Monday, December 14, 2015

The giant catch up post

So this is my big catch up post. It spans the time from the end of the summer to half way through December. Once this post is complete, then I will be up to date and will, hopefully be able to make shorter and more regular posts. But, if past performance is anything to go by, it wont actually work out that well. Who knows; past performance is not indicative of future returns.

Right at the tail end of the summer I went on a hiking trip up in Colorado with my brother. While I was gone, the kids decided to repair some things around the house. 
One weekend, Heather took the kids out to the local frozen yogurt place to celebrate the end of summer. For whatever reason, Hudson decided to throw a fit, so I came by to take him home. Sara Beth remained with Heather and spent her time crawling through the chairs an all across the floor once she was done eating.
 Hudson has decided that keeping a diaper dry for two whole days to earn some "gloopy cream" is too much work. Instead he is content to just sell make believe tea. He showed me his strawberry flavored tea, his grape flavored tea, and his doughnut flavored tea.
 Make your own pizza night is always a hit with the kids. Note that they are placing their pizzas on separate trays. We have found that if they have to share a tray while making their dinner, the pizzas are not the only things that might get hit.
 Hudson seriously loves yard work. He will regularly ask me how many lawn mowers and weed whackers I own. He will then proceed to let me know that he has more. Though, as the below picture demonstrates, I think he considers some of my lawn equipment to be his.
 This fall, Sara Beth was big enough to climb the oak tree out front. All the neighborhood kids got together and collected all the acorns and placed them in the wagon. Later, Sara Beth placed the acorns into bags and went door to door trying to sell them for $5 a bag.
 Even though Hudson couldn't reach up to the oak tree, he didn't want to be left out of the climbing action. I had to stop him and explain that he should only climb on branches that are bigger than his wrist.
For a while, during the weekly popcorn, cheese, and fruit dinners, I chose to watch  American Ninja Warior. The kids were inspired and once dinner was over, they went out in the back yard and asked me to come up with challenges for them to accomplish. Here, Sara Beth is going from the play house to the fence without touching the ground.
Every weekend, we have a one hour quiet time where the kids have to stay in their rooms and relax. Sara Beth will regularly come out after that hour with fantastic creations. In this case, she created a laptop for her dolls. It even came with replaceable screens to simulate the appearance of running different programs.
For Halloween, Sara Beth decided she wanted to be a cat, so Heather got her some cat ears and a matching tail. Here she is giving her costume a trial run.
 Have I mentioned that Hudson likes to play with lawn equipment. In this case, he has his makeshift leaf blower and is cleaning the driveway with it.
 For Halloween at the stables, Sara Beth got to dress up her horse for the costume contest. She won the "Most Beautiful Costume" for her ballerina outfit.
 And here we have Sara Beth's full costume including the makeup.
 So, Hudson's costume need some explaining. The neighborhood kids like to play super heroes since some of them have seen the Avengers movies. So, you might think that Hudson is dressed up like the Hulk. Well, you would be wrong. You see, Sara Beth always pretends to be Black Widow. So, since Hudson's favorite color is green, he decided to be Green Widow. When we asked him what exactly Green Widow looked like, he said "green".
 One Saturday afternoon, Sara Beth and I had a date. She picked out some activities that she wanted to accomplish on the date. It started with a tea party. I chose peach tea (doughnut flavor was not an option). Next on the list was building a blanket fort. That ended up being so much fun, we spent the rest of our time doing that. Shortly after Hudson and Heather came home, the tent came apart.
 Sara Beth practices reading a lot, and fortunately, the cats are attentive listeners.
 For Hudson's birthday, he got some pretend power tools like this circular saw. He ended up using it to help him open up some subsequent gifts.
 He also got some safety equipment while he does all his projects.

 Hudson chose carrot cake for his birthday. I certainly wasn't going to argue with that. And now that he is four years old, he decided he was old enough to scoop out his own ice cream.
For Thanksgiving, my siblings came in town.
It was great fun to watch Hudson and John play a video game together. Hudson's controller apparently handled which direction the driver was looking while John's controller handled driving the car. Needless to say, once Hudson realized how easily John would crash when the driver is looking backwards, he really got into the game.
Sara Beth decided that she was going to bake muffins. Once again, we suggested that maybe she use a recipe, and once again, she decided that was unnecessary. She gave some to my mom who praised them as "not all that bad". Later, Sara Beth tried one and decided they were actually disgusting. We'll see if she decides that a recipe might help her next time.
My Dad and I took the kids to Home Depot to do a children's craft on Saturday. Sara Beth carefully painted her blocks, ensuring that the colors coordinated. Hudson decided to paint his favorite shade of green. Then he decided that he was going to make it for me, so he repainted it all in blue. He then changed his mind again, settling on a combination of bluish green and greenish blue.
I really wish I could remember the song Sara Beth was singing about her cat in this picture. All I remember is that it was really clever and that I should write about it on the blog.
As a brief aside, here is a rare picture of all four of our cats. Some fresh tuna is the only thing that would bring them all together. 
And now I am caught up!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The rest of summer

When we got back from Wisconsin, it was time to celebrate Sara Beth's birthday at home. I had to keep Hudson back from the cake to prevent him from blowing out the candles.
A couple days later, even before we finished Sara Beth's birthday cake, we decided to make an ice cream cake to take over to a friends house as a dessert for dinner. Hudson and Sara Beth both helped remove the ice cream bar wrappers and organized them in the pan. You can see the birthday cake in the back ground.
Sara Beth is still as interested as ever in horse back riding. She will go to the barn every other Tuesday and stay several hours preparing the horse for riding, then riding, then preparing the horse to go back out into the pasture. She loves every minute of it and is definitely showing progress and gaining confidence ordering the horse around.
While Sara Beth does her lessons, Hudson finds a good place in the dirt to sit and then starts digging. With the dirt and the barn dogs, Hudson might have more fun than Sara Beth at the barn.
We are still working on convincing Hudson that having a clean diaper really is in his best interests. Heather and I have resorted to outright bribery. If he keeps his diaper dry for two days in a row, he will get a can of shaving cream or "gloppy cream" as he prefers to call it. He will then go through the entire can over the course of two or three baths smearing it all over the walls and himself.
One evening, Heather and Sara Beth were off doing something or other, so the boy and I got to go out for dinner on our own. Hudson got his rain boots on and asked to go to CiCi's. We had a great time and ate our fill of pizza.
One weekend, some friends invited us to go out to Burger's Lake in Fort Worth. We started of the day by burying Sara Beth in the sand.
Later I played a little game of toss with Sara Beth.
Hudson asked to join the game and I was more than willing to oblige.
At the local rec center, we have a rock climbing wall. Hudson and Sara Beth both enjoy going. Neither has gotten to the top yet. Both get somewhere between a third and half way up, realize how high they are, and decide that is far enough for them.  But each time they go, they do get a little higher up the wall.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The fabled long lost second trip of the summer

Way back at the end of July, we made a trip up to the great north to escape the Texas summer. What follows is the tail that I have intended to tell for a while now. I even wrote about half of it out before it got lost (note to self: the iOS Blogger app likes to lose posts).

In any case, our trip kicked off with an exciting trip to the airport. I booked the tickets back in the spring and we had plenty of time till our 8:30 flight so we stopped and began to eat dinner at Chili's while I checked for the flight. Or at least, tried to check in. The flight didn't show up. After some digging, it turns out that the airline canceled our tickets and re-booked us on a flight leaving an hour and half earlier, and failed to notify us about it. Our leisurely dinner changed into a rushed dash to the airport. We skidded to a halt at our gate just in time, only to find out that the flight had been delayed two hours.  To burn some time, I took the kids on the train around the airport a couple times. So we were both late and early for our flight out.
My parents picked us up in Chicago and we spent a day checking out the museums in the Chicago area. The museums up there are part of the same museum association as the Perot Museum in Dallas where we have a membership, so we were able to get into all of them for free. Well, all except the aquarium. Apparently, the aquarium felt that it was too special to be associated with other museums, so we didn't go there.
We saw the bronze statue of an alligator and asked the kids to get a picture with it. Sara Beth kneeled down next to it and gave it a sweet pet to the head.
Hudson, however, decided to wrestle it.
After spending the day in Chicago, we went on towards San Souci and meet up with my brother, sister and sister in law. While playing in the hotel pool, Hudson, Sara Beth, and Jill gave me traction I needed to chase my brother around.
The next morning we got up and started driving somewhere in the direction of the Dunes State park. We drove around all morning until we found it, but once we found it, we had a lot of fun hiking for miles up and down all of them.
Finally, we got on to the family reunion at San Souci. One morning, my Dad, Hudson, Sara Beth, and I took the boat out into the pond to go fishing. But once Sara Beth realized we were going to use live worms as bait, she put an end to it and demanded the we release the worms back on dry ground. We then proceeded to go around the pond drowning bare hooks in an attempt to catch some fish, but apparently the fish were not biting that morning.
As part of the reunion, Chris and Wally put on a contest for the kids with climbing and diving. Sara Beth joined.
Wally said of all the contestants, Sara Beth put in the most effort, overcoming her fears to do the diving.
One thing that both Heather and I noticed as the Siewert family reunion: our kids were normal sized. Most of the time when we hang out with other families, people comment on how much taller Sara Beth and Hudson are. But at the reunion, everyone was tall, and most had blond hair. You could tell they were all related.
After the reunion, we went back to my parent's house in Wisconsin. The lake is higher than it has been in years past, so my dad was able to take the boat further up the river across the road from their house. The downside to the water being higher: it makes the bridges lower.
We walked though downtown Algoma one morning and stopped at one of the coffee shops for something to drink. Hudson got some lemonade and Sara Beth got something blue,.
My parents found a spot on the Green Bay shoreline that they named shell beach. All the zebra muscle shells are pushed up every year by the ice creating 3 foot tall dunes of white shells.
While on our way back from shell beach, we had to stop at the cherry store to get some chocolate covered cherries.
My dad decided that launching and pulling the boat out of the river caused too much wear on the mini van so he bought a vintage tractor do help. Both my dad and I gave Hudson nearly the same warning about the dangers of getting close to the flywheel and then Hudson had a great time helping my Dad drive.
To celebrate Sara Beth's birthday, we decided to use sparklers. We started with letting the kids play with a few on the grass.
Next, instead of candles, we put some on Sara Beth's birthday cup cakes. Sara Beth's apprehension about  about our alternative celebratory lighting ended up being well founded. Most of the decorative tissue paper ended going up in flames and several of the cup cakes got a little charred.
Fortunately the presents were a safe distance away and none of those were damaged.
After eating his cupcake, Hudson decided to taste the Styrofoam base for the cake decoration. He decided it didn't taste all that great.