Thursday, August 21, 2008

Xander's Superhero Party

For Xander's birthday party, we had a superhero obstacle course in our very own backyard!

We had so much fun!

Superheroes had to:

prove they were faster than a speeding bullet (run fast through cones)
strong enough to bend steel (punch on the superhero punching bag)
able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (jump over the step aerobics step in one jump)
fight battles for truth, justice and freedom (rescue animals from tree house)

We had superman cake, superman ice cream and a super good time!

Mikaela's First Day of First Grade!

Hannah Montana bookbag - check.

Camp Rock lunch box - check.

One very nervous mommy - check.

Fun Factory and a Night at a Hotel

Because driving with the children long distances can be...........a challenge? We decided to stay in a hotel in Dilliard, GA and make the drive back the next day.

Between Dillsboro and Dilliard - there is Franklin, North Carolina.

In Franklin, North Carolina, there is the Fun Factory.

Honestly, one of the first places that has ever lived up to its name for me!

First and foremost, it meets my frugal goals for family fun. Upon entering we bought a $25 game card - which came with a bonus $25 on it.

So, one game card, $50 on it.

5 hours later we are trying to use up the last of the money!!!!

We all rode go cards. One of the drivers went very slowly as they had one of our children in the car. The other drive (who shall remain nameless) had one of our children in the car and drove like he was in the Nascar Cup race! I won't share who won the race.

The kids both spent hours in the kid foam factory - so much fun! Let me also share that while the kids were in the fun factory playing - fenced in, and guarded by two grandmothers who took their job seriously, Mommy got to SIT in a chair and READ more than one magazine outside the gates!

Tommy played so many video games that I lost count.

The kids played video games.

I had a coke that I refilled MANY times!

The kids had drinks and dinner.

All paid for with our game card (even the food/drinks).

We left with .15 still on our card!

Day Out with Thomas

Xander's birthday gift this year was a weekend away to celebrate A Day Out with Thomas.

For those who don't know, Xander is a HUGE fan of all modes of transportation - but especially trains.

He is not crazy about Thomas's TV show - but his toys, are a big hit.

We left early on Saturday morning headed to Dillsboro to participate in A Day Out With Thomas.

We arrived in Dillsboro, in the rain, which is by far the cutest town I've seen!

The town had gone all out for Thomas day - not only did they have the big train on the Smokey Mountain Railway - but they had every other form of train toy out as well. There were model trains running around tracks, train tatoos, lego trains, train pictures to color, trains to play with in moon sand, huge bubble machines, sidewalk chalk, and more.

We parked our car one town over (that's how tiny Dillsboro is - you can walk to the next town!). They provided transportation in the coolest mode that my kids have ever seen - a school bus. Yes, a big yellow school bus. For a moment I thought we could have saved money on our train tickets and just rode around on the free shuttle all day!

Our kids wanted to sit in the back - is that a sign of things to come?

We rode the school bus to the festivities. We did it all - every train stop, we did!

We had lunch under the big tent while waiting for Sir Topham Hat to arrive. After getting our picture made, we boarded!

We had so much fun. The train played the Thomas theme song and we sang along. The conductor narrated our tour showing us different historical points in Dillsboro.

For those familiar with the movie The Fugitive, the scene where Harrison Ford escapes from the bus on the way to prison was filmed in Dillsboro - you can still see the bus!

After the train ride, we found the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory - they really should watch which brochures they put in the welcome center! While Tommy and I tried a chocolate treat (which was divine!), the kids each had the biggest pixie stick I've ever seen!

All in all, a great day.

Happy 4th Birthday Xander

We began a new tradition with Xander last year that we were able to continue to this year.

Xander's birthday always falls the same week that Tommy goes back to work, and our summer is winding down. We decided last year to make an annual Mexican fiesta (for he is his mother's child) a part of his birthday.

I made him tacos, chunder (Tommy's special vegetarian burritos), chips/salsa and it wouldn't be a party without CHEESE DIP!

We had cupcakes and sang happy birthday to him.

He opened his presents.

I would say his favorite was his Rescue Heroes tower! (shhhhh - we won't mention that mommy found it and 5 rescue hereos, and their various modes of transportation - jet plane, motorcycle, car, and doom buggy - for $8 at a garage sale!)

Six Flags here we come!

The Disney Guide book says that we should do a practice run to see how our family does on a big day out at an amusement park.

Mikaela had a free ticket to Six Flags, and someone was kind enough to give one to Xander, and so -

We took the kids to Six Flags for the first time this July.

I will have to share that it had to have been the HOTTEST day of the year.

So, hot that I (the frugal freak) bought a $12 soda (yes $12). I will share that it was there loss as it was free refills all day and our family alone had to have drank three times that much Powerade trying to replenish all the electrolytes we were loosing!

Granted, if SOMEONE who will remain nameless had taken my suggestion of taking 2 strollers - we could have saved ourselves a lot of whining from the walking child:).

I think the family favorite ride was the log ride. Mikaela, Xander and I rode it together and it was a blast!

Another favorite was Thunder River. Who doesn't want to stand in line for an hour and a half, only to find out that someone has to poop when you reach the front of the line? And that the nearest bathroom is back down the LONG hill you have just winded up, around the corner, and up another hill? Aside from that, we had a blast trying to figure out who got the most wet (I'm voting me!).

We thought the roller coasters might be a bit much for the kids, but we were mistaken!

Anything they were tall enough to ride, they wanted to ride.

Kiddie land with the Looney Toons did not satisfy them for long.

It started off looking like we were going to be calling Disney to say that our family could not do a long day together at amusement parks, but by the end of the day I think we will make it.