Sunday, August 31, 2008

3,2,1... Blast Off!

I feel like every week we say that it's been a great week, but we really did have a great week this week. We went swimming four of the days (here is a quick video of Elia's backstroke):

video

We've also been out looking for furniture and appliances. At one of the stores our kids made friends with two other kids and the serta lamb. Our kids loved the lamb... especially climbing on it. The younger girl of the two loved getting a piece of the spotlight, so here is her minute of stardom on our blog.

Yesterday, we went to Space Center Houston... the place where they control the space shuttle, monitor the international space station and train the astronauts. The Sackett's (Eric's mom's cousin) gave us free tickets.
Here is a picture of mission control. (Think... "Houston, we have a problem." Yep, this is where that phrase is heard.) The screens on the wall shows live feed from the international space station.
Rocket Park:

This rocket is the largest space rocket... It was longer than a football field. It was huge!

Look at all those wires! Which one is responsible to launch the satellite?

Beam me up Scotty!
One spacey family: :)I liked this sign outside of the building. It says: "For the dreamers and the explorers who look to distant horizons. For the celebration of discovery and newfound knowledge. For the children who will be the pathfinders of the high frontier..."
We bought Elia these "space" gummy worms from the gift shop... for what they cost, they should have been from space!
Inside the building they had all sorts of amusement activities... Here is a video of some of our fun:

video

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fortune Cookies

We went out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner on Wednesday with some T-bird friends. I thought I would share our fortunes:

Eric: "Unexpected gain and honor will be yours"
Jen: "Executive ability is prominent in your make up"
Elia: "Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded"
Ethan: "Listen not to vain words of empty tongue" and "Speak only well of people and you need never whisper" (he got two)

It is funny that the one person in our family who can't talk gets all the communication-related fortunes. I think the fortunes are the best part of the cookie... since really, the cookie itself isn't that great... get your fortune without the calories here: http://www.chinaunique.com/cookie/fortune.htm

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"I'm singin' in the rain"

It's a good thing the Olympics are over. Now that Nancy has gone home we have to wake up with the kids... by ourselves! It was so nice to be able to sleep in while she was here because we were up until 11:30 or later watching the games. A few pictures from our week:
We went to the nearest beach on Wednesday. It is about an hour away. We asked some heavily-accented people at a gas station if they could direct us to the beach. They told us of one where we would have to pay and then this one just a little further down. We got there and you were supposed to just drive on the beach! How cool is that?
We had a great time swimming in the waves and then eating at this classic beach restaurant. Speaking sarcastically, this restaurant was about the healthiest place we could have chosen. The food was practically all deep-fried and I had to take the kids outside more than once because of the cigarette lighting. I am super sensitive for Ethan's sake and I would try to go outside to avoid the second-hand smoke. The building was clever, but I probably wouldn't recommend it.
We also got to go to the Houston temple. The wife of a couple we met in the ward watched the kids in the morning... that was a great help!
Here is a picture of what dinner time becomes... especially when the kids are hungry before Eric gets home from work:
Garbage runs... a highlight of apartment life. One of us holds the kids in the rolling chair while the other pushes and spins down the hall to the garbage shoot. The floor is stained concrete and is super slick. At the garbage shoot of course we switch:
I discovered this activity late last week for what I can do with the kids when I can't think of anything else to do with them... or when Ethan is upset. Since it rains a lot here, I can do this a lot:
video
Here is a video of Ethan's guide to staying entertained in rush hour traffic... Like rain, it happens a lot around here too.

video

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jam-packed family fun at the aquarium

What a week! Monday, we were invited to a play date with a family from church. They have a girl one month younger than Elia and a boy eight days older than Ethan. Tuesday we went swimming with our friends the Forbushes, Wednesday we went with the ward play group to "Old MacDonald's Farm"(which had lots of pet-able, feed-able farm animals, and yes, a few deer too),Thursday we went to the Children's Museum's free night and then hosted a family for dinner, Friday was a pool tournament for Eric's work and today was family day at the Houston Aquarium for Eric's work.
In fact we felt very loved this week because it was Eric's first week of work, but it was also employee appreciation week so between the two he got free lunch every day but one and they paid for everyone to go to the Aquarium...They had free lunch, free (and super-awesome) face-painting... well, our kids got their paintings on their arms... (a dolphin for Elia and a dragon for Ethan)...and a balloon-animal making clown...The Aquarium had this cool train ride that went through a semi-circular shark tank and the sharks swam on the sides and above the train, a Ferris wheel that gave us a great view of the city...an amusement ride that slowly took you up, then dropped you down. (Nancy, who is afraid of heights, got talked into riding the ride, though she tried to get out of it.)... Two white tigers (I know, pretty random for an Aquarium, but cool)...
And... always the kid favorite, a carousel...
A pretty packed week to be sure, but we had a lot of fun! Here is a final video for your enjoyment... Don't forget to pause the music first! ... (and if you watch it to the end (it is just 1 and a half minutes), at about the 1:12 mark I think, it should bring laughter to your life... and maybe this is just funny to me, but I hope you enjoy). A little explanation first: Elia and I have reading time every morning while Ethan takes his nap. This is what she does for quite a bit of the thirty minutes! It is so funny to listen to her. This day I pretended to read while I video-taped her. At the beginning, she is looking at herself in the mirror that is in front of her bed. Have you guys ever come across this passage in the Book of Mormon? Yep, that is the little book she is "reading" from. One final question, do you know what a "putzy" is? If you do, let us know... ENJOY!
video

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Finally... a routine!

OK, so not so many pictures, and not too much to say, but I thought I would check in. I finally feel like I am getting into a routine now that Eric has started work. Like in Arizona, it usually includes swimming every day, though I am missing my daily walks like in Arizona.
Here are a few pictures of the kids playing in our apartment:
Here is one advantage of having empty cupboards... it gives the kids a place to play.
We have a foot wide balcony just outside the dining area. The door is literally right behind Elia's back. I send the kids out there when I don't want to feed Ethan (we don't have a high chair, so feeding him is kind of a pain) and they love it.
Well, today was Eric's second day at work. He came home with these huge binders to read (and he thought homework was over). He will be in the professional services division and will help PROS's clients. His work is just a six minute walk from our apartment, but hopefully, if all goes well, in a month and a half he'll be riding his motorcycle from our house... yep, we just put an offer on a house, though who knows if they will accept it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Deep In the Heart of Texas

Well, after three long days and more than 25 hours of driving we are finally at our destination... Houston, Texas. Here are the highlights of our trip:
Night 1/Morning of day 2: Colorado Springs: We couldn't find a camping spot like we had planned, so we stayed in this dirty little motel off the side of the road. It advertised rooms for $39, but then you had to pay $10 for each additional adult. Our first room had a moldy bed! I am not kidding. I guess they had a leak in the ceiling and had fixed that, but forgot to change the sheets. Luckily they had a new room, and though we questioned their cleanliness after the experience with the first room, we had no other options. The hotels were pretty booked because of the Senior PGA Championships.
On Friday morning we went to Garden of the Gods:
... and the Air Force Academy where I started my undergraduate education. Man, did that place bring back memories. The cadet chapel is pretty impressive with its tall spires. Inside, the ceiling was pretty cool too.

On Friday we made it to Texas:
Here is a collection of some of the funny things we saw on our trip: Is anything more Texan than a truck that says "Boogie Down"? We also liked the camouflaged "God's Army" truck and the town of Waxahachie... well, the name anyway. How could anybody live in a town called Waxahachie and not be totally happy?We camped in the Texas humidity on Friday night (lesson: don't camp in Texas during August) and was thrilled to get to the place we will call home for the next two months. Compared to Greentree... well, to almost any apartment, this place is SUPER! They even have maid service that will clean every other week. I could get used to this! Take the tour below:

video


Elia is loving the place too. We didn't have bubble bath so we used dish soap for her bath last night. We weren't paying attention and she dumped in about half of the bottle and enjoyed a fairytale like bath with gobs of bubbles.

We went to church today and everyone was so nice. We already have people trying to find us a place that is within ward boundaries! This week should be interesting. We will be joined by Eric's mom and Ethan tomorrow (they made the wise choice of coming by plane) and will start our house hunting festivities. Let us know if you have any advice for us as first time home-buyers. If not, just wish us luck!