Meet Patrick.  He showed up on December 6th and reported to Santa each night until Christmas Eve.  Tyson was really interested in him and gave him his name.  Every morning he wanted to check for Patrick and see where he ended up.  One day, a toy knocked him over ~ that was traumatic (you can NOT touch the elf or his magic will go away!).  Daddy talked to Patrick and asked him to tell Santa the toy was sorry, and luckily Patrick came back the next day in a different location again!  Whew!

Thanks Patrick for giving us some extra fun and motivation to be good.  We hope to see you next year!


Santa visit

Some of you may remember our previous Santa visits - they have usually ended up in at least one kid screaming and clawing away from Santa.  Finally, we had a happy Santa visit!  This year we went to Bass Pro and it was by far our favorite set-up.  Plenty to do while waiting in line (creative advertising).

 The first one is me kneeling down with our camera (yes they allow this...) and the second one is the "real" picture.  Yes, I took a picture of a picture, what can you do.  Tyson asked Santa for a watch and Hailey asked for Dora!  We'll see if Santa can deliver that!

Afterwards we checked out the fish tank and they got a close-up of a fish!  Merry Christmas!


roarrring birthday party

Roarrrr!  We had Tyson's 5th birthday party at the zoo again.  We loved it last year so we decided to go for it again.  Just like last year, we got very lucky with the weather.  Sunny and around 65-70 degrees.  Even in Houston, it's a little nerve racking planning an outdoor event in December.

At first, the kids played in the petting zoo and the playgrounds around the pavilion.  We don't have any pics of that because we were in the pavilion greeting people.  Thanks to everyone who helped watch our kiddos during that time!  (Cousin Christine took care of Hailey most of the time!)

When the party came back into the pavilion, everyone chowed down on donuts, kolaches and fruit (ok... so hardly anyone touched the fruit tray!)  Then, the kids colored their tails for "pin the tail on the donkey."

They had fun and it went well - Garritt was the big winner (a friend from Tyson's class) - I just realized I didn't get a pic of all the kids together. Lesson learned for next year.

Tyson made his wish, blew out his candles and we ate cake and opened presents!  Then, on to the merry go round and looking at the animals!

We got this wagon the day before the party.  We've always wanted one but never sprang for it until now.  What a life saver.  Hailey could actually pull her big cousins in it.

Papa provided lots of entertainment by racing them around the zoo (lots of screaming and fun)

Glenn got another great shot of Hailey, and I caught both of the kids in the aquarium tunnel (we hadn't been in this part of the zoo in all of our visits before!)

No trip to the zoo is complete without a train ride at the end!  Hailey was the most well-behaved that she's ever been on the train.  It helped that we hardly had to wait to get on for once!  Tyson loved it as usual.

We had a great time and everything went great.  Happy Birthday Tyson!  We love you!


Thanksgiving '11

This year we spent Thanksgiving with the Torno side of the family.  We got a long break from work and went down Tuesday night, and stayed until Sunday afternoon!  That may be our longest stay down there so far.  Apparently, I only took pictures of the two excursions we went on and not of any of the Thanksgiving activities.  Ahhhh.

On Wednesday we went to the Texas State Aquarium. It was perfect - nice weather and hardly anyone was there.  Everyone else must have been travelling or getting ready for the big meal!

Tyson and Caleb were inseparable as usual!

Hailey also really likes Caleb and Hannah and tries to tag along whenever they let her!


Benjamin got to be a volunteer during the dolphin show, and the dolphin chose his shape!

On Friday Grandpa took us to a fishing spot, where Tyson fished for a few minutes, then we played around in the sand and ran around.  Again the weather was perfect and it was a fun little getaway.

We had a good time and actually got to go on a date while we were there!  That's a rare occasion these days!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Tyson is 5!

Our sweet, loving first-born turned 5 today!  In many ways I am happy for him, because he's been telling people he's 5 for a couple of months now, he's very excited, and it's FUN to spoil him with parties and gifts.  But in other ways of course it's a little sad that our first baby is another year older. Memories came flashing back of his "birth"day.  The difficulty that both he and I had during delivery.  The uncertainty about the first few days in the hospital.  The overwhelming feeling of gratefulness that our baby ended up being just fine and healthy.  The joy of holding him in the NICU and how little sleep we got those first few days - I did NOT want to be in my hospital room without him! [And we do realize that people go through MUCH worse than that!]

Tyson is such a sweet, caring, loving, good boy.  He is all boy.  He still says a few things "incorrectly" - he asks us to "transform" the TV (fast-forward), he still says "movie beefeater" for movie theater, and still says "y" for "l"'s.  He really wants to be nice to his little sister, but she knows how to push his buttons.  He's a great hugger, sharer, and gives sweet kisses on your cheek.  He's still the cutest boy I've ever seen.  There are multiple girls in his class that claim they are going to marry him.

What else can I say that won't make you throw up? :)  We are in love with this kid, so proud of him, and can't wait to see what the future holds for him.  Happy Birthday Tyson Noble.  We love you more than we can say.