Sunday, May 29, 2011

And then they were gone :(

I love when my parents come to visit.  I have really wonderful memories of spending time with my grandparents and am still close to my grandma and I want my children to have that with my parents as well.  It's been nice that my dad's company has a plant just south of Dallas because my mom can come with him every so often and then we see my dad on the weekend too.  Megan and Abby just love it!  We came home from church today and Megan wants to know where Grandma and Grandpa are!

Of course, it helps that Grandma brings presents right?  This time it included some clothes when a woman in her ward.  Megan loves dresses and so is really excited about those but particularly loved the Cinderella dress.  Of course!

We took my mom a few places that she hadn't been before.  First we went to downtown McKinney.  I would say historic but when the buildings are all less than 100 years old, it doesn't really feel historic.  We had a nice time just looking at shops and fun things.  I found Megan some new wings (her last ones from the Dollar Store fell apart from use) and Abby enjoyed them as well.  I'm not sure she even knew they were there!

Another shot of Abby somewhere she's not supposed to be . . . 

 Abby gives kisses now . . . sort've.  She puckers up and puts her face on yours.  It's very sweet!

Thursday we went to the Dallas Arboretum.  Even though the tulips were gone, it still was beautiful.  In addition to the princess castles, they had a series of flower houses for the Beatrix Potter characters -- Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck -- all of those.
 Abby and Grandma

 The girls loved sitting in the Little Mermaid throne -- it was pretty neat!

 I think this is squirrel Nutkin's house -- I'm not very familiar with these stories but it makes sense, there are squirrels here . . . 

 And I have no idea what this little one was either!

 But this is Peter Cottontail all made out of grass and ginormous!

 Abby loves walking but holds on for dear life so I think we have a little while longer before she gets adventurous enough to go for it on her own.  Thank goodness.

 Megan and Grandma

 I loved hydrangeas.  I think they're probably my favorite flower!

 No trip is complete without playing on the statuary.  Don't I look lovely?  Heat and humidity just don't make me look good but I think I would rather look terrible than be cold.  But why can't I be warm and beautiful???  It's a conspiracy.

 This is the poetry garden but we first came at it from above and it was like a little Secret Garden so it has now been renamed.  And it was a secret discovering how to get into it, especially with a double-stroller!

 Megan loved it and wanted to feed all the flowers.  It was framed on one side with the most gorgeous pink lilies I think I've every seen!

 Megan of the Lilies

Then Grandpa came for the weekend and even though it took Abby a little bit to remember him, once she did, she loved him again! 

 Kisses -- Grandpa you need to smile more!

On Saturday we took them to the Fort Worth Stockyards because my mom is a little bit of a cowboy fanatic.  We shopped, saw the Longhorn cattle herded (very slowly) and she rode a cow!!  Now that gives new meaning to the word "cowgirl"!

Abby loved the cows too --especially the furry stuffed ones.  We didn't let her hug the real ones.

Megan didn't want to leave this little stagecoach.  She just loves everything that is just her size.

Cowgirls together.  Abby at this point is really hungry and exhausted so the thumb doesn't leave the mouth.

So we went for lunch and she drank nearly this entire cup of milk (no, not Dr. Pepper) while we were waiting for food.  Poor girl!

We ate at Riskey's BBQ -- supposedly the original BBQ place in all of Texas.  But I think the neon lights came later . . . 

Megan refused to have her picture taken.  Since that's typical -- we took it anyway!

Then home again home again to celebrate Chopper's birthday!  Number 34!

He got shirts and an electric bush trimmer (ooooohhhh) and a grill (ahhhhh) and this wonderful set of salt and pepper shakers from my parents.  Ahh, the tradition continues.
What tradition?  Well we buy ugly salt and pepper shakers for each other.  It started with our wedding registry.  Chopper wanted something with character and my parents thought that was really funny so they bought us the most horrible pig shakers you have every seen.  Really.  And we've just gone back and forth now for 8 years.  They usually end up with a story attached -- like how my aunt and uncle stole the DI squirrel shakers.  So if you every see any that are truly hideous out there, please let me know.  We have a reputation to uphold!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is it Safe?

I think so.  My mom should be on an airplane flying to Dallas right now and I don't think that checking my blog will be high priority since she'll see the girls in a few hours.  So I can finally post her Mother's Day "experiments".  See my mom gets a lot of gifts that are the result of me trying new things.  I don't think she minds though . . . 
 This was experiment #1 -- it's a miniature quilt that I had saved the pattern for from a magazine but didn't know what I would do with such a small quilt.  The cup kind've gives you a sense of size but to clarify further, it's about as big as a cookie sheet!  Bingo!  Instead of just a regular quilt, I added a layer of Inusl-Bright to make it into an extra-large potholder!  I don't know why I haven't thought of this before.  It seems like when I cook and bake it all happens at once and I don't have the stove space to put my hot pans but I need my potholders to get them out of the oven.  Voila!  A larger potholder to protect the countertop!  Now I just have to make some for me.  Oh and while the front is nice and pretty . . . 
 The back is fun chickens!  I saw this fabric at a quilt show and thought of my mom because she loves chickens.  But who would actually make a quilt out of this?  I'm sure someone would and it would be beautiful but I thought mom would appreciate it more on the back -- surprise!
 I also wanted t play around with doing binding by machine so I made her regular-size potholders out of all these fun fabrics.  The result?  They're still really cute but in the future I'll stick to doing the binding by hand.
 Happy Mother's Day!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It Used to be Easy . . .

And then Abby started crawling, and cruising, and climbing.  She's not walking yet . . . I think I'm grateful!
After I did the dishes, I walked into the living room to discover this.  I know for a fact that Megan didn't lift her up there!  So I moved the chair

And then forgot the other one (after all, Megan was sitting there for a while and it was safe).  So I vacuum my bedroom and come out to find this.  I'm not sure how she managed this since it involved taking the cover off and then getting in but there you go.  That's my Abby.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Megan has hit another milestone I think -- this is the want to role play with mommy and daddy rather than just by myself milestone.  Nearly every day I am another "character" but my main role is mommy-bird (and she's baby bird) or Thumper (Megan is Bambi).  Today I was bunny rabbit and Chopper was Santa Claus.  In fact, when it was time for bed, instead of daddy kisses she wanted Santa Claus kisses.  Funny considering that she's been terrified of him for 3 years now . . . 

She's also started to say the funniest things.  Today after her bath she said to me, "that was an excellent bathtub adventure!"  Which is word for word (except the bathtub part -- swap that for anything else) what Tyrone says at the end of every Backyardigans episode.  We do watch that quite a bit I guess.  And the other day when I was mommy bird and she was baby bird she put on a cowboy hat and told me, "now I'm a cowbird!"  So I told her that when Grandma comes to visit (3 days) she is just going to eat Megan up.  To which Megan replied, "and Grandpa too!"  That's probably true.

Abby on the other hand has been incredibly clingy and so very cranky if you attempt to put her down.  She breaks down in tears at the least little thing.  I'm not sure what's going on with her but I had to laugh over it today.  She's been cruising much more around the furniture and likes to walk holding our hands so we pulled out the walker.  But there's no real steering so she's a happy baby while she's walking and the minute she hits a road block, it's the end of the world.  I think that's why I hated this toy when Megan was little . . .

Monday, May 16, 2011

We Love Target!

I sure do have a soft spot for Target.  And Megan is a quick study.  This is why I try not to go to Target too often -- I'm in the club of go to Target for milk and come home with way more than I should have.  But when the cute skirts are on clearance for $2.50 and I know I'm going to have to buy clothes for her next year and the next year ANYWAY, well, I'm actually saving money right?

Anyway, this is what Megan wanted out of the dollar aisles today.
Aren't those sunglasses gorgeous?  And the pants are Target too.  And the unseen flipflops.  The shirt is a hand-me-down so she's not completely a walking advertisement, but she could be.
Hey maybe I should send this picture to Target.
Goofy girl.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Have No Title

I've never lived somewhere that has this kind of weather.  One day we're in severe thunderstorms with incredible lightening and sheets of rain, the next is 90 degrees and humid, and the next is 75 and gorgeous!  Well it certainly keeps things interesting.  And the tornadoes keep things scary.  Fortunately, those aren't constant!  But I think another trip is on our radar for tomorrow.  Then the weekends will pretty much be dominated by scouts for a few weekends at least.  I hope they don't camp through the summer -- I'll bet that's miserable!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So This is Love

Someone in the Whittacre household (that would be Abby) has formed an attachment with a stuffed sock monkey in the last week.  It's helped to soothe a series of bad going-to-bed-nights so I don't think I can complain.  And I certainly don't begrudge her her new-found love.  It's kind've cute to watch her light up with you hand the monkey to her and she gets all cuddly.
Hopefully we'll be able to learn boundaries about where this thing can and cannot go so that we don't have the "lost stuffed animal crisis" at any time!  

But no name for the guy (girl?  It is pink and purple striped).  Unless you count the fact that Abby grunts like a monkey whenever she "asks" for it.  Well I'd like to get her saying mommy and daddy first anyway!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Lessons

Every Mother's Day that goes by I feel more grateful for my own mother and also a little more of a mother myself.  Why is that?  Because I've decided that motherhood is a learning process and not an end result.  Every time something new and stressful happens, I think -- man, I am really a mother now.  And every time something sweet happens with the girls I think -- I am so glad I am a mom.  So this weekend, these were my mommy moments:

First, I realized how different my girls are.
That may sound cliche but it's so true.  I picked up a rocking snail (rather than a horse) at a garage sale yesterday.  Both girls were very excited but Megan took a little bit to learn to get in and out of the snail.  She wanted a lot of help.  Abby, after the first time of being placed in and out, wanted to do it all herself.  Even after falling out she got back up and tried it again.  She'll be my daredevil I think.  Megan my cautious one. 

Second, as much as you love your children, you still need some time off!  
Chopper took the girls all day yesterday and I spent the day browsing quilt shops, eating by myself, and attended a writing seminar.  It was fabulous!  And not only did I come back filled with inspiration and ready to quilt and write, I can back rested and rejuvenated from time without having to constantly watch!

Finally, never car shop with children.  Wow.  It's worse of a pain than just plain old car shopping!  But beware, if you trust your husband with it, you have to abide by his decision.
So I guess I have to live with the mini-van that Chopper bought.  Actually, I'm really really excited and I know this is a terrible picture but it's an awesome car.  And no this doesn't mean #3 is on the way, but I hope so soon.  We're planning ahead.   

After all, I still have more lessons about motherhood to learn I'm sure!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Making Amends

I need to start with a story.  Eight years ago Chopper and I drove past Waco, Texas on one of our many moves.  Chopper really wanted to stop and visit the Dr. Pepper museum and I refused.  It's been one of the biggest fights of our marriage to this day!  So I decided I finally needed to make amends for my behavior, and yesterday we drove to Waco specifically to go to the Dr. Pepper museum.
 Mind you, this was a 2 1/2 hour drive (exploring Texas is going to take a lot more driving than we anticipated!)  But at long last

 A dream come true -- although Abby looks less than thrilled . . . 

 Chopper wishes they would still bottle the stuff like this.

The museum is not that big but we saw old bottling equipment, learned about the origins of Dr. Pepper and their marketing (as a health drink -- take it at 10, 2, and 4!), peered into one of the original Artesian wells that furnished the water for the soda (all 2% of it), and took lots of pictures of Dr. Pepper stuff.

 Like this horse made of bottle tops and cut cans

 And Chopper and Megan both posed as a Dr. Pepper driver.

 We found a giant cardboard bottle of Dr. Pepper but couldn't find the giant can that's supposedly somewhere in the city of Waco.  

After the museum, I didn't want to just turn around and drive all the way back to Dallas so we decided to check out Baylor University.  A few years back Chopper really wanted to go to law school (well, he still wants to) and Baylor was his top choice (not that he ever applied -- it was just a dream).  The school turned out to be quite lovely.
 We were "serenaded" by the bells in this building's tower while we ate our lunch (and Abby ate dirt -- that's her in the bottom left corner making a break for it)

 We admired the flowers and the grounds . . . 

 Documented our trip . . . 

 And then went searching for the law school building.  We found it!  And right next door was a museum that we thought, why not?
The cashier told us there were 2 parts to the museum: the Natural History Exhibits and the Discovery Rooms.  Ok.  Well, it turned out to be better than Ok.  It was amazing!

 Apparently Waco has been the site of some major archeoligical finds.  Like mammoths (that's an actual skull apparently), pleisaurs (I think that's it -- swimming dinosaurs -- someone help me here!) and a whale!
 This skull is so big . . . 
 I hope it's well bolted in!

 The exhibits weren't just displays, there were designed to put you in there.  Like the room with the glass floor and the mammoth skeletons underneath as you walked through.  And the life-size replicas of grass houses, teepees, and cabins in the "Texas Lifeways" room.  They're putting together an Egypt exhibit soon that I would love to see.

Then we went over to the Discovery rooms.  I've been to a few children's museums but I'm not kidding when I say that this one was the best.  Every room was devoted to something different and had directions and questions on the walls to guide the kid's learning.  It would be fabulous for school-age children but I tell you what, Megan had to be drug from nearly every room.  And Chopper or I would go ahead while she played with something and inevitably would come back -- "you have to see this!".  It really was that good.  There were 20 (yes, 20) different themed rooms and a train diorama in the middle of it all.  I didn't post pictures of all 20 but these are some of our favorites.
 They had a great little tree craft that I'm going to recreate here at home this week and then post on my other blog Lightbulbs and Lemonade.

 Abby enjoyed crawling into vehicles in the Transportation room.

 And Megan enjoyed DRIVING vehicles in Mrs. Moen's neighborhood.

 This is the only tornado we ever want to get close to but it was a really neat machine and demonstration that you could experiment with in the TV News and Weather room.

 Megan loves to build with blocks (community room).

 A view of the trains from the second floor.  Oh yeah, there was also a train track on the ceiling of the second floor.

 Megan loved drumming in the Native Americans room and Abby was fascinated by the buffalo.

 The teepee was great too.

 I love this Beatles shot of Megan and Chopper walking on the giant piano in the sound room.

 And we saw a replica of Grandpa Gasser in the health room!

 Chopper blew bubbles in the water and bubbles room . . .
And Abby just held on for dear life (at this point she was getting pretty tired).
 He is in a giant bubble!

 In that same room they had a pool (I guess) that you could build channels in and direct the water.  Megan made sure all the ducks rode safely in boats.

 We tried Abby out for a cowgirl in the Pioneers room.

 And Megan dressed up in international costume in the People of the World room (she loved this sombrero and wore it the entire time actually).

And this is the People of the World Room.

Every room had several displays/experiments/things to do and I haven't even mentioned about half of them.  My favorite was the tea room where the kids could play tea party and learn how to set a table but then there were cabinets on the walls containing collections of glass children's dishes and old hats.  It was lovely.

So we ended up spending the whole day in Waco and are very sad that it's so far away!  We may have to go back on occasion though -- it was that fabulous.  If you're ever in the area you need to put it on the list.