Monday, September 28, 2009

Ted and Kristi

Our good friends, Ted and Kristi, got married this past weekend. Randy met Ted when he was in graduate school at University of Colorado. He's a crazy, goofy, good guy and a few years ago he met a great girl. Ted and Kristi moved to Iowa at the same time as we did a year ago and Randy and Ted continue to work together. Not living around family brings you closer to your friends. We love them and were very happy to be a part of their wedding and wedding weekend.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Boys have peanuts

Every once in a while Harrison will show interest in sitting on the potty chair. The other day I undressed him and let him try it out. It becomes a fun time, sitting for 0.5 seconds, hopping up, looking into the potty and then running around naked, sitting for 0.5 seconds, hopping up, looking into the potty...(you get the idea).

Randy and I will use the appropriate body part names in an effort to teach the kids what they should call their private parts (not inserting those body part names here to keep the crazies from finding this blog because of those non said body parts).

As Harrison was attempting to sit on the potty Lily started to speak about the differences of boys and girls. She said "Girls have (insert correct body part) and boys have peanuts."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Design dazzle!!

It's a good thing I just came upon this design blog today, otherwise I would of had a hard time creating a playroom using my ideas. Once I see another person's cool design I have a hard time thinking of anything else! Often I search for design ideas for the kid's rooms and have a hard time finding a great website but now I've found one and want to pass it on...

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Playroom!

It took a year but the kids' playroom is now finished!

Old playroom...pretty basic...nothing to exciting...too many toys.

Fun, new playroom! Complete with reading corner, painted chalkboard and dress up area.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

We Love Family

We love our visitors...

We give good hugs to our visitors...

We lounge around and relax with our visitors...

We put together princess puzzles with our visitors...

We love our visitors so much we don't want them to go without us...

Even the Iowa City ducks love our visitors...(sign, what sign?)

We get to show off our Friday folder to grandma and cousin Connor...

We get to spend time with our cutie patootie Cami...

And we get to veg out while watching Toy Story (Jay included)...

The kids

Just in case you're wondering (i.e. my husband) why I take SO many pictures it's because of this...

To get 2 kids to look, let alone smile, for the camera is a painstaking task. But in all those silly, staring off into space, eyes closed (on purpose-Lily), grumpy faces I find a needle in the haystack. Granted these are ones of each kid separately but I'm contemplating learning how to photo shop 2 smiling kids into one picture.

Happy 2nd Birthday Buddy

Harrison is officially able to throw a tantrum and Randy and I can blame the terrible twos. No big deal, it won't last forever. At least the screaming, whining uncontrollably...oh wait...the teen age years will definitely include some screaming and whining uncontrollably. Oh the joys!

I took the day off work to spend with my little buddy. We opted to don hats for our trip to the Children's Museum (just spent the day before with Lily for our special time together before she started school, glad to have the annual pass!). Harrison and I returned home to find my mom and Gram waiting in our driveway. They surprised not only Harrison but me too! Randy was in on it but he's the best secret keeper ever (except when it comes to my b-day and Christmas presents, he can't wait for me to open them). Harrison helped me pick out the decorations which were Mickey Mouse and Lightening McQueen (why choose just one theme?) and Lily had helped me pick out a train for his cake. We almost forgot to get a cake picture which is why the end is already gone. :) After his nap we started the birthday celebration since Randy and Lily were already home too. It really fell into place...afternoon snack of sugar loaded cake and frosting didn't affect bed time at all. Harrison didn't mind Lily opening almost all of his presents and was really excited to see his big present, a train table.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's time to blog

Okay, I'm ready to blog. I've been saving up so get prepared for the projectile blogging.

San Diego

As Dora would say "We DID it!" "We DID it!" We turned Randy's conference into our first official family vacation. And I'm alive to blog about it.

Planning for the trip was pretty darn exciting. I made not just 1 list, not just 2lists but MULTIPLE lists. What to bring on the airplane, what to bring in the kids' suitcase, what to bring in my suitcase, what to bring to the beach, what to bring to Disneyland. Maybe only Staci can understand but planning and packing was a fun challenge to conquer.

We departed from the Quad Cities Airport which had very few people traveling that same day. This meant a lot of space for the kids to run around. We seriously had one wing of the airport to ourselves. Mom likes this. The kids were excited and in very good moods.

When we got on the airplane Lily sat with Randy a few seats behind Harrison and myself. I planned appropriately knowing I was responsible for the almost 2 year old wild boy that would be confined to my lap for 2 hours. Yes, I was a little nervous imagining Harrison testing the sound of his screams on the airplane or flailing upper extremities while attempting to escape the clutches of his mother. As the plane took off, Harrison drank and ate a snack to help with his ears and then proceeded to take a nap cuddled on my lap. The entire flight. I repeat, the entire flight my almost 2 year old wild child slept. Randy, on the other hand, didn't rest the entire flight while entertaining a very energetic Lily. She behaved perfectly well but she was excited about her new books and activity pads.

We had a 3 hour layover in Denver which was just fine. We went to the end of the terminal that had running room and Harrison befriended a construction truck that entertained him for quite a while. The flight from Denver to San Diego was also great. Harrison was entertained with his new activity books and snacks and Lily continued to behave perfectly well.

The rental car took a while since Randy had to install the 2 car seats that we also rented. We got to the hotel, Embassy Suites, around 9PM. The kids jumped on the bed and examined the room with a fine toothed comb and then we went to bed. Harrison had a nice crib and Lily slept with us (same as always). Staying at Embassy Suites was great...Harrison could fall asleep at his earlier bedtime in the bedroom and we could close the door and watch TV in the next room. It worked beautifully.

On Sunday, bright and early, we headed for Disneyland. I know the kids are too young and it's expensive but seeing a particular little girl meet her first princess was worth every penny. My first memory was meeting Mickey Mouse when I was around 4 years old (I was really scared so my mom had to accompany me to meet him). I figure if we keep talking about Disneyland and have pictures Lily might continue to remember it...we'll see. Again, it wasn't about lifetime memories for the kids. It was about living the moment and in that moment we had a 3.5 year old little girl who LOVES, LOVES, LOVES princesses. Lily even dressed in her Cinderella dress but had unfortunately got pretty upset (the kids didn't like driving more than 15 minutes on vacation, if we drove for 16+ minutes all hell broke loose) and ended up vomiting all over her princess dress. In the car. Do you know how much fun it is to clean vomit pieces in a car seat? The straps, the fabric, the little spaces in the plastic clips. To be able to calm a child, scale the front seat, organize garage bags, and clean vomit while not breathing takes skill. I got mad vomit cleaning skillz. My most important packing item---BABY WIPES!! Good thing they were on my Disneyland list. Most importantly, Lily was just fine. After I saw the Cinderella dress vomit damage the imagine flashed in my head of purchasing the $60 Disneyland Cinderella dress which made me cringe. But Lily didn't even mind changing into a "normal" dress and we proceeded into Disneyland. Within 1 minute we saw Goofy running around. Lily was happy to stand next to him for a picture (gotta love the size of his glove compared to her head) but Harrison showed his first sign of bashfulness (Snow White later nicknamed him Bashful). He was smiling but didn't want anything to do with Goofy.

Since our Disneyland mission was princesses we started with Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Lily enjoyed it but it was a little dark (i.e. scary at times). No tears though so that's a success. Then we headed for Princess Fantasyland. And waited. And waited some more. From our waiting line you can't see which princesses are in the castle garden so it's sort of suspenseful. Are we going to see Cinderella? Or Belle? Or maybe Jasmin and Ariel?? Because of the expected long wait, Randy and Harrison held our place in line while I took Lily to get her face painted in the Castle beauty salon. I recommend this. She loved sitting in the chair, she loved getting her face painted (I thought she was going to fall asleep she was so relaxed) and it was a nice 15 minute distraction from waiting in line. After we returned Harrison and Randy went to ride the adjacent train ride. They made it back in enough time to go inside the garden. The first princess Lily met was Sleeping Beauty. Each little kid gets to spend 1:1 time with each princess for a few minutes. Sleeping Beauty scoped down and Lily jumped on her lap. It was so sweet. Lily had the biggest smile and Sleeping Beauty was so good with her, hugging her and asking her questions. Sleeping Beauty attempted to say Hi to Harrison but the greeting wasn't reciprocated. Then on to Snow White, again the princess was so great with Lily. Hugging her and posing for pictures, while talking to her and asking questions. Again, Snow White attempted to include Harrison but when he, smiling, wouldn't even make eye contact with her, she asked Lily if she brought her dwarf, Bashful. The final princess was Jasmin. Lily loved her pretty jewels and was in princess heaven. The 1.5 hour drive, the cleaning up vomit, the high price tag to enter the land of Disney, the hour wait in line was all worth it in that moment. The magical moment when a little girl met her first princesses.

We hit other kid attractions, the tree house which Lily could do all by herself which made her proud (and she really did do over and over), play grounds and of course Mickey Mouse's house. We sort of accidentally found it, it didn't seem to be labeled as such. We started with a tour of his house and ended up being in line to meet him. It was a shorter line that Fantasyland but maybe it was the room decor, short movies and air conditioning that helped. Again, Lily did great going up to Mickey and wasn't shy like her little bro.

Next we rode Casey the Train. If we rode it continuously for 15 minutes Harrison would have fallen asleep. Randy was due to eat so I strolled the kids around for a few minutes before Harrison conked out. Hard. Randy sat with him while Lily and I rode the Dumbo ride, which she loved. We strolled around for a while before we watched the parade. Harrison woke up a little grumpy so he wasn't as trilled about the parade like Lily. She sat on Randy's shoulders while I snapped a couple off center photos before walking around with Harrison.

We changed Harrison's diaper in the nice kid room. It was air conditioned (this perk would give any room a A++)but also offered kid size toilets, multiple changing stations, nursing rooms, activity table and chairs, and a kitchen. After a fresh diaper we pretty much headed home. Meet princesses--check. Everyone happy---check. We didn't purchase Mickey ears (next time!) but we did make 1 purchase for the ride home.

That night we walked across the street to Seaport Village for dinner. We ate at Buster's and had a great view of the bay. It was our 9 year wedding anniversary so we celebrated with alcohol. One glass is all it takes but let me tell you it was great! After dinner neither kid wanted to get back into the stroller, no, instead they wanted to push their strollers at full speed. Neither are good at steering so imagine Randy and I running around trying to protect innocent passerbys while juggling left overs--but it was okay because I had a glass of wine with dinner. It was actually fun and we laughed and laughed while chasing run away strollers.

Monday meant Randy had to work. Poor guy. But that didn't slow us down. :) I packed up the kids and walked a few blocks to Ralph's Supermarket. We bought goodies for our hotel room fridge (another must have with kids) and shovels and pails for the beach. Then we went to the beach. Oh how I love thee. Oh how my kids now love thee. We went to Coronado Island and the beach was amazing. We never went to another beach. There was no need, we found our pot o' gold. While I was organizing our towels and stuff, Lily and Harrison danced around on the sand. Lily was on a beach high, she loved being there and hadn't even been in the water yet. She was doing jumps and dances so I had to capture it...

The kids loved the water. They loved it when the water chased them. Lily found some tiny sea shells which accompanied us home. Not many people around on a Monday so we had space to run. And we did. We ran around, danced around, sat in waves, etc. One lady asked who was having more fun, the kids or me. To be honest, I don't know. It was a fantastic day of just playing and laughing. After a few hours I took my sand covered kids back to the hotel to bathe and nap for 3 hours. All of us. Again, poor Randy. He ended up working all day so I took the kids to the hotel restaurant for dinner. We did some laundry and hung out. The Cinderella dress is now without evidence of any vomit!

Tuesday was a lot like Monday. Randy worked (poor Randy--it's my theme) so I took the kids back to Coronado beach. This time we opted further down the beach by the showers. We dug huge holes for the kids to play in and danced and ran through the waves again. After a few hours later we attempted to shower (didn't really help much)and went back to the hotel for a 3 hour nap. All of us. Tuesday night we meet up with Randy's collaborators for dinner. It was what we expected with adults and kids. The people under 4 weren't interested in discussing x-ray optics but really enjoyed walking outside, getting birds put on their heads and anything that didn't have to do with sitting at a table with strangers discussing diffuse hot interstellar mediums (don't know what that means I just got it off Randy's web page).

On Wednesday, Randy was free! We headed to Sea World. A very nice lady offered to use her membership to get us a discount which we gladly accepted. It saved us $60! We decided we'd buy her kids a stuffed animal to say thank you but never again saw her. So very pregnant, very kind lady, if you're reading this (haha) thank you!! First we headed to the Killer Whale show. We sat in the splash zone but unfortunately never got wet. The sun was beating down on us and it was h-o-t. It was fun for the kids and I had a good time (although I have an internal battle of captivity of animals vs. educational aspect to better the environment of their peers). Surprisingly Sea World had a great ropes course that Lily and Randy did while Harrison and I found a splash pad which helped cool him off. We rode another Dumbo like ride, saw penguins, dolphins, turtles, and finally petted some stingrays before heading home. Randy purchased 2 Shamu animals for the kids since he had a childhood memory of his parents bringing him one (which helped make up for them not taking him).

Thursday we headed back to the beach with Randy in tow. Randy got a few minutes to relax before spending the next 2 hours splashing and holding kids in the ocean. Because it's my blog, I get to say that I pleaded with Randy to apply sunblock. He refused. Actually he let me apply it to his neck that was exposed the previous day at Sea World and got a little red. He refused the rest of his body. We spent 3 hours at the beach in the full sun. It's been a month and he's still peeling. Poor Randy.

We meet up with a friend, Julie and her son, Adler. Adler and Harrison are a few days apart and we met online while pregnant. The boys had fun playing with a bubble launching rocket, swinging, meeting a doggy and playing at the park. we spent our last night at Sea Port Village where we walked along the bay and ate ice cream.

Friday we leisurely took our time packing and leaving. We even headed back to Sea Port Village for a carousel ride and a final goodbye to the ocean. Our flights mimicked the first day with Harrison eating and drinking during take off to fall asleep the entire first leg. I forgot to mention he fell asleep to me singing row, row, row your boat a 1,000 times the first flight and hush little baby (yes, another 1,000 times) on the flight home. Our Denver lay over was a little over an hour which left enough time for dinner and for the kids do magic and clean the airport. Hey, whatever keeps them quiet and busy works for us!

look we're still smiling (and haven't drank a drop of alcohol)!!

We safely arrived in the Quad Cities around 10PM which meant the kids fell asleep quickly on the hour drive home. Thankfully everyone was west coast time and slept in until 10AM!

In a nutshell, it was a great trip. Far better than we expected. Will definitely travel with kids again. Probably not internationally until we don't require strollers, car seats or diapers but definitely back to the beach.