Monday, December 17, 2012

Goodbye to Noodleville

Someone has a sense of humor, check out the smiley face, lol

Ordinarily, such a topic would be followed by a heartbreaking tale, a sorrowful lament, an endless refrain of sadness, but this time, that’s not the case..


Well, mostly because I’m just being melodramatic and needed a blog starter to grab your attention. Though truly, we are having a goodbye, but the goodbye is to Noodle, not the end of Noodleville.

Yep, that’s right… We’re moving. It’s been a hectic mess, full of ups & downs and waves of excitement and indecision, but sink or swim, do or die, we are leaving the lil town of Noodle behind….

Jerimiah took a new job, and since October we have been living apart… He works for 10 days, comes home for 3 and leaves out on day 4. Not exactly the best situation, and not one we care to maintain permanently, so away we go off to east Texas. Found a lil place, not much land, but the price won’t put us in debt up to our ears, it’s close to family, has more space than we have in this lil house and it actually has trees so that’s great. Seriously… REAL trees, ones taller than me and they don’t have thorns. I also didn't see not one single cactus on the place, which is awesome. It's nice when the local plant life isn't out to shred you to bits...

There are even lakes close by and believe it or not, grass actually grows on the property and the soil isn't impenetrable rock. Truly, lots of fabulous changes for us Noodle-ites.

Of course, the humidity in the summer may actually kill me, and I’ll have to learn the lay out of a new town, new stores and hope I can get from point A to point B without getting lost… But I figure I’ll just take baby steps and conquer each obstacle one at a time as I go along… Except for the summer humidity, I’m not joking, it may seriously kill me.

Anywho, the biggest downside of the new place it has no fencing and it has a scattered mess of “shelters” that are comical to say the least. Whoever built them had an affinity for particle board and very, very low ceilings… So, we’ve been doing our best to get the fencing completed & will make do with the shelters until we get settled in and can build something else.

To make the move easier, I sold down my goats… I’m down to 7 now…. 3 pregnant Alpines, 1 pregnant Nubian, 2 pregnant Lamanchas and Tricks who is not bred this year… Most sad about selling Tonka….. Geez I can’t even begin to say how much I hated doing that, but he went to a great home and his new owner will allow me to use him for stud in the future, so all is not lost.

We are moving to east Texas, specifically a lil town called Phalba. I've been told that I’ll need to change the name of my blog.. But to what? “The Adventures of  Phalbaville“?  Or, since we'll live in Phalba, but have a Mabank address, I suppose we could sub in "Mabankville"....

Have you ever heard anything so ludicrous? Not happening. Noodleville simply has an air of awesomeness that can't be beat..

So, while I’m saying a goodbye to Noodle, Noodleville will still exist. It’s my own lil creation… It has significance… Not just as a blog, but as a start of change in my life. After our move here I grew a backbone. I stopped caring what folks thought of me and decided to do what made me happy. I cut the false friends from my life, and stopped dancing to the tune others played for me…. I took time to take stock and focus on what was important in life & I came to an acceptance of who I am, in all my weirdness, and I’m finally happy with me.

Noodleville also happens to be my ADGA herd name for the dairy goats, and due to my absolute disgust for paperwork, I’m not changing it… Even if I thought of some other name I liked better, the paperwork alone would be enough of a deterrent to keep me from changing things up.

Hoping to finish moving over the kid’s holiday break so they can get settled and start their new school at the beginning of the semester. They are excited, but nervous. They've only been to one school, so this is a big change for them… I’m sure they’ll be fine though (I have to keep telling myself that, I think I’m more nervous than they are, lol) and Shayla happens to think a new school is a wonderful excuse to go clothes shopping, because apparently, if you’re switching schools a wardrobe update is required.

Anywho, wish us luck!

Until next time, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Noodleville Review: Chaffhaye Alfalfa

Thought I’d share a bit about one of my new favorite feed items for the goats.

As my readers know, I raise dairy goats. I want healthy, productive animals who maintain body condition and I want to be able to afford to maintain them.

Each producer manages their herd in their own way based on what they can afford and what works for them. I’ve always fed a diet that includes grass hay of some sort for roughage, whole grains on the milk stand for calories to maintain body weight, good quality loose minerals and alfalfa in some form as the base of their diet to provide calcium and protein to fuel milk production. I don’t feed much grain or concentrates and feel my animals are healthier on a forage based diet.

In west Texas, good alfalfa is hard to come by and even harder to afford. And, if you happen to spring for a nice bale, those picky goats will pick through the bale, eat all the soft leaves and waste most of the stems… When a so-so quality, 55lb bale of alfalfa is running $18.50 a pop, this is far from economical. Alfalfa pellets on the other hand have no waste & they store easily. I would only buy Standlee brand pellets because they are a GMO free product and unlike other local brands, it was dust free, not preserved with animal fat (yes, some pellets for herbivores contain animal fat and that's just nasty!) smelled great and at $10 per 40lbs, I felt like I certainly got my monies worth.

A couple months ago, I started having supply issues… My store frequently ran out. And then the price started creeping on up… Current price is $12.99 for 40lbs.

Heard about Chaffhaye and discovered I had a semi-local dealer and thought I’d give it a test run. First, I gave Kimber a call and chatted a bit… She was really helpful and even sent me these lil sample packs in the mail to try out:

Chaffhaye sample packs
Chaffhaye is a GMO free, fermented alfalfa. It’s chopped in the field, allowed to dry to 50% moisture.. Afterwards it’s misted with a smidge of molasses and then inoculated with beneficial bacteria… Once it’s been inoculated it’s baled into airtight packages so the beneficial bacteria can get to work breaking down some of the plant fibers… The end result is a semi-moist, highly digestable fermented alfalfa loaded with natural pro-biotics and beneficial yeast. Click on the video below for a short clip showing how Chaffhaye is produced.

I was VERY skeptical.. Price was $12.50 per 50lbs, but since it’s a semi-moist product, part of that 50lbs I’m paying for is just moisture…. Really thought I’d have to feed more pounds per animal than I was feeding with the alfalfa pellets and if that was the case, it would not be an economical choice for my herd….

Despite my reservations, I bought 6 bags and worked on introducing the new food slowly. Being a new product to me, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I once tried a bag of this chopped, dried TNT brand alfalfa and it was chopped so fine it was almost dust, it smelled stale and no one would eat it…. Knowing this was a product with 50% moisture I had pictured kind of a damp mush..

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the first bag that it smelled wonderful and it was only a coarse chop, not a fine chopped, mushy mess… There were several stem pieces in there in the 6”-10” length, but all were very soft stems..

Here is an up close picture of a clump of Chaffhaye… On the left is what 90% of the Chaffhaye looks like… On the right is a picture of a giant beneficial yeast colony I found in one bag. These yeasty bits are like a super food…. It has a velvety texture and the consistency of a good Greek yogurt.

Chaffhaye up close. Beneficial yeast colony pictured on right...

Curiosity, as always, got the best of me, so I tasted a bit on a dare from my 9 year old son (He double-dog dared me, so of course I couldn‘t chicken out, so quit with the disapproving head shakes!)….

It was kind of yogurt-y with a yeasty hint… Almost like someone mixed beer and a mild yogurt.

I will say it certainly was NOT my cup of tea, I prefer my yogurt sweet, without beer & alfalfa undertones, but the goats fight over these pieces! I have to break them up and distribute evenly between feeders or Bleuberry will hog them all.

Large yeast colony in Chaffhaye
Kimber up at Chaffhaye recommended fluffing up a bucket full and letting it air a bit before feeding the first time and I found this really helped my picky girls give it a try. My grown does LOVED it… Ginger, my old girl who hails from Idaho, land of beautiful alfalfa, was MOANING in her feeder and trying to cram as much in her mouth as possible… She certainly thinks this is much, much better than pellets..

The doelings shocked me.. Being younger, I thought they’d readily attack it, but they acted as if I put poison out for them. Snorting, head shaking and staring at me as if I lost my mind.
So I mixed it up ½ & ½ with their alfalfa pellets and gradually reduced the amount of pellets each day.. By about 10 days in. the doelings were mobbing me at the gate when I brought in the Chaffhaye & were picking around the alfalfa pellets so they could eat just the Chaffhaye…

The bucks took about 17 days to finally try it. Goats like routine so I guess I shouldn't be so shocked that they took a while to make the switch.

We’re almost 8 weeks into feeding Chaffhaye and I must say I’m truly impressed. I have dried up all but one of my does and I am feeding my milking girl about 2lbs - 2 ½ lbs per day. When I fed alfalfa pellets, I also fed about 2lbs- 2 ½ lbs a day, so my fears about having to feed more because of the moisture content turned out to be unjustified.

I had another pleasant surprise… Since I already fed an alfalfa based diet before the switch, I didn’t expect a change in milk production at all, but Bleuberry went from producing right at 4lbs of milk (½ gallon) each morning to producing 4 ½ lbs - 5lbs each morning! She’s a first freshener who has been milking for almost 10 months now, she’s pregnant, plus I cut her down to once a day milking in preparation for drying her up… Yes, I know ½ lb - 1lb isn’t a huge jump or anything marvelous, but to see the jump this late in lactation while feeding the same amounts as I was feeding of the pellets was pretty nifty.

March 2012 doelings: All ear varities love Chaffhaye! Mocha the Lamancha, Heidi the Alpine & Rosie the Nubian
I’m very happy to see that Ginger, who is going on 9 years old, is putting on weight even though she too is not eating more pounds of Chaffaye than she was of the pellets… And Austin, the scrawny Alpine buck I bought at the beginning of fall is actually putting on weight as well which is awesome!
Oh! And I must mention the packaging! I love the packaging on these bales.... It's very compact so you don't need as much storage space and the packaging is very durable. If you're like me and don't have a big hay storage area, you can stack this up outside and just cover with a tarp to keep the sun off of it and it will store well for at least 2 years with no spoilage or loss in nutrients as long as the package is intact.... Plus, you can toss a few bags in your car and not worry about a mess:

I had 6 bags tossed in my lil SUV, plus still had room for groceries & a few bags of feed.

Tricks stopped eating to have her picture snapped.
I have no waste, the goats lick up every last stem & I’m finding that as long as I close up the bag, my Chaffhaye isn’t drying out or spoiling even on a bag that’s been open for 2 weeks.

So, color me convinced, I love this stuff!

For those of y’all interested in learning more, hop on over to Chaffhaye's website for all the techincal info I left out of this post, and if you still have any questions, contact Kimber by clicking here.

For my local readers, hit up Mr. Jack Cress.. He’s been wonderful about accommodating my schedule and is always helpful… Plus, he’s offering the best local price per bale.

Oh, another nifty thing… I am a frugal goat keeper, so anytime I can save a bit of $$$$$ I’m a happy camper.

In October, Chaffhaye did a photo contest on their Facebook page which you can find here: Chaffhaye on Facebook and this picture of Blueberry & Ginger won!!

Our Chaffhaye Photo Contest picture.
I must confess, getting that picture almost killed me. I wanted to be able to show that they were truly eating Chaffhaye, so instead of my usual bucket feeding, I toted the whole bag out.

I had this cute idea of all the girls standing around the bale eating peacefully and looking serene….. But what I got instead was a mobbing, mad dash of goats everywhere, I was barely able to hold on to the bag and get the gate closed!!

Fighting, ear biting, shoving and I had my toes stomped on more than one occasion… Star ducked between by legs trying to get around Ginger, which landed me on my rear, and Bleuberry, in an attempt to keep the bag to herself, knocked it over twice.. One head toss sent my cell phone flying out of my hand and I‘m actually very shocked it didn‘t break and I was able to continue snapping pictures…Took about 30 shots to get just one non-blurry picture and I tried to get Star in a shot, but the Alpines weren’t allowing a Lamancha at the bale, so I had to settle for just a shot of Blueberry & Ginger. To say I worked for that darn picture is an understatement!

And here is our prize.. Hard to read, but it is a coupon for 5 free bags of Chaffhaye! Pretty spiffy eh? They had 2 of these contest in October, so I think it’s great that they hook up customers with cool prizes. So, go “Like” their Facebook page and watch for tidbits and future contest.

Kidding season in Noodleville starts February 2013 and I'm really looking forward to seeing how my next kid crop does when started on Chaffhaye instead of pellets... Also looking forward to my milk numbers next year so I can see how all the girls milk on this at peak lactation...

As a parting shot, here's some of the March/May 2012 doelings chowing down on some Chaffhaye. Cookie the Alpine has a big mouthful and 3 of the other doelings are trying to lick every last leaf from the bag.

Cookie, Mocha, Rose & Tricks

Best Wishes,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Fowl Epidemic

Haven’t updated on the Noodleville residence of the feathered variety in ages so I thought they’d get their own posting today....

To start out, would anyone like some chickens???? These chickens are FABULOUS chickens. Each has lots of feathers in a wide variety of colors, 2 legs, 2 wings, a beak & 2 eyes. They make quite a bit of racket and the amounts of s---, err I mean High Quality Organic fertilizer they produce is astounding.

Hubby has developed a hobby.. Which is fabulous since he spends 99.9% of his time working and he needs something that he enjoys. He enjoys the chickens and has decided we shouldn’t buy chicks when we can hatch our own. To this end, I thought getting him an incubator as a present would be just fabulous.

Sometimes I don’t fully think through my grand ideas.

Hubby loved his new incubator. First batch we didn’t have an egg turner so turned them daily by hand. They got to the pipping stage and we waited eagerly for a hatching that never happened. The eggs were too dry, despite the water reservoir being full.

Second batch we tried a different route. We bought an egg turner to simplify things & the day we had to turn off the egg turner, we wet a few old rags and placed them in the incubator, in addition to having the water reservoir full.


This picture just cracks me up..... Little booger looks wind blown..

The first chick hatched almost a full day before the rest, but after that day, they started popping out all over the place.

I know it's the miracle of life & all that sweet stuff, but man they sure do look gross, and just a tad creepy, when they first pop out of the eggs..

And here is the crew all nice and dry .... I think we started with 22-23 eggs in the incubator and 17 hatched. Not a bad hatch rate if I do say so myself..

Hard to be too annoyed by chicken numbers when you're staring at all that cuteness..

Yea… I’m kinda a sucker for new chicks.. Are they not just the cutest lil boogers???!

Hubby has currently has 21 Buff Orpington eggs in the incubator, due to hatch October 21st.

This wouldn’t be a problem if not for this hen!

Meet our extreme broody hen who has gone broody 3 times this year… Each time we thought she was snapped up by a predator, only to come home about a month later with a fluffy brood of mutt chicks.

Here's the chicks that were with the hen in the picture above..

Just this week, about 10 weeks after hatching the brood above, that darn hen came up with 2 new chicks!! There were more in the brood, but a predator got to them before she could bring them up to the house…


We processed some of the Jersey Giant crosses from the first broody batch and have decided to give the Jersey Giant hens away. Good layers, but their chicks eat so much, and grow these HUGE skeletons with hardly any meat…  We fed up several Jersey Giant mutt roos that were absolutely worthless… Plus we can’t seem to end the broody cycle with them so I can’t say I’ll be sad to see them go.

I do have a bit of news that I am sad to share… Remember Big Red? The sweetest, most awesome Roo ever, who would share snacks with the kids? He hasn’t come home in 2 weeks now … Of all my chickens, Red & Riccardo were my favorites and it’s sad not having him follow me around during the day..

Riccardo sharing an appple core with my son, Big Red on the left..

Anywho… chickens are reproducing better than bunnies here in Noodleville....It's like a reproduction epidemic. I think there are 28ish out there… Not counting the 21 Buff eggs in the incubator.

I make eggs a lot for breakfast… Sometimes lunch… Maybe even dinner on a regular basis (we had omelets last night). I boil eggs from hidden nest stashes, run them through the food processor & feed them to the chickens & barn cats.. I give eggs away to the neighbors. Jasper gets 3 eggs a day…

Really, I’m quite honestly sick of eggs.

So, anyone want some chickens, just let me know! (Just kidding… sorta.. I may think hard about it, but I wouldn‘t really get rid of hubby‘s chickens, at least not without his consent. He does tolerate my goats afterall....)

Honestly, it’s not as bad as I make it seem… With the predators stealing a few (we caught a possum in the act and he is no longer stealing chickens) and the future culling out of all the Giants and Giant crosses, the numbers will be much more reasonable..

Until then, I’m tired of scrambled, fried & boiled eggs. I don’t need anymore mayonnaise. I don’t want another omelet and my crew isn’t crazy about egg salad..

So how about a good, quick, munchkin friendly quiche recipe??

Friday, September 14, 2012

Playtime in Noodleville

Following up on the tail of my hay blog, I thought I’d share some semi-related pictures..

Being the youngest, and smallest of the group of bottle kids, Tricks has always had a different routine. She is fed milk outside of the pen to ensure she gets her fair share and at this point she’s the only bottle kid still on milk.

On her trips out, the munchkins often kidnapped her for play time… They race each other, play “King of the Dirt Pile” and the munchkins have been known to share their snacks with her… Basically, she’s a rotten mess who is convinced she’s one of the kiddos.

When we first unloaded the hay, we just shoved it off the trailer and wherever it landed is where it stayed until we borrowed the hay spike.

The kids (and Tricks) found these to be great toys and would climb up them and jump from bale to bale….

Playing “King of the Bale” is much, much more fun than “King of the Dirt Pile", plus, if you’re quick enough, you can dash down the line and conquer the bale on the end first… Needless to say the kiddos (both human & goat) had a blast. What munchkin needs video games when they have imagination, enthusiastic goat kids, and rows of hay bales???

Snapped these pics when they took a lil break:

Tricks & one of the barn cats enjoying the hay bale..
I missed the shot, but this picture was snapped right after I caught Shayla holding the sucker out so Tricks could have a few licks.... According to her, they were taking a "sucker break" & the grape swirl she's got in her mouth is Tricks' favorite flavor...  Nothing like goat slobber to enhance a sucker eh?
In the midst of trying to rake up old hay so we could put in the new round bale, Bleuberry found the wheel barrow to be a great perch to reach a few mesquite branches… Mostly though, I think she just climbed in there to be a pest.

These have nothing to do with the hay… Just candid shots of Rosie & Tricks while out on a walk…

Gotta love those flapping Nubian ears...
Tricks all bristled up watching the neighbor's cattle..

Sunday, September 9, 2012

We May Burn Down The Town......

But neither fire, nor broken truck will keep me from bringing my goats home some hay!!

Just as he did last year when he played "The Hay Fairy", my father in law has saved me this winter... He baled up quite a bit of very weedy mixed grass hay and on a trip up for a visit, he loaded me up with 4 round bales to bring home…. With the drought, and no grazing here in west Texas, hay has been hard to find and even harder to afford... Rounds are averaging $120.00 each.... Small grass squares are in the $12.00 range and I won't even talk about the surge in grain prices.....

Forget diamonds and pretty things, give this gal a gift of hay and nothing makes me happier!

As my readers may have noticed, NOTHING in my life, even the most mundane task, can be simple.

Oh no, everything I attempt to do must have extravagant fanfare, drama, or in this case, FIRE.

Trucking on along with a trailer load of hay, I was blissfully happy. Nothing better for me than the security of having hay… Jerimiah is driving, I’m discussing where we are going to store it and we’re hoping traffic won’t be bad as we are just outside of Dallas/Fort Worth….

Cars behind us, and one very slow car in front of us… We move on over to the far left lane to pass and just as we start getting up past them, we feel this bone jarring *thud*….. The trailer broke loose, with four, 900+lbs bales of hay, in the middle of traffic….

Ya ever wanna clear metroplex traffic, just lose a trailer and watch those folks scatter!! Hate to admit it, but the look on the other driver’s faces was just fabulous…... Yes, I am aware that my sense of humor is warped...

Gotta hand it to Jerimiah, he pulled some slick maneuvering. Swerved the truck in front of the trailer, it smacked right into us, and he was able to get it across the lanes of traffic and into the bar ditch.

Had a terrifying moment when we split a large sign…. His truck went to the left, the trailer went to the right, just barely missing it by about 4ft!

We jump out, absolutely astonished that we didn’t take out the sign and didn’t cause a wreck… Only to panic about the possible damage we did to my father in law’s trailer…. You never, ever tear up something when it belongs to you, but I’ll be damned if the first time you borrow something, ya end up breaking it..

Ok, I admit, I was a lil shaken, and was giggling like a fool…. Couldn’t go look at the trailer as I just knew it was busted and twisted up… Jerimiah checks it out and yells: “It’s alright!! The trailer is FINE, it was my truck bumper that snapped off and my truck bed is warped!”

Giddy with relief and our freakish stroke of good luck in a bad luck ordeal, I kneel beside him to check it out…. He’s giving it a good once over and I’m staring above his head in disbelief…

 “Honey….. Honey… It’s not ok, can you call 911?!?”

I may giggle like a fool, but hubby poses with disaster.... You can see the poles of the sign we barely missed in the background...
 He stands & looks in the direction I’m staring in and I’ll not type here the words that came out of his mouth next….

Check out our lovely lil fire...... Fire department just arrived...

The trailer, scraping across the asphalt, sparked a nice fire, catching a huge stretch of the bar ditch on fire, and thanks to the dry grass, it was spreading quickly…

With us, it never ends, I swear, I don't know why anything even shocks me anymore.....

Poor Jerimiah, my giggling while he called 911 probably didn’t help, but it was either hysterics or giggles… Giggles don’t bother the kids like hysterics would..

Our bumperless, warped truck..
Anywho, once again, luck was on our side and the fire department came & got the blaze out before it did more than burn a bunch of grass, and by some miracle, we didn’t get a ticket!

I also didn’t get my hay that day....... Had to call my father in law since the truck was broke and he hooked up and toted my pretty load of hay back home with him… Such a sad sight.

Ya know how they say good things come to those who wait?? Well, I was chomping at the bit to bring home my hay, and a few months later, we were finally able to trek back up there again, and this time my father in law loaned us his big pretty trailer and put 10, yes I said TEN, round bales up there for me…. Couldn’t have made me happier!

We made it home in one piece, didn’t wreck, burn or break anything, though I must confess after we pushed that 4th round off by hand, I wasn’t loving the fact that we had 6 more to push off….

My nice lil hay stash all lined up..
This weekend we borrowed a hay spike to put on our itty bitty tractor to get those bales moved……

It doesn’t look like the prettiest hay in the pictures, but once you peel off that outside layer, the inside smells fabulous, has a lot of green and is chock full of big leafy weeds that the goats just LOVE.

Sweet Miss Ginger....
We put one bale in the grown does pen and smooshed it against the fence so the bucks could share it, then tied a panel across the front so they wouldn't jump all over it & waste it... You can see Tonka and my new Alpine herdsire, Austin, hanging out in the background. Doe in the picture is the almost 9 year old doe, Ginger, who I brought home in the back of my car on that last road trip mom & I took.. She is Heidi's dam...

And here is Star enjoying the new bale.... Yet another doe I never got around to introducing here.... Star and a cute lil Lamancha doeling named Mocha came this summer after Casper went on to her new home.... I'm up to 10 goats total now: 1 Alpine buck, 4 Alpine does, 1 Lamancha buck, 3 Lamancha does and of course, our 1 token Nubian... The very generous gift of hay will definately see us through the winter...

Thankfully all the goats are in hog heaven and are just crazy about this hay... Had they turned their noses up at it, I think I would have had a nervous melt down after all the drama we went through to get it here....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Trip Back in Time...

Nothing better to make you feel old than to watch your munchkins grow up way too fast....

Clayton turned 9 years old in March and Shayla turned 7 years old at the end of April.... And yes, I realize it's August, but I have a back load of partial blogs stashed in my drafts and I'm just now getting around to posting them.... Better late than never right??


I really hate birthday parties...... REALLY HATE THEM.

Last year we did the whole pizza party thing at the arcade. Kids had a blast.... I, on the other hand, couldn't help glancing at the fake guns wistfully wishing they could put me out of my misery for at least an hour.....

This year, I asked if the kids would like a trip vs. a party. If they really had their hearts set on  party, then I would suffer through it.... That's what parents do.... Parties are almost as bad as "The Night of Horror"...

No, no.......let me take that back, the night of horror ended quickly, where as the parties full of hyper screaming kids torture you in a slow, methodical manner with no end in sight.....

Thankfully, my kids were agreeable to the trip idea!

Clayton, being my lil brain with aspirations to be a paleontologist really enjoyed the day at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. He enjoyed the preserved tracks and loved the river, though crossing it by hopping across the stones didn't work out quite like we planned.... The water was deeper than it looked, still quite chilly, and Shayla fell in... We all ended up with soaked jeans/boots.

A bit shocked by the foot size?!

Kicked back in a preserved dino track...

When we finished up our explorations, we hit Dino World for some shopping.... Clayton, of course, picked out more fossils for his collection.

For Shayla's birthday, we went to East Texas to spend the weekend with her Pawpaw & Momma Jan.

Shayla & Pawpaw
I must say, I think I enjoyed her birthday meal as much as she did!! They took us out to Medieval Times and we had a blast!!! Our waiter was energetic and fun and Shayla giggled over him pouring her a tall goblet of Dragon's Spit (soda)...

Beautiful birthday girl outside Medieval Times

Tator showing off his new quill from Momma Jan
While we waited for the tournament, we met the horses and the falconer and of course, hit the souvenir booths.

Shayla sipping her virgin Pina Colada & checking out all the beautiful horses

Shayla was REALLY into all of it. Standing in her chair screaming for her knight, and turned several shades of red when he kissed a carnation and threw it to her in the stands (to which she blushed and asked me if I thought he was cute too.... Lord save me!)

The brave knights of Medieval Times

Clayton, my child who takes everything very LITERALLY was apprehensive.... Eating with his hands was not the norm in Tator's world, and heaven forbid we do things differently. He got into the spirit of things though but still watched the riders very intently. They had dancing Andalusians, the falcon came out for an awesome lil show and a few rounds of tricks and story telling, he was mildly interested in these entertainments, but kept asking when the joust would begin...

When it came for the actual joust, he was on the edge of his seat.... When the knight was unhorsed and the sword fighting began, he stared, bug eyed, as sparks flew with each clash of the swords....

One knight was tiring, clearly loosing and when the victor lunged in for the kill, Clayton jumped up, with a white knuckle grip on the table edge and said:


He was so intense, so serious, it was hilarious.... After the downed knight was pulled out of the spotlight, I pointed out to my son that he was ok.... Didn't know why he was so shocked... We told them what the show was.... Later I find out my husband told Clayton that the joust was REAL... LOL

You'd have to know us to "get" our humor, but the whole things was just freaking hilarious. Clayton laughed about all of it, and enjoyed the rest of the show with the same awe and excitement as before, just none of the worry.

All in all we had an awesome time and I would love to go again in the future.

I'm hoping next year the kids are willing to forgo parties in favor of trips.... I know I'd certainly enjoy it.....

Simply can't beat birthdays that take you back in time with dinosaurs & dashing knights!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fun in the Sun

This summer hasn't been the best..... It’s been especially brutal on my munchkins and we decided that a lil vacation was in order….…

Clayton has been mesmerized by the ocean since he was 18 months old. By 2 he could identify 25+ species of sharks, tell you the depth they preferred to live in, diet & tooth shape….. by 4 he decided he would be a marine biologist & “Shark Week” is an important holiday at this house. So, the ocean was an obvious choice for vacation since the kiddos have never been… Everyone needs to see the ocean at least once in their life.

Would have loved to take them to a better beach, but Galveston was what was doable (about 8 hours away), so we headed out bright and early on August 2nd.

Bought 2 day passes for The Moody Gardens and Thursday afternoon when we arrived we hit the sea wall & found some seafood (which BTW do NOT eat at Benno's…. absolutely HORRIBLE.. Both staff & food...).

Tator looking for critters in the rocks by the sea wall..

Shayla claimed this stretch of beach :)
Friday was spent at The Moody Gardens- We went through the Aquarium pyramid, the Rainforest pyramid, the Discovery pyramid, watched a 3D movie, & took a ride on a paddle boat.

Checking out sharks in the Aquarium pyramid

Tator in a shark cage! Parents, in case you're wondering.. No, they won't let you take the cage home!

Hanging with the birds in the Rainforest pyramid

Amazon river exhibit

Took an hour long ride on the "Colonel"
Jerimiah spotted "The Ocean Star"which was an offshore drilling rig & museum… So of course we had to go there too….

Jerimiah & Shayla under the derrick

Hit the Lone Star Flight Museum, had lunch at Landry’s and then went back to the Moody Gardens to swim at “Palm Beach”… Which was a small water park with a lazy river, various pools, live music, water slides and such…. I think I had just as much fun on the water slides as the kids did, though I couldn’t convince Jerimiah to try ‘em out.. At Landry’s the kids decided they’d be “daring” and try raw oysters on the ½ shell…. Absolutely hysterical! To say the kiddos aren’t raw oyster fans is a vast understatement…

Lone Star Flight Museum

Had a blast playing at the water park, but Tator wanted one more dip in the ocean so we headed out to Galveston State Park for some beach fun & swimming in an uncrowned area… Original plan was to go to the State park, but we happened upon a nice stretch of almost empty beach right outside the park so that’s where we ended up swimming and then enjoyed playing on the beach in the dark… Didn’t make it back to the hotel until almost 11:00pm and the munchkins were out cold as soon as they hit the pillows.

Jerimiah & Tator jumping in the waves..

Saturday we went for a tour of the Moody Mansion. Beautiful, 28,000sqft house, lots of interesting history, though the tour guide was a stuffy, cranky gal who seemed to enjoy trying to shove an entire group of people into impossibly tiny rooms…

Think “Human sardines”…..Not my idea of fun..

Bit annoying, but it was neat to see the house.. Well, part of it because half was closed due to un-repaired damage from hurricane Ike… So, for $28 we saw ½ of the mansion, couldn’t take pictures and got bossed around… Like I said, some of it was interesting, but I’ll certainly not repeat the experience.

Went back to the Aquarium pyramid one last time before heading out, then hit the road.

There was quite a bit that we wanted to do, but didn’t have time… Had a lot more fun than I expected and will certainly go back….. I’m so happy we got to go, the kids made some great memories, I added an actual color to my legs (we shall call it “off white”, since it’s not particularly “tan”, but it’s several shades darker than my blinding, glow in the dark shade I sported before running around Galveston in shorts) and Jerimiah & I celebrated 11 years together on the trip up there on August 2nd.

Life deals an unfair, cruel hand sometimes…. I miss my Momma every single day….. But life is far too short and you must make the best of the time you have…….

Take last minute, poorly planned vacations, snap pictures of everything and find something worth laughing about every day.