Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Utah!

Our big vacation this year was to Utah where we were able to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings.

Della was really excited to leave on vacation...


Especially after enduring the Texas summer (the hottest summer on record since of any state ever since they started taking records!). When we left Houston it was 102 degrees and when we arrived in Salt Lake City it was 89 degrees. Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!


I (Caitlin) took both kids on the airplane alone a few days before Chad. Della was so good on the plane, especially with her brother and her chewy tube (aka her "pipe") to keep her entertained...


We stopped at In-N-Out on the way from the airport. It was delicious, and so was the lady's hair behind me...


We stayed with the Millers where there lots of loves for Della. She was in heaven!

Archer got to spend time with both his Utah and California cousins!




One of his visits ended like this...


Archer also got to go rock wall climbing with a friend from church who recently moved from Texas...
 

The Millers got us tickets to go see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" or as Archer calls it "Joseph and the Amazing Tropical Dream Coat of Many Colors,"at the Hale Theater. Archer was amazed the entire time and had a lot of questions which he "whispered" very loudly to Heather.

 Archer was completely star struck when we got to meet the cast after the show. Here he is with Joseph...

But the highlight for him was meeting Pharaoh. On the way home Archer said "I think Pharaoh was kinda copying Elvis."

 And then there were the puppies! Scott and Jill brought over their sweet little puppies. Archer was half in love with/ terrified of them. He is mostly afraid of dogs, but the puppies were so cute that I think they may have won him over. While playing with the dogs, Archer leaned over and whispered "I think the dogs like me more than Scott and Jill."

The Millers took us up to Olympic Park to check out the zip line and alpine slide. 


It was quite an adventure! Here is a short video of what we did. 
video


We may have all gotten a little sunburned...




Chad was able to visit a former mission companion where they spoke Tongan and ate a whole bunch me'a kai na'e 'ifo (that's "delicious food" for all you palangis out there)...


One of the more exciting parts of our trip was Della's haircut! It only took 4 grown adults to make it happen; Grandma held her right arm and leg, Caitlin held her left arm and leg, Chad held her head, Heather did the cutting, and Della did the screaming and thrashing! This picture was before it started to go downhill...

But look how cute it turned out!!!

Oh the joy of NEVER having to deal with this again!

We had so much fun in Utah. A big thank you to everyone who made our trip so special!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Things I Learned From Butterflies

We bought passes to the Houston Museum of Natural Science last year and they have already paid for themselves. HMNS is second in attendance only to the New York Museum of Natural Science (where "Night at the Museum" was filmed). HMNS has a lot of really cool stuff in it, but for some reason we had never been to the butterfly zoo. It's not like we couldn't see it the giant 3-story glass building that houses the zoo...

Here is the satellite view from space (or Google Maps). I added the information on handicapped parking because I love how close it is to the entrance...
We finally took the time to go see the butterflies and after experiencing it, I don't think we can ever visit the museum again without a trip inside the butterfly zoo. There are lots of tropical flowers, trees, vines, plants, etc. growing inside the solarium(?). The simulated environment is supposed to mimic the rainforest so the temperatures are warm and the humidity high (hence my puffy hair). Strangely enough, on that July day in Houston, the temperature and humidity were higher outside than they were in the actual exhibit. And of course, there were lots of butterflies just floating around.
Enough with the talk already, or as Edna Mode says "Yes darling, words are useless! Gobble gobble gobble gobble!" Props to whoever can name the movie without the help of Google.

See the butterfly right in front of our faces?
Red Peacock Butterfly...


 Della thought it was the best thing EVER! You can tell pretty easily whether or not she likes something. But it is rare that you actually see her LOVE something...






 In fact, Della loved it so much, she wanted to eat the plants! We said no to that because we are mean...

 Notice how everyone is looking off in a different direction, there was so much to see...

As we sat on a bench a large Owl Butterfly landed on Chad's back. Della immediately wanted to swipe at it (and possibly eat it) but Archer's terrified shrieks of protest stopped Della's attempts...
Here are some shots taken by Archer:
Julia Butterfly...


This is a cool shot of some random kid holding a Rice Paper Butterfly...

Della climbing a tree...


At the exit there were butterflies being projected on the walls. Poor Della thought they were real and kept trying to catch one...



After a particularly rough weekend, it was nice to leave all the stress behind and enter this almost magical space. Watching the happiness on Archer and Della's faces as they chased butterflies or marveled at the 50 ft. waterfall, helped me to remember this quote from Pres. Thomas S. Monson: "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."


Sunday, July 17, 2011

California Cousins + Texas Cousins = Lots Of Fun!

The Sanchez family came all the way from California to visit us here in Texas! Amy brought her three kids (Nathan, Tyler, and Mia) all by herself (bless her heart as we say here in the South). Initially I was worried that there wouldn't enough to do or that I had to plan some spectacular activity but that wasn't necessary. We had so much fun just being together. Archer and his cousins all lived within 10 square miles and hardly a week went by that they didn't see each other. They even went to the same Preschool.

 Here is an early picture of the boys together. Back row L-R: Tristan Plummer, Owen Calder, and Nathan Sanchez (who was having a hard time with the fact that his new brother was here to stay). Front Row L-R: Jack Plummer, Archer Calder (looking at Nathan and hoping that the new sibling thing never happens to him), and Tyler Sanchez. Oh, and on the right is the lovely Amy Sanchez...

 These three boys were all born in 2004. L-R Jack Plummer (who looks about 5 minutes old), Archer Calder (who was 7 months and 70 lbs), and Tyler Sanchez (who was 4 months old)...

Archer keeps this picture in his room. L-R Jack Plummer, Archer Calder, and Nathan Sanchez.


Archer not being able to see his cousins was one of the hardest things about moving halfway across the country. When the Sanchez family pulled up to our house it was like no time had passed at all! I did feel bad about one thing, it was so HOT! But the heat made playing in the water a lot more fun.

Mia picking tomatoes. Notice the shoes...






Thank goodness for the pool!

Mia is so cute but she has a killer "pouty" face that will pretty much make you give her what ever she wants. Watch out!

 Tyler explaining to his mom all of the reasons he would prefer not to go in the pool. About one minute after I took this shot his mom pulled him in anyway...

Love this one of Miss Mia...

 This is how you look when you have already had cancer and you feel like the sun is poisonous...



 Tyler said he hates being photographed in the morning...

Della pretty much bossed all the boys around as they played Wii...
 We had so much fun and it was so hard to say goodbye. There were plenty of tears shed by all, especially by the kids. Thanks for visiting Sanchez Family!