Saturday, August 21, 2010

Twirly Girly

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to Reality

Summer vacation went by entirely TOO fast and now I am already back at work! Tomorrow will be the third day and I'm definitely feeling it tonight. Luke came home tonight and fell asleep on the couch and slept from 4:00-6:00pm lol Luckily we still got him to go to bed at 9 tonight. So the kids are feeling it too!
This week has been so incredibly hot and humid- it's just horrible to be outside. The night before the first day of school I was worried about being able to fall asleep early enough and getting up at 5am (instead of 9 or 9:30 lol). We got the kids in bed and I realized it felt pretty hot in the house... so its already bedtime and we realize the central air is not working anymore! I was worried about leaving Cooper in a hot house all day and figuring out how to get someone to look at it and see if it was beyond repair. We always had window units before but last year got an older, used central air unit really cheap from a garage sale and just paid the cost for installation and coolant or whatever that gets pumped in there. So it was a gamble on how long it would work for us- although I was hopeful it would make it a full year! We finally figured out to put in an old window unit and move Cooper's kennel to the basement and our friend was going to come look at the air conditioner in the morning. Problem semi-solved but after all that I couldn't fall asleep!
I'm feeling very lucky right now because the kids are doing really good with going to the babysitters. Charlotte started to whine and chase me once but then I carried her around a little more and got her interested in the kitties there and she couldn't care less that I left! lol Luke was super excited to go back and play with his friends. I was worried that he would forget about using the potty and have more accidents but he is doing really well and hasn't had an accident over there yet. I'm really happy that both kids seem to be having a fun time at the sitters... although I did expect Charlotte to at least miss me a little and I think she's perfectly happy! I guess I'm not needed as much as I thought haha
I'm also feeling very lucky that the central air unit was able to be fixed with a $29.95 part and a service call fee! woohoo! Fingers crossed it lasts for a little while now.
I have a great job and get to work with wonderful people, I have a nice cool air conditioned house, and happy kids- so this first week back has been pretty good! Oh, and I get to work 80% which I hope is every Wednesday off to be at home with my babies --- I'm very excited and hope this arrangement works out well for our family.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

8 States in 6 Days

I'm not very good at planning ahead. It gets to be the end of summer and I decide we really SHOULD take a family vacation. So after much discussion and internet searching... we decided to go to Amelia Island, Florida. Since it was a long drive we wanted to break up the trip by stopping at The Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. We were a little nervous about the long car trip but all in all the kids did great. A borrowed portable dvd player, books, toys, and lots of snacks helped us survive the long car ride! We got up and left at 4:30am Sunday thinking the kids would just fall back asleep till like 8 or 9 ... umm nope! Even though it was dark they were all wide eyed and wondering what was going on. It took Luke about 30 minutes to ask if we were in Florida yet. haha Then he had such a good time playing with his Nana and cousin Colin the day before he just kept saying he wanted to go to Colin's house (this continued the whole trip). The GPS said about 8 hours to Gatlinburg and then another 8 hours to Amelia Island... silly me forgot to add in all the minutes you lose for potty breaks and needing to let the kids get out and stretch their legs. Soooo that added almost 2 hours to every leg of our journey.
We got to Gatlinburg about 2pm and had plans to take the kids to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies... when I thought about Ripley's attractions I was skeptical but all the reviews on Tripadvisor and online sounded pretty good. We stayed at a dated, but CLEAN motor lodge that was 1/2 block from the aquarium so it was easy walking. We spent a good 3 hours and it was really geared towards young kids and Luke loved it. His favorite part was the penguin play place where kids could crawl through a plexiglass tunnel through the penguin habitat- there was even a place to pop your head up and be face to face with them. Needless to say he had to have a baby penguin toy after that!

When we got done with the Aquarium we grabbed a quick dinner and walked around Gatlinburg. It's a little hokey for my taste... seriously who buys an airbrushed t-shirt anymore??? But there were lots of people and things to see so that was fun. I talked JW into driving up to Clingman's Dome the highest point in Tennessee.
You drive to a parking lot and then walk about half a mile to an observation tower. It was cold, cloudy, and misty up there. Neat for the kids to see and feel.

Luke walked up with baby penguin in tow. JW carried Charlotte all the way up and back just so he could brag he carried her to the top of a mountain. lol I got to carry Luke down the trail as he decided he had enough walking! It was a fun free family activity. We drove back down the mountain and there was still time for the boys to go swimming. The motel pool had a slide and JW and Luke had a great time "shooting like a rocket" through the slide (some guy at the pool told Luke he shot out like a rocket and I got to hear this repeatedly during our trip as well!). I was a little worried about the kids being able to fall asleep in the hotel since we don't usually share a room together. They were so tired every night and even once it was naptime for Charlotte they both went to sleep pretty fast.
So Monday morning we got up and left the hotel about 7am to continue our drive. We got out at a rest stop in Georgia and whoa it was hotter than you know what! The kids were getting a little restless by that point and then all the sudden Charlotte starts crying like in pain. I wasn't able to easily comfort her and people kept staring like we were stealing this little baby from someone else at the rest stop! She finally calmed down and walked around by herself a little and then started crying again. It was so hot she was turning all red in the face and I was getting really flustered that I couldn't help her. I figured she was a little constipated- I wished I had packed some gas drops or something for her. We comforted her and gave her lots of apple juice for the rest of the journey. She had a little more trouble when we first arrived to the hotel but finally IT passed. :)

So we finally made it to the hotel. Beautiful resort called the Amelia Island Plantation Inn. I never stayed in a 4 star hotel and was a little nervous about that! All the rooms were ocean front so that was another bonus to wake up and see and hear the ocean from the balcony. There were lots of families with small children- of course they mostly had the really fancy expensive strollers that I will never be able to afford haha but often the pools were empty and the beach was wide open and we felt at ease!

The kids were at first interested in the ocean. Then Luke got some salty water in his mouth and he decided he liked the pools much better! Charlotte got knocked down by a little wave and she also decided that the ocean was a little scary for her.

Both were okay with being carried into the water and playing in the sand but other than that weren't thrilled to be on the beach. At some point in my life I will be able to lay on the beach and get some sun, but this trip didn't allow too much for that since I had to chase little ones around... but that's okay we still had a good time.

The hotel had two large pools and one kiddie pool with a playground- this was one of the reasons I wanted to stay there and it was nice for the kids.
We took a river cruise from Fernandina Beach (the historic town part of the Island) up to Cumberland Island, Georgia. They split passengers with small children on one boat and older couples on another boat. Boy was I glad for that when Charlotte was the first child to start getting fussy! She finally fell asleep in JW's arms and then it was Luke's turn to whine about getting back to land haha. We got to see small sharks cruising for little fish by the shore, dolphins, wild horses and hear the history of both islands. Luke got to drive the boat for a little bit and he loved that.

We walked around the historic district of the town and ate some dinner there- always a treat with two tired, small children. :) We mostly spent our time at the pool and going to the beach. We searched for shark teeth, but didn't find any. We saw little lizards and a turtle walking across the golf course one morning!
On Thursday we checked out about 10:30am and headed back to Gatlinburg. I talked JW into taking the scenic route over the mountain instead of going around the mountain like the GPS lady wanted us to do. Of course, in the midst of trying to determine we were on the right path Luke starts yelling that Charlotte was puking! JW had just given her some juice and I think she just got it down a little wrong so coughed and threw up a little. So that was an emergency pull over to get her cleaned up and changed and then study the map some more. Luckily, she was okay and we were going the right direction. Luke kept describing what he witnessed coming from Charlotte's mouth and that his stuffed animals were puked on... oh what fun to hear! So then we twisted and turned up over the mountain until we were sick of scenery and just wanted out of the car! Very pretty views on the North Carolina side of the mountains... but after awhile we were done. So then JW and Luke hopped in the pool and I took a tired Charlotte with me to Gatlinburg to look at shops and get some food. I decided to go to Fannie Farkle's since I read about it on Tripadvisor and they a giant corndog called an Ogle dog that people raved about. I got one of those and a smoked sausage with onions and green peppers for JW. It turned out pretty good for dinner (much better than the subway I was originally going to pick up!). The next morning we got up and went to the Pancake Pantry for breakfast but again with two tired crabby kids who didn't want to eat and only wanted to fuss... it wasn't so enjoyable! JW was ready to head home but I wanted to explore more in the Smokies while we were there. We took a little hiking trail off of a visitor's center that said it was good for strollers. Luke loved it- he finally perked up and was running down the trails and having a great time. The trail went along a creek and led to a small waterfall so at least we got to see a little more of nature there. We headed home about 10:30 and got home around 8pm! We have been sleeping in this weekend so I think everyone is still tired from our trip. JW and I both agreed we were glad to go somewhere and have some family time. It was much needed!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Watch Me Jump!

So far this summer Luke's been crazy about going fishing, catching frogs, and now that its HOT outside he wants to go swimming in the lake. JW always goes with him on the paddle boat to where its really deep and you can't see any "seaweeds". Then they put the anchor out and jump off and pretend to push each other off, etc. I don't like to swim in the lake unless I can see clear water with sand under me! There's a few places you can anchor out that are like that and its nice to lay on rafts and just float there (although with 2 small children I rarely get the chance to do this!). Luke's been begging JW to take him out every evening and he can usually talk him into it. Tonight it was my turn! Of course, I tried to take my camara and get some cute shots but he doesn't want his picture taken much. haha This little boy is so stinkin' cute, I think I'm spoiling him this summer and giving into him too much lol.

He is usually is a pretty good boy still but I've been letting him skip the afternoon nap and you can tell that he is tired when the tears start flowing over every little thing. It gets exhausting towards the evening but then if he does take a nap then its really hard to get him to fall asleep at a decent time. But like I said he's so stinkin' cute that when he smiles sweetly and tries to bargain with me for no nap or just one more jump... he usually wins.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Miss Char Char's New Shoes

Yesterday, my mom and I took the kids out shopping with us. I love Target brand diapers because they work well and they are sooooo much cheaper than Pampers or Huggies. I wish Target was closer though! Oh well, its a good excuse to go shopping then! We went to Kohls too just to look around. I wanted to look for new sneakers for myself but I looked to see if there were any little girl sneakers on sale too. I spotted these cute silver Nike's and just had to try them on Charlotte.

As soon as she saw them she started going, "Shoe! Shoe! ehh ehh" in her little baby voice. I tried one on her and she was soooo happy. Immediately she was begging for the other one to go on her other foot and trying to kick off her croc shoe that was on that foot. When I tried taking them off to try on a larger size she got really upset!!! She was kicking and flailing and protesting! lol It's kinda funny and cute now, but I have a feeling it won't be funny anymore when she is in her teen years! Anyways, I got the size 6 on her and that seemed to fit better for this fall. She would not let me take them off at all. She ended up wearing them out of the store to keep her happy. At least they were on sale and then we had a 15% off shopping pass so that made them even cheaper! They are pretty cute, too bad they don't have them in my size!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Catching Up

This post is probably just going to seem like recap of what's been going on so far this summer. We went to the zoo one day with Aunt Kaki and had a great time. I have several diet pepsi can coupons that are for a free child's admission and Charlotte is still free so we may be making several zoo trips this summer! Luke has a stuffed animal snake that he had to have after playing with one at his cousins house. He named it "Slimey". He carried this stuffed animal snake around with him and sleeps with it, etc. Loves this snake- so I was excited when there was a demonstration where Luke could touch a REAL snake!! So cool. He wasn't scared at all! Charlotte seemed a little afraid to touch any of the animals. She was holding her arms up high to stay away from it! (we now are the proud owners of more of these stuffed animal snakes as part of a potty training reward- which I will post more about later!)

Luke's favorite part was seeing the peacock's with their tail feathers all on display. He's a spoiled first-born so he got to go on lots of rides. lol Here he is riding a pony named Gayle. Charlotte freaked when I tried to have her touch the pony!

Here Luke is riding the Sky-Lift above the African Journey with Aunt Kaki. Something about that ride still makes me a little nervous!

Charlotte was happy anytime she could be walking on her own like a big girl.

Here's a boy excited to ride the choo-choo train.

And here's a girl surprised by the choo-choo train whisle! :)

Luke did visit the dentist for the first time... and I was soooo happy with how he behaved! I'd been prepping him a long time but then I didn't want to overdo it. Important things to remember are little things like saying, "You GET to go to the dentist." instead of "You HAVE to go to the dentist." He sometimes can be shy around new people but I think since it was just the one hygienist that he talked with and then the dentist later on he was pretty comfortable. He told them about the fish we had caught that morning and did a good job following directions. He has one little cavity (bad mommy!) that we have to go back in July but he won't really know that it will be much different. They won't have to numb it or anything (which is the scary part!) so hopefully it will be an easy visit again! He was such a good boy listening that the hygienist let him pick out two prizes! Here he is when he first got laid down in the chair.

We've had some big storms here lately to ring in the summer season. One was bad enough to knock out the power for a night. It happened around 6pm and then we had the evening to entertain the kids (at least it stayed light to around 9:30 so didn't have to use lanterns and flashlights too long). JW has been working 10 hour days plus Saturdays so he went to bed pretty early. I attempted to lay Charlotte down around 9 but I think the thunder was keeping her awake. We decided to try putting a dvd on the laptop for Luke and he thought that was sooooo much fun with just a camping lantern on. So I set him up with "Cars" on the laptop and some snacks. Soon Charlotte joined him at the little table. Charlotte finally started to try to smile on cue and do a big cheesy smile so I thought these were kind of fun moments. Little Miss Lottie ended up staying up until about 10:30 and Luke was up until about 11:30!!! Luckily, the power came on about 3am and the kids slept in late.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Frogs and Fishing

Summer is rolling along, a little too quickly I think! Oh well- that's the way it goes. JW has been busy working all year (Thank God!) and then this week he is doing 10 hour days and possibly Saturdays. He's a little bummed right now because World Cup soccer started and he can't just stay at home glued to the TV! I think Holland is playing right now so I better text him the scores throughout the morning. Today, I am taking Luke to the dentist for the first time... I'm a little nervous about that. I'm not sure they will do much more than let him sit in the chair and show him all their cool gadgets and count his teeth. He doesn't seem too afraid yet but he can get shy around new adults so I'm just hoping he lets them look in his mouth! I've been brushing those teeth for three years now and I want reassurance I am doing a good job haha

Luke would love to spend every minute of every day outside along the waters edge. Lately, it has been trying to catch frogs! He could do this allllllllllllll day. We don't actually catch any frogs but he gets close. Right after I typed this, he came up to me and asked if we could go outside. Since Charlotte was still asleep, its much easier to help him do what he wants without having to chase her everywhere! So we hurried and put our shoes on and ran out to the water. We looked in the water, tried to catch frogs, stirred weeds around with a stick which was "making hot chocolate", and saw some fish jump. Then he wants his fishing pole, which always makes me nervous since I've not had to take a fish off of a hook for a long time. While he was still messing with his stick I cast out the bait just for kicks and right away a fish grabbed it! Agh! Here mommy's going "oh no!" and Luke's jumping up and down all excited that we actually got a fish! It was just a little 4 or 5 inch bass but I didn't really want to touch it. It had one of those 3 pronged hooks in its mouth... ughhhh! I tried a few times but couldn't get the hook out.. may have repeated the word crap a few times (nothing worse- I promise!) and then put it back in the water. I gave the fishing pole to Luke and went to get pliers out of Daddy's tackle box. It took a me a few attempts and the fish had to rest in the water a few times in between, but I finally got the hook out! I was so proud of myself and happy for the fish haha. Luke was all smiles that we had caught a fish. So then he wants to take a turn. He dips the bait in off the edge of the pier and to his surprise he caught one! Pulled it up and it was THE SAME FISH!!! Not too bright I guess! Mommy was disappointed that I had to do this hook thing all over again but Luke was so surprised and so happy! Luckily, when we pulled him out of the water and flipped the hook one way he just fell off- Phew!!!

And now by this time I am actually finishing this post I can gladly announce that Holland wins!!! 2-0 over Denmark! Woohoo! That should brighten JW's day even if he is stuck at work. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Finally... its Summer!!

I'm so thankful for Summer vacation!! One of the perks of my job, is the 2 and a half months I get to enjoy at home with the kids. We've had a good first week off and I already feel like I've accomplished a lot of things around the home. Hopefully that motivational streak will continue and I won't start procrastinating!
Luke's definitely entered the more difficult age of 3 and I am learning every step of the way. :) Of course, one minute he is screaming in a rage at me and the next minute he is as sweet as pie! He's so cute and smart and really the apple of my eye (even when he is torturing me with tantrums!) He definitely has caught his dad's fisherman gene. He loooooves going out on the rowboat with daddy. They have caught some pretty good sized bass, which is VERY exciting for Luke. We have been working hard on potty training this week and he's been doing really well with #1... not so much with #2! But we are working on it. He's getting to be such a big boy! Oh and he had his 3 year old check up and weighed 37 pounds and was 41 inches tall! 98th percentile for height and 90th for weight so he IS statistically a big boy as well!
Charlotte is babbling more and using more words mixed in with the babble. She's definitely a cutie and melts my heart. I love having a little girl to dress up and play baby dolls together. I also feel like just in this week being home, I've gotten to really bond more with her (which makes me sad for all the time I have missed this year while I have had to work) but I should just be thankful for the time we have now this summer. Charlotte gives the best hugs and kisses and wants to be a big girl and do everything just like her brother. I've got some really cute photos and videos of her antics around the house. However, I still need to download my camara software onto the laptop so that I can use them more easily when I post!
JW's been working steadily all this year so that is a blessing (you never know with the economy and with his job). We are hoping to get some updates done to the house this summer... that will pretty much keep us busy and broke! Someday we will be able to take a vacay. We will probably just do some fun local things like going to the zoo or Children's Museum. My main goals this summer are to spend good quality time with the kids and then to get the house more organized! I lack in organizational skills but if I have a good system in place I can use it... its just getting a system set up that I need to work on.
Sounds pretty boring but I am looking forward to feeling like I have the time to do these things instead of rushing around for work.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This Boy

This boy has my heart like no other. I love his crazy expressions, his talkative ways, and his blossoming imagination. Sometimes I can't believe how big he is getting and I get so proud of the new things he learns. Luke is turning 3 on the 13th and we had a Batman party to celebrate! He has been waiting for his special Batman "peelona" (pinata) for a looooong time- probably since cousin Colin had a Thomas the Train pinata at his birthday party.

Against my better judgment, I made Luke's birthday cake. It turned out alright for homemade, but I think I like the look and taste of a bakery cake myself! I found a Batman template online and filled it in with chocolate frosting. Then I pushed chocolate chips into that shape to make it a little bit darker. I didn't really want to mess with black food coloring paste- I thought that could get pretty messy! I made a lasagna recipe from The Pioneer Woman's blog and it was really easy and really yummy! I've not made any of her recipes before but I loved the step by step picture directions- very helpful! We learned that Charlotte loves cake and especially ice cream... she begged a lot off of Nana's plate! She definitely likes her sweets- she must get that from me! haha

For his birthday he got some new Imaginext toys (very cool Fisher Price play sets for boys 3-9 yrs- highly recommend for the little guys!) including some Batman vehicles, a Space ship and space station, a talking Iron Man toy (Charlotte seems to like him too! She just thinks its a doll for her!), a cozy Batman blanket, Spiderman toothbrush, Spiderman chair and tent, and a camouflage "hunting bag", and some new clothes. I think he was pretty excited about the new stuff to play with- Soooo excited that he didn't want to go to bed at night! lol

Luke was a happy little guy and that makes mommy happy too. It's so fun seeing him grow older and learn new things all of the time. He constantly talks to us and if you don't repeat or expand on what he has just said then you hear, "Mommy, talk at me!" lol I can't imagine my life without him and am so proud to call him my son. :)
Right now, Luke and Daddy went out on the rowboat to try to catch a fish and Charlotte is laying down to take a nap... geez it's quiet around here! I'm hoping to enjoy some of the spring weather and take a walk around the lake soon. Hope you all are having a great spring weekend too!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


We had a good Easter weekend for the kids. On Good Friday, I was off of work so I took Luke to a free Easter Crafts session at the library. This seemed like a fun thing that a stay-at-home mom would get to do and since I could get my own mom to watch Charlotte then Luke and I could go try it out! When we got to the library, Luke was all about playing in the little toy/reading nook. He discovered puppets and in particular liked a medieval knight puppet. There were also these older girls running around and being loud... oddly enough I remember them from the park last year and they are REALLY annoying. Last year when Charlotte was a baby they were trying to tell me that they were going to get her out of the swing... ummm I think not. They were bossing Luke around.... momma didn't care for that. They also randomly would put their hands on me and I'm not a touchy feely person anyways so I didn't really enjoy these kids that were strangers trying to hang on me! So, sure enough, the girls were at the library and one of them did put their arms on my shoulders... bleh! I have been telling Luke he has to be quiet in the library so I kept pulling him to the side and whispering, "We don't run around and be loud in the library. We aren't playing with these girls." He listened but all the action was hard to resist! Luckily, it was craft time soon. A very tall lady came and said "C'mon little boy, it's time for crafts!" Well, he's pretty shy to new people so he ran the other direction when he saw her! He was more interested in playing- I picked him up and waited for him to scream but he held it together. It was really nice, we first got to dye two hard boiled eggs (score for Mommy who hadn't colored eggs yet at home!). Then we made a basket out of paper- this put some pressure on me since the woman in charge seemed to want it done EXACTLY like the model. I was trying to get Luke to use the glue stick or help fold but he was like, "nahh you do it mommy." lol We seemed to be slower than the rest of the bunch haha I'm REALLY not that crafty apparently. Then they gave him some grass, candy, and his two dyed eggs to put in the basket! It was really cute! Then we made an Easter Bunny visor... he liked cranking the die cut machine for the pattern.... and that was about it. I hurried along trying to assemble all the pieces the nice ladies had already pre-cut and Luke whispered to me, "Mommy, I'm sick of it." Not in a mean way, but in a bored/sad I'm thinking Mommy had enough craft time as well haha but I told him to hang in there we were almost done and could go get some books then. That perked him up. He helped me glue on the last pieces and even let them take his picture! Maybe Charlotte will be more for crafts... I'll have to try with her in a couple years!

On Sunday we had an Easter egg hunt and dinner at my sister's house. That was pretty nice. The kids all had fun playing. Charlotte had a very pretty dress that her Uncle Chad picked out for her. We thought she looked like a little "Dutch Girl"! Of course, Monday Luke came down with a fever and then puked in our living room. I'm thinking he probably caught something at the library... it was probably from one of our little annoying friends!

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