Monday, February 24, 2014

Cowtown 10k ~ Sam's First

Sam ran his first 10k this weekend!  He wasn't sure he would be able to run it since he hurt his knee a couple of weeks ago, but he had signed up to run with a friend and decided to give it his best shot.  They ended up not only finishing without walking, but doing so in a decent time.  For a little while, I toyed with the idea of running too, but I have barely ran since Sarah was born because a.) I don't want to drag the little ones out in the extremely cold temperatures and b.) running with a double jogging stroller is like trying to run while pushing a sail in these Oklahoma winds (I know, excuses, excuses).

We all arrived in Dallas (I guess we were technically in Arlington) the night before since race packets had to be picked up by 7 that night.  Sam's brother, Ty, was nice enough to let us all stay at his house including the Castro crew. 

Emily will be graduating from PT school in May, so she taped Sam's knees for him Friday night so he wouldn't have to wear braces during the race.  She even told me where to put the tape and the best way to apply it (thanks, Emily!).  Saturday morning, we woke up way too early and drove over to Ft. Worth for the race.     

After we saw the boys off from the starting line, Heidi and I along with our four munchkins found a nice place to set up camp a little ways before the finish line. 

Joseph was interested in everything Ev did.

 And Em enjoyed some time with her favorite little girl (who ended up being very colorful by the time we added a hat and jacket to her outfit).

Here they come.

And there they go.  The girl beside us was holding a "Hey Girl" poster (you can see it in the picture) which I loved.  I think the Ryan Gosling "Hey Girl" memes are hilarious. 

After the race, we went back to Ty's house.  The adults were exhausted, but none of the kids were ready for naps.

So we went to a playground down the road then came back and hung out in the backyard for the rest of the day enjoying the gorgeous weather.  Ty has an old tractor in his backyard, so Joseph thought he was in heaven.

He also enjoyed standing at the front fence and telling you what type of vehicle (mostly cars and trucks) drove by.

Sarah spent some time in the Go-Pod and was less than happy with me when I interrupted her play time for a picture.

The next morning, John and the rest of the Castro crew left bright and early again (Do you still say bright and early if it was dark when they left?) so John could run a marathon.  That's right, he ran a 10k one day and a marathon the next.  It was some sort of special challenge they have at some races.  We let the kids sleep in until their normal wake up time, then ventured over to see John cross the finish line.

After John had a chance to shower and cool off a little, we all went out to eat lunch before heading home.  Here is Mr. Joe Cool himself sporting Daddy's sunglasses at lunch.

And this is how you know you are extremely tired and bored on your long drive home... you and your friend track each other on the glympse app pretty much the entire second half of the trip (we made a stop, then Sam spent most of the rest of the way home trying to catch up).

Overall, we had a great weekend with awesome family and friends!  Now I just need to find a 10k I want to run and start preparing for it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's Day Weekend 2014

You're probably expecting some mushy post about how awesome my husband is here, but I'm afraid you won't find that today (although he is pretty awesome).  You see, we aren't really the make a big deal about Valentine's types at the Parks house.  Sam normally gets me a potted plant or a gift certificate to the local chocolate shop which I prefer to jewelry I will never wear and cut flowers that die and I normally get him something small although some years (like this one), I slip and don't get him anything.  We also don't bother trying to go out and eat that night because we know it would be crazy to try to find a sitter and someplace to eat.  Instead, we simply try to show each other our love every day and never pass up an opportunity to say it with a couple of kisses. 

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to what this post is really about, what I actually did last weekend.  For weeks (since the time my sister found out she would be off Valentine's day), my sister and I had been watching the weather forecast in hopes of a decent day to go to the zoo.  We were excited when February 14th finally appeared in the 7 day and they predicted a nice day.  When our mom found out that all three grandkids would be in the same place on the same day, she asked if she could take off work and join us.  When our grandma found out we were going to the zoo, she decided she wanted to go too.  When she told our grandpa she would be gone that day because she was going to the zoo with us, he decided he should go too.  That's how we ended up with four generations at the zoo on a windy, but nice compared to the weather earlier in the week day. 

After meeting for lunch at the race track across the road (where the boys loved seeing the horses!), we ventured over to the zoo.  Both boys had requested seeing giraffes and rhinos, so we knew we had to visit them.  Since Grandpa's legs aren't what they used to be, we decided it would be best to rent a wheelchair for him (it might have been the best $5 we spent all day). 

We started with a venture through  the Oklahoma Trails which is always a hit.  The boys and grandpa enjoyed watching the bears.  Mom and Grandma preferred the little girl waking up from a nap.

One of the zoo's youngest residents, baby Leom, celebrated his first birthday while we were there.  Of course we stopped by the celebration.  Isn't he cute!

In honor of his birthday, the zoo keepers placed piƱata type things around their enclosure.  The gorillas seemed to enjoy breaking them open and eating the treats.

We asked a lady to take a group picture.  Poor Bryar's head didn't make it into the shot and Sarah was stuck in her stroller, but I promise they were there.

As a special treat for the boys, we decided to ride the "train" (tram) which they LOVED!  They kept saying "all aboard" and "choo choo."  It was adorable!  (Why yes, I did make them matching dump truck Valentine's shirts.  They thought it was cool that they had the same shirt.  Bryar even asked where Sarah's was.  I'm sure they'll thank me for all the matching shirts someday.)

A must anytime we go to the zoo is a visit to the playground before we leave.  It gives Sarah a chance to eat

And the boys a chance to get their wiggles out before we load up to head home. 

I know I've said it before, but it's so much fun having boys so close in age!  I hope they are lifelong friends.

And look how big Miss Thang is getting!

After the zoo, we headed home completely exhausted and looking forward to a quiet evening at home.  We ordered a pizza (what a romantic Valentine's Day dinner, right) and everyone went to bed fairly early. 

Saturday we got up and worked on a few things around the house (Sarah's room is getting really close to being finished!) then I got ready and headed back to Oklahoma City to meet up with my sister again although this time we left the kids with our husbands.  Why did the two of us meet in the city on a Saturday night without the kids?  To see this amazing musical, of course.

It. Was. Awesome!  I had a smile on my face the entire time and have to say it might be my all time favorite of all of the musicals I've seen.  Yes, I just put it above Wicked and The Lion King, I realize many people will disagree with that.

Even though we didn't get a single good picture of the two of us all night, here is a picture of me and my sister.  Can you tell it was well after our bedtimes?  We try to go to at least one play a year together, it's a fun little tradition we've started.

While I was at dinner and the musical was Sam's first time solo parenting the duo for longer than two hours.  He did awesome!  I received a text from a friend telling me that she saw them out for a walk together which she thought was adorable and he even took them to get ice cream after dinner.  Thank you, Sam, for watching them so I could have a night off.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Card 2014

Once upon a time, there was a stay-at-home mom who owned a nice camera and took a photography class.  She decided that, although she would still leave the family and special occasion pictures to the professionals, she was qualified to take pictures of her kids throughout the year.  The following is a look into one such photo session.

One mostly sunny day, I decided to put the kids in their freshly decorated Valentine's Day shirts and take some pictures so I could make cards to send to family members.  I decided to take them in Sarah's room since it is decorated in grey, pink, and white, has a window that lets in a nice amount of light, and has a crib that I could use to contain the kids.  Since her room doesn't get direct sunlight in the morning, I decided this was the optimal time for me to take pictures in there.  My kids didn't agree.

Sarah drooled all over her outfit as soon as I put it on her.  Being a determined mom, I wiped it all off, but you could still see a wet spot on her shirt.

Then, after being placed in Sarah's crib, Joseph became upset that I wanted him to sit still instead of running back and forth in there like he wanted to. 

I managed to calm Joseph down, but by then Sarah was in no mood to take pictures.  Not to worry, I wanted some individual shots of the kids, so I would just work with Joseph while Sarah relaxed and got happy.

This is the look of a little boy who is about to do something ornery. 

When the tongue comes out, things get dangerous.

Oh, that's what he was plotting... he wanted to stand up.

Since he didn't want to cooperate and sit in Sarah's crib, I removed him (since her mattress is on the highest level, I didn't feel comfortable with him standing in there).  He quickly crawled under Sarah's bed (one of his new favorite hiding spots) and began playing "oh no" (his version of peek-a-boo).  Oh no, where's Joseph?

There he is!

This ended up being my favorite individual shot of him from the day.

He received a much needed haircut a few days later.

Since Joseph wasn't cooperating and Sarah still wasn't in a mood for pictures, I decided to abort the mission and attempt again after lunch and naps. 

Both children woke up from nap in great moods, so I went ahead and took some more pictures even though the lighting had become less than desirable. *Warning, this is where the post gets very picture heavy!*

I put both kids back in Sarah's crib and gave Joseph a couple of Valentine-ish props to hopefully help with the picture taking.

Joseph wasn't too sure about the book.

Sarah wasn't too sure about having Joseph in her crib.

I finally got both kids to look at me at the same time.

Then Joseph started messing with Sarah.

This is probably the best picture of both of them from the entire day.

And this is where Joseph's true personality comes through.  I seriously just sat back and snapped pictures as he cracked himself up (pictures are shown in order without any removed).

And this is what Sarah thought about Joseph's performance.

Thinking that I had surely captured a card worthy picture of the two of them, I released Joseph from picture taking responsibilities and snapped a few of just Sarah.

Oh how I love this sweet smile!

And here is the final product.  I considered retaking the pictures when the lighting was better, but ultimately decided it wasn't worth it (happy kids in not so great lighting trumps unhappy kids in excellent lighting).  Overall, I'm happy with how the card turned out and I guess our families were too since I haven't heard anyone complain.  On a side note, I think I found the secret to making a Valentine's Day shirt a little boy actually wants to wear, put a truck on it. 

And, just for fun, here's a flashback of last year's card.  I can't believe how much Joseph has changed in a year (although he still has the same over the top personality).