Christmas time was pretty busy this year. We essentially had something back to back to back with birthday parties sprinkled in between the holiday festivities. On top of that, Andrew's birthday is the day after Christmas so the celebrations kept going. It was nonstop fun for the kids but tiring for the parents. Hopefully the kiddos appreciate the things we do for them.
We made a 3+ hour drive to San Antonio to watch a 5 minute BJJ match... and it was totally worth it. It was all to support my cousin Anh Vien (who I kept pushing to try BJJ) on his first competition. But it was also an opportunity for Lynn and I to take a quick getaway without the kids... well, with only one kid instead of all four. Elliot was the third wheel.
After nearly 14 years living in this house, it was time to update the kitchen (again) and it's been a long time coming. We started the process three years ago but were burned by our first contractor (I fired him) so we ended up changing only the kitchen floor and back splash (with another contractor). Then Hurricane Harvey hit and quality contractors were hard to find. Fast forward to present day, I found out that one of the guys I train Jiu-Jitsu with runs a home remodeling business so I decided to go with him. It was an easy decision. If I didn't like his work, I could always strangle him a bit harder during "training." 😝
Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol. Whenever you're in trouble. Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol. We'll be there on the double. This year's theme was based on Elliot's favorite show, Paw Patrol. But it's funny to hear people's guesses when they've never seen the show. "Oh, let's see here. A rabbit. Construction worker. Safety engineer. Dalmatian." Safety engineer?? Haha! And this time around, we really got into the spirit. On days leading up to Halloween, we did little activities like make spooky cookies and pumpkin painting. We even decorated Elliot's little play house.
Actually we did it again, as in Lynn and I. We were responsible for the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series and consequently the Astros getting knocked out (oops!). This makes it the third time that after we attend a professional sporting event (not in Houston), that team will subsequently win the championship for that season. The other two occurrences happened with the 2014 Seattle Seahawks and the 2016 Chicago Cubs.
Tyson got "Student of the Month" for September! This makes it the third year in a row in which he got recognized on the first month of school. He did it in Kindergarten and in First Grade. Really proud of him. Unfortunately, he stripped off his clothes before I could get a proper picture with him and his award.
My big girl Elliot is now three years old... and what a three years it has been. She's pure fun. All she ever wants to do is play. Play with her cooking set. Play with her Little People. Play in her play house. Lots of imaginative play, which I really like. Her current obsession is Paw Patrol and her favorite character from the show is Everest. Her favorite foods include mushrooms, açaí, and ice cream. And she doesn't like bread or bread products.
I did what I set out to do. I took a one second video everyday for a whole year, starting on my 37th birthday. Well, that's not entirely true. I had to recruit Lynn for this project since it's too hard to remember to take a video every single day. And sometimes, you just want to enjoy the moment and not be that person who whips out their phone to take a video and/or picture. But I must say, it's neat to look back at an entire year of our lives in only a 9 minute video.
To celebrate birthday week (Tyson's birthday and my own), we made a trip to San Antonio and the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort. Lots of fun in the sun. Maybe too much sun because it was hot, which made it that much better to cool down at the resort's water park. We also visited The DoSeum (awesome interactive kids museum) and the Pearl Brewery (not an actual brewery but an area of renovated buildings that were converted to shops and eateries). We made our usual stops at the local Target(s). I also made the effort to train BJJ since we were away for nearly a whole week and I felt guilty for my terrible diet while on vacation. And of course we looked for good eats but sadly came away mostly unsatisfied with the food we ate. Oh well, better luck next time.
A couple of weeks ago, Andrew's team had won a 3v3 tournament so they advanced to the regional tournament, which was held in Round Rock. And with that, we made another trip to Austin for the second week in a row. It was HOT! The boys played three games on Saturday and three on Sunday. After all was said and done, they placed third. Not bad considering how close and competitive all the games were. As of now, it looks like the team will advance to the National Championships... but we'll see.
Last Saturday I competed in my second BJJ tournament (Austin Open). The weeks leading up to the event, I was iffy whether I was doing it or not... constantly flip-flopping. I told myself that I was going to train as if I was going to compete but in reality, my training is never as hard/intense/focused until I actually register to compete... which I didn’t do until right before the deadline (one week before the event). At one point, I even made a “final” decision to not go since Prof. Marcelo (our head instructor) wasn’t here for the bulk of the month to help us prep and wouldn’t be back to coach us at the tournament. And I aggravated my elbow injury so that’s a wrap... or so I thought.
Hey look at us, we're the US flag! No, we didn't purposely coordinate our outfits although it turned out awesome. What wasn't awesome was the fact that the Forth of July landed in the middle of the week this year. It also sucked that the skies opened up and Houston suffered more flooding. But it was fine, we still managed.
My mom is now 65 years old and I think she needs to retire. But honestly, what would she do once she stopped working? On her days off (i.e. weekends), all she wants to do is see the kids but that can't happen. Either we already have something planned or maybe I just want to spend my free time with them. She is constantly asking and I've rejected her so many times. Then the guilt sets in. It's draining. But I don't say anything. It's my mom.
Jacob's team traveled to Dartmouth, MA to compete in the International SeaPerch Challenge after advancing in the regional competition back in April. Obviously, we were going to support his team so we made a family trip/vacation out of it since I don't ever envision us being in the New England area. The first half of the trip was spent in the Dartmouth/Cape Cod area and second half in Boston, which I will post about later.
Another school year in the books. All of the boys got straight A's in all subjects, all year long. On top of that, Tyson got the Citizenship Award for his class and the Book Adventure Award for reading one hundred books. Andrew mentioned that this was the first year that he didn't get the Citizenship Award (breaking his four year streak). But hey, he was the only kid in his class to get Student of the Month twice in one year! And as previously mentioned, Jacob was inducted to the National Junior Honor Society. Super proud of these boys! 👏
We made a trip to central Texas for some camping at South Llano River State Park. With all of the work of packing/unpacking/setup and the long drive (in torrential rain), it's a shame we could only spend one day there. But the kids had fun. Good wholesome fun with each other. No need for any electronics. Just playing outside with sticks and rocks. Floating down the river. Running around. Exploring. To me, that was well worth it.
The kids wanted to surprise Lynn with breakfast for Mother's Day. Tyson created the menu (with prices) and served as the waiter. Andrew was the chef, who cooked the eggs and pancakes. Jacob helped to plate and serve the food. And Elliot was the prep cook as she cut the strawberries (into many tiny pieces). It was all around a good team effort.
Jacob (6th grade) was just inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. It's hard enough to be in the top 10% of the school. It's even harder when you consider his STEM curriculum, which is way beyond that of the average 6th grader. He's learning 8th grade math now and I'm at that point where I can no longer help him with his homework because it's too advanced for my pea brain.
Last weekend was busy as usual but we didn't do anything related to Cinco de Mayo (misleading title, I know). Saturday morning started with us parents already splitting up. Andrew was one of only a select few chosen from his school to participate in the district math tournament, where I would be taking him. Lynn took the rest of the family to Tyson's soccer game. All week Tyson kept talking about this one game... constantly stressing over it. Why? Because his friend Alec was on the opposing team.
Rise and shine motherf***er. That's what my inner voice said early Saturday morning. Andrew's soccer team competed in their final tournament of the season with the first game at 8 a.m.... played at a field 45 minutes away... and he was expected to be there early to warm-up... which meant we had to wake up way too early on the weekend.
Last weekend Jacob and his team competed at the SeaPerch regional competition. SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting. This is only his second year of doing a robotics program, his first time being three years ago in elementary school where they did pretty well. Regionals had around a hundred teams from all over the area and only four spots would be given to teams to advance on to the national international competition.
Taking two snowboarding trips in one season? That's a rarity. Doing that post-kids, that's unheard of. But we did it... the whole fam bam... for Spring Break. None of this would've been plausible if we didn't have the minivan, which I regret not getting sooner. Now, I see a future with many more road trips and our second trip with the van would take us back to Colorado. This time to Leadville.
On Friday, Jacob turned another year older. He is now 12 years old and puberty is just around the corner... yikes. The weekend was pretty busy so we were limited on what we could do for his birthday but he was okay with that. He kept it simple and chose Red Robin for his birthday dinner and we got cupcakes from SmallCakes.
I brought home an old fashioned 6-layer chocolate cake from SusieCakes to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary (since a sick Andrew prevented us from having our scheduled lunch date) but Elliot just couldn't wait. She loves sweets. She is the ultimate sugar monster. 👾