Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Cousin and Friend

I was so excited when my cousin called this week and we worked out a time for her to come visit! We are a year-and-a-half apart in age and have been friends since childhood. We joke that we are "cousins and friends" because 'cousins' doesn't explain our relationship well enough.

We live in different places and both lead busy lives so we don't always get to talk as much as we'd like. Fortunately, we have the kind of friendship that always feels like we just talked and are continuing an ongoing conversation.

My favorite thing about her is how we laugh when we're together. We're totally silly and laugh continuously when we're together. We have tons of those kind of 'inside jokes' that nobody finds funny but completely crack us up. 

So ... when she came to visit, we made the most of it!  She'd never been on an Army post so we had to show her around.  My hubby was a great guide for us, explaining all the equipment and pointing out all the landmarks along the way.  She toured his battalion motor pool, went to a battalion award ceremony, bought some great 1st CAV gear at the gift shop, and was able to go with us to a 1st CAV social at Legend's pub!  We took her to our favorite local eateries ... Dead Fish Grill on Lake Belton and Ambrosia's Tea Room in Salado (my favorite, no my hubby's) and stayed up late laughing and watching goofy old favorite movies (seriously, The Little Mermaid!?!).

It was so much fun and I can't wait for her to visit again.  We'll get to hang out again soon when I go home to see my family, but it was so very fun to have just some girl time together!
Attending a battalion award ceremony
With a Howitzer on Fort Hood
Rockin' Out on Rock Band!
Making s'mores inside ... too HOT to make a fire outside.
Can anybody hear "Trailorhood" in their head right now?
Even my Leo loves Lori!
Enjoying our in-house s'mores!

Summer Fun with our Cousins

Sweet Niece and Me
Every summer, our family works out an intricate plan to have as many cousins spend individual time with aunts/uncles as possible. Now that the older cousins are into sports and summer camps, it's not always possible to get each cousin to visit alone, but we try!

A special treat for our twin nieces is to spend time alone with their cousins. As identical twins, they spend most of their time together and are often referred to as one: "The twins are here!" So getting to keep each one with us has been a blast!

We had Twin One over the 4th of July.  See my previous blog posts, "Happy Independence Day" and "Fun Niece Visit" to see pics of this adorable niece.  Twin Two was able to visit us this week and we had a blast with her as well.  Some highlights ...
Playing with Leo at the Lake

Fun with Bendaroos!

Fun cousins at the Killeen Water Park
She loved visiting Fort Hood, seeing her uncle at work,
and watching all the men (and ladies!) in their "Army costumes."
Sleepy cousins after a long day of fun

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Pretend Camp-Out

We love camping ... we were initiated as Tiger Cubs in Cub Scouts and have enjoyed it ever since.  We tent-camp and cook our own food and understand all the rules of "Leave No Trace," but in the summer, there is a long list of reasons why camping is just not an option (at least for me!) ... scorching temperatures, hungry mosquitoes, and oppressive humidity top the list.

So when my boys started begging to camp this summer, I got creative.  Like many moms before me, I suggested an indoor camping event.  After a little persuasion, they were on board.  They even talked me into a fire in the outdoor fire pit.  We roasted hot dogs and s'mores then created a wonderful indoor tent out of various blankets and random heavy objects in our dining room. 

It was a fun night that satiated their need to camp ... and kept mama happy, too!

Enjoying some s'mores!
Roasting more marshmallows!
The completed indoor tent

Boys asleep in their tent ... with one boxer stowaway!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Super Yummy Sno Cones

We love Austin and have a new favorite summer stop.  Just outside of Zilker park there is a trailer that sells the most scrumptious sno-cones!
Amazing options include Cream of Wedding Cake and Tiger's Blood!
My traditionalist chose cherry for his sno-cone flavor.
A little more adventurous, my oldest chose Cactus Juice!
Enjoying the shade and cold treat.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Leo the Boxer ... Still Growing!

Our boxer, Leo, is a fabulous dog and we have enjoyed welcoming him into our family.  He had a check-up at the Vet this week ... he is now 60 lbs at 8 months!  Not sure how big he will get, but we're working on training now, just in case.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Marmalade Skies

Hubby and I took the boys to a fun art studio in Austin today called "Marmalade Skies." The boys each selected a project and we spent a hot summer afternoon in a cool studio creating art.

My oldest boy chose to decoupage a flying cow and the youngest created a portrait of boxer Leo in mosaic tile. Here's to creativity!

Selecting tiles for a mosaic project ... creating Leo in art!
Painting the puppy shape before adding tiles.
Starting the delicate decoupage process.

The creation of the flying cow.
Leo ~ The Finished Product!

The Winged Cow!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Division Off-Site

The 1st Cavalry Division hosted an "Off-Site" in San Antonio, Texas, where leaders from the division gathered, taking training classes, participating in team-building activities, and enjoying a time of planning for the future.  It was a very fun time and left us all very motivated!
On a Photo Scavenger Hunt on the Riverwalk!

Coach John Arbaugh, Head Coach of the Baltimore Ravens, talked with us about leadership
... and created a few Raven fans in the process.
The hat is a silly prize for winning the Scavenger Hunt!

Getting to Know the Ladies in our Brigade
Hubby and me hangin' out with Coach Arbaugh (and the rest of the division ...)

1st Cavalry Division Leadership in San Antonio, Texas

Our Brigade Leadership

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quick! Define "Tympanoplasty"

Ugh.  My eldest child had an Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) appointment today and found out that he will need a THIRD tympanoplasty on one ear. 

A tympanoplasty is a surgery where the eardrum has to be manually repaired after a rupture does not repair on its own.  If you are inordinately interested in the surgery itself, you can find more on Wikipedia:

So, my precious firstborn had one of these surgeries at age five and another at age nine and now is scheduling his third. 

There is something about your own child being associated with hospital gowns, anesthesia, and incisions that is just unsettling.

This is our second hospital and third surgeon and I am assured that this surgery will be successful.  In other words, we won't have to plan a fourth surgery.  Here's hoping! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Battalion Golf Tournament

Our battalion hosted a golf tournament as an FRG fundraiser ... and it was a lot of fun! My kids loved seeing their dad on a 'work day' and we even got to ride around in a golf cart for a little while!

The golf course was super about helping out with all the details and our battalion had a fun day while raising funds for our Soldiers and their Families!

A Few Photos from the Day ...

Hubby with the boys
Granddad came to the tournament, too!
Granddad wins the putting contest!
The Team!

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Fun Niece Visit

Some fun highlights of our niece's visit this week ...

Movie Night!
We went for girls' mani/pedis!
A trip to the lake called for a new Dora lifejacket, swim shoes, and matching boogie board!

Their 'deal'?  You fix my hair, I'll fix yours!
Guess who's winning this Wii game?

Plus, see the fun we had at Fort Hood on the 4th of July at "Happy Independence Day!"