Thursday, March 30, 2017

One And A Half!

Just like that and Ben is halfway to two. Say it ain't so!

Look at all that hair! Our little baldy is finally getting some fringe and needs a quick brushing each night after his bath. We actually uttered the words "hair cut" in reference to him this week, though it will probably still be a few months until he really needs it because so far it's all growing in pretty evenly. He got two new teeth (upper canines) this month, so he's now just missing the bottom canines to have a full mouthful minus the two year molars.

He LOVES animals. Books about animals, animal noises, and of course actual animals. He points out every cat, bird, dog and squirrel he sees on our nightly walks and makes all of their noises. Hanging out with Ben is basically a cacophony of onomatopoeia. He says a lot of words but knows exponentially more than he can even say. We look through books and I ask him to point to things as I label them and it's hard to stump him.

As precious as he is, this boy is testing his limits. Climbing on furniture, throwing food, hitting, biting, we are dealing with it all. He doesn't hit or bite when he's upset or angry...we will be playing and laughing and he will hit or bite just to see what kind of reaction he will get. Yep, we are officially entering the toddler phase.

He's figured out that it's fun to build block towers in addition to just knocking them down! He's absolutely obsessed with buckles. Obsessed. If he gets out of his stroller he must fasten the buckle. We were at the park this weekend and there were several empty strollers vacated by children who were playing on the playground. He would not go play until he had fastened all of those buckles too, despite my attempts to get him to leave other people's strollers alone. Thankfully the other parents were understanding. =D

He moved up to the next class at school last week and I think is enjoying getting to do more big kid things. Indeed, there's not much baby left to him. Snuggles are rare but giggles abound! Happy 18 months kiddo!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Going Out with a Splash

Our very last destination in our whirlwind tour of Houston was the Downtown Aquarium. Perhaps it's because it was the last attraction and so it was fresh on their minds, but as we were reliving our trip the kids said this was their favorite!

There's never a shortage of brotherly love!

The cousins had such a great time together!

Ben loved the fishies! Then he saw the alligator and said "chomp chomp!".

Andrew wanted to make sure we got lots of pictures of/with the green tree boa because that's the species of his "Mr. Snakey" stuffed snake. =)

The highlight of the aquarium was the sting rays! This was awesome! They swim right up and let you pet them.

Jackson was particularly enamored. He stayed long after everyone else had moved on and would have been content to just stay there.

Andrew got splashed by one of them!

So neat!

One last lunch with Mel, Josh and Evie and we were College Station bound. Let's just say everyone slept well that night!

If you live relatively close or are thinking about spending a few days in the city, the Houston City Pass can't be beat! Do it!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blasting Off

Our third Spring Break adventure was out of this world! After a good night's rest at Aunt Melly's house, we blasted off the next day for Space Center Houston!

After watching an imax film, we toured the Independence space shuttle mounted atop the giant 747. The film was interesting because it showed how the shuttle got to it's final resting place there at Space Center Houston, by driving through the streets of Houston. I'm not sure why, but I had always imagined it had flown in. Either scenario is crazy when you see how massive it is!

We got to touch the moon rock, which was just as anticlimactic for the boys as I remember it being for me as a kid! Ha!

Next we went to wait in line for our tram tour.

The tram took us to the astronaut training facility. It was a Saturday so no one was there working, but it was pretty neat to see anyway.

As usual, Ben fell asleep in the Ergo, proving that it's not so much about the time of day but just the mode of transportation that lulls him! On our ride to rocket park we even saw a few deer wandering the campus.

The takeaway from Rocket Park is that the rockets are really really really big.

We took a break for a picnic lunch, then made our way back to the main attraction where the kids walked on Mars!

The kids' favorite part of the day was the "Angry Birds" exhibit with lots of hands-on attractions. They enjoyed the flight simulator, lifted weights with simulated gravity on different planets and experienced a shuttle launch. They all also really enjoyed the rocket science demonstration where they got to watch things catch on fire. As a result, Jackson can now tell you all about the "Combustion Triangle" (the three elements a fire needs to ignite). =)

After an already long day, the two littlest boys caught a nap on our way to Kemah for our next attraction...the Kemah Boardwalk!

I think Kemah was our only adventure that was actually negatively impacted by the Spring Break crowds. The average wait time for each ride was at least an hour, so we were there for 5 hours and were only able to eat dinner and ride 3 rides. There were a ton of people, but also the high school kids who serve as staff didn't appear to be particularly motivated or concerned about efficiency. Womp womp. Our kids had a blast anyway, despite all the waiting.

Our first ride was the carousel, but it was fraught with controversy as Jackson and Andrew both decided they wanted to ride on the dragon and only the dragon (admittedly, the dragon was pretty cool). They picked numbers between 1-10 to determine who got to ride it and Jackson was the lucky winner. Andrew was so sad and cried the whole time. Ben and Jackson enjoyed themselves anyway.

Next was the Ferris Wheel, our longest wait of the night. It was daylight when we got in line and night by the time we boarded!

Our final ride of the night was the aviator that raises you high off the ground then around and around. Uncle Josh volunteered to hang out with little Ben so the rest of us could ride. Jackson's face just before we took off cracked me up. He was so excited but maybe a tad nervous. =P

By then it was 10:00 so we had to call it a night. We were exhausted but at least bedtime was a breeze! The kids enjoyed themselves so much so we will definitely go back someday, but it won't be during Spring Break!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Zoo Crew

Day 2 of our Houston Tourist Spring Break Adventure was the Zoo! And we were joined this day, which happened to be St. Patty's Day, by Grammy, Pop, Grandma Grandma and Scarlette! It was a perfect day for the zoo with gorgeous weather and kids excited to see both their grandparents and the animals!

The line to feed the giraffes was too long, so we just enjoyed watching them. It was great to have an extra set of willing arms from Scarlette to carry Ben around so he could see all the animals. He LOVES animals and got to hone many of his animal noises.

Ben enjoyed his first carousel ride! What a big boy!

It was so funny watching all of the primates play. In almost every exhibit was a pair of young, typically male, monkeys/chimps/gorillas wrestling or generally annoying each other just like our boys do! And of course, the mamas with babies are always one of my favorite parts.

Ben, as usual, didn't miss his nap!

While Ben snoozed, the big kids wore themselves out playing and running around.

Despite Jackson's frowny face, it really was a great family day!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Our Spring Break Adventure this year took us to Houston. We decided to do the Houston City Pass, which got us in to 5 popular Houston attractions for one pretty reasonable price. Since I was traveling the first part of Spring Break, that meant we had only 4 days to see 5 attractions! Good thing our boys like to stay busy! Melody and Evie joined us on our adventure so the boys got lots of cousin time too which was probably their favorite part.

Our first stop was the Museum of Natural Science.

Oh bless those museum staffers/docents. Our excessively curious, articulate children asked them all.the.questions. They were so patient and wonderful!

You know what makes dinosaur skeletons more fun? Pretending to be each of those dinosaurs!

We took a museum break for a picnic lunch in the park, and some much needed running and yelling time for all the littles.

We even had a cute squirrel join us for our picnic!

Back into the museum for a tour of ancient Egypt, where we encountered another delightful docent who the kids monopolized with their questions for the next 15 minutes. Mummies are fascinating!

As usual, Benjamin succumbed to his afternoon nap!

Once we explored every nook and cranny of the museum, we called it a day, but not before a roll down the big hill!

Technically, Jackson was the only one to actually master the rolling.

We met up for dinner with two of my oldest friends, Liz and Ashley and their families. We've come a long way since we were just three girls hanging out! It was so good to see them!

That night, we stayed in a hotel right in the middle of the city. These boys (all 4 of them) would have looked out the window all night if I had let them!

We had to get some rest though because the Zoo was up next!