Saturday, April 26, 2014

Freezing for Football Sake

Rain or shine, we play flag football.  The only show stopper is snow, but not cold temperatures.
It was SO cold and SO windy, but the game must go on.
In a stroke of genius, Keith decided to bring his tent made for one for Kellan to hunker down in.
Kellan was thrilled to be out of the elements with a movie on the iPad, complete with a Starbucks carrier iPad stand.
Not only was this a cold and stormy day, but it was a double hitter game day.  They played one game at 1:00 and then a second game at 2:00.  The second game against the Gorillas was a new challenge for Oliver as his friend from school, Ethan was on the other team.  He had been talking about playing this game since they both discovered that they would play against each other.

Oliver is number 17 with the red shoes.
His friend is in the white jersey with the red hat.

By the second game, Kellan has some friends join him in the tent.
Just the day before, he discovered that two of his friends at Primrose were Chase's twin brother and sister.  He was SO excited to hang out with Emerson and Evan.  They were all excited to be in the tent where it was cozy, warm and out of the wind.
This picture makes me ooze with cuteness vibes.
The Gorillas proved to be our toughest opponents to date.  It was a very exciting game to watch and it really pushed the Dragons to new levels.
It literally came down to the last 38 second and the last plays of the game.  We were tied and the Cheetahs had the ball.
Coach Ben lined up the defense and we cheered them on.
Owen, Preston, Colby, Caleb and Chase were our last hope from losing our first game ever, in five seasons together (no pressure boys).
The Gorillas gave it four great attempts and our defense held strong.  When the ref called game, it resulted in a tie.
We were SO proud of our boys.  They played the toughest team yet, and they really stepped up to the challenge.  Not only was it a tough team to play, it was the Dragons second game of the day.  Our boys showed how focused, determined and resilient they really are.  We couldn't' have been more proud of how they played and demonstrated true sportsmanship.

On the way to the car, Oliver said "Ethan and I were talking about who was going to win the game.  I guess we were both wrong."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rootin' Tootin' in Texas

Hold on to your hats, buckaroo, this post is a doozy of a memory round up from our Easter in Texas.
It is a mere 430 photos that were slimmed down to about 150.
Hold on to your hats, because Here.We.GO!

Friday evening, we headed to DIA to Get Away to Texas.

This is our airport march.  It's refined and well rehearsed as the Ham Fam racks up the frequent flyer miles as often as possible.  However, this photo wasn't taken to show off our airport marching skills, but to show how far we have come.
Just days prior to this trip, I ran across another photo from a trip to San Diego to see Jeff and Lindsey when Oliver was 10 days old.  It was not nearly as refined as our current day airport march.
2 Adults
2 Kids
1 large suitcase
1 small suitcase
1 carry on
1 backpack for kids
Flashback to August 2008.
2 Adults
1 Kid
1 Stroller
1 Car Seat in the Backpack
2 large suitcases
Carry Ons not in the Photo
Big Question: What on earth did we put in those suitcases for one long weekend?
Meanwhile... back to April 2014, we were at DIA where we found out that we had a TWO HOUR delay.  Ugh!
We opted for a long and leisurely dinner followed by a few hobbies.
Kellan opted to watch a favorite movie.
Keith opted to do some work.
Oliver opted to color.
Mommy opted to take photos or Oliver coloring, Kellan watching a movie and Keith working.
After some time, Kellan decided to work on his coloring book too.
His funny faces coloring book.
Oliver made a photo for each family member.  Here he is consulting with his Daddy on what custom colors he would like his character to be.
We have never been too proud to let our kids lay on the airport floor.  Really, it's not worth the anxiety of what has walked across this carpet.  It's much better to have happy travelers.
Finally, it was time to board the plane.  Daddy and Oliver lead the way, followed by Kellan and Mommy.  Kellan had to pause at the front door and as he peered into the cockpit, the flight attendant offered for Kellan take a closer look.  The pilots were quite accommodating and even impressed Kellan by turning on the lights. 
He was thrilled to sit like a big boy on the airplane.  He occupied the window seat while the other passengers boarded.

Oliver had no time for checking out bright lights in the cockpit.  He had a safety card to read.
We arrived in Dallas late Friday night and Jeff picked us up in his mini van chariot.  It's weekends like this that we love that Jeff and Lindsey own a mini van.  For the record, we are not buying one, even though Lindsey keeps giving us a sales pitch.

The next morning, we went to Williams Honk Ball game.  He's out in the field, third from the left.
He consulted with his personal coach.
His fans cheered him on from the top rung of the bleachers.
He had the right stance.
His fans clung to every play.
(Actually... this is a very tender moment with Kellan and Daddy that I couldn't pass up)
He was poised and ready.
"Is this guy ever going to hit?!"
Yes, this is the cutest Honk Ball Player, EVER!
He is also the ONLY Honk Ball Player that I've ever known.
What on earth is Honk Ball?
It was William's turn to bat.  He picked out a mighty fine pink bat and gave it a whirl.

He's Off!
Nice Base Hit, Buddy!!
He's such a team player, that he cheers on his team from First base.
He even gave out a honk or two!
Yes, that's right, the bases honk when you jump on them.
He gave nice smiles to the crowd.  This guys got star power!
He honked a bit more, which gave Aunt Carrie ample time to capture some more action shots.
While his cousin Kellan was working on his Texas tan....

... cousin William was back at bat.
Once again, he as off and running!
What a special treat it was to see William play Honk Ball.
Way to Go, Buddy!!
After a full morning of playing with cousins and honk ball, the "little boys" took a very welcome nap.  This left Oliver with plenty of time to discover that Uncle Jeff had a big secret.
Apparently, Uncle Jeff was harboring a four wheeler in his new shed!
It took about 2.2 seconds for Oliver to get his Daddy to take him for a ride.
That evening, we headed into Fort Worth to ride a miniature train through the park.
While waiting for the train, some of us passed the time by trying to climb a nearby tree.
Oliver was so sweet and tender with his younger cousins.  He takes the job as older cousin very seriously and we were witness to numerous sensitive moments between him, William and Isaac.  It was absolutely precious.
The boys anxiously waiting for the train.
Oliver, William, Kellan and Isaac.
I started to notice that Isaac would mimic Oliver, without Oliver noticing.  Here is a prime example.
Oh Kellan!
This boy has a new fascination with showing his belly and pulling his shirt over his head.
If he wasn't so cute, he would be in BIG trouble!
I can't tell if he's going for David Beckham in his soccer duds with 12 pack abs... or... ET.  You choose!
On the train and ready to ride!
After NUMEROUS out takes of an 8 person selfie, we finally had success.
Kellan and Mommy/Carrie
Daddy/Keith, William, Oliver
Uncle Jeff, Isaac, Lindsey
Mommy and Kellan excited to ride a partially YELLOW train!
Kellan will tell you, "yellow is my favorite color!"
William and Oliver's intense observation of the water below.
There are SO many similarities between Oliver and William.  William and Kellan may share the same birthday, but William and Oliver share similar personalities.  It is so fun to watch these boys grow into their own, but we are curious if Oliver and Williams similarities are characteristic of the oldest son.
Not all photo ops are picture perfect.  
Take the next few photos as a prime example.
Even the son of a paparazzi Mommy says "Enough is Enough" from time to time.

We had a fantastic ride on the train with some great views of a beautiful park followed by some amazing tacos at ... some taco place with a name that I can't remember.
I ordered the daily special, which turned out to be called The Washitonian.  It was pure fate and SO GOOD!

That night, the kids were excited to unwind with some of Uncle Jeff's popcorn and a movie.
The next morning was Easter and the Easter Bunny had some work to do.
Easter morning, we heard two little boys tip toeing around and then they came into our room to say "Mommy, Daddy, we think the Easter Bunny brought our baskets down (from Colorado) and they are on the table."

The excitement and magic of the holidays will never get old.  Ever!

Our response, "Go get them and bring them here for us to see!"

So... they did.

Looking back at these photos, everyone looks a bit dazed, but trust me when I say, they were beyond excited!

"Mommy, the Dinosaur movie that I wanted!"
"Mommy, eggs!"
(Take note of Daddy's dazed yet participating look)
"Mommy, this one has jelly beans?!"

I thought about cropping Oliver in this one, but really, it's the real story of the moment.

It's funny how the Easter Bunny used to bring Mommy the exact same chocolate bunnies when she was a kid.  That Easter Bunny is something special.
After some time, William and Isaac brought their baskets by to discover what was inside.
For months, Oliver has been asking for Aunt Lindsey's Monkey Bread.  Just for him, she made it special for Easter Morning breakfast.
While the Monkey Bread was baking, Oliver was working on drawing lizards thanks to his new drawing pencils and instruction guide from the Easter Bunny.
The Easter Bunny brought these awesome Bunny Lip suckers.

Oliver and Kellan LOVE Miss Daisy.  LOVE LOVE LOVE her!  Several times, Oliver said that he wished that we could have a dog like Daisy.  She is so patient with the boys and I think that she enjoyed the extra attention that they were dishing out.
All dolled up and ready for Easter Sunday Church Service.
William, Isaac, Oliver and Kellan
I'm quite positive that these are the four most handsome tow heads, EVER!!!
After church, we sat for a quick family photo.
William insisted on joining us for our photo, so we pulled Isaac in too.  I cracked up when I saw the final photos.  After all of that insisting, he gave quite the stink eye.  What a nut!
We had a tiny meltdown by Kellan when someone under 4' tall picked up a toy he had stashed for his own use after the photos.  We smoothed that over and our family, with one red faced child, took a nice photo.
Happy Easter! Happy Ham Fam!
As quick as the photos were over, Keith and Jeff were outside working.  Keith was super excited to take the lawn mower for a spin.

While the little boys were napping and the Daddy's were working, Oliver was an opportunist by lingering around the kitchen while Aunt Lindsey was making a cake.
Again, tapping into an opportunity, he talked Papa into taking him for a ride while the little boys napped.
Once Kellan rolled out, he and Oliver worked on their art skills with their new found friend, Daisy.
We were very excited to have some of the family come over for Easter Dinner, including Aunt Patty.
We LOVE Aunt Patty and couldn't wait to give her a big hug!
Some of her grand children came along too, including her newest great grand daughter, Alex.
Finally, the Hamiltons were ready for their Easter Ham.
The little kids bellied up for a fine feast, with Isaac in his perch over seeing the activities.
Mia (3rd cousin to Keith), Kellan and Isaac.
Oliver was positive that he did not want to sit at the little kid table.  Instead, he sat at the big kid table.  I'm not sure if there was a reason that he sat SO far away from his Daddy's 2nd cousins.  We surrounded him ourselves, just in case he knew something that we didn't.  It turned out to all be fun and games at the big kid table.
The moment the kids had all been waiting for... the Easter Egg Hunt, complete with a rain out.  So, we locked them in Williams room (figuratively speaking) and once the eggs were hidden, we unleashed them with their baskets.

Our Handsome Ham Fam boys with their baskets of eggs.

Oliver is careful to take inventory of his findings.
Every moment has a high element of surprise with this guy.
That evening, after everyone went home, William gave us an Easter Evening concert while two of our bottomless pits enjoyed a goldfish snack in the back row.
Seriously, all four boys ate and ate and ate.  We may have to take out a loan to feed them at the next family reunion.
William's violin skills are amazing.  He has grown so much since we say him play at Thanksgiving.
The flash seemed to be a bit distracting, so I tried to go flash free.  It also was a great way to emphasize how fast he was playing at times.
William plays while his Daddy accompanies his on piano.

Look at him go.  So fast that his arm is nothing but a blur.
In all seriousness, I can't believe how grown up he looks here.

We LOVED the concert.  Thank You, William.

The holiday may be over, but our vacation isn't.  It was time to hit the Fort Worth Zoo on Monday morning.
Once again, Oliver took his job as older cousin to heart and made sure that his younger cousins made it safely.
We think that he may like the job of older cousin.

We were in luck to see TWO baby elephants.

You know that your kids frequent the zoo when giraffes in front of them aren't nearly as exciting as what lies beneath them.

I guess gold fish half the size of your body is quite exciting.

Another treat, was the active lions.
At the Denver zoo, the lions just lounge around.
At the Fort Worth zoo, they have a lot to say.
Yes, the lion is roaring!!!
We have never heard a lion roar before.
The boys thought that the lion area was a swell place for a snack.  While they snacked, we waited to see if the lion had anything else to say.
With a female in heat on the other side of the wall roaring his direction, this male lion put up quite the show.
Now... how do we explain to our very curious and inquisitive six year old why the female was locked up and they were roaring back and forth?  Maybe we'll bring him back next year to show him the cubs and that will answer his question.

The zoo had an insect display throughout the zoo.  As if the zoo didn't have enough creepy crawlies to give us the eebie geebies.

As if the zoo wasn't enough of a wild ride, William and Isaac treated us to a ride on the carousel.
The carousel is ALWAYS a big hit.  THANK YOU William and Isaac!
Kellan surprised us by choosing the bench.  At first, he had his eye on the yellow horse before he changed to the bench.  That's ok though.  My first memory of being on a carousel was on the bench with my godparents.  Really, it's all about making memories with those we love, regardless on if it's on the horse or the bench.

Giddy-up Cowboy Jeff!
As we entered Texas Town, the boys took a ride on the stagecoach, just after Oliver said "I thought we were at the zoo?"  He was thrown off with all of the old west buildings and a big red stage coach.
I can't decide if they look like they are riding off into the sunset or into jail cells with their heads poking through.  Regardless, they are CUTE CUTE CUTE!
Isaac and William also treated us to a ride on the train so that we could head over to the lizard and snake house.  It wasn't just any train, through.  It was YELLOW!  Kellan's favorite color and this treat basically made Kellan's vacation experience complete.

We were greeted at the snake and lizard house by a HUGE lizard... this alligator.
Oliver happened to have a library book checked out at the time we took our trip and several days after our zoo trip we discussed what kind of alligator he thought this was.  Without hesitation he said the Gharial alligator.
Right then and there I learned not to doubt Oliver's alligator knowledge.  I had to google it and I'm confident that he was right.
We also know that it's an alligator because of the overbite, versus the under bite.
This is what you learn when you read the Cat in the Hat to Kellan 500 times, because He Knows A Lot About THAT!
Also outside of the lizard and snake house was a tortoise statue.
Again, you learn this when you have boys who love cold blooded creatures.
Kellan insisted that we took photos and who am I to refuse that kind of request?

As we went to join our family who was in search of Komodo Dragons, Kellan saw the greeter swimming away.  This alligator must have been 10' long or more.
I'm always thankful for the glass and fences at the zoo.
Just inside, Oliver and Kellan were making friends with a friendly lizard.
This little guy seemed to be quite fond of Oliver.
Yes, he asked for a lizard or snake as a pet.
Yes, I said NO!
I caught another sensitive moment with Oliver and his cousin Isaac.  He was teaching Isaac all about the snake in the tank.
Oliver was in search of his favorite snake, the King Cobra.  He was disappointed that he wasn't flared up, but Mommy was quite alright with his sleeping pose.
LOW and behold, another alligator.  I swear this guy was staring me down.  Even Lindsey agreed that he had his eye on me.  Maybe it was almost lunch time.  I didn't stick around to find out.
The King Cobra may not have performed, but it was Oliver's lucky day.  They were demonstrating snakes!  (EW, ICK, UGH!)

He not only got to "pet" one snake, but two!  They switched them out just as he walked up.
Kellan even followed Oliver's lead by petting the snakes.
Finally, we found the Komodo
 Dragon, the lizard that Oliver and Kellan talk about first in lizard talk.  Yes, lizard talk is often at our house.
Outside the snake and lizard house, we found another Komodo Dragon and two boys who asked if we could take photos with it.
Remember the boy on the train who was over photos?
He's gone and this boy has replaced him.
Such a handsome boy with a statue of his favorite lizard.

Then, it was Kellan's turn.
You know, they both love a good Komodo, so they both needed a good Komodo Photo!
The Handsome Ham Fam Boys!
Before leaving, Kellan asked for one more photo and this is the pose he gave.  He wouldn't look my way, he just started ahead with his arms crossed and a Komodo smirk on his face.  I think he was tapping in to his inner Komodo.
On our way out the door, we saw the Silver Back Gorilla and his lady gorillas.
This one must have know that we were a family full of boys as she mooned us while taking a drink of water.  Yes, it was a big hit all around.
She gave us one look over her should before walking away.
Maybe to see if we watched her moon us?
Maybe to gauge the level of entertainment?
Maybe to threaten us not to mess with her man?
Who knows!

Finally, when the zoo was all said and done, Oliver got a turn in the wagon with a pull from William.
Then... the time had come.
The time that we had anticipated ALL Day!  All Weekend!
In N Out Burger, BABY!

The best part of In N Out is .. um.. the food!
The worst part about taking photos of the food is that when you go back to look at them, all you think about is wanting the food.
Until next time In N Out... I'll Double Double Dream of You!
The whole Ham Fam, loving In N Out!
Well... honestly... Keith and Jeff tolerate it, but the rest of us LOVE IT!
Even Oliver said that it was the best ever.
He said that just before he went cookoo!
Keith had to take a business call so he went outside.  Since Oliver is the ripe old age of 6 (and I could see him the entire time) I let him go outside with his Dad.
This was the thanks he gave me.
It probably didn't help his brother or cousins to stay in their seats.
Whew!  What a day.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Oliver went in search of bugs.
The nice part about Texas is there is never a shortage of bugs.

A dozen rolly poly's, a trio of lady bugs and a few random insects later, his collection was off to a great start.
For Kellan, he opted to play a bit of t-ball from the comfort of the back patio, where shoes were optional.
As the sun set, the real fun began.
Uncle Jeff and Daddy rigged up the 4 wheeler and trailer for some good county sunset driving.
They took a quick spin around the yard to discuss the safety features.
Then, they were off, giggling all the way up and over the wild blue yonder.  Lindsey sat back and watched as they rode off into the horizon (literally).
After the Texas zoo and dust were cleaned off, William graced us with one more unbelievable concert.
I tried not to use the flash as I didn't want to distract him.
Then, I realized that my flash was nothing compared to the WWF wrestling match that broke out before him.  William gets two gold starts for his focus and determination.
Then, Aunt Lindsey showed us her knew found violin skills.
So did Uncle Jeff.
I hate to tell them, but I think William might win in dueling fiddles if they find themselves in Georgia.
One more shot of the four tow heads.
Cutie Patooties!
Oliver, Isaac, Kellan and William.

After a quick four night and three full day visit, it was time to head home.
We had a stop in Oklahoma City so we took advantage of the opportunity to move to the front of the Southwest Airplane.
Oliver wanted to sit next to the window, so we put both boys in one row with Daddy.
It was FANTASTIC!  We have moved beyond traveling with tiny tots that need extra TLC, to traveling with big boys who are absolute professionals.
HUGE THANKS to Jeff, Lindsey, William and Isaac for hosting us for the long weekend.  We absolutely loved every minute and we can't wait to do it again!
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