Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Card

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Check out the cute Christmas card I just ordered from Shutterfly. My first card was a cheapy from Walgreens that they cut crooked. That's what I get for trying to cut corners. Pun intended.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Things to Remember

Haven't had an update about the kiddos in awhile!

So here are some random tidbits from our life lately...

Andrew asked me to style his hair in a mohawk today because the new kid at school has a mohawk. He loved it once I had it all gooped up in a mohawk shape and said "It looks like I have a new head!" He then promptly asked me to put it back the "normal" way he wears his hair. Of course his hair was then slicked down and wet with goop in it. He messed with it all morning upset that it was "yucky" and wasn't satisfied until the goop could be combed out after it dried.

Andrew got locked in the bathroom at school. His classroom has an attached bathroom with an old door handle that's difficult to open. In his version of the story he was in there from snack time until lunch time (1.5 hrs), there was drama with a spider, and he almost missed recess. According his friend Abby, "It was only a few minutes!" said while laughing and rolling her eyes. I asked his teacher and she confirmed it was only a few minutes. So it was somewhere between a few moments and forever. He's made for theater.

Fast forward to this week. Another kid traumatized by the bathroom door. This time a kid pulled the giant circa 1958 door closed too hard on his own finger and sliced it badly. There was screaming and blood and an ER visit. The school has now removed the door and put up a curtain. Andrew and Abby couldn't talk over one another fast enough to tell me the full story. They were annoying the hell out of one another cutting each other off and wanting the be the FIRST one to tell me the FULL story. The incident made such an impression that Andrew started talking about it again before bed last night. I've never seen him so animated about something from school.

ANDREW: You wouldn't believe it mom! Think about how bad you think it was and know that it was BADDER than that. Badder than you can believe!

ME: I know baby. It sounds like it was really scary and really bad.

ANDREW: No Mom! Mom, he CRIED and SCREAMED! He is a bad kid Mom! He NEVER cries! That's how you know it was so bad Mom. Cuz he CRIED so LOUD Mom! I'm telling you Mom, you just don't know how bad it was Mom. It was so bad.

ME: Wow! It sounds like it was really bad honey. I'm sorry. It sounds like it really scared you guys. I hope your friend is ok.

ANDREW: It was so bad mom. I hid under my table cuz it was so bad. Well, I didn't hide under my table, but I was going to because it was just so BAD. I just can't believe how BAD it was Mom. BADDER than you think! Like you don't even know how BAD.

Henry loves heights. He loves climbing. So it was incredibly disappointing to him to only get to ride the toddler boats at the State Fair.

Thank goodness he could go on the Ferris Wheel with an adult or he would have been pretty devastated. His mommy was terrified, but he was overjoyed with how high he was.

We went to a child's birthday party on Friday night. It was hosted at a "Bug Academy" where they introduce the children to tons of wiggly, crawly, icky, creatures. I was used as a ginnea pig (which they also had) due entirely to the fact many of the other adults were whiney babies. Here's me with a millipede on my arm. Ick. I couldn't even look at my arm while it was on me. I had my mouth covered so I wouldn't scream or say anything obscene. I used this experience to illustrate what the word "bravery" means to Andrew. He wasn't impressed. Beth (one of the few other brave souls from the party) had a guesome stint with some cockroaches that I'm sure she'd rather I didn't post online!

Henry really likes to "pat" my tummy. It's so weird. I don't understand it. Patting my tummy seems to comfort him somehow. This wouldn't really be worth commenting upon if it weren't for his tendancy to pat my tummy at inopportune moments. Such as Andrew's first day of school in his Kindergarten classroom full of kids and parents. "I want to pat your tummy mom! I want to pat your tummy! I want to pat your tummy!" all while reaching up under my shirt. I asked him to wait until later so he simply made his request louder.

Now patting my tummy has turned into bribery. "Henry, you can pat my tummy IF you brush your teeth with no fits."

Trust me. I know how weird this is. Sometimes you just want to brush his damn teeth without pinning him down in tears. A little tummy-patting seems like a small price to pay.

Now it's time to play "NAME THAT KID"!!!

Could you do it?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Family Vacation 2012

We went to Branson, Missouri for four nights. It wasn't exactly Europe, but it was quick and inexpensive and wasn't being engulfed in wildfires like our first destination choice. We had a great time, and other than discovering that Henry inherited my car sickness gene (I'm so sorry baby... for you and for me), it was totally problem free.

We stayed at the Westgate Branson Woods Resort in Branson, Missouri. We were pleasantly surprised with an awesome hotel. Despite Google Maps being a little confused as to where our resort was located, we found it with minimal marital trauma. I should take a moment to explain that traveling, specifically driving, is problematic for Ben and I. Or it used to be problematic. After 11 years of marriage we've finally figured it out. I drive, Ben navigates. We deviated from this formula for the first two hours of our trip... and regretted it. 

As mentioned before, I get carsick. I have been plagued with this malady since childhood. I recall so many family car trips moaning on the floor of the backseat or hurling out the car door. In fact, I vividly remember my first car trip with Ben's family when we were dating. The ride out of Aspen, Co was a torturous journey of hills and valleys that left me sweating and green in the back seat. I warned them all. It was coming. Ben's father Jim was given only a few moments warning to pull the hell over as I vomited very delicately out of the back seat. Ugh. What a moment.

Anyway, we had a nice hotel. Upon entering the manned gate we were told to proceed to the top of the hill to the six story building. The hill was steep and lined with adorable cabins own/time-shared by (I imagine) various sweet retired couples who have season tickets to Jim Stafford and Yakov. After checking in and retreating to the back of the resort where the vacationers like us reside, we found our giant building and our "king-size villa". It was clean, big, and much to Ben's complete and joyous surprise, had a WASHER/DRYER COMBO!!!! You cannot imagine the effusions of happiness from my germaphobic husband. The only downside was his constant lamenting of how he could have packed SO MUCH LESS and reduced his already tiny bag to microscopic proportions.
The joy, and bane, of Ben's existence

Okay, so the washer/dryer combo. Sounds fabulous right? No! I mean it cleaned our clothes and made things easier post-Henry carsickness, however Ben focused soooooo much time on this washer/dryer it was laughable. Or cry-able. Firstly, it's not intuitive. Not even in a marginally Apple way. It took him two cycles to figure our how to use the dry-only feature. And the buttons beeped. Which isn't a big deal unless you have a husband that gets up at 5am to run and then wants to do laundry at 6am with a machine he hasn't figured out yet. "BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEEEEEP." Ugh.

So day one. Ride the Ducks. This was the best money we spent on the trip. Keep in mind we didn't do Silver Dollar City, or any caves, or any shows, or anything else typically "Branson". We have two little kids. We basically found one fun thing to do in the morning, ate lunch, napped in the room, and then went swimming/shopping in the evening.

Ride the Ducks is a driving tour of Branson that ends with a splash in Table Rock Lake. They are refurbished WWII vehicles that can move from land to water and back to land. The tour guide was funny and sweet and it gave us a nice tour of Branson. The ride ended with Andrew getting a chance to steer the "duck" in the water. Henry would have been given a chance to drive, but the poor nugget crashed on my lap within 10 minutes of the one hour tour. Which was pretty amusing considering the "duck" had no windows, it was 90 degrees outside, the tour guide talked over a loud speaker, and we all had duck calls that we were ordered to blow every few minutes. Kids. Good thing he got to ride for free!
Andrew at the entrance to the military museum at Ride The Ducks.

Photo of an original "duck" before being refurbished.

Salvaged WWII vehicles from the tour. The owners of Ride The Ducks are big military buffs and parked various military vehicles along the tour route.

View of Table Rock Lake Marina.

Ambulance from the M.A.S.H television series.

View of the lake from inside the "duck".

Captain Andrew!

Sleepy Henry. I promise, I'm not choking him. He just wanted to sleep that way. You can't argue with a groggy two-year-old. He  went right back to sleep after being splashed in the face with water while entering the lake.

View of the fish hatchery we visited later. It's in the valley of the Table Rock Lake Dam.

Various WWII memorabilia in the Ride The Ducks war museum.

We had a great time with Ride The Ducks! Lunch and swimming wrapped up the day! Pirate's of the Carribean was on the Disney Channel later that night. Yeehaw!

Day Two was a FREE tour of the Table Rock Lake Fish Hatchery, a FREE tour of the Table Rock Lake Dam Visitor's Center, and a FREE walk through of the Table Rock Lake Marina. Did I mention FREE!?!?
The boys at the Fish Hatchery in the valley below Table Rock Lake Dam.


Feeding the fish.

Fish Hatchery Visitor's Center.

Overlooking Table Rock Lake at the Table Rock Lake Dam Visitor's Center.

Ditto but with mommy. Too bad no nice tourists ever offered to take a picture of all of us together. I almost asked a nice couple here, but I felt like I was imposing. And they looked like they were going to offer, but they didn't. Lost opportunity!

The Table Rock Lake Dam with Chateau On The Lake in the background. We heard it was the only five-star luxury hotel in the area. Why would a person spend so much money to stay in Branson I wonder?

This looks real, but it's actually an exhibit at the Table Rock Lake Dam Visitor's Center showing children how to wear a life jacket. The kids mostly just liked pretending they were in a boat.

Why do I always pull my hair to the left side? It's like that right now as I type.

Again, my hair is pulled to my left. I've only recently noticed I do that. Kinda like the time Henry's daycare teacher noticed that I flip my spoon up-side-down to eat ice cream like Henry does. I never noticed until they pointed it out. What weird habits do YOU have???

Day Three began with Butterfly Palace! I had mentioned this adventure to Andrew on Days One and Two, but we never quite made it here. Now we had. It was pretty darn awesome.
Andrew saw this brochure and said, "That boy looks like me!!!!" And he does! So we took a picture to illustrate.

Andrew can sit still with the proper incentive. This butterfly landed on him and he DID NOT MOVE until it flew away.

Again separate but equal family pictures.

I promise we aren't divorced.

Butterfly cocoons.

A butterfly coming out of it's cocoon

My colorful baby. This shirt was a hand-me-down from a friend and it's his favorite shirt. He calls it his "color shirt".

The Mirror Maze at Butterfly Palace was a big hit. Andrew didn't want to leave! I had the brilliant idea that we could get a family picture here. You can see how well that turned out! My butterfly shirt was a souvenir purchased the previous day at Table Rock Lake Dam. I thought it was appropriate. I didn't look like a psycho butterfly whack job at all. Especially with my giant camera. Nope. Just looked totally normal.

I was actually saying, "nobody move so we don't bump into a mirror!"

Henry loved the Reptile Room at Butterfly Palace. These three turtles were having lunch. I was so hungry by this point that I was jealous of their carrot mash, but Andrew didn't want to leave.

Our lunch destination. 
The Great American Steak and Chicken House.

Ben made me take this picture. It's a demonstration of GAP's marketing at the GAP Factory Outlet. It says, "ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING UP TO 70% OFF". Which means kinda nothing.

This concluded our fun little three day trip to Branson. Excepting a little carsickness again, our trip home the next day was quick and uneventful. We were very happy with our stay and all the kid-friendly and stress-free activities we chose. I mean we were a little disappointed we didn't get to see the Baldknobbers...
Please tell me you understood I was kidding.

 ... but maybe next time. If we're lucky.