym offer turbo kickboxing? If so, have you tried it? And if so, do you love it as much as I do?? You know I must be obsessed with it if it's making it to the blog! I fell in love with it this summer when we were in Houston. I didn't have much going on this summer so I had plenty of time to spend at the gym. Which I loved because I was able to trim down a bit since I worked out so much and began obsessively counting calories. Thankfully Madeleine and Ian loved going there too. They made some good friends at the kids club and were thoroughly entertained while I worked out. Anyway, our gym in The Woodlands had a fabulous TKB instructor who made it so fun! Even though I will be the first to admit it took me a good 4 or 5 times to feel like I was actually doing the moves at the proper times. It is so fast-paced! You really need to give yourself at least a time or two to understand what they are telling you to do.Even though I don't agree with her 100%, this blogger gives a pretty funny account of her experience with TKB. I know where I'll be every Saturday morning at 8:30. And I know I'll be thinking about it in anticipation every Friday night as I fall asleep.

Field Trip/Sneak Peek at Ian's Costume

Grandpa Paul took Ian on a "field trip" to the firestation earlier this month. Ian was thrilled! He is going to be a firefighter for Halloween this year so we decided he might as well be in uniform for their visit.
Isn't this picture cool?
Of course the real firemen thought Ian was pretty neat.
They concluded their outing with ice cream and playing at McDonald's. Pretty much a perfect day!

Halloween Party

Can you believe Spencer and I were the first ones to attend a Halloween party this year and not the kids? I was kind of surprised too. Anyway, we got dressed up in our new used referee shirts and whistles to party it up with some of the other MBA students and their wives.
We always have fun with this crowd and this party was no exception. We started the night with a delicious spaghetti dinner eaten off of or out of random kitchen or hospital wares. My plate, for example, was a pink puke receptacle. I don't know what the proper name is, but that's what it's used for. One lucky person had a bedpan for their plate. Spencer's drinking cup was a urine sample collection cup. Sounds appetizing, huh? The really tricky thing was getting the food sucessfully into your mouth with the utensil at your seat. Spencer had an especially difficult time eating the salad with his potato masher. We also had a pumpkin carving contest. A 20-mintue time limit was imposed so it was a very high pressure competition! We managed to carve the skull despite our tools all breaking on us. I guess you can't expect too much from the $5 kit from Walgreens.

The highlight might have been when the wives finally won a round at Catch Phrase. We have played many times and the husbands always win, so we were very pleased with ourselves for a few minutes until the husbands came back and beat us again. Oh well! Thanks, Clarks, for putting on such a great party!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Party, party, party!

Our little man turned 3 last week!! We had a lot of our family over one night for his "family party" and then had another party with his friends a couple days later. He loved all of it! Here are some pictures:Blowing out his candle at the family party.

These are our kids' cousins, Jalen and Lizzie. They are so lucky to get to live near each other and play together so often! Ian loves playing with Jalen especially. He has learned to appreciate things like Spiderman and Star Wars thanks to his cousin. He has never seen Star Wars, but he told me today that he wants his next birthday party to be a Star Wars party. I guess we'll have to wait and see if that still holds true next year.

Here are some of the kids at the friends party. A couple more came later and Ian loved having all his friends over.
This is the bike we gave him. He is a little nervous since it's a bit big for him, but he'll get the hang of it soon I'm sure. Since we are on a tight budget as poor college students, we got the bike at a second hand store (which is my new favorite thing, by the way!). I cleaned it up pretty good I thought, though I didn't clean the tires very well. Who knows how to do that? As soon as we wheeled it out, Madeleine says, "It's dirty!" Luckily Ian didn't seem to mind that.
Second Costco cake of the week. I was crazy to get that much cake. I don't even want to think about how much I ate. Except that they were both so delicious! I just knew I didn't want to make cakes and why would I pay more for a regular store bakery cake when I could get one from Costco? You see why I had to do it. Thankfully there are a lot of people around this house willing to eat lots of cake!

Ian, you are such a sweet boy and we love you so much! Happy birthday!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A bunch of pictures

These two are so fun! Madeleine likes to put on her ballet clothes any old time, but this time Ian got to her slippers. It is just so funny to me to see a kid like Ian, total boy through and through, wearing the girliest pairs of his sister's shoes. Do you see the little stuffed toy Madeleine is holding? That's Chick Chick. She is obsessed with Chick Chick. It's totally dramatic and kind of annoying, but I am no dummy. I pick my battles, so Chick Chick accompanies Madeleine most places. Turns out we also have a stuffed horse named Horse Horse. Do you see a pattern?
Grandpa Paul took some pictures after church today. I don't know what face Ian was trying to imitate, but I like the way this one turned out.
Such a couple of cuties!
A family picture. It was super dark so I tried to lighten it and it doesn't look so hot. Oh well.


Madeleine is becoming quite the little reader. She has known all the letters and their sounds for a long time and she has been able to sound out small words, but it seems like recently the whole concept really clicked for her and she is reading like crazy! She still has days when she is too tired and impatient to try to learn new words, but I'm sure that is to be expected. Last weekend, Grandpa Paul taught her all the words in The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree and she read the book all in one day. This is the first book Spencer read when he was her age.
I absolutely LOVE what Paul and Sandi have done with this book! First of all, they used this to teach the kids how to read, but then had the kids write their name in it the day they first learned it. And then saved the book so the grandkids could read it too!! How amazing is that?
Madeleine was just thrilled to be able to write her name in the book along with her aunt and uncles. I think Ian is hoping the book survives a few more years so he can put his name in it too.
Good job on all the reading Madeleine! We are so proud!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I have some catching up to do!

I am SO far behind in my blogging!! In my mind, I intended to do a post on each of these events, but now they have piled up to the point that I know I won't do individual posts so here they are lumped together. And they may or may not be in chronological order.
My Grandma Barb found her new love, Lincoln Raynes, and got married in the Mt. Timpanogos temple on August 8th. They are so cute and so in love! It's really sweet! I was lucky enough to make it up there for most of the festivities. It was so great to see so much family after being in Houston all summer so far from everyone. And pretty much all of my Lee cousins were there which was amazing! We all had so much fun together at family reunions as kids and it has been ages since we were all gathered in one place so that was extra special. Spencer and the kids stayed in Houston so they had to miss out. Hopefully the next time all the extended Lees get together we can really all be there, no one missing.
I can't lie. Spending time with Rozannah had to be my very favorite part. She and I were sidekicks for so many years, growing up and in college, and we haven't seen each other for over 2 years so it was a definite highlight to catch up with her again.

After I got back from Utah, it was time to pack up and head back to AZ. On our way home, we stopped in New Braunfels to play at Schlitterbahn one day. Schlitterbahn is an enormous water park and we knew we would be remiss if we didn't take the opportunity to visit there when we had the chance. I wanted to take a lot of pictures, but I really should have gotten one of the waterproof disposable cameras and since I didn't we got only these two pictures which are not a very good representation of all the fun we had there. Oh well. They are something. Anyway, it was pretty awesome! If you ever have the chance to go there, you must take it! Just make sure your kids are well rested before you go so you don't have to sit around holding a sleeping child for an hour. You could do that anywhere.

When we got back to Mesa, Madeleine started kindergarten. Here she is on her first day. She goes full day and while it is pretty tiring for her, I think she is handling it really well. She mostly seems tired when she has ballet right after school. She is having a lot of fun in school. She doesn't remember much about each day to recap, but I am hopeful that there is some actual learning going on. And so far her favorite class is P.E.

Then, I think to prove just how much she is really growing up, Madeleine lost her first tooth! It was loose on a Sunday and we freed it from the last little thread it was hanging on to on Thursday. For some reason, that makes her seem even older than starting kindergarten. She was SUPER excited about it! She is thrilled to be able to put a straw into her mouth where her tooth used to be. It really is crazy how fast these babies grow up!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sick and Tired

Poor Ian is a little bit sick. He threw up at the grocery store this morning so we are home taking it easy instead of out running errands. He jumped out of bed this morning declaring, "I had a good sleep!" but unfortunately between then and now he came down with a fever and an upset stomach. Unlike his sister, he has not thrown up very much in his life, so when I give him a bucket to puke in, he lays down with it over his face like this instead of stowing it safely by him so it's there when he needs it. Such a cute, sweet boy. Hopefully he feels much better soon!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best. Show. Ever.

Where to begin? Where to begin? Let it be known, to anyone who doesn't already know this about me, that I am a HUGE Coldplay fan. HUGE! I think when you go see a band you truly love, you are in for a great night, but I have not been to such an amazing concert in all my concert-going years! In the picture above, you can see the stage behind me. Our seats were not bad at all. We bought them on and we were pretty confident that they wouldn't be awful, but they ended up better than I imagined they would be. Scratch that. They turned out to be SPECTACULAR seats when the band came up and played on a small stage about 10 feet away from us.
See them in the background of this shot? SO close!!!
Here's Chris Martin getting ready to play a couple songs while the rest of the band took a quick breather. Just so you know how close he was to us, I got this picture on our crappy, point and shoot camera. The thing does not get good pictures, especially not at a distance. If only they had set the piano up facing us! Oh, and they had another small stage set up back on the lawn. They played a couple songs out there later in the show. That's real love for your fans when you get out there with them like that.

I'm going to take a moment to say how much I just LOVE British people. I love their accents and the way they speak. The phrasing they use just sounds so much smarter than the way we Americans speak. That's probably another reason why I love Coldplay like I do. Chris Martin had incredible stage presence. He's seemed so smart and funny and really engaged the crowd. When he came out for the encore, he was telling us that they had a CD available for everyone, "for the ludicrous price of zero dollars and zero cents." Funny and AMAZING! How cool is that to give everyone a free CD?!?! So cool.
It was such a great night! Big thanks to our friends in the ward who were willing to watch our kids till midnight. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And thanks to Spencer for deciding that this would be a good way to celebrate my birthday a little early. Love you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When Dad's in charge....

...things like this might happen. I went to the temple tonight, so Spencer stayed home with the kids. He took them to the pool for a bit and Ian took a nasty spill on their way back. Poor little guy. Other than Ian's fall, Spencer's night with the kids was pretty good. He fed them the "healthy dinner" they requested--corn, broccoli and bread and they ate all of it! And they were in bed by 8:15. All in all, not too bad. Could have been a little better (no-fat-lips better), could have been a LOT worse.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Roller Skating Adventure

And what an adventure it was! If you are like us, you would think it would be a really fun little outing to go to the skating rink next door and have a great time skating as a family. You would know that it would be a little tough and the kids would need help, but it would still be fun. Well, if that's what you thought, you would be mistaken, as we were.
Both Madeleine and Ian were really looking forward to going skating. We had peeked into the place last Saturday but didn't go until two-for-one night on Tuesday, so we had time to anticipate the excitement. Spencer showed them the skating babies video so they could see some skating in action. I think it made them think they would be professionals right off the bat.Anyway, skating is much harder than it looks, especially to Madeleine and Ian. Before we went, Madeleine was telling me about all the tricks she was planning to do on her skates. By the time we were ready to go home, she was yelling, "Skating IS NOT fun!!!" Ian hated it just as much but he was not as vocal as his sister.

We are still glad we tried it and we now know that these kids need a lot more practice on skates to get comfortable enough to think it's fun. Better luck next time!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Where have we been?

Honestly, there is not an exciting answer to that. I have just been doing other stuff besides blogging about life these days. But also, we haven't been having a ton of excitement. That, and I always seem to forget the camera or just not take any pictures when we do actually do something. Who wants to read a blog post without pictures??

For the 4th of July we went to Austin to check out that happenin' town. I guess that's fairly blog-worthy. Turns out that much of the cool stuff about Austin is live music and such, aimed at adults, but we managed to find some family fun too.

First of all, on our way there we stopped by the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham to take a tour and see how they make ice cream. That stop didn't go as planned. Maybe we are just really impatient, but there was a really long line that we would have had to wait in for about an hour (outside in the heat!) before getting to the tour, so we decided to swing into the Country Store they have there, buy our ice cream, and skip the tour. We told ourselves that our kids wouldn't have appreciated the tour anyway, but we all appreciated the ice cream. We tried four kinds and our (Spencer's and mine) favorites were the butter pecan and the cherry cobbler. Mmmmm! Madeleine liked mint chocolate chip. Ian seemed to love them all equally.

We got to our hotel in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day swimming before heading out for some BBQ for dinner. That was kind of a fiasco. Ian ended up throwing up right after they brought our food, so we hurried and left and took our food back to the hotel with us. Whatever Ian had didn't stick with him. He seemed to be fine just a little while later. Thank goodness. Since he was feeling better we took a little drive around Austin so we would know where were going the next day.

Saturday morning, we went out to breakfast and then found a parade. That was really fun! It was very small and I think we only caught the end of it, but they set up a bunch of activities in the school parking lot where the parade ended. The kids got to play games, get their faces painted and climb into a fire truck.

Later that day, we too a dip at the Barton Springs Pool which is fed by a natural spring. It was interesting. First off, it was really cold water compared to the 90 degree pool at the hotel. And there was a bunch of algae floating in the water and growing on the bottom and sides. Madeleine was very turned off by the slippery floor of the pool. I can't lie, I didn't love that part either. But she did love the diving board. I REALLY wish I had had my camera!! She was one of the smallest/youngest in line to go off the diving board and she did great. It was so cute! Spencer went first so he could be in the water to give her moral support (and help swimming, if she needed it, which she didn't). After his impressive dive, Madeleine took her turn and did a nice, graceful jump into the water. Up to this point she was complaining a lot about the cool water, but said she liked the pool much better when her feet didn't have to touch the bottom. Ian was really disappointed that he couldn't jump off the diving board too. He would have done it in a second if they allowed him to wear his floatie vest, but alas they did not, so I promised him he could jump off his aunt and uncle's diving board as much as he wants once we are back in AZ. Erika, I hope you and Ken don't mind.

For dinner, we found a new favorite restaurant for Madeleine. It's called La Madeleine. How could it not be her favorite? We had seen one near us in The Woodlands and they even sell some of their soups in the grocery stores, but we hadn't tried it yet so it was very exciting. It's a little French cafe, with soups, salads and lots of baked goods. Very good. Definitely recommend it.

For fireworks that night we pretty much followed the crowd to where we could see the show without going into whatever the venue was that put on the display. We ended up on the deck at a car wash and our view wasn't too bad at all. We love watching the fireworks and picking out our favorites, which are basically all of them.

Sunday we got up and headed home so we could make it back in time to get ready for 2pm church. It was a really great weekend. I hope you can imagine it since I have no pictures to prove it. I'm going to try to do better about that. More pictures is my goal!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Madeleine is 5!!!

Just look at that face!!! This is my absolute favorite 5-year-old in the entire world!!

Here is our birthday girl in her very best dress (or very favorite anyway) on her big day. It wasn't the most exciting day since we spent a good portion of the day driving from San Antonio to Houston, but we did manage to squeeze in some fun. For breakfast, our hotel had delicious waffles in the shape of Texas. She still talks about those Texas-shaped waffles. When we made it to our new apartment and got keys, etc. the first thing she wanted to do was go swimming. We went for a little while to the pool at our building before going to an early dinner at Olive Garden, Madeleine's choice. Well, actually she said she wanted spaghetti for dinner and since we weren't prepared to cook at home we thought Olive Garden would be a good place to go. The kids both surprised us by totally chowing down on the salad. They don't eat salad like that at home, that's for sure. Then we shared some delectable desserts after the servers sang to her.

If this had been her only b-day celebration I might have felt bad, but this was the last in a string of celebrations she had had already to celebrate. Since we knew we weren't going to be able to have a party with her friends on her actual b-day (or very near it since we were leaving) we had a combined party with our friend Jack about a month before we left. All their school friends came and we all had so much fun!! I really shirked my duty though because I didn't take any pictures. Then, just before we moved we had a family party at Chuck E. Cheese complete with cousins, aunts and uncles, grandma and grandpa, a Tinkerbell cake and lots of presents. Again, no pictures. I am such a slacker.
Finally, at school they make it "your special day" when it's your birthday, so this was one more chance for us to celebrate this wonderful little girl. This is Madeleine's teacher, Barbie. We love her!! She is the best and we are so, so lucky Madeleine was in her class this year. She has taught her so much and really helped her prepare for kindergarten in the fall.

We love you so much Madeleine!! You bring us so much joy and happiness every day and we are so blessed to have you in our family! Happy birthday!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Quick update

We got to Houston on May 2oth, (Madeleine's birthday which I will post about next) and I think I am sufficiently settled to give a brief update. I'm afraid if I don't do it now we will be headed back to Mesa before I do!

Anyway, we are thinking that Houston isn't so bad. Not that we thought it would be, just that it's not a dreamland, but it's not terrible either. We have come across some of the hugest cockroaches known to man (I'm guessing of course, but they were beastly), but other than that no major complaints. After living in Los Angeles I think we could handle most other big cities. We aren't turned off by traffic since we've seen worse. I'll tell you what about Texas. They know good food here!! If I'm not careful I'll be a couple sizes bigger by the time we get back to AZ from having to try out all the good restaurants.

Our apartment is nice and small, so it's easy to clean up quickly and since we didn't bring much with us there's not much to put away. We are living a simplified life, for sure.
Here are a few pictures from our adventures here thus far.

These two are at the Houston Arboretum. The kids love all the trees here! Everywhere we go they are pointing out "the woods" with great excitement.

The next two are from Space Center Houston last weekend with the Gannons, our friends from Mesa. They came through this way on their way to Alabama for the summer. We all loved hanging out with them for a couple days!

I know that our time here fly by, but we are planning to make the most of it while we are here.