Archive for the 'Family Fun' Category


Rodeo Austin aka “lots of fun houses!”

We ventured out to the Austin rodeo on Friday for our last official day of Spring Break!  I made Asher wear his sisters’ boots because they technically are “unisex”, and he can finally fit in them, (I bought them almost 4 years ago), and I thought it was cute that all of my kids have now worn the same article of clothing!  No matter that he only wore them for about 2 of the 5 hours we were there, I got a picture of him wearing them, and that is that. 🙂

I make this fence look good!  😉

We headed into the petting zoo first, and like I thought, my dear son who is deathly afraid of dogs, did NOT like the idea of going into a giant cage with gnawing goats and deer. (Even Rilyn is still unsure of how she feels, but hides it a lot better!)  Here is Asher hanging on daddy for dear life…

hold me daddy!

Ella-same old Ella, she tells the animals who she will feed, and who she will not feed!

“I will NOT give you any food, you are rude!”

Finally, we headed to the carnival side of the rodeo, which is really the only reason we go each year. I grew up going to the Orange County fair every summer and have fond memories of all the fun houses and crazy rides. It is neat to see it through my kid’s eyes now.

Fun House #1:

Fun House #2:

the floor was so hard to walk on throughout this one!
I love how James swooped Asher up before falling into my camera out of the spinning exit!

Fun House #3:

I loved the mirror maze when I was a kid!
I could audibly hear Ella’s head thumping against the mirrors as she smashed into them!
Can you see Asher sliding down the yellow slide?

Fun House #4:

Ella sliding down!

Ella was finally tall enough to ride the swings this year. I rode with them, and James used his iphone to take pictures from the ground. We cover all angles in this family! 😉


This is how I must always look everywhere I go with my kids…camera in front of my face! Can you see me between the girls?

We tried a “haunted house”! (It was SO LAME!!)

but the kids were still scared!

The girls had to do the potato sack slide!  (One of my favorites when I was a kid too!)

Ella is screaming of course!

Asher’s favorite ride was the ferris wheel!

momma’s boy!

Ella’s favorite thing was the cotton candy, I’m sure!

treat time!

But then daddy took her on some fast rides and she had to keep her mouth closed “in case the throw up would come out!”

love how Rilyn and Ella have such opposite expressions!
about to fly!
Rilyn loves fast, spinning rides!

The chaos of the day was all worth it for James when he got this:


Last stop was the pig races which is pretty cheesy, (Brad PIG vs. Kevin BACON vs. Justin BeiBOAR), but the kids love it.

these pigs are racing for an oreo as their “prize”

And after 5 hours at the rodeo, Asher was ready to go. Not even a picture with the Rodeo pig would cheer him up! Can you tell?


The first SNL Thanksgiving

Rilyn decided she wanted us to do a family thanksgiving skit this year. So she and Ella got the props and costumes ready and Julie added her creative SNL twist and we performed it for our family yesterday.

Make sure to stick it out until the end, my favorite part is Rilyn’s nervous anticipation before the ‘grand finale’.


zoo day

The perfect day to go to the zoo-55 degrees outside, middle of the week, and no one was there! And when no one is there, your toddler can do this:

Where’s Asher?  Running free in the navy jacket!

And he can do this:

Asher popping a squat

We went to the Cameron Park zoo in Waco. It is small, but so much fun! Where else could you see buffalo next to a traffic signal?

Asher again proved he was ‘all boy’ when he discovered a teepee. There was mud inside and of course he found it! He came out looking like an Indian with war paint!

And then Asher decided that the teepee wasn’t decorated enough, so he added his own ‘native art’

those are his handprints!
snoozing lion
Ella, giraffes aren’t noisy!
This tiger was chasing and roaring at us!
The zoo had an orangutan play area for the kids!
There was also a play area for kids!  Ella loved climbing all over this snake
Can you see Asher ‘sliding into the water’?
Obviously, the kids were tired out after our day trip!This is Ella who fell asleep in the car on the way home!

Merry Christmas!

Because Rilyn started kindergarten this year, we thought it would be appropriate to do a ‘family report card’  in lieu of a traditional letter.  Enjoy!

the front and the back
the inside
our Christmas picture 2009

dating my daughter

What a fun and meaningful night I had on a date with my oldest daughter Rilyn.  I say meaningful because it was a moment of grace where my heavenly Father gave me a chance to cherish my role as a father and realize what I can offer and what only He can offer.

Gotta have the silly pic!

We did have a blast tonight…I took Rilyn out on a date to ‘Austin Park & Pizza’.  We started out on the bumper boats, played some video games, ate some pizza, drank some root beer, played some miniature golf, and topped it off with Rilyn driving on her own in her first Go Kart race.

Proud moment for daddy:  Rilyn leading!

But amidst the chaos of buffet pizza, black lights, and the blurry Japanese anime projecting in the background, we sat there in our little purple booth…just the two of us, my little girl, my little baby, my first baby…Rilyn.  She heads to kindergarten in four days, man how time flies. It feels like yesterday that I was trying so hard to get her to crawl to me, now all I hear is, ‘I can do it by myself’.  So I feel like this is a major jump for Rilyn into the waters of this world and I wanted to convey to her how much I love her and how I will always be there for her, whenever she needs me.

Golf lesson

Two things hit me in that moment. First, no matter what I said, I felt as if there were no words I could convey powerful enough for her to know how much I love her and how much I want to be there for her whenever she needs me.  The emotion behind that was enough to start the swelling in my eyes. Then it really hit me, as much as I love her and yearn to be there for Rilyn, ultimately I can’t.  It is humanly impossible to be there for her every second of everyday…and eventually I won’t be around.

look alikes

Yet, with tears in my eyes, I looked at Rilyn and said, “Rilyn, look at me, look in my eyes.  I love you so much, and no matter what I will be there for you.  You can come to me for help whenever you need it.”  She looked in my eyes and said, “But how can you be at my school when you have to be at work?”  Wow, she is right….as much as I want to be there for her, there is a limit.  And at first I ached inside, but then grace came and my Heavenly Father reminded me of two awesome truths….

First, He loves Rilyn, (and you and me), more than words can convey…His love is infinite and powerfully revealed through the sending of His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die so that Rilyn, (and you and me), would be able to have abundant life, if we would only trust our life to Him:

John 15:13Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

John 3:16-18″For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Second, what I can’t offer, my heavenly Father can give…He is not limited by time or space and will be there for Rilyn, (and you and me), always and forever:


So it’s more than pizza, more than go karts, even more than quality time…I can offer her Him….that turns my tears of angst into tears of joy and peace.

From august 2009

organic + Paquettes= ?!?!

If you know our family, you know that we aren’t the most sophisticated or perhaps disciplined family when it comes to our diet. While we try and ensure that plenty of fruits and vegetables are a part of our family’s regular diet, we are not picky about where the food we eat comes from.

However, I am starting to become more aware of exactly where the food we eat comes from and what it goes through before it hits my palate and let’s just say, I have no intention of ever eating a quarter-pounder again. This recent awareness was probably inevitable being that we live in Austin. (For those who don’ t know, Austin and organic are somewhat like Austin and independent music). So when Julie suggested we try out this new ‘organic’ burger joint today, I was much more inclined to say yes than perhaps I would have been in days past.

So we packed up the minivan and took one small step toward an organic lifestyle by heading over to the new TERRA BURGER located off Research Blvd. On the way over, I find out from Julie that her reasoning to check out this new place is the playscape they have for the kids, (not necessarily for the ‘organic’ side of life).  The food was good and the kids had a blast.  From Ella’s perspective, “We can live here!”

For you ‘Austinite’ families looking for a organic way to have some family fun, check it out.

  1. Cell phone pics

DISCLAIMER **(This is Julie, and after previewing James’ post, I just want to clarify that I have NO intention of going ‘organic’ and I was only eating at Terra Burger for the kids playscape. I love my chocolate and junk food too much.)

And yes, regardless of the source, burgers and fries are not necessarily the most healthy meal, but hey, it’s a start right?


bounce baby!

We were supposed to have a bounce house at Asher’s first birthday party, but due to lack of electricity at the park, we couldn’t get it blown up!  What a bummer for the kids, BUT we did get a raincheck!  So today, just in time for the perfect weather, the kids got the bounce house in their backyard.

Fake Mickey bounce house
boing boing

u.f.o sighting

this is a swing!

James took the kids to a new park on Saturday morning (before all the rain!) so I could continue to scrapbook our Disney trip.  (Thanks babe!)

Wow, parks are sure changing these days!  James came back with lots of pictures, (seriously James, I’m trying to catch up on my scrapbooking!) of all these crazy looking structures.  He said the park was very cool and I’m looking forward to going this summer!  Here is the link for all my Austin friends-Mueller Lake Park.

not your average play equipment
James and the kids had a picnic under willow trees
biking/walking trail
Like ‘teacups’ that spin as you wobble around
like a merry-go-round except way cooler

some favorite pictures

I love photography. Maybe one day, I’ll find time to buy a really nice camera and lenses and take some classes. Until then, here is some of my favorite shots of our trip with my little old Sony camera.

From California Vacation April 2009
James took this on The Jungle Cruise
Ella on the Casey Jr. Train
Rilyn on the teacups
Those are Asher’s great grandparents in the backgroundI love the generational ‘gap’ that this picture displays
Not very picturesque, but too funny not to share.  Ella tried to spell her name inspaghetti noodles at one of the restaurants
Ella exhausted on the plane ride home

Needless to say, the girls did not want to go home from our Disneyland vacation.  Rilyn told me, “There is no magic in Texas!  There is only magic at Disneyland!”   Ella wanted to live at our hotel forever.  A great time was had by all and we want to thank my mom and dad from the bottom of our hearts for a ‘magical’ vacation!


It’s time for the radio!

Well according to Ella. Other people call it the rodeo, but close enough. Who doesn’t love turkey legs, corn dogs, funnel cakes, pony rides, pig races, and carnival rides (all extremely over-priced I might add.)?  Maybe one day we will actually watch the rodeo, but for now, the girls were happy enough with the ‘carerris wheel’ as Rilyn calls it (she confuses carousel and ferris wheel, but I imagine in Hollywood this would be a very acceptable term, right Bragelina?)

From March 2009
From March 2009
I see James and Ella!               From March 2009
From March 2009
From March 2009
From March 2009
This was on a fun house where the floor slid back and forth.

My photography business!

March 2021