21 June 2013

Father's Day 2013

I'm just going to admit this little-known fact about me...I'm awful at Father's Day gifts.  Or maybe any gifts?  I don't know... I just know I sort of dropped the ball this year as far as Father's Day went for David and my dad.

David was out of town for work the entire week before Father's Day and my parents were busy preparing for their drive to Indiana all while trying to move furniture out/around their house to get it ready for all new tile to be installed while they are gone.  So, I didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare.  Shopping for cards and gifts with my two girls is just not easy and so that just didn't get done. I can't print things off of my computer so I didn't get to Pinterest up anything cute before David came back.

I did however, plan a small getaway to Flagstaff to hang out with friends and escape the triple-digit heat.  That's got to count for something, right?

We headed up Saturday morning for a little overnight stay at the cabin of our friend's in-laws and it was just as perfect as could be.  The weather was gorgeous and the scenery was just beautiful.  Those pines make it hard to feel like you are in Arizona...  We had a blast just doing nothing but hanging out outdoors {in the summertime!}, playing games and exploring the land.  When we win the lottery, I'm buying a second house up here!

That's a little playhouse.  And, can you spy Sydney?

Michael has a pet hamster named Pixie.  She was a cutie.  

This is our new favorite game. 
{And, there's not even a princess involved!}

David was able to go out on a hike on Saturday and a little bike ride Saturday night.  On Sunday, he took the cruiser out with the two littlest girls and pulled them around town.  It's amazing that he was able to pull the trailer uphill on a gravel road in just that cruiser.  

Having a snack after their ride.

We headed home about 24 hours after getting there so that we could hang out with my dad on his special day too.  Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of him, but I did get a few cute ones of David with his girls.

We are a lucky bunch of girls!

My mom scanned this picture of my dad with my papaw and I just love it.  My pappaw was the sweetest man and he was just my favorite person.  I'm so lucky that my girls have their poppy and I know they feel the exact same way about him that I felt about my pappaw.

18 June 2013

Because She's Fifty! {Months Old}

➽ I started this post last night, but somebody came out of their room after being put to bed and then was up until 11:30.  Consequently, I wasn't in much of a mood to write nice things about her once she finally fell asleep.  So, this beginning paragraph doesn't really hold true anymore. 

Well, wonders never cease!  Today is actually the 17th and I'm writing up a birthday post for my biggest girl.  It's a 50 month miracle!

I have a feeling this is going to read more like a catching-up blog post, but that's sort of what we're doing here...catching up with my sweet girl, Livi Lou, on all she's up to these days.

➽➽ Let's just start off with the obvious...it's summertime and it's Olivia, so there's going to be lots of swimming/swimming lessons/pool tricks.  It blows my mind as to how great she is in the pool.  I remember when we moved out here less than two years ago and I was a nervous wreck anytime she even walked around the edge of the pool {and rightly so... she wasn't even 2 1/2 yet}, but I don't have that nervous feeling at all now.  Yes, I'm still very cautious with her and I would never let her swim or even be in the gated area of the pool without an adult there with her, but I don't have the urge to helicopter around her every time she gets in the gate.  She's such a fish in the water...she loves swimming, she loves diving after the toys, she loves jumping off the side and going down our new {albeit somewhat tacky} slide.  If that sun didn't beat down on us so hard, I think we could spend all day in our pool.  She is doing swim lessons every day for 50 minutes and has mastered everything at her current level already.

➽➽ In getting Olivia ready to go to Pre-K four mornings a week {uh, okay, and getting me ready for four mornings a week}, I signed her up for some summer camp classes at her preschool where she attends from 9-12 and eats a packed lunch.  I originally signed her up for two classes a week {letting her choose the theme that she wanted to learn about}, but have actually added a few more classes to the schedule since she loves it so much.  I'm definitely having to wake her up and get her going in the mornings...we are not morning people around here...but she is always excited about going.  The first two weeks, I switched her into Ms. Erin's class...she was her Book Club teacher and Olivia absolutely adored her.  She has a new teacher this week, but has adjusted just fine.  I'm so SO glad that she loves school and loves learning and being around new friends and that she is confident and secure enough to be away from me for a few hours during the day.  It simultaneously amazes me and breaks my heart that she is at this stage already.

You'll be able to tell from the pictures what some of the themes have been, but so far she has done Beach Day, Animal Planet, Prince and Princess Tea Party, Music and Movement, Pirate Adventure, Under the Sea and Welcome to the Jungle.

➹ We may have gone a bit overboard here... ➹

➹ I finally wised up and put her in the shade for the pictures, but she still squinted. Darn sun at 9am! ➹

➽➽ Olivia is totally in to dressing herself these days.  On mornings where she wakes up {at 9:30} on her own, she usually comes out already dressed.  For awhile it was long dresses {so I stocked up} and then it was skirts {so I had to hide most of the ones that she insisted on wearing because they didn't have the shorts underneath}.  Lately, she's been obsessed with this t-shirt dress I had made for her "because the skirt is already attached!" But, honestly, sometimes she changes outfits four or five times a day and can change accessories even more than that.  I'm learning to let go of some of my outfit control {or maybe I'm just exerting it onto Sydney}.

➽➽ A few weeks ago, she had her first sleepover at her friend Brooke's house.  Yes, she's had sleepovers at Nana and Poppy's and even a sleepover with her BFF Kendall, but we were in the next room over for that.  This one was sort of last minute and just across the street and she was so excited about the possibility... how were we to say no?  She had such a great time over there getting her nails painted and making monkey bread for breakfast!  We ended up having Brooke over a couple Fridays later for a little pool party/movie night/slumber party/healthy breakfast action ourselves.  I'd say all three girls had a blast.

➹ Happy National Donut Day ➹

➽➽ One thing I've really been looking forward to with Olivia is board games.  I loved Fridays with my kiddos at school because after spelling tests and quizzes were done, we would always have game days with BINGO, Yahtzee and Guess Who.  A few weeks ago, we got Olivia the Princess Candyland and she loved it!  So, I started adding to our collection...I got a few more princess games {which she of course LOVES} and I pulled out my old school Guess Who game.  Well, turns out she loves that one too, although she almost always insists on picking a girl character even though there are only five of them.  Poppy is usually our competition and he does a good job of not letting on to knowing that she's picked a girl.  I ended up getting the newer version of the game {Guess Who Extra} that has 6 different versions.  I actually played against her over the weekend and she did great!  She figured out who mine was right after I figured out hers.  Such a little smarty!

➹ Poppy's first question was, "Does your person have white hair?"  Ha ha #nailedit ➹

➽➽ In case I don't stress it enough, let me just say again how much I adore this little girl of mine.  She is smart and funny and dramatic, energetic and sassy and sweet all rolled up into this beautiful blonde girl.  GIRL.  She's not a baby anymore and I'd be hard pressed to even call her a toddler.  And, I'm just so lucky that she's mine.

14 June 2013

It's That Time of Year Again...

Corn, corn, the magical vegetable, the more you freeze, the more you eat all year round.  Or something like that...

You may remember us putting up freezer corn last year {read about that here}...we ended up putting up about 44 bags of corn to split between our two households and we still have one bag left in our freezer. Well, this year, we repeated the process {minus the help of my brother} and ended up with 27 bags.  Eeek.  I'm a little worried that we're going to have fewer bags this year, but I'm sure we will manage somehow.

It was a lot of fun doing this with my mom and dad because it brings back memories of watching my grandparents prepare and can or freeze their harvest from their garden.  I'm really ready to try our hand at another vegetable, but I don't think my parents are up for it this year.  I also love spending time doing something productive with my parents...my mom and dad have this thing down to a science...my mom has three pots boiling at the same time and knows which one to take off first because it boils faster and yada yada.  All I know is that it ends up tasting so good!

Here are a few pictures of CORN!

Step 1:  Shuck and clean the ears.

Step 2: Boil water, add corn, once it returns to a boil, set timer for 2 minutes.

Step 3:  After the timer goes off, remove the ears and put them in an ice bath for a minute or so.

Step 4:  Scrape the corn.  {I'm bad about leaving some on the ends...it's how I eat it too!}

Step 5:  Get kisses from this sweet girl!

Step 6 {and not pictured}:  Scoop 2 cups into a date-labeled freezer bag and seal after pressing the air out.

Step 7:  Enjoy sweet summer corn the whole year round!

09 June 2013

Oh, You Know, Just Another Trip To Disneyland

I swear, if we lived back in California, I think we might just make a weekly trek to Disneyland during the off-season.  We love it that much.  So, when my friend Liz put the idea in my head of the two of us taking our four kids before summer hit, I was pretty much all systems go.  But in reality, we didn't pull the go trigger until the night before we left.  Luckily, I had laid out our clothes and snacks during the day just in case.

Liz came over without her two kiddos, Brooklyn and Zack, {in her Highlander SUV} so we could load up our carseats and double stroller a little easier.  That girl must rock at Tetris because she got everything loaded up for us.  We had two double strollers {one side-by-side and our long one}, two duffel bags of clothes, four carseats, four kids {obviously}, snack bags, dvd players, iPads and purses crammed in every available space.

We started out with the big kids in the middle and the babies in the back.  It didn't take long for the babies to fall asleep and the girls were content playing with princess dolls.  But, after Zack woke up and realized he was still in the carseat, we decided to switch the small ones to the middle so I could turn around and entertain/feed/appease as needed.

Red Vines did the trick temporarily.  I cannot even begin to tell you how disgusting the car was after we unloaded everything at our houses.  We could have been stuck in the desert and survived a week on all the food on the floor.

I have to brag on my girls for a quick second because after this trip I realized just how lucky we are to have such wonderful little travelers.  It wasn't always this way, so I am glad we've gotten to the point where they can zone out watching a show and just enjoy the ride.  {I swear Olivia could watch tv all day and would not complain once.  Not saying that's a great skill to have, but it definitely comes in handy.}

We made it to the hotel much later than we had anticipated {an accident on the road about an hour from our destination added an extra 90 minutes or so onto our trip} and there were no cribs left for our babies, but honestly, those were probably the worst things that happened on our trip.  I truly can't complain!

Before we left, we booked a hotel that was about 1/2 mile from the entrance so that we wouldn't have to drive and park at the resort.  This was the first time we had ever done that and I have to admit that it is SO much easier than driving.  {Walking the hill over the freeway wasn't my favorite thing, but it was still easier than unloading/loading/unloading/loading the strollers into the car and tram.}  Our hotel was right across the street from a gas station so we popped over there for breakfast and snacks before heading into the park.

Gas station breakfast of champions, right there!

We made it!

We saw Minnie right off the bat and I realized immediately that Sydney was not yet to the age where she was going to enjoy meeting and greeting the characters.  I didn't force it because I knew it wasn't worth it.  Fortunately, she was super excited to not only meet the princesses, but to show off her belly too.  

We decided to do a few rides in Fantasyland first...Peter Pan was at the top of our list, but the line was already 35 minutes long and we knew we needed to get on a ride fast so we rode the carousel, Dumbo and the Casey Junior Train ride back to back.

Love these two girls and I just feel so blessed that I'm able to spend my days with them.

While we rode the Casey Jr ride, someone told us to try the Storybook Canal ride, so we headed there next.  The kids kept getting antsy in line, but I tried to persevere.  Liz wised up and took her two kids to Small World where there was no line.  And, of course, with my luck, the ride broke down as we were waiting in line.  Sydney was trying to crawl through the bars to run around in the flower beds and so we just said forget it and headed over to Small World.  Seriously, it's one of my favorite rides anyway.  I'm pretty sure we ended up riding it three or four times that day.  It's a 10 or 11 minute ride, in an air-conditioned room, with tons of stuff for the kids to look at and be enthralled with.  And the line usually moves pretty quickly.  What's not to love?!

Next up was Toon Town.  I think I've said it before, but Toon Town is not my favorite part of Disneyland.  The line for Minnie and Mickey were both really long and fortunately no one was upset that we skipped that part {maybe they didn't know?}.  I tried to take the girls on one of Olivia's favorite rides, but as we got close to the front of the line, Olivia said she didn't want to go anymore.  So, I took Brooklyn back to her mom and she ended up taking her.  So, I was left with the three kids in the play area.  There's only one entrance/exit, which I had blocked, but I still was a nervous wreck trying to keep one set of eyes on three roaming children.  I kept trying to hurdle them in to little hiding spots so they would all be together and easy to look out for.

She asked Goofy to do the Hotdog Dance...and he did!

Next time I have to watch three kids in a busy place, I'm bringing a sheepdog.

I could say this ten times every day {and I probably do}, but Sydney wants to be a big girl so badly. Oh, I just love her so.

We ate lunch in Toon Town and put the two littlest ones in the side-by-side stroller.  We figured a long walk to Frontierland might put them to sleep, and thankyouJesus, it did!

Liz and I took turns taking the big girls on the Winnie-the-Pooh ride and pushing the nappers around.  I grabbed a Fast Pass for Olivia and I to ride Splash Mountain, but again she chickened out.  I don't know what happened because for the last month she had been talking about how that was her favorite ride and she bawled when I told her we might not be able to ride it since none of the other kiddos were tall enough.  We ended up giving our passes to someone further back in line and then were able to see Tiana in New Orleans Square.

We rode the Jungle Cruise on our way back towards Fantasyland and then got in line to see Peter Pan.  Here's where our one little hiccup presented itself.  We {Liz and I} really wanted to ride Peter Pan.  Along with Small World, it's one of my favorite rides at Disneyland.  Olivia usually likes it too.  But, for some reason, she was not having it that day.  She was crying and begging me not to make her ride it.  And, Sydney was working on her latest trick of slipping through the bars and walking on flowerbeds.  I just could not see us standing in the line for another 30 minutes.  It wasn't fair to the girls or to the other people waiting in line.  So, I pulled my kids out while Liz and her kids stayed in.  We found a spot in the shade, took a few deep breaths, grabbed some snacks and relaxed for a few before getting in line for the carousel again.  It was a little frustrating at the time, but if that was our only meltdown during the trip, I'd say we did pretty great!

She said she didn't want to see Captain Hook {which I believe because when he came out during the parade, she took off and hid behind the strollers}.

I think we did one more trip in to Toon Town to see if Mickey's line was any shorter, rode Small World again, and headed to the circle to grab a spot and some popcorn for the parade.  I would have to say that this was the most crowded I had seen the park in our four visits, but it still wasn't bad.  A nice family {from Gilbert!} let us squeeze in beside them and helped entertain our kids before the parade started.  They even held Zack for part of the parade!  They wanted to know if our husbands were off riding rides!

The parade is always a highlight for me and the girls.  They just love seeing all of the princesses and characters go by.  Olivia shouts as loudly as possible to get their attention and she definitely did get some kisses blown in her direction.  I always feel bad when one princess is looking right at her and she's yelling for another one's attention.  

Sydney perfected her cheesy smile while we were there and I was lucky enough to capture this crazy grin from her while we were watching the parade.  Words cannot describe how much I love this little sweet girl.

The parade is always a perfect stopping point {and, you know, a zillion other people agree because it is a crazy rush out of there afterwards} and so we headed back to the hotel for baths and bed.  I would have thought that both girls would have been wiped out from the day, but they were so excited to jump on the bed when we got back.  They did go down pretty easily though.

I originally thought that we would just go for one day, but Liz had the idea of going to California Adventure for the morning of the second day and then leaving before the kids had their naps so they would hopefully sleep some of the way home.  More time at Disneyland?  Fine by me!

We were up and ready to go the next morning and threw our duffel bags into the car and then headed back for our gas station breakfast across the street.  As crazy as it sounds, I was able to get myself and the girls ready and get our stuff packed up to check out of the hotel right on time.  That never happens when David is around.  {Sorry, babe, but it's true.}

This is a picture from the elevator of our hotel.  The building to the left of the green building in the picture is the Small World ride.  

It was great only spending a few hours at California Adventure.  In my opinion, there's just not as much stuff to do there {especially for our kiddos}.  As soon as we got in, we saw a GIANT line...I'm talking from the beginning of the park giant, just to get a fast pass for the new Cars ride.  Crazy.  So, I thought maybe the Toy Story Mania {my new favorite ride at California Adventure} might not be as crowded.  And, I was right.  It was dead towards the back of the park and we had less than a five minute wait.  Liv really likes that ride too, so it was fun for us.  Unfortunately, Liz and her kids didn't really get into it as much so we just did it once.

We did the Ariel ride a few times, the Disney Jr Live on Stage show {where we got to meet Jake afterwards} and the Monsters Inc ride before calling it quits for the day.  Of course, I had promised my girls Clarabelle's ice cream before we left so I had to fulfill that promise.  

Because pumping them full of sugar before a 7+ hour car ride is always a good idea.

Our trip home was definitely a lot easier than the ride out.  Unfortunately, Zack fell asleep in the stroller as we walked back to the car and stayed asleep while we loaded all of our stuff back in and then woke up as we were gassing up across the street, but here's another thankyouJesus, he fell asleep again a few hours into the ride home.

All in all, it was an AMAZING trip out and it was seriously easier than I thought it would be.  I'll even go so far as to say that it was easier being at Disneyland with them than it was being home by myself with them all day and night when we returned.  I'm so lucky to have such a fun friend who is willing and eager to do a spontaneous trip and who loves my kids and puts up with their craziness!  {And vice versa because I love her kids dearly.}  Sydney is not always quick to warm up to people, even people she has been around a lot, but she happily went to Liz while we were there.  Warms my Mama heart.

And, that wraps up our latest Disney trip.  As we left the park, we made sure to say, "We'll see you in the fall, Disneyland."  Because, you know we will.