Sunday, January 25, 2009

Auto Show, Denks, and Babysitters

Okay, so I meant to publish on Sunday. It's now Thursday evening, and I'm just now getting to it. For whatever reason, this week has been exhausting! On to the good stuff ...

On last week's episode ... just kidding. Saturday morning, (Uncle/Brother) Bryan joined went with the four of us to the Houston Auto Show, and I forgot the camera! Doh! We go every year, but this was Bryan's first. Katie was remarking how things have changed over the last several years in regard to our priorities at the car show. In 2004, we went as an unmarried couple looking at fast, expensive cars. We hunted for a minivan in 2005, having gotten married and looking forward to kids. Got the truck I really wanted our Ford Expedition, Earl, when the Employee Pricing came around that year. The 2006 show marked Alyssa's first trip to Houston. Alyssa toured the auto show in the stroller and Jackson in Katie's belly in 2007. Last year, Jackson attended the show in the baby sling with Alyssa in the stroller. And finally this year, both kiddos were in a dual stroller that's been in the attic since my Mom bought it at a garage sale a couple of weeks after Jackson was born. Thanks, Grandma! As well, this year was our first trip to the Kid Zone at the auto show, and if they were allowed, they'd still be there five days later.

Saturday night, we had dinner with most of the Denks. Larry, Joy, Bryan, Joe, and Karen were all there in addition to our foursome. We had Mom's world famous lasagna and a bruschetta garlic bread with Caesar salad. Fantastic! Afterwards, we played a game of Red Dragon Inn ... quite odd, in my opinion. We had a great time, and headed home with two *very* tired kids up way past their bedtimes.

Sunday afternoon, we met our new babysitter, Alyssa, and Danielle, her sister and back-up. We were so excited that we booked an evening out two weeks in advance. Our first non-family sitters that we wasn't a date swap with another couple. Cross your fingers, and pray for us. You know that this is going to be hard for us as first-timers.

Sunday evening, I wanted to eat out, and I convinced Katie to do so (not a whole lot of torture was involved). Picking a restaurant for a meal is never an easy task between Katie and me, but I was feeling decisive; we went to Outback. I know, a chain, how lame. We don't eat out a lot, so we don't try a lot of new places. We go with what we know. And I know I like Outback. *grin* I had the ribs and a Shiner (after sampling the Sam Adams White Ale; yuck). Katie had the shrimp on the barbie (always tasty), and the kids split Aly's choice, chicken strips. Despite a lot of fussing before we got there, we had a wonderful meal. Shh! Don't tell the kids, but Mommy and Daddy split a Nutter Butter cake/pie dessert after bedtime. YUM!

Not a whole lot going on since Sunday evening. My Knights of Columbus meeting on Monday, Katie and I trying to get in workouts around time with the kids, regular stuff. Oh! Alyssa went to her second gymnastics class on Wednesday! She loved it, of course. Doing this for her has given Katie and me a great deal of pleasure as well. We've been trying to spend more time outside in the yard before it gets dark in the evenings. The kids love it and I know that in a couple of days/weeks, it's going to be too cold to enjoy it. Nothing compared to Chicago or Indianapolis, but cold enough that they wouldn't have fun.

One last thing before I go; a couple of weeks ago, I got a new computer, a refurbished HP Mini. Friend at work bought one a while back and brought it in when a few of us bugged him enough. I've been jonesing for one ever since. End of year bonuses at the Hoy House were just enough for me to splurge on myself; don't worry, Katie's splurge is coming, and you'll hear about it. Anyway, I'm enjoying the teeny laptop: surfing the web from bed without a four pound heater on my legs, posting to this growing blog, and getting a little work done (really Bill, I am). Katie even took it to Aly's gymnastics class yesterday to surf during class.

Have a great Friday, and an even better wknd!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gymnastics & the Hensleys ... not together

Alyssa's best friend in the whole wide world is Ashley. The two girls have known each other since they were infants together at KinderCare. Alyssa went to Ashley's birthday party at Little Gym in December, and had an absolutely blast. Since then, Katie and I have been talking about getting her into gymnastics. Cindy, our neighbor, suggested Cypress Academy, as her son Jack goes there. Last Thursday, the Hoys went to gym class. Jackson and I went to a Mommy and Me session. He's definitely too young; he didn't want to sit still when requested and didn't want to climb and play when allowed. We may try again in six months or a year. Alyssa on the other hand loved it! She hasn't stopped talking about going back. So starting next week, Katie's taking Alyssa to gymnastics every Wednesday at 4:15.

Back to Ashley for second. Ashley and her sister, Amber, left daycare a few months ago. Alyssa continued to talk about Ashley for a long time. So we had Ashley over for a playdate with Alyssa a couple of Saturdays ago. The girls had a blast! We learned an important lesson: despite their excitement over seeing each other again, Ashley and Alyssa got tired and cranky in the fourth hour. Ashley cried on the way home and Alyssa continues to talk about going to Ashley's house. Needless to say, the girls are looking forward to their next playdate. Katie is very excited that her toddler Alyssa was becoming a big girl.

Last Saturday, I took Jackson to get a haircut at Sports Clips. We won't be going back. It's my fault really; I left despite not being satisfied. His hair was quite long when we got there and slightly less long when we left. So this Friday, the Hoys went to see Orlando, who's used to cut my hair, has given Jackson every other haircut, and has cut Alyssa's bangs on numerous occations. Jackson had a bad hair cut there so we tried Sports Clips. Anyway, really long way to get to this, but Orlando did a spectacular job and Jackson's hair looks great.

Friday evening, after our haircuts (Alyssa got her bangs cut too) and a quick meal for the kids at McD's, Ryan and Natalie Hensley stopped in Cypress for dinner on their way to Ryan's folks home in The Woodlands to celebrate a belated Christmas. Katie served chili and corn bread from Women's Bean Project. Dessert was thawed leftover cake from Alyssa's birthday. Yum! Friends and food for three hours; our wonderful evening of catching up was far too short.

Plenty of goings on today, but I'll wait to post all of that tomorrow to avoid splitting the day.

Enjoy your wknd!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oops ... it's been over a month

Alright so a false start or two is expected, right? My intention of blogging important (and unimportant) events has fallen behind the realities of life. My motivation waned and available time diminished through the holidays thanks to trips, illnesses, etc. You know what I'm talking about here; I don't need to go into it, do I?

We drove to Chicago to celebrate Christmas with the Johnsons, Webers, and Staches. On the way back to Houston, we stopped over in Indianapolis (I know, I know, not exactly on the way) to visit with the Morgans. We were so ready to get home we drove straight through, arriving home at 3 a.m. Our beds never felt so good. We had a blast up North, and got a full week of bitter cold (3-below when we arrived in Chicago) and snow (it didn't let up for our first 36 hours in the Windy City). But Katie much prefers the mild Houston winter, and told me as much more than a couple of times while we were up North and after our homecoming.

The week after Christmas was spent organizing the house. When I say organizing the house, I don't mean picking up toys and straightening up the kitchen. Katie took it upon herself to organize the house ... almost literally from top to bottom, front to back. To date, we've sold over $450 worth of unused stuff. Amongst this grand organization effort were the kids' rooms. Previously Jackson slept in his crib in the front bedroom which also housed most of the toys. Alyssa slept in the second bedroom with no toys and two dressers. Following the reorg, they both sleep in toddler beds in the second bedroom, and all toys have been relocated (and organized) in the front bedroom, aka the toy/play room. Jackson's going to bed about 7pm and is usually fast asleep by the time Alyssa goes to bed around 730pm. It's been working out very well (after Grandma Denk suggested the half hour difference in bed times), and the toys have remained in the toy room for the most part.

New Year's Resolutions? Not so much resolutions, but goals around here. I'll let Katie fill you in on her 2009 goals, but mine are as follows. 1) Stay below 190 lbs. 2) Get below 180 lbs ... I really wanna see 179.9! That's all I ask. 3) Limit french fries to once a week. 4) Exercise 15 times a month. I'm not going to make it in January. Here we are on the 21st, and I've completed a whole 3. All within the last 5 days. *sheepish grin* Additionally we have goals to spend some one-on-one time with each of the kids once a month and go on a date once a month. Lofty goals, but hopeful. I think of myself as above the New Year resolution mentality, but in reality, I'm just as bad as anyone else apparently.

Oh. As part of the reorg, we got rid of the recumbent bike upstairs and bought a treadmill to replace it. For some reason, this didn't motivate me to run ... in the least bit. I've run all of two miles on the stupid thing. Katie on the other hand is on it all the time. She walks for an hour during the day and in addition is doing "couch-to-5K" training. I'll get to that in a minute. Anyway, she's uses that treadmill more in a week than I have since I lugged the dang thing up the stairs. Thanks, Nathan! Following my run this evening though, I think I'm about ready to get back on the horse, as it were. It was a great 3 mile run around the neighborhood at 55 degrees. I could run forever with weather like that.

Back to Katie's couch-to-5K training. Not sure where this started, but Katie and I (and Alyssa and Jackson) are going to run (or ride) in the Sprint For Life on May 9th. Having never run that far and being a researcher at heart, Katie set out to find a training regimen to get her ready for it. In the same vein, the Houston Marathon was this past Sunday, and along with a couple of coworkers, I've decided that I'm going to run the half-marathon next year. Never having run in a race, I thought that a couple of shorter races would be good for me. I'd like to build up to a marathon eventually, but let's just start with the 5K first, okay?

Plenty more has happened, and I've got a ton of things to blog about, but I think this post is larger than intended. For those of you still reading, thanks for sticking with me.