Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

We had a really fun Halloween this year! Kayci dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Noble was Spider-man.

We started the evening off by going to take photos of the kids in their costumes. Then we headed over to Grandma's for some early trick-or-treating and then the REAL fun began...

Every year we take off from our house and walk almost half a mile to find houses that are handing out candy. It seems like there are fewer and fewer every year. By the time we finally get there, the kids are tired of walking and we're just ready to be done already. Then there's the long walk home... So this year we got smart and drove to the street in our neighborhood where we usually trick-or-treat. That worked out well. The kids visited several houses and we loaded up in the car to go home for dinner (we had picked up Schlotzki's).

We watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and then headed out to the porch for our real favorite part of the evening - handing out candy. We didn't have as many trick-or-treaters as normal, but that's okay. The kids got to hand out some candy to a few kids before it was time to head inside for bed.

The kids were exhausted after their day. Noble, in fact. was so tired that after I read him his story, he just rolled over and fell right asleep. That almost never happens.

It was a fun day, but MommyGirl was happy to get the house back to normal and went around last night taking down the Halloween decorations and putting up the Harvest decor.

Here are a few photos of the kids in their costumes. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Family That Creates Together...

This week is the Washington County Fair. The last couple of years I've entered some photos in the fair photography contest and have usually done pretty well. Last year Kayci entered a couple of photos, as well, and won some blue ribbons for her work.

This year both Pharaon kids decided they wanted to enter photos in the fair. Noble entered a photo he took with his iPod looking out the car window as we were driving one day. Kayci entered a photo she took of Noble a few weeks ago at church. Both Noble and Kayci knew exactly which image they wanted to submit and they stuck to it.

I entered three photos - a shot of a basketball player leaping, a light painting of Independence Hall at Washington-on-the-Brazos and a photo of a dinosaur statue at Dinosaur Valley State Park.

As my pal, Matt Parker, said - "the Pharaons did very well."

Noble won a red ribbon for his photo, Kayci won Grand Champion of her division for her photo, I won Grand Champion and Reserve Champion.

It was a good haul for the Pharaons, but most of all, I was proud that the kids wanted to participate and to show their creativity.

I'm so proud of our little knuckleheads.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What's the big eye-dea?

Yesterday was one of Kayci's favorite days of the year...her annual eye exam. She was excited to get new glasses, and had her fingers crossed that she'd get to try something new, as well.

That's right, this responsible young lady got contacts. Popped them right in and that was that--she had no trouble taking them out at bedtime, either. So impressed with her! She's been wearing glasses for a little more than two years, and it's been a long two years for a little girl who loves, loves her sunglasses. So the first thing we did was to buy her a new pair of sunglasses to celebrate!

I also got glasses when I was 7, but my vision had probably not been great for a while. That's why we were so vigilant about checking Kayci's vision--and we STILL missed it. I felt horrible when James pointed out that she was squinting. :/ We took her right to the optometrist and I'll never forget the look on her face when she put her glasses on for the first time, or the wonder in her voice when she talked about how much brighter the colors were. It was pretty cool to see that face and hear the wonder again yesterday when she opened her eyes after putting the contacts in. To be able to see when you open your eyes, without glasses, is something people with good vision take for granted. I got all choked up to see Kayci experience that for the first time since getting her glasses.

It was a big day. Sigh. She also got glasses, but our insurance doesn't cover new frames for her until next year. Kayci chose the frames I have (sweet, right?) but luckily, the ladies talked her into a more reasonably-priced pair that were a little smaller. For a while there, I told James it felt like I was hemmorhaging money...those fees add up, even with insurance! One of Kayci's classmates was also in the store, and I was reminded of how blessed we are when they had to leave without glasses because they didn't have insurance and couldn't afford them. My heart broke for that Mom who wants the best for her kiddo, just like we do. So that ended my personal pity party about our bill.

Given that I missed when Kayci's vision went bad, I have been watching Noble like a hawk for any signs of squinting, etc. I asked about an eye exam for him and the staff was like, well, we can take a look. Think about it-many 5 year old boys can't readily identify letters, etc. But Noble climbed up in that chair and took the regular eye exam...the doctor was floored, and said she'd never been able to test a 5 year old before. I noticed he was hesitant when there was a group of letters on the screen, and I finally figured out that he was trying to figure out what the "word" was! I think he breathed a sigh of relief when I told him they were just groups of letters, not words. :)

I had been telling him and telling him, you probably won't get glasses for a long time, we're just checking your eyes. Well, imagine my surprise and his delight:

These were his favorite, because they're a cross between Daddy's glasses and Uncle Ronny's glasses. No kiddy frames for this little man!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

a Kayci Story

ten years ago today our lives changed, and a beautiful baby girl taught us that you can love more every day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Krause Talent Show 2013

Yesterday Kayci and her friend Kate sang Taylor Swift's "Our Song" in the annual Krause Talent Show. She did great, and we're so proud of her for having the courage - time and time again - to get up in front of large groups of people and perform. Three years ago, she danced. Last year she played piano and this year she sang a duet. We're constantly amazed at the talents of our Bitty and we thank God for her every day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Coming Soon!

May's a busy time for all families, I know.  

On Wednesday this week, I registered *this guy* for KINDERGARTEN.

And next week, our big kid tours the MIDDLE SCHOOL!  (In Brenham, Elementary ends at 4th, Middle School is 5th and 6th, Junior High is 7th and 8th, and then there's High School...I feel like I'll blink and then it will be here.  :/)

Back to May...tonight is Jr. Maifest.  Kayci's a Ring of Fire girl (4th from the left in this pic), and we're going to do our best to keep her warm while she's waiting to dance.  :)  Say a little prayer for all of the kids in costume and the families in the stands tonight.  Maifest is such a great tradition, and I'm so grateful to live in a community that keeps traditions alive.  Tomorrow morning the Maifest parade is at 10, if you're interested.  Kayci will be on float #34.  Not that they're reading, but we so appreciate the royal families and all that they do for the kids of the community.  Maifest is tons of fun!

On May 16th, Kayci's in her last program at Krause:  "Science Rocks!"  Yes, she and her nerdy smart friends are STOKED.  That's also my last PTO meeting as President.  Woo hoo!  :)

May 18th is Kayci's Piano Recital @ 10 AM at the Presbyterian Church.  If you want to come and enjoy the music of some awesome kids, let us know and we'll give you more info.  

And fingers crossed, the Krause Talent Show is May 24th, probably at 1:30 or 2.  Hopefully Kayci and Kate will be in it this year, singing a Taylor Swift song.  Kayci's got new boots and she's ready to go!

 Oh, and those feet on the right?  Noble's Chucks are getting too small, so we told him we'd buy him new shoes.  He *sniff* told me he didn't WANT Converse, he needed Skechers so he could run faster and play harder.  Stinkin' commercials.  But he's super proud of his new shoes!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reading Blankie

Last night we got home late after Maifest practice and dinner at Grandma's. On nights like that I read really short books to Noble at bedtime. Last night I chose one of his favorite books of all time - Blankie, which is a board book that is really meant for babies but which he still loves.

On one page, there is a picture of a family that looks remarkably like our family and I've always pointed to the characters and asked him "who is this?"


"Who is this?"


"Who is this?"


"Who is this?"

"Noble." (but last night he said "me.")

And last night I pointed to the other little boy on the page and asked "who is this?" This question usually doesn't yield an answer or he'll tell me "I don't know."

"Randell" was the answer last night.

Randell is one of Noble's best friends at school, and I don't know why but his answer made me so happy. But when he answered, he just sounded so happy.

Later in the book there is a page that contains the words "birthday cake." As you might've seen, Noble has been learning to read and write and "brfday" is one of his favorite words to write out. As I read it and turned the page, he stopped me and asked me to go back.

"That doesn't say "birfday. That says Birt day."

Then I explained to him about the th sound and how it sounds.

So that, unfortunately, might be the end of "birfday," but it shows me that he's taking a lot of pride and delight in his newfound ability to read and sound things out. And especially important - he's asking questions about it.

I just love that boy more and more every day. It's so fun watching him grow.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Write Stuff

It's so much fun when kids are just learning to read and write. I saved reams and reams of paper that Kayci wrote on during her PreK year, because everything just seemed so amazing!

Noble's at that stage now...the other night, I was reading the menu to him and I left off "Mac & Cheese" and "Pizza" because I really didn't want him ordering those at a Mexican restaurant. He listened closely as I read, then asked me to read it again. This time he pointed and said, "What about these two?" I think that's when the balance of power shifted slightly in our little universe!

Tomorrow is Uncle Timmy's birthday, and Noble was SET on being the first one to write on his card. It seems somebody has been learning some new sounding-out skills that are pretty cool when combined with his memory. Oh, that kid!

If you don't speak preliteracy, that's "happy birthday from Noble & Kayci." I almost hate to put this one in the mail...thinking this pic makes the Project Life cut this week!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vote for Mrs. K!

You guys know I'm a big fan of Kayci's school (hopefully Noble's school, next year!) and Kayci has been blessed with wonderful teachers all 5 years so far.  I'm hard to impress, but her 4th grade teachers have really knocked my socks off...they work HARD, y'all.  I was worried about 4th grade being tough, but while they're working on some pretty hard concepts, the teachers are putting in time behind the scenes to create hands-on experiences and finding ways to present things in more than one way so the kids really get it.  And they do it all without complaining--you know I'd know.  :)

4th grade is different (for parents, anyway) because the teachers never ask for ANYTHING.  No snacks, no extra supplies, nothing.  The kids get special snacks every Friday, but the teachers do it all themselves and don't make a big deal of it.  This sounds like a little thing, but my teacher friends know what a big thing it is.  I'm telling y'all, these ladies are wonderful, wonderful teachers who are obviously passionate about what they're doing.

One of Kayci's teachers, the famous Mrs. K. (well, she's famous at our house because she loves Texas as much as we do!), is in the running to go on a Toms giving trip.  You know Kayci is a big fan of Toms, and she'd love to help Mrs. K make her dream come true.  The voting ends in 10 days, and Mrs. K is a good 2000 votes behind the winner.  Could you guys please take some time and go vote for her? She's a wonderful lady and teacher, and we'd love to see her win this awesome experience!  Thanks!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter (a day late!) from our family to yours!  He is Risen, indeed!

It doesn't seem right to share the "after" without the "before," lest you think things are always easy around here.  :)  Turns out, photographers' kids can sometimes be the WORST at posing for pictures...which totally explains why most of our favorite pictures of our kids are the candids.  Sigh.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy birthday, DaddyBoy!

Happy birthday, DaddyBoy! We had fun decorating on the sly, until I realized that Kayci was slyly pumping me for information-"what time do you decorate for our birthdays?" I caught on fairly quickly, since her letters to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny usually include a request to sign the letter and put down what time they were at our house. Back to the decorating...Kayci made a banner,

and so did Noble.

They're hard to read in these phone pics; Kayci's is a collection of things we love about Daddy. Noble's reads: we (heart) goofy Daddy. He drew a picture of each of us--I wonder what his future psychologist will make of the fact that Noble drew himself much larger than Daddy? We had our usual morning birthday celebration, although we were running too late for Daddy's favorite, Big Daddy's tacos, and he had to settle for birthday donuts (which not-so-secretly thrilled the kids & Mommy).

We actually ordered this camera lens mug months ago, and Noble's been trying to tell Daddy about it ever since. Grr. You won't be surprised that I kept Daddy's "big" present under wraps, then. :)

Enjoy them, Boy-I'm just sorry you had to wait so long!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Enchanted Rock

Noble asked me a few weeks ago when we were going to go hiking again. That gave us the idea to give him his own hiking backpack and some hiking supplies (water bottle, compass, magnifying glass, etc...) for his birthday. And if you give a Noble a backpack, he's gonna wanna try it out...

So with the weather absolutely AMAZING during spring break, we headed out Wednesday to hike Enchanted Rock as a family.

We woke the kids up early that morning and hit the road around 6:00am to make sure that we got there before it got too crowded. But we spent a lot of time at Buccee's, so we ended up getting to Enchanted Rock around 10:00am and had to wait in a short line to get into the park. (hint: the line that comes up from Fredericksburg is waaaaaaay longer than the one that comes in from the north from Llano.  Save yourself a couple of hours in line and take the north route.  You're welcome.)

This was the kids' first trip to Enchanted Rock and Kristi's second, although it was her first time to hike it. And it was the first time I got to hike it when I wasn't in a hurry. So everyone was excited.

We hiked up the giant rock, and we were so proud of the kids. Neither of them complained about being tired or that hey were hungry or thirsty or wanted to go or anything.  They were having such a great time!

We finally made it to the top after about 45 minutes of walking.  By that time our breakfast had pretty much worn off, so we found a shady spot and had a nice picnic lunch. The kids had a great time looking at all the cactus and different rocks and bugs.

Then we began to explore and make our way over to the hill next to Enchanted Rock called Little Rock. Along the way, we stopped to examine some large boulders and caves formed by boulders that had broken loose.

When we finally got to the top of Little Rock, we were all a little tired from all the hiking, so we sat down for a snack. And we took a nap right there on top of Little Rock! Noble took the best nap - about an hour and a half - before we finally woke him up to head down the hill.

Once we had hiked down, we headed to Fredericksburg, where we treated ourselves for a fun day with ice cream!

It was a perfect day - perfect weather, time outside, exercise and time together!

Happy spring break, everyone.  We hope that yours was as awesome as our was!