Friday, June 28, 2013

Fritz Petting Farm

Friday morning we planned a family field trip to the Fritz Petting Farm. This is a FREE petting zoo located in Irving that has different types of farm animals that kids can pet. You can find all the information here.  Here is my quick review of the place before moving on to adorable photos of Eva with farm animals:
1. It was great for a toddler, I think elementary age kids would be bored quickly.
2. We were there about 30 minutes and that was plenty of time for Eva to see and do everything. This is definitely not a full days worth type of place. If you have little kids with slightly longer attention span and planned to eat lunch there you could probably spend an hour or so. With slightly older kids (3-5 years?) you could make up a fun scavenger  hunt before your trip of things for them to look for. Kids love being scientists!
3. Even though we went on a super hot day, we were fine walking around. Everything is nice and shaded so we weren't too hot. This place is only open in June and July so they planned the shaded areas very well.
4. When I looked up reviews some people mentioned that they would be scared to drive there because it is in Irving. We drove down a few streets that weren't fancy but nothing I felt was unsafe. The area we were in felt peaceful and I think it's totally awesome that the City of Irving designed this farm area for city kids to get to experience.
5. It was a 30 minute drive there for us. That is about as far of a drive as I would recommend making for this place. Don't get me wrong. We really enjoyed it! It's just not a full out zoo. If you live in Dallas or close to Irving, I would definitely say to give this place a visit :)
On to the of Eva's favorite animals right now is a cow. She loves to say "mooooo." She was so very happy to talk to the cow right away.
They had a gated area with goats, sheep, and a bunny that you could walk around in with the animals. Eve did a great job being gently when petting them although she needed lots of reminders not to kiss them. Yuck. I think she only scared one goat and that was purely by accident. Even I enjoyed petting the sheep with their blanket think fur on top. I can see why people make blankets from sheep fur.
The peacock did not want to face Eva. We would try to walk around to the pretty side and it would keep turning away. I think she got one good look at the beautiful side of the plumes. Fact: The male peafowl (the peacock) is the one with the beautiful feathers. The female peafowl is the lesser attractive of the species. #learnedsomethingnew
We went back to pet the donkey and pony many times. If I were a millionaire with lots of land and hired help I would absolutely buy Eva a pony. It was really cute and so soft. Of course I'm not a millionaire and don't plan on becoming one, so free trips to the petting zoo will have to suffice. 
Happy girl! I had to get at least one shot of her big happy grin. She really liked the place but was so seriously looking at all the animals that it was hard to capture her enthusiasm. I think I'd take her back again next summer. Maybe by then we can pack a picnic lunch and just sit quietly in the shade. #bigdreams
There was a nice park and playground right down the street from the petting zoo. We let her run and wiggle and shout before driving home. She is loving swings right now. And she always loves her Daddy!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Longest Week Ever

The past week was pretty long for us. Maybe because Ryan was gone for 9 days and that is technically longer than a week! We said goodbye to him 2 Saturday nights ago as he headed off to Young Life camp with a great group of students. I wish I could say we stayed and waved goodbye as the bus pulled off. We didn't. I was too sad so we said our goodbyes at home and made it a quick goodbye when I dropped him off. Like I've said before - I know that so many husbands travel for work all the time or are deployed. I'm not sure how they do that but I respect how strong those wives are. I was so sad to say goodbye to Ryan for that long of a time.  My plan for the week was basically to stay busy visiting lots of friends and families so that I could look back at the fun memories we made this week instead of sitting around waiting for Ryan to come home.
Sunday morning we went to church and then as soon as Eva woke up from her nap we headed to stay with my parents. I know when back-up is necessary :) Eva likes to play "music" on their piano. This picture is kind of cool to me because this was my grandparents piano and I grew up playing on it. Also I like the balance of wedding photos with Eva photos. 
Sunday night Eva put on her new bikini and played in the sprinkler. What kid doesn't have a blast running through the sprinkler?!?! Eva pretty much loves everything about Mamy and Grandpa's house.
 It also happened to be Father's Day so it was nice to spend the evening with my Dad. We love him!
After putting that munchkin to bed - not an easy task when traveling - my mom and I played Life. This is our family's original game box from the 1980's. I think the dad on the cover looks like a cross between my dad and Michael Scott from The Office. Classic. 
On Monday I set off to conquer fear and cross off an item on my bucket list. I left Eva with my mom while my bff Erica and I went rock climbing and then enjoyed The Bachelorette together. Thanks Erica for being my fearless rock climbing leader and forever best friend!
Let's take a break to discuss the joy that is trying to get a toddler to sleep well when traveling. I'm not sure if it was the pack and play or the huge stack of CD cases inside of it but this girl has been tired for over a week. She wouldn't fall asleep. She would wake up in the night (for up to 3 hours!). She would wake up early. Her naps were short. All that combined to make an exhausted toddler. I would say that was one of the hardest part of our vacation. Moving on. 
Tuesday afternoon we went to play at my sister in-law's house with my niece Mallory.  The girls had big fun playing inside and outside and then we went to Ryan's parents together for dinner and stayed the night there.
{This video is here even if no image pops up. Just hit play.}
Nana and Papa have a small stroller that is designed to be used for baby dolls. Mallory and Eva decided that Eva should pretend to be the baby doll. This was hilarious.
The next morning Nana showed Eva how to turn their dining room table into a play fort for all the babies. Eva loves playing babies these days. 
Wednesday afternoon we said goodbye to Nana and Papa and went to see Aunt BB. We swam and played with Brooke for a while...originally I was planning on going back home Wednesday night but I decided that I just wasn't ready to go back. So we went back to my parents' house.
Thursday morning we went to Northpark mall with my mom and grandma Dede. Northpark - where I first learned to shop. 
Luckily they have a beautiful shaded courtyard area so we let Eva run and chase some birds before eating lunch. It always helps to let your toddler wiggle around before sitting in a restaurant.
Then we went back to my parents' for nap time play time with the dogs. There was very little napping involved. Eva LOVES their dogs so much. She pets them. She lies on the floor and pretends to be a dog with them. She growls at them. She kisses them.
Somebody get this girl a dog! Just kidding. Let's wait a few years on that one. I tried to get more photos of her with the dogs but they were mostly chasing each other all around so the pictures were all blurry.
Thursday night I decided that maybe we should head back home so that Eva could try to get back to a routine. Tired toddlers become cranky toddlers and the cycle gets worse as the days go on. I loved staying with my parents but I knew we should go home.

I am SO THANKFUL that we have our family so close. It was truly AWESOME to have my parents and Ryan's parents there to help and love us. THANK YOU parents! 
Friday morning we went to story time at the Roanoke library (no photos) and Friday afternoon we drove out to Aubrey to swim with some of my former teacher friends and their kids. It was good to catch up with them and they both have such cute kids! Then we went back to my friend Ashley's house to cook fish tacos while our kids played. We joked about how different it is to attempt to enjoy a meal with toddlers around. So true. But worth it. I really enjoyed my time there and wish that Ashley didn't live so far away! I admire her outlook on life so much. It's good that we both write blogs so we can keep up with each other.
On Saturday morning I was torn. On the one hand, Eva probably needed a day of rest at home. On the other hand, she was still so emotional that it made hanging out at home alone very trying. I knew that a huge part of this was that she was getting anxious and missing Ryan because at this point she was asking about him often. She would see his truck in the drive way or hear a noise and get excited thinking it was him. Lots of tears. So.... I decided to pack tons of fun times into our last girl's day together! We went and bought fresh fruit at the Farmer's Market. We played at the splash park. We went to the pet store and played with the puppies. We got ice cream and played at the playground at Central Market. We bought some new gold sandals for me because I messed up my old ones. We had a great dinner with my bff Marianne. Whew. That's a lot of fun packed in one day. Then she finally drifted off to sleep peacefully. Hallelujah!
Sunday morning Eva woke up asking for her Daddy the minute her little eyes were opened and again as soon as I picked her up from the church nursery. That afternoon we were there waiting for Ryan to get off the bus. It's so good to have our little family back together again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

First Rangers Game and Summer Nights

Tuesday night we took Eva to her first Texas Ranger's baseball game. It had been a couple of years since I've been to a game so we when we were invited to go with our pastor and his wife we thought it would be a fun family night. I wasn't sure how well Eva would do having to just sit in our laps but she ended up really liking it. The one time we got up to walk around and get food she just wanted to go back and watch the game. 
Look who is an official Rangers fan now! It's so cute that they give these away - just visit the Guest Promotion desk behind home plate if you take your child for the first time.

A big thanks to Joel and Kim for inviting us to join them! I think Eva liked the game even more with them there to help entertain her. She lasted all the way until the bottom of the 9th inning. What a trooper. 
And then she got in her jammies, got buckled in her carseat, and fell fast asleep. I am in love with her crossed ankles. What a little lady even in her sleep. 
Thursday night we had a cook out with our small group, AKA The Best Small Group Ever! Ryan and I made it classy by wearing our matching Bara summer tank tops. I know you're secretly jealous. 
Eva kept it classy by kissing baby Reece's toes while he ate his dinner outside. She likes giving out those kisses :) 
Summer may be getting hot, but we are definitely keeping it cool over here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Class of 2013

With school being out for summer that means it's time for graduation ceremonies and graduation parties! We knew lots of students graduating from Byron Nelson High School so we went their ceremony yesterday. Their ceremony was held at UNT in the same place where I graduated from college! We tried to see as many students as we could after the ceremony but it was so packed and hard to find people. So if we didn't see you personally, know that we cheered loudly from the crowd when you walked across the stage!
 Last Saturday one of our BSM students, Gentry, had a party. She will be attending ACU this fall so her party was decked out in purple. I really enjoyed her photo booth!
Gentry's party had some other sweet decorations. Her mom had kept several pairs of her shoes from when she was a kid and lined them all up. A good reminder of how quickly kids grow up! The personal s'more kits were awesome too!
The next day we went to Allyson's party. I spent most of the time in my swimsuit keeping Eva afloat so this was the only picture I managed to get. Allyson will be going to Hardin Simmons in the fall to play for their golf team.
And a few hours ago we surprised our friend Beth with a graduation pizza party at our place! Beth plans on becoming a librarian. I think you can see from the video below that she was pretty surprised...sorry if the video is a bit shaky...I was laughing so much because we accidentally shouted surprise for the wrong person :) But Beth was right behind her. Oh how I enjoy a good surprise!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

21 Months Old

Dear Eva Kate,

You turned 21 months old on Saturday! It's getting a bit silly to count your age in months but we will keep it up until you turn 2. This is your last update letter until your birthday in 3 months. You are growing and changing so much these days, I wanted to be sure to write down everything so I can remember and tell you all about it years from now. Already when I look back at your previous letters I read about things I had completely forgotten. My mama brain is too busy keeping up with you to remember things like when you started talking or getting teeth. 
Length: 31inches
Weight:  21 pounds
My tiny girl keeps getting bigger. We didn't have a doctor's checkup this month so these are approximate. You were sick a while back and had gotten back down to 20 lbs but I think we've fed you enough since then to help you put another pound on according to our scale at home. Every time I look at you, especially running around in your diaper, you look so tall and kid-like. Your legs look too long to be baby legs :) I guess you have exactly the right legs you need to run around all day! You wear 12-18 month clothes, a size 5 shoe, and a size 3 diaper (we're getting ready to start potty-training over the summer).
Lately your vocabulary is exploding! You try to say new words all the time and I know you understand what you are trying to say. Lots of these words might be mostly understood by me but I can tell exactly what you are wanting to say. You don't usually put words together yet unless it's a common phrase like "thank you" or "here you go." I love hearing you talk to me. Some of my favorite words to hear you say lately are "markers" "cookie" and "slide" - it is so awesome to realize how much you are learning! You also understand so much of what we tell you and are great at following directions. The other day we were getting ready to go somewhere and I turned to you and asked you to go into my bedroom and turn off my radio and you did exactly that! I know I'm your mother, but I'm pretty sure you are the smartest toddler ever :) 

When we go out together people often comment on your personality, referring to you as a "fireball" or "high energy" little girl. That's definitely true. Daddy says you are passionate like me. I say you are active and athletic like him. With that combination you know what you want and are fearless to try to achieve that. You are a master climber. You run fast, VERY fast. You want to explore everything. Eva, I want you to know that I pray all the time that God would help me to be the type of mama you need me to be. My natural instinct would be to protect you and to keep you more calm and quiet...but I want your personality to shine the way God created you to be! I know you will get more bumps and bruises. I know I will have more momentary flashes of worry for you but it's okay for you to be more fearless than me. I will always be trying to keep you safe, but I want you to be yourself as much as you can.
You are extremely social. You love to see your friends and family and know the names of all the people we see frequently. You adore your grandparents and never want to say goodbye to them. You give hugs and kisses to us all day long. 

Your eating habits have become more typical for a toddler. You will like a food one day and refuse it the next. You mostly eat tons of fruit, some veggies, cheese, turkey, and bread. There are other foods that get mixed in often but those are your go-to-favorites. You don't seem to eat meat often. Meal time has become an opportunity to work on manners with you as you tend to want to throw food on the floor. You are drinking some milk from a cup since we stopped nursing 2 months ago but mostly prefer ice water. You love cookies but don't get them very often and will try to swipe pinches of any sweet treat you can reach off a table when we go to parties. 
You usually sleep from 8:30 PM - 8:30 AM right now since it doesn't get dark until later and we've had more things keeping us out later. Every once in a while you will fall asleep in my arms when I rock you, although usually we hear you bouncing up and down and playing in your crib after we put you down. I think you've generally shortened your nap from 3 hours down to 2 hours and the past few days you have refused to nap at all - let's stop that pattern, okay? You definitely still need a good nap to be a happy girl until bedtime. You sleep with your baby doll, your softest blanket, a pillow, your sippy cup of water, and one binky. Oh how you love that binky. You only get to use it when you sleep and I already know it will be so sad to say goodbye to it one day.

I've noticed a few other favorites developing the past month....
Favorite color: purple
Favorite animal: gorilla or dog
Favorite book: your toddler Bible (you love the Noah's ark story) and Barney's 12 Days of Christmas
Favorite show: Elmo (not all of Sesame Street, just the part with Elmo)
Favorite food: goldfish crackers
Favorite song: a little prayer song that I learned in preschool and If You're Happy and You Know It
Favorite music: Raffi
Favorite thing to play: coloring with color-wonder markers
I really love the toddler version of you. I like to watch you play and notice all the little things that make you unique. You make me laugh and smile. You are such a blessing to Daddy and me!

love, Mama

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Girl's Night with my Little Girl

This weekend Ryan went out of town for a retreat with our church's summer interns. I know that lots of husbands travel for work or leave their families for months at a time for military deployments but that doesn't make it any easier when it is MY husband that has to go somewhere. Our home feels different, things are too quiet, I never sleep well, and I just plain miss his companionship. At least this time it was just for one night. We were sad to say goodbye to him but I planned a fun night for us girls. 
Starting with a trip to Costco! We picked up a few things, ate a few samples, and then headed home.
Next up - s'mores! Gooey chocolately marshmallow goodness. This was Eva's first time to have a s'more. I always expect her to be super excited when I introduce her to anything new, but really she is always serious at first. Like she had to observe the marshmallow and be sure she liked it. She was enjoying making a big mess until the marshmallow goo made her arm stick together at her elbow.  Then she cried.
After that it was off to the tub to wash off all that stickiness! She cleans up so cute :) 
We ended our evening by cuddling and watching Elmo together in the big bed. I was hoping she would fall asleep there because I want her to be able to sleep in a regular bed when we stay with my parents and Ryan's parents when Ryan goes to camp later in the summer. I had no such luck. She liked watching the movie and cuddling. She was not interested in sleeping. After about 20 minutes of quiet time I tried to say good night and leave her all tucked in but she definitely didn't want that. She ended up back in her crib. 
The next morning Eva wanted to wake up bright and early at 6 AM....umm, I do not think so. She usually sleeps until at least 8 so I told her to go back to sleep and ended up having to wake her up at 8:45AM. I guess she was tired after all. Then we met my bff Erica at a park in Irving and had a great time playing! Now we are just waiting for Ryan to come home....

Thursday, June 6, 2013

And they're off...

It doesn't quite feel like the end of the school year when you see the rain falling down outside, but for lots of kids at my old school they are already out, rejoicing for the freedom of summertime! Just like the first day, the last day of the school year brings back so many memories and so much excitement for both teachers and students. Today my last group of 2nd grade students graduated from 5th grade. I had told them on my last day with them 3 years ago that I would try to make it to their graduation but I couldn't make any promises because I didn't know what my life would be like at this point. I was so happy to get to go and cheer for them today!!!! Of course I loved all of my students but this group will always have a special place in my heart. Maybe because they were my last? Maybe because they were so kind and smart and funny? I'm not saying I had a favorite class but if I did..... Anyway it was a lot of fun to see them all big and "grown-up". Some of them are taller than I am now!  And it was neat because 12 of my 18 kids from that year were still there, which is very unusal for the demographic of our school. I went to graduation last year and had less than 5 kids that were still there.
The morning started with their official graduation ceremony. My award for best dressed is a tie between 2 of my former students - one wore a fedora and the other wore a bright red bow-tie. After the ceremony they got to walk the loop of the halls while all the other students and teachers clapped and shouted as the graduation theme song played. Then they got a cookies and juice reception. I hesitated to drop by the reception because I didn't want to be the weird old teacher hanging around but I'm so glad that I stayed around. They were all so happy to see me and give me great big hugs!

My class picture with this group - pretty cute, right? How could I have ever gotten mad at those sweet faces? It's so strange to think that I might never see any student that I taught ever again. It's also crazy to think that I taught for 3 years (plus student teaching at my same school) and I've now been out of the classroom for 3 whole years. It seems like it was just yesterday. Every time we're in Denton I'm always hoping to run into somebody that I've taught. It was also weird to be back at the school I taught at. I kept thinking that everything seemed so much smaller than I remembered and then realized a few hours later that it's because everything we do at the schools now is for the high school. It was so great to see my kids, my teacher friends, and my old classroom, especially since I don't know if I will ever get a chance or reason to be back to visit. Lots of my teacher friends are transferring and all of the kids I've taught will be gone now! Ahh, I'm feeling kind sentimental. 

There was a quote from the last episode of The Office that said, "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." Teaching was crazy hard and sometimes those littles were nutso, but I really do miss it. Then again, I absolutely LOVE staying at home with Eva and couldn't imagine going back to work right now. Times were good then, times are great now! Just different seasons of life.