Happy Birthday Lucy

Yesterday this little girl turned FOUR.
Has it really been four years since we went
I still remember that day so fondly. Everything went well and the process was just....well....pleasant. I'm so glad this little girl came into our lives.
She's imaginative, smart, clever, loves to dance, loves to smile, tries to make friends wherever she goes, she's not much of a cuddler like Owen but gives me the sweetest hugs and a kiss on the cheek, she loves her brother, she loves her dad, she has an opinion, and she finally gets excited about new clothes (PHEW).
For her big day we took cupcakes to school. The mini ones that are just right for little hands (and means that I can eat 6 of them and not feel so bad about it):
The rest of the day we just played at the house and when Casey came home we had a little party, just the four of us. I've been trying to put off a huge party till she really understands it. And I'm sure next year will be the year. She was really excited about her birthday this year though, especially when I told her we'd have a little party at our house. On Sunday I heard her ask Owen, "Owen, will you be coming to my party tomorrow?"
I sure hope so. He's 33% of the guests!

There were plenty of pink wrappings (it's nice having a bday around Valentine's Day). And inside them were all sorts of princess necklaces, bracelets, and dresses. Ever since my parents gave her a Princess Tiana dress for Christmas, the thing rarely comes off.
So now she has a new Belle dress to add to the rotation! Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Willard. Lucy, your grandmas seem to know just what you need.
From me and Casey she also got a Cinderella dress (which was worn for 12 hours straight today. Not sure how she does it. That thing is so itchy. Fashion over comfort):
And then I found this awesome dollhouse at a local Thrift Store. She's been wanting a "castle" for her princesses so I thought this would work perfect. It can house all of her figurines:
And it came with furniture too!
Though some of the furniture looks it never went with this house to begin with, it's still very cute.
Both kids have been playing with it all day long.
We sang Happy Birthday to Luce (in her Cinderella dress and with her Cinderella candle). And then we feasted on these really sad looking brownies. Mom was an idiot and frosted it while they were still hot. It used to say "Lucy is 4". Oh well. Still tasted yummy.
Happy Numero Quatro Luce Goose!
We sure do you love you.


Valentine's and President's Day Weekend

Casey knows me well enough now that he doesn't bother with roses for Valentine's Day but always brings home a lovely bouquet of tulips instead. This year he brought me enough to fill 3 vases! Good thing we have a house now to scatter the beauty about.

Having Lucy in school made Valentine's Day much more fun for her and me. I loved putting together Valentine's for all her classmates. Brought me back to grade school (more info on the Heart Breakers HERE).
Since I was teaching Young Women's on Sunday (my new calling! I was called as the Achievement Days Leader and RS Teacher when we moved here and then they switched me a month later) well, I decided to make some for the girls too:
On Monday, President's Day, we went for an outing and drove 1 1/2 hours south to San Antonio.
For the holiday, Owen wore his President's Day Shirt:
And the kids were amazing the entire drive. We couldn't believe it. They just sat there and looked out the window. No shows, no toys.

Casey and I visited S.A. once 4 years ago when we first came to Austin. The Temple is new since then, so we checked that out first:
The stained glass that fills most of the windows is just beautiful.
And the Moroni sits low enough that you can really get a good view.
In case you were wondering, I was there:
and I had lost my voice. That seriously happens to me once a year. Kind of a drag. But moving on.....

Since it was impossible to get both kids looking at me at the same time, here's a smashed-together photo. Lucy's real funny when she crosses her legs like that. I find her sometimes in her carseat, with legs crossed, gazing out the window. So grown up (and freaky eyes):
After the temple, we stopped at the church book store and Great Harvest Bread! YUM. But since we were about to get lunch, I didn't do any sampling. Bummer. Then we started on our quest for pizza. I say quest because it took about an hour to find our destination. We had heard rave reviews about Big Lou's Pizza (they have a pizza that's 42 inches wide!) So we drove way over to the East side and well, Big Lou likes to take the day off on Mondays. It was closed! LAME.

So we looked on Casey's phone and found "Main Street" pizza. I looked at the address, went into google maps and typed in "1409 Main STREET". It was 25 miles away. What??? Okay, we can drive fast.

So we got on the highway, kept driving, started to doubt our whereabouts and finally realized.....Main STREET pizza is on Main AVENUE. Um, really? DUMB. So we drove back the other way and eventually found Main Street Pizza on Main Avenue. Thankfully, it did not disappoint:
While waiting for yummy cheesy goo, Casey taught Lucy to play Rock, Paper, Scissors:
And then we ate. Lucy had a cheese pizza all to herself:
and we enjoyed this heavenly sight:
With full tummies, we drove by the Alamo (a drive-by is plenty fine. It's much smaller than you think and we've done the tour before. And no, there's no basement):
And then we hung out at the River Walk for the rest of the night. You walk "underground" from the city streets of San Antonio and there's an entire river with canals and restaurants.
Casey was wise enough to bring the stroller. I can just imagine Owen diving off that edge:
And that's San Antonio!
3-day Weekends are perfect for exploring our state. Maybe Dallas is next?


Fake Christmas

For Christmas we went to California for 3 and 1/2 weeks. YES! Almost a month! It was very fun, a bit long to be away from our personal stuff/space, but overall great. So, before we left we did a Fake Christmas for the kids.
I've realized something since being married....Casey is much more sentimental than me about holidays, birthdays, etc. I love the holidays, yes! I love everything that goes along with it. But I'm not huge on Birthday gifts. And I thought it would be fine if we went without a Christmas tree this year (since we had to throw it away on Dec 14th). But he had a different idea. So we picked one up. And I'm so glad we did. The house smelled wonderful for a good two weeks. And there's just something magical about presents under a tree.
The Saturday before leaving on our trip, we had the Ward Christmas party. Lucy eagerly stood in line with all the kids, jumped right up on Santa's lap and told him, "I want a kitchen". She then reminded me afterward, "mom, I'm not on the naughty list." Phew!
The next day, Sunday, we had Fake Christmas. But since we have church at 9am (and Casey has meetings before that) we waited till the afternoon. We told the kids that we were going for a little drive and that while we were gone, Santa might come to our house! We played it up big and Lucy was real excited. Lucy helped me pick out treats for Santa (and no, that's not anything gross on the plate. Just Dark Choc covered pretzels. It was Lucy's choice!)
Need a closer look? Oh, and marshmallows too.....
We went for our drive (and saw a really, REALLY cool house I would love to live in one day....) and when we got back, Lucy flung open the door, and there was her kitchen!
It was a hit! For both kids. More info on their aprons HERE.
She still prefers her princess dolls over anything. But I hope to put a cute table in her room, paint the wall something fun, maybe an old antique window in there? Oh we'll see. Merry Fake Christmas Kids!


Doot-Doo and Oboe

Sounds kind of like a song. It's just our kids' names. And in the past month those two kiddos have really grown up. Owen has started talking like crazy....copying everything we say and making an effort to try out new sounds. But one thing he CAN'T say is Lu-cy. It comes out Doot-Doo, every time. It makes all of us laugh. He sits in the car the car smiling and saying hi Doot-Doo, hi Doot-Doo. Thankfully Lucy finds it funny too.
As for the Oboe part of it. Camille and Jeremy gave him that nickname when he was little and we've grown attached to it. Casey calls him that all the time and now when Owen refers to himself he just says, Oboe. As in "Oboe Milk" or "Oboe nap?" It's pretty cute. And it's amazing how much more of their personality comes out when they can communicate in words. What a fun boy. He has two ear-infections right now but he still keeps us laughing.

His other new obsession is Toy Story. He carries the Buzz and Woody doll figurines around all. day. long. And likes to make them fly. "Mom, look! Buzz. Fly." I hear that about 500 times a day. He's even holding them here:
And for our grown-up Doot-Doo, she started Primary in January! She's a sunbeam! And she was very ready for it (she's on the older end of kids that left nursery). She walked in, sat down, and even gave the prayer this past Sunday.
Our little girl is almost FOUR. Wow.
In January she also started.....Preschool!! She (and especially ME) are loving it! We found a very cool program through a local gymnastics gym. So, not only does she get her normal preschool routine in but she gets an hour of tumbling and gymnastics instruction too. Score!

The school days are longer here in Texas.....she goes from 9am-2pm, Mondays and Wednesdays. And Fridays are an optional drop-off for additional money. Yep, I've done it a few times already. The Friday class is small with only 4 kids, so it's really fun for her. And Lucy has a favorite little friend there: David. She's always talking about him and telling me that he says funny stuff. And in return she likes to call him "Potato Head" (she spouts off some lines from Toy Story). I broke down and got her a Princess backpack for being a big school girl:
and of course she loves it. She's done great in school so far. There was one day she cried a bit and told the teacher "I miss my mom". But we cleared that up with a little candy bribery for having a "good day at school". And now that she's made a few friends, she really looks forward to going.
Oh, those cute kiddos. I found this picture in a folder the other day and it's so precious to me. From our old apartment in Pasadena, Lucy feeding Owen peas and carrots:
My, how these two have grown. We love you Oboe and Doot-Doo!