4th of July in Dallas!

We had a great time in downtown Dallas last night celebrating the 4th of July. It was a lot of fun but very hot! Stephen and I were talking about it and it seems like being in Connecticut last summer made us soft. In one summer we forgot how hot it gets in the south. But we remember now! We have always wanted to take a ride on the swan boats so we finally did.

Here is Stella helping Stephen steer the boat!

After our boat ride we headed to the Cotton Bowl stadium to get ready for the big fireworks show. Stephen with a Texas size corn dog!

Stella had a great time marching to the music!

Almost time for the fireworks!

Stella loved the fireworks show! It was so much fun to see her watching them. It was one of those moments when you get to have a first time again through the eyes of your child.
I just thanked God for the joy of being a mom to my two beautiful girls!

Rayna did such a great job watching the fireworks. She was a little cautious but she enjoyed them too. I think this picture captures just that.

The fireworks were great! They even made designs with the fireworks like hearts, smiles, the shape of Texas, and my favorite peace signs! And there was even a breeze to top it all off. It was a great night. We hope yours was too. Happy 4th of July!

4 New Posts!!!

I haven't posted in awhile so here are four new posts of what we have been up to!

Rainforest Cafe & Carousel!

We went to the Rain Forest Cafe on Stephen's day off. It is a tourist type of restaurant with a rain forest theme. There is a waterfall and animals everywhere that move and make noises. About every ten minutes all of the lights blink and there are thunder sounds to simulate a rainstorm. Stella loved it! In between the "storms" she looked around and said to me very seriously, "I think something magical is about to happen!" It was so precious! It made an $11 hamburger worth it for sure! :)

As you can see Rayna did not like it! In between major frowns she would bury her face in one of our shoulders and close her eyes tight! I thought she would get used to it but it just wasn't happening. So we asked our waitress if we could move to the back of the restaurant where it was a lot less wild!
When we switched seats Rayna started to enjoy it much more. She was able to take everything in from a distance rather than being in the middle of the action.

There was a waterfall and fog machine right behind our seat and the girls had a great time getting sprinkled on for the whole meal!

Here are the girls on the carousel at the mall. Usually Rayna doesn't want to ride it. She just says she wants to wave to Stella. I guess she is officially all grown up now because she rode the carousel and loved it! The horses rocked instead of going up and down. Stella and Rayna both rode as fast as they could and had a great time.

Woah Horsey, slow down! As you can see Stella loved it as usual!

Dallas Spray Park

We went to a spray park in Dallas yesterday. Here are a few pictures of the girls having fun in the blazing heat!

I asked Stephen to try and get a picture of Rayna's curls. They have gotten even more curly lately. They are little ringlets. I have had several people ask me if I curled it. It is so gorgeous. I hope they don't grow out!

Stella loved her goggles so much she insisted on wearing them at the spray park. We tried to tell her that a spray park is not like a pool but she insisted!

Driving is always a favorite! Rayna even tells me when she grows up she is going to drive. Our two year old is already thinking about driving! :)

Stella's Swimming Lessons!

Stella has been taking swimming lessons for the last two weeks at a swimming school in Dallas. It was every morning for two weeks. She loved it! These pictures are from her last day of class. Stephen got to come with us because he was off for the 4th of July. I wish you all could have seen her face when she got to bring Stephen into her class. Her smile couldn't have been bigger. She was so proud to show him all of her hard work!

Here they are lined up to begin class. The little girl in the class is named Adelaide. And her teacher Ms. Rebecca always called the girls Miss Stella and Miss Adelaide. When Stella would come home and tell us stories about swimming she always told me about Miss Adelaide. I told her that it was just Adelaide but she insisted it was MissAdelaide. She would run it together like a name not realizing Ms. Rebecca was saying Miss.

Every day the teacher had a theme and all of the games the kids played went with that theme. Friday was fish day. I don't know what the teacher was saying to them but they were always laughing about the different things she was telling them.

Here is Rayna with her very sad face because Stephen went inside the pool area and left her. But overall she did so well. I was very surprised that she didn't ask to get in the water but I think she knew the routine because it was just like when we used to bring Stella to dance. We would bring her to the side of the pool and then go and watch in the waiting area with the glass wall. She is in a nonstop talking phase so she kept me entertained telling me about everything going on. It was a lot of fun!

Here is Stella swimming underwater. The teacher would bring her down to the step in the pool and she would jump off and swim to her. By the end of the class Stella could hold her breath for nine seconds and swim to Rebecca. I was so impressed!

Stella loved wearing her goggles. She would keep them on between her turns so she looked really cute sitting on the side of the pool.

Making her "pillow" and floating with Ms. Rebecca.

One of Stella's favorite parts of the class was giving Ms. Rebecca high fives. After they had taken their turn she would give them five and they could choose if they wanted her to spin around or fall back into the pool. Stella would always choose to have her fall back. So she would giver her five and Rebecca would act like it pushed her back into the pool and under water. The kids loved it! One morning when Stella was eating her oatmeal she told me she had to eat it all so she would have enough energy to knock Mrs. Rebecca over when she gave her a high five!

Every day the kids got a little prize to go with the theme for the day. Stella always made sure to ask for one for Rayna too. It was a lot of fun for Stella and we had a great time watching her too!

Gran and DD come to visit Dallas!

Gran and DD came to visit us in Dallas last weekend and we had a wonderful time. Here are just some of the highlights from their visit.

Gran and DD brought the girls bags filled with fun things. One of their favorites were these glasses. The girls would ask us to close our eyes and then they would put on their disguises. Then everyone would play along saying, "Oh, what happened to Stella?" Then she would take them off and we would all cheer. They could have played it all day!

I love this one. She is checking herself out in her new mirror!

Here we are after another wonderful meal at Chuy's. Inside Chuy's is decorated with a lot of Elvis memorabilia. The girls call it the Elvis Restaurant. They were so excited to bring Gran and DD to say hi to Elvis.

The girls were entertained all weekend with books and games. They always love to have Gran and DD read to them.

On Saturday night Stella fell asleep really early. So Rayna had the night to herself. We were all sitting around in a circle and Rayna would go from one lap to another requesting a game or song from each person. It was so much fun for me to see her get to be the spotlight. The life of a second child is so different than the first. Of course, I think it is so much more fun to come into the world with a sister there to welcome you but it was fun to see Rayna get a night all to herself!

Aunt Chris came to town Saturday night and suprised Gran and DD! It was so much fun to have her with us!

Sunday morning we went to Arlington. Our first stop was cowgirl hat shopping! Here are the girls trying on all of the different hats.

Then we went to a restaurant called Trail Dust. It was a cowboy restaurant with a huge slide from the second floor to the first. It was really high so the girls had to go down with someone. Stephen took them over and over again! I didn't get a picture of it but Gran even went down the slide! What a fun grandmother!

I have to admit I was a little nervous going down! But it was a lot of fun.

One of the "rules" at Trail Dust is no ties allowed. So DD brought two old ties and the guys wore them. After noon on Sunday they go around and anyone wearing a tie gets it cut off! We thought Stella would love this but for some reason it caught her off guard and she cried when they came to cut off the ties. She got over it quickly but she talked about it all day! I think the whole thing was just confusing. I wish we had explained to her more ahead of time. But, of course, now she can't wait to go back!

DD with half a tie!
Rayna enjoying her smores sundae!

We had a great visit with Gran, DD, & Aunt Chris! Thanks for coming y'all!!