Friday, March 18, 2016

February Misc.

February in Texas definitely does not feel like February in Montana! It's hard to believe this month is still classified as winter. :) Our family enjoyed a few outdoor activities this month. We took one of Jason's Fridays off to visit the Houston Zoo. The weather was just gorgeous! We didn't take a lot of pics, but here we are on the carousel and at the petting zoo...


(This pic is a little blurry, but I loved Cody and Jaden's joyful expressions!)




Early in the month we attended a Valentine's Day playdate at my sister's friend Aliceson's house. My sister and her friends were so gracious to welcome Cody and Jaden and me into their themed playdate group this year. My sister patterned this group just like the one I started back in Montana, so it's been very comforting to jump right into a similar group. We've enjoyed getting to know everyone and have loved all their creative ideas! Here, Jaden and Cody are working hard to hammer nails into a heart shape. (Don't you just love the tongue in Jaden's cheek?!)


Then, the boys wrapped their hearts with red yarn.


Their final products made a beautiful Valentine's display on our fireplace mantel.


In the middle of the month, we were blessed to have two sets of family visit Texas briefly. My mom and dad drove out for a weekend to look at some potential new homes. Unfortunately, the homes they were interested in didn't pan out, but we enjoyed some bonus playtime with Grammy and Papa. We are thrilled that they are planning to live near us soon! Jaden and Cody played Go Fish with Grammy...


...and read lots of stories with both Grammy and Papa.


Papa and Grammy each took a turn reading our post-dinner devotions.


Our other Texas visitors were Uncle Andy and Aunt Beth (Jason's sister and her husband). They took a week-long cruise out of Galveston, so we got to spend a bit of time with them on the bookends of their cruise. When Beth and Andy stayed overnight with us, they happily read bedtime stories to their nephews. What a treat!



Here are a few random pictures that show some of the boys' latest interests:

Art-- Recently, Cody especially has been very interested in coloring pictures. He will often sit and color 8 or more pictures in a row from his coloring book. He's getting to be a quite accomplished 3-year-old color-er. :) Here is one of his recent pics. Not surprisingly, Curious George coloring books are his favorite.


Another recent interest has been painting with water colors.


Rhythm Sticks at the Library-- We try to visit the library for preschool storytime each week. Jaden and Cody's favorite part is the song time with rhythm sticks at the beginning. They love tapping, hammering, and scraping their sticks. Rolling the sticks is still a bit of a challenge. :)


Basketball-- Ever since Daddy announced two varsity girls' basketball games at Concordia Lutheran High School, Cody and Jaden have been completely obsessed with playing basketball at home! The boys will ask us to tape numbers to their back so that they can be the girls from the CLHS lineup (they actually have a good portion of the roster memorized!). Then, Jaden and Cody will run around our toy room upstairs, shooting and dunking into our Little Tikes basketball hoop. They ask to play basketball multiple times each day, sometimes even the instant after waking up! 

One day in February, Daddy had the idea to take Cody and Jaden to Concordia so that they could personally meet a few of their favorite players. The boys brought a couple pictures that they had colored for these girls as well as a blank paper they could use to get autographs. Despite being very excited to meet these beloved players, Jaden and Cody became terribly shy once we were finally in the presence of these basketball greats. :) Jaden refused to pose for a picture, and Cody only agreed if Daddy stood with him. The girls were very understanding and were super sweet-- even asking the boys to come to the gym and practice with them sometime. Mommy and Daddy decided that we're okay with our boys still being shy around girls, especially much older ones! :)


Towards the end of the month, we had a family from our church over for dessert and game time. This family loves playing board games as much as we do, so we had a wonderful time together! Their three kids even played basketball with Jaden and Cody, so our boys warmed up to them immediately. :) Here, the family taught us one of their favorite games--a dice game called LCR. It was a very simple concept, one that Cody and Jaden could even understand.


I love everyone's expressions on this one! I think that Jaden and his partner Madeline had just won against Cody and Emily.


Finally, we got to experience a small taste of Texas this month. The Houston Trail Riders (the cowboys on their way to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) were coming through Tomball, and our community was holding a special reception for them. Before the event, we met for a short rodeo-themed playdate at our house. Aliceson planned this cute cowboy hat craft for all the kiddos.


After the craft, a brief game activity, and reading a few rodeo books, we left for the Trail Riders reception. A free hot dog lunch (which they advertise as a hot dog soiree) was provided.

Ryan, Sammy, Cody, Jaden
The boys got to meet a few characters too.


Not long after we finished lunch, the trail riders started to arrive.


We waved at all the cowboys and cowgirls on their horses and in wagons.



Then, we got to pet a few horses, sit in a stagecoach...


...and even sit atop a horse! 


We enjoyed the free event and the beautiful weather that day as well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Trucks!

February was a month of truck-related activities for us. My sister Kim told us about the annual Touch-a-Truck event, and we were very excited to check it out. Jaden and Cody had never attended an event like this before, and not surprisingly, they had a grand time!

Garbage trucks are probably the boys' current favorite vehicle. Cody and Jaden wave and jump up and down so excitedly for our neighborhood garbage men each week that the garbage men honk for the boys even when they aren't outside yet! Sitting in the garbage truck was the definite first item on the boys' list.


Everything looks much bigger on the garbage truck when you're up close...


Jaden even got a chance to honk the horn on this garbage truck and made some poor child scream in surprise!


The boys needed some help to climb up into this mighty big rig.


Not only did Jaden and Cody get to pretend to drive this police buggy, they got to shake hands with a real policeman and get a free police badge-like sticker.


The paramedic near this ambulance told the boys that they could even try out the gurney. I hope this is the only view I ever get of my boys in an ambulance! 


Some trucks were just plan huge!



We waited in line for quite a while to get inside this fire engine. While waiting, though, the boys received free firemen hats (which of course Mommy had to hold) and a free cookie (which of course Mommy did NOT get to hold!).


The boys were proud that they could climb into this tractor all on their own. The horn was very easy to find and fun to test out as well.



Who can pass up the chance to run on a flatbed? :)


By far, the longest we waited was for a chance to peek inside this Life Flight helicopter. The helicopter made such a fantastic entrance, flying right over our heads and landing in a field nearby, that Jaden and Cody were determined to see it up close. They didn't complain too much while we waited either, thankfully, as we probably stood for nearly 30 minutes.


Jaden and Cody were quite excited to sit inside a helicopter (for their first-ever time).


The morning was a beautiful one to be outside, so we all enjoyed our day thoroughly!


The following weekend, our family attended the Build and Grow workshop at Lowe's. We love going to these! Jaden and Cody still can't quite follow the directions on their own, but they are able to pick out the correct pieces from the directions and hammer in the nails. It's wonderful practice for them in a variety of skills. The boys were just thrilled that the building project was a monster truck.


Daddy and Cody worked together on one vehicle...


...while Mommy and Jaden assembled the other one.


By the end of the project, the act of hammering was getting a bit more challenging. :)


The final project was definitely worth all the effort!


And, yes, Cody purposely picked out his monster truck shirt for the occasion. :)


We stayed around a while at the end to practice driving the trucks... 


...and to get a few more photos of our silly boys.