Monday, April 27, 2015

| t h e | h u d | f i v e |

Hudson said he wanted a Cowboy birthday party this year. Well, he said that for awhile and then he said he wanted a Super Hero party. I was pretty into the Super Hero idea because Kirsten has a bunch of stuff from Oriental Trading. But then he changed his mind again and said he wanted to stick with the Cowboy idea. We had the idea of yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, green sprinkles, and a little horse or cow on top, and that's what we started with.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So many of our wonderful friends & family came to celebrate with us! Even though the party was in the afternoon, I couldn't shake the idea of having a meal for everyone. (What is wrong with me?) We just ended up with sandwiches & chips (and black bean salsa, thanks to Katie for that recipe!!), but it was good.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Hud just loved having all of his favorite people in one spot.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

THESE BOYS!! They're so hilarious!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
All born within two months of each other. Egads. I hope they're never in the same primary class together.

Matt brought his saddle and uh, roping stuff, for the kids to try. It was so adorable how hard they tried and how good some of them were!! I was seriously impressed.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This little sweetie didn't get a turn ropin', so she just sat there looking sweet.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Finally it was time for the pinata. We've never had one at one of our parties before so I wasn't quite sure how it would work out. First of all, I left the bat at home... THANKS SARAH, for going to get it. Bah. Anyway... we let Hud start it off and then went youngest to oldest, thinking that would give everyone a shot.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

WRONG!!! Abby totally busted that bad boy open. And I think it was on her first try! I didn't even get a picture because I wasn't ready, thinking I'd be able to get one of her on her subsequent tries. Stereotype, much? Sorry, Abstress.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

After all the candy, it was time for cupcakes. The wind wouldn't quit blowing so Hud had a hard time actually getting a chance to blow the candle out, but I hope he wished for something great!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So thankful for my best friends to spend their {precious} Saturday with my Hudson.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I just love this kid. He definitely is the heart of our family. ♥

Image and video hosting by TinyPic



------------------------


Hudson's favorites, at age FIVE!!


Cereal - Honey Nut Cheerios with milk
Vegetable - uhhhhhhhhh... uhhhhhhhhhhhh. Vegetable? Broccoli
Fruit - Apple
Drink - Lemonade
Toy - Cars
TV Show - Wild Kratts
Game - Uno Spin
Book - Elephant & Piggy, I Broke My Trunk
Restaurant - Chick-Fil-A
Holiday - Christmas
Animal - Hippos
Song - I Am a Child of God
Color - Blue
Number - 5

------------------------

Hudson really is one of a kind. He is SO sweet. He's amazingly kind. He WORSHIPS Maddy and will do whatever he can to make her happy. If there's something he knows she's going to want, he'll save it for her in some way. He can't wait until she gets home from school so they can play, and if she ever has to do homework or wants to read, it makes him so sad. If she wants to color, he'll do that. If she wants to play Barbies, he'll do that. He just loves her so much. He's also take on the role of big brother pretty seriously. All day long it's "Brandt, NO!" or "Brandt, don't do that!" But he also reads to him, feeds him snacks, makes sure he doesn't fall off the couch, and doesn't electrocute himself. When Brandt does get into something on Hudson's watch, I'm always so surprised. And then I remember Hudson is a little kid. In some ways, he seems so much older. Terrifying.

He loves church and school. He has tons of friends and from what I hear, the kids fight over who gets to sit by him and play with him. I won't lie, that makes me proud for some odd reason. But I really think it's because he's such a good kid. OR it's his luscious locks. Who knows?

He's getting pickier about food. He doesn't really love any vegetables anymore, except for broccoli. :( If Maddy isn't around, I can get him to eat a lot more, but again, since she is his role model, he wants to emulate everything she does.

He loves to play and has a great imagination. He's doing so well at soccer and plays his little guts out every week. We're putting him in t-ball this summer and I can't wait to see how it goes! Legos are becoming a thing for him, but he and Maddy also love to play with their stuffed animals / La La Loopsies / TMNT / etc. He loves everything! He doesn't play with his cars too much anymore but loves dump trucks and monster trucks. His reading is pretty crazy - he loves Elephant & Piggy books (duh, see above), and is starting to try and sneak Maddy's 'Magic Treehouse' books. He can pretty much read anything but that doesn't mean he should. I'm really trying to keep him in the books that are more age appropriate but it's getting really hard. He also loves MATH!! I have no idea what is up with this kid, but when we're in the car, we do addition & subtraction. (I guess I kinda do homeschooling! WOW!) But he just soaks up everything. He loves learning, something that I wasn't sure he would love a few years ago. He still doesn't love to write or anything, but it's getting better.

He sleeps about 12 hours / night. Naps are long gone, even getting him to lay down on a Saturday is a struggle so we don't even bother anymore. I know he needs more sleep than Maddy but if she's up, he usually is too. One good thing though is that he falls asleep *usually* pretty fast and will normally sleep in if he needs it. It's pretty great.

I really couldn't ask for anything more in a son. I just love him so much and I hope he always stays this sweet!!

Happy FIFTH birthday, Huddy Buddy!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Biggest Little City

Last summer we were supposed to go to California for this reunion for my dad's side of the family. My dad actually bought the plane tickets for us (what a guy!) so when my aunt got sick and had to cancel the whole thing, we exchanged the tickets to go to Reno over spring break.

I was pretty nervous to be flying with Brandt, it's been A LONG time since I've flown with kids, let alone a baby. Actually, the last time I flew somewhere with my kids, I was pregnant with Hudson and Maddy was almost two. She did great on the flight at that time, but still. Kids are anything but predicable. And it turns out... I'm kind of a control freak. Who knew?

We got to the airport and everything went so smoothly. It was nice. We felt like SUCH a circus trying to get through security but the guy behind us was like, "I have five kids, trust me, y'all are doing great." Ha. We just had a little wait at the gate and the kids did okay. Of course during that time, Brandt needed a diaper change, so I had to torture everyone else in the bathroom with that mess. Sorry, strangers!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The flight went well. Maddy and Hudson sat across the aisle from us on the three-seat side and no one ended up next to them, which was amazing. They did get bored (and hungry!) on the flight but weren't too horrid about it. I was bored too, so I tried to be patient. Brandt was fine, but only because Mike and I pulled every trick our of our _______ that we could, but it all turned out okay.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

When we got to Reno, we went to pick out our car --- and we got a VAN! Hahahahaha. It was so funny. But such a good choice. It was that, or some other smaller cars, or a big Dodge truck. So I opted for the van. It had the DVD player and was all fancy. So now I know what I'm missing. And guess what? I'm totally fine with that. ;) We drove it to my dad's, and by this time we were all STARVING, but my dad was meeting us at his house so we raced over as quick as we could. His house is super cute and has a great view from the backyard.

We ate lunch and then just hung out. My dad came home from work and made my favorite meal - some kind of sausage / onion / pepper / pasta deliciousness. Mmmm.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The next day, we got up and went to the outlets and did some shopping. We really just needed to get out - not much sleep the night before and my dad's house is super cute and nice, but pretty small with all of us inside and no toys (really) for the kids to play with. After that, we went to the marina. The kids played at the park for awhile and then we walked down by the water where several duck-goose hybrids wanted to peck our eyes out.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

That night, two of my dad's friends that I've known my entire life came over for dinner. I'm so mad I didn't take any pictures! :/ But we had a good time.

Friday we went to the Silver Legacy to have lunch with my step-mom. She had this whole cute lunch at one of their restaurants set up for us, complete with newly printed coloring sheets (since they don't normally have that). We went and saw Patty's office, which the kids got a huge kick out of... "That's called a typewriter, kids! This is what we used before computers!" ... and we also saw a cute new shop that had just opened filled with more candy and toys and cute baby clothes than I'd ever seen. Adorable. (Yet, PRICEY. Imagine.)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Maddy showing off her new pants from GAP & some Converse kicks so she could be like Hud

We came and hung out at dad's after while we waited for him to get off work. I told Hudson that he should change into shorts because it was warming up pretty good, so he was gone forever and when he came back, HE HAD ON BRANDT'S PANTS.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I died. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. He didn't change out of them though, he didn't want to. Whatever, kid.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Everyone was pretty worn out. Except Hemi, my dad's Golden. He's the best!!

When my dad got home, his girlfriend Mary Jane was with him. She lives in California but came for the weekend. She's really nice and has a cute little dog. Brandt LOVED watching Hemi & Bella out the window

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Saturday morning, Dad got down in the kitchen and made us a signature Stroh breakfast. It has been SO long since I've had one of these. Way too long.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Brandt was a big help. And even though he didn't say anything, I could tell it freaked my dad out to have his dishes on the floor. ;)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

After breakfast we went on a "hike." Now, when my dad said hike, and then we drove past this giant sports complex right up against some mountainous-looking hills, they thought we were going to climb the mountains. So when we just went around on this little walking path, they were pretty disappointed. We still had a good time though.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Then the kids convinced my dad to climb the mountain.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Even though it was relatively cool, we were pretty hot by the time we got to the top. We came home and cooled down with snacks and some time outside.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
(And Maddy did some cleaning.)

That night we did a little St. Patrick's Day celebration with corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. It was my first time having it and it was actually really good!

And I couldn't get enough of the sunsets! Texas has some amazing sunsets... But Nevada does pretty well too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sunday we got up and went to sacrament meeting at the local church building.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I wouldn't have felt so weird except that I was outside way too long the day before, and that combined with the higher elevation - - - my face was FRIED. Complete with racoon eyes. After church, Dad made us corned beef hash (YUM!!!) & Mary Jane had some activities for the kids to do and they loved that. They built a little leprechaun and colored and read books and it turned into a really nice day together.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sunday night we went to Patty's for dinner, and she pulled out all the stops, with grilled chicken, pasta, salad, broccoli, fruit AND ice cream for dessert. It was so fun for the kids to get to play with a lot of the toys I used to play with when I would go visit during the summer, specifically the Barbies. We had a really nice time catching up too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday morning, my dad took Mary Jane to work, so we decided to go to Lake Tahoe for the day. I'm so glad we did!!! It was a lot of fun. Since the van had a DVD player in it, my two biggest complainers were mostly quiet. The down side of that is that they missed out on all the incredible scenery! It's such a beautiful drive over the mountain.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I had packed lunches for us but SURPRISE! It was freezing up there and no place that we could really see to eat and not be cold. We did find this cool little restaurant where we ate overpriced food, but it was good and worth it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Finally on Tuesday, it was time to go home. I was kinda sad about it, but I was also ready to be back in my own space again. My dad was so accomodating, and thankfully Patty had a highchair & pack-n-play for us to use, and that helped SO MUCH, but still. There's nothing quite like being in your own home.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It was such a cluster once we got to the airport. :( We left our booster seats in the van, which Mike had to run forever to get (we weren't that far away when we noticed, but they'd taken the van already to get it cleaned, so he had to run the whole way), then the kids 'couldn't' help us carry anything, so I was struggling to even make it to the gate - I know I must have been hilarious to watch. Once we got checked in, we were on our way to the gate and realized we'd left one of the carry-ons at the check-in counter... AAAAGGGHHHH. Once we got on the flight and realized it was FULL, we just prayed we'd make it back to Texas in one piece.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
I was thrilled that the guy in front of me was enjoying his nice, long snooze. Seriously. Can they cram any more of us into that space?

When we got to DFW, one of our bags was MIA. Of course. So after waiting forever to be told it was in fact missing, we headed home. We stopped and got some dinner because at that point it had been hours since the kids had eaten, and then because of the time difference, none of the kids wanted anything to do with bedtime. Luckily they were good sports about it and we all crashed until 9 AM the next morning.

WHAT A TRIP!!! It was a really good time though, I am SO glad we went!!! Even though traveling with kids is EXHAUSTING, oh my goodness, it really couldn't have gone any better, the kids rocked it and we enjoyed our little "vacation." ;)

---------------

One thing to note is the day before we left for Reno, Maddy started up with her little cough. We did the nebulizer a couple of times, but apparently it wasn't enough. We ended up having my mom overnight the medicine to us on Friday and while it cost a fortune, I'm so glad we did. We could tell a difference immediately. She still coughed alllll niiiiiight looooong, but her waking hours were much better. My poor gal!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Process - step one

While Hudson was losing teeth the old fashioned way, Maddy had to go to the dentist to get 'er done.

We took Maddy to the orthodontist at the beginning of the year and he recommended pulling some teeth in order to start The Process. (Start saving your money, Mike!)

I didn't want to be the one to take Maddy to this appointment. Even though I had a lot of teeth pulled as a child (some baby teeth, some permanent), I was way too scared to take her. The day before, I asked her who she wanted to take her - she said Mike. Whew.

The four teeth were out in about five minutes and Mike said she rocked it. They said there was no restrictions on eating or anything but no straws and no spitting. On the way home, Mike took her for a shake at Braum's, but THEN she said she was hungry so he stopped and got her Arby's. I broke her sandwich into teeny bites and she smothered it in ketchup and did just fine.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

No swelling, no complications, not even a bit of fussing. I'm so proud of her bravery. I just love her so much. And I'm so sorry she got my crazy teeth genes.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Ready for the Tooth Fairy! She brought a five dollar bill - one for each tooth and one for being so brave.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

More of LOVE day

Thank goodness I have friends who like to do fun things with their kids. ;)

Katie brought over a bunch of stuff for the kids to decorate cookies for Valentine's Day & I all I had to do was provide lunch. It was so much fun! I love spending time with these girls - we've been friends for so long and I love that our kids are such good buddies too!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Sweet baby Nora! I just love her & am so glad she's part of our framily. Heh.

---------------------

Hudson got all dolled up for Valentine's Day and had a little party at school. I didn't go up to the school and hang out, I should have! It's just a lot harder when there's a little baby at home to take care of. He didn't seem too broken up about it though, and I'm not sure that any of the other parents went either... He made this CUTE fingerprint magnet, that I'll treasure FOREVER and got a lot of candy. It really is such a wonderful school!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

---------------------

Of course the grandparents had to come over and give the kids some treats, which was adorable. Mike's parents got Maddy a daisy, which she treasured... They also got all the kids a Valentine's and some candy. My mom got each of the kids a super cute bunny - which is a funny story - I was with her when she bought them, I was thinking they'd be a good EASTER gift. But they kids loved them! Well, Brandt wasn't into it so much, but the other two did. :)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"All I want for Easter is my..."

Even though my sweet little guy is ONLY four, he's losing his teeth already!

I should have known they'd come out early, he got his first one before he was 6 months old. They came in fast and furious, too... Yikes. So I imagine they'll go out the same way.

The first tooth has been a little bit loose for a couple months and I have been on him to NOT wiggle it. I'm sure I was wasting my breath, I remember how hard it is to have that little wiggly thing in there and not do anything to it. Well, we were eating at Cracker Barrel in East Texas one night (after being taken hostage by the timeshare people for four hours) and all of a sudden, Hudson looked at me and was sobbing. His mouth was all bloody and I couldn't figure out what happened when all of a sudden I realized he was missing his tooth! We couldn't find it at first but ended up finding it on the chair he was sitting on. *relief* But wow, his mouth just bled and bled. My apologies to whoever had to clear our table that night. :(

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
January 30, 2015 - Cracker Barrel

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
A couple weeks later - "Hey Hud! I forgot to take your picture with your missing tooth!" And I forget how long his hair was - sheesh! He really is pretty!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
And a few weeks after that, in March. "Hey Hud! I forgot to take your picture with your dollar!" He'd finally had a haircut a couple weeks before.

When we got back from our vacation last week, it was REALLY loose. I knew it could come out at any time.

Sure enough, Thursday morning as he was eating his Cheerios...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Another picture, another haircut. (It grows so fast!) Still a pretty kid though! ♥

It was sooooo loose, it didn't even bleed. Crazy.

Overall, he's kinda happy about it. He could care less about what the Tooth Fairy brings, but I think he likes feeling like a big kid.

I'm trying to embrace this, his getting So Big, but it's getting really hard.