Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fritz the Great Dane

In June, Matson and I had the opportunity to dog sit the cutest great dane named Fritz. He's a grand champion competition dog. He reminds me more of a small horse than a dog. His bed is the size of a full mattress. His dog bowl is the size of a large mixing bowl. One lick of water out of his water bowl is how much water I can drink with one whole meal. He is the biggest dog I have ever interacted with, but he is also the sweetest and best trained.

Matson attracts dogs like crazy. All dogs love him. He is just a dog magnet. I, on the other hand, spent half my life scared out of my brains of dogs. As a high school student, I even hated going to my boyfriend's house because he had a dog. But, guess who Fritz loved the most? Yes, me. He followed me around everywhere.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Nephew's Mickey Birthday Party

My nephew turned one back in June and his mommy threw the cutest Mickey party for him. My little nephew loooooves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and anytime the theme song comes on he starts dancing and smiles from ear to ear. He could be in the middle of the loudest, saddest cry of his life but if that song is on he will calm down to listen to his favorite tune! So, this Mickey party fit him well. Everything was Mickey-ed out or at least were the Mickey colors of red, yellow, black, and white. Even I matched his party with my Mickey tee (from Target's Men Section).

Here are some of the emotions a little one year old goes through at his 1st birthday. These three photos were just too cute to not post!

We love this little boy so much and were soooo happy to be there for his 1st birthday! We look at him as our little baby before our own babies! Seriously. 

All photos via Teagan Alex Photography. She can photograph your family, parties, or anything you need!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

San Antonio Adventures - Visit from Friends

We were so excited when the M* family told us they could come visit us from Fort Worth while we were in San Antonio! They are some of our dearest friends and we have missed having them close to us this last year. DANG medical school!

As I mentioned in my previous Gruene post, we met them there one night for dinner. After dinner, they followed us back to San Antonio and the family we were watching was so nice enough to let them come and stay in their guest room. It was so nice to catch up and chit chat with them all night.

That first morning their son, C*, and the little girls we were watching all woke up really early. Matson is not much of a morning person so I was usually the one to help the kids at the crack of dawn so that just gave H* and I more time to chit chat since she was up with her little boy. The girls loved C* and wanted to just play with him like a toy. Cohen was a bit shy at first but surprisingly warmed up quickly and cuddled with the girls while they watched a movie. H* was also so sweet to volunteer herself as the hair salon customer for the girls!

C* with the ladies!

More snuggle time!
The weather that morning was a down pour! It was crazy rain and so we decided to make my favorite waffles for breakfast for everyone. But by noon, the rain had stopped and we decided to head to Sea World. We enjoyed Sea World and then headed to Big Lou's for dinner. The BIGGEST pizza I have ever seen in my life. Besides a few hangry (hungry+angry) children, I think Matson was in heaven.

The kiddos sat in the splash zone at the whale show...SOAKED!

Big Lou's Pizza. Not our pizza, but there are even bigger pizzas than this!
Before saying goodbye to our friends on Sunday night we had a S'mores party where C* and the kids ate their treats, danced to some "oldies but goodies" music, and played night games! We were so grateful they could come down and play with us!

I know I told H* I would post this...
but it was the only one of us I got!

Monday, August 26, 2013

San Antonio Adventures - Gruene, Texas

Another little town we loved and adored while in San Antonio was Gruene. We actually went there twice and both times we ate at Gristmill. That probably tells you how much we enjoyed this cute town! The most picturesque town with the cutest little general store, vintage signs, and brick original buildings. As I walked around this town, I could just picture the most beautiful wedding here or bridal pictures. If I lived in Texas this would be the spot!

Our first visit was on the way back from the San Marcos Outlets (which is only about 15 minutes away from Gruene). Since we had to be back for the kiddos we were watching, we didn't have too much time to eat. We were a little worried we would be late.

BUT at Gristmill, which is the 2nd largest restaurant in Texas and seats over 1,000 people, we told our waiter and I seriously have never been served so well and so fast at a sit down restaurant in my life. He asked us what we wanted and literally in 3 minutes he was back with our appetizer. Matson had to try the onion rings, which were huge and yummy. Then a couple minutes after that before we were even done with the onion rings he was back with our main courses. I ordered a chicken salad and Matson ordered ribs. He said his ribs were probably the best he has ever had. My chicken salad was huge! We got done eating there in literally 30 minutes! Our day trip there was so quick that I knew we had to come back.

Our next visit was with some of our friends from Fort Worth that met us there. Gruene was so fun at night! This old town was modern and hopping with tons of people on a weekend night! The small town streets were packed with cars. Right next door to Gristmill is Gruene Hall which had your typical Texas country band music blasting from it. There was a hoe down going on. Matson and I looked at each other and said that were were definitely in Texas! Even though I didn't say it aloud because Matson makes fun of me for comparing my everyday life to the life of movie characters, I was thinking of myself as Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama. Not the whole wedding drama and stuff but the small town and fun dancing part.

Gristmill was just as good the second time around as it was the first and on this weekend night it was much closer to hitting that 1,000 customer capacity than it was the other day when we were there for lunch.

Gruene is that perfect rustic town with the whimsical flowers, lush greens, and that old Texas charm. I'd highly recommend a little visit if you are nearby and dine at Gristmill where you can either sit inside and enjoy the historic old wooden buildings or outside on decks that overlook the Guadalupe River. Don't forget if you are there on the weekend there will most likely be a wait for a table, but you could always go next door and enjoy a drink and music at Gruene Hall!

Friday, August 23, 2013

San Antonio Adventures - Fredricksburg, Texas

One day we ventured out of San Antonio and drove about an hour or so to a little vintage-y (is that even a word? Wellp...too bad I am using it) town named Fredricksburg. It was the cutest little town with so many antique shops, bakeries, and a little vintage-y candy store, which I definitely checked out! They had all the classic, old candies and my favorite taffy in the world! We walked around the shops and grabbed some baked goods while doing so.

Matson trying to act as a native Texan by the candy store's M&M
For lunch we stopped at this little cafe that may have looked not the nicest. I mean we ate on plastic picnic tables, but man was that food so good! Mahaley's Cafe gets 5 stars from us for a middle of nowhere cafe. Matson is still dreaming about that Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich - for my manly eater, it definitely filled him up and he enjoyed every last bite of cheese, grilled onions, and bell peppers! I just got the Turkey Club...I am probably the boringest eater you will ever meet - once again I am making up words, "boringest" - but both sandwiches were fresh and good!

Our visit to Fredricksburg also included visiting Enchanted Rock, which is a a state park that is a huge rock sticking out of the earth. Literally that is all it is. A huge rock sticking out of the earth that a lot of people go and visit. Before going there I looked up "Enchanted Rock" and read from various people online that it was "a big hike" Matson and I were expecting a big hike. We had on our active wear all ready for what was to come. We had fun hiking it, but it was not that big of a hike and did not take us long to get to the top. Lies on the internet, LIES!

Lesson Learned: Never ask an old lady that does not
know how that an iPhone is touch screen take your picture.
Matson enjoyed the views and we stayed up there for a while. Notice how I did not say that I enjoyed the views. I did enjoy it...for about 1 minute. I consider myself a hiker and really do like hiking. Yet, for some reason I like to take all the effort, sweat, and time to hike something but then as soon as we get there I seriously would just like to hike back down right away. Matson on the other hand is this nature obsessed man that likes to "take in" the views and nature for at least a good, quiet half hour. This usually leads me to feeling really bad about not being appreciative of the world around me and for about 5 SECONDS and only 5 seconds I wish I was a nature lover. The other minutes are full of me just sitting and waiting for my nature man to finish.

This is how I enjoyed the view. 
This is how Matson enjoyed the view. Walking around and taking pictures for the longest time!
Notice me sitting down - bored.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

San Antonio Adventures - Restaurants

My last post I wrote was about when we watched this fun family while their parents and my parents traveled together. While we watched them they were in school so Matson and I took some of the days to explore around San Antonio! We tried a lot of yummy restaurants while we were there. But two of those places still stand out to me not just because of their food but also their ambience and service.

// The Bird Bakery
Cutest, quaint location and decor. The food, lemonade, and desserts were delicious too. I ordered the Nostalgic Grilled Cheese. YUM! Matson loved his sandwich but was still a little hungry afterward. So we would say this is perfect for a ladies lunch date! Also, if you check in on Foursquare you get a free mini cupcake.

// Dough Pizzeria Napoletana
Since I have been to Italy and tasted many pizzas there, this reminded me of being in Italy! We even sat outside on the patio just like in Italy! The pizza was not completely authentic Neapolitan pizza, but it was close! Matson and I both ordered and shared the Richard's Caprese appetizer. The best mozzarella ever! Both of our pizzas were served super hot and were delicious. My only complaint is that it was a little spendy for two single sized pizzas, but I would definitely go back!

Monday, July 15, 2013

May 2013 - Texas Time

"I like you more than Matson."
"When does my mom get back?"
"I love when you swim with us!"
"Matson, you can put your arm back around me."
"Tuck me in and do the tornado!"
"I want Maaatson to sit by me."
"Erica, will you read us just one more book?"
"Can I have my iPad?"
"You're so mean! (cue the stomping down the hallway)"
"Jump us on the tramp!"
"I have a question. I have a question. I have question!"
Then we all say what and she clearly does not have a question but rather a long comment.

Those are just some of the hilarious, sweet, and sometimes not so sweet (but still funny to us) things these fun kiddos said to us while we were there. We went to San Antonio, Texas for 20 days in May and we had a blast! We went to watch some of our family friend's kids while they went to Europe with my parents. We seriously had so much fun with the kids and miss them! As soon as their mom and dad left the partying started! They have an awesome backyard where we swam almost everyday and played a variety of pool games. We also jumped on the trampoline A LOT and I taught the kids some of my favorite "night games".

iPad time happened on the early weekend mornings.
I also got these little girls into Mary Kate and Ashley adventure movies!

Green Monster ride at their grandparent's house.
We loved spending time with these kiddos. They are always up for something fun and they went along with all my shenanigans. Homemade treats, scavenger hunt, Disney charades, and hours spent playing sardines. Even doing the everyday things the kids do like family scripture reading and homework was fun for Matson and I to see.

My scavenger hunt partner and our list!
Once again, Matson and I did our own little reward system that worked like a charm. We did "stars". They got rewards depending on how many stars they got to. They could lose and get stars at anytime and they were handed out and taken away for all types of things. My favorite and only rule about the stars was that they could not remove or add any to their own or anyone else's. If they did, they would go back all the way to zero stars. And yes, even with this rule it still happened. I will be honest that the stars worked better with the three youngest, but it still motivated the older kids.
I thought it was funny that the middle children were always
farther ahead than the youngest and oldest. (Go middle children! I was one too.)
If they got to 5 stars by a certain day they got to be apart of our movie and sleep over night. If they got to 10 stars by our last day they got a reward that they could choose. They all chose out something at Target, except the oldest because he chose a different reward.

Ignore the fact that they are dressed in their PJ's,
but this was when they got to choose out their rewards.
We went to Six Flags, Sea World, and Schlitterbahn with the kids. We loved all the parks. Schlitterbahn though was awesome, Matson and I were surprised at how much fun we even had. The kids had a blast too and of course we made everyone go on everything, which meant that the youngest was crying and throwing tantrums in every line. We put on a little entertainment show for everyone standing around us in line. It went a little something like this...

B*: I don't wanna go on this!

Matson: You can sit right by me, B* and you will be safe.

B*: a little louder I don't wanna go!

Matson: You will be perfectly fine and you know how to swim! This one even goes slower than the last one.

B*: Cue the fake tears I am not going! She falls on Matson and her tube. 

Crowd: Staring.

B*: You can't make me go. dklka#TEARS]fjld;WHIMPERING+ldkaf;kds

Me: Look, B*, there is a baby going down it in her own tube. She is only 2 or 3!

B*'s Older Sister: She's gone on this before.

Me: Matson, just ignore her she has gone on this before and can do it. It's just like a lazy river.

B*: alkd;afjd; I AM NOT GOING aldkhf;ajkjwnnj;f

Matson (to the crowd): She has gone on this before. We just have a little actress on our hands.

Crowd: Instead of judging they are all now laughing as they watch our highly entertaining show.

---------------We go on ride-----------------

B*: That was so fun! Let's go again!

This probably happened 17 times. No joke. And you know what? Even if this crowns me the worst babysitter in the world, I was laughing the whole time. She was like this on any ride we went on and she seriously liked almost every ride we went on the whole 20 days we were there except one roller coaster at Six Flags.

Notice all the kids on the right side.
C* loving it and behind him, his sister is hiding already!

And when it is all said and done, we love these kiddos and miss them. Not only did Matson and I have a ton of fun touring and playing in San Antonio, but also our parenting skills improved big time. We learned the importance of being the good examples, having a lot of family time, disciplining, and how important it is to sit and listen to the kids and what they have to say.