Saturday, March 26, 2011

A James Pose!

I love these kids :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Full of Poses

I don't know if anybody has noticed over the last several pictures I've posted of Avery, but she is super into posing now when I take her picture. I don't know where she learned it from, but she definitely gets into it. In the top picture she is "Make-up Girl"!! That's what she called herself. Like a super hero name. She applied her own make-up from some play make-up she has and came in to show me and Al. Then Al went and got the camera and Avery gave us a signature pose. After Al left Avery informed me that she was Make-up Girl and it was her special power/mission to go around and help people wear make-up that aren't wearing any :)

In the picture with Avery and James I had to laugh because we were running out the door to go somewhere and I thought the kids looked cute so I took a couple of pictures. Avery pulled out the poses and then James was trying to be like her. His pose was hilarious. He held one leg up, with the knee bent and then kind of had his arms out to the side. He couldn't hold the pose for very long and so I wasn't able to capture it, but he still looks super cute.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Festivites

We had a fun St. Patrick's Day this year. I don't usually do much for the holiday, but thought it might be fun to start a few traditions. A week or so before the 17th I made these rainbow cupcakes for Avery's preschool class. Avery of course was thrilled with the green sprinkles on top and I wanted to add a gold foiled chocolate coin on top but couldn't find any. Anyway, Avery loved the cupcakes and I heard they were a hit with her class, so they might have to become a yearly thing for us.

The day of St. Patrick's I subbed in the morning for Avery's preschool class. It felt like a definite blast from my past and was a lot of fun. Then we headed over to a nearby park for a great party. My good friend, Kim, put together a St. Patrick's day potluck with the rules being whatever you took had to be green or authentic Irish food. We took a pineapple pudding cake that was dyed green and some Irish soda bread. The picnic tables were a sea of green- green veggie trays, green fruit salads, green pasta salads, guacamole, leafy green salads, candies, cupcakes, etc. It was pretty spectacular to see all of that green food! After the picnic the kids had a pinata, which of course was a big hit. It was a lot of fun and Avery loved celebrating her favorite color. Next year I am going to try to do something festive for dinner too!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Houston Rodeo

Okay, first of all, sorry this is going to be so long. But there is just so much to tell about the rodeo.

It was AWESOME. Truly. We got there at about 10:30 Monday morning, which I think was the perfect day to go because the crowds were super reasonable. We figured out where to park and saw a tram right by our lot. We went over to board the tram and were greeted with that southern hospitality. Everybody working at the tram, and in the rodeo, is decked out in their western gear complete with cowboy hat. I looked at Al as we boarded the tram and heard the country music blaring and we both had these huge grins on our face. The tram took us right up to the gate of the rodeo and dropped us off at the ticket booth. We got the cheaper tickets, which were only $7 for adults and $4 for Avery. James was free, so not bad! The other tickets were I think $14 and that's for if you stay and watch the actual rodeo that's in Reliant stadium, which we opted not to this year with James being so little and probably not sitting through most of it.

We entered this huge building, which has been completely decked out with banners, artwork, etc. and then went into the main part of the rodeo. The first thing that you see is rows and rows of shopping booths set up. I was amazed at how elaborate everything was. All kinds of western clothing, boots, hats, belts (lots of rhinestones :))household furnishings, kitchen/cooking things, artwork and sculptures, etc. It went on and on, so much so that they had named the 'streets' so you could find where you were on the map. Avery had her heart set on getting a pink cowgirl hat. We passed several hat booths and finally settled on one. The salesman was so cute with Avery and had several pink options for her to try on. She would put one on and then he would say, "Now go look in the mirror and see what you think." They had this full length mirror and every time Avery tried on a hat she would go to the mirror as the man suggested and strike a pose. Then she would take the hat back and try another one. She finally settled on one and Al bought it for her with his birthday money. We got James a tiny little hat too :) After Avery's hat was paid for she put it on, went over to the full length mirror, struck her pose, and said, "Howdy, boys!" It was hilarious. Where did she get that from?!

After more shopping we headed into the livestock area. There were rows and rows of cows there that were going to be shown in competition. You can walk down the aisles right up close to them. The kids were fascinated by this, especially James. We watched a few of them get walked around. Avery was super excited when she spotted one with a gold ring through it's nose.

Then we moved on to the petting zoo, which was adorable. Sheep, a llama, a deer, little piggies, chickens, tons of goats of different colors and sizes, ducks and even a couple of kangaroos...? Anyway, these animals were used to kids and would just sit there while you petted them. James would always get right in their faces, which made me a little nervous, but they didn't seem to mind. He also manhandled a big, fat chicken and lifted it up and was holding it, which was hilarious.

There were tons of other animals displays too, and we took most of it in. We went to the birthing center and saw tiny piglets that had been born earlier that day. Very cute.

Then it was time for lunch. We ventured back outside and went to the food pavilion, which was giant. I would say there were 30+ places to eat in the main eating area, and then tons of other places located all around the fairgrounds. The smells were just heavenly...smoky BBQ, Mexican, funnel cakes... We walked the main eating area twice, trying to take it all in and Al made fun of me and asked if I wanted a third walk through. There were just so many choices!! But we finally settled on a BBQ place that was really yummy. Then we headed out into the fair.

There were tons of rides set up, mostly geared towards little kids. It was much more elaborate than I had imagined and so big that they even had 3 ferris wheels! James didn't meet the height requirements on any of the rides, but I knew it wouldn't work to just let Avery go, so we sneaked him on a few rides where the workers didn't seem to mind...nothing too wild, just flying elephants, airplanes, etc. They had a blast.

We were walking through the fair to explore what else was there when I guy called out to us that the pig races were about to start. So we took the kids in and sat in the stands and in just a few minutes the announcer came out to start the races. It was hilarious. There were several races, and each race had 4 little piggies what would race around the track. I didn't know, but Al said they were racing around the track to get an oreo. I didn't know pigs could run that fast! Anyway, Avery got selected to be one of the helpers. So she stood at one point in the track, to help cheer her pig to victory. Her pig was pig #1 and he ended up winning the race, so Avery won as a prize a piggy bank and a little pig snout/mask thing to wear...which James is terrified of. But that's a different story.

We did more rides after that and Avery got her first taste of cotton candy. She has been dying to try it and it was so fun to watch her and James experience it for the first time. We did a few more rides after that and then headed back to the food alley to try a funnel cake, which Al and I had never had before in our lives. It did not disappoint :) And James LOVED it. We also tried a deep fried oatmeal cream pie, which Al didn't care for, but I thought it was pretty good.

By that time I think we were all exhausted. We decided to call it a day and head back to the tram. On our way out of the park we passed several cowboys coming into the rodeo grounds to get ready for the actual rodeo. Fun!! James was asleep before we even reached the tram, and I think Avery almost was. I said to Al that I hoped he was just planning on doing this for his birthday every year, because it was an absolute blast. He seemed happy with making it a tradition.

The rodeo lasts for a few weeks and a girl in our ward that is from Texas told us it was believed to be the best rodeo in the world. I believe it! There was so much to do and see that we didn't even get to. And every night they have a concert that you can go to as well. And it's big names, like Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Janet Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, etc. They play in the big Reliant stadium after the rodeo show. My friend Leslee went to Keith Urban with her husband and said it was great. Maybe Al and I will have to take in a concert one of these years :)