The Playhouse

A dream come true for any little kid. (or grown adult like myself) 
Bob's dad designed and built a playhouse for each cousin. How crazy and awesome is that?! Way before Christmas, one of the cousins asked Pappy if he could make her a playhouse for Christmas. He said "YES!" without even thinking twice about it. So operation playhouse began. My girls had no clue that any of it was going on and I never said a word to them. On Christmas day, Pappy took all the cousins out back and showed them the progress of the playhouses and told them they would soon be in their backyards. My girls were overwhelmed with joy! 
The only downside to our playhouse is that we are about 3 hours away, while the other cousins were all in the same town. Pappy didn't let that get in the way though. He drove down and started putting the girls dream house together. Adam came over and helped get the big pieces in place. It was a little bit more difficult than expected but they kept going late into the night. Pappy had to drive back home so he could make it to church the next morning but he came back a few weeks later to continue the work. 
Bob worked on it any break he had from work.
They realized that the door was put on backwards so they didn't finis putting the door knob on or anything until Billy could come back and help flip it around. We used a rake for a few months to hold the door shut.
The playhouse saw it's first snow,
had it's first of many lunches,
and even got it's first coat of paint from McKenna.
I tackled the outside paint one week. The sides and back still need a second and maybe third coat...
Billy came over one day and they got the door flipped around the right way and installed some windows. Adding some fun curtains is still on my to-do list.
Bob the Builder!
The floor was a little whelped and splittery from rain so I painted a deck paint on it to seal it all together. I love how it turned out. You can walk on it barefoot and everything. I decide to paint my own rug on and I am love with it! I drew it out with chalk first and then just painted it on with acrylic paints. 
McKenna loves bringing her baby doll stuff out there and pretending it's her own little house.
Pappy got a life size fireplace printed off on this thick plastic and I hung it on the wall. Every house needs a family portrait hung above the mantel. I had this picture blown up at Staples and then I just covered it with packing tape so it would hold up outside. (it doesn't look bubbly like in this pic)
I still have a lot more work to do but it is coming along. The ceiling might be one of those things that never gets done. Part of it was originally blue and I should have just left it. I thought it would look cool with a gray stain so I started that then I decided to just paint it all white and then soon realized I didn't have the neck power to do it. Also should have done the ceiling first...
We love it so much and can't wait for the weather to cool down so we can play it in all day!
You're the best Pappy!


Party Animal!

Dignan turned 7 and we celebrated him!
He is truly the sweetest most laid back dog ever.
PicMonkey Collage2
This was a VERY last minute party. As we were eating dinner a few nights ago, Ella randomly asked us how old Dignan was. I said 8 but Bob said 7. I knew his birthday was either in June or July but couldn't remember. Bob went and found his papers so we could figure it out. Turns out his birthday was July 22nd! It was 4 days before his actual birthday when we found this out. Ella's first reaction was, lets throw him a party! Duh.
I made the invite first thing and we went and put it in Finley's mailbox. (our new neighbors Andy and Jackie's dog)

We really didn't do anything else for the party until the day of so it was full on party planning mode all day and it was so fun! We had a very successful Dollar Tree run. We stocked up on dog bowls, treats and toys. I made a dog house out of a cardboard box and we are still playing in it. 

I tried to set up a mini obstacle course for the dogs but it wasn't a huge hit. I had some sticks that the dogs were supposed to go in and out of. Finely won hands down. Then we attempted to have them jump through the hulu hoop. Andy won that one. 
After dinner, the adults and kids played a game. It was hilarious. I'm embarrassed to say that we have owned this game for years. You put some gak in the dog's mouth and then roll the dice. Whatever number you land on is how many times you pump the dog leash. I can't explain the horrible and hysterical sound that comes when you pump the leash. If the dog doesn't poop the gak out on your turn, then it's the next players roll. You want the dog to poop on your turn so you can scoop it up with your shovel. Whoever collets 3 poops first, wins.

After Jackie won the game, we sang Happy Birthday to Dignan and let the dogs eat some cake. I found this recipe for an actual dog cake. It was basically peanut butter, pumpkin and oats. I did try it. It tasted just like I would imagine a dog treat to taste like. Very bland and blah. Turns out Dignan and Finely LOVED it though.
We ended the night by showering Dignan with gifts, kisses from Finley and goodie bags for the birthday boy and guest to take home.
We love you Digs! 


7 months

 Happy 7 months Shea Bean!
You had your first fever this month and it was so terrible.  I just hate a baby with a fever!
Ugh.  But you recovered quickly like dad said you would even though I over dramatized everything and thought it was the end.
You also had your first ranger game and I think you thought it was just one huge arena with people there for you.  You loved it.  You really just love a party of any kind.   You also started laughing so so much.  You have always been a pretty easy laugh and such a fun person all around, but you are really letting loose.
You could not stop laughing when we were squirting whipped cream into ben and sass and averys mouths and it was hysterical.  Probably the best sound in the world.

You still think your siblings are the best, clearly, and love having them around to play with.
And I am going to have to come back in and photoshop you on your blanket pic.  I definitely did not get that done this month, so in case you were already worried your life is a lie, you are sure of it now.
Lets keep moving toward that sleep through the night thing. And I will work on actually taking your month pictures in the month that I post them...


Barstad Tour of Texas

For our first ever family vacation by ourselves (!) we decided to drive somewhere.  Jeff arranged his schedule so that we could have two weeks to drive around wherever we wanted.
You know, the dream.  We could drive to the grand canyon! Or our extended family shares a house in utah so we could go there! Or BOTH!  We could rent RVs-or a camper! And bring our cousins! Endless possibilities! Best summer everrrr!! 
Reality came fast, however, and we realized that Shea's flat head could possibly never recover from that amount of time in a car seat. And we may never recover from trying to console her for that many hours in the car.
So, it was shortened and simplified to a tour of (some of) Texas. We had a very broad plan to stay wherever we knew there was a place. It turned out to be so much fun.  We rarely drove more than a couple of hours at a time and came home to check on the chickens at one point.  It was a smaller version of the dream, but fun all the same.
We started at Ke Ohana with our cousins, totally crashed their family party that they were already having, and loved every second with them.  We never wanted to leave.
We ate, we laughed, we fished, we played charades. Dream.
linds and me and aves
Shea rode shotgun.
From there we headed to my in laws lakehouse where we swam and fished some more.
From there we drove west to Granbury.
We went to the animal park and to Dinosaur World in Glenrose (a little outside of Granbury) and let me tell you-  It was a hit.
The animal park was incredible.  All of the animals roaming free, just waiting for cars to drive through and feed them.
Everyone loved it.
Jeff even fed one of the deer with his mouth (#summerdoubledare).  He is insane.
After we had had all the fun one family could have with wildish animals, we headed to Dinosaur Valley State Park.
We hiked through water and trails and tried to find dinosaur fossils and footprints. (and failed, even though they were there, on the map, right behind us, the whole time).

After hiking around the park, we headed over to Dinosaur World to make all of Ben's dreams come true.
We stopped by my parents on our way back to our house where sass jumped in the pool with her clothes on #summerdares2014
Then, we headed to Tyler for graduation for Will and all of those graduating from residency this year. Jeff got to give the award of the Resident's Resident to Ryan Tatum and he quoted Whata man for his speech.  Ryan is def a mighty mighty good man. The whole night was perfect and hilarious. Congrats everyone!
We, of course, ate at Stanleys for the best bbq in the world.  We got to meet Brooke's cross fit family there, and it was so fun to see them all in their post workout glory.  And we played at the park, just like old times.
It was just the best weekend. We miss you guys so much!
We rounded our trip out by mixing gelato with Emporium Pies and it was heaven.
Perfect end to the perfect tour of (the middle of) Texas.
Next time, south Texas and the coast :)
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