Daddy Doing Hair

Back when I pulled the ligaments in my back I couldn’t lift my right arm for a few days which meant I couldn’t do Mayci’s hair without severe pain. So Jamie stepped in and with my guidance he got her hair into a fine ponytail. Mayci did not trust him doing her hair at all. Her facial expressions were hilarious.

Zoo Lights

We got the kids (plus Haley and Ani) annual passes to the zoo this year (my parents got passes too). They were on a great sale making them totally worth it.

We figure Haley, Ani, and my parents can take a kid or two at a time so it won’t always be all of us going together (which can be kind of crazy). I suspect Joel will be making a lot of zoo trips between now and when school lets out.

The last time we went to the zoo was while the kids were still in foster care after their good-bye visit with their bio mom. They were just 19 months to 5 years old then!

We used our new passes to the zoo on New Year’s Eve for the Zoo Lights celebration (no jackets even after dark… gotta love winter in Texas). Six kids in the dark in a place we’ve only been a couple times before is super nuts even with four adults and one marginally helpful teen.

They ran around, they danced, they climbed on the lions. They had so much fun. Even when it’s hard to take all of them places and we’re constantly counting to six just to be sure they are all where we expect them to be, it’s totally worth it to see happy their faces and making memories with them.

Texas State Aquarium

While on vacation we went to the Texas State Aquarium. We rented two double strollers. That was one of the smartest things we’ve ever done.

We also checked out a sensory kit for Noah. By the end of the first exhibit he was completely overwhelmed. The headphones instantly calmed him down and made the rest of the visit quite pleasant for him.

All the kids really liked the dolphins. Though when we asked them what their favorite parts were Zeke said walking next to me, Mayci said riding on the escalator, and Anthony said riding in the elevator.

So, basically, we spent over $250 for the kids to like normal, everyday things the most. At least Noah liked the fish. He kept waving to them and saying “Hi, fish!”

So much cereal

My little kids love cereal. They’d eat it every day if we let them. They can demolish a smaller box of cereal in one sitting. So it was pretty great when Jamie discovered a cart with 27 retro Halloween boxes of cereal on clearance.

As it turns out you get some weird looks when you buy 27 boxes of cereal at once, but they were only 99 cents a box! That is not the kind of deal we can pass up. The kids were so excited when he got home with all this cereal and, of course, wanted to eat some right away (even though they had just had breakfast not long before).

Swimming in the Gulf on the First Day of Winter

Four years ago we went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on the first day of winter. Adrian wanted to repeat that this year with his little siblings.

And so we did. I didn’t think the kids would actually get in the water (it was 52* on Solstice this year) so I didn’t pack bathing suits for them, just shorts.

I was wrong. They went in the water and played for thirty minutes. They all ended up soaking wet and covered in sand. They had the best time ever.

Afterwards we went back to our AirBnB so everyone could get a shower. I can’t imagine they were very comfortable for that thirty minute drive.

Texas sand is kind of a fine powder and it sticks to absolutely everything. We definitely need to vacuum out our rental beast because otherwise it will be forever sandy.

There were a few other people on the beach, mostly riding up and down the beach in gulf carts. Swimming in the Gulf in December isn’t the most common activity.

One guy gave the kids a little boogie board that was slightly broken but my kids didn’t care. That led to a lot more falling in the water and getting even wetter and sandier.

There was one old guy living on the beach in an Airstream attached to a pickup truck. He was very nice and enjoyed watching the kids playing and having fun.

When we tried to leave we discovered we were a little bit stuck in the sand (you park on the beach). So the guy in the Airstream towed us out ending our adventure with a little extra adventure.

To Get Him Up the Stairs

Sometimes at bedtime the kids will pretend they’ve already fallen asleep so their Daddy will carry them up the stairs. Zeke is a big boy now at nearly 8 and thinks it is great fun to be slung across his father’s shoulders for the trip upstairs. (He is totally awake in this picture. He’s pretty good as pretending to be asleep, huh?)

This Week’s Lunches and Snacks

Since the kids decided they are over buying a tray in the cafeteria, we’re back to making six lunches for every weekday. Friday they bought lunch since Jamie ran out of time to make them lunches Thursday evening and I couldn’t because the pulled ligaments in my back have decided I should not be able to move without severe pain (and the pain medicine makes me fall asleep). They were not happy about having to buy lunch. I’m really curious how long it will take before they are begging to buy instead of bring again.

The Playroom Under the Stairs

About a year and a half ago we got the idea to open up the wall in our living room and convert the area under the stairs there into a little playroom for the kids.

It ended up so beautiful. The kids absolutely love it. It’s not very big, but it’s perfect for a few kids to watch TV or to sit and read or built with Perfect Blocks.

There’s a black light in there and a projector (the kids are utterly fascinated by their shows playing right on the wall). There are even colored LED lights around the ceiling perfect for a dance party.

One wall has a gorgeous mural of space my dad picked out for the kids because some of them are very into space right now. Zeke liked it so much he even hugged it when they first went in the room.

The most amazing part might be the floor. Jamie added pigments that match the mural to epoxy and then swirled it all over the floor so it is just gorgeous. Add to that some of the pigments glow in the dark and it just makes their little playroom under the stairs totally cool.