Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, Piper!

Happy birthday to our sparkly, sweet, gorgeous little girl!  She is our sunshine and light and has taught us so many things about ourselves!  We love you P!!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Trip to California

This past week, we returned from a trip to California for a family reunion and celebration of Jes's grandfather's 90th birthday.  

Even though Caleb had been on an airplane many times, he did not remember and this was Piper's first time to fly.  Both were equally nervous and thrilled!  If you've never been to Houston, you might not know that we have 2 major airports (and innumerable small) here, one in the northern area and one just south of downtown.  Jes works at the northern airport, but we ended up getting flights into and out of the southern one, so we had to leave very early to arrive due the the extreme traffic going into and out of downtown Houston.  We ended up waiting for quite a while, so the kids got a kick out of watching the planes come in and go out.

Once we made it on the plane, P had a minor freak out (all nerves), but the iPads and a little hug cured that and we were off!

Since we had to leave so early and spent a good part of the day travelling (it was 2.5 hours from LAX to my sister in law's house, where we were staying), the kids just vegged in the backseat.

My mother in law is a huge fan of all things tea, so we let the girls (Sarah has 4 girls) all dress up and have a tea party while all the boys went fishing in a pond down the street.  They had so much fun!

This is Piper with her great grandfather and great grandmother.  P's middle name is the same as her great grandmother's.  The last time I had a photo with her and her great grandmother, she was just 1 year old, so we had to have an updated photo!

The kids had such a good time playing at a local park.

Piper and her youngest girl cousin, Bekah.  These two surprised us all by being inseparable, despite at least 2 years difference in age!

One day, we all went to Discovery Science Museum of California.  This skeleton was in a display just outside the front door of the museum.  I just happened to turn away for a second and looked back and saw P doing this.  She seriously cracks me up!

This museum is where the space shuttle Endeavour is now displayed, so we had to see it.  It was so cool to see an actual space shuttle up close and personal.  They also had a great timeline of the shuttle program, which both of the kids were super interested in!

There was a really cool room that had a giant aquarium that we could have hung out at all day!

This museum also has a huge rose garden that had every type of rose I had ever heard and not heard of.  So cool!

Of course, Piper's favorite part of the whole museum was the section on the body.  She says she's being a zombie here.  Yeah.

This was an awesome display where she could watch an actual surgery, as if she was there.  I had to literally tear her away from this one.

Caleb really enjoyed the ocean displays.  Here, he is driving a submarine using actual controls.

The last day we were in California, we went to Long Beach to see the Welden side of the family but since we were early we stopped in a local Kmart.  I hadn't been in a Kmart since I was a kid, so I might have been a little excited...

Last time we were in California, we took a photo of all the kids with Grandpa Welden, so we lined them up again, as best we could, and got another photo!

Piper and Caleb with their Great grandpa Welden.  We love him!

The next day, we headed home and had a layover in El Paso, a small, but lovely airport.  We had such a fun trip and can't wait to go back in November!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Piper's Dance Recital

Yesterday, Piper had her dance recital with the dance school she's been enrolled in since our move to Houston.  

The ballet number this year was set to the Mary Poppins song "Spoonful of Sugar" and was just precious!  P loves ballet and enjoyed this number immensely!

The tap routine this year was set to the song "Mr. Sandman".  P hasn't always been a huge fan of tap, as it does not come easily for her and she has to work very hard at it.  However, this year she has come very far in her skills and gained so much confidence.

Caleb and Jes were at Piper's recital too to cheer her on!  Next year, we are moving on to a Christian Ballet school here in Houston and Piper is super excited that she'll be able to spend the year focusing on her one true love: ballet!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Scout Camp

This past week, Caleb, Piper and I packed everything up in the mornings and headed to Scout camp.  This year's theme was science/space and was right up our alley!

This is not a new science experiment to my kids, but it's always a hit!  Who doesn't love dumping candy into a bottle of Coke and watching it explode?

There was a rope bridge at camp that Caleb swore up and down that he wasn't even going to attempt.  I managed to talk him into trying and turned around to see this:

He was half way through the bridge.  The boys participated in archery and sports and various other things throughout the day and we had a blast.

Tuesday morning had faces like this looking back at me.  This was foreboding of the next few hours of our day.

I was a group leader, called a den walker, so we arrived early everyday and I was able to snap a photo of the kids in the astronaut suit on Tuesday.

Both kids were super excited to climb up in the suit and get a photo op!

Caleb built a pine car holder and gave me his best fake excited smile.

I managed to track down P and get a photo with her too.

And we all went to the rope bridge for a second day.  But, by Tuesday night, what I saw was this:

Poor Caleb spiked a fever Tuesday night and was so, so sick for the next 6 days.  We were only able to complete 2 of the 4 days of camp, with the second being pretty grueling since he didn't feel well, but we were thankful that we were able to do that!  It was so, so hot but we had so much fun and can't wait for next year!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Fish Hatchery Visit

Yesterday, I took the kids to a fish hatchery about 2 hours south of where we live.  This trip was with Caleb's new Scout group and Jes was supposed to take the kids, but he was called out of town unexpectedly to Dallas.  So, he showed me what to do (I had NO idea what to do with a fishing pole), we packed everything up and off the kids and I went!

They were super excited to possibly catch a fish.  Little did we know that the fish in this pond were huge and we were grossly under prepared.  It didn't really matter because we had such a good time and got to hang out with friends!

Caleb, patiently waiting for a fish to bite.  He actually had one on the hook, but it managed to get away at the last minute.

Piper is my outdoor, get in tune and up close and personal with nature kid, but fishing is just not really her thing.  She was so distracted by everything else and alternated holding the pole and playing with the bugs.  I suppose it's not for everyone.

After we had our fill of fishing, we went indoors to see the sea life and visit the touch tank.  This was Piper's favorite part and had we not been paying close attention to her, I think we would have come home with various sea life in her pockets.

For whatever reason, this turtle loved Caleb.

After cooling off indoors for a bit, we went on to a tour of the fish hatchery.  This was our tour guide.  Let's just say he was very enthusiastic about the topic of breeding, raising and releasing fish.

We had a great time and can't wait to go back again, this time with Jes!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

TaeKwon-Do Tournament

Last Saturday, Caleb competed in his first TaeKwon-Do tournament.  If you've never been to one of these events, let's just suffice it to say that it's controlled chaos.  Lots and lots of noise and movement in one room.  I was worried about Caleb being able to focus and do what he was there to do, but he proved me wrong and did so, so well!

Caleb's first event was patterns.  Part of taekwon-do's teachings is to give the students very predictable and learned moves in order for them to protect themselves.  Caleb has always had a phenomenal memory, so I knew he knew these patterns backwards and forwards.  Of course, he did well and even ended up with a medal!

We are so proud of Caleb's achievements!  He also competed in board breaking, which is highly competitive, with increasingly harder and higher levels until one person emerges as the winner.  He did not medal in board breaking, but he did try his best!  And really, that's all we can hope for!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Tree Planting

I mentioned earlier about Caleb's scout den working on extra achievements since all the boys ranked up early.  The biggest one that they were working on together was called the World Conservation Award.  Basically, the boys learned all about conserving and recycling and taking care of our planet.  One of the major parts of earning this award was some sort of service project that pertained to Earth and taking care of it, so we decided that doing a tree planting even with the city of Houston would be the best option.

We were at the mercy of the city to tell us when we could complete this, so we had to wait until after our ranking up ceremony to get it done.  But, we worked it out and planted trees around a little pond in northwest Houston.  The following photos document this. 

The boys had a lot of fun and worked so hard, with each group of 2 boys planting 4 trees, with a total, of 12 trees planted.