Wednesday, January 29, 2014

P is for Polar Vortex

This is not a rant against the snow or the cold. 
I haven't really minded it.  
It hasn't cramped our style. 
After I get over the initial shock of changing plans (I really like my routines) my brain goes into overdrive on what we are going to do. 
It's an opportunity to do some fun stuff with the kids. 
The kids start jumping up and down as soon as school is called off. 
They know their momma has something fun planned.  
That is a lot of pressure... but I usually pull something out over the top for Snow Days. 
It can be as easy as blowing up 2 dozen balloons to play in the living room or 
building a pirate ship out of cardboard. 
I LOVE using my imagination. 

Below is how we survived the Snow Days so far. 
We made "snow cream" when our snow day actually included snow. 

If you haven't seen the recipe all over Facebook and pinterest it goes something like this:
 4 cups ice cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla 
MIX... that's it.  
 We have dance parties in the living room. 
 We paint and and make crafts

We eat whatever we have in the fridge.
We have adventures.
I turned the girl's bunk beds into a pirate ship and made a treasure map for them to 
find "treasure".   

We have cozy movie time.

......And then mommy rests.
And if we venture outside, we bundle up.
Snow days are fun, but they create one exhausted momma.
It's good that they only happen once in awhile!

"This is the day that 
the Lord has made; let us 
rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ice, Ice Baby

 I'm a Winter Baby.  
This cold snowy weather doesn't really bother me.  
I am usually as excited as the kids to go out and play in the snow.  
So when Nate and the kids got me tickets to go ice skating for Christmas, I was in heaven.
I got them with the understanding that I was not even to hint that Nate was to go. 
He's tried it. 
He's tried it many times. 
He hates ice skating.  
Growing up with a pond in our backyard, we waited impatiently in the winter waiting for dad to declare the ice safe enough to skate on.  
When Nate and I started dating, of course, I wanted him to enjoy another activity that I love.  
But alas it was not to be. 
Again, he hates ice skating.  
On Saturday, we (the big kids and I) got bundled up and went to an outdoor ice skating rink. 
Above is the before pic we took with their ice skates on in the lobby.  I wanted this picture in case the ice skating thing didn't work out with them and this was going to be the only smiling picture I got. 
Thankfully that wasn't the case at all.  
 We started out a little shaky.  Clinging to the exterior wall with a death grip.  
I reminded Bubba that in the car he had told me, "Mom, I've been roller skating.  Don't be suprised if I am super awesome at ice skating too!"  Such confidence!  
That confidence gets him a long way. 
20 minutes after lacing up the skates he was skating around the rink and trying to jump and skate in circles.  Yes, Super Awesome!
It took about 2 circles near the wall, before the girls got a little brave and started letting go for periods at a time.  A bit shaky at first, they quickly got the hang of it. 
And, yes Mommy skated too! 
I didn't fall once, even though I am sure if I did I wouldn't have bounced up as quickly off the ice as my kids did.  My 33 year old body was sore the next day though.  Skating for 2 hours was about all this gal could take. 
Here they are racing.  Gigi and Bubba. 
We had a blast and the snow was falling so it was the most beautiful picturesque day ever!  

 After two hours, I tried to coax them off the ice with hot chocolate, but they so wanted to stay.  
Eventually I won, and we hopped into the van to get warm and soothe our aching muscles.  
Okay it was just Mommy that had the aching muscles.  
 The rest of the weekend was just as splendid.  
We had a three day weekend so we enjoyed alot of family time and 
yummy meals.  Breakfasts are my favorite on the weekends because everyone pitches in doing some part of the meal.  We crank up the music and jam while scrambling eggs and dicing potatoes for home fries.  Breakfasts are the Best!!!  

On Monday night, I had to take Gigi to piano practice and on our way the snow began to fall once again.  When we left piano a half hour later the flakes coming down were some of the biggest I've ever seen.  When we got home I grabbed a pajama clad lily and hollered at Daddy and kids to come outside and catch the snowflakes on their tongue!  
Embracing the moment!  LOL  
So there we were on the driveway enjoying the snowfall.  
 Today, we were back to a school/work day.  
Daddy headed off to work and the kids got up scrambling to find all the necessities to go to school. 
Over the course of a weekend, how do so many things get lost? 
With everyone excited about the fresh layer of snow, we got ready for school in record time and 
had 15 minutes to go out and play before school.  That never happens!  
My snow shoveling crew, they asked if they could please shovel the sidewalks for me.  
Of course.  I swear I am in the twilight zone.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

35 Reasons

Happy Birthday Daddy!! 

The 35 reasons we love Daddy:
  1. He give me zerberts -- L
  2. He lets me play Madden -- X
  3. He lets me have ice cream all the time -- G
  4. I love dad because he gives me hugs and kisses -- R
  5. Dad brings me to basketball -- X
  6. He cuts up my apples just the way I like it.  -- G
  7. Daddy works at John Deere -- L
  8. He is nice and puts games on my ipad -- R
  9. He plays chess with me and I almost beat him -- X
  10. He kisses me goodnight -- L
  11. He lets us stay up longer than mom -- G
  12. He gives us lots of Buckeye stuff when he goes on trips there -- R
  13. Daddy lets us have candy and ice cream -- L
  14. I like Daddy because because he plays basketball with me -- X
  15. Daddy comes to my basketball games -- G
  16. Daddy makes us hot chocolate when we go play in the snow -- R
  17. He helps me make my pinewood derby car -- X
  18. My daddy places hide and seek with us and it is tough to find him -- G
  19. My daddy lets me watch movies all day -- L 
  20. He lets us have pixie sticks, pop rocks, and lots of candy -- R
  21. Daddy loves me -- L
  22. I love Dad because he gets me stuff.  --X
  23. Daddy is the only one who knows how to start fires -- X
  24. Dad plays Mario kart with us -- G
  25. He is just AWESOME!! -- R
  26. Daddy tickles --L
  27. When I was little dad taught me how to ride a bike. -- X
  28. Daddy helps me read my books -- G
  29. He helps me with my homework and really knows multiplication -- R
  30. He leaves me notes and I am special. -- X
  31. He does puzzles with me. -- G
  32. Dad sends messages to me and not anyone else -- R
  33. My dad is silly -- L
  34. Our dad does lots of nice things -- R
  35. Our dad is the BEST!
Honey it has been the best years of my life being with you. 
You keep us smiling and laughing.  
I couldn't imagine doing this all with anyone else.  
Happy 35th!!! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Griswold Christmas Vacation

Okay sitting in my house today with frigid arctic temperatures 
outside, it is pretty amazing that I am looking at these pictures of our family last week in 
light jackets and Uncle Neil wearing shorts.  
After opening all Santa gifts and hanging out with the entire family 
for a week, we headed south.  
South to North Carolina to visit Uncle Neil in Raleigh. 
The was our first trip there with kids, our first time traveling without any diapers, and the first time 
going through mountains.  
We forgot one essential thing though... one of our kids get car sick.  
Well we didn't forget.  We asked Rosie a dozen   no a hundred times if she was okay. 
She always replied "I'm fine."
3/4 of the way through West Virginia we got a shout from the back seat from Bubba 
"Rosie just puked!"
Oh man. 
Unscheduled stop, we cleaned the van the best we could with every napkin, tissue, dirty clothes we could.  I am actually impressed how resourceful we are when we need to be.  
A new set of clothes and 15 minutes later, we were on the road again and 
all ready to see the rest of the beautiful mountain scenery. 
(Rosie didn't see the scenery, she slept most of the rest of the way... poor girl)
Now I don't know what Uncle Neil has over my kids 
but they are attached especially the younger two. 
Maybe it's because he is a giant teddy bear...
Maybe it is because he gives them ice cream sandwiches for breakfast... 
I dont know what it is but when he is around.... I am chop liver. 
We drove the 9 1/2 hours to Raleigh not really having a plan.  
We knew we were going to stay in the area 3 days, but I didn't do much planning on 
anything else.  I let Uncle Neil do all the work.  
He did good.  
He even planned in naps.  LOL
The first day he took us to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. 
It was a beautiful place with an indoor interactive portion and an outside area filled with a butterfly house, insectarium, dinosaur park, playground, and live animals including a black bear, wolves, and farm animals. 
 We spent most of our time in the building room.  
The BIG kids were just as intent on making a working contraption with pulleys, levers, dominoes, ramps, and catapults.  Two engineers did a little teaching and a lot of tinkering to "raise the flag."
(a discarded pink knit glove I found in my purse)
There were a lot of ooooohs and aahhhhs and oh nos as they worked away.  
 After pulling the two big boys away from the geeky contraptions, we went outside. 
{Gigi and Uncle Neil} 
 Can you tell these two are brothers?
 I could have spent all day in the Butterfly House. 
Bubba enjoyed it too.

{A partridge in a pear tree.... heehee} 
There wasn't much wind, but if there was the sailboat lagoon would have been fun to spend 
a lot of time at. Unfortunately there wasn't a lick of wind that day and the boats weren't that much fun. 

Look at us in jackets!!  Today we went out in the -15 degree weather in 
snow coats, hats, scarves, snow boots, and every body part covered.  
The joys of living in the North!!  
 I did get a nice run in and the bike path not far from Neil's apartment had amazing scenery for a morning run.  I needed the exercise because every local restaurant Neil took us to was absolutely delicious.  So very little will power against mudslide milkshakes, pulled pork sandwiches and fried squash. 

On Sunday, we went into downtown Raleigh to 
Marbles Children's Museum. 
This reminded us of our family museum back home.   

This pic is blurry, I know, but the kids had to show Uncle Neil how to hula hoop.  
He needed some tips on how to move those hips.  

 The last night in Raleigh we got a hotel so we could go swimming in a pool. 
Thanks to Uncle Neil for letting us crash at our house the first two nights. 
I am sure your place won't ever be the same.  
We wore them out swimming that night and they slept soundly in one bed. 
I don't think we can pull off this one hotel room sleeping thing much longer, Rosie's toes are off the bed when we sleep with them sideways.  
Good thing we don't stay in hotels very often.  
It's a good thing we were almost at the end of our trip because we only had two more clean outfits and could barely get our bags shut anymore.  
We left Raleigh with hopefully everything that we brought, and headed West.  
With a stop in Asheville to see my cousin Mary who I hadn't seen in years, we made it half of the way back to Iowa by night fall.  
We are so lucky that our kid's travel so well. 
They are becoming experts and make traveling so easy for mom and dad.  
Making one fun stop on the was home New Year's Eve, we made a pitstop in Louisville at the Louisville Slugger Factory. The entrance in and of itself is stunning with a giant bat leaning against the building. 

 We met Babe Ruth. 
Saw how each bat is made. 
Swung at some baseballs in the batting cages. 
 Picked up a souvenir mini bat which quickly became light sabers and were then quickly taken away. 
A fun stop.  
We made it home just in time for a late supper, baths, and to watch the ball drop.  

 We clinked champagne flutes of sparkling apple juice and rang in the new year at 11:00 pm.
There was not going to be any waiting up to midnight for mommy and daddy who had done all the driving that day. 
It was perfect way to bring in the new year. 
All together. 

Now we are home. 
Bundled up and on day 17 of Christmas Break. 
I feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away marking the days on the cave walls.  
Mommy is ready for the kids to get back to learning at school and having the house 
relatively to myself.  
But alas it is not to be because tomorrow is another snow day and we go onto day 18... 
please come and check for survivors. 
Just kidding. 
I declared today the day for everyone to take naps. 
So an hour of silence for mommy. 
I'm in heaven