Sunday, August 26, 2012

Family Night Out

Last night we had a family night out that involved trains, fried chicken, and an old-fashioned candy store. A little something for everyone! There is a great fried chicken restaurant in Dallas called Babe's that Sean and I have both been to before, but never to the one in Carrollton which is the closest location to our house. A neighborhood friend recommended taking the DART rail to get there, which would allow a fun experience for Mason, and a super close drop-off to the restaurant in the Carrollton town square. So after Mason's nap yesterday we started our little adventure and had a wonderful time!

I have the blessing and curse of my fathers sweet tooth and thought I'd be the one most excited about the candy store, but Sean couldn't get enough of all the old school candies and sodas. He's definitely a man with a love for the classics. I was excited to check out an old-fashioned toy store called Mr. Pickles, but it had recently closed down and will be replaced with a nail salon. Bummer - like we don't have enough of those. At least we still have Froggie's in Dallas!

We peeked in a couple of the other shops before heading over to Babe's for some fried chicken goodness. If you've never been, you should. Mom and Dad R, next time you're here we'll take you! You have a selection of five meats to order, then get an unlimited serving of mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits, corn, green beans and salad. We decided on the fried chicken (duh) and the chicken fried steak. The place is loud and fun and great for kids. Mason had a blast dancing with the waiters during the hokey pokey and got a sticker for his enthusiastic performance. The only downfall was that it was BYOB and we didn't get the memo before hand. A nice cold Shiner would have made everything perfect! Now we know and we won't be making that mistake again.

I must add that when he woke up from his nap he was in a FOUL mood that we couldn't seem to control and we almost skipped the whole evening. He did an immediate 180 once he saw the trains and I'm so happy we pushed through. Watching Mason's eyes dart back and forth while looking out the train window was so cute. It's so fun being a mom to such a curious, fun little boy and I love seeing the world through his eyes.

Looking forward to the next night out with my two favorite men!

Blooms Candy Store

Sean was so distracted by everything in the store that I couldn't even get him to look at the camera in the picture with Mason!

I'd say Mason was enjoying himself at the dinner table. 
The train!

I fell in love with this wall outside of Babe's and had to take Mason's picture.  So handsome!

Photo Catch-Up

We're here! It's been a while since I've blogged but we're still around and staying busy while summer wraps up. Here's a photo recap of what we've been up to. These are in no particular order.

Up the slide, down the slide at Gymboree. And never letting go of his tissue.

Part of a game where I hide his favorite toys around the house and give him hints to go find them.

Back at the Dallas Museum of Art with his friend Jeff.

Taking a walk around the neighborhood to search for rocks, dirts, sticks, acorns and anything else he found interesting!

Random playtimes. Let's hope he doesn't try to climb OUT of the crib!

Every Dallas kiddo needs a pic in front of the Wild About Harry's hotdog. On this visit he met Harry himself! He loves to wander into our neighbors yard and play on their steps, and eating a popsicle on a hot summer day!

Reading car books at B&N, putting stickers all over his body, and collecting rocks outside the Y.

He loved being squirted at the pool by Heidi at playgroup. Sweet Austin was in the fun and then Mason and Kennedy help push Austin in his wagon!

When Daddy is in charge you go to Lowe's AND Home Depot, work in the garage, then end in your birthday suit! (just Mason, not Sean) :)

Playing with his friends at the Whole Foods kids kitchen, beading the spaghetti with cheerios, playing cars in the hall and relaxing with Mommy on a Saturday morning.

My friend Betsy had a Sip n See for her sweet little girl Cruz, who is wearing a onesie designed by my good friend at The Littlest Hunter
His precious friend Laighton turned two and celebrated with a Minnie Mouse party at The Little Gym!

His super hero friend John celebrated his third birthday at the Flight Museum. 
And his best bud Hutcheson celebrated his second birthday with a pool party! Mason helped Daddy build him this cute picnic table.

Whew! So that's what we've been up to lately. Hope you enjoyed going through the pics!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Greatest Show on Earth

Mason had his first circus experience this weekend! You might be thinking, "why the heck would you spend the money and time taking a 20 month old to the circus when he's not going to be able to sit still nor will he remember the experience?". Yeah, we think that way too. But when a neighbor offers us free tickets, we'll jump at the opportunity to go! Our thinking was that even if he only lasts 15 minutes, at least it was free. Or that maybe he'd surprise us and be really into it and sit for the whole show. What he ended up doing fell somewhere in the middle of those two and we ended up  having a great time.

Our original plan was to try leaving around intermission, but wouldn't you know those clever circus people put the tiger, elephant, and fire acts at the end. They want you there long enough to convince yourself that it's totally okay to spend $27 on a small stuffed elephant (which we didn't do). We walked around until right before the show started, then handed Mason a snack to keep him still for at least 15 minutes. This worked and he was mesmerized by all the action, lights, music, people and noise. The older children around us really seemed to enjoy the ringmaster and the clowns, but I think the content and humor was lost on Mason. He still seemed to enjoy watching though. About 30 minutes in we got up with him to walk around, then found a couple rows of empty seats he could play on. After intermission we made it back to our seats (which were really close!), and he surprisingly made it to almost the end of the show and we were able to see all the big acts. All in it was a great experience and we'll definitely be going back starting in about two years.

This was the best we could snap of our busy little bee
Circus Madness

Checking everything out

I love how it looks like Sean has a headdress on!

Man on fire!

Glad we stayed for the elephants

Bye for now, circus!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Family Vaca on Lake LBJ (or Road Trip #2)

Mason and I had one full day at home from our trip to OK before we loaded up the car and headed out again. My parents and sisters family organized a last minute family get-together at a house on Lake LBJ. Sadly, because of our trip to AZ earlier this month, Sean wasn't able to join. Someone has to pay the bills around here! My family (mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and aunt) actually all got to the house three days before Mason and I, but we were visiting my brother at that time (who was also unable to attend due to work commitments). They were knee-deep in fun by the time we got there and there was enough food for a small village in the kitchen. The Gadek's brought their boat and my mom and aunt whipped up some delicious meals. We had no problem settling in to their vacation!

Before I even had all our bags out of the car, my sister and dad had changed Mason into his swimsuit and were taking him down to the lake. He had a great time in the water and on the boat, and enjoyed the gourmet meals as much as everyone else. I'm thankful to have such a considerate family - everyone was always respectful of his naptime and bedtime and he slept as well as could be expected for being in a new place!

My niece and nephew really know how bring out the kid in you and I had a blast jumping off the roof of the boathouse, playing ping pong, tubing, swimming through rapids, and attempting water sports with them. There is an area on the lake where the boulders create rapids that naturally push your body through if you just lay there. I think everyone did this at least once and it was a really cool experience. What wasn't so cool was my failed attempts to get up on the wakeboard. It was so frustrating not being able to get up! The only time I actually got on my feet was when Brian got in the water with me and helped me until the boat took off. Then I was up for all of 10 seconds before I was down again. Most people know how competitive I am and can imagine that I was NOT happy about this! My nephew and Brian each easily got up several times and it was cool to see them enjoy the board. Madison is adorable to watch on the tube - little thing is a dare-devil! Both my parents went skiing and I must say I'm impressed that they can both do it so easily in their 60's!

There were plenty of willing hands to help with Mason on this trip and it was nice to go out on the boat to enjoy some child-free fun throughout the trip. He is going through quite a mommy phase right now so I really appreciate everyone helping to give me a break!

We only left the house once while I was there, and that was for a trip to Double Horn Brewing Company in Marble Falls. The beers were great and it was a fun outing with everyone.

I am so glad we decided to join the family for a couple days and we have memories for a lifetime. It was great to have so much time to catch up with my sister and not have to go our separate ways at the end of the night. I can't thank my family enough for organizing this trip and taking care of us while we were there. The only things missing were Sean and Doug! Looking forward to the next one!

Ready for the water!

Sweet Madison was so great with Mason

The whole group, minus Brian! 
My dad snapped this cute, one-eyed pic
Mason ready to go right when we got there! View from our house and Aunt Patsy and Mom chillin' on the deck.

Double Horn Brewery

Family Fun. My cousin Becky and her husband Justin visited for a day!

A lot of time was logged on the water

Mason helping on the boat

Brian and Jen

Trip to see Uncle Doug (or Road Trip #1)

Two weekends ago Mason and I packed up and hit the road to go visit my brother, or Uncle Doug, in Stillwater, OK. Doug is a busy man and it's hard to catch him on a free weekend in the summer or fall so we jumped at the opportunity to see him and his new house! This was my first road trip with Mason that Sean wasn't on, so I turned his seat forward facing so that I could easily hand him things (he has since been switched back), and was prepared with music, snacks, and videos. We left at 10:00 so that we could drive for two hours before lunch, stop for a break and to eat, then drive the other two hours with the goal of him napping. He did nap for a little less than an hour, but I can't expect more than that in the car.

We were all excited to see each other and I immediately enjoyed a much needed beverage while Doug gave a tour. The backyard and Doug's dog, Walker, were of course Mason's favorite and we hung out outside for as long as we could stand the heat before moving back in. After playing with Mason, a quick trip to Lowe's (where they sell John Deere tractors), and feeding Mason dinner, I put him down so the adult fun could begin! Doug made an excellent steak dinner followed by (too many) cocktails on the patio. The next morning came a little early, but nothing a little coffee can't cure!

After taking a walk and playing around the house Saturday, we went to downtown Stillwater to grab lunch and check out some of the shops. Mason was, for lack of better words, a complete terror at lunch. We're talking tons of food throwing, chunking a full kids cup of water across the floor, multiple time outs, and the feeling that I should pick up everyone's lunch in the restaurant. Oy vey. This was very stressful for me, and I'm sure my brother too, who isn't used to dining with toddlers. Thankfully one of the shops nearby was a children's boutique that had a play room in the back. Mason quickly became his sweet little self again and the lunch was long behind us. Let's just say I may not be dining out with him again anytime soon.

After Mason's nap we found a great, shaded park by the lake to take him too. He had a blast playing with Doug and pointing out all the trash cans. We had already decided not to go through with our plans to grab Mexican food for dinner (I was NOT looking for an encore performance), so we stopped by the store on our way home and picked up the ingredients for a delicious, healthy and spicy chicken and Szechuan noodle salad. My brother has become quite the cook and entertainer and I enjoyed every second of it!

While I packed up on Sunday Doug helped watch Mason. This of course means getting soaking wet in the hose and needing an outfit change before we even leave. ;) Then they played together at the piano which was so sweet to see. Doug is one of those gifted people that can just walk up to a piano and whip out some Mozart out of thin air. I hope Mason picks up some of his musical gifts. I'm glad they had fun and look forward to visiting during football season so we can take Mason to his first game!

We were home for less than 48 hours, just enough time to unpack, do laundry, and pack again before hitting the road for road trip #2 to Lake LBJ. More on that later. Thanks for a great weekend Doug!

Snackin' and playin' in the backyard

Little guy loved playing on the John Deere tractors

No bath toys? No problem! Two cups will do!

Can't believe the same person that gave me wet willies can host a nice dinner :)

This is what I got to sleep next to both nights :)

After our little episode at lunch...

Checking out downtown Stillwater!

Parktime with Uncle Doug

Doug: "Is it okay for him to travel in wet clothes?" Me: "Um, no - is that a serious question?"
He had a blast though!

Learning the ivory keys

He held on to these maracas and used them to dance with for at least an hour on the way home!