Saturday, December 22, 2012


Today Connor got to ride PJ. He was there on a day with the "campers"...a group of 7 teenager-ish girls. He got to be the middle man and hang out with them for an hour! At 4, he doesn't appreciate the benefits of being a boy in a girl's class, but if he sticks with this the odds are in his favor.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Horseback Riding Lessons

Connor LOVES animals (and I think that might be an understatement)! So I asked him which animal he'd like to have. He answered horse...and turkey. He had some great arguments for why we need a horse...and a turkey. Instead I found a few different local places that teach horseback riding lessons. It was a bit tricky because he's so young and some don't start with 4 yr olds.

The first place we went had 60 horses. We got there early to look around and would you believe...the place had turkeys...and they were mean! At one point, I grabbed both kids' hands and RAN from a tom that didn't want us any where near him. Then we went over to the cute little foal and it's daddy came over and sneezed on us! It was tons of fun!

Connor got to help groom the horse and ride around the ring while his teacher lead the horse. He was a little worried that she was a stranger, but I explained that it was ok to talk to her. He took this to heart and talked the FULL 30 min. to this poor woman. When they came out of the ring she said, "Wow he's a chatterbox and he uses words like domesticated." I told her that actually he NEVER talks that much...I'm sure she didn't believe me.

He immediately wanted to come back and asked everyday for the next week to go riding again and if we could sell the house and move to a farm. The next week he was even more confident on the horse. It was amazing!

But this first place was a little too far away and they weren't the greatest about getting in touch to schedule the lessons. So we found a new place (only 15 min a way) for the 3rd lesson. This was a bit smaller farm, but this time he got to go into the ring where there were jumps and cones to go around and the teacher didn't hold the horse on a lead rein (it just followed her). He also got a bit more time on the horse and we both thought this was awesome! But we wanted to try one more place.

This week we went to the third farm (20-25 min away) and I think he liked this one the best. He got to spend almost an hour on the horse and got to try out a Western saddle. He had so much fun and although this place is more just a learning place (not a place he could stay long term if he continues) he gets the most amount of saddle time for the same price as the others. They also do trail rides, day camps and birthday parties...much more oriented to the elementary kid. So we'll be sticking with this place!

Connor has changed so much since we started the lessons. He's much more confident, wants to do things for himself, is less anxious and talks to "strangers" more easily. It's great to see him find something he enjoys so much!

Evan on the other hand wants to take boat riding lessons (as in sit on the boat at the carnival place and let it spin him around) and wants nothing to do with the horses! Oh well!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Subway Art

I've been playing around with how to make Subway Art. I made these and put them, in this order, in a 3 windowed frame. I'm pretty proud of myself!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


 Connor has suddenly become infatuated with horses. He was begging me to adopt a horse! He come up with great reasons and places it could live. He said he'd take care of it. Thank goodness for an HOA!

 So I posted something on Facebook and one of the moms in Pflugerville said that her parents had horses and we could go visit them.

 They had 5 horses, a pony and a donkey. We stayed for 3 hours and I had to drag the boys away to leave.

 I thought that they might be scared, but they really weren't. They wanted to get right in there and feed them and pet them. We didn't get a chance to ride though.

 The pony, Trig, wasn't so sure of kids. A couple of the horses had been around kids before and would run when they saw them coming because they knew they'd have to give them a ride.

 They fed this horse, Tiyarra, so much that she probably won't need to eat for a week.

 I told Connor that when he learned to ride Bodie we would adopt a horse. He came home, got his stuff together and gave it a good effort!

So the next day I took him to a local amusement park that does $4 rides...he took 3 and again I had to drag him out. I came home and contacted a local stable to see about riding lessons. They don't start until 5, but we have an evaluation on Monday to see if they'll agree to work with him! I guess I need to take some lessons too.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Potty Trained!

Connor has had a struggle with getting over that last hump of potty training. He was diagnosed with overactive bladder and has been on two different kinds of meds that only half way worked. We have bribed and scolded and cried and had lots of struggles, but finally this week something fell into place and he was able to wear the same pair of shorts and underwear for the entire day...for 5 days in a row! Two years ago, I bought him this letter play-doh kit (since he was so into letters when he was 2) and told him I'd give it to him when he had 5 dry days in a row. It never happened. I felt bad and even told him once that if he could go just 2 days that I'd give it to him, but he was never able to do that either. So it just sat on a shelf in my closet...until today! He had 5 straight dry days and earned his play-doh kit! I'm soooo happy to be past this and I hope it stays! I'm pretty sure he's in a growth spurt (keep finding him head first in the fridge) so this one must have been the one where his bladder grew enough to to catch up with him! YAY!!!

Evan has been doing pretty well, until this week! Why can't they both have good weeks? Anyway, he's earned lots of Lego vehicles (and then lost them all this weekend for having so many accidents), but we're back on a sticker chart and hopefully will have two potty trained boys by month's end! That's some serious extra money in the budget! (Connor's already announced he wants a computer for Christmas so he's already made plans for that money! LOL) 


 We hosted our 2nd Annual Halloween cookie decorating party this year. We had 17 kids and 11 adults! It was loud and tons of fun!

 I took the boys to a pumpkin patch one day. They were totally not interested in anything there. It took over an hour to get there. We walked around for 20 min and then went back home and had to go to Walmart to find the mini pumpkin Evan was looking for (because Sophie at his first one).

 Here in TX you have to wait until the night before Halloween  to carve pumpkins...and they still went bad!

 Diego got a little excited and started attacking the fireman while we were waiting to go trick -or-treating.

Connor was much more excited for Halloween this year than he has been in the past (even though he doesn't look it here). He actually picked out the Diego costume and Evan refused to pick anything out. But then Evan tried it on and giggled constantly while wearing it. So Connor decided to be a fire fighter. We went to a few houses and then hung out in our driveway giving out candy. A stray kitty came up and played with us most of the night. Connor named it Bert and decided it was ours, but it's family came and got it and there was some serious pouting going on here. All in all, it was a successful Halloween!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ADK 2012

Our trip to the Adirondacks this year fell just one week after we got home from our trip to Disney. Needless to say we were exhausted (and still are) but it was good to see everyone even though the weather was colder than usual. The boys had a BLAST playing with their cousins. Connor got to have his first sleep over and stayed in the bedroom with the cousins we were staying with. Evan was excited to get his own Mommy Eagle after a year of coveting his brother's. Dave was very sad that the condo we usually stay in had been sold and the original owners had taken their life sized Chief with them. And I coughed, sneezed and sputtered with the rain and mold as I have been doing for the last month...this is why I don't like seasons and prefer TX (although I will admit ragweed has been vicious this year and I'm suffering like I haven't in quite a while).

On the adoption front...nothing! They said they'd have our home study finalized and to us and...nope, we've still got nothing, but their apology. So our goal of having our paperwork to China by Thanksgiving is gone esp since our next step involves the US government.

On the up side, homeschooling is going really well. Connor is progressing in all areas and Evan is showing some of his skills too. We've started into Legos this week and they are LOVING them! I found some kits with dinosaurs so it was the perfect way to make the leap into Legos. Tomorrow we are taking a trip down to the Lego store in town for a field trip with some friends. Too bad (or maybe not) that this came just after our trip to Disney with the gigantic Lego store they had there. This has been great for fine motor skills, following directions and perseverance...all things Connor needs practice with.

Saturday, September 29, 2012




 Flying on Dumbo

 A Corythasaurus in Dino Land USA

 We found Pluto and Goofy

 A hawk

 Evan had a hard time on the trip with sleep. He would fall asleep in the afternoons and miss some exciting arriving for his birthday dinner at T-Rex Cafe

 Very cool animatronics in the T-Rex Cafe

 Katie and family had dinner with us for Evan's can see the presents in their boxes

 Downtown Disney

 Got to see Winnie the Pooh too

By working my SimplyFun business, I was able to earn us 4 FREE tickets (everything but food and souvenirs) to Disney World! Our trip was Sept. 21-26 which was perfect timing for Evan's 3rd birthday! We went to three of the four parks...Animal Kingdom, of course, being the favorite. We also went to the T-Rex Cafe for Evan's birthday dinner/party. They had a Build-A-Dino store so the boys got to choose dinos and stuff them! We were tired when we got home and that means we did it right! Evan keeps asking when it will be his birthday again so we can see Mickey! I think we may have created a monster!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Connor has been in preschool at one of the better Montessori preschools for the last 5 or 6 weeks. I've had my concerns with it all along because it seems that there are no kids his age or older and part of the reason that we put him there was that the class was open for 3-6 yr olds. Turns out there are 17 kids in the class and 10 of them are 3! The rest are 4 but Connor really seems to be one of the oldest.

Each time I go to pick him up, the teacher talks to me about how he's not doing his work or asking her too many questions. So I asked for a list of choices that he had during work time so I could help him make a choice before school. She gave me the list and I immediately knew why he wasn't doing's too easy and he's just not interested in it. They're still working on letter puzzles and one-to-one correspondence and the only thing that they've told me that they've brought in for him to do is a US state puzzle..which he spends at least an hour a day at home doing. I talked with the director about his choices and she said that actually anything for him isn't even in the room so he has no chance of getting something interesting to do. They "ordered" stuff for him and were working on thinking of things for him to do. It's the only 1/2 day room they have so moving him to another room wasn't an option. It just wasn't working....esp for how much we were paying a we gave our notice and this Wed is his last day.

We decided to officially start home schooling. I started a year and half ago, but with all of my health issues I just couldn't find the energy to continue. This week Connor has spent trying to memorize the states in alphabetical order. We have to sing the song a few thousand times a day, but he's getting good at it. We've gotten some apps on the iPad that he really enjoys and that work on K-1 skills. We're working our way through the Magic Tree House series. We've gotten some Usborne books and are looking at some more to help with Science experiments. And I've joined some online secular homeschooling communities to get some ideas. We were supposed to meet up with some of the people yesterday, but it was raining.

I feel so much better about this idea. He complains so much about not liking school and I really don't want him to learn at such an early age that school is boring and something to hate. I can let his interests direct us this year and see where we go and then next year we'll reevaluate and see what our options are for Kindergarten. Meanwhile, Evan is getting really good at all these skills too!

We've really been working on getting Connor to write. He really fights it so we've had to really push it. Today he went to the table and drew a picture all by himself...which is a really big deal! Here's the picture:

He said it was picture of an Argentinosaurus...and that the number 6 is next to it to tell us that it's 6 months old. We lost it and laughed, but luckily he didn't pay any attention to us!

Today marks the 1 yr anniversary of Nathan's loss. We remember, we mourn and we look towards the future.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


 For our adoption file, we need to have pictures of us with our friends. So we spent last weekend going around to our friends houses and taking pictures with them. We even took different shirts and changed clothes! Here we're with the Wassmuth's.

 The dog wanted in on the action too!

 Alyssa stopped by to help out!

 Ziegler's...hope this one works since Dave's head is cut off

 Amy and Jake

 And the Shaftel's got in on the action too

Evan wasn't happy about all the driving around and was not happy by the time we got to the Shaftel's at 5pm!

Thanks friends! Today is our 4th, and final, meeting with the social worker for the Home Study portion of the paperwork. We've got to get everything certified by the Secretary's of State (3 of them since we weren't born in TX) and then send them off to the US and Chinese Consulate's and then translated and put together by the agency and then off to China! Doesn't sound like too much, but since we have to send it to different government never know how long that will take! We're hoping to have it to China by Thanksgiving.