Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Allie called me yesterday and mentioned during our conversation that all of the pictures I have posted of Abbie lately are of a blank-faced child who will not smile.  I had to confess to Allie that I have only been posting pictures in which Abbie looked relatively normal---she has taken to doing all kinds of bizarre poses every time she sees a camera heading her way.  I know that in her own mind these poses make her look extra glamorous and like a major babe but in reality she looks like her head is superglued to her shoulder.  I recall Maddie--and even Jessie--going through this phase so I know that it's totally normal I just wish that it would stop.  On the rare occasions that I am able to get a candid shot I am reminded that she can take a decent picture but I decided that I better post some of her most recent poses so that you will understand why I post some of the pictures that I do.  

side note:  While Abbie was dressed like this a middle-aged woman came over and shouted "Go Wildcats!" Abbie looked at her like she was crazy.  My kids are not yet into watching things like High School Musical, Abbie just likes to dress-up and this is her most durable park-going costume.

The above pictures are from a day about a week ago when the kids and I decided to take Justin back to a park we had visited during spring break.  Spring break in Texas was two weeks ago (super early in my opinion) but Justin was out of town the whole week so I kept the kids busy with a lot of fun outings, like going to the pool and discovering new parks.  Anyway, this park is called Champion Park and has a huge sand box area with dinosaur bones buried under the sand for the kids to dig out.  There is an entire T-Rex you can uncover, which is Bracken's favorite, but there are also other random fossils and bones scattered throughout.  All of the bones and fossils, etc. are permanently fixed into the sand so it's really only a surprise the first time you discover them but that didn't seem to bother the kids.  In fact, my kids were more interested in just playing with the sand than doing much excavating (notice the lizard driving Bracken's bulldozer, I didn't see it until I enlarged the picture).  

Ruby has been to the beach and has also played in sand boxes, yet she was really unsure about what she should think about the stuff.  After a few minutes of standing like a flamingo and being unwilling to put both feet on the ground she decided to have a seat and see what it was all the fuss was about.

  I think in the end she decided that it was kind of fun.  She wasn't very happy on the few occasions it got into her mouth but once she learns not to put her sandy hand in her mouth I think she'll love the sand as much as her siblings!  
Bracken decided to make sand angels and then Abbie decided to join him, they were trying to make their angels hold hands.  It was really quite cute but they had no patience for it when Tate decided to get in on the action.  He wasn't really even making an angel, he was just lounging beside the other kids and that really annoyed them.  The big kids got up to do other things and Tate decided that it was time for daddy to help him really dig down deep to find something extra special.

When we had all had enough of the sand the kids moved over to these giant faux rock boulders and had a great time perfecting their climbing skills.  Tate was very frustrated that the other kids could all make it to the top but he couldn't quite make it up over the first hump.  Justin finally hoisted everyone up and Tate was ecstatic to be on top!

We LOVE it when Daddy is home to play with us and we wish he could be here so much more!!!  In fact something really funny happened around the dinner table last week concerning an often-absent father...

Our whole family was sitting down to dinner one night when I said, "Someone we love and haven't seen in a really long time is coming home this week, do you guys know who that is?"  Bracken and Abbie smiled and shouted in unison, "DADDY!!!"
[I was referring to their uncle Spencer who was returning from his mission to London but clearly the kids notice that their dad is gone A LOT]

Monday, March 23, 2009

This could never have happened in real life tag

It turns out that during my blogging hiatus I was "tagged" by one of my best friends (Rachel) and clearly I never responded.   If this had been a real game of tag and I had been running from someone but had taken a good whollop to my back I am sure it would not have taken me 27 days to react---though I may still have be it since running is not my strong suit.

The "tag" was to go to the sixth photo folder on my computer and post the sixth picture in that folder.  So, here it is in all its eyes-closed glory:

This picture was taken outside the Silver Diner in Tyson's.  We met up with Justin's side of the fam for a little goodbye breakfast before hitting the road for our trek to Florida and then Texas.  As you can clearly see Abbie was furious, my eyes were closed, my mother-in-law's eyes were closed, Tate was trying to take his shoes off, and apparently my father-in-law had to sit on a different bench because there wasn't enough room for him on ours.  For all of the aforementioned reasons this was an awesome photo for this experiment.  At the very least this offers a chance at a great trip down memory lane!

I am now supposed to tag six people (I will spare my sisters who have already been tagged):
1. Maere Weed
2. Bethany Durham
3. Danielle Wright
4. Meredith Swift
5. Audrey Carlson
6. Lonna Barlow

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Single, pregnant, exhausted...

Ok, so I'm not single...but when your husband is gone a minimum of three days a week (and really more like 4 or 5) it can begin to feel like single-parenting. I have been so terrible at updating my blog during the beginning of this pregnancy. I used to always work on my blog at night while Justin was out of town and the kids were sleeping, but throughout this pregnancy since Justin has been traveling so much I have been too exhausted to blog at night. I usually fall asleep while laying with the kids and only hours later drag myself down to my bed from the bunk beds. I am just now (17 weeks in) beginning to feel better. I'm hoping that that means I will resume my more regular blogging practices because I like to have this as my record/journal, but truthfully I think that every pregnant woman knows that exhaustion becomes a way of life and other things may suffer as a result.

Jessie has reminded me on several occasions how long it has been since I updated my blog, so I decided I could at least post a ton of pictures. I wish that there were an easier system than blogger because I think that there could be better ways to layout a page and have copy accompany your pictures, unfortunately with this system I usually write all of my text first and then upload the pictures or vice versa so there aren't really captions to accompany each picture. I know that some people mean serious business with their blogs and they take the time to go to the "edit html" section and add captions to their pictures but there is no way that I am doing that for each of the over 50 pictures posted below. Instead I'll just write briefly about all of the separate events pictured. I tried to post the pictures from most recent to most outdated.

The first group is from our family at the Austin kite festival. None of our pictures really do the experience justice but it was amazing to see literally hundreds and hundreds of kites flying together in the sky above the city skyline. Some kites were very elaborate and I'm sure very expensive, while others were clearly homemade. The kids had a great time but were angry that we weren't prepared with our own kites or able to purchase anything cool since it was on a Sunday. I had only learned about the festival the day before from a friend so we decided that after church and the kids naps we would head down and check it out. It was really fun. Ruby (who looked like a homeless waif) wouldn't keep her hair bow in and kept running away to chase the kites. The rest of the kids just wanted to be in on the action and let me know which kites they just had to have for next year. Austin is quite windy and is really a great place for kite flying so I'm sure that one day my kids will have a chance to try it for themselves. I can't even remember the last time I flew a kite but I think it was at Meadowlark Park back before they used to charge for admission, i.e. a zillion years ago. Anyway, I walked into the tree that my children are pictured sitting in and my head began to bleed, it was very graceful as I'm sure you can imagine.

The next two sets of pictures are from the same day. It was about 40 degrees here and Justin and I were in our room when we heard quite a commotion outside in the backyard at about 8AM. We looked outside and saw our kids using a game given to them by Grandma and Grandpa Allen for Christmas. The game includes four animal tails that the children are to strap around their waists and then try to pull off of one another, it's sort of a cross between tag and flag football. It's an adorable game but I was surprised to see Abbie outside in panties and sneakers. She told me that she would have been too embarrassed to go outside in just her p.j.'s. I could see that this was a much better option. I'm not sure how the boys had the good sense to get dressed. The second set of photos from that day was from a play date with some of the kids from Abbie's preschool class. The girl in the photo's it Brooke Blakeney, Abbie's bosom buddy. The two of them run toward each other in seemingly slow motion every time they have school and embrace by the backpack hooks...weird. I always thought that the girls at my high school who would hug when they saw each other were so bizarre. Hug, hug, see you after science...so strange and totally unnecessary. [Oops, I see now that those two sets of photos were reversed but I'm sure you figured that out]

The three photos after that were taken while I was out of town in Salt Lake for Brody's birth, but I thought that they were cute and totally blog-worthy.

Ok, these pictures are from the President's Club trip of Apple's this year. We went to Mexico and had such a great time, except for the fact that we got the most horrific sunburns of our lives on the very first day as you can see in all of the photos. Also, there were several outings on which I thought I would probably throw up in front of a lot of Justin's colleagues due to the never-ending morning sickness. In one such situation, on a bus ride to some Mayan ruins, I really thought I wasn't going to make it and had decided to throw up into my Michael Kors purse. When Justin learned of this he told me that I was to throw up on the bus floor and that everyone would certainly understand and then I could salvage my purse. I had flashbacks to one time when I threw up on the bus to school in eighth grade. Justin is wrong, it is definitely better to sacrifice the purse...people do NOT understand. One of the pictures is of a bunch of performers on stage inside a cave at the ruins where we sat for HOURS (too long) watching weird original Mexican dancing----that is what someone in event planning thought that the men wanted to be doing during the Super Bowl. The other pictures are from a marketplace where we all went to shop but instead got stuck in a horrible rainstorm and headed into a random restaurant for shelter (you can see that we are drenched but smiling). Also, lastly, Lauren I tried to get a great shot of your parents dancing but it was hard to do without being spotted. The picture isn't great but I thought you would enjoy it.

I think that the car-washing pictures are pretty self-explanatory. The kids had a blast and it was a warm day in January so it worked out for us all. Similarly, the park photo's and bike-riding photo's are just typical examples of "a day in the life of the Allen kids".

The pictures of Tate covered in black are to commemorate the day he drew all over Justin's office with a Sharpie. Not his best moment, or Justin's in fact. Then Tate went to take his regular TV watching spot behind Bracken in the leather chair. I can't imagine it feels that great to be squished.

The last three sets of pictures are of Josh playing with the kids in a field attached to the Mexican restaurant we were eating at over Christmas break, the kids bowling in the entryway with a set given to them by Santa/Grandpa Lee, and of my not-yet-finished chocolate covered apples that I gave away to my neighbors as their holiday gift. I also drizzled milk chocolate over the dark and then white over the milk. They looked great tied up in cellophane with red and green ribbons but apparently I didn't get pictures of the final product. Oh well, now that makes my four-months-pregnant-self wish I lived near a Rocky Mountain Fudge Company...