Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Xander!

We celebrated Xander's third birthday with a family dinner at home. What a blast we had!

For dinner, we served his favorites: taco bar (who doesn't like to make your own taco?), daddy's chunder (for those who haven't had Tommy's delicious burritos you should come over!), chips, salsa, and of course cheese dip! A Mexican fiesta!

Nana was kind enough to bake an electric guitar chocolate chip cookie which was enjoyed with ice cream by all!

Xander LOVED opening presents. His two favorites were his new webkinz, a monkey immediately named Willi2 (Willie one is his webkinz tree frog) and the batman sword.

Aunt Ashleigh and Justin brought the prized batman sword gift. He was so excited! Daddy was inspired to find his star wars sword in the basement and let me assure you that fun was had by all. Did I mention that both swords make noise?

The kids birthdays are always bitter sweet for mommy - on one hand, excited to see them growing and changing into these amazing people. On the other hand, sad to see it happening so fast! Mommy's favorite birthday memory this year was each time someone wished Xander a happy birthday - he wished them one too! Happy birthday Xander, Happy birthday daddy he would reply!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm Three!

Xander awoke this morning a big three year old. Mikaela and I sang happy birthday to him loudly and proudly first thing this morning.

Xander's birthday (for the last three years) has marked the return of the routine. Tommy returned to work this morning - he was sorely missed by the mommy who has been having her hot tea in peace while he answers the 50 morning questions! and the by the children who have been spoiled by chocolate milk and cereal daddy breakfasts:).

With the return of daddy to work, brings good things to.
We couldn't have begun our day in any better way than with the return of our best friends, Elizabeth and Eliot. Xander has so been looking forward to Libby's return.

We began our day with birthday three year old pancakes enjoyed by all. We had dress up games, musical parades, stories about batman and barbie, and much much more!

Daddy came home for our pizza party lunch - complete with a candle, another round of happy birthday and dessert!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Day 1: 401.02 miles...Enough said

401.02 miles from us to Nana Barbaras.

Picture it -

two kids, two car seats, two trays, two sippy cups, two must have toys, two must have loveys, one pacifier, two DVD screens, one movie

Nine hours

We made it - barely!

Nana Barbara was so happy to see us! She had worked so hard for our arrival. Dinner was already made (BBQ chicken - a fave of our family, fresh corn on the cob). A newly baked cake waited for us to help ice - YUMMY!

We celebrated the kids birthdays with cake and presents.

Great call on both gifts Nana Barbara:). The girly nightgown with matching robe would be worn nightly by Mikaela ALL week. The AWESOME Diego legos would be played with multiple times daily our whole trip, and promptly upon our arrival home - would be spread out all over our living room and be enjoyed by not only the children, but the daddy too!

Day 2: All Smiles

We woke early (in the 6:00 hour) and voted to let Nana Barbara get some sleep! We headed out to Jimbo's for breakfast. Our waitress was so sweet and made both kids Mickey Mouse pancakes - with bacon and sausage. We lingered at breakfast - everyone knows you have to a full tummy to enjoy vacation!

We choose to walk the Riverfront this morning. Two kids, one stroller, hot weather - definitely a good idea, right? The kids loved seeing the big boats (maybe one year we will ride the Henrietta III!). We looked out at the bridge we crossed coming into Wilmington.

We window shopped downtown (no one was at work yet....), and waited for the kids museum to open. We spent our morning at PlayWilmington - a morning well spent! We started in the camping section - tents with sleeping bags, real live animals, pretend campfires with plenty of cooking supplies, and lots of books about the outdoors.

Next we became scientists - how cool we looked in our lab coats and goggles. Our mission was to determine what happened when you mixed different colors together - definitely a good time.

Then we were off to the Pirate Ship - lucky for us it was 11:00 by now because the cannon shoots real tennis ball grenades then. We took turns dressing up a like a pirate, following the treasure map, and shooting the cannon.

Art - one of our favorites. First there is playdough - lots of bug stamps! Then, there is free painting. We made Popsicle puzzles at the third art station. The last station in art had color blocks and a light table for building and mixing colors.

Under the pirate ship was the beach! With buried treasure! And gleaming booty!

We hated to leave (there were tears involved) - but with promise of the beach in the afternoon, we were off!

Our first beach trip after naps was a blast. Everyone was shocked at how quickly the kids took to the water - jumping, splashing, falling down on purpose - fun, fun, and more fun! Any break the kids took to build sand castles was quickly taken by Tommy to scare both the mommy and the nana while swimming far out!

After we got cleaned up, Nana Barbara and Grandpa Rod took us out for seafood. Two shrimp kids meals please! with pink lemonade!

Mommy let us play in the ocean again after dinner (okay, so we were supposed to be all dressed up and posing for pictures - but who could resist those crashing waves, and that tide that kept getting closer to us?).

It was good day all around - a few bedtime stories, several glasses of water, a couple of threats - and two children were fast asleep, together:).

Day 3: Decisions, Decisions

We woke early - hey no one told the children that you normally sleep LATER on vacation - not wake up early! After coffee for mommy, muffins and fruit for the kiddos - we had decisions to make.

Mommy had a binder with all our choices for the day - we narrowed it down to the Zoo or the Aquarium.

The aquarium it was.

What fun we had! Mommy and daddy were both surprised how Xander and Mikaela lingered at each exhibit - asking questions, studying the animals, and getting excited at their new discoveries. Xander loved the Alligators - "look Daddy - here he comes!" Mikaela was interested in the man who dove into the tank to talk to us while swimming with the fish and sharks. I hope his job pays well!

After we saw every fish, turtle, frog, alligator, shark that they had to offer, we were tired. Back home to nap for Xander.

Not us girls though - it was time for a girls only outing. Nana Barbara, Mommy and Mikaela headed off to Mayfair (an outdoor shopping complex) to look around. We had a girly lunch at the American Bread Company, followed by a little window shopping. We had to go into Claires - Hello Kitty and Princess stuff in one place is a delight. Mikaela shopped for 30 minutes and bought nothing - who does that sound like?

She finally decided on a Barbie at Belk - the new Island Princess Barbie - what a deal - after her coupon (thank you nana Barbara), she only spent $8 of her money!

We all had ice cream back at Nana Barbara's to celebrate summer and headed off for a dinner picnic at the beach!

We were having such a great time - swimming, jumping waves, building sandcastles. We lost total track of time! We went to bed when the moon was up that night:).

Day 4: Let it Rain, Let it Rain!

We began our day with breakfast on the back porch of Nana Barbara and Grandpa Rod's house. It has hot already at 7:30 AM!

We headed out to do a little shopping - One youngster still had Nana's money burning a hole in his pocket. We walked around downtown Wilmington, window shopping at first as we get up much earlier than everyone else. We found the cutest toy shop - Zoo Toys! So many decisions. Xander settled on a Red Eye Tree Frog Webkinz - watch out sissy here comes the computer time battle! Mommy picked out a pirate backpack and a mermaid backpack so two little people could start carrying their own stuff around:).

After shopping, we treated Mommy to a iced coffee, and two hot kiddos to a pink lemonade.

Then off to PlayWilmington we went -with a game plan. Mikaela and Xander had already decided where we didn't go on our last visit, and which exhibits were worthy of two visits in one week. We started in the grocery store - taking turns pushing the buggies, shopping with baskets, putting away produce, ringing up the sale, and most importantly re=stocking the shelves!

Then, to the circus we went - Time to head under the Big Top and put on the performance of a life time. Xander was such a show - others actually stopped, sat down, and stayed a while!

We toured outside today - there was rope climbing spider webs, water games, sand tables, and sidewalk chalk. We ordered pizza (how cool is that to have pizza delivered to you at the kids museum?) - and picniced under the not so shady unbrelllas and tables outside.

We finished today's visit by making thank you art projects for Nana Barbara and Grandpa Rod. Much thought and concentration went into the spectacular paintings!

We celebrated our last visit to the museum with lifesaver rainbow popsicles, and headed back for naps.

On our last day Xander decides to take the nap of a lifetime (why was mommy at the mall shopping , when she could have been home sleeping?) - who knew?

We took Nana Barbara and Grandpa Rod out for our favorite meal - Mexican! Cheese dip for all!

Back at home, we put on our pjs and played one more round of Barbie Island of the Princess and Diego rescues baby jaguar with Nana Barbara.

Nana Barbara joined us for our good night stories, prayers and favorite parts - a real slumber party:).

Day 5: The Journey Home

All good things must come to an end.

All in all, first big family vacation was a HUGE success. Much fun was had by all. Tears were shed for Nana Barbara (if you haven't heard Xander say that, you are missing out on the cutest pronunciation ever!) and Grandpa Rod. Xander had become quite attached to Grandpa Rod -couldn't figure out why he would ever want to go to work if we were all going to the beach? Ahh....the innonence of childhood!

401.02 miles
Same two kiddos
8 1/2 hours this time - making progess!

A little too much air guitar for my taste (and a song about Goldilocks and the Three bears that just didn't have an ending, seems to be the deal with his originals!), a few Barbie versus Batman fights, but all in all a good trip.

As we stopped for our last restroom break, Mikaela noted "Mommy if we turn around now, we could be at Nana Barbara's house before it gets dark!"

So - how long do Nana Barbara and Grandpa Rod have to rest before we can come again?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Jaden Visits!

Sweet baby Jaden came to visit us today. We were all so excited to see her! She is growing so fast. She army crawls now - everywhere! She can sit up from a lying down position. She gets up on all fours and rocks - and thinks about going somewhere that way!

We played inside and outside today with her. She brought smiles to everyone's face:).

It's Fun to be a Fairy and Five!

Do you believe in fairies?

Believing is just the beginning!

Come to where the fairies roam

A beautiful garden Mikaela calls home

On Saturday July 14th the fairies will dance and play

Join us to celebrate Mikaela’s 5th birthday!

At 10:00 AM the fairy fun will begin

And fairybration will last until 12, the end.

And fairy fun we did have! We welcome our fairies to our home with a big sign reading "Welcome Fairies" as they came through our path of garden fairies and flowers. They entered our fairy garden (our basement playroom) which was full of fairy tents, fairy placescapes, and fairy fun! Above our heads hung colorful flowers, butterflies, and of course fairies!

We began by making fairy homes. We took milk jugs and a wide variety of decorations - from colored sprinkles, leaves, and pebbles to feathers, branches, and pink stones. The girls bingo painted their milk jugs green, and got busy with the glue! They had such a good time.

Next, we made fairy wands. We used boop-boop rings to paint our wands purple, green, and yellow (Tinkerbell colors).

Then, we played with Tinkerbell's fairies!

We had snack next - all tiny fairy food! Grapes, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, cheese cubes, little fairy wands (pretzel sticks with chocolate and sprinkles on them), whole wheat crackers and lemonade!

We celebrated with fairy cupcakes - each girl earning her own fairy to live her in fairy house!

We ended our party by opening gifts. We are so thankful for the wonderful time we had with our friends!

Eat More Chicken!

We celebrated Chick Fil A Appreciation day on Friday the 13th. Prior to the party, we made our own cow t-shirts and masks. We had so much fun sponge painting our black cow prints!

We headed off to Chick Fil A for a morning filled with fun with Xander's playgroup. Upon our arrival we got a our face painted (a cow of course!). We each got free kids meals for our fantastic cow attire:). We colored a cow print and earned a free ice cream for dessert.

We finished off our cow extravaganza with posing with the Cow himself!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Party with the Cousins

We are lucky to have such great family and to get spend time with them regularly. We headed out a few days after Mikaela's birthday to celebrate with her cousins (those boys she affectionately calls them).

We had the best time! The kids played upstairs, they played downstairs, they played and played and played. All those boy toys were new to us - there were dinosaurs, action figures, star war toys, and much much more! Uncle Tommy was right at home:).

We headed out to the pool with BearPa after a yummy lunch (where both my kids cleared their plates - I know where we should eat more often!). Xander loved the big swimming pool - our first trip to one since Chattanooga. He jumped in from the side for the first time! Mikaela the resident Mermaid barely stayed above water.

Wyatt our daredevil completed more jump ins (and escapes from the pool) than anyone else. He and Uncle Tommy became fast friends and had a great time together. Cooper not only is a great jumper too, but also is so sweet and makes friends with all!

The Birthday Continues!

We continued our cousin party by heading back to Aunt Tracie's house. We had rainbow Publix cupcakes - yummy:).

Mikaela opened her present from the Garrens - a Princess Deluxe art kit. Oh my - she spent the next half hour staring at the package!

We opened the art kit today - and as promised it provided hours of entertainment (and more to come). We promptly wrote her dream, her wish, and her prayer on small heart shaped pieces of paper and she wore them around her neck in her new princess locket. If you keep your dreams close to your heart, they will come true! Glitter glue, gel pens, princess mini markers, princess paper, over 1,000 princess stickers. The options were endless!