Thursday, March 31, 2016

Houston Rodeo

Oh, how we love us some HLSR!  Jon and I didn't make it to a concert this year, and with Madeline being in school,  we really only had one day to enjoy the festivities.  Luckily we had a big crew to enjoy the fun!  My mom came with us, and Jon, Peter, Niki, Jordan, Granny, Will and Matt met us there.

Riding the Metro train to the Rodeo was just as exciting as the Rodeo for this kid!  (And I'm aware that he's not supposed to be sitting there but the train was empty).

My mom and I got there early with the kids so we could get in line for Mutton Bustin'.  While my mom waited with Madeline, I took the boys to ride the ponies...or as Andrew said, "medium horses."

This was Preston's first pony ride, and he loved it!  I couldn't get a good picture/video while they were moving, but he had a big grin on his face and was patting the pony.

This girl was ready to go! We were so proud of her for being brave.  She fell off the sheep pretty quick last year, but that didn't stop her from being excited this year!  On the way to the Rodeo, I asked her if she was ready.  Andrew kept saying, "I'm getting ready too."  I reminded him that he couldn't do Mutton Bustin' until he was five.  He said, "I know.  I'm getting ready for next year."

Here's the video of her ride: Madeline Mutton Bustin'

She held on tight and had a great ride, with a big grin on her face.

We enjoyed the carnival rides and games before it got too hot outside.

After rides and games it was time for lunch.  No pics of that because it was CRAZY.  After lunch we did all of the indoor activities, like visiting the animals, planting seeds and climbing on tractors.

 Preston was a HUGE fan of the petting zoo.  He would squat down, look at the animal, and say "awww."  He even tried laying his head on a few of them.

By the time we got to the tractor exhibit, it was so crowded!  That's the downside of visiting the Rodeo during Spring Break, but we still had a wonderful time.

Spring Break 2016

Spring Break was definitely what this household need....a break from our normal routine!  We didn't go on a big trip, but it was so nice to not rush anywhere and spend some quality time with our favorite people.

On Saturday, Madeline and Andrew went to Bryan and stayed through Monday.  They played outside, spent time with cousins, and Madeline sewed a few blankets for her dolls with Granny. Jon, Preston and I spent our weekend doing yard work.  On Sunday night we went to my parents house to celebrate my Dad's birthday.  This was Preston's first time in the pool this season.  He loves bath time, so I had/have high hopes for him enjoying the pool this summer.  We've tried twice this month and he is NOT happy.  He'll float like this for a minute or so and start screaming.  He's happy to put his feet in and splash, so we might try a different flotation device.

Happy 61st birthday, Poppy!

On Tuesday we went to the Rodeo, but that will get a post of its own.  Wednesday was our much needed "down" day.  On Thursday we went to League City, because our friends were in town!  Madeline and Andrew love Jack and Brooke, and talk about them almost daily.  We love Mrs. Kelly and baby Molly too. :)  We also went to visit Maria and Ryan's new house.  Andrew informed us that he didn't want to see it and "wanted to come back when there was stuff in it".  (The house was being painted and they hadn't moved in yet).  

My parents had a ton of dead june bugs on their porch, so we pulled out the shop vac and Andrew vacuumed them up.

Preston wanted in on the action and actually did a pretty good job!  Easy entertainment.

The big kids ended up spending the night.  On Friday my mom took them to the Aquarium in Kemah for lunch.  Friday afternoon Jon, P and I went to LC so the men could play golf.  That evening we ended up at the country club patio for dinner.  The weather was awesome and the kids could run around and play.

On Saturday a major cold front blew in, so we traded our shorts for long sleeves.  We went to a Mongolian restaurant on the west side of town for lunch.  I wish I could remember the name, because the food was awesome.  Andrew enjoyed the coconut water.

Preston was all about the chopsticks!

Saturday afternoon/evening Jon had two work events to attend, so I took all three kids to church.  Palm Sunday Mass by myself earned us an immediate ticket to the cry room (because Preston rarely makes it through these days).   They were actually pretty good when they weren't hitting each other with palms.  

Early Sunday morning we picked up Uncle Mark and headed to Bryan for a St. Joseph's Alter.  Princess was mad because Daddy would not let her wear her sparkly ear muffs.  (The event was outside and it was cool).  She parked herself on this bench away from everyone, ironically next to an angel.  The picture was too good to pass up.  She changed her attitude after some spaghetti and Italian ring cookies.

After lunch we headed back to Houston and met Mrs. Lara for bluebonnet pictures.  It was SO windy and Andrew wouldn't stop crying because he was cold.  All I had in my car was a beach towel, so he walked around like this. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

New Orleans Weddings

 The first weekend in March we had two Noto family weddings in New Orleans. My first cousin, Natalie, got married on Friday night.  An extended cousin, Jeffery, got married Saturday night.  Considering we would have had to get babysitters both nights  (and in general it would have been a long weekend for the kids), Jon stayed at home with them .  I was very grateful for the uninterrupted time I was able to spend with extended family and celebrate!

The siblings and I flew out at 6 am Friday morning. 

 We had breakfast at JuJu's house, and then some of us went to visit the bridal party.  

After a visit and early lunch of crawfish pies and shrimp pasta, most of my family went to the French Quarter to hang out at Pat O's.  I opted for a two hour nap and it was the best decision.  By Friday evening we were dressed and ready to go to wedding #1!  I was definitely missing my other half!

Aunt Mary with cousins Andrew and Jason

Natalie and Blake

Post-wedding sibling selfie

Natalie and Blake's entrance into the wedding reception began with a second line.  Many New Orleans weddings end with one, but this was such a fun way to start the party.

Aunt Gina, JuJu, Dad, Pistol, Uncle Brian and Aunt Peggy

The Peter Josephs

Bella Boo loved every minute of the wedding. 

On Saturday after sleeping in (AMEN) we started the day with mimosas and uninterrupted conversation (double AMEN) on the patio. 

For lunch we went to eat po-boys.

It was pretty much the most beautiful day ever, so we attempted to nap outside...and then the lawn guy showed up.  Oh well.

While I was basking in the New Orleans fun, my husband and kiddos were basking in the Bryan country sun.  They had a Gator parade and spent hours outside with cousins Will and Matt.  Madeline even got to drive the buggy for the first time!  

Saturday evening we were all geared up for wedding #2.

Pistol Pete was a dancin' fool.  Today is actually his 85th birthday, and he has quite the moves for an 85 year old!

Sister Selfie

This wedding had a sno ball stand.  My favorite is a Pink Lady (nectar with condensed milk).

Noto cousins, minus Natalie who got married the night before.

After another late night, we were up early Sunday morning to attend Mass on Tulane's campus.  After lunch at a little Italian restaurant, we headed to the airport to fly back to Houston.  While it wasn't exactly a relaxing weekend away, it was much needed and a such a good time!