Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meeting Santa

Did you know that having your picture taken with Santa at the average mall in Ft. Worth costs at least $25?!  That's the minimum you're allowed to spend if you want your child's picture taken with Santa. And you have to buy the pictures they take; you're not allowed to bring your own camera.

Well... this year I did a little research and found out that Bass Pro Shops has a wonderful winter wonderland set up in their store all of December.  Pictures with Santa are free, we were allowed to use our own camera, and they have crafts and Christmas activities for the whole family set up around the store.

We had so much fun. I cannot say enough good things about our day at Bass Pro. Here are a few of the memories we made...

meeting santa... adorably traumatic

riding the Christmas merry-go-round with daddy
our wilderness man

looking at the ducks and fish in the pond with mommy

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. And of course... God bless Texas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hurricane Denver

It's funny. I feel like Denver is changing every day. I could probably write an entire blog post every day on all the new things he does and the new ways he makes us laugh. Maybe that's why I never seem to write any more? I'm too preoccupied with my son's cuteness and he's keeping me too busy. :)

Anyway, sorry for being so absent. Hopefully I'll get back to blogging more in the new year.

A few quick facts about the little (big) man...

  • 15 months old
  • weighs 25 lbs (75th percentile)
  • 32.5 inches tall (75th percentile)
  • favorite things to do with mom and dad: 
    • be chased around the house and laugh hysterically
    • play peek-a-boo
    • help us take the trash outside to the bins 
    • read books
    • watch Sesame Street
    • play in the backyard with Fable
  • favorite things to do while mom and dad aren't looking:
    • throw "trash" in the trashcan (aka valuable things like credit cards or jewelry or important receipts etc.)
    • climb onto EVERYTHING including the dining room table, kitchen table, our bed, out the doggie door....
    • take off his diaper and poop on the floor
    • empty out the kitchen cabinets, then put himself in the cabinets in place of the pots and pans
    • dump Fable's water bowl all over the kitchen. at least once a day.
    • have you heard the expression "gag me with a spoon"?  well, he takes this quite literally. if i'm not paying enough attention to him, he takes one of the giant stirring spoons, and gags himself with it so that I'll look at him. it seems quite painful, but apparently it's worth it.
I thank God daily for taking better care of our son than I can. Because the little man is a walking tornado, and I can't keep up. Thank God that He can.

I also thank God for ShamWows.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Austin's phone has a front facing camera... aka, you can look into it like a mirror while it records.

Denver discovered this feature earlier this evening.

It turns out he finds himself just as adorable and hilarious as we do.

And for the grand finale, he does his trick of the week: pointing to his nose. 

What a champ.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Up Up and Away...

Happy Halloween! 

I'd say these two are much cuter than the original, wouldn't you? :)

Denver was certainly very popular at our church's Fall Fest last night. He wandered around, from booth to booth, like such a big boy. Many people commented on how independent he is becoming. I know they're right, and I'm not ready yet!

I'm glad that my independent boy still loves his mommy.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Little Pumpkin

It was a chilly Autumn morning...

No, that's not it.

As we left the house, bundled in our sweaters and sipping hot chocolate...

No, that's not it either.

It was six days before Halloween, and it was 86 degrees and sunny in Texas.

Yes, that's the introduction I was looking for.

I'm savvy with Mommy Blogging 101. Have cute child? Must take pictures in October at a pumpkin patch.

 I confess that one of the main reasons we went to Homestead Farms was because I wanted adorable pictures of Denver. Yes, I got my pictures, but more importabtly Denver LOVED our time at the farm.  He wandered around the pumpkin patch for quite a while, just staring at everything, throwing gourds, moving pumpkins and squash from one pile to another, and climbing on hay barrels.

 Homestead Farms is also much more than a pumpkin patch. It is a farm with goats...

chickens (and roosters)...

and of course, pumpkins...

Can you tell it was a bit windy? :)

Denver had such a good time that he grabbed a power nap on the way home. 

So was it the perfect chilly Fall day I was hoping for? Not Quite. But was it a great day at the farm anyway? Absolutely.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Behind Enemy Lines

I grew up in St. Louis.  Needless to say, I am a Cardinals fan.  I guess you could say I never really had an option...

And I suppose Denver doesn't have an option either :)

St. Louis is often referred to as the best baseball city in America.  I grew up going to Busch Stadium with my family and watching Ozzie Smith do backflips while everyone cheered. 

Now I live in Ft. Worth.... home of the Texas Rangers. 

Cards vs. Rangers 
World Series 2011

See my problem?

I am surrounded by family and friends that are SO excited about the prospect of the Rangers winning the World Series. Every store, every house, every street corner has big GO RANGERS signs hanging up.  Everyone is wearing Nelson Cruz jerseys instead of Albert Pujols jerseys. Eeeeek!!!!

And I wish that the Rangers were a bunch of jerks. I wish that they were rude and arrogant and unlikeable....but they're not.  It's sort of fun to watch them. It's fun to live in a city where everyone is exited about baseball. It reminds me of childhood.

So how do I stay true to my team without being an obnoxious in-your-face type fan? Do I hang our Cardinals flag outside the house? I don't really want to get egged or have my car keyed.  Do I wear my cardinals t-shirt in public? Or dress Denver in his adorable Yadi tee?

Also, one of the most fun parts about the Cardinals being the World Series is cheering for them with other Cardinals fans.  My friends here that care about the World Series are bound to be cheering for the Rangers. Can't you picture that bar? Or living room? When David Freese hits a grand slam, and I stand up yelling and screaming and cheering and everyone else is sad and angry and glaring at me?  Ick.

So don't worry mom and dad. You brought me up right. I won't be betraying my team. I will cheer for the Cardinals no matter who they're playing against. I'm just not sure how zealous to be. Ya dig?

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tormenting the Dog (and other fun things...)

Our little Denver Man has gone from this...

to this...

in thirteen short months.  We are so blown away by how quickly he changes. Not only physical changes, but he is becoming less of a baby, and more of a little kid every day.  A few of Denver's favorite ways to pass the day away are...

  • taking things from one place, and very carefully and methodically bringing them to another place. example: taking clean clothes out of the dryer and putting them in the trash can. another example? taking puzzle pieces and placing them in the toilet.
  • he LOVES to ride around in his backpack.
yeah, he looks sort of miserable here. I guess you'll have to trust me that he actually enjoys this.

  • he takes his toys and drives them full-speed into Fable's body. Then Fable scampers away, and Denver falls over laughing.  Nothing makes him laugh harder than tormenting his pobrecito puppy Fable.
  • he now brushes his own hair. He gets lots of compliments on his stylish do.  I think it's beginning to look mullet-y, but we don't have the heart to cut it.
  • favorite food? chicken sausage. favorite drink? mommy's milk. favorite toy: anything that makes loud noise and music and can be used as a weapon against Fable.
Our little stud muffin keeps us pretty busy, but he's also pretty cute and does pretty amazing things. So we kinda like him. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One October Morning

I love Fall. More specifically, I love October. Sweater weather, pumpkin flavored everything, football season, baseball postseason.... the list goes on. But this October brings something new and better than the rest... playing outside with my son in absolutely perfect weather.

With record breaking temperatures in Texas this summer, I feel like we hardly ever played outside. But now that the weather has cooled off, we have been going to the park, taking walks, and spending most mornings and evenings playing on the porch.

Here's a glimpse into one October morning...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fort Worth Flash Mob

Yes, I was in a flash mob.

And yes, it was like a month ago or something.*

I decided to go ahead and blog about it anyway because I've had a number of people comment on the video and have been wondering how it was organized, and how they can be part of one in the future.

Allow me to enlighten you... :)

I had so much fun preparing for this event. A few women began organizing the Flash Mob months before the actual performance. They sent facebook messages to their friends and asked if anyone would be interested in participating. I said YES (duh), so I was placed in a TOP SECRET facebook group, where they posted details for the big performance. These women choreographed the routine, then filmed themselves teaching the dance in segments. Over the course of about a week, they posted the segments onto this facebook group, and we all learned the dance in the comfort of our own homes.

Then, the day before the Flash Mob, they revealed exactly where it was going to be, and which direction we needed to face... all those sorts of details. It was so easy and really fun.

If you live in Ft. Worth and want to be part of the next Flash Mob they plan, you can stay up to date with everything by "liking" their new page on facebook.

*At this rate, I'll post a video of Denver walking in about six months...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Healthy Birthday Cake

As we prepared for Denver's first birthday, this mama was mainly excited about just one thing... watching my boy dive into his first cake. It's a sweet tradition, always filled with plenty of on-lookers and picture-takers. However, as we prepared for the big day, we decided to try to make Denver's first birthday cake as healthy as possible. We generally try to feed him healthy and nutritious foods, so we chose to do the same when it came to birthday cake.

I decided to make carrot cake with cream cheese icing. It is sweetened with apple juice concentrate (no cane sugar or brown sugar) in the cake OR in the icing! I found this yummy recipe on the Wholesome Baby Food website. They have a number of other healthy cake recipes if carrot cake isn't your thing.

Baby's First Birthday Cake (Carrot Cake)

(Makes 1 double-layer 9-inch round cake)

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 1/2 cups apple juice concentrate (you may use slightly less)
1 1/2 cups raisins
Vegetable Spray
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 whole eggs (we used local farm fresh eggs)
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup wheat germ (find near the oatmeal in grocery stores)
2 Tbsp low sodium baking powder
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Prep: Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with vegetable spray.

1. Combine the carrots with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the juice concentrate in a medium size saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 15 to 20 mins. Puree in food processor until smooth.
3. Add the raisins and process until finely chopped. Let mixture cool.
4. Combine the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups juice concentrate, the oil, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; beat just until well mixed. Fold in the carrot puree and applesauce. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans.
5. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 mins. Cool briefly in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. When cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sugar-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
(frosts one 2-layer cake)

½ cup apple juice concentrate
1 pound light cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup finely chopped raisins
1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin

1. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the juice concentrate.
2. Process the remaining juice concentrate, the cream cheese, vanilla, and raisins in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
3. Stir the gelatin into the 2 tablespoons juice concentrate in a small saucepan; let stand 1 minute to soften. Heat to boiling and stir to dissolve gelatin.
4. Beat the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese mixture until well blended. Refrigerate just until the frosting begins to set, about 30-60 minutes. Frost the cake.

Not sure if your baby will actually enjoy a "healthy" cake? Here's proof that Denver enjoyed it... and Fable thought it was pretty good too. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Denver's First Birthday Fiesta

On September 7th, 2011, Denver Patrick Hines had his first birthday. We celebrated a few days later with some family and friends. Here are a few highlights...

Playing outside

Dudes chillin' on the back porch

Denver's friend Jason playing every toddler's favorite game... croquet.

I forgot to get a good picture of the cake or the food table. This is the best picture I have of both.

Ricky has his own muppet, "Marty." Ricky and Marty were great entertainment. Yes, our friends are the kinds of people with their own muppets.

Double Stuffed Oreos stuffed chocolate chip cookies :)

Of course the most important moment of a first birthday party... the eating of the cake. And it was a success!

Denver playing with his present from his KK and Papa (Austin's parents)

Balloons! :)

Family pic! I think Denver would rather be playing with his new toys than taking this picture.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Daredevil Denver

Hello world!

Things I've been thinking about lately...

keeping Denver alive as he runs through the house, tumbling all over everything, trying to dive into toilets, sneaking out the doggie door, banging his head on every corner he can find, putting his hands in Fable's mouth and taking chomps out of toilet paper rolls

Things I've NOT been thinking about lately...

this blog

Can you forgive me? I'll try to post more videos and pictures in the coming months. :)

In the meantime, please check out our high-flying son!!*

*no babies or animals were harmed in the making of this photo :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blog Redesign

So... you may be noticing that things look different around here...

A talented friend of mine from TCU redesigned our blog for us!

I am absolutely loving it.

If you like it too, you could check out more of her work at or you can see her sweet family blog: My Beatles Babies.

So what do you think? Do you like it? :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eleven Months Old and Walking like a Pro...

...well... sort of.

Denver can definitely "walk." He walks all around the house. Everywhere we go he wants me to put him down so he can walk and explore. He just falls over. All. the. time.

But he is one determined little man. No more crawling for him! Even if it means injuries. He currently has a black eye, two forehead bruises, and two cuts on his head from walking and falling. And it's not like our house is particularly dangerous with sharp edges everywhere. The boy will fall and cut his head on his TOYS. But it's cute and we love it.

We'll try to post a video of our little walker soon.

In the mean time, here are a few 11 month pictures (bruises and all...)