Tuesday, April 26, 2016


I guess Spring is actually here to stay (but now that I say that, we will probably get a freak snowstorm)! John and Preston golfed for the first time this year tonight. They even saw an adorable little duck family!
The boys have already been asking about the summer golf class so I guess I better get them signed up for it!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kid-Free Vacay!

Guess how long it's been since John and I took a kid-free vacation? 10.5 years. Yes really. We haven't taken one since Preston was born. Now, we have taken a couple of "work trips" where I have tagged along with John for a conference, so it's not like we haven't had ANY time away from the kids, but this was our first actual strictly-for-fun kid-free trip (that we spent a lot of time talking business on, but that's beside the point).

John decided to surprise me for my birthday with a trip to Mexico. Archer did a good job of spoiling that surprise because he found out and didn't want us to go without him! So I found out on Saturday and told John not to book it. Sunday, the trip was booked. :) It was crazy and spontaneous. And much needed. We had SO MUCH FUN! I would never have taken the initiative to book a trip like that so I'm glad my husband does things like that. He even convinced my parents to come stay with the boys! 

So. Puerto Vallarta is a pretty amazing city. I am completely in love with it. The beaches were a bit crowded for my liking (although we did go to a beach south of town that was pretty quiet), but the town itself was beautiful. And they had so many delicious restaurants...I was so glad we weren't staying at an all inclusive resort so we could try as many as possible! We did tons of sight-seeing (and walking...the boys wouldn't have enjoyed our trip too much!) and fit in plenty of beach time and reading. Most of all though, we got to just do whatever we wanted without child-imposed time restraints - because even though our kids are older now and love traveling, they still have limits and the occasional sleep-deprived meltdown.

Day 1: we left super early and got in to PV mid-afternoon. 
The view from the balcony of our hotel room. We stayed at a budget hotel - The Emperador - but it was clean, the location was GREAT, and the staff were all helpful and friendly.

We walked the beach, and those crazy stairs, ate dinner and watched the sunset. Not a bad day!

Day 2: (my actual birthday!)

Apparently we are early risers in Mexico time. Despite the fact that PV is 2 hrs ahead of home! We discovered a coffee shop with yummy coffee and breakfast that we ended up frequenting throughout our trip. We did lots of walking around and sight-seeing in the morning, then had lunch at Coco's Kitchen which was DELICIOUS (and we ended up there the next day too!). We had an ATV tour booked for the afternoon which ended up being just so-so. It was super dusty and not that exciting. Probably more for people who are generally city-dwellers and don't have the opportunity to explore mountain trails very often. But we had fun and John got to jump off a cliff into a swimming hole. That evening we ate at Pancho's Takos. Amazing. I want to go back just to eat some more tacos! And then of course we walked around some more and watched the sunset.

Day 3:

We took a taxi south of town to Playa Gemeles (I think that's spelled right!). We lounged around, climbed around in some rocks and saw a few crabs, and John snorkeled. It was okay but it started to get busier and it's a small beach, so we took the bus back into town (which was an experience in itself!). We spent the afternoon at the beach by our hotel (Los Muertos) and then walked around until we found a place to eat.

Day 4: 
John woke up sick. He had a sore throat that started the day before but it got a lot worse. He was achy, and had a nasty head cold. He found some kind of medicine to take though, and was able to sort of function while we went to the shops on Isla Cuale. It was maybe a bit too much walking for him! We went back to the hotel, packed up, and headed to the airport where he proceeded to sleep until it was time to board...then he slept on the plane...and again after we made it through customs/immigration/security at LAX...then again on the (delayed) flight home. We ended up getting home around 1:00 am, and of course we were up bright and early to a little boy bouncing into our room at 6:00 am! (But we were excited to see him so couldn't be too upset!)

Now we are in the midst of unpacking while trying to get back to "normal" here...and today I woke up with a sore throat. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


QOTD, courtesy of Preston as Archer is opening the car door for me:
"Archer will be able to find a woman to marry very easily. But then he's going to have to open doors for her for the rest of his life."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Almost Spring

We spent this past weekend camping at the ski mountain for the boys' ski race finals. 1 day of fun skiing in beautiful sunny weather + 2 days of racing in beautiful sunny weather = the boys are not ready for the season to end! They were starting to get a little burned out on skiing, but now they just aren't quite ready for it to be done. We have one more day...kind of a wrap up, fun day, and that's that. 

But don't worry. They won't be bored. Soccer practice started for Preston today, and the other 2 will start after Spring break. 

But back to finals. The boys did awesome. They had tons of fun and raced hard. Archer win a trophy for slalom which he was super excited about. The other 2 were crazy competitive with each other. Bryton beat Preston by a tiny bit in slalom the first day, which made Preston mad of course...but he came out the 2nd day determined to beat B in giant slalom and beat him he did! 

So proud of these boys of mine. Skiing wouldn't be my choice for them for competitive sports, but I love that they all love it and can do it together. I am also starting to appreciate the "togetherness" of the ski team families. It's a much different atmosphere than your standard team sports, and everyone helps each other out and pitches in for pretty much anything and everything. (Maybe because we spend so much time together!)

I have tons of clean-up to do from camping, plus lots of laundry and wet ski gear to deal with, but it was worth it to see my boys all so crazy excited about this weekend, and the big smiles each time they crossed the finish line. I need to remember that for next year when I am feeling DONE with skiing!




The trophy winner! 

My little goofballs!

And my view right now: soccer practice!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Preston: "I wonder who invented reverse psychology?"
Bryton: "Probably a famous scientist. Like Frankenstein."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Escape to Warmth

I am definitely not "caught up" with things, but we did just get back from a trip so I'll skip to that!

A few weeks ago, a cruise we had been watching dropped a TON in price and we went for it. It was a little crazy to book a cruise only about 2 weeks in advance, but it was so worth it. It was an itinerary we had done before (Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan Honduras), but we didn't really mind considering the whole point was just to get away, relax, and soak up some sun! 

We left out of Houston which was a first for us. We managed to get a pretty spectacular last minute flight deal too, and the itinerary was pretty quick and painless. The weather was a little cooler than we had hoped for, but we still managed to get some sun! (And by cooler...the day were still in the 70's at least!) 
(We LOVED our cabin this time around. It was a 2 bedroom/2 bath suite with a balcony. This was the boys' bedroom.)

First stop was Cozumel. We had planned to do a beginner's snorkel lesson but it got cancelled due to the weather - it was windy and the water was pretty choppy. We were all kind of disappointed because we didn't love Cozumel the last time, so I had planned this in advance to hopefully have a better time. But no. We pretty much just walked around and did a little shopping. The kids were not into it at all, and neither was I. So we went back to the boat early and went swimming there instead! 

Next up: Belize. Love. We loved it last time and we loved it again. Last time we did a boat ride up the Old Belize River & then went to the Altun Ha ruins. This time we did the Belize Zoo and the howler monkey sanctuary. I wish we had more time in the city, but we had to be tendered in and it was a disaster. We left about 2 hours late. Ugh. So our day felt pretty rushed, but we still had fun. 
The tender was actually pretty exciting. Lots of wind and some choppy water with lots of spray. 

This black jaguar was pacing back and forth. I felt so bad for him, but all of the animals at the zoo were rescued so I guess it is better than the alternative. They have really nice environments for the animals, and they are all local to Belize. 
(There's always one with his eyes closed...)
Lunch by the river - after the zoo, before the monkey sanctuary.
The boys got to learn how they make the mosquito brush things (technical term, obviously!!) from the palm branches
We saw (and heard!) lots of howler monkeys (or baboons as they call them in Belize). We saw some cute babies too. 

Arch & me on the tender back to the ship

Then we were back on the boat bound for Roatan, Honduras. We have lots of love for this little island. If the school system was a little better, and it didn't get the occasional hurricane, I think it would be a contender for full-time living! We had a local guide who was pretty awesome. He took us all over, including to his family's house. The big highlight of the day though...ziplining!!! It was SO MUCH FUN! We had the course to ourselves thanks to the drizzly weather, and our guides were so nice and helpful. I wasn't entirely sure that Preston would like it. He's definitely our cautious child, and he kept going on and on about being afraid of heights before we got there. Well. He loved it. As did the rest of us!
Ready to go!
Yeah, pretty sure he loved it...even covered in dirt!

Oh, and Archer would never forgive me if I left out the most important part of the day in Honduras: Archer lost his first tooth! We were eating lunch and he looked at John and said "Dad, I want you to pull my tooth right now." About 2 seconds later, it was out. 
Cute little toothless smile. He was so excited!

After Roatan, we had a few days at sea to relax a little. The kids club put on their circus for the parents, and we read, swam, and soaked up the sun. 
Preston the clown

On our way back to Houston

Back in Houston

We stayed for a night in Houston so we got a rental car and went to the space center. Archer serenaded us quite a bit (this was outside the rental car place).

All of us touching the moon!

And now we are back home, and I'm sick. Ugh. I have a nasty cold, so we aren't even finished unpacking. Some day! Hopefully everyone else stays healthy!