Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Summer 2012 Updates

  After a few weeks getting situated in our new surroundings and stocking up the fridge from the mess that was left by the guys, we were finally ready to get out and see what fun things we could do in Houston.


 Naturally the first place we head in any new city is the local zoo. Although Houston is ridiculously hot and humid, having lived in Texas before we knew to get started early and call it a day by noon. It was so fun to load up all the kids and see what the Houston Zoo had to offer.
Houston Zoo trip with friends
The other thing we do constantly in the hot summer heat of Texas is head to the pool daily (or try to go daily). This year was kind of tricky as Adalyn was still so small and couldn't handle to heat for too long, so we ended up hitting the pool either early morning or later in the evening. The kids were very fortunate this year as one of the Summer reps Lauren offered to give the kids swimming lessons each morning for a few weeks. The kids loved it and did great. Jocelyn has a natural talent for swimming and I think given a few more lessons on technique she could be on a swim team. By the end of the summer Ethan was able to swim the length o the pool back and forth without his life vest. Caitlyn has also become more comfortable with putting her face in the water and blowing bubbles.

Swimming at the pool.
This year Pinnacle did a new app on their website that allowed the reps to team up and compete against each other for whatever they wanted (ie. dinner, movie, lunch, tank of gas...). One of those competitions was for tickets to a Houston Astros Game, and Dave won. We decided it would be really fun for our older kids but that Caitlyn and Preston would get bored, so they stayed behind with a baby sitter. It was so exciting to see how thrilled the kids were to see professional baseball players on a real field. Towards the end of the game the excitement had worn off and they started to get stir crazy. We topped off the evening with grabbing a few souvenirs and headed home.

Houston Astros Game
Our next stop in the list of fun things to do this summer in Houston was hit the beach. Only an hour or so drive and we were in Galveston where they have tons of family friendly beaches. Other than tons and tons of sand everywhere we had a blast playing in the warm water of the Gulf.

Galveston Beach
One of my favorite parts of traveling out with Dave for the summer is that we are never out there without great friends close by. The kids build great friendships and I do too!! Have to admit I miss the Mom's mornings out during the school year.

Having fun with friends.
Now with 5 kids it's hard to go do something everyday so there are plenty of days where we just hang out and have fun in our apartment.

Love having siblings.

Being silly around the apartment.


We started off the month of Celebrations with Independence day. After Dave got off the doors for the day we went down to the pool and chatted with friends. As it started to get darker we got creative and put the babies in the back of the Suburban and lit off fireworks in the parking lot. Other than being eaten alive by mosquitoes, we had a blast. Dave and I taught the older kids firework safety and then Dave had them each light some.

Happy Independence Day!!
The next celebration was on July 11th .... Preston turned 2 years old. We kept it a small family celebration. We started the morning off with some birthday pancakes and then a little lunchtime brownie cake. We did the big presents and cake the following Sunday when Dave was home so that we could all celebrate as a complete family. Preston had a great 2nd birthday and received some very fun toys to keep him busy in the apartment. Preston is a hilarious little boy, he is very sweet but at the same time all boy. His smile is infectious and can make your heart melt with a single hug. I am so lucky to be his mom and so glad he joined our crazy little family.

Happy 2nd Birthday Preston!!
Then it was time for Miss Jocelyn to have some birthday fun. Seeing how she was turning the big 8 we decided to splurge a little bit and ordered her a fancy custom birthday cake from a local bakery. She had decided that she wanted a Monster High birthday, so that's what we did. We started off the morning by giving her a very special present, her very own Bible/Book of Mormon set with her name engraved on it in a special scripture case my best friend Brandy made. Then we took the family out to IHOP to celebrate before Dave had to leave for work. That following weekend she invited her two best buddies Lily and Ali over for her sleepover birthday party. They played monster dancing, silly face making, Simon says, and freeze dance. Followed by the usual cake, ice cream, and presents.

Happy 8th Birthday Jocelyn!!
part 1
The next morning we took all the big kids to go see the new movie Brave in the local theater. They each had their own popcorn and goodies and enjoyed the fun movie. It was definitely a memorable birthday for this amazing young lady. Jocelyn is an amazing kid, she is so caring and nurturing of everyone around her. She is smart, fun and always willing to try new thing. She is an amazing friend and an amazing daughter. I feel so blessed she chose us to be her parents.

Happy 8th Birthday Jocelyn!
part 2
As part of the celebrations we were having this month my mom decided to fly in for the week and help us make it an even more exciting time. In between the parties and pool days we took a day trip to the beach so meme could enjoy the Texas sun and surf. We went to a different beach this time and were fortunate enough to have the beach pretty much to ourselves. It was so fun!! On our way home we ran through some crazy weather and I saw my very first funnel cloud. It began to develop right above us as we sat in traffic on the highway headed home. It was a little unnerving at first but when we realized it wasn't going to do much than tease us we enjoyed the view.

Meme came to visit so we had some fun in the sun.
Monsoon season nap time
Towards the end of July we hit Monsoon season in Houston. That pretty much guaranteed huge rain storms every afternoon, which resulted in a lot of cuddles and naps. Being stuck in the house also makes for some pretty entertaining kids when they get creative with the limited toys we brought with us.

Being silly around the apartment part 2.
After several weeks in Houston, we packed up and headed further south to McAllen, Texas. This was an interesting experience for us because we went from an apartment to a hotel room. The first hotel we went to was great but we discovered quickly it wasn't going to work for our family as we could not fit enough beds in the room and it only had a mini fridge that could not fit a gallon of milk. Fortunately for us we work for some great guys and they found a larger hotel up the street that would accommodate us and our kitchen needs. I am not going to lie and say it was perfect, because cooking dinner on a two burner stove and having a half size dishwasher was an adjustment. However, daily maid service was pretty awesome and the hotel did BBQ dinners 3 times a week for free.

Move down to McAllen Texas.... Boy, is it Hot!!


The beginning of August was a bit crazy because we had just moved and we were trying to figure out when the best time to pack up for home would be in relation to Dave's work and the kids school starting. However, we did find time to play at the pool and have friends over.

Hotel living is a bit of an adjustment.

Having fun in small spaces.
It is always a bitter sweet moment when we pack up to head home, we are sad because we are going to be without Dave for awhile again and sad to be further away from friend; but we are happy to be home and happy to go back to normal life. Our road trip home from McAllen was a huge adventure as not only did we plan an extra stop in St. George to visit family and say goodbye to Payden before he left on his mission, but I came down with the flu and was horribly sick the last two days of driving and then for two weeks at home.

Road Trip back HOME
I had originally scheduled to have family pictures done a couple days after we got home and before Dave flew back to Texas, but being sick made me second guess it. However, I sucked it up, took some meds, put a smile on my face and made it happen. My amazing friend Mikki Vierig of Mary Kay Photography captured some amazing pictures of our little family.
Family Picture 2012

Family Pictures 2012
The next day it was time for the kids to start school. Dave gave them a father's blessing the night before and then saw them off the next morning before heading back to Texas. They love their new classes, new teachers and are excited for the new school year.

Back to School.
As a surprise, that weekend Grandpa and Grandma Battson came into town to visit after dropping Chance off at College. We had so much fun having them in town. We were even lucky enough to go swimming over at their hotel. Grandpa Battson is always so fun when it comes to playing at the pool.

Grandpa and Grandma Battson came to visit.