water babies

Our kids have made some huge strides in their swimming skills in the past month. They took swimming lessons in April/ May (well... TYSON took swim lessons. Hailey fought me and freaked out during most of her 3 lessons that we went to!). I think they really paid off for Tyson. He now swims without his float vest, including jumping off the rocks and sliding down the slide, which are both in the deep end! He can swim from the steps to the basketball goal. He kind of does a combo of underwater swimming and breaststroke.

Here's a pic showing most of the pool so you can kind of see what I'm talking about. We are SO proud of him and he's pretty excited too! I definitely won't trust him completely for awhile so I'm still very close to him when he does it, but he has done great! This is also why we don't have any pics of him doing this "in action" yet.

Hailey has done better with her float/ innertube too! She used to dip her face in the water all the time but now she can maintain her balance without us having to move her around! It's nice because we can all swim together but independently. That's a first since we had kids!

Tyson picked out some Jolly Rancher popsicles at the store and they are GREAT. Here's Hailey eating her first popsicle. She was shrieking and really excited the whole time, it was great.



Hailey had her 2 year well-check on Thursday, and passed with flying colors! The only developmental question I couldn't answer was "can she string noodles or beads on a string?" Ummm... I didn't know I was supposed to try that so I had to say no. Other than that she's above par on her skills. Luckily, we haven't had to take the kids to the doctor very much this year, so it was nice to know how much she weighs!

She weighs 27 lbs (back up in the 50th percentile after being underweight last time)

She's 34.5" tall (75th percentile as she's been since birth). She's supposed to be 5'9" eventually, which is an inch taller than mommy!

Potty training. She is EXTREMELY interested in it, but not ready yet. She asks to sit on the potty at least 3 times a day, and 2 weeks ago she (accidentally) went #2 in it, but so far she's 1 for about 50 attempts, so we aren't getting too excited about it :) This is a different experience than with Tyson, because when he was ready to start, he was serious about it (and at least 2.5 years old) and it didn't take long. We'll see with this one!

She can say almost anything, but still talks plenty of gibberish too. Here's some of the cuter mis-pronunciations she does now:

"pidap" = pizza

"moy" = more

"dop" = stop

"Tysee" = Tyson

She also tells us to "go play" if she wants to do something mischevious. So hilarious. I hope she keeps telling on herself like that for awhile. Here's a short video of another saying she recently picked up :)


birthday girl

We had a small party on Saturday for Hailey's 2nd birthday! We just invited direct family and close friends, and figured we'd start with the "classmate" parties next year. It was a luau themed party, but it actually rained for the first time in months on Saturday, which delayed our decorating until 1 hour before party time... but we rearranged activities to make up for it.

Steve spent all day making brisket and ribs on the smoker, and of course the famous potato explosion, seen above. The kids had hot dogs on the grill. I seriously think this was the best version of all of those items that he's made so far!

Hailey loves cupcakes so we decided to get her a "cupcake cake". It still had buttercream icing like a cake so we had to cut each cupcake out!

Birthday girl eating her cupcake - she loved it so much I couldn't get her to stop and smile for a pic!

Opening presents - Tyson helped too. He was so cute, and kept wanting to bring her more presents.

And here comes the big gift from Mommy and Daddy... thanks for the help with kitchen themed gifts, she definitely has some choices on pots, pans and food to cook!

She (and Tyson) love the play kitchen. We hope it stays a big hit for years to come!

I'm tired of not having pictures of people when we have a party or just even have people over, so I forced myself to take pictures! I think I got everyone in at least one picture!

Howie and Mom
Laura and Amber, the best sisters I never had :) Oh, and that goofball behind them is my brother.

Kyle, Sarah, Mike and Krista

Are we related?
Grandma and Grandpa
After stuffing our faces and opening presents, some of us swam. It was hard to get Hailey away from her presents, but since she loves swimming she finally wanted to make an appearance!

Synchronized jumping, followed by the challenge of shooting a basket while jumping off the rocks, then catching a football before hitting the water.

Jonah, the only other kid at the party! Yikes! He got ALL of the party favors! (Just kidding Amber I wouldn't do that to you)

Us singing to the birthday girl. Thanks to everyone who came!


Hailey is 2!

I can't believe our baby girl is 2 years old today. As with most milestones, in some ways it seems like she's been with us for longer than that, and in other ways it seems like there's no way it's already been 2 years. Here's a picture from the day she was born. She started out as a Daddy's girl right from the beginning.

Here she is close to her 1 year birthday. Such a cutie. Hailey has been an outgoing, opinionated, very type A personality since the day she was born!

Here's some recent pictures of her. In the last few months she has really broken out of her shyness shell. For the first 6 months or so of her life, she would only have Mommy. Then she decided Daddy was OK, but that was about it (other than her day care teachers). She has gradually added more people to her "list", and now I think almost everyone is on it. This has been challenging for Mommy and Daddy so we're glad she's over it!

She loves her brother. And he loves her right back and protects her. Of course they fight like all siblings do, but deep down they really love each other. They ask about the other one if they aren't there. It's great to see their relationship take off.

I know I'm biased, but she has already grown to be a beautiful little girl. Actually, both of our kids are the cutest kids in the world! (Yeah... every parent thinks that I know). Hailey can basically say anything she wants to. There are only a few things we can't understand at this point. She is definitely in tantrum stage, but we know that will pass and it's normal for 2 year olds! She has plenty of sweetheart moments to make us forget about the times she throws a fit. Little girls really tug at your heart strings and she is no exception! We love our baby girl and we're sad that she's officially not a baby anymore. She really is a sweet kid and knows what she wants! We love you Hailey Lane!


kids' vacation

It sounds like the kids had a blast while we were gone! Almost every day they had something exciting going on (I think they only had one day of "hanging out"... I'm sure that was needed by everyone!). We can't express enough how much we appreciate Steve's parents taking care of them, and Aunt Shannon for helping out so much. We heard that all of the family in the Corpus Christi area helped out at some point. Before we left, Grandma told me her goal was to have the kids not want to leave when we came to pick them up.

I think this may be my favorite picture of all time of Hailey. I'm about to order a bunch of prints of it. Thank you Uncle Glenn for taking this!!

This is Caleb, Tyson and Hannah at the aquarium. Tyson obviously loved it because he was really disappointed at the Houston Aquarium restaurant the other day!

Surfing at the beach!

Tyson got to go fishing with Grandpa!

They got to visit the botanical gardens (I can just hear Hailey trying to say butterfly... "bufwy" :)

Playing on the beach with Hannah!
We heard that Hailey wasn't so sure about the waves at first!

These two are from Sunday when we came to pick them up. I should have videotaped our "reunion," but that would have ruined the moment. The looks on their faces were so precious and priceless. Tyson gave us HUGE hugs and Hailey had a more extended reunion. She couldn't stop saying "hi mommy" and she kept changing how she wanted to be held/ sit in our laps. So adorable.

Tyson got a new train set! Which has now been relocated to our dining room. Great choice. Hailey got a new baby doll and some clothes!

Grandma got her wish - Tyson did NOT want to leave and come back home. We could tell they were very happy and well taken care of (not like we thought they wouldn't be!). THANK YOU SO MUCH for keeping them for us, and for spoiling them rotten. We know that's what grandparents are for :)


Jamaica - yeah mon

Steve and I took off on June 25th for Montego Bay, Jamaica to stay at Sandals Royal Caribbean for 8 days! The journey started on the 24th, with Steve driving the kids to Corpus Christi to stay with his parents (with the help of Aunt Shannon and Uncle Shane's families too) and then driving back after they went to bed! We went to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, which is coming up in August! I'm sure this is too many pics but of course I have a ton more that I didn't include. I also haven't messed with the videos or the waterproof camera yet so you may get to see more later (I know you're excited). This is the very summarized version of our trip.

This is after we made it through customs in Montego Bay, and we were waiting at the Sandals lounge for a few minutes to get picked up. We waited 5 minutes, max.

Here's the view from the balcony of our room. We had a great view of the beach and the boat dock... with a huge tree in the middle of it!

Ahhhhh. Nothing like just laying out on the beach. I actually read a whole book (Seabiscuit). I don't remember the last time I read for "fun".

This is the private island that was also part of our resort. We went one day to check it out. The beaches there are also nice, it has beautiful plants and landscaping, but we decided we liked the main resort beach better. Our favorite dinner was over there though - at the Royal Thai. I was expecting to go back and eat a burger at the beach bar, but we LOVED it.

Some of the scenery on the private island. (I have TONS of scenery pics)

View of the main resort when we were coming back from the private island on the boat

There was some kind of entertainment every night. Our favorite night was some kind of Jamaican music/ dance performance. It was basically 4 guys on drums and then 2 girls and 2 guys doing crazy acrobatic dancing to it. Very impressive. This guy was walking around during one of the other nights' performances.

Every night before we went to dinner we took a self-portrait by the window in our room. Here's one of them.

One night we were eating by the beach, and during our 2 hour dinner (yes that's right.. SLOOOOOW) we were entertained by crabs fighting. I actually have 4 pics of this... that's what happens when you have 30 minutes between each course!

On Monday we went to Dunn's River falls. That was all on the waterproof camera so I won't have any of that in this post. It was BEAUTIFUL. It was highly recommended to us by everyone who has visited Jamaica. We are really glad we went. Wednesday we did the Chukka zip line tour. We actually agreed we liked that excursion even better than the falls. I have video that I'll try to post later. There are tons of stories from this trip also that I'll try to post later. Here's Steve coming in on one of the long zip lines.

Climbing up to one of the next zip's

Us with our guides, Gussy and Kim-possible. They were great, very friendly and both had a great sense of humor.

Afterwards, we ate Jamaican "hot pockets." I just had to include this for fellow Jim Gaffigan fans.

Back to the resort... there were peacocks that we periodically saw. Unfortunately this is the least interesting one. I just didn't happen to have the camera when we saw the pretty ones with the huge colorful feathers.

View from the main beach one night before dinner

Steve came to ask me if I was ready to get up, I just liked this pic of his expression :)

The rest are just some scenery pics from the resort. Unfortunately the day I went on my "scenery picture spree" the lens was fogged up - our room was freezing so the camera always had to thaw out when we came outside!

This was the walkway to our building, we were on the second floor. The rooms below us had walk-out balconies to the beach. Honestly I liked ours better because we could chill out on it, hang our clothes etc without people messing with us.

Another self-portrait before going to dinner, this one was on Friday night, our last night.

This is along the entrance to the resort. It really was very beautifully landscaped. Tropical flowers were everywhere.

We definitely had a great time, but we agreed it was a little too long to be away from the kids. We didn't talk to them while we were gone in fear they would get upset (Tyson has gotten upset before when we talked to him when he stayed overnight). We hadn't gone on a "real" vacation in almost 4 years, so it was nice to get away and do whatever we wanted (limited on the resort anyway... we didn't dare go into the city unless we were on a tour). Happy early anniversary Steve!