Thursday, February 15, 2018

Life on the Sea

What's a cruise without a day at sea? A day to simply enjoy the ship and all it has to offer. As with anything Disney, there was no lack of activity, although I captured very little of it.  We watched a movie on the Disney tron while floating in the pool, the kids made slime in the kid's club, we went to a Disney song trivia game, played sports on the upper deck and enjoyed the last of the sun (for those of us returning to England).

Cousin fun on deck

Uncle Jon and Grayson

Mimi's birthday was a few days after we left the cruise, and we couldn't possibly let it go by without celebrating. After all, what's a birthday without cake?  Better yet, how about a birthday with a Mickey cake?

Happy Birthday, Mimi! Thank you for a spectacular trip!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.  The ship had a pirate themed night and my crew embraced it. Of course, every time we talk Pirates of the Caribbean, we can't help but talk about the first time Grayson went to Disney and talked Pops into riding it with him 8 times.  Our family went the traditional pirate route, that is, except for my very creative nephew who wanted to be the Pirate's parrot!  I love it.

We saw some super creative costumes on the ship. One father was Captain hook of all his pirates. We saw a whole family of Mr. Smee's.  If we had been more on it we could have done the whole cast of Peter Pan with our crew. We didn't think outside the box.  We had a blast.

Never too old for a Mickey hug.

Cheers to a good cruise.  Love that the pirate mugs lit up.

After dinner was a Pirate Party up on deck where they taught us the 5 rules to being a good pirate.  Apparently I'm not a good pirate as I only remember one of them, and that was because I took a picture. What does a pirate say? Aye, Aye Mate! There was also another one about pirate booty - where we all had to shake our booties.

What's a pirate party without Captain Hook trying to hijack the ship?

The best part of the evening was the fireworks off the ship!  Well done Captain Jack Sparrow!

Castaway Cay

Oh warm sun, how we have missed thee!  Day 3 of our cruise was spent on Disney's private island of Castaway Cay in the Bahamas! It was magnificently beautiful.  Grayson and I headed off the ship for everyone to do the 5K. It was a fun, low key event that if you wanted to run only 2 miles, they didn't care, you still got the medal. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of us. I was so proud of Grayson who finished in 33 minutes (not trained at all). He ran the whole thing and only stopped to get water.  

After some small miscommunication and mishaps, we finally met up with the rest of the family.

Everyone was ready for the beach. The water was a bit chilly but everyone eventually got in.

 Well, everyone except Hope who wasn't feeling 100%. Instead, Mimi took her to have  local platt her hair.  It looked adorable on her when she was done.


In the ocean, they had a pier you could jump off of, do monkey bars or rope swing along with another place where you could slide.

Though the water looks greenish in the pictures, it was really an outstanding blue and crystal clear.

After lunch, the kids were content to build sand castles while the adults rested under the palm trees. Perfect day in paradise.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Entrance Exams

Grayson has the opportunity, if he chooses, to change schools next year.  It is still a private school in the area, but is for upper grades. The school he is looking into in King Edward.  Everything here is still different to us, even in terms of private schools. In order to attend, we had to fill out an application, Grayson had to go for an interview and he had to sit for an entrance exam.  Wow.  It was a lot, but good preparation for what is to come in the future. 

I felt like a bad mom when he came home from school and he said that the Assistant Deputy had done a practice interview with him.   It occurred to me at that point that he wouldn't have known how to do an interview.  I didn't think about it. So, thank you Mr. Jackson. 

The entrance exam was a three hour exam that took place on a Sat morning. Jamison offered to drive him over.  I received this picture from him with the caption of "preview of what to come in college."  Jamison was not allowed to go in the gate with him. He simply walked Grayson up and watched him walk across the ground and into the exam with all of the other students. Jamison wasn't the only parent who commented how hard it was to watch their child walk off.

A foretaste of what is to come.... 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Chevron Houston Marathon

The kids returned to Texas with Jamison and I stayed behind to see friends, doctor's appointments and to run the Houston Marathon. With Harvey this summer, a lot of the financial donors to Living Water were impacted and donations were down, so that aided in my decision to run for Team Living Water again.  The team collectively raised over $175,000.  

The Sat before the race, I went for my last "taper" run. I use that lightly as my plan for Houston was simply to use it as a training run, hence I really didn't taper that much prior to the race. I simply wanted to use the race to build endurance and not get injured before London.

Pictures from my Volte crew!

Landa, Jen, Mayra

some of the girls with a post run coffee,  It's Houston - wasn't it supposed to be warmer than England?
Friday I ventured into the Expos with 2 of my longterm friends and running buddies, Sonia and Kim.The Expo is always one of my favorite outings, especially in Houston. Not only is their great running gear, I usually see a ton of people I know. I guess that happens after running in Houston in 3 different running groups over the course of 10 years. I also found race day to be much of the same - a bit of a social hour!

So much on running for Houston and the resilience after Hurricane Harvey

Kim Swift and the girls

Coach Mark and the girls

After the Expo, we met up with Susan for our pre-race carb loading! 

Susan, Jen, Kim and Sonia

Race day we bundled up as it was in the 30s, windchill upper 20s at the start.  These are England temperatures, but at least the sun was shining. It was a great ray to run, and to just enjoy!

Mile 2 we passed a good friend, Chris Hartfield, who was passing out water. Thanks for volunteering.

Mile 2

At mile 6, I stopped to chat with Coach Bill and Mary.

Mile 6
At mile 25.5 Kim and Sonia were waiting for me. Though I am smiling, I stuck my tongue out at both of them. No matter how slow/fast/effort exerted, by mile 25 you feel bad and are ready to be done. Kim ran me in. At least I propelled myself this year. Three years ago, Kim and Steve Brammer literally took my arms and drug me to the finish line! 

Off to the finish

Successful day. 4:08. Not my best time but I was aiming for 4:00.  Two bathroom breaks, several stops along the route to high five and say hello, I made my goal.

Happy Trails Houston, until we meet again.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas Break in Texas!

Best Christmas surprise ever - getting to go home to Texas for a few weeks. It was a quick trip and we filled it almost completely with family time.  The biggest surprise was Texas was having a cold snap - almost as cold in Texas as England!  

The original plan was for Jamison to come towards the end of the trip as I had used up most of (OK, all of) his vacation time travelling around Europe.  However, his 101 year old grandfather, Eugene Pennebaker passed away shortly upon us arriving in Texas and Jamison came on.   While we were sad upon his death, I am thankful for the timing. I was able to go with him to the visitation and funeral, that I would not have otherwise been able to do if we were in England.

My cousin, Kelley and her family happened to be in the Houston area for the holidays. It has been over a year since we had seen them and we have missed Ainsley and Gage. The kids were excited to have a whole day playing games with them!

Carson, Chance, Ainsly, Michaela, Hope, Gage & Grayson

Uncle Justin and Aunt Emilie made it over for a quick trip so we could see the twins!  They have grown so much and gotten so much personality since this summer.
Sweet cuddles from Major

Grayson and Major

They have mastered sitting up!

Monroe likes the Selfies
 All the Crockett cousins!

While Jamison and I were in Corpus, Mimi and Pops took the older Crockett cousins to our annual tradition of Santa's Wonderland.

We took a day to go play in College Station with the Smith cousins!

Grayson, Jonah, Michaela, Lorelain, Hope and Jonah

Though not a son by birth, here's a picture of Grayson and Jackson, my other son. 

Texas, how we miss thee!