Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's HOT out there

Okay I just came in from finishing the mowing.  YUCK!  I am drenched.  I don't think the thermometer topped 100* today, but it was darn close.  I feel my workout is in for the day. 
Yesterday we kept cool by splashing in the pool.  It is becoming quite the routine.  I am debating whether I should break down and get a bigger inflatable pool.  One that would hold maybe 12" of water!!! 
Lil Miss is more and more becoming less afraid of the water.  She used to scream bloody murder at the sight of running water, but now she will hold the hose.  Progress! It makes for a much calmer baby at bathtime. 
{tough girls}
Bubba was all about soaking up the sun.  He would get really heated up and warm then jump in the water.  I guess with 0% body fat you need to absorb the sun's rays to keep warm.  I wouldn't know.
When the big kids started dumping water on her head Lil miss wasn't sure what to think.  It was a mixture of "Ugh what is that?" and " huh, that feels good.  Do it again!". 
Mommy, tried to stay out of the splashing zone but somehow ended up still getting wet.  I just relaxed in the grass... I even got Nate to enjoy nature a little bit after work and pop a squat on the lawn.
With no rain and hot as blazes out, it's a wonder I still have plants.  But my poppys are in bloom and the garden is growing.  We currently have one tomato and one pepper on our plants.  The cucumber plant is huge.  Can't wait!  How are you keeping cool?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dressing Up

Yesterday the three older kids started Tennis.  Mommy had surprised them with new rackets that morning and they were all ready to go.  Notice the joy on their faces when mommy said they could bring a gatorade to Tennis.  Mommy NEVER lets them bring Gatorade instead of water.... yes, I am cruel.  :-)   
 {they were supposed to give me their best "tennis face" whatever that is.  Bubba gave me a pirate face instead.  Arrrhgggg!}
Lil Miss wanted to be like the big kids.  She was toting around Gigi's racket and begging for a ball.  Not in the house Lil Miss!  
 {I want to play!!}
After a long day of tennis lessons, sylvan tutoring, and playing at the park, the kids were full of grime.  So I told them to go get changed into something nice for Daddy to take us out for our anniversary.  The girls asked to wear dresses and I agreed they could.  We had talked for the past couple days about mommy and daddy's anniversary and that 8 years ago we got married on this day.  Bubba must have only heard the "married" part.  Not that it was 8 years ago.  Because he came out of his room dressed in his sunday best all ready to go to the wedding.  We burst his bubble by telling him we weren't getting married -- we were already married.  He was ready for some dancing!  LOL  If you were at Kyle and Jess's wedding, you would know he is quite the little show off on his dancing skills.  Daddy reluctantly let him wear the tie to dinner but had him change into khaki shorts to make it a little more casual. 
{Lil Miss has just mastered the word "Cheese"}
Our "fancy" anniversary dinner was at Texas Roadhouse.  We were starving so the peanuts and bread got inhaled.  We all had enough room for our dinner though.  It was scrumptious.  We discovered that Lil Miss and Bubba really like to groove to Country Music.  It was a good day --

Mississippi Palisades

We have been taking full advantage of the summer.  I am trying to fit as much as I can into everyday of the summer. 
 Most days include some bare-footing fun.  Lil Miss loves to be bare foot.  I find her shoes like this regularly.  I guess she follows after her mommy. 
We have made a few impromptu drives to find ice cold treats this summer.  Usually we try to include Daddy along on these trips becuase ice cream seems to be his favorite food, but occasionally we sneak in a ice cream stop without him.  Lil Miss is getting just big enough to see ALL the wonderful flavors.  Somehow she is not content with eating out of Mommy's bowl anymore.  She wants her own cup. 
{yum yum}
Do you like her new short haircut?  I did it, I had them do more than just a trim.  Her hair grows so fast though so it will be long in no time.
 In addition to the ice cream, we have been trying to keep cool.  That means sometimes we end the day with a dip in the pool.  Okay we can't really say dip because the "pool" only allows 6" of water in the pool, but we get our feet wet. 
{I love how the little girls love to play together}
 And when we aren't eating ice cream or getting our feet wet, we are trying to get our moneys worth out of the camper.  This weekend we made a trip to Illinois to the Mississippi Palisades Campground.  We camped with a few co workers from Nate's work.  The kids were in heaven to have more kids to play with.  Nate is getting much better at backing up and parking the camper.  We occasionally mess up, like parking the camper to close to the electrical box that we can't push out the bump outs so we have to do it all over again.  Bummer!  :-(  But everytime we camp now we are getting better. 
 The kids are either getting used to the camping or had more to keep them entertained with the new friends that not once did i hear "I'm bored!"  I did hear "Get these bugs away from me!" and "Mom, can you spray bug spray on me again?"  many many times.  The mosquitos were horrible. We've been pretty lucky up until now that we hadn't had to even use the bug spray..... until this weekend.  We went through a whole bottle of bug spray and a whole bottle of fogger. 
 We did some hiking.  Lil Miss sure loves her spot in the backpack.  She even fell asleep on the morning hike. 

 There were lots of hiking trails but we only got two short hikes in.  We stretched the kids pretty far.  The first hike was over 3 miles and we almost lost Bubba to the bugs.  He was not pleased with bugs buzzing in his ears. 

The best part was when we found a hanging vine right on the edge of the trail.  The kids all had to take a swing like little Tarzans.  Bubba even put in the Tarzan scream.  





 The farthest point on the hike was a shelter where we had a mid morning snack and put our feet up for a few minutes.  The view was lacking.  I was anticipating being able to see the Mississippi from this lookout but unfortuantely there was too much foliage in the way.   We instead found treasure!  The kids helped find a geocache up in the hills.  This is maybe where we got the poison ivy?  Who knows.  I tried to keep the kids and Mommy and Daddy out of the green itchy stuff but apparently we got into it somewhere.
 {Look at those hikers!}
{Rosie found the geocache!}
This BIG guy was trying to catch a ride back to Iowa.  He was on my seat satruday morning.  Ewwww.  I am glad I caught it and didn't sit down. 
The last couple days have been putting things away and doing the laundry.  (De javu')  I only get everything washed to pack it up again to travel to Tennessee for the Fourth of July.  We are taking advantage of the summer.  More Fun to Come!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

8 years

Celebrating 8 years of wedded bliss
to my best friend
Nate's Gift
a short blog post so he doesn't have to read a bunch of mushy stuff
Love Him!!!
Dinner and a Movie
Yep, that's what we did for our anniversary
We celebrated 2 days early to enjoy a weekend night out
Sunday night -- so not to crazy
No children = 4 hours of quiet time
Dinner at Chili's
Got half our meal free (appetizer came out after our meal)
Itched poison ivy on our ankles through the movie
Enjoyed "The Avengers"
Came home to rub calamine lotion on poison ivy
Yep, that's romatic

Can't believe it's been 8 years since we said "I Do"
Want to grow old with this man
nd watch our kids grow up and find their best friends
like we did
Happy Anniversary Nate!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

10 Tips about Disney... from the Pros

Oh, yes going to Disney one time makes me a pro.  NOT.  But I can dream can't I?  There were definitely things we learned from this vacation.  It wasn't just our first trip to Disney, it was also the first time flying with kids.  Here is some unsolicited advice on what you should do if you go OR what we would remember for the next time:
1.  Shows are a great place for kids to nap!
My children still take a nap.  I know throw stones at me, I don't care.  Even our 7 year old still occasionally takes naps.  After walking on their feet and being way too stimulated, our kids needed a nap.  I know some advice is to head back to the resort to take naps.  But we didn't do that.  Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios and the American History Show at Epcot became our resting places.  If you sit down before the show starts you can get a pretty good snooze in!  Unless the little girl is a princess fan, then you wake her up before the show starts.  I think Gigi wold have been heartbroken if she would have missed Belle dancing around on stage or Lumiere singing "Be Our Guest".
 2.  Autographs are a great cheap souvenir.
I know Aunt Kathy and Uncle Neil didn't get the whole autograph thing, but the kids loved it.  They have their books in their room and love to show off Cinderella's signature to anyone who will listen.  There was often a debate whether or not to wait in line for an autograph or a ride, but those character interactions were just as priceless as a 8 minute ride on Malestrom.  So don't underestimate the experience of meeting a character out of a movie.  It makes the movie come to life!
3.  Downtown Disney is like another park.
Bring your wallet to Downtown Disney.  It really is like another park, except not everything is free.  There was so much to do there that I wasn't expecting to spend as much time as we did at Downtown Disney.  They had the build your own remote control cars, the build your own light sabers, the HUGE Mickey Store, and not to mention the LEGO store.  Lots of things to do.  We ate at Rain forest Cafe and it was an experience in itself.  The gorillas were right above us watching us eat! 
4.  Character Dinners are a great way to collect autographs and meet the characters without waiting in line
For those parents who don't want to wait in line (or aunts and uncles) character dining is the way to go.  Those meals are usually pretty good, if you like buffet, and the atmosphere is hopping.  Both of our character meals were really good. 
1900 Park Fare 
Hollywood and Vine
I regret not doing the princess breakfast because I think Bubba would have enjoyed it as much as the girls.  Next time, right Nate? 
5.  Wear good walking shoes
My feet are still recovering from all the walking you do.  The good thing is that there are many activities and rides in between so it doesn't feel like you are walking 15 miles but you do!  The worst part was when our tennis shoes got wet and then we had to use them again.  Stinky!! 
5.  Be goofy
I probley let my kids be a little goofier than normal but that was because no one knew us there.  Oh wait, that isn't entirely true.  With all the thousands of people at Disney we ran into some very good friends from Ottumwa AND a family from our hometown of Kalida.  Small World.  Disney World is the place you get to be a kid and act goofy.  Literally! 
6. Pack Light
There wasn't much in our suitcases we didn't use.  With a washer and dryer though, I could have gotten along with less clothes.  Just make sure you don't over pack too much or you won't be able to find a place to put all those cute souvenirs to bring home and you will have to leave your husband there instead! 
7.  Arrive at the parks early
I was a little nervous at what Nate would think when I told him I wanted to be at the park by 7:30am  but he didn't question it at all.  Being there ahead of the crowds, we were able to walk on to many rides that most people wait 60 minutes or longer for.  We have early birds so it wasn't to much of a stretch for us.  If you had kids that liked to sleep (I wouldn't know what that is like) it might be a different story. 
8.  Use Fastpass, your stupid not to.
If you don't know about Fastpass learn it now.  You enter your Disney tickets at a fastpass Kiosk and a Fastpass prints out.  It will tell you what time you can come back and ride the line without having to wait.  Fastpass is an easy way to bypass the whole waiting in line thing.  The only problem with the Fast pass is that you have to plan your day out according to the time on your Fastpasses, but you can fit so much more in your day when you aren't waiting in line for 120 minutes.  Seriously, the line for the Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studios was that long when we buzzed through the Fastpass line without stopping once.  Now sometimes we felt really bad passing people who had been waiting in line for a long time, but they could have gotten a Fastpass, so my guilt quickly receded.  Fastpass -- It's a Must!
9.  Know what you want to do and know a little about the parks before you go. 
Have an idea of your "must do's" at every park so you are for sure to get them in before you go home for the day.  I know especially at Epcot and Magic Kingdom we didn't have enough time in a day to do nearly have the stuff in the park.  We got our "must do" items checked off our list though. We were there from 8 am til 10 pm and still didn't see it all. 

10.  Keep cooled off
Florida is hot.  I know this because my brother Kurt has lived in Florida for many years.  I vividly remember my first letter I got from him during his first month at college (Florida State Univereisty) where he mentioned that it was so hot he was sweating in the inside of his ears.  It is way too easy to get overheated.  Stay hydrated (bring your own water bottles if you don't want to pay exorbitant costs) and get out of the sun every once in a while.  Gigi got to much sun one day and the rest of the trip we were very sensitive on how much she was in the sun.  The fan spray bottles are a wonderful invention and keep you cool and entertained. 

So there is my tips.  Something you can learn from this amateur vacationer.  We had such a wonderful trip I don't want it to end.  How many more posts can one do on a week long vacation?  Getting sick of me yet?  :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

After Trip Interview

I took interviews from the three kids to see what their favorites were.  Here are the results:
 Gigi --
Favorite Park:  Magic Kingdom
Favorite Attraction:  Splash Mountain
Favorite Character:  Princess Tiana
Funniest Moment:  Screaming on the Airplane
Favorite thing:  Watching the Parade
 Rosie --
Favorite Park:  EPCOT
Favorite Attraction:  Splash Mountain
Favorite Character:  Tinkerbell
Funniest Moment:  Turtle Talk with Crush  (Gigi was supposed to ask crush a question instead she told crush that she is having fun at Disney World!)
Least Favorite Moment: Airplane Ride
Bubba --
Favorite Park:  Hollywood Studios (where all the star wars activities were)
Favorite Attraction:  Jedi Training
Favorite Character:  Storm Trooper
Funniest Moment:  Darth Vader dancing at the Hyper Space Hoopla to Smooth Criminal -- as soon as he recognized that Darth Vader was dancing to a Michael Jackson song he knew he started screaming! 
Least Favorite Moment:  Splash Mountain -- didn't like walking around wet
Favorite Moment to remember forever:  When Cinderella blew him a kiss at the parade
Mommy--
Favorite Park:  Tough Call between Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom
Favorite Attraction:  Safari Ride at Animal Kingdom
Favorite Character:  Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen
Funniest Moment:  When Daddy got drenched on the Kali River Rapids ride -- soaked to the bone  AND watching Chewbacca dance to "I'm sexy and I know it"
Least Favorite Moment:  driving home in the car completely wet from the rain
Favorite moment to remember forever:  the look on each kids face when they saw something come to life bigger than their imagination

In love with Disney



We woke up Thursday morning to this in the sky!   The sky writer was reading our minds.  We were in love with Disney.  Even Rosie's new mood bracelet was telling us that she was in love.  It definitely was not with a boy because Daddy has told her she is not to have any boyfriends until she is 30 so it had to be that she was in love with Disney too!  Our day was to be another relaxing (no carrying of kids 50 miles up hill both ways) kind of day.  It would be our last full day in Florida.  The kids actually slept in this day.  Maybe it was due to not going to bed until 11 that night because they were in the pool.  But something cause them to sleep in past 6:30 am!!!  Daddy had suggested we go putt putting so that was the only thing on the agenda.  Oh, and lots more swimming. 
 {silly boy you can only wear one pair!}
 I don't know why we chose the hottest day ever to go putt putting, but it was surface of the sun hot!   The kids were hot but we promised them a jump in the pool directly after so that brought smiles.  We broke up into teams.  Daddy and Bubba.  Rosie and Aunt Kathy.  And the team of Aces -- Mommy and Gigi.  The first hole, mommy putted in a HOLE IN ONE!  We were on a roll.  I finished the day with 2 hole in ones.  Bubba had a hole in one too, thanks to Gigi's ball knocking his in.  Of course we kept score, we are a very competitive family.  Mommy and Daddy ended up tying individually.  (Daddy cheated! :-)  And overall the boys beat all us girls by only 2 strokes.  Total Bummer!     


 {check out that golf attire -- she definitely sets a fashion statement}
The rest of the day is pretty boring.  Mommy ran around packing bags and washing clothes and the kids swam until their fingers and toes were prunes.  The next morning we would wake up and take Aunt Kathy to the airport only to be there later that night. 
 I saved Animal Kingdom for our last day.  It is a beautiful park and unlike Epcot has so many trees and shade on the walking paths, that it was actually enjoyable being outside.  We speed walked back to the safari line because I heard it was best to see it in the morning when the animals are more active. 

 {getting ready for the safari}
On my bucket list is to someday go to Africa and do a safari.  I want to sleep with the monkeys and hear the lions roar, but for know this will do. 

 {there was cute baby elephants!!}
 {the giraffe is my favorite animal}
{this warthog was taking a snooze on his back}
 Animal Kingdom was very picturesque with lush greenery and unique landmarks.  Our family really likes to go to zoos but this was like a zoo on steroids!   Everything was bigger and better.
The boat we were in starting going up this hill and the two older kids were complaining it was boring.  (see shot below with sullen faces)  Then the water came and the kids were soaked and happy.  We had picked up a fastpass before we got on the ride and rode it a second time right away -- we were hauling buckets of water in our clothes by the time we were done.
                                                            

{mommy and Gigi didn't get to wet the first time, but the second time I got soaked} 
 {Daddy was soaked to the bone -- all the water on the first hill hit him smack in the face}
 We tried to dry off during lunch, but we were so wet that it wasn't enough time.  Gigi's pants were so pulled down by the water logged jeans that she had to hold on to them as we walked around Animal Kingdom.  When we got to the car we all changed into dry clothes for the ride to the airport. 
 {sad faces on the way home}
The only hiccup of the whole trip was that our flight got pushed back from 6:40 to 8:06 pm.  So we were at the airport WAY before we had to be.  But good thing there was shopping, food, and places to sit.  Mommy got a catnap and Daddy challenged the kids to a little Super Mario Brothers.

We woke up Saturday morning to this bundle of sunshine.  Oh how I missed her!!!  It seems that she grew two inches in a week.  She was spoiled though and had a good time with Grandma Judy.   

Father's Day was spent traveling back to Iowa.  We did get to open presents though and the kids caught a few fish Sunday morning in Grandma Judy's pond.  We will have to cook Daddy breakfast in bed in the camper this weekend to make up for it.   Sadly our tripis over but it is good to be home.