Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Texas and the biggest snow ever

It's been quite a whirlwind of activity this month. We took a chance with some good deals on airfare to make it down to Texas to see Jake and our nieces. We made it there and back without any trouble due to snow, although some snow fell here while we were there. After we got back, of course, everything was buried in about three feet of snow! I guess snow fell in Texas shortly after we got back too. I guess we were lucky to be able to make our trip when we did!

We saw some amazing basketball played by Bryn and Jadyn's basketball teams. Bryn's game was first. That net was so high and they looked kind of small in comparison, but I vow never to underestimate 6-year-old girls playing basketball again. It was a really action-packed game, with well-executed plays and good teamwork, and with an incredible shooting percentage especially on Bryn's team. We even got to see Bryn make her first basket in a game! Here are the girls warming up for the game.

I think Bryn made this basket in warm-up.

Vanessa was a little shy around Jadyn at first, but Jadyn won her over in short order with a shiny plastic ring.

Elizabeth is equally excited about her own shiny plastic ring.

Vanessa definitely didn't take too long to warm up to Jadyn! Jadyn sure has a way with little ones!

Elizabeth is ready to make friends too!

Later at the mall, Jake was kind enough to carry a sleeping Elizabeth. Jake said he liked the baby time (and I have to say I enjoyed the break)!

Jake kindly shared some of his Build-a-Bear gift certificates with us. Vanessa went straight for the Hello Kitty doll, which she named Texas. She was SO excited to go to Texas to see her cousins! Before Elizabeth sacked out, she chose a little red purse rather than a stuffed animal.

Jadyn and Bryn discovered that if they pooled their gift certificates, they could get a very cool dalmation, which I believe they named Cutie. (I think that was Katelyn's financial advice that helped them figure out how to get more than just the basic bear.)

Here's Jadyn making one of the three baskets we saw her make in her game later that afternoon (Jadyn's best shooting of the season!). Jadyn played point guard and did a great job controlling the ball and setting up plays.

We also saw Jadyn make some great steals!

Our two girls and their three cousins make this a complete set. The best collection of girls I know!

We whisked Katelyn away for an afternoon and went to the skating rink at the mall. The first pair of skates we got for Vanessa were just too small (darn wide feet run in the family!).

Katelyn helped me get Vanessa to the ice.

When I first got on the ice with her I thought I would slip for sure! It took me a while to figure out how to balance myself AND a three-year-old! Thank goodness Katelyn was there.

And the wall helped too! Vanessa and I made it about half way around the rink before Vanessa started to get a little tired. Some encouragement and a helping hand from Katelyn helped us get all the way back around to Daddy!

Well, of course Elizabeth wasn't about to let Vanessa get away with doing something she couldn't, especially where any type of shoes were involved. So we let Elizabeth try on Vanessa's skates.

Vanessa tries very hard to let Elizabeth share the ice-skating limelight. Once Elizabeth had skates on, she had us where she wanted us... it took only a little more persistence on her part before she had convinced us that she should have a short turn on the rink!

We stayed behind the cones, and went out for just a couple of minutes, but she did pretty good!

She kind of figured out how to balance. Not bad for having oversized skates on.

Back at Uncle Jake's place, Vanessa played her own version of Superman with Uncle Jake. This version, as near as I could tell, involved pretending to fly around the house and then pretending to crash to the floor.

Bryn joined this game of Superman.

Some family time relaxing on the couch!

Jadyn's turn to join the Superman game!

Bryn and Vanessa have a little computer time.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth takes a little snooze on Jadyn's lap.

Vanessa and Jadyn played a little bowling on the Wii. Bryn observed while she waited for her turn. Jadyn and Bryn were seasoned Wii experts, and Vanessa learned quite a bit from them.

On Monday we visited the children's museum before heading out on our flight. The girls take a minute to pose in an alligator's mouth.

The girls tried to make sure that their Pooh Bears had a great time at the museum.

There was not just a train table, but a train ROOM at the museum. The girls were in heaven.

Ooh, and there was an ambulance to pretend to drive in a hospital-themed room.

Elizabeth helps one of the baby dolls wash her hands in the neonatal unit.

There was a dinosaur exhibit complete with skeletons and interactive games. The girls probably spent 20 minutes sitting in this dinosaur footprint.

We saw a 3-D movie about natural gas. Only the big energy companies could find a way to make this such an action-packed heart-thumping sequence so as to scare the heck out of Elizabeth, poor thing! Well, she did really enjoy the glasses, in any case!

There was a great exhibit for playing with engineering toys. Elizabeth made a birthday cake with candles out of some tinker toys.

Both girls enjoyed the wind tunnel that floated paper helicopters or parachutes straight up and out the top!

Elizabeth and Daddy play with some mosaic tiles.

Vanessa drags a finger through the sand on a rotating table.

Elizabeth was fascinated by this display too.

Soon we were on our flight back home. Grandma stayed with us after we got back, and the girls enjoyed some great story time with her (this time story time came with props!)

Not long after Grandma had made it safely back home, the biggest snow we had ever seen in Virginia came! And kept on coming! Our first attempt at shoveling the driveway left enough snow to have a little sledding fun on.

There's a smile!

Vanessa's favorite activity was knocking the snow back into the driveway....

We built a snow cave to keep the girls entertained and a bit warmer.

It bears noting that we didn't have to build up to make this snow cave -- James just dug a spot out of the giant wall of snow lining our driveway.

I should have tried to get a car in this picture for scale -- when James's car was parked in the driveway earlier it nearly disappeared behind the snow.

Vanessa sits on the floor of the kitchen looking out at the snow at her shoulder level outside.

Here's a picture of the high winds blowing while additional snow fell during the following day.

James was away on a business trip during a good portion of this storm, unable to get back because of canceled flights. I'm just so glad that he's back safely and I'm so glad that we were able to see our family in Texas with out any travel trouble.