Thanksgiving Week

When I looked at George’s school calendar earlier this year, I made the decision to take the week of Thanksgiving off from work. Since George would be off from school, I figured it was a good time for us to spend time together and hopefully to scratch a few things off of our to do list.

So, this is how we spent the week…

Saturday: We spent the day at yoga classes, running errands, and attending a birthday party for one of G’s classmates.

Sat day

Later, John and I went to a wine dinner hosted by one of our friends.

Sat night

Sunday: This was a fairly lazy day for us. We spent the morning at a birthday party at HMNS for one of our family friends, and spent the afternoon cleaning the apartment (with a focus on closets), and getting organized.

sunparty
Monday: With John back at work, George and I made our way to SpaceCenter Houston for some exploration.

Mon

After a few hours, we met my Dad at Tookie’s for lunch. Later, we drove to Galveston to do some exploring on the Strand. Naturally, we ended up at La King’s Confectionery.

mon2

My Mom called as I was making dinner and asked if George wanted to get his teeth cleaned the next day. Since we’ve had “go to the dentist” on our to-do list for a while, this was the perfect time to scratch it off of our list. So, after dinner, we drove to Baytown and spent the night with my parents.

Tuesday: Early the next morning, I took G to the dentist. Afterward, we ran some errands, picked up food from El Toro, and meet my parents for a family lunch. Later, we drove home and spent some time at the playground before playing at home. For dinner, we went to Samurai for George’s first hibachi experience. Needless to say, he’s scared of Samurai now.

tuenight

Wednesday: George and John went downtown in the morning while I tackled a long run outside. Later, we all met up at StudioMet for a design and strategy meeting. After that, we had a nice lunch at Taco Deli.

wedlunch

George and I spent the rest of the afternoon playing, reading, cooking, and trying to relax.

Thursday: We woke up very early on Thanksgiving and made our way downtown for the Houston Thanksgiving Parade. Thanks to my Brother in Law, we had VIP access. In addition to breakfast, beverages, parking passes, front-row parade viewing, and access to heated indoors, we also had access to many elected officials at a Morning reception.

thur

One of the highlights was time with Mayor Turner. The parade was also an excellent way to begin the day. We had a great time hearing the bands, watching the entertainment, and watching George and Ava take it all in.

thur2

After the parade, we made our way to the Rosenberg’s for Thanksgiving lunch. While Ian fried the turkey, the ladies warmed our ready-made sides. We had a great lunch, including tasty treats that I picked up from Susie Cakes.

thur3.jpg

George, John, and I went home early in the afternoon and I took a two-hour nap. For dinner, we had leftovers and spent the evening decorating our apartment for the Holidays.

Friday: I started the day with a nice morning run. After running errands with George, we met Mom for lunch at HopDoddy and went to iPic to see “The Grinch.”

 

fri

We had a low-key afternoon, including a visit with my Dad and the Rosenbergs. Thanks to my Dad, everyone had delicious gumbo for dinner.

Saturday: We began the day with pancakes before George and I went to the Houston Zoo.

satzoo

The weather was gorgeous and we had a wonderful time exploring the Zoo. We also took a whirl on the carousel and the Hermann Park train.  We had a low-key afternoon full of relaxation and kid movies on TV.

sat2.jpg

Sunday: I kicked off the day with an outdoor 7-mile run.  The podcast I was listening to helped distract me from the absurd humidity.  Blerg. Later, we went to church, had lunch at Le Colonial, and went to iPic (again!) to watch “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”  After the movie, we ran a few errands before I prepped dinner (chicken spaghetti). I left for IAH just after putting dinner in the oven (more on my work trip will appear in a later post – hopefully).

lc

We had a great Thanksgiving week and I was fortunate to be able to spend so much time with my family.  We are grateful for so many things and it was nice to take some time to reflect on the blessings in our lives.

 

 

George’s 5th Birthday!

George turned “5” on Monday, October 9th!

G is 5

Our friends and family helped us formally celebrate our Georgie with a party at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on October 13th.

HBD G

George has been really into bugs lately, so we thought a bug-themed party was appropriate. 

Room

We had all of the food catered (via Whole Foods, and Domino’s) for this year’s party.  Having the food catered was a great move on our part – we had too much going on the day of the party to worry about cooking and cleaning the kitchen – not to mention the fact that I had two work trips that week.

g slime

The kid’s had a great time coloring, making slime, and visiting the butterfly exhibit.

slimer

Now, onto the cake. You know it isn’t an Arnold party unless we have a Three Brothers cake.

cake

The red-velvet cake was melt-in-your-mouth amazing and was the perfect size for our party.

cake2

All kid guests left with a special goodie bag (that I prepared!) with candy, bug stickers, a glowing ring, bug pencil, bug toy and a few other special treats.

John, George, and I had a great time visiting with family and friends at the party and we greatly appreciate the effort our friends and family made to join us.  Because we are currently displaced due to Hurricane Harvey, the love and joy that stem from our friends is appreciated more than ever.

Since some folks will ask, here are the vendors we used for the party. To be clear, we paid for all goods and services, and the opinions expressed here are our own.

We love you, George! Special thanks again to our friends and family for helping us celebrate this milestone, especially those who traveled from far away.

 

Happy Birthday to Us!

My apologies. I know this post is long overdue, but so many things have kept us busy lately – namely working on the new house and working our tails off at our jobs. Anyhow…

John and I celebrated birthdays in September (his) and October (mine,) and we celebrated with a trip (with just the two of us) to Santa Fe, NM, early last month.

Thursday 
We left Houston on a late flight on Thursday, October 4th, and arrived so late into Albuquerque that we stayed the night in a hotel close to the airport. We got in just before midnight (New Mexico time) so we crashed when we arrived at our hotel.

Friday 
We were up early on Friday and did some early morning workouts before getting ready and driving to a nearby town to have breakfast with a family friend of ours. We had a great meal at the Range Cafe in Bernalillo where we talked politics, family, and all things New Mexico. It was a great time.

B Breakfast

When we pulled into Santa Fe later that morning, our first stop was at Meow Wolf. John wasn’t really into seeing Meow Wolf, but I absolutely loved it.

mw1

The wildly abstract and vibrant art installation is a great way to get lost for a few hours.

mw2

Later, we had a nice lunch at La Plazuela, one of our favorite Santa Fe restaurants. We both had the Chile Rellenos and they were to die for.

LP lunch

Afterwards, we did some shopping in the plaza before checking into our hotel (La Posada de Santa Fe).

Hotel

We did a whole lot more shopping, then rested in our room before heading to dinner at SantaCafe – another family favorite. The restaurant was packed and we enjoyed our placement on the outdoor patio. Portable heaters made the space cozy and enjoyable.

F dinn

We kicked dinner off with cocktails, then split a southwestern salad.

Fri Din 2

For my entree, I had fresh pasta and chicken, and John had lamb. Both dishes were divine.

F dinn 3

For dessert, we split an apple and rhubarb cobbler.

F dinn 4

It’s a good thing we walked back to the hotel – we needed to walk off part of our dinner.

Saturday 
We both worked out early the next morning before grabbing a quick breakfast at a nearby Whole Foods.

Sat Break

Afterwards, we drove to Ten Thousand Waves to indulge ourselves.

spa

We started our experience off by renting a private soaking tub and sauna.

spa2

We spent about 90 minutes there before moving to an hour long skin exfoliating treatment and then on to hour long massages. Needless to say, we were long wet noodles after all of that.

spa me

We were ravenous after our treatments, so we drove back into town and had a late lunch at Tomasita’s. I am lucky that I get to have my New Mexico food fix with many trips to the state for work, but poor John only has one or two opportunities per year to eat the food of his youth.

Sat late lunch

Because we were full, relaxed, and feeling super lazy at this point, we went back to the hotel and took long afternoon naps.

Much later, we went to Geronimo to enjoy the last dinner of ever-so-quick trip to Santa Fe.

Sat dinner

We began dinner with leek and mushroom soup and quickly moved to our entrees.

Sat Dinner 2

John had a steak and I had my favorite dish from Geronimo’s – the sea bass. Everything was delicious. We really wanted to pass on dessert, but when in Rome…

Sat Dessert

We were so full when we got back to the hotel, that we built a little fire and settled in front of the television. While checking in for the next day’s flight, I saw two open sets on an earlier flight and booked them. We were in no really hurry to get home, but extra time with George is always welcome!

Sat Fire

Sunday
I woke up super early on Sunday and I (literally) ran to the gym for a quick run on the treadmill. We were dressed and ready to head to the airport by 5:45 that morning. I know, what the hell?!

We boarded our flight and took off on time. We were reunited with my parents and George before noon and had a nice lunch h together.

John and I are so l lucky to be able to sneak away for a weekend, especially one to celebrate our birthdays.  We had a fabulous visit to Santa Fe and hope to return as a family in the near future.

Labor Day Weekend – Monday

The Hunters left early Monday morning, leaving the house to us. It was lonely and quiet without them there.

house

While John and G lazed in the living room watching a movie, I took advantage of the cool weather and took a nice long walk outdoors.

walk
I did some laundry when I got back to the house…because who doesn’t like coming home with suitcases full of clean clothes? After tidying up the house and eating breakfast, we were ready for an Uber to take us to the airport.

uber
Our airport experience was painless – we breezed through security, enjoyed some down time in the United Club, and boarded and departed the airport without delay.

As luck should have it, George and I slept the majority of the flight home.

napWe were fortunate to spend some family time in San Diego over the Labor Day weekend, and I am so thankful for this crew.

us

After many hectic work and life weeks, it was nice to spend an entire weekend enjoying casual family time.

Labor Day Weekend – Sunday

Everyone slept well on Saturday night, but was up early on Sunday.  Nelda and I made a run to the local grocer store for a few items, and picked up doughnuts for everyone while we were out.

Donuts

We purposely planned for a lazy Sunday, which included spending time on the beach on Coronado Island.

beach

We rented two bed cabanas with umbrellas, and four beach chairs with umbrellas.  For us, this was the perfect set up.

beach setup
It was cooler than we would have liked, but that didn’t stop the kids from getting into, and playing near, the water.

kids
As luck would have it, our sweet local friends were able to meet us at the beach for playtime and lunch.

landon
We took advantage of the beach service and ordered lunch for everyone from our day beds.  I also took advantage of Sunday Funday and had this fabulous drink.

drink-1
After a few more hours of beach time, we were all sunned out.

beach2

We changed into less sandy clothes, and hit the ice cream shoppe for one last bite of summer.

IC

We had a pretty casual evening at home — leftovers for dinner, packing, and playing.  Fortunately, our beach bum kids were sleepy and were sound asleep at an early hour.

Labor Day Weekend – Saturday

Overnight, there were fewer musical bed exchanges and more sleeping hours for everyone. Amen!

Once everyone was up and ready to go, we drove over to Little Italy to visit the infamous Saturday Farmer’s Market for breakfast.

FM
There were 150 vendors to peruse, and it was almost overwhelming.

flower

There were a lot of classic Market offerings, including fresh produce, flowers, and local protein vendors. There were also less traditional vendors and a few food trucks. I picked up some lavender items and a few fresh spices to bring home.

berries-1
For breakfast, John had a breakfast burrito from a food truck, George and I had pastries from a bakery tent, along with fresh fruit. The kids also fresh fruit juice courtesy of a fruit vendor.  I also picked up a few fresh pretzels that were too good for words. Truly.

pretzel

After our bellies were full, we made the short drive to the Zoo.

g sign

Since all of us had been to the Zoo before, we had a very relaxed visit.

zoo hippo

Essentially, we visited half of the Zoo, then broke for lunch. After lunch, the kids were fading, so we went back to the house for a hand while. The Hunter kids and I slept and George and everyone else rested.

Once everyone was up, we went back to the Zoo for round two.

Arnold Zoo

We did a lot more exploring before driving to Little Italy for dinner.

G koala

We eyed Napizza while were in Little Italy earlier that day, and it made for a great al fresco dinner location and end to our evening.

Napizza

Labor Day Weekend – Friday

I’m not sure if it was because all of the of kids (except Emma) were sleeping in the same room, or if it was due to the fact that they were in an unfamiliar environment, but every child in our house played musical beds all night long. G wound up in our bed, then I woke up with him in his bed. Blerg. Even still, I was able to get a good night of sleep.

sunrise

We had breakfast in the house before getting ready for the day. Before long, we were on our way to LEGOLAND. George had been asking to go for a year, so he was very excited to finally be on his way.

We arrived right when the park opened and it was pretty empty (which was a dream come true).

sign
We made our way to our first ride – the Safari Trek.

trek

We had fun and immediately made our way to the next ride – the Coaster Saurus. This was a more traditional roller coaster and I’m not sure who had more fun – the kids or the adults.

Afterwards, we went to Skipper School, then boarded the Captain Cranky ride. Both were great experiences for the kids. The next stop was a Lego playground, then a whirl on the
Copter ride.

All of this activity made us hungry, so we decided to eat some lunch. I had a great Caprese sandwich with farm-fresh tomatoes that were super delicious. Who knew park food could be so good?

my lunch

The kid’s meals offered at the park were surprisingly filling and tasty. George had ham and cheese roll ups with crackers, fruit, gummy treats, and an Honest juice.

g lunch
After lunch, we went on our favorite ride – the Deep Sea Adventure.

sub
We also had fun seeing all of the Lego installations around the Park.

spider

We also made a point to try the park’s infamous apple fries.

applefries

They. Were. So. Good.

After some time playing in one of the Lego play areas, we made a stop at the Park’s Big Shop. We picked up some new Legos for George and even managed to pick up a Halloween costume for him. We also had an opportunity to meet “Benny” from the Lego movie.

Benny
Because our tickets included entrance into the Sea Life Aquarium, we made a quick pass through the exhibit. George loves sea-life, so he really enjoyed the experience. Once of his favorite parts of the visit was touching a Starfish.

starfish
We left the Park late in the afternoon and George snoozed in the car (while clutching his loot).

nap
We stopped at Ralph’s (grocery store) where I picked up some groceries for the house. Once we made it back to the house it was Lego assembly time.

lego build

Zach and John built the kid’s Legos and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

lego
Later, Nelda and I walked to the Point Loma Fish Shop and picked up dinner. Everyone enjoyed seafood and fried deliciousness back at the house. Thanks to the time change and day’s activities, it was an early bedtime for everyone.