Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter weekend

We loved having Grandma and Grandpa Cornell with us this Easter Weekend.  The kids loved sharing our traditions and we had so much fun being all together.  It was a wet and snowy weekend!  I can’t ever remember having our hunt in the snow before. 

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easter hunt 2016

After the hunt we came home in dyed Easter eggs.  This year I found a kit for emoji eggs, which Halle thought was hilarious. Me too.

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Easter morning the kids hunted and hunted for their baskets. This year they also hunted for a fun friend.  The stuffed Peeps were a huge hit! Their baskets were filled with candy, money, tickets for our reward system, coupons for special privileges. 
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We enjoyed a yummy brunch of breakfast tacos and cinnamon rolls and then the boys finished setting up the basketball hoop. The hoop was supposed to be an Easter surprise, but there was no hiding that giant box.  The boys were excited anyway. And thank heavens Papa was here to help with set up.  Rusty never would have finished!

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Here’s to hoping that hoop means I will no longer have to force them to play outside.

That didn’t leave a lot of time for pics in our Sunday finest, but we did manage to squeeze in a few.

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Grandma and Grandpa got to come to church with us. We saw our favorite Bear all decked out with his bunny ears.
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  It was so fun to have my mom in YW with me.  The girls were assigned one part of the Easter story, or different books of scripture that taught about the resurrection.  Then they wrote poems.  I was pretty impressed with their creativity!

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Right after church we had to take my Mom and Dad to the airport to catch their flight home.  The weekend flew by way too quickly!  The only reason the kids weren’t completely devastated when they left is because they get to fly to Utah for Spring Break all by themselves next week!  Rusty and I are headed to NYC.  Wahoo!

We were totally thrilled that Gina and Sam invited us over for Easter dinner.  Sarah and Jim are in Houston, where Jim started his chemo treatments a few days ago.  So, she also invited Velma (Sarah’s mom) and the kids to join us.  Everyone had a great time together.  We are praying so hard for Jim.  I’ll write a separate post about that soon. 

This was definitely a memorable Easter weekend!  Carousel, Newsies, snow…..whew!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nederland Carousel

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I’ve been so excited to take my Dad to the Nederland Carousel.  This carousel was originally out at Salt Air.  My mom heard stories from her mom about all the fun they used to have out there.  After a big fire it was moved to Fairyland in American Fork.  Fairyland was at the Developmental Center near the amphitheater. My Dad has great memories of playing at this park as a kid.  After it fell into major disrepair it was sold to a guy in Nederland.  He took years and years to hand carve all new animals and now it resides in a darling little building in the heart of Nederland.  It is called the Carousel of Happiness.  I let the boys skip school (Halle had a fieldtrip she didn’t want to miss) and we headed up the canyon.  At $1/ride, we were set to have some fun!  All around the building there are cute little fairies perched on every nook and cranny as a nod to its history at fairyland.  We loved spotting all the fairies as we walked around.  (Dad, send me your pics too!!)

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After several rides on the Carousel we went exploring around Ned.  We found a Geode and Fossil store that the boys went crazy for!  Papa and Josh got matching crystal LED lights, and Blake got a little baggie of rocks.  I’ve never seen Josh so excited in a store before.  He was in heaven! 


Our last stop was homemade mini doughnuts in this train car cafe.  YUM. Such a fun day!



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What a magical night we had at Newsies!  For Christmas, all the siblings pooled our gift money together and got my parents plane tickets to fly to Denver, and Newsies tickets to come see it with the Grandkids.  I grew up being a Newsies junkie, and when it hit broadway a few years ago I bought the soundtrack right away.  We listen to it all the time and Halle knows every word and every voice inflection.  She and I were lucky enough to see it in New York when we spent the summer and we couldn’t wait for the boys to come with us. 
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We began the evening at Crepes and Crepes.  The kids all chose crepes filled with nutella, strawberries, and various kinds of ice cream for dinner. It certainly wasn’t the most healthy dinner but it might be the most delicious one they’ve ever had.  Despite all our best efforts and makeshift napkin bibs Blake ended up covered in Nutella from head to toe. 

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We arrived at the Theater just in time to snap a few pics and scurry to our seats.  Blake was absolutely riveted during the first few songs.  His eyes were wide and he didn’t move a muscle.  It took Josh a little longer to settle in.  In the first 20 min he asked me if it was almost over.  But he got over his fidgets and especially enjoyed the 2nd act.  Halle had brought some $ for souvenirs and got a darling charm bracelet.  Blake had no money, but really wanted this Newsboy hat.  Luckily I didn’t see him try it on, or I would have caved.  He looks so cute!  Rusty snapped the pic.

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We absolutely loved the show.  It was so much fun.  The singing was beautiful and the dancing was absolutely incredible.  I know this night will go down in Banks/Cornell family history!

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(The kids got a selfie with a Newsie after the show)

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Phoenix flights were pretty expensive this year, so we ended up in Austin for our warm weather vacation.  It was lovely.  It always takes us all at least one day to settle in and learn to get along in such close quarters.  So, the first 24 hours were pretty rough.  Lots of whining, complaining, and general orneriness.  But the sunshine did its magic and by day 2 everyone was having a great time.  We spent lots and lots of time at the pool.  We stayed at the Lakeway Resort on Lake Travis and the pool had a beautiful view of the lake.  The pools were heated, which meant the kids could have stayed in them all day.  And believe me, Josh tried. That kid is a fish! After the weekend was over we practically had the whole resort to ourselves.  The kids thought it was pretty awesome to be the only people in the pools.
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And of course, we had to have a little screen time at the pool too.  Josh cracks me up.  He hates the sun glare so he suffocated under his towel in order to see his iPod more clearly. 
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There was one cloudy morning that leant itself perfectly to tennis.  Halle had a blast, Blake was neutral, and Josh made it known that he was only there on the promise of Skittles from Mom.
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Blake is the cat whisperer.  He finds them wherever we go!  It’s uncanny.

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The resort had a Kids Fun Zone.  There were bouncy houses, ping pong, air hockey, basketball, pool tables, a few holes of mini golf and cornhole. It was fun to just run around and be silly for a few hours. Most everyone came away with at least one burn from the rubber on the bouncy houses.  I guess that’s how you know you played hard. 

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Everyone agrees that their favorite day of the vacation was when we got to go boating with Megan and Russ and family out on Lake Travis.  They rented a boat and the guy at the dock said we were the first rental of the year.  The water was COLD, I think Russ said 56 degrees.  But it didn’t stop anyone from having an amazing time.  The kids absolutely loved to go tubing, and I was surprised that I popped right up on the knee board after a 13 year dry spell.  Rusty and Russ showed us all up on the knee board and the wake board.  Megan opted to wait until later in the season when the water was a little warmer before taking the plunge.  Josh and Kenzie hit it off immediately and spent the entire time perched up at the front of the boat chatting away asking each other “would you rather” questions.  Halle probably liked tubing the best of all the kids and jumped up every time there was a vacancy on the tube. On the tube the kids stayed mostly dry. Halle fell in the water one time and I was so worried it would traumatize her.  Afterward I asked her about it and she said, “Actually, I kinda liked it!”  Brave, crazy girl!

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We went to County Line BBQ after.  It’s always an adventure to take that many kids to dinner.  But this place was so fun.  It’s right on the river and so there were TONS of fish and turtles to keep the kids occupied. Halle was the only one brave enough to try and catch a turtle. We were all sad to say goodbye when the time came. But so glad the Jepsons took time out of busy life to come play with us. 
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Lakeway is about 1/2 hour from Austin, but we did manage to get to Austin a few times for some fun.  One evening we went to South Congress Bridge and watched the million bats that live under the bridge fly out for their nightly feeding.  It was pretty amazing.  In the sky as far as you could see there was just one long line of bats.  Halle said it reminded her of the Wizard of Oz when the wicked witch sends all her flying monkeys.  There was the funniest man who was wearing a bat hat and trying to get everyone to go on top of the bridge vs the grass below the bridge.  He never said a word but mimed the bats pooping on everyone below and how the poop would get in our eyes.  Halle and I could not stop laughing at his gestures.  The boys were pretty worried about getting pooped on, so they went to the top of the bridge.  Halle and I stayed below.  And we didn’t get pooped on. 

(Photo Credit here)

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Josh picks a favorite building in every city we go to.  In Austin, his favorite building is the one that is in the background of this picture.

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We also went biking around Lady Bird Lake.  Which is really just the Colorado River.  So, I’m not really sure why they call it a Lake Smile

We biked about 8 miles.  It is such a fun trail.  Everyone had a good time.  We got milkshakes afterward at one of Austin’s many food truck trailer parks.
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Another thing we really enjoy is running on vacation and discovering fun new things.  The architecture in Lakeway was really cool and we loved running and seeing all the funky lake houses.  We also stumbled on this beautiful greenbelt trail where we saw a ton of squirrels.  We brought the kids back for a picnic and all the squirrels were gone.  Bummer.  Another super fun thing was that Halle came with us on one of our morning runs.  How cool is that? And, running at sea level is just so darn awesome.  It feels so good. 

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And last but not least: Jumping on the beds is the best part of any vacation.

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