Thursday, August 4, 2016
For Carleigh's graduation, we gave her a day to do whatever she wanted. She wanted to float the river, but didn't really care about where we went. So instead of driving to and from Austin in a day, we found a tubing place outside of Ft. Worth. So we spent the night in Argyle after our date night and Harper's Build A Bear. Saturday morning, we got up and went to have breakfast at Waffle House. It's a favorite of ours since we had it driving home from Kansas years ago. And we all love breakfast! It was fun... They had a jukebox going and our server, Enoch, was so sweet and funny. Carleigh was hit on by the restaurant host and we all ate way more food than we needed to. After breakfast, Taylor went home because she decided she didn't want to be outside in the sun and heat all day and we headed to Ft. Worth. We got to Millsap Hillbilly Haven around 10:30, put on sunscreen and got registered. It took about an hour after that for us to get a seat on the bus, and that was a hot, miserable hour in the blazing sun. The bus was overcrowded and seemed like it was going to break down, but we made it upriver. We grabbed our tubes and started floating. We thought it would only take 2-3 hours (online research) but the main guy there said it would take 5-6. So sadly, we didn't have a cooler for waters or food. Not the best decision. We had tons of sunscreen on but had we been on the river any longer and we would all have fried. I ended up with a sunburn on my scalp and knees but not too bad. We talked for a solid 2 hours at first. Politics, college, shopping lists. It was fun. Towards the end we chatted, crowd watched, and relaxed in the sun. We floated a little, paddled a lot, and walked over a few sandbars. It was still really fun though! And most of the people floating around us were playing 90's rock which made for some great music. We saw three alligators that turned out to be logs and two turtles that were a turtle and a log. We got done floating around 5:30, showered at the campsite and then headed home. We stopped and ate Rosa's tacos outside Ft. Worth and we were all seriously hungry! We got to Argyle around 7:30 and we packed up the girls and chatted with my parents before heading home. The girls had a great day. They got to help bake pear cake, take care of the dogs, and play board games (Twister and Fancy Nancy) and Polly Pockets. It was a fun weekend!
For her birthday, Gary, Kristi, Taylor and Carleigh gave Harper a trip to Build A Bear. She didn't really understand it but she knew that she got to "build a bear" and the certificate had a picture of a Frozen Anna bear on it. So she was excited anyway. We went down on Friday afternoon so my family could take her after they got off work. They ate a quick dinner and headed to Grapevine Mills Mall to do it. Cody and I headed to dinner for date night so this is the story we got... She was in complete awe when she walked in. She immediately picked up the horse, but they told her to stop and look at every other animal first to make sure what she wanted. She did but ended up with the horse still. She was so excited to do everything: put the heart in, push the lever to stuff it, send up a wish for it, and officially name and adopt it. They had a big wall of names to look at and she eventually chose Anna (not to be confused with Anna from Frozen). She picked out the Elsa clothes, tshirt, skirt, and panties but not the dress and cape. She thought about shoes but then decided against it because you would need 4 instead of 2. She had the best time and she loves her horse!
Brian and Erica had everyone over for a pool party and it just so happened to be on her birthday. We went over after naps and swam in the pool. All the kids love to swim and had a blast. They have a diving board and the kids were lined up for hours jumping off. We hit a rough moment when I told Harper she could swim in the shallow end without a floaty and Cody said she couldn't, and neither of us knew it. Harper refused to put it on, refused to obey so she got taken "out back" and war broke out. Eventually, like 30 minutes of crying, fussing, and making a fool of herself, she put it on and swam with her friends. Lorna brought Marcus and he was so good all night! Harper pulled Presley underwater in a game of ring around the rosey. Paige followed the big kids and jumped off the diving board one time, and even though she kept getting back up, she never jumped off again. Paige swam with Bella, Erica's middle girl for an hour and I got a break. It was a seriously fun night! We ate dinner, and sang happy birthday and ate cake and rice krispie treats (with fuity pebbles!). We stayed later than we should have but wish we could have lasted longer. The girls were asleep before we made it home but it was a great night!
We celebrated Buddy's birthday at Sandy Point with dinner. We went out early to swim and play in the sand. Harper swam much farther out this time than normal and had a great time. Paige just kind of floated and wandered. We went up and had dinner and chatted with Buddy, Serena, Tom, and Dorothy. The girls had a great time playing in the sand of course and were our entertainment for the night. They especially loved the chocolate cake and couldn't seem to get enough.
My Aunt Pat called the first week of July and said that my Grandpa was doing ok, but not great. We decided to just go ahead and visit that weekend instead of a month later like we had planned. We headed to Kansas at 5pm on Friday night and got in about 12am. It was an ok drive, the girls were a bit whiney but did ok. We ate in the car and played a bit and then they watched a movie. They didn't sleep very well because it was so light out until 9pm. But Cody and I chatted and just enjoyed the drive. When we got to Aunt Pat's, we all stayed in the same room so it would just be simple. Sadly, Paige figured out we were in there and stood in her crib and cried until 2am. And of course, when the sun rose, the girls woke up. 6:30 came quick that morning! We went downstairs and got to visit with Pat and Don. They have a lot of toys from my childhood era and the girls love them. Original little people, bristle blocks, and seasame street. Pat made pancakes for the girls and we all got dressed for the day. Pat, Harper and I headed to Grandpa's first while Cody let Paige nap in the car. He was moved to a new nursing home in May so she showed us his room and how to get around. He is always in his wheelchair now but it is easier for him to get around than his prosthetic leg. He has a small room with a bed and dresser and tv and shares a bathroom with a roommate. He seems to really like it, all his nurses are so nice and take good care of him. We wheeled him to the coffee shop and sat there for a little while and talked. Sadly, he had lost his hearing aids the night before and he couldn't hear anything. It made our first visit very hard! I also realized quickly that his dementia was farther than I expected because he didn't recognize me. He kept talking about his mom, whom I hadn't met. When the girls came in, he was so happy to see them. He loved playing with them and just watching them be kids. After an hour or so, we started talking about the family. We talked about Gary and Kristi coming later that day. We tried to facetime Eric and Kristen but since he couldn't hear, he couldn't really talk to them. It was kind of sad at first. Towards the end of the visit though, we talked about his favorite Harper memory. When she was about 1 1/2 and she used to take all his magazines out of his holder and then he would put them back, and then she would take them all out again. They did this for hours everytime we visited my grandparents when she was little. He loved it! After we talked about this memory, he asked how her (Harper) mom was (me). I looked at him and pointed at myself and said "It's me!" He was so tickled when he finally realized who I was. It made my whole day! We left at lunchtime so he could get a good rest before my dad got there that afternoon. We met Pat at Freddy's for lunch and then went back and put Paige down for a nap. Harper played in the basement with Pat for rest time and made crafts and notes for everyone. It was so cute! And so nice for us to get to rest because we were tired! After naptime, we headed back up to the nursing home. Gary and Kristi had driven to Kansas Saturday morning and were visiting with him. It was a full family affair because Larry, Mary, Pat, and Don all came by for a little while later that afternoon. It was a great afternoon. We were in his room for a little while until it got crowded and then moved to the coffee shop. Larry gave Grandpa his old hearing aids so he was able to hear better. He seemed be in great spirits and was doing well knowing what was going on. The girls ran around the nursing home with Gary and Kristi and we all switched chatting with Grandpa. We all left around dinner time so he could go eat. We had dinner with Pat and Don, did baths, and the girls went to bed early. We watched some tv and talked for awhile about everything and then headed to bed as well. It was a long day!
The next morning, Pat and Don went to church and we slept in just a little. We were tired! We had breakfast and headed back to visit Grandpa. We got to hang out and play with the girls. He was in a good mood and it was fun. Gary and Kristi came about an hour later and we left so they could visit with him before they went home. Before we left, my dad got a video of Grandpa with the girls which melted my heart. Love that they got to meet their great grandparents and spend time with them. We went to Aunt Barb's after that to swim and visit. The girls got to have fun and enjoy the water while we talked for about an hour or two. It was nice! Lunch and naps after that and then we headed back to Grandpa's for one last visit. When I got there, he was just waking up and he was a bit confused. He wasn't feeling well so he stayed in bed and we talked for just a little bit. I asked him to tell me about his new book that is a memoir about Zig Zag Pass, where he was in the Philippines. When the girls came in he was happy to see them, as always! We visited and left in time for dinner. We packed up and took sandwiches from Pat's with us. We left at 6pm and got in at 1am, which was about as late as we could make it. The girls did better this time. They watched a movie and both fell asleep at a decent time. It was a fast trip but so worth it!
Everyone came out to our house for the 4th of July. We love this holiday because it's all about fun and easy food and just hanging out. Plus, fireworks! We love our group of friends because they are always willing to hang out and have a good time. It's easy to hang out with everyone and the kids get along well. I'm not sure what the kids did all night but they went back and forth between the playroom, Harper's room, and outside. The girls like to find an activity to play, like store or family, and then they dress up and get everything possible they might need. They are all crazy and have the best time. The boys played outside some but then they big kids all played a board game for awhile. That's new for me, but nice that the big kids can read and teach the littles how to play. Cody cooked hot dogs for the kids and fajitas for the adults and it was all so good! We ate all night long! As the sun started to go down, we headed outside to do some fireworks. I don't even know who all brought what, but there were a ton. Most of the kids enjoyed doing the sparklers and poppers. The men let the kids help with some big fireworks too and it was so fun to sit and watch. This is what I imagine the best part of life to be - the kids in awe of something to simple and fun. Love this holiday! A few families left to go watch the big show downtown and the rest of us sat outside with the fire and ate smores and watched fireworks out in the country. A few of our neighbors buy enough big ones that it's pretty good. We didn't realize the time, but eventually Piazzas and Helms left around 11pm. It was a great night! Sadly, a lot of the men had to work the next morning!
After Paige woke up on Sunday afternoon, we left my family at Tanglewood and headed to the lake with our friends. We went to the Piazza's cabin first and spent some time swimming. Harper loves to swim and they have a blast out there. They get to climb on and jump off the big water mat and then go back and forth between the sand and the water. It was fun to be out in the water with all the adults too because it's the lake and nothing else matters out there. Just relaxing and chatting and having a good time! After awhile, we headed back to the cabin to get our stuff and food and go to Sandy Point. The Spiegels were having a cookout and had invited everyone to come and eat and swim. Joe took us all over in the golf cart. The adults talked and the kids played in the sand for an hour. It was fun having everyone in the same place including a few other families I hadn't meet yet but that Cody knew from school. My girls love Sandy Point so I didn't even watch them all that much. They just played with their friends, and then Julianne watched Paige - they love each other. Kris cooked burgers and hotdogs and everyone else brought a side and dinner was awesome. After that, we went back down to the water for one more swim. We eventually had to leave because it was almost 9 and the girls were exhausted. I gave them a quick shower and then we headed home.
We didn't get to have a family vacation this year so we decided to just spend the weekend with my parents and sisters. A lot of the lakes are too high and their boat ramps are closed, but Texoma is open and perfect. So my parents got a hotel room at Tanglewood and we spent the weekend hanging out there. We met them out there for lunch on Saturday, which was pretty tasty! Cody stayed in the room while Paige napped. I took Harper to the pool and we swam with Mimi, Pop, Taylor and Carleigh. It was super crowded because it was a holiday weekend, so we didn't really swim a ton. Harper jumped on the bounce house and then we headed back to the room when Paige woke up. We had a snack and changed into clothes to go play pool. The girls rolled balls back and forth with Mimi on the other table and Cody and Carleigh played against Gary and I. It was fun, I haven't played pool in awhile. They won the first game but Pop pulled out a win for game 2. After that we went to dinner at the restaurant upstairs and it was good. Not too crowded so I wasn't worried about the girls being crazy. By the time we got all of this done it was 8 and we decided to stay for the fireworks show. We played on the playground and just hung out until it got dark and then loaded up in the boat (in the parking lot) and watched the fireworks. They said it would start at 8:30, so we thought it would be ok to keep the girls up. It ended up being from 9:15-9:30 and by the time we got them home and in bed it was super late. But it was the first time for them to watch live fireworks and they loved it. Plus Harper loved staying up late. She felt so big!
We headed back out Sunday morning and went back out on the lake. It was cool but still fun! The boat wasn't working all that well so we just drove around and eventually Pop jumped in the lake with Paige and Harper. They swam around and had a good time. Paige wanted in and out of the boat and after the 5th time, we just called it quits. We stopped and ate lunch at a mexican restaurant on the way back to the hotel because we were all hungry! After that, Cody watched Paige while she napped in the room and the rest of us spent the afternoon hanging around the hotel. I swam with Paige while Carleigh and Kristi laid out, Taylor read a book inside and Pop wandered back and forth. It was a nice relaxing afternoon. We had to head back after Paige woke up but it was a super fun weekend to get away and just spend tons of time with my family.