Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mom's Heart

So, I want to interrupt our events with one I want to remember about my mom.

As I mentioned in the last post, she was getting fatigue and having a hard time walking, with her legs stiffening.

Bubba and Granny Visit

Well, it continued to get worse. By late November she was having a hard time doing much of anything besides going to work and coming straight home. By early December she was having a hard time walking across a room without getting winded. So, thankfully, her friends encouraged her to go to the hospital.

After a few tests the doctors decided she needed an orthoscopic surgery to look at her arteries. Sure enough, she had 90% and 95% blockages in her left and right arteries. 2 stents later, she's as good as new.

Her doctor said she may not even have hypertension anymore. And her goals of losing weight and quitting smoking are both much easier to attain now. She went back to the doctor a month later and had already lost 10 pounds without even trying! She reports that her energy level is much better! Hallelujah!

Also, as a side note, I have to mention how thankful I am for the medical system in our country. Yes, you read that right. While we hear a lot about the disadvantages (and there are many, no doubt), the fact that Mom could simply check in to a hospital with no insurance and a low income, and receive life saving care is an incredible blessing.

So, the soonest we could get there, which was nearly a month later, we got to visit with Mom, and the rest of the fam. I'm so thankful we were able to celebrate a bright future, instead of being at her bedside or worse...

Gaspard Christmas

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gatorfest and Women of Faith

About 6 months ago, I got a call from my mom, with a request. She had attended a day of the Women of Faith conference, and loved it. And wanted to go again...with me. I had to take a deep breath and think about it. One quirk of mine is I'm really not into women's conferences. If it's a retreat with the women of my church, I'm all about it. But gathering with multitudes of women for an estrogen-fest? No thanks. Pardon my assessment, I know many women who love those conferences, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just call me a tomboy, I'm not into all the emotions.

Anyways, I gave in and planned to go. What I didn't realize is that the conference was all day Friday and half a day Saturday. I thought surely it'd be all day Saturday, half day Sunday..but, no. So, my sweet husband took the day off work to watch the boys for Friday so we could go. Then, I found out that Charlie's school has it's big yearly bash...you guessed it...on that Friday. Oh, what to do?!

So, Mom and Bubba (my brother Adam) came into town, and off Mom and I went to the conference that Friday morning. Mom was a trooper, she was having a hard time with all the walking, as she had recently been diagnosed with hypertension and was feeling side effects from the meds. But then we got to lunch time and Chuck calls. Poor guy, he said "I am running fever and feel achy and weak. I need you to come home."

So, we returned home, which meant we needed to get the kids out of the house, away from a contagious Daddy, and it all worked out perfectly: We took the kids to the school festival! It's called Gator Fest. It was a blast.

Chandler loved being swung. I remember loving this as a kid, too.
Gatorfest

Chance, too.
Gatorfest

Poor Charlie, he's too tall and heavy, ha!

I put Bubba on camera duty. Then we had a shoot-out.
Gatorfest

The boys loved spending all their tickets on the various booths.
Gatorfest

The kids also bought Silly String with their tickets and I caught 2 of Charlie's friends in action. Check out the boy on the right's eyes...
Gatorfest

Granny and Chandler also enjoyed the silly string.
Gatorfest

Despite the fatigue and aching legs, Granny still managed to play chase with the boys.
Gatorfest

They had a dance party with the HEB Buddy. Note to self- teach the boys the Macarena.
Gatorfest

Chandler got a little tired of dancing...
Gatorfest

Chance found a dandelion.
Gatorfest

Then it was back to the casa.

Charlie and Bubba. Bubba lived with us when Charlie was 10-18 months old, and they still share a special bond from that time, I think.
Bubba and Granny Visit

I still can't believe Bubba is 17. *sigh*
Bubba and Granny Visit

Anyhow, for Saturday, my dear friends the Jacksons and Morelands split taking the boys for the day and Mom and I again got to go to the Women of Faith. One special time was during the lunch break we went down to the Riverwalk and had a great lunch together.

Women of Faith Conf

Mom asked me for an assessment of the conference that we did get to see. I have to admit, it wasn't as emotion evoking as I expected and there was a lot of substance to the teaching. So, as usual, I was a bit humbled. ;)

And my sister Randi also came that weekend, so we returned home to Chuck on the mend from his illness, and Randi and the rest of the family. I was so grateful everything worked out and it was a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Love Creek Orchards Part 2

So, as I mentioned before, we went to Love Creek a second time. This time it was to celebrate our friend Willem's birthday.

Chuck and Zach were roommates in college, and we all were in the same College Group in our youth...Now we're all married and have children, so it's such a treat when we get to meet up again!

Zach and Alisa were so wise to book a birthday party here! The weather was gorgeous, and the kids had so.much.fun. And our guys got to do the things we didn't have time for the first time.

Zach and his sweet fam, Alisa, daughter Aubrey, and birthday boy, Willem.
Willem's Birthday party

Aubrey.
Willem's Birthday party

Alisa and Willem.
Willem's Birthday party

Some of the new things to do: hold baby chicks. They weren't out the last time.
Willem's Birthday party

Willem's Birthday party

This time the boys made sand art.
Willem's Birthday

There was an old swing that the kids LOVED swinging on. Maybe we need to get one of those because it provides hours of entertainment!
Willem's Birthday

We were stationed near the pond, so the kids loved throwing food in the water to see the fish come up...
Willem's Birthday party

And the old favorites, hay jumping...
Willem's Birthday party

...and of course, Chandler got to ride a pony again.
Willem's Birthday party

Thank you, Webb family, for inviting us to Willem's special day! It was special to us, too!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Zoo, again

It seems like we cram all the wonderful outdoor things for the month of October (and maybe some of November). That's the only time of year, except maybe April, when the weather is decent enough to enjoy the outdoors...before the holidays.

We love the zoo! In fact, we love it so much that we purchase the "Contributing" membership each year, which allows us to bring up to 5 guests with us for free each visit. We love being able to bring our friends/family in for free. If you're in San Antonio and want to get your out-of-town family to come visit more, this is a nice incentive. ;)

The other thing I love about the zoo is that it never gets old for the kids. Unlike Sea World and Fiesta, the sights change often. The animals are so entertaining (especially the monkeys).

On this trip, Chuck's sister Melanie and her family, plus their friend Kira and her daughter Kyriel came along. It's always more fun when friends/family come along!

Jason & Kaleb
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

Kalie, checking out the lion statue.
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

Like I said, there's always something new that happens when we go to the zoo. In this case, this snake kept slithering along his glass and getting up into the kids' faces (Ewww!!). This is Jason reaching out to him.

Zoo with the Justs + Winters

*shudders*

Moving along.
Here are our navigators, consulting the map for our next adventure.
{Chance, Chandler, Kaleb}
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

Melanie and Kaylie (just before Chance walked in front...)
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

I am a big fan of the lorikeets. You can purchase nectar, hold it out, and have a lory bird stand on you and drink.
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

This one even let me take a self portrait. Look closely, he's smiling. ;)
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

Speaking of self portraits, this is Kira, about to take one with Chance. Her camera actually had a display on the front of the camera so you didn't have to guess if you were in the frame. Way cool!
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

Afterwards, we headed over to our favorite restaurant with a big indoor playscape: Chacho's and Chalucci's. Love that place. And Kyriel even posed for me there. :)
Zoo with the Justs + Winters

Friday, January 21, 2011

Love Creek Orchards

Every fall, as soon as the heat stops blowing and the weather gets bearable, my anticipation for Love Creek Orchards begins to build. This year we went not once, but twice.

We hadn't been in a few years (see this post), and they had added a lot of new things since then. There was actually more to do than we could fit in one day (well, before naptime, at least).

The kids' favorite is still the hay maze. This was Chandler's first time.

Love Creek Orchards

Chance and Charlie are actually big enough to scale and jump off the hay bales now.
Love Creek Orchards

Love Creek Orchards

This is our friends Will and Lisa's sweet girl, Love Creek Orchards

My favorite is the petting zoo.
Love Creek Orchards

This guy was cracking me up, strutting around like he owned the place.
Love Creek Orchards

I ask them for a group shot, this is what I get.
Love Creek Orchards

Something that was new for us was they set up a tent and had live music, and even instruments for the kids to play along with.
Love Creek Orchards

We could have spent all day under that tent.
Love Creek Orchards

I love watching parents with their firstborns, how they have the time to just delight in them. I also love this age. Can you tell that Emily is just so precious to her parents?

Love Creek Orchards

Love Creek Orchards

We also ran into our friend Julie and her kids, Rebecca and Daniel. Rebecca was in Chance's pre-k class last year, and Daniel was in Chandler's class.

Love Creek Orchards Love Creek Orchards

Then it was on to the main reason for our trip: to have Chandler ride a horse. The boy absolutely loves horses, and this was his first time to ride one. Can't you tell by the look on his face? Priceless!
Love Creek Orchards

Another attraction for the kids is a hollowed out tree. The last time we were there, Charlie and his friends fit inside.
Love Creek Orchards

Now Chandler is Charlie's size, and the top has been cut off.
Love Creek Orchards

Then the boys got to ride the train, being pulled by a tractor. I loved how sweet Charlie was with little Emily.
Love Creek Orchards

We rounded out the day with a little pumpkin art.
Love Creek Orchards

Love Creek Orchards

Love Creek Orchards

And spending allowances on swords.
Love Creek Orchards

And a final pose for Mom.
Love Creek Orchards

We went back a second time, for a birthday party! That alone makes me wish I was born in October!! It was so much fun! If you get a chance next fall, it's worth the drive to little ol' Medina Texas to check out the Love Creek Orchards.