Sunday, July 19, 2015

June/July 2015: Last day of school and Houston vacation

Last day of School 2015. The girls and I are just out enjoying our last day with just the four of us before the school kids join us for the summer.
Last day of school 2015...
 Compare it to the first day of the school year, 9 months ago.
 Below I have posted the first day of school pictures and the last day of school picture so we can compare how much they have grown this year.

I did not purposely dress Brynlee in the same shirt. She chose it herself. She also decided towards the end of the year that she no longer wanted to take a backpack and she started taking a purse to school every day instead.

Of all my kids it looks like Alyssa grew the most this year. Not including baby Emma who went from an embryo the size of a grape to a 12 lb baby over the course of the school year.
Kennan and his best friend Carlos
Kennan really enjoyed his teacher, Mr. Todd, this year.
Last day of school party

Kim Paulos is a master when it comes to the Pinewood derby. She has spent hours researching and perfecting the art of making a fast pinewood derby car. Can you believe she made every one of the cars below, as well as a racetrack in the back yard to race them on!
Faith and Alyssa enjoyed their cheetos as they watched the races.
Free Krispy Kreme Donut Day
Neighborhood BBQ
To kick off the summer we had a neighborhood BBQ. Many of our neighbors came and we had a wonderful time eating and getting to know all of them. We are really blessed to have so many great neighbors.
Scout Camp
Kennan loves being a scout and really enjoyed Scout Camp this year. After this full day week-long camp he came home exhausted every day.

We will be starting Brynlee on piano lessons soon. But for now she is so proud that she can  play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" all by herself.
She even composed her own music, which I think is adorable:
Father's Day June 2015
Derrick is the best father for our children. The girls love it when he spends time with them and reads to them. 
The old Pontiac finally hit the dust. So we bought Derrick a new car. The VW dealership was having a killer deal because they had a major hail storm which dented many of their cars. The insurance paid to fix the dings but required them to slash prices because of it. We got this 2014 VW Jetta which as never been owned but has 7,000 miles because the dealership was using it as a loaner car. My neighbor Charlie (Carlos's dad) works for the owner of the dealership so he was able to call and talk to the salesman and help us get a great deal. After working my magic with negotiation we were able to get this NEW Jetta for only $12,000 after trading in our Pontiac. The plan is for Derrick to drive this car until the kids start driving at which time it will become the kids car. A few days later Charlie reported to me that they said I was the toughest negotiator hey had had and that the dealership wasn't making any money on the sale. He also asked if I wanted a job. 

All of a sudden Kennan decided Nike was the coolest brand in the world and he was begging for some Nike basketball shoe (he is playing on a team at the YMCA this season). I looked and looked but couldn't find any for less than $50-$75. I refused to pay that much. Luckily I found these which were just his size at this children's consignment store "Once Upon A Child" for only $10. Score!
"S" is for Summer and Swimming
We have been doing a lot of swimming this summer. We have a wonderful neighborhood pool. It was so fun to have a swim party with all of these friends
I got Derrick's diploma as well as his medical liscense framed for his new office. He is stoked about recently learning that he will be getting a window office at the VA Hospital in the Poly Trauma Center. It's been scary having to go a couple months without income or insurance for our family since his residency ended but we are hoping his new job will be starting soon. In the mean time he has been using this much needed time to study for his board exams which he will take in August. Life will be much better once that hurdle is past. But until then he is devoting every second he has to his studies.
Grandma and Grandpa Allred's Visit
Brett and Maureen scheduled plane tickets to fly in to San Antonio the end of June and help us move. The plan was to help us load the U-haul and then drive us up to Houston, were they would help us get settled then fly back to Utah out of Houston. Well, then our plans changed and we decided not to move there when this job came open at the VA. But they still had plane tickets flying out of Houston. So we decided to make a vacation out of it. We spent a couple days in Galveston and then a couple days in Houston. We purchased the Houston City Pass which gave us admission tickets to 5 attractions for one low price. It was a super busy vacation as we rushed around exploring the sights of Houston. It was so fun and I would definitely recommend the City Pass to anyone.
NASA Space Center
The first attraction we hit up was the NASA Space Center. It was an awesome museum. 
Here we are standing in front of the actual mission control center where they sent a man to the moon. We saw the very microphone from whence the words came: "Houston we have a problem".

While ridding on a trolly to see some exhibits we kept wondering why we go any where with a two-year-old. Probably because every other year for the last 8 years we have had a two year old. Good thing she is so cute because it is a lot of work to keep her alive and not lose her.

They had huge interactive children s areas where the kids had lots of fun and Kennan rocked this game.

After the museum we hit up half price fajita night at Pappasitos. 
A lady came and made balloon animals for the kids.
Then we found this cool slash park across the street from our Hotel. It was raining so our plans to go to the beach were ruined. Luckily this was enough of a substitute for the children.

Apparently you can teach an old dog new is an extremely rare occurrence to catch Brett in shorts and flip flops. Its a good look on him.
Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo is beautifully landscaped with lots of exotic animals to see. The only problem is that it was hot hot hot!!! We are used to the heat, but these Utahans were melting. Luckily they had these smokin' hots to help keep them cool.

Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Amber Martin, we visited this amazing Waterwall which was absolutely beautiful. There was a huge grass area in front of the wall where the boys played catch while the little girls ran around and played. The picture below is blurry because of all the water that was splashing on lens.

Our Hotel: SpringHill Suites by Marriot
I'm not picky, but there are certain things a hotel must have for me and the kids including Free continental breakfast, Free parking, Clean, Great swimming pool, perfect location, and all for under a hundred bucks. This hotel not only hit all of those but also offered free Happy Hour (drinks and food which turned in to dinner for my kids), free succors at the front desk, huge room with two TV's and games to borrow for free. It was a perfect place to rest our heads after a long day of playing. I would definitely stay there again!!!

Houston Museum of Natural Sciences
We were impressed with this Museum it was huge and had many fascinating displays.

They had a huge dinosaur exhibit which featured REAL dinosaur bones

Next Stop: Houston Aquarium

Petting the stingrays
Grandma and Grandpa bought us Cotton Candy, which we sat outside and ate after exploring the museum. It made the perfect day even sweeter.

Emma got her first taste of sugar. But since shes only three months old she only got a couple licks. She was mad when I took it away.

The Houston Children's Museum

It was the 4th of July which meant it was crowded but hey had fun activities going on including a children's parade which the kids participated in.
A lady came up to Grandma Allred and asked her how old her baby is. :)
The 4th of July

We went to watch fireworks on top of the UTSA building parking garage. Its a great place cause you can see the Six Flag fireworks as well as fireworks all over the valley. We thought they started at 9, but as we sat there waiting we learned they wouldn't be starting until 10, and since our early bird children were starting to melt we left before they even started. Yes, we are party-poopers.