Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From the Little Things to the Big Things

There are so many things to be thankful for and this time of year has me thinking about all of those things. I am thankful for Cheerios or in this case Great Value brand Toasted O's. Andrew's attitude towards these little snacks reminds me that it's about the simple things in life. Just a few O's and he'll happily sit through car rides, grocery trips and numerous other things.

I love that the boys love books! James' therapists are always telling me how important it is for their development, but I am mostly thankful for the way my heart feels when I come upon this site at home.

I am thankful for the silly faces and fun times that we were able to have in San Antonio. It was the first vacation we've had since before James was born and the first time in a long time I can remember not worrying about the possibility of James ending up in an ER. I am thankful the Lord holds our worries on His shoulders because otherwise I wouldn't be standing today.

I am thankful for James' health. He is a miracle and I thank God everyday that he has allowed him to get better and stay with us here on this Earth. James has been mostly healthy since April (just a few minor illnesses, but no hospital stays). It feels so unreal sometimes that I want to pinch myself. It's amazing how much he has grown in these past few healthy months. I know he'll be walking independently soon.

I am thankful for friends; old, young, and new! Jessica recently had a birthday and chose to celebrate it with us and a few of her other close friends from church. We are so blessed by our church family here. I miss friends that I don't see often enough, but my heart hurts less when I remember how many people are here for me in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I'm so thankful for the knowledge that I will have eternity to spend with brothers and sisters in Christ that may not live close by while on this Earth. Knowledge of Heaven is a huge blessing!

"My cup runneth over." What a great line from Hope Floats. My family is so wonderful. They love me and they're not afraid to show it. This is a picture of the family that lives under the same roof as me, but I am thankful for my whole family.

Most of all I am thankful for God and the gifts that He has given me: food, knowledge, family, love, strength, friendships, shelter, health, and the list goes on forever.

Monday, November 14, 2011

San Antonio Trip

There are some definite perks to living in southern Louisiana. We love the local fare, the people are really nice, and the weather has been phenominal! Another perk is being only (25) minutes from the Texas border and just over 5 hours from San Antonio. Last week Dave and I decided to take advantage of this and take our very first family vacation. We all had a fabulous time and I will try to do it justice with words and pictures.

There is a famous gas station chain in Texas called Bucee's. We stopped at one about an hour outside of San Antonio. It was huge! It had 30 gas pumps, easily and the best gas station restrooms I've ever seen. The inside was enormous with everything from 8 different Icee flavors to a toy section that would make Kmart jealous. We enjoyed a Dr. Pepper Icee and some Dip 'n Dots. The boys liked the giant stuffed Bucee :)

In San Antonio we stayed downtown near the Riverwalk. We were within walking distance to a lot of attractions which was great! The first day we bought passes to ride the Alamo trolley and got a tour guide's advice on how to tackle the city (we took some and ignored the rest). I think the boys enjoyed traveling without carseats, but it made mommy and daddy a little nervous. That first day we saw the Alamo, San Jose Mission, King William's district, the Guenther House, and El Mercado (Market Square). We ate a fantastic lunch and got some yummy baked gooods at el Mercado. We got into the routine of eating big lunches and getting take out for dinner because by dinner time the boys had no patience left for a sit down meal. The pattern worked out well for us.

The church at the Alamo. Did you know it wasn't even completed (no roof) when the battle took place?

A live oak tree in the gardens of the Alamo...it was transplanted, but still cool.

I took this picture and then got yelled at. Apparently it's against the rules to take pictures in the Alamo gift shop. Now I know!

A wall at San Jose Mission. It was neat to see a mission in one piece (mostly).

Throwing a pizza into this old school oven :)

Dave checking on our dinner.

James and me checking out the homes inside the mission.

After we had our fill of the trolley, we decided to check out the Riverwalk. Here Andrew and I are posing on one of the pedestrian bridges that cross the river.

This pic is for Madison! FYI, you are never allowed to work in this restaurant unless they change the waitress uniforms.

James relaxing after a busy first day.

The boys love "Peek-a-boo Barn."

On Tuesday we went to the zoo in the morning. It rained off and on so we had to occasionally hide in the various buildings, but the boys didn't mind because this meant they got to get out of their strollers and run around (we brought their walkers). The zoo had a great area for children under 5. The boys loved it! After lunch at Zuni's on the Riverwalk and some needed naps, we took in a couple of museums. We went to Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium and Louis Tussaud's Waxworks. They were running a special so for a dozen canned goods, we got in for $5 each. I love good deals!

Playing in the prairie dog tunnel.

Ready for bed after another busy day.

On Wednesday we did a lot of walking. We could have used the trolley again, but it's drop-off/pick-up times were limited and there were quite a few things we still wanted to see in the downtown area. We visited La Vallita (an artistic neighborhood on the Riverwalk with boutiques and coffee shops), the San Fernando Cathedral, the Spanish Governor's Palace, back to el Mercado, lunch at Paessano's on the Riverwalk, and Tower of the Americas. I was really excited to see a palace, but it turns out that a "palace" built in the 1700's is equivalent to a 2 bedroom house today. It was still neat to see though. I also bought my first Christmas present of the year at La Vallita...get excited mom bc it's for you! Wednesday night we found a great little German delicatessan called Schlipp's. They make their own rootbeer. I highly recommend the place!

James pushing his stroller around the plaza at La Vallita while we waited for shops to open. Apparently most people don't make it out before 10...ha!

Dave and Andrew in the Tower of Americas looking down on San Antonio.

Andrew playing under the pull-out sofa after another busy day.

On Thursday we drove up to San Marcos (about 25 miles NE of San Antonio) so I could shop at the outlet malls there. They were fantastic! I only wish I could have spent longer there, but 2.5 hours before and 2.5 hours after lunch was the boys limit. We stayed over in New Braunsfel that night. It's a (bigger than I was expecting) German town in between San Marcos and San Antonio. We ate lunch at Oma's Haus Restaurant (delicious!) and went to the WurstFest in the evening. Dave loved the brats and German beer...I had a Belgium waffle and the boys just loved being able to run around outside!

On Friday we spent the morning in Gruene, Texas, a historic district on the edge of New Braunfels. There were lots of boutiques. One gourmet food shop had samples set out of over 100 different things. I only came home with 2 salsas, 1 pecan honey butter, and one sun dried tomato and garlic dipping olive oil. It was hard not to buy out the store, except I'm sure if I'd have tried that my credit card would have been declined :) Gruene is also the home of the oldest dancing hall in the United States. I'd like to go back some evening when they're having a dance. We ate lunch at the Gristmill overlooking the Guadalupe River. It was another delicious meal!

We made it home Friday evening around dinner time. The boys ran around until bedtime trying to burn off the excess energy they stored up on the 5 hour drive home. Andrew spent a lot of time loving on Oliver...he missed his kitty.

If you've never been to San Antonio, I highly recommend it. We already have tentative plans to go back and do some things we didn't get to this time... SeaWorld, Schlitterban Water Park, many more restaurants, the drive thru Safari Zoo, and the outlets (again). If you couldn't tell, we had a great time! The best part was just being together as a family and all the other stuff was just (a lot of) icing on the cake!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The boys...

A few pics from the last couple days. I even got a video of Andrew taking some steps. I am by no means a videographer...you'll have to tilt your head to the left :)

James pushing Andrew on his new toy. It's hard to convince James he should watch where he's going.

At the skate park watching the big boys do their thing.