Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mega-Post: Halloween in Minnesota

At the end of October, Rob had to go on a 3-week long business trip, and I definitely did not feel like staying home alone.  So we arranged (with the help of honorary Auntie Marianne) to get me and the girls up to Minnesota for a long visit to see my parents!
This picture was taken approximately 45 seconds after we walked into the house...
The flight up was a pretty large mini-miracle.  We were flying with 2 dogs (Marianne was adopting them from a family down here) and 2 babies and all of the associated gear.   I had been dreading and praying about this leg of the trip for weeks, but it was the smoothest airplane ride we've been on yet.  No lines, empty plane, dogs didn't make a peep, babies fell asleep (!!!), and our bags were waiting for us when we got off the plane in MN.  Seriously, I couldn't even BELIEVE how painless it was.  Just goes to show that God is in the details--He even hears the prayers of a stressed-out, "what-did-I-get-myself-into??" mother of twins.
The weather wasn't quite what we were used to...
I don't know that we'll ever need these coats again...
But Mom ended up equipping us all with the proper gear and we didn't let the "cold" (a high of 45 degrees is downright chilly to us Houstonians!) stop us from getting out and about.
But they were definitely a necessity at the time!
We had a blast spending time with my mom, dad, brother, and his girlfriend/fiancee Megan.  Erik and Megan were living in MN for the fall semester, taking online classes, working, and getting ENGAGED! 
At a corn maze, where Pig-Racing was the definite highlight
 Then, mid-trip, Rob surprised us when his business-trip ended early and flew up just in time for Halloween.
I love this picture!
At first the girls didn't quite get the concept that all of the neighbors were giving away candy, but after a few samples of what was going into her bag, Lily quickly figured out she wanted ANYTHING that was wrapped in brightly-colored plastic!
Lily-the-Zebra asking for MORE CANDY
Savannah, who had just come down with whatever bug Lily had just gotten over, wasn't interested in leaving Dad's arms--even to get candy.
Savannah the sickly (still cute) elephant
Even though I'm sure future Halloweens will be much more exciting for the kids, I'm so glad Rob got to be there for this one! 
Showing them how it's done. 
By the end of 3 weeks I'm sure my mom was ready to have her entire house not looking like a tornado had just hit, but I can't help but think she will also miss seeing this incredible cuteness every day!

Lily going through her 15-month old repertoire:

Savannah sending her Dad a little video-message (please excuse the bumpy camera and my ridiculous baby voice):

And I just have to end with one more picture, because it's so stinkin' cute...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Old Man River" or "Rob turns 30!"

We celebrated Rob's big day in a few ways.
  1. We almost bought a house.  The process went like this: We put in an offer, negotiations happened, an agreement was reached, sellers backed out.  Repeat 3 or 4 times.  We walk away and decide just to keep renting Rob's parent's home.  (AND WE'RE SO HAPPY WE DIDN'T BUY THAT HOUSE NOW!!!)

  2. With the weight of being almost-home owners off our our shoulders, we felt footloose and fancy free.  We spent some extra time in MN, visited Rob's family in Kansas, and Rob got a few extras for his camera to play with before he started back up at the firm.

  3. And for Rob's ACTUAL big day, we had chocolate chip banana pancakes (arranged into an artistic portrait of the birthday boy) and then went to see Joy, Darrell, and Co. in Austin. 
Birthday Pancakes on the "You Are Special" plate. 
Chocolate Birthday Cookie a la Joy.  30 candles...I was worried we'd set the house on fire!
Before we left Austin we got to cheer Joy and Darrel on during their 3rd Annual Triathlon. 
Darrell rocking the purple swim cap
Joy is feeling good
Ready to ride
Still smiling even though it was BLAZING hot out on the road
Rob is such a wonderful, hardworking, handsome, fun man.  He is a great father--every night when he gets home from work the girls start squealing and RACE to climb into his arms.  He is a great husband--he supports me and loves me unconditionally.  And he is my best friend who can always make me laugh.   I'm SO GLAD we get to spend all of our crazy lives together!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The MN State Fair

I realized I never posted these pictures from our outing to the Minnesota State Fair this summer.

The Highlights:

1.  The winners of the Minnesota Dairy Princess Program get crowned "Princess Kay of the Milky Way" and get their likeness carved into a giant block of butter.
It was almost as exciting as it looks...  :)
2.  Cornhog: the winner of the title "Largest Boar."  Age: 2 years old.  Weight: 1200lbs. 
I kept hearing this line from Charlotte's Web in my head, "That is SOME pig." 
3.  The 4H Animals parading down the road.  The idea of 4H kind of boggles my mind; growing up I never knew ANYONE who raised giant horses, cows, pigs, chickens, goats, rabbits, sheep, etc etc.  I still can't believe kids actually do this...
Savannah LOVED the animals.  Lily, not so much. 
4.  This cow's udder.  I had recently finished nursing the twins and I felt deep empathy for this poor gal. 

So...did anyone out there actually participate in 4H? Or know a significant population of kids who did??

What happens when you have 3 cousins born within 2 weeks of each other...

I'm noticing a trend...
Sept. 2011--Squished together into a basket
Aug. 2012--Squished together onto a bench
Somehow my imagination immediately jumps to graduations, college dorm rooms, and WEDDINGS! 

Kids grow up so quickly these days....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

For Your Viewing Pleasure

This is mostly for your listening pleasure--I'm still working on my improving my video-and-entertain-at-the-same-time skills.

Savannah had been laughing for about 3 minutes straight before I managed to get my phone going. Here's the tail-end of her giggle fest.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Summer Recap Part 3: The Chanhassen Resort and Spa, or The Most Funnest Vacation Ever

For our final hurrah of the summer (and yes, I realize it's almost Halloween), we spent 2 weeks with my family in Chanhassen, MN.

And I have to say, it was one of the best vacations I've had in a really really long time. Who knew Minnesota was such a crazy fun place to live (at least during the summer)?
The Schneibers (and Megan, the almost-Schneiber)
The entire Schneiber clan was assembled in Mom and Dad's house (sans Jacqueline in Sweden); complete with new brother-in-law Russ and Dr. Katie, Erik and his very awesome girlfriend Megan, Grandma Emma from Las Vegas, and Grandparents Ada and Bob from California.
The whole crew--minus babies who had a meltdown and went to bed
Then, Mom managed to order up absolutely perfect weather. We basically had 2 weeks straight of warm, perfectly sunny days, with just one Sunday of misty rain.
Seriously--PERFECT weather
The multitude of family, the beautiful weather, and the Minnesotans love of everything outdoors (at least during the summer), meant that there was a ton to do and plenty of people to do it with (as well as plenty of willing babysitters).
Double shoulder rides!
 We went on beautiful bike rides
MN has miles and miles of AWESOME bike paths
The girls loved the sweet bike stroller we borrowed
 We went boating on the lake
On the boat
It's a rough life, obviously
Captain Lily
Savannah knows that boating is serious business
We ate delicious food
Waiting for our food at Tinfish
Grandma makes waiting VERY exciting
Most of the family
Wahoo! We love Minnesota!
We played golf (Rob even took lessons--it was a MN miracle!!)
I have no pictures of golf--so here is Megan and Erik waterskiing
 We played sand volleyball
Again, no pictures of volleyball--so this is a burger place we went to that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
 We went swimming
Swimming in the chilly lake--Savannah couldn't get enough of it!
Lily did not want to leave the towel b/c she hated the sand
 And at the end of every full day we slept really, really well.  
And we spent a LOT of time with DAD!!!!
And it's probably obvious by now, but we are DEFINITELY planning a return trip to the most funnest place around, the Chanhassen Resort and Spa. (But we'll probably wait until next summer!)   :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summer Recap Part 2: A Mexican Cruise or Babies, What Babies?

In the beginning of August we had an Ellis family reunion sans grandkids, so all of the Ellis kids and spouses (except, sadly, Mark and Aup) made our way down to Galveston for a 5-day Mexican cruise.  I was definitely looking forward to the vacation but was a little apprehensive about leaving my babies for that long.  I don't think I'd been away from them for 5 hours, so 5 days was tough to wrap my mind around.

But, I hoodwinked recruited Cami, a good friend home from college for the summer, into watching the girls while we were gone.  She came over, I gave her the lowdown on the routine/schedule, I kissed my girls goodbye and then walked out the door without a diaper bag, snacks, toys, or babies.  It was quite the shock to my system and I may have been a little teary-eyed as we drove away. 

As the following pictures will demonstrate, however, we did have a great time on the cruise.  Games were played, food was eaten, laughs were laughed, and a lot of great memories were made. 
Rob getting artistic with the camera
Our first port of call was Progresso, Mexico.  We decided to take a 2 hour bus ride to see Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city. 
The bus ride wasn't bad after we got used to the sweat trickling down our backs when the air conditioning stopped working.  And though it would have been nice to have a guide that spoke English with slightly less of an accent (meaning, his "English" was some mix of Spanish and Mayan, with enough English words thrown in to keep the poor Koreans in our group wondering if they were the only ones not understanding)...
The Mayans were into human sacrifice, so we were pretty worried about this huge snake...
... we still had fun seeing the ruins and interacting with the locals trying to sell us souvenirs.  One of the best techniques we encountered happened when we'd casually ask what some dress/bowl/knife/jewelry/toy cost.  The vendor would shrewdly look us up and down, nod to himself and say, "For you, almost free!" 
All of the locals were pretty little, but this was the smallest woman I've ever seen. 
The second stop on the cruise was Cozumel, Mexico.  Our goals here were to do a little shopping and enjoy some time on the beach. 
Lucky "John" Day, Dusty "Rob" Bottoms, and Ned "Emily"Nederlander
First, though, who could pass up an opportunity to pose as one of the Three Amigos?  Not us (obviously)!
This is very appropriate b/c Rob's nickname is El Guapo, and I'm a dead-ringer for Carmen...
After Rob and I walked all the way into Cozumel (b/c we thought the taxi drivers were trying to bamboozle us when they told us it was 3 miles to town) and did our shopping, we met up with some of our crew and went to the beach. 
What's an Ellis vacation without a few games of Wizard?
The sun was shining, the sand was soft, the water was warm and blue, and we were happy to be there! 
The Girls (Me, Kit, Joy, Natalie)
And we realized we were especially happy to be there after we got home, turned on the TV and saw that a hurricane was scheduled to hit Cozumel in the next week!  
The Manly Men (Kevin, Matt, Rob, Darrell)
By the end of the cruise as my body started to remember what life was like when I could sleep in, didn't have any diapers to change, and wasn't always 'on duty', I kind of started to wonder, "Did I just dream this last year??"  Which was a MAJOR sign that it was time to GET BACK HOME!  :) 
The Nice, Normal Ellises
So even though 5 days felt a little long for this new mama to be gone from her babies, we had a GREAT time and were so glad to be with our wonderful family!
The Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking Ellises