September 21, 2013

San Antonio, 2013

My Dad has a golf tournament in San Antonio that he's been doing for the past few years, and usually Ella and my mom join him. But this year my mom was in NYC with Jamie, so Anna and I got to tag along.

Grandpa and Ella on the plane. I am including this picture to show off how my camera's autofocus. It didn't work for a few years and I have an awful lot of photos with Ella's face blurry but her top button sharp sharp.  I finally got it fixed, and it now magically knows what to focus on  (most of the time, at least)

We started off the trip visiting my college roommate and her cute little girl. It was really fun to catch up right where we left off...only now with husbands and kids. She showed us all the cool places. Like the Japanese Tea Gardens. Exactly what you picture when you think of Texas, right?

Then we rode a train to a cool kiddie park with old school rides. I promise Ella had more fun than it looks in this picture. But it's in focus, as opposed to this one:

I guess good camera can't make up for bad photographer.

We spent most of our time with these guys:

We love you, Lauren. Good job Greg. 

We spent most of our time at the Lazy River at our hotel. I've heard an awful lot about this lazy river, and let me tell you, it lived up to the hype. So much fun that we didn't take a single picture.  But the good folks at the Marriott did. Just imagine how much fun 5 Packer cousins had here.

There were also s'mores.

A little story about my powerful mind. I ordered the Granola for breakfast. Local yogurt, local honey.  

It was incredible. The yogurt was light and airy and tasted like a whipped, sweet Greek, vanilla mousse. When I asked the waitress what kind of yogurt it was she replied, "Dannon." What? No way. So I ordered it the next day, and asked the waitress (a different one) what kind of yogurt it was. "Yoplait." And even though I still think they were both wrong and it came from a small, organic dairy farm in San didn't taste nearly as good the second day. 

We rounded out the trip with Sea World. Sea World is always a good idea, but when you get a text like this a few hours before you are heading out it makes it extra special.

Even though she was a little hot and sweaty, Ella thought it was pretty darn great.

Kate and Ella third whale back, hands in the air. Brave, brave girls.

The young ones haven't yet realized that if you smile there is a chance you will get a treat. 

Thanks, Grandpa, for a great great trip! 

*Lauren reminded me of a funny story. There is a long standing debate between my parents whether my dad's ability to chat it up with anyone is creepy or friendly. He obviously thinks it's mom's not sure sure. Near the end of the day at Sea World the kids wanted to go on a ride with a long wait, so Grandpa Paul told them that if they would go on a different ride he would get them a treat on the way out. When we got to the treat stand it was closing time, and with 5 indecisive kids we were not the ideal customers. As usual, my dad was making friends with the kid running the joint. When we went to pay our total dropped from $35 to $25. We wanted to make sure there wasn't a mistake and asked about it.  He quietly gave us his employee discount. Lauren summed it up nicely:
"Creepy doesn't get you the employee discount!" 

Score one for Dad.

September 10, 2013


I've been meaning to do a post on Anna for so long, that most of the things I intended to write are now out of date. But...for posterity's sake (in case my iPhone ever dies, because heaven forbid I back it up) here are some snippets of the past 6 months.

  • She has imaginary friends. She doesn't talk about them much anymore, but their names are classic.  Sissy, Luna, Pay-uh and Pissa 

  • She used to greet you with, "Is it bwea-fest time" when you came in and got her in the morning. This video isn't the cutest, but someday I am sure I will watch it and tear up as I listen to her sweet voice. 

  • The binky. She loves it. Serious love. She can only have it when she is in her crib (or I want her to be quiet on an airplane, in church, etc) and it is not uncommon for her to sit in her crib for hours just so she can have it. When she is deciding whether to get out of her crib and give up the binky she will often take one last 'hit' on it before she drops it. We may never give it up.
  • She cut her own hair. It could have been worse, but it's not awesome. We tried to salvage it with a cute bob.
  • She has been talking in paragraphs since she was 2. Less interested in numbers and letters.                                          
  • She can use the potty on demand, but every time I put her in underwear it doesn't end well. But watching her climb up on the toilet is the funniest thing ever. 
  • She often calls me "Mama." Don't know where it came from. It's sweet.
  • She occasionally will have this deep laugh that cracks us up. She also will say, "I am a German" in her best Arnold S. voice. 

  • She's always on the go. We were just visiting our 103-year old neighbor, who commented, "My you are a busy one!"
  • Ella is really really great with her. If they fight over a toy, or who gets to do something Ella almost always figures out a compromise that they are both happy with, most of the time letting Anna have what she wants. 

September 3, 2013


It's true. Ella is old enough to go to Kindergarten. Just barely. Her birthday is August 29th (thanks to her obsessive mother who moved her c-section up a week and a half so she could make the deadline) so she is the youngest one in her class. I'm sure I will second guess this decision a thousand times over the years, but for now I think she is ready. She had a great first day, and one week in she still loves it. Anna, however, is not convinced. She misses her bestie for those three hours. Mom is going to have to step up her game to fill in the gaps. Love you, Ella!

September 2, 2013

Hayward, WI 2013 (Brad's pics)

Thankfully, we had Brad with us to take some non-iPhoto pictures.

I'm didn't even realize I was blocking Alisha. That's what happens when everyone is always taller than you ;)

Check out the cool shirts that Ella and Grandma Janet made. Ella was especially excited about the peace sign. "I have always wanted a shirt with one of those on it."

Hayward, WI 2013 (iphone pics)

12 years ago I first visited Hayward, Wisconsin, where the Packers have a cabin. I loved it and vowed to go back every year. I made good on my resolve for exactly one year. So when Doug and Janet and Grandma and Brad and Alisha were all going this year we decided to join in on the fun.  It was as great as I remembered--even better because we had an Ella and an Anna to share it with.

There is a great old time candy store in downtown Hayward. It was the highlight of the trip. I caught some of the pure joy on video

Go Karts. Of course.

my favorite picture ever. taken after she was surprised to see a peacock jump/fly 
We visited the Wilderness Walk one cloudy afternoon. We weren't sure what to expect, but what we found surprised us. "Corn cones" to feed the deer, goats, llamas, sheep, camels, and horses. Tigers and bears. Peacocks. Zebras (or were they striped horses? couldn't tell). Rides, playgrounds, walking trails, teepees, gold digging, and a wild west village. Wow.

Anna swimming by the dock.