Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

San Antonio Mini-Break

Right before the boys headed back to school, we finally went to San Antonio for our mini-vacation. We weren't positive until the last minute if we would actually make it, but we decided our well-earned vacation (and a small fortune in non-refundable tickets) was just the break we all needed to get away from the stress of life.

First up, a stop at the Witte Museum.

I grew up close to the Witte, and spent many a time there in my past life. I was waiting for just the right time to take the boys to the Witte, and I am thrilled to report that this was the perfect year. They LOVED it!

Alex, especially, could not get enough of the museum.


He was fascinated with this exhibit on mummies. Ryan was a bit bored by it, and I was more than a bit creeped out by it (I mean, do I need to see thousand year old male body parts, toenails, hair, and various stages of fetuses??). So Ryan and I went through their special exhibit pretty quickly. Alexander and Carl spent a good deal longer, and Alex was so moved by what he had learned that he even filled out a lengthy comment card at the end.

A big hit for the boys was learning about cowboys and vaqueros, and getting to try on their clothes.

They asked lots of questions, answered even more questions, and had a great time guessing at certain questions.


They also have a fun playscape / children's museum of sorts, the HEB Science Treehouse.

We saved this for the end, in case I needed a reward for good behavior.

Turns out we didn't need a reward, the museum itself was reward enough, according to Alex.

Could I love these boys any more?

We spent so long at the Witte that I realized I needed to revise my plans for the day. The missions would have to wait. We checked into our hotel, La Mansion del Rio. I've never stayed here, but walked by lots along the Riverwalk. I picked it because 1) location, 2) the kids club and 3) free internet. The Kids Club consists of little backpacks the kids are given, filled with some activities, patches, a water bottle and a snack.

 After checking in, we headed out to the riverwalk, and to the Alamo.



The boys had never been inside the Alamo before.

It was about as interesting as I remembered, which is to say, not at all. And that's coming from a history major. Seriously. The Alamo needs a big overhaul for sightseeing reasons, and I don't get why they don't have better displays around it. Nor do I understand why the Alamo isn't part of the National Park Service. Whomever is running the Alamo needs to be fired. Now. Because this is embarrassing.

The only interesting fact was that we found some guys out back in period costume and they showed the boys their bayonets.
But these guys are volunteers who are only there for a few hours each month. They need more guys like this. Charge an admission price and add some tours, Alamo folks. *rant over*
Next, Alex simply *had* to go into the horribly cheesy Ripley's Believe it or Not museum across from the Alamo. He has a Ripley book, and he could not believe there was a not a real, genuine Ripley's museum he could enter. Ryan opted to pass on this and go swim in the hotel pool, so that's what he and I did. (I say "and I." I read my kindle and watched Ryan foolishly swim in the heated pool in freezing temps.)

Before too long, we needed dinner, because we had tickets to see the Spurs play the Philadelphia 76ers that night! This was the boys first Spurs game, and their first truly professional sports game. And one of two main reasons for our trip and why we stayed overnight this visit.
We had great seats, and the Spurs played a great game (not that I would expect anything less from the NBA's best team).


We met the cheerleaders and got their autographs (one line Carl didn't mind standing in).

The Spurs played a great game, and Ryan even stayed awake for the entire game. Considering it was starting at 7:30 pm, I figured there was a good chance he would sleep through much of it. He did fall asleep in the taxi on the ride back to the hotel, though (we had taken taxis because removing our car from the hotel lot would have cost us $20, plus parking at the AT&T Center of around $15, and I figured a taxi would be about the same price, faster, and something fun for the boys). Ryan woke up after I carried him up to our room, though, and we found chocolate chip cookies and cold milk in an ice bucket waiting for us in our room.

And Mexican worry dolls.

Loved the Omni!

More of San Antonio to come. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sick Days

Poor Alex has been sick with a fever for three days now. So we are watching lots of 'Mr. Popper's Penguins' and reading up on Greek myths,a  subject I am rapidly learning I have forgotten most of what I learned. So we are forming an Odyssey book club together, and we'll give Homer a crack together.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

me and my ryan

While not the most flattering picture of me ever taken, I just love this one Carl snapped of Ryan and I "watching" a movie together.


He's my little cuddle bug, that's for sure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Penguins. Minecraft. Legos. Hobbits.

I'll never stay current with this blog if I don't speed through the holidays. So here are some of the highlights.

Alex and Ryan's Homemade Ornaments, 2012 - similar to last year's Fingerprint Snowman Ornaments, we made fingerprint Penguin Ornaments this year. I love how they came out! Each boy made their own, so all family members received one green and one red ornament.

 Basketball season started. Go Jaguars and Lakers!

Opening weekend of the Hobbit. Viewed first with Team Danger.

 

Then again with good friends so we can ogle Richard Armitage together.

Driving through Round Rock's Trail of Lights.

Alex asked Santa for just one thing. A penguin. 

Whereas Ryan had a looooong list and needed to make sure he remembered everything.

Austin Duck Adventures tour of Austin.

Its a bus that converts into a boat and takes you out on Lake Austin.


Hayride through the Neighborhood with friends to look at Christmas lights.

We even met up with Santa!

Shepherds at the Christmas Eve service. Its my favorite service of the year, and I make a fool of myself crying every year. While Dad's favorite time was the candlelight midnight service, he also had a special place in his heart for the family service. And I know he is with me watching the boys.

Opening one gift each the night before Christmas, after we get home from church.

Cookies and notes for Santa.

My tree, all decorated. The house is dark and quiet while I wait for Santa to arrive around midnight, and things are nice and clean. That won't last long in the morning.

And since I hadn't previously posted, my Santa tree and the snow village. Room decorated by Mom.


Look what Santa brought!

The Degu Hamsters. God help me.



Minecraft legos for Alex, and mining legos for Ryan.


Pleased with my ability to "wrap" Minecraft for Alex for Christmas - the legos, the "gift card" that purchases the game only available for download, a minecraft t-shirt, and a minecraft creeper scarf. God help us, but we gave him an online account on a server run by a friend that is only for third graders at our school. We were one of the last holdouts and frankly I gave in because I was really, really tired of hearing him ask 4,235 times a week when we would let him get an account.

Ryan loves his very own chess set. He's a full first grader now. :)

Alex loves his Bilbo sword, that glows blue when orcs are near. He especially loves pretending that I am an orc. (how did I get his hobbit love so right, yet his viewing me as an orc so wrong??)

My favorite Christmas present, made by Carl and the boys.


 Carl also made a single post for Alex. :)

My favorite Christmas present I gave Carl, and yes, I totally once again just gave Carl a gift for myself. A hill country winery tour in a chauffeured 1964 Rolls Royce. I can't wait!


Opening Presents with the extended family.


Chris helped us sew on all the boys Scout patches on these new blankets we got them for Christmas. They came out fantastic!

 Requisite Family Photo.

  Trying to get pictures of all four boys with Grandma and Papa. Never easy.

Swanson Family Christmas dinner.

English crackers are always a must.

It just wouldn't feel like Christmas without a crown.


Houston Family Christmas with Bebe, Mom, and Cheryl.

First time Ice Skating, with Mom.

Alex was a pro from the start!



Ryan used the walker for a bit, but then decided he was done, and off he went.

Trying to put on a festive New Years, despite our loved ones' health problems.




Here's hoping that 2013 turns around for us and the fact that we are in the year of 13 won't turn me into a Triskaidekaphobiaist. 

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