Thursday, August 09, 2012

First Day of School 2012

In the words of Nemo, "First day of school, it's the first day of school!" Believe it or not all three of the older kids went excited this morning for the start of the new year! It is so hard to believe how fast they are growing up and that we have a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, and a kindergartener this year. I pray that not only will they learn the things they need to learn for their education this year, but that they will be friends to the friendless, and love those who need to feel love. I pray that each day Jesus shines through our kids, not only to the other kids in their classes but the teachers and staff they interact with on a daily basis. I pray that all those they meet will see Jesus in them.

Michal Kate in her first day of school outfit that she picked out all by herself.

 Michal Kate and Mrs. Anderson, her new teacher at meet the teacher night.

 Noah ready to tackle 2nd grade with his James Harden shirt!
Noah is excited to have Mrs. Greenhagen as his teacher this year. She was MK's teacher last year, and we feel blessed to have her again! If you look closely you will notice Noah is starting the year out with his two front teeth on his Christmas list!
 Jack gearing up in his Russell Westbrook shirt to take on Kindergarten!
 Jack, with his teacher, Mrs. Magnus, at meet the teacher night!
 My three school aged kiddos.
May God bless each of you and your children as we start this new school year!

Friday, June 22, 2012


 After nearly 9 years of planning our 10th anniversary trip, it happened and it was unbelievable. We decided on our first cruise in the summer of 2003 that we wanted to go to Alaska to celebrate and knew that we would be going the summer after our anniversary since cruising to Alaska in December...well it doesn't happen. Our journey took a few days to get started in that we traveled from Oklahoma to Dallas to Houston in efforts to take the kids to Richard's parents for the week. We spent Sunday night, June 3 at his sister's house and then were up early Monday morning to fly out to Seattle, Washington. We had a bit of a bumpy beginning in that our flight was delayed only after boarding and then unboarding for an hour. Then, upon arriving in Seattle, one of our bags didn't make it. Most of the Market shops in Seattle were closed by the time we actually got there, but we still were able to go see the Space Needle, the Original Starbucks, and eat a pretty good dinner on the water.

Getting ready to leave Cindy's
Space Needle
 Our bag finally arrived at 4:30 a.m. the morning of the cruise. After some shuffling of the suitcases we were off to the dock. We traveled on the Carnival Spirit and it was beautiful.  The first 2 days were sailing north and day two was a little rocky on board. We did have the opportunity to meet the most amazing couple with whom we spent a lot of our time both on board and in port. They were truly a blessing to us and a friendship I hope that we can continue to grow in the future.

Beautiful View from the ship

 Wednesday night was the first of two formal nights. Due to the all important Western Finals Thunder/Spurs game, we were able to switch our dining time this one evening to the early dining instead of the late so we could go watch the game on board.

Dinner on Formal Night

After watching the Thunder Win!
Day three began our true Alaskan adventure with sailing through the Tracy Arm Fjord. Talk about God's Majesty at work. While sailing through, completely surround by the most magnificent scenery I have ever seen. We were able to see waterfalls, whales, dolporpises, sea lions, bald eagles...
Tracy Arm Fjord

 Glacier inbetween us, and the picture was snapped before Richard was ready, hence the lack of smile!
Day Four was Friday and our first port of call, Skagway, Alaska. we spent the morning just walking through the main part of town and doing a little shopping, and talking to our kids for the first time since Tuesday. (they were having a blast with Gramma and Gran Gran)

The afternoon was filled with what ended up being our favorite excursion of the trip. A 3 hour train ride. Talk about a view, and oh so breathtaking. There is so much history on the White Pass railroad that so many worked on and traveled through during the gold rush.
Here we are standing on the deck, while the train was moving at a very high altitude.

We were fortunate to see not 1 but 2 bears very up close and personal on our train ride.
Saturday was our second port, Juneau, Alaska. We chose to take a whale watching excursion that also allowed us to spend time at the Mendenhall Glacier. The views from a much smaller boat out on open water were absolutely amazing and once again I was reminded of the beauty that God created and was blessed to be able to stand in awe of it all. We saw several whale, unfortunately, I didn't get any great pictures that were close up enough to show off and enjoy. But I did get some pretty cool scenery shots.
In this shot you can seen the Mendenhall glacier in the middle.

 While searching for whales we came across several sea lions and this one was pretty entertaining. He was just peaking at us and flipping around "flirting" with the boat. Pretty neat picture if I do say so myself.
Our time at the glacier itself was cut a little short due to unexpected circumstances but it was amazing to look at.

I guess somehow I don't have any pictures of our day on Sunday in Ketchikan, Alaska. We just spent the time there walking the streets, and of course my husband who can't go anywhere without seeing someone he knows, ran into a friend from his days at ACU and we were able to meet up and visit which was nice.

 Monday evening was our last port of call, Victoria, British Columbia and our first time into Canada. Everyone was so friendly and it was neat as well. We took a cab to the main street and shopped a little and walked around this amazing hotel, the Empress.

 Then we took another cab to the Craigdarroch Castle. We were able to stay until twilight and watch as it lit up.

Our trip was one we will never forget and we really enjoyed everything about it. Both of us would like to go back again someday and highly recommend that if you are planning a trip and don't know where to go...take that Alaskan Cruise. I am daily blessed by my husband and ever thankful that God chose him to walk through life with. The last ten years have been fun and crazy with both the worst and best days of our lives so far. I can't wait to see what the next 10 years have to bring. I love you Richard and am blessed to be your wife and the mother of our 6 children. Thank you for this trip and the time with you and thank you to Gramma and Gran Gran for taking care of our kiddos while we were gone.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dance and Sports for the spring 2012

It was a busy, but fun spring at the Castleman house. Between soccer, baseball, dance, and potty training, we had our plates full! This summer really is a break for us and lots of time just being together!
 Jack played his first season of soccer as a Ranger and he really enjoyed himself. I watched as he improved with each game and practice.
 Noah played his 5th season of baseball, but his first season of machine pitch. there was a learning curve there, but he started really hitting the ball by the end of the season and the fielding of the whole team got progressively better.

Michal Kate just completed her 5 year in dance. It was hard to leave The Dance Company in Mt. Pleasant, but she enjoyed her year at Showstoppers in Stillwater. It made for a long Thursday for the whole family and we will be coming to a studio in Ponca City next year to stay closer to town and Emorie will be taking too! That is going to be entertaining for sure.  Michal Kate took Tap, Ballet, and Jazz again this year, and she too made big improvements as the year went on.
                                                 Michal Kate's tap outfit in Boogey Shoes
                                                    Ballet in Cinderella's Waltz for a Ball
And Jazz Shena is a Punk Rocker, talk about a dance that will even make the audience tired, this thing was fast!

New York

Those of you who know me well know that I have wanted to go to New York City for as long as I can remember. So when my sister called last August and said she was planning a family girls trip to NYC in May, I was all in!
So on Wednesday, May 16 we headed out to NYC.

 Here we are catching our ride from the airport to the hotel. Michel, Tracy, Allyson, mom, Suzanne, and me

 We stayed in Times Square in the Marriot Marquios! Talk about gorgeous! This was the view from our room. Truly the city that never sleeps.
Our first say there was Tracy's birthday! We celebrated by eating at Serendipity. Talk about wonderful. This is us enjoying my desert, Frozen Hot Chocolate. It was one of the most wonderful things I have ever tasted. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

While we were there, we were able to attend 3 Broadway Musicals. Thursday night we went to Sister Act starring Ravon, Friday night The Lion King, and Saturday, mom and I went to see Phantom of the Opera. They were all amazing, but Phantom was my favorite. So amazing.
 We took a ferry cruise around the New York coast. We were able to see the Statue of Liberty up close and personal, and the new New York skyline.
Picture of Tower 1 memorial

 On Friday we went down to ground zero. I can't even put into words this experience. It was breathtaking and brought tears to my eyes just standing there. They have done a beautiful job in building the memorial and I am sure the museum will be just as awesome when it is finished. To stand where so many died for nothing but hate...and to be taken back to that day just by standing there. It is truly something to see.

  It was very funny to me that people would just sit in Times Square, seemingly not really doing anything. Some even brought their own chairs. So on Saturday, Ally and I just sat down for fun. Of course we did it while Suzanne wasn't looking and sanitized our hands thoroughly afterwards!

This for me was the trip of a lifetime and I would go back in a heartbeat. It was amazing and met every expectation I had. The memories we made as the girls in our family will last forever!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

18 Months

Our Elijah is 18 months old. He makes me smile so much my face hurts. This little guy finally has some teeth and is ALL BOY! He loves tools, preferably real tools, which he obtains by digging in his daddy's tool bag and trying to carry an 18 volt drill around the house! HA. Unfortunately, as happy as he is, he can get just as mad, and has a bit of a temper. He does not like to get in trouble, it crushes him.  We finally moved him into his big boy crib at night in the boys room. The boys love having him in there, and he is adjusting well. I think that was the last step of mommy trying to hold on to my last baby. He still isn't talking a lot, but can most definitely get his point across. We love this little boy and are so blessed by having him as our son!

Extreme Eagle

On April 9th Jack was selected as the Extreme Eagle for his class. It is a weekly citizenship award that is given by his teacher. I am so proud of this little boy. He has many little friends, both girls and boys, he is reading several words, counting to 30, and working very hard on coming up with rhyming words. Way to go Jack!

Eme and Minnie

April 13th was Emorie's 3rd birthday. I can't believe that it has been 3 years since this little one was born. She is incredibly full of overflowing energy and a joy for life.  She definitely keeps us on our toes and she is incredibly smart. One of our favorite things she does right now is a little "he or she" game. Pick a person, ask her if they are a he or a she and she will answer, "he's a she" or "she's a he" or "she's a she" you get the idea. It is hilarious to listen to her, because there is a look on her face as she says it with such confidence.

We had a toss up on what the theme of her birthday party would be because she loves Minnie Mouse and the movie Tangled. In the end I chose Minnie Mouse. I went with hot pink and zebra, along with Minnie. We had cupcakes, zebra marshmallows, and thumbprint cookies with hugs.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter 2012

Our first Easter Sunday in Oklahoma was beautiful. The weather was perfect and remembering what our Savior sacrificed for us was wonderful! Of course, y'all would worry about me if my kiddos didn't dress up and coordinate on a holiday, right? Well, just so I don't disappoint...

The kids before church and before getting to check out what the Easter Bunny brought!

I let them get their baskets and put it in front of them, but not get into it! Mean right? Well, everyone complied except Elijah and Emorie!
The kids at church after our church egg hunt!
The boys! I think they are so handsome!

My beautiful girls!

And just too cute not to post! Elijah caught on very quickly to the egg hunting. He would get one egg and a time and take it to Richard, who held his bucket, and then go back for another! He loved it and became VERY possessed with his bucket!

We hope this finds you all having had a blessed weekend and a very Happy Easter! Praise God, He is Alive!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A lot of Catching Up To Do

Well hello my blog reading friends. I know, for those of you who check on us, I have left you disappointed lately, but here is a complete update from Christmas until yesterday. I will post an Easter post soon. So there are a lot of pictures, I tried to get at least one from each event.

In early January, Michal Kate received the Extreme Eagle award (citizenship award) again for her class. She is a smart little girl. She is reading up to a 6th grade level and just earned 200 AR points last week. She also got new glasses in February so look for those in later pictures.

In early February I started potty training Emorie. What started out as an easy adventure has turned into a mess, literally. We are still working on it, but we have back tracked a lot.

Just before Valentine's day it snowed and school was canceled. We took advantage of a sled that was given to us and went down to the little park in our neighborhood. We all had a great time and as always the beauty of the snow reminded me of the purity of Christ! Beautiful!Our Valentine's Day Shot!

Noah's school program! He was one of the chickens.
Though hard to believe, Michal Kate turned 8 on February 18! Gram and Papa were able to come in for the party which was at a self serve yogurt bar called Cherry Berry. Snoopy was the theme and several of her new friends were able to attend!
On February 24, I finally took Elijah for his much needed first haircut. I can't get over how much they grow up just by cutting off some of the hair. He started out okay, but ended up hating it!

Michal Kate and her friend Avery Kate at their program about Space. (MK's new glasses)

Just before Spring Break we had Noah's birthday party at the local YMCA. The kids swam for a long time and then we enjoyed cake. As you can see Connor, Noah's cousin and BFF was able to come along with his family , Gramma and Gran Gran, and Richard's sister and her family!
I can't believe he is 7! Harry Potter was the theme!
For Spring Break the kids and I went to Dallas to visit my family. Gram planned some fun things for us while we were there which included a trip to Legoland!

While we were gone Jack's team played the first game of his first soccer season...oops we missed it. But, the next week we were ready to play! He loves it, and plays hard for the most part and crazy enough, talks a lot of smack!
This past week, Noah began his 4th season of baseball, but first season of machine pitch! Okay, there...whew....are you tired! Things continue to be busy around here but we love it. Emorie's birthday is this week, Easter today, ball games, dance, and some long awaited trips are in the near future. I will try to be better about keeping this updated!