Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bluebonnicator Report: March 31

When we last left our hero, the Bluebonnicator, it stood at 30 percent. The flowers were not so great yet and prospects were looking iffy.

What a difference two weeks make.

Spring is officially here and the flowers are out, folks - and they're looking really good. What's weird is that the places where the flowers are usually the best aren't all that great this year. My suggestion is to get off the beaten path and explore some of the farm-to-market roads. There are some amazing patches to be seen there!

This would be a good time to remind everyone about some general guidelines:

1. Don't trample the bluebonnets. Try to step only in the areas between the bluebonnet plants. It might require you to what I call "the bluebonnet hop", butit will keep the plants looking great for everyone.

2. Don't pick the bluebonnets. Period. Get some seeds off the bottom of the plant instead and grow your own! Besides, it's against the law to pick the bloom.

3. Don't go romping through people's yards and fields to take pictures without permission. It really, really makes the locals mad when "city folks" come up and go on quarter mile hikes into their pastures to take their family's picture in the bluebonnets. It's private property, and it's just rude. Most times, if you'll just ask permission it will be okay, but there are plenty of great photo opportunities on public land. The state makes sure of that.

4. Watch out for fire ants! The same kind of soil that is great for growing bluebonnets is also prime for fire ants. Watch out! [and watch out for snakes, too!]

5. Ask a local. As I said before, there a lot of great photo places to take your family's photo in bluebonnets. And a lot of them are very easily accessible, but might not be able to be seen from the highway. Ask a local where some great shots can be had as you buy some Blue Bell ice cream or a sandwich or an antique from their shop.

6. Don't cross a fence. I've heard a lot of stories since we moved up here about tourists crossing fences. Some stories involve getting chased by bulls, some involve broken fences and some involve animals getting loose. But every one of the stories involved trespassing and ticked off the land owner. I've been guilty of this in the past - I admit it - but now I know better, and I'm letting you all know, as well.

7. Have a great time, outdoors. Get outside and enjoy the spring air and the sunshine. You can't see the bluebonets from your living room couch, folks. Unless you live in Brenham, that is. ;)

So without further ado, it's time for this week's Bluebonnicator index:


We still haven't gotten the rain that we need to make the bluebonnets amazing, but there are some great patches popping up, regardless!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

The Pharaon family took a trip to the zoo last weekend and had a great time! We started at the children's zoo portion and then headed over to the new African safari section - two sections where we've (surprisingly) never explored before.

We got to see bats, pet goats, "raffs," "noceruses," monkeys (chimps) and even play some bongos! And of course no zoo trip is complete without a ride on the train.

Here are some photos from our trip. And be sure to check out the video at the end. It's worth it just to see the chimpanzee charge the glass at us. Fun!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Odds & Ends

I love the kids' birthday gift for's just a heart-shaped rock we found while out on a bike ride one day, but it just felt special.  :)  

We are so behind in our blogging...this week we went to the Boys & Girls Club to help them break a world record (most people doing jumping jacks simultaneously for 2 minutes).  We'll find out in a few weeks if they broke the record, but it was worth it, regardless.  (Turns out, Noble can't jump for 2 minutes...and I can't jump and talk to/take care of Noble at one time.  Sigh.)  But it was fun.  :)  

A note about this picture:  we DID take a picture of our family, but there's the kid from Kayci's school who wanted to be in the picture, and I feel a little weird putting his picture on the internet.  It was funny...but in the, heh heh, kinda uncomfortable way.  We had fun with the Dallmeyers, and Heather totally rocked the jumping jacks despite the distractions.  She's my hero!

Kayci is just...Kayci.  She's just awesome, when she's not being a normal kid.  The highlight of her life right now is the treehouse.  We went today and bought the rest of the rails, and James got the jigsaw ready.  The other night they went out to Brad & Sherri's and picked up the roof (thanks, Bogans!)  Her other favorite thing is reading...which can be a problem, sometimes, as she tends to rush through her schoolwork so she can read...we're working on it.  Last week we got back into the habit of reading at bedtime--Miles to Go, the Miley Cyrus autobiography.  Painful!  Tonight we read Ephesians.  Yes, she has become really interested in the Bible lately, but the real reason?  She discovered that she can get AR points for reading the books of the Bible.  Ha!  

Noble is a mess, but a beautiful mess.  In the past few weeks, his speech has become so much clearer, his vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds, his behavior has evened's been a lot of fun.  What made me blog in the first place tonight was our dinner conversation.  (Side note:  we're trying to be good about eating at home, eating healthy, tonight we took everything in our crisper and threw it on the grill with some shrimp.  Turns out, carrots and radishes are pretty good grilled!)  So, we're sitting outside eating and Noble says to James, "I wanna twy your sawad stuff."  Okay, try some salad.  What do you like?  "Umm...some cucumber and wettuce.  Which one is cucumber?"  So Noble takes some of each out of Daddy's bowl.  Takes a bite out of the cucumber and almost gags...then tosses it back in Daddy's bowl (of mostly uneaten, in the process of being eaten, salad)..."Ugh.  I not wike dat."  Takes a bite of lettuce...same thing.  Tosses it back in Daddy's bowl..."Not wike dat, either.  Tastes wike weaves!"  

He's at the age where he can help with lots of stuff, and loves to help--and getting him busy is a great distraction when he starts getting worked up.  We needed a distraction toward the end of dinner, so I sent him inside to get our "thankful for's" notebook.  He did it!  Which was cool, but this was what he's thankful for today:  "tooting and burping and watching "Bubble Guppies."  Oh, my.  

So that's a slice of our life...there's been some other, big life stuff this week, but those stories are not ours to tell.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Look, up in the tree!

When Noble and I woke up from nap, we walked outside and saw:

It's almost done! James is a little bummed that he didn't finish the railings today, but it was finished enough that we were all able to enjoy dinner in the tree tonight.

Kayci ate outside at her newly repainted table...

And Noble ate inside.

And yes, his drink was yuck.

Come by in a couple of weeks and it will be completely done! I am so proud of the progress Daddy and Kayci have made over Spring Break. She's going back to school a very, very happy girl. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy birthday, Daddyboy!

Today is James' birthday! Kayci and I had fun decorating and putting together a choose-your-own-adventure birthday for Daddy. I can't tell you much about his gift because it involves gifts that will be given over the next few weeks, but I will say he chose adventure over a new toy. I think he chose well, but Kayci really wanted him to get a new iPad!

Today has been a perfect Daddyboy day: great weather, Big Daddy's for breakfast AND lunch, and an entire morning spent outside working on the treehouse. After nap (also one of his favorite things!) we're going to spend the afternoon with family celebrating another very special life.

Welcome to 36, looks great on you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bluebonnicator: March 18

Big changes in the last week. Lost of sun, warm weather and a little bit of rain have really started bringing out the flowers off all types. It's getting really pretty out there, and bluebonnets are starting to pop up in lots of places - but not in places where they're usually really good and not in any great numbers (yet).

A couple more weeks and more rain will really help the bluebonnets.

So this week's Bluebonnicator index is:


Gavin & Kayci Go To Sonic - Gag Reel

Never-before-seen gag reel from Gavin & Kayci Go To Sonic, shot two years ago this week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Kayci wanted to show you the progress on the treehouse. So, here you go...

Kayci designed and painted her walls with just a little help (and even that entailed MUCH micromanaging, hence the kid spray-painting).

She knows what she likes, alright. Here she's adding some finishing touches.

The almost-final product:

Pirates, beware!

Slide platform...big progress!

And the slide is up!

Up next: stairs to Kayci's level, finishing her walls, adding her railing. They're moving right along!

Yesterday we had our first picnic in the treehouse, and now Kayci is planning a campout up there...with Daddy, of course. No way could we trust Noble up that high with our eyes closed!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best. Day. Ever.

That may be a bit premature, as she hasn't actually proclaimed it so...but I feel pretty confident Kayci will say those words before the day is through.

It's Spring Break. Our plan, since James was supposed to work all week, was to lay low. Spend time at home, dig out the office floor, spend time with friends--just hang out. Our plan was to do the opposite of what comes naturally to me, and just BE. So far, so good.

Kayci really wanted to work on the treehouse this week, and has been disappointed that it hasn't worked out so far. I promised her that we could get the paint and at least get that done, then James was able to work out a day off today. I wish you could have seen her face when I said, "why don't you ask that man to help you with the paint?" and it was Daddy...priceless.

Big picture...

The slide's going on today!

Happy girl!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bluebonnicator Report: March 10

The weather is warming, the sun is shining and the grass is getting that really pretty soft, green look to it. Spring is here! And the good news is that there have been some bluebonnet sightings! I've noticed a few flowers popping up around town and there has even been a report of bluebonnets on the highway next to Arby's (thanks, Sherri). There are even two bluebonnet plants growing right here in Pharaonsylvannia (but no flowers on them yet).

The flowers that I've seen around town aren't very deep-colored yet and they're pretty sparse. I've noticed a couple of Indian paintbrushes pop up, as well. Seriously- two flowers.

So this week's Blubonnicator index is:


It's getting there. Another couple of weeks of warm weather with a couple of days of rain in there and those wildflowers will be everywhere. Just not quite yet...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Three Years

As I woke up this morning thinking about Noble's birthday today, I thought "has it only been three years?" It seems sometimes as if we've always had a Bubby, and it definitely seems as though he's been with us for more than just three years.

I happened to awake at 4:12am, the same time three years ago that Kristi woke me to tell me that her water broke. As I write this, three years ago, I was loading the dishwasher because Kristi wanted to come back home to a clean house. It would still be another 45 minutes or so before we would get on the road and make a mad dash for Houston. You can read that entire story here. It's worth it.

So much has happened in the last three years- it's been packed with such fun times, sad times, life and, unfortunately, death that it just seems as if its been a lot longer than that. Noble is older now than Kayci was when we moved to Brenham, and she seemed so big at the time. It's frightening and sad - and beautiful - to me how quickly she's growing and how much both of them have grown in three years.

So today is Noble's third birthday. Happy birthday to my little guy. He took our little family and shook it upside down and changed everything. We just thought we were having fun before him, but we had no idea how much more fun we would have with a Bubby. I can't imagine our family without him.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Return of the Bluebonnicator!

It's March, and that means that it's time to start thinking about getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and springtime flowers. Many of our friends and family ask us how the bluebonnets are looking, so I came up with a handy gauge to show exactly how good the bluebonnets are for the upcoming weekend - the Bluebonnicator (patent still pending).

Every Thursday throughout March and April we'll post the official Bluebonnicator index for Brenham, Texas (the Bluebonnet capital of the world) for the upcoming weekend .

So, without further ado, this week's Bluebonnicator index is:

0. Zero. None. Nada. Don't waste your time. The freezing weather we all got just a couple of weeks ago has made the flowers a little late this year. In fact, things are just now starting to green up.

That's not to say there aren't great reasons to come visit Brenham this weekend - for a little piratey fun, say. But just don't expect to see any bluebonnets yet.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Birthday Wishes...

Many of you have called, texted, e-mailed, get the idea...asking about Noble's birthday.  If it were up to us, we'd say--just send him a card (he loves the singing ones, but thinks Ant Peggy sings every one since they're usually from her.  By the way, Peg, a few days ago his thankful thought was "Ant Peggy because she bought me that card!")  I digress.

If you MUST buy the child a gift, think small, because he does.  Noble loves the little crappy toys that drive Mommys crazy.  You know, cars, plastic animals, robots, anything from "Toy Story" or "Cars" or "Spiderman" or "Batman" or dinosaurs or frogs...he's pretty easy.  :)

He digs the Fisher-Price Imaginext toys, I think because he gets to play those with Daddy.  :)  Auntie Nina got him a cool Imaginext Batcave for Christmas and I'd say that's one of his favorites (there are several bad guys you can buy to go with it), along with the Imaginext Pirate ship Wyatt passed down to him.  He still loves the Imaginext dragon castle GoGo got him for his birthday last year, and I'm sure he'd love some more little guys to lose.  I mean, play with.

A list of Bubby's favorite things:

action figures of any kind--he loves to make them talk to each other :)
woo woos (ambulances, firetrucks, police cars)
garbage trucks
playing outside, period

I hope this helps!  Thanks for celebrating our favorite preschooler.

Sniff.  He's not a baby anymore, is he?

How to tell when Noble has had your phone