Monday, May 30, 2011

Giving thanks this Memorial Day

A day* to honor and give thanks to all the men & women who sacrifice so much for our freedom!

(*although we should give thanks and honor to the troops EVERY day!)

Last year we started a tradition of going to the Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery for their Memorial Day service.  When we were there, it was such a moving experience that we knew we'd want to continue in the years to come. 

This year my whole family (minus Christa who had to work) headed out to the site.  The ceremony starts at 11 o'clock PROMPTLY and after arriving at 10 last year, we knew we wanted to get there early and 'try' to avoid the traffic and mad dash to get a great spot.  So this year we arrived around 9:30a and decided to sit on the other side of the lake near Patrick's gravesite.  The weather was perfect.  Hot and a bit windy (think 20+ mph winds) but at least it wasn't like last year, when it was all hot and s-t-i-c-k-y!  Since this IS our second year doing this, we knew what we needed to have for a great time. 
  • Blankets - check
  • lawn chairs - check
  • umbrella for shade - check <-- yea, the poor thing was destroyed by the wind in a manner of minutes
  • Cooler full of cold water bottles - check!
  • snacks - check
  • CARS, airplanes, a nerf football, a baseball & baseball glove - check, check, check!  (there WERE 3 kids present after all!)
  • "Some sceen" aka: sunscreen - triple check!
Trista (3 1/2), Trevor (1 1/2), & Austin (3 1/2) at Patrick's gravesite 
They love each other SO much!   
They were in awe of all the flags. 
Heading over to the other side of the pond.  Scott & Dad stayed behind with our stuff :-) 
Ammie, Austin & Trista near one of the 3 canons that were used during the 21 canon salute! 
Travis' kids
(again, Christa wasn't present since she had to work) 
"God Bless America!" 
We are SO proud of our military!

our "camp" LOL near Patrick's gravesite 
Our view near Patrick's site. 
The Missing Man flyover! 
Austin loved the airplanes and begged for them to "do it again".  Afterwards, he played with the airplanes I brought and simulated being a plane flying

The kids did great the whole time!  They were either playing nearby with the football or running up and down the small hill that was right behind us having a blast.  We weren't able to hear everything that was spoken at the location of the ceremony across the pond, but we were able to hear the songs and other bits and pieces of the event.  It was nice not having to worry about the kids making a peep and disturbing the people around us, although every once in a while they were a bit rowdy :-) and had to be reminded to keep it down. 

After the Memorial Day ceremony was over, we headed over to my parents house for a yummy lunch of sandwiches, fruit, veggies and some relaxation!  Some chatted about their upcoming Italy trip while others took naps.  However, Austin, Trista and I (Travis joined us later on) headed to the pool as soon as we finished our lunches!  I was so amazed at Austin's excitement at being in the pool and actually warmed up to trying things (aka: jumping off the ledge) pretty quickly.  I remember last year it took him till July to do that!  I guess having your older - by 2 months! - cousin around, who's a girl LOL helped boost Austin's confidence up! 
"If SHE can do it, then by golly, so can I"

Austin, Trista and I spent a good portion of the afternoon jumping into the water, learning to dog paddle to the steps and repeat.  Should I say, THEY were doing that, while I did the catching HaHa!  Although I think *I* was the one doing all the work - we had a blast!  Once Travis joined us in the water, the four of us had a blast jumping in and swimming. 

"1, 2, 3, . . . JUMP!" then dog paddle to the steps. 
 repeat, repeat, repeat! 

All together now!

. . . . JUMP!! 

Later on, we headed home for some Texas Rangers Baseball while enjoying a great meal of fajitas off of the grill.  Overall, it was a perfect day!  Honoring our Military and having the freedom to enjoy our family, some fun in the sun, & great food all because of their sacrifice!


Let's Go, Rangers!!

Thanks to the Texas Rangers playing in the World Series last year, Austin has become an AVID lover of all things baseball!  He's into it so much so that every day at home is filled with the sport.  A typical day at home we are doing the following:
  • Batting practice: Scott or me pitching while Austin hits the ball.  Something a typical 3-year old isn't usually good at, but he IS!
  • Catch: Us tossing the ball and Austin trying his best to learn how to catch them.   
Last year was our first time as a family to go to the Texas Ranger's Ball Game and it was a great experience.  Now that Austin's older, into baseball (Rangers' especially), and actually loves playing - as well as watching it on TV - we couldn't wait to go again! 

On Monday, after worrying over rain and the infamous fickle Texas Spring weather, we headed out to the baseball field.  Austin - as well as Scott and I - were so excited to take him this year.  We know it's just going to get better and better as he grows up.  I think this is our new tradition - baseball games with the family! 

Here is Austin's expression at seeing the Ballpark In Arlington:

I swear I could watching this video every day.  Makes me smile every time!

 <3 <3 <3  
Our seats!
Again, like last year we sat out in the bleachers section, since it's (1) more family friendly, (2) cheap ~$37.00 for all 3 tickets!, & (3) near the Sports Park.  We will probably continue to sit in this section until Austin is much older. 

 I love going to the Ranger's ballpark, it's a beautiful field both inside and out, but now that I'm a parent - I love the amenities they have for kids/families.  So like last year, we arrived around 5:00 for the 7pm game only because the Kids area opens up 2 hours before the game and we knew Austin would be all into it... and well, honestly, we wanted to avoid the obnoxious kids that would later arrive with their parents and pretty much tackle any little kid that stood in their way to get in line!  The Kids area I'm referring to is the Sports Park behind Center Field.  It's an interactive area that has wiffle ball, tee-ball cages, pitching zones, picnic tables and a chance to have a temporary tatoo placed.  It is such a fun place and it was hard, once the game started to pry Austin away from the area to actually WATCH the baseball game HaHa!  We did have to go to an area nearby to 'play catch', as Austin puts it, since he wanted to play with the Ranger's so bad. 

waiting in line patiently for his turn at bat


He was actually SO good - yes, I'm gloating, but really have you seen him hit a ball!?!?! - that strangers were amazed and asking us how old he was.  When we said "3", they were shocked!!  We were probably in the kids area for the whole 2 hours watching Austin play baseball.  Poor kid wants to be on the Rangers So bad!  One day, son!

We did manage to walk around the ballpark while the Rangers & White Sox were practicing before the game and, man, did we get lucky!!  While watching the White Sox practice in the outfield, Austin was standing with some other kids who were much older (at least 10+) begging for the players to throw a ball their way. 

Well, a nice White Sox player - who sadly we don't know his name - turned around and heard all the kids screaming, "THROW THE BALL!  THROW THE BALL!" and other stuff.  He spotted Austin and walked over and tossed the ball at Scott and then nodded his head towards Austin.  It made our day. . . & Austin's!! 

With Austin being a huge baseball fan we actually were able to watch the WHOLE game - minus a few times of needing to play catch in the Sports Park for a few minutes - as a family!  It was such a nice evening and we all had a great time!  Scott and I were teary eyed when Josh Hamilton hit his first home run since coming back from being injured and it was amazing!!  Everyone was cheering, there were fireworks going off and Austin was soaking it all in - having the time of his life.  Magical!!!
waiting on a ball 
How Austin spent the last few innings. . . on Daddy's shoulders 

We had such a blast & can't wait to go back!  On Monday, my parents are taking us to their tour so we know Austin is going to be so PUMPED about that!  He was begging to go on the field and on Monday - he should be able to :-)  That post will be posted sometime next week, so stay tuned

Monday, May 23, 2011

Austin's Preschool Portraits

On April 29th (yes the same day as the Royal Wedding !!), Austin has his Preschool portraits taken.  I dressed him in a nice striped collared shirt and dress shorts and waited for the day to end so that we could see the proofs.  This company - unbeknownst to us - brings their own items of clothing as well as accessories to 'jazz' the pictures up! 

When we arrived the photography people were wondering if this is our son and I'm embarrased to say that I said it wasn't after being shown a small (& quick) glance at a picture.  You see, all I saw was the clothing, not his face so I said no.  After being shown pictures of the other Austin's in the school I asked to go back to the first one  LOL  Such a goober!  This time I looked at this Austin's face and sure enough that was MY Austin!  LOL!!!!  I said that that was NOT the clothes I picked out for him, thus why I said it wasn't him.  That was then they informed me that they bring their own clothing (minus underwear of course) and accessories to make the 'photo shoot' fun! 

We wanted only 3 pictures - 1 for us, and 2 for the Grandma's (Nonna & Ammie) for Mother's Day. . . yea right!!  After seeing these, there is NO WAY you could "just get" 3 

Check them out!  Our Handsome Lil Man is so photogenic!

We have plenty of wallets, so to all of Austin's Great- Aunts, -Uncles, -Grandma Jean, & -Nana your picture should be in the mail soon!  :-)  We have the CD so we're going to see if we can take it somewhere and print out 4*6 or 5*7's instead. . . 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Last week, Scott, Austin and I headed over to Cedar Ridge Preserve to do some hiking.  I've always loved it there and last year when we took Austin, he did too!  So we loaded up our sandwiches and such (plenty of water, too!) and on we went.  My favorite trail is the Cedar Brake trail, but last year part of it was rained out so it was closed off.  This year, however, it's back to being open, but it's different.  Better and a tad harder.  The trail is classified as "Moderate/Difficult" and it definately lives up to it!  We loved it!  It's roughly 2 miles itself and you need to walk on another trail to get to it, but all in all it's about 3 miles. 

Austin walked all but the last 15 minutes and we couldn't have been more proud!  He even did all the tough 'climbs'.  Here are some pictures of the day.

Getting ready to go hiking - notice the binoculars!
At the beginning of the trail.  Stick in hand, ready to go!
The Cedar Brake Trail was full of elevations like this!  We LOVED it! 
Photo op 
We even came across a snake.  Sorry it's blurry - not sure what happened.  Although at first this snake was sprawled out in the middle of the trail.  Scott got it to slither away to the edge behind a tree.  There it turned around and hissed at us! 
Yea, well - you know funny picture moments are everywhere!

We can't wait to go again!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grapevine's Main Street Days

Today after a great church service, Scott, Austin, Carolyn & I headed over to Grapevine for their Main Street Days.  It was a perfect day weather-wise, but luckily it wasn't too crowded!  We window shopped, ate, drank, ate, and then headed over to the KidZone.  It was such a great fun family day.  It's days like this that make me thankful I switched hospitals! (If I was still at my old place working weekends, I would be missing out!)

Austin saw this boy on the train and kept waving saying, "HI IRONMAN!"  So of course, we had to get a photo!