Monday, March 28, 2011

Most interesting strawberry shape

And the winner for the most interesting shaped strawberry from our visit to King's Orchard was.... Ryan! With this giant strawberry we decided was shaped a little like a four leaf clover.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Let's go Racing Boys! Houston Motorsports Park

The boys thoroughly enjoyed their trip to Houston Motorsports Park Saturday night. They were all decked out and ready to watch some racing. We found our spots in the stands about 15 minutes before the first heats started. We were just off to the left of the finish line with a great view of the flagger and the finish line.

Even the qualifying heats of 8-10 laps were fun to watch with cars bumper to bumper and going 2-3 wide in turns.

The boys watched the races with rapt attention.

Intermission was a special treat where they lined up all the cars that would be racing tonight and let fans down the track to see the cars and meet the drivers.

Ryan and Connor waited patiently in line for their turn to get out on the track.

Once they were out there Ryan apparently really wanted to sit in one the cars, not just look at them and was telling Kevin so loudly when a driver overheard and pulled them over and proceeded to put Ryan in his cockpit. Ryan wasn’t so sure about it and decided the window was about as far as he wanted to go.

Connor on the other hand happily went right in and enjoyed his look around.

Afterwards the “real” racing started with cars racing about 25 laps. Though there were a few crashes including this one that happened right in front of us, it was surprisingly pretty accident free including the bandaleros (9-12 year olds!!). Yeah… don’t get any ideas boys. That will NOT be you. Ever. No seriously. EVER.

We finally called it quits about 9:30 on the next to last race as Connor was getting a little fidgety. We had to practically run out between races so Ryan didn’t realize there was more to come. Because he really didn’t want to leave.

By the time we got home they were out cold.

Picking Stawberries at Kings Orchard

We had planned to go camping this weekend, but on Wednesday I got an email saying there were bumper crops of ripe juicy red strawberries for the picking. And that sounded like an awful lot of fun... We had never picked our own anything before, but I had heard alot of positive comments about Kings Orchard from friends saying that their kids loved picking fresh fruit in particular out of their gardens. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when we arrived. As we turned into the gates the parking lot was about half full and there were streams of people heading into the main building. Assuming they knew what they were doing we followed along. The helpful and friendly staff spotted us the second we walked in and pointed us to the picking baskets and told us about the process. We grabbed to baskets and headed out the door to the fields. As we neared the Strawberry patch there were rows and rows of Strawberry plants. We headed towards the middle on two rows that were empty of other pickers. Even though the end closest to where everyone starts had obviously been picked over and were mainly baby strawberries left it was easy to spot the ripe red strawberries peeking out around the green foliage. The boys were super excited and wanted to pick them all. Connor smushed his first strawberry and made quite a mess trying to get it off the stem. I showed him how to pull them so they wouldn't be smushed and after a few attempts he had it down pretty well. We made our way down the row picking 1 - 1 1/2 inch strawberries that Connor called "mommy" strawberries and teeny tiny little bite sized ones for the boys. Ryan and Kevin on the next row over were delighting in picking the biggest and most unusual shaped strawberries. Every time Ryan would find one he would yell and tell us to "LOOK at THIS ONE!!" The further down the aisle we got the larger the strawberries became. Luckily Connor and I had been pacing ourselves and had plenty of room in the basket for some of the nice big ones. When we got to the end of our aisles we compared baskets. Kevin and Ryan had picked quite a few more including more than half a dozen of the oddest shaped strawberries I had ever seen making mine and Connor's gig 'em pale in comparison. So we sent Kevin and Ryan on to get our wagon as Connor and I came along a bit slower and picked some more strawberries down another row. We loaded up our wagon and headed back to the weigh station with Kevin adamantly insisting that we had picked way more than them. The boys alternated riding on Kevin's shoulders and merrily pulling the wagon along. They were super proud of their strawberries and couldn't wait to eat some. We took our boxes in and had them weighed. Connor's came in at 1.70 lbs (including the box weight), and Ryan's came in at 1.72. It was amazing just how close we came. With the strawberries paid for we sorted through them and picked out the ones that needed to be eaten now (mostly Kevin and Ryan's smushed ones :)) and the ones that we would take home. Using the outdoor sink we rinsed our berries and headed towards the picnic tables where dozens of other folks were gathered round huge tables (they seated probably about 40 each) and sat down to devour our fresh picked treats along with some nilla wafers and juice. It was as perfect end to a wonderful adventure.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Square Patio Table from Sams

Speaking of eating dinner outside on the patio... After Santa's reindeer crash landed on our patio table shattering it in millions of little pieces we were in need of a new table. Luckily with spring arriving several places were starting to get in their patio furniture.

I hadn't been having much luck in stores, so I started looking online as well. I knew I wanted a large square table instead of the typical rectangle to better fit our small patio, and had hoped to find a bar height table given the dog's interest in anything that doesn't taste like cardboard. Unfortunately those two things are apparently mutually exclusive or cost prohibitive. I did eventually find a square table that I thought I would like at Sams. Unfortunately I couldn't find a store that had it in stock to take a look at. After striking out everywhere else I decided to go ahead and order the table sight unseen. When it arrived it was obvious that there was going to be no way to get the large solid top home short of renting a uhaul. So I picked up the smallest truck they have and picked it up one afternoon. Despite being a 10 ft truck it drove like a tank. And unloading the table top proved to be more difficult that I had anticipated. It was incredibly heavy! It essentially sat where it landed out of the truck until with both my mom and Kevin's help we managed to unpack it and carry it around to the backyard to assemble it.

My mom and I made relatively quick work of both the table and the better part of the chairs before being run inside by darkness while the boys played one afternoon. One evening a few nights after my family had returned home I managed to assemble the remainder of the chairs by myself. We have since enjoyed several dinners out on the patio and hope to enjoy many more over the years to come. Unfortunately I seem to have lost all the pictures I took of the table once it was assembled. So the picture above is as good as it gets. :) I will have to remember to snap some closer up next time we enjoy dinner on the patio.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day Trip to Huntsville State Park

Sunday afternoon out of the blue we decided to drive up to Huntsville State Park. We didn't have a lot of time, but we let the boys play on the playground. And then we wandered around the day use area. There were lots of other folks out enjoying the nice weather at the park, too. There were quite a few people out in canoes and paddle boats. We almost always rent a boat each time we visit. And today was no exception. We decided to brave a paddle boat. Kevin and I have taken one out before, but never with the boys. So after arming everyone with life jackets we headed out on the water. The boys were excited to be in the boat and kept an eye out for wildlife. We saw turtles, ducks, and several different varieties of birds. Every once in a while we could come across a sandbar making it easy to spot large fish in the clear shallow waters as well. Amazingly we managed to paddle around for an entire hour without loosing a single person overboard despite several changes in seating arrangements.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kids Picnic Table

We decided to take the boys for a quick walk around the block before nap time. As we neared the end of our street one of our neighbors flagged us down and asked if the boys would like an old picnic table. Apparently they were doing some spring cleaning and were going to get rid of it. The boys loved it on first sight so with help from the boys we carried it home to find it a spot in the backyard. No sooner did we get back from our walk than the boys wanted to sit at their new table. They christened it with some juice and suckers and were already asking if they could eat dinner on it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Green

We made sure the boys were wearing their green in honor of St. Patrick's Day today. Though their shirts weren't the only green around here. The whole backyard has really brightened up over the last couple of weeks.

We have been spending quite a bit a time outside. We have been soaking up the perfect spring weather while it lasts. It's a shame it can't be like this all year long.

The boys are enjoying their new swing set immensely.

Dressing up Dinner

Just because. We were having left overs. Barbacoa sandwiches. They were yummy. Though we will never have them again. I thought it was just a type of spice or pepper. It's not. Don't google it. You don't want to know. I saw some of the left over picks sitting in a coffee cup and decided to make fruit kbobs to go along with our sandwiches. The boys were not impressed. They just wanted the fruit off the stick. All of it. Now. At least I enjoyed it while it lasted. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

1960 St. Patricks' Day Parade

Driving to work one day I noticed signage indicating various road closures on Sunday March 13th for a parade. I soon found out that the closures were for the annual 1960 St. Patrick's Day Parade. The boys had never been to a parade before so we decided if we had time we would try to make it. Then with all the birthday stuff going on I promptly forgot all about it. However, my mom the boys and I ended up near the head of the parade route planning to eat lunch half an hour before kick-off so we grabbed curbside seats near the starting line and enjoyed some snacks waiting for the parade to start. We didn't have to wait long. Both sides of 1960 were closed for the parade and floats and various vehicles alternated sides. The boys were thrilled to discover that almost everyone that came by tossed beads, candy, and various toys our way. The boys were thrilled each time someone threw something to them. And they got more than their share of treats. :) After 45 minutes or so we decided the boys had accumulated more things than they would ever know what to do with and our stomachs were rumbling so we headed off to lunch passing dozens of floats still queing up to make their appearance. We had so much fun we will definately have to plan to come out, decked out in our green next year!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Birthday Dinner at Joes Crabshack

After the boys' party at Moody Garden we joined my family for dinner at Joe's Crabshack on the Seawall. My mom, Grandmother, and uncles' family all drove down to see the Aquarium and join us for dinner. The boys throughly enjoyed the mozeralla sticks.

Or at least the cheese part of it anyway - they managed to pull all the cheese out leaving the fried skin behind.

All the food was absolutely delicious.

After we were done eating the waiters had Ryan and Connor put on funny hats and hold a tray while chasing each other around the restruant.

Connor was a really good sport about it.

Every 30 minutes or so throughout dinner a disco ball would start strobing and then the waiters and waitresses and various restraunt patrons would dance to variety of music just in front of our table. Connor loved it. He danced right along.

Though I am not quite sure where he learned his dance moves...

Even though he didn't know the steps he danced right along to his own beat. And just before we left even conviced Ryan to join him out on the floor.


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