Run Like the Wind

Erin's and Melina, pre race
Erin ran her first road race Saturday. It was a 1K race and she was really nervous about it. On the way to her school that morning she asked me how you run. I told her that you find the fastest girl and keep pace with her until the end and then pass her right before the finish line, her reply was, "okay"! :)
Erin's behind the girl in the blue shirt (late start)!
We got there to warm up and there were about 20 girls in the kindergarten heat. They started each grade about 30 seconds apart and kindergarten was the last one to start. When they said go, Erin was still standing at the starting line, she was about five seconds behind everyone. However she looked really (can I even say too) natural running, but there were so many people going into the finish shoots I didn't even think she came close to placing.

The final 50
She was so excited she finished without walking. We stayed around for the school carnival and right when we were leaving I head her name over the loud speaker. Erin came in 2nd in her heat! She went up to get her medal and stand on the podium and the kid was beamming (so was mom)!
It still amazes some days how well she does, she is my living miracle, my daily reminder that the Lord is in control in all things.

Big Animals, Little Man

This is Isaac's new buddy. They play at the playground every afternoon, Ike loves hanging with the older boys!

Just outside of League City a couple of miles we have a wildlife park. Its one of those places that takes in illegal animals from homes that no zoo wants. In my opinion its much better than the zoo!

They have all kinds of deer, goats, antelope, bison, a camel, they even have a rhino (you don't feed him from the tram :) and lots of other random animals.
You get a bucket and feed gigantic animals from a tram pulled by a jeep. My favorite are the ostriches. They reach their head into the center of the tram, its hysterical to watch them, food flies everywhere, however Ike was a little worried.Isaac's favorite was the African cow with the gigantic horns (which made me a little nervous, considering there was a piece of grated steel between us and him.

The Great Outdoors - Texas Style

Last weekend we went camping with five other families. We had 12 adults and 13 kids under the age of 7. You should have seen the park rangers face when I gave her the numbers. She was nice enough to offer a group of campsites far away from the lake. We went to Hunstville State Park, north of Houston about an hour. We go camping about once a year and always with Ethingtons. Every time we camp it sheets rain and last time we went to Hunstville four years ago it sleeted (which is impressive considering it was April in South Texas). The joke is always we bring the torrent rain and they bring the bitter cold. However this time the weather was perfect, high of 72, low of 60 and NO SKEETERS!

Huntsville is a natural mecca on the outskirts of the concert jungle. Its located in Sam Housotn Nation Forrest, the campsite is situated under towering pines around a large lake. Its a kind reminder that Texas is beautiful, its just requires a minimum two-hour drive.
We got in a little early on Friday so we drove up to road to the Sam Houston monument. This is situated right on I-45 and the thing is a massive piece of fiberglass (everything is bigger in Texas right). They had a little visitor center and you can walk up to the monument. The granite base alone is probably 12' high.
We set up camp and started a fire as families trickled in. After a week about complaining how she hated camping, Erin soon was engrossed in finding flowers and sticks. Eliza was busy chasing the squirrels and Ike just rolled (literally, the boy was fifthly) around in the dirt. Erin and Eliza got their own tent for Christmas (thank you Academy $12 sale). We figured they would not last an hour in it alone, however they stayed the whole night!
That night we put the kids to bed and shot the breeze. Amber and I decided to drink water out of the spicket (there was no non-potable signs). It was fine until someone pointed out the yellow and red sediment. We figured we would both end up in the ER, however it just looks like we got out monthly dose of Iron.
Saturday morning Erin faced her fear of alligators and touched a baby one. We spent the afternoon out on the lake on our kayak and bank fishing. All in all it was perfect trip, the kids are already begging to go again!


Trouble Trouble....

I'm not sure who gives me more trouble these days...Thing 1 or Thing 2 :). Eliza has always been hard on Ike but now he is strong enough to fight back. A few nights ago Eliza took something away from Ike and he went up and gave her a two-handed push, enough to make her stumble backwards a few steps. And the look on his face was priceless, there was fire in his eyes.That was officially the moment I realized I was saying good bye to my sweet baby boy and hello to the terrible twos.

Ike loves salsa, he would drink the stuff if possible. He always looks like he is in pain while eating it, we have to take it away at some point.
Eliza still loves to bake, she made Jared chocolate chip cookies for Valentines day. I turned around to see her sneaking raw cookie dough. This is her "I'm so innocent look". When I see this look I know trouble has already arrived!
Eliza also loves to climb on anything and everything. Erin has started climbing trees (she can now climb the firemans pole at school and ring the bell) and Eliza is right behind her. So now one day I will have not only one, but two kids that fall out of a tree, I wonder if the ER has a two for one deal?

I love how kids improvise, why sit on a swing properly when you can use it as a trapeze?

Happy Valentines Day

We had a wonderful Valentines day! Jared and I went out Friday night to Texas Road House and then ventured over to the church adult dance (which admittedly was just as awkward as any youth dance). Luckily we had a group of friends that went which made it fun, until they held the male strut contest. When Jared saw there were old married women lining up to cat-call them he ran out of the gym, I honestly didn't know someone could move that quickly :)

He surprised me on Valentines day with a dozen roses and a giant cheese cake, I got him clothes.

Erin spent all week perfecting her Valentines box for class. She was so proud of it and did most of it herself. I cut out the legs and the eyes. She came home beaming that the school counselor thought it was so cute she took a picture of her with it.


Project #1 - Installation of a New Garbage Disposal

Right before we left for Christmas our disposal died. That in itself is not a big deal, but we dismantled it to see if it could be fixed and then realized that the dishwasher connects into the disposal. We capped one pipe so we would have half our sink to do dishes.

After some quick research we ended up with the
Waste King L-2600 Legend Series 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Operation Waste Disposer. Amazon had it on sale for $56.00.

Why the 1/2 HP and not the massive 1HP you ask. I compost so we don't put a ton of food down the disposal (there are studies that putting food through the waste water system can cause
. So we just needed something that handled a few scraps left on plates and the occasional fork. Plus the 1/2 HP is a lot smaller, saving room under the sink.

Installation: WAS A BREEZE! This is the first garbage disposal I have ever installed.(Jared was so sick and I didn't want to wait a few more days). It took me about 40 minutes from start to finish. Waste Kings directions were easy to follow. Their design requires no screws, it has a gasket system that just slip on and twist to seal and is a one person job.

It been going strong for a month without any leaks.

The Great Project List

I decided to make a list of things that need to be done this year (primarily home improvement). You know the things you let slip. I am a list person, lists make me giddy, so thus I am hoping that proclaiming the large to-do list on the side of this blog will, well guilt me into getting something done. I also like to learn how to do thing so this may document my experience and hopefully help someone else not make the same mistakes :)

Hard Freeze

One of the few perks of living on the Gulf is I don't have to deal with crappy winters....until this year. It has been down right frigged the last few weeks. Last Thursday we got to participate in state mandated rolling blackouts (which ironically didn't seem to "roll" through the high end neighborhoods). We had almost a full day of 10-15 minutes of power each hour. The state had 55 plants out of 550 go offline because of the "extreme" weather. Thank goodness our third-world neighbor Mexico has a stable grid and was willing to support us.

Erin's school was on the same power schedule. The district would not let them close since the school did not have any phone service (and were one of the few school affected). By the time I picked Erin up at 3pm the school was 60 degrees and the teachers (who had to entertain kids in the dark all day) looked like they needed a stiff drink.

I love how all the other children come barreling out of school dressed like they are embarking on an Eskimo expedition and Erin runs out in a t-shirt. The girls got some good Nordic blood in her :)

Then last Thursday night the temps dipped into the low 20's and after raining all day it...ohhhh... froze. 1/4" of ice completely shut down the city of Houston. No civic building were open, NASA closed, no schools, no Walmart. We got a call at 5:15am from the city saying the interstate was already closed at all entrances and exits due to accidents. Being a northerner it seemd a little extreme, but then again there was no way in heck I was going to go out on the road with 5 million people who have never driven on ice. So it ended up just being a nice relaxing day.

I have been trying diligently, and failing miserably, to keep my tropical plants alive. This is what my yard has looked like for the past week. So I have to say this is the first time in year I would like it to warm up...just a bit :)