December 2017

Merry Christmas!

We had a fun December. Getting ready for Christmas is always fun with Gavin. Hanging out with a three-year-old is a sure fire way to get into the spirit of the season.

We went to see Santa twice. Once at a Breakfast with Santa and once at the mall. Gavin does great with Santa. All smiles. So, we got two cute pics with Santa this year.

Gavin and Santa |

Gavin and Santa |

Now that Gavin is a little older, I wanted to start an Advent tradition with him. Since we read a lot of books, I thought a bookish Advent would be great for us. I wrapped up 24 Christmas and winter themed books, and Gavin opened one each night and we read it. I didn’t have a particular order for the books, so we read which ever one he picked. It was a fun new tradition for us, so I think we will continue to do it in the future.

Advent book calendar

While sitting in the pew, waiting for Mass to begin on Christmas Eve with Gavin, this happened:
Gavin: Ladies and Gentlemen.
Gavin: (a little louder) Ladies and Gentlemen.
Me: Shh.
Gavin: (holding Hymnal) Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to read you a story.
Me: (whispering) No talking. Be quiet or we’ll have to step outside.
Gavin: I’m talking to the Gentlemen.
Me: (whispering) That’s it. Let’s go.
Gavin: Sorry, Gentlemen.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face. As a side note, we were really early, so it was asking a lot for a three-year-old to sit in silence for that long, and still last through Mass. Also, fortunately the people around us were more amused than irritated by our chatty boy.

Gavin on Christmas Eve |

We had a very Merry Christmas, and enjoyed a relaxing end of 2017.

November 2017

We had a very low-key November. We stuck to our favorite activities: parks, library, and staying in. I didn’t take any photos this month, except for our trip to Hot Springs, AR.

We went to Hot Springs for Thanksgiving. We enjoyed our time visiting with family, and we went on a few fun outings.

The Rainers |

We did the National Park Duck Tour, which was a first for us. It was neat to ride through town and then out on the lake. It was one of those fun for one time things, so I doubt we will do it again.

Gavin also got to go on the lake when his Grandpa took him for a ride in a boat.

Gavin and Grandpa after boat ride |

One of our favorite things was Garvan Gardens. They were decorated for Christmas, and it was spectacular. We went on the Friday night after Thanksgiving… we were not the only ones with that plan. We must have waited in the car line for 45 minutes before being able to park, and go wait in line to buy tickets. They were well organized and kept the flow going, but they were very busy. Due to the large crowds, they stayed open later so everyone would have enough time to see the decorated gardens. Michael and I had been to Garvan Gardens once before for the Christmas lights, but it was Gavin’s first time. We walked the entire gardens, and I think Gavin had a lot of fun looking at the lights.

Garvan Gardens Christmas Lights 2017 |

Garvan Gardens Christmas Lights 2017 |

Garvan Gardens Christmas Lights 2017 |

One of our favorite stops while in Hot Springs is the Superior Bathhouse Brewery. They have a lot of beer on tap, and it’s always fun to try some new ones. The food is good, and we like to sit at the counter seats by the window and people watch while we enjoy our food and drinks.

Beer Bath - tasters at Superior Bathhouse Brewery {Hot Springs, AR} |

We enjoy walking around downtown Hot Springs. The shops are fun to check out, and we like to go in the Arlington Hotel and see the gingerbread house. We always stop at the hot springs and marvel at how hot the water is. A fun town to wander around and enjoy a stroll and some people watching.

Gingerbread House at the Arlington {Hot Springs, AR} |

Fun in Hot Springs |

Halloween 2017

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. It’s fun to dress in costumes and go out to celebrate, and it’s even more fun with a little kid. Gavin loved Halloween this year. He was really into all the spooky decorations. It seemed all the stores we shopped had ghosts and monsters on display, which Gavin thought was fun and it was all he wanted to talk about while we shopped.

We celebrated a few different Halloween events this year. First up was the library storytime. The kids could dress up and they received a free book. A fun event, and all the kids dressed up were really cute. Gavin dressed as an astronaut. He loves space stuff and we had bought the astronaut suit earlier in the year when we went to NASA.

Gavin as an astronaut |

Next was a Halloween event at a local brewery. We dressed as pirates, another of Gavin’s favorite pretend play characters. The event was fun, they were selling food and had live music.

Darinda, Gavin, and Michael as pirates |

Gavin as a pirate |

Darinda and Gavin as pirates |

The last Halloween event was trick or treating. We had planned to go as pirates, but the weather turned cold and rainy. Since Gavin’s astronaut costume was warmer than his pirate costume, he went as an astronaut. Michael and I usually wear something to coordinate with Gavin’s costume, so since he changed costumes, we did too. The family costume was an astronaut and two aliens. Gavin had a blast trick or treating, and he keeps talking about it.

Gavin as an astronaut, Michael and Darinda as aliens |

October 2017

Happy Halloween!

Our October was kind of busy. We had fun going to different events and places, plus we started a home remodel project.

Early in the month, Gavin and I went to the Red River Revel with his Grandma and Grandpa. We had fun looking at the arts and crafts, and eating all the junk food.

Gavin with his Grandma and Grandpa at the Red River Revel |

Also early in the month, we went to Dogtoberfest. The combination of animals, beer, and family fun was irresistible. Lots of places that have animals for adoption were set up, and had animals with them ready to adopt. We’re not looking for any new pets, we already have two crazy dogs, but it’s nice to look at the animals and talk to the different rescue groups. The beer portion of the event was pretty good. They sold tickets for entry and you got 10 beer samples. Most of the breweries represented were from Texas, and lots of good craft beer is available in Texas. We enjoy trying new beers, and like events that offer different things we can’t find in the stores. The family fun portion was great for Gavin. They had a fire truck and firefighters there, and Gavin was able to get in the truck and talk with the fireman. He loved that. They also had face painting, which we tried, but she ended up painting his arm instead of his face because it tickled.

Gavin on a firetruck |

Gavin getting his face painted |

Speaking of firefighters, the library had a firetruck and firemen there one day at storytime this month. The kids got to talk to the firefighters, see what they wear, and get on the firetruck. One fireman put on his firefighting gear, which was a great way to introduce kids to a fireman in gear in a safe and friendly environment. A fireman in full gear (boots, pants, coat, gloves, mask, helmet, and tank) could scare young children that don’t know that is what firefighters wear. The firefighters were great about talking with the kids and letting them touch the gear.

Gavin high-fiving a fireman |

Gavin with a fireman |

Gavin on a firetruck |

Gavin went fishing for the first time. His Honey and Pappaw took him fishing, and I think they all had fun.

Gavin and his Pappaw going fishing |

Gavin fishing with his Honey and Pappaw |

The weather was nice in October, so we went to parks a little more than usual.

Gavin at a playground |

Gavin at a playground |

Gavin at a playground |

One pretty day, Gavin and I went to the zoo. It had been a while since we went, and it was a fun outing. We walked around, looked at the animals, had lunch, shopped the gift shop (Gavin got binoculars), and played in the playground area.

Lions at the zoo |

Giraffes at the zoo |

Pink flamingos at the zoo |

Gavin at the zoo playground |

Gavin at the zoo playground |

Gavin at the zoo |

Our home remodel project is in our living room. We hired someone to remove the paneling and built-ins, and put up drywall. We did not have new built-ins installed. I’ll post photos of the finished room in a future blog post. For now, here’s what it looked like while under construction.

Living room remodel |

Living room remodel |

We celebrated Halloween a few times. Gavin dressed as an astronaut for the library Halloween storytime and we dressed as pirates for a Halloween event at a local brewery. For trick or treating, Gavin dressed as an astronaut and Michael and I were aliens.

Gavin as an astronaut |

Darinda, Gavin, and Michael as pirates |

Gavin as an astronaut, Michael and Darinda as aliens |

September 2017

Happy Fall!

Our September was really quiet. We stayed in a lot and enjoyed our home. We swam in the pool, played outside, read books, built things with LEGOs, and just had fun. We did get out and go to storytime at the library each week and visited a few parks.

Gavin front and center at storytime |

Gavin on a park slide |

The East Texas State Fair was this month, so Gavin and I went to check it out one day. I think his favorite thing was a kiddie pool with magnetic fish to catch with a little rod and magnet. I had a hard time getting him away from that activity, but he had fun with some of the other stuff too… there was a robot that he was really interested in and the petting zoo is always fun.

Gavin fishing at the Fair |

Gavin and the Fair robot |

Gavin at the Fair petting zoo |

We did have some sad news this month, Michael’s father passed away. There was a nice Celebration of Life visitation. Thank you to our friends and family who were able to make it.