Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Voting Day

If you don't live in Texas, you probably had no idea that our primary elections were held today.  If you do live in Texas and didn't know that, please tell me where you live so I can move there to get away from the robo-calls, wasteful postal flyers and millions (not kidding!) of campaign signs that make our roadways look like they're covered in huge pieces of confetti.

When Ryan got home from work this afternoon, we loaded the kids up in the van to go vote.  Evan was only half paying attention when I told them where we were going.  His eyes lit up and he exclaimed, "We're going to get a boat?!?"  I wish, kid, I wish.

Despite the huge "I just got off work and I am grumpy" crowd, we managed to get in the building and  the kids did a great job of sticking close to us.  The boys accompanied Ryan to his voting booth and Sydney accompanied me to mine.  She's watched me vote before and understands the importance of it (hurray for the Voting badge for Girl Scouts!), and was convinced that I was going to let her turn the dials and push the buttons on the machine.

I informed her that she couldn't push the buttons until she was old enough to vote herself.  The election clerk overheard me and turned around to smile at us.  And then it dawned on me:  at the age of nine, Sydney is halfway to voting age.  Scary!

Anyway, all three kids got "I Voted" stickers and as crowded as it was, I'm glad we took them - modeling positive behavior and all that good stuff.

I just hope they weren't listening too closely when a woman promoting a candidate that I absolutely loathe approached us to encourage us to vote for said candidate.  My response to the woman was not exactly a model behavior.  ;)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What We've Been Up To

We have been so busy the last few weeks that I literally have not had time to sit down for more than a few minutes at a time.  We hosted Sydney's party, we had a crawfish boil the next week and then we hosted Evan's party (pictures coming soon!) the day after that.  All of the parties were successes, but the amount of prep time for them took up most of my free time.

We've also been redoing our backyard.  Ryan pulled up our deck and we installed this:


Before it looked like this,  however, we had to dismantle it in someone else's backyard and haul it to ours. We laid down nearly two pallets of grass, replaced several rotten boards and then I spent countless hours cleaning the play set and re-staining it.  Considering it's almost ten years old, I'd say it looks pretty good now.  Not too bad for a free play set, either!  (The previous owners were putting in a pool and said we could have it for free - all we had to do was get it out of their backyard.)

The deck was moved closer to our back door and while I don't have any pictures of it, I can tell you that it, too, looks pretty darn good for used wood.  We re-used the boards from the old deck and I sanded, cleaned and stained them, too.  We feel like Dave Ramsey would be proud of all of our home improvements - we only bought a few things to put a whole new back yard together!

The next project is my garden. Who knows when that will get done, though.....

In addition to all of this, we said goodbye to our tenant and started a search for another one.  We received lots of calls and we found our new tenant through my old play group in The Big City.  The new tenant would like to move in June 1st, so now that all of our parties and back yard renovations are over, we are now focused on getting the rental house repaired and cleaning up the yard.  There's nothing like spending countless hours cleaning and repairing a house and yard that you don't even get to live in!

We have managed to have some fun, though, throughout all of this chaos.  Ryan took the boys camping one weekend:



And we snuck in a trip to our neighbor's bay house and took a ride on their boat:




And found some time to relax:

(This is one of my favorite pictures of them - ever.)

Hopefully, our lives will get back to normal and I can start blogging regularly again.  I kind of miss it!

Flower Pot Party....

....or as Ryan called it - a Pot Party.  (I didn't think that was an appropriate title for a nine year old's party, though.)

For Sydney's birthday party, we had my painting teacher friend come over to teach Sydney and her friends how to paint flower pots.  The girls had a blast!


Sydney's finished product:


I had fun making the cake(s), too.  Ryan said I was channeling my inner Martha Stewart:



(It's chocolate cake baked into a flower pot with chocolate icing and crushed Oreos on top - yum!)

I paid attention to what my friend taught the girls and used the leftover cake pots to create end-of-year gifts for the boys' teachers.  Instead of filling with them with cake, though, I transplanted some of the mint from our herb garden into them.