Beach Trip!!

The first of August we went on our family beach vacation to Clearwater Beach, FL. We went with my Mom, sisters, brother, & nephews. We had a great house right next to the beach and despite a tropical storm while we were there, it was lot of fun.

The storm delayed our arrival and caused a lot of tension on day 1 but we got through it and everyone got there safely and more or less in tact. Day 2, because of more rain, we headed to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to explore and see Winter the dolphin. In June, we had gone to the movie theater for the first time to see Dolphin Tales 2. We didn’t exactly make it all the way through the movie because none of the kids could sit still longer than an hour but they all wanted to go see the dolphin from the movie. So we went and learned how the Aquarium helps hurt and sick animals, saw Winter do a little show, we petted sting rays (maybe – maybe they were some other rays), and watched some sea otters play. Birdie loved loved the otters. The boys loved petting the rays. And the rays loved my mom – ha! – they came to her anytime she put her hand in the water.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Petting the rays.
Petting the rays.
Dolphins around town
Dolphins around town
Watching the Otters
Watching the Otters

Later that day, the rain stopped for a bit, so we took a walk to the Pier. And as we walked up we saw Bumblebee the transformer. Froggy was in awe!! He just loves transformers. And we took pictures with more dolphins – they are all over Clearwater so we took a picture every time we saw one.

I somehow do not have any pictures from meeting the transformer! 😦

Selfie on the Pier
Selfie on the Pier
My sweet Birdie - she's just so pretty.
My sweet Birdie – she’s just so pretty.

Day 3 was sunshiney and clear and HOT! So we went to the beach. And we stayed there most of the day –where I remembered to slather sunscreen on all the kdis but not me. So they were nicely tanned by the end of the day and I was a lobster – but we had fun and that is what matters. Day 4 was also a beach day – and pool day.

Birdie's first beach trip!
Birdie’s first beach trip!
Birdie & Froggy got buried in the sand.
Birdie & Froggy got buried in the sand.

And then Day 5! I had booked a lunch at Disney World’s Chef Mickey’s. So my yonger sister, my kids, and my youngest nephew piled in the car and drove the 2 hours across the state to Orlando. Oh how I love Disney World! We got to the Contemporary Resort just in time for our reservation and had lunch with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, & Donald. Then we rode the resort monorail around and waved to the Magic Kingdom and then we headed to Downtown Disney to check out the Lego Store and other shops. It was so hot though that we played at the Lego Store for only a little bit and then headed back. I have no idea how people go to Disney parks in the summer. I couldn’t last an hour at Downtown Disney. But no matter the heat – I loved being back in teh World and the kids had a blast. And I got to be there for baby G’s first ever Disney experience and meeting Mickey Mouse!

Chef Mickey's!
Chef Mickey’s!
Selfie with Mickey!
Selfie with Mickey!
Hulk at the Lego Store in Downtown Disney
Hulk at the Lego Store in Downtown Disney

Day 6 we decided to go to breakfast and then explore a little and drove down (or maybe up) the island for a ways. Some lovely areas in Clearwater. Hubby even said we might think of getting a place there soon. Sounds good to me!

We left on Day 7 but before we left we drove to Holiday to meet up with an online friend of mine. We have “known” each other for 6 years. We met in a due date group for our 6 year old children. It was so very nice to meet her and her kids – these people I’ve grown to know and care for over the past years.

Then home we went. It was a nice vacation even if long. I don’t know that I will go on a week long vacation with my family again. I love them but sometimes they drive me crazy.

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July Fun

In July we celebrated Birdie’s 2nd birthday and the 239th birthday of the United States.

Birdie’s birthday is July 3rd. Unfortunetly, I had to choose that date (or the 5th) as her birthday because I had a scheduled c-section. Her original due date was 7/13/13, then it was 7/10/13 and the doctors wanted to schedule her arrival no later than the 5th of July – and couldn’t be on the 4th because —HOLIDAY. What doctor wants to do that. So I chose the 3rd and hoped she’d come early. No such luck. The 3rd it was.

I apologized to her as soon as I held her for the first time and will continue to apologize for the unfortunate birthday every year. Holiday birthdays are no fun.

To help make up for it, I will do my best to throw her great birthday parties that have no relationship to the 4th! This year’s theme is Curious George because she loves to watch George.

To kick off her celebrations, we started on our trip to South Carolina on her actual birthday. My Mom and sister planned a small family dinner with presents and cupcakes. I had asked them not to make a big deal out of it as she’ll have a big party but they went above and beyond. We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner – one of her favorite meals, LOTS of presents, and cupcakes. What more could a little girl want?!

Birdie's 2nd Birthday - Family Dinner
Birdie’s 2nd Birthday – Family Dinner
Birdie's 2nd Birthday - family dinner.
Birdie’s 2nd Birthday – family dinner.
Birdie's 2nd Birthday - family dinner.
Birdie’s 2nd Birthday – family dinner.

The next day was the 4th of July. Hubby took the kids to the park during nap time so Birdie would sleep. And that night we set off fireworks from the road. It’s normal, in the neighborhood I grew up in, to set off fireworks right outside your house. It’s not normal to do that where we live now. So it was a fun treat for the kids. My brother took the role of chief fireworks lighter and set off some really pretty lights. I remember doing this as a child – it seemed dangerous to me then. Now it seems even more dangerous. But it was fun.

Fireworks fun
Fireworks fun
Monkey with his sparkler.
Monkey with his sparkler.

Then the next day, I picked up DUSTY! I also got to catch up with our former neighbors who are having another baby. So excited for them! Then we headed home with our new fur baby.

Introducing Dusty

One day, as I was sitting down to breakfast, hubby sends me a text telling me that our former neighbors are having to give their dog away. Texts go something like this:

Hubby: Dusty’s available! Check FB.

Me: What? We need to get him!

Hubby: tell them – tell them we’ll come get him.

And that was it – we left a few days later to drive home to South Carolina to get our new (8 year old) dog. It was a great weekend to go – 4th of July weekend and Birdie’s 2nd birthday! We stayed with my mom for the weekend and got to celebrate both occassions with her. That was very special for me – any time I get to spend with my family is special – but these small holidays and celebrations just mean more when I get to do it with them.

Let me introduce Dusty. Dusty is an 8 year old Australian shepherd. We met Dusty 8 years ago when our neighbors brought him home with them. They used to let him out and he would run over to our front porch and wait for us to let Sasha out so they could play. Hmm – have I ever introduced Sasha? Well she’s our 9 year old mix of some sort from the Humane Society. She is literally the best, sweetest dog ever. And she and Dusty were the best of friends. And then we moved away. Five years later they are re-united!

Dusty
Dusty
Sasha
Sasha

We love having Dusty with us. Although, he is way more high maintance than Sasha so we’ve had to get used to that. But it’s fun having a dog that will chase laser lights, bark at the vaccuum, fetch, and all things dogs do.

Dusty - when I picked him up.
Dusty – when I picked him up.
On the way (to his new) home!
On the way (to his new) home!
Friends Re-united!
Friends Re-united!
Playing!
Playing!
This is how I eat now - with Dusty's head laying on my lap waiting for me or anyone to drop something. LOL
This is how I eat now – with Dusty’s head laying on my lap waiting for me or anyone to drop something. LOL

Bring on the Summer!

June started off big! Kindergarten field day and then graduation and then Monkey’s 6th(!) birthday party!

Field day was so cute. I had purposelly not signed up to do anythign but bring snacks so I could watch the games. But of course that never works out- does it? I got roped into face painting. I am not an artist – not at all! Gladly the students didn’t have mirrors or phones! I did very simple things like a heart or a paw print or – and this one is fancy – a rainbow with a star!! It didn’t help that the supplies the school brought for us to use were in great need of replacement. I got through it. And the kids were happy with it. So all was well and I even got to watch all Monkey’s turns.

Paw print I painted on Monkey during Field Day. See, I told you I wasn't an artist.
Paw print I painted on Monkey during Field Day. See, I told you I wasn’t an artist.
Monkey's class made me thank you notes for being their room mom. So sweet - yes I cried. :)
Monkey’s class made me thank you notes for being their room mom. So sweet – yes I cried. 🙂

And then …. Kindergarten graduation. I never thought I’d care about these “non-graduations.” But I do – I really do. I teared up before we got to the school and held them at bay until they called his name. My sweet baby, my first born. Oh the feelings.

The treats Monkey took to his class for the last day of school.
The treats Monkey took to his class for the last day of school.
Oh my heart! Monkey's last day of Kindergarten.
Oh my heart! Monkey’s last day of Kindergarten.
Monkey at his graduation ceremony with is teacher.
Monkey at his graduation ceremony with is teacher.

Then just 3 days after the last day of school, we had Monkey’s 6th birthday party. This was the first year we did a “friend” party at a location. We had it at a local indoor playground and bounce house. It was great, the easiest party I ever planned. I did do some decorations, because my kids expect that, and I made the cake but the employees of that place were so great and they just did everything! I loved it. It cost more than a home party – but I’m totally willing to pay it!

My sweet baby is 6!
My sweet baby is 6!
The party room is ready!
The party room is ready!
Some decorations we put up in the party room at the indoor playground.
Some decorations we put up in the party room at the indoor playground.
I made Sonic frisbees for the party favors and Sonic placemats for the kids to take home.
I made Sonic frisbees for the party favors and Sonic placemats for the kids to take home.
Sonic cake!
Sonic cake!
My little man! I made Sonic t-shirts for all 3 of the kids.
My little man! I made Sonic t-shirts for all 3 of the kids.
Blowing out the candles.
Blowing out the candles.
Monkey having fun at his party!
Monkey having fun at his party!

All of that in just the first week of June. Then we jumped right into summer – swimming lessons, baseball and our first movie in a movie theater.

May Fun!

May brought some beautiful weather which was great since Monkey’s baseball team starting practicing and we had plans to meet some Avengers at the Zoo!

I surprised the boys with a breakfast at the Zoo to meet the Avengers. They had a blast! We sat down at the table in the meeting area and we got there just in time for Thor to enter. Then Iron Man. And then. THEN! Spider Man! Oh My Gosh!! They were squealing like little piglets. It was so very cute. They didn’t even notice Captain America until he was all the way at the front. Hahahaha! The Zoo people had given us a number that they would call when it was our turn to meet them and get the pictures taken. So they sat squirming around and not eating a bite of breakfast until our number was called and then they bolted to the front. Seriously – so funny. After we had our turn, we toured the Zoo, rode the carousel and the train. I always have Birdie with me; it was nice to just be me and the boys for once

The Avengers
The Avengers
Avengers show at the Zoo
Avengers show at the Zoo
Zoo Fun
Zoo Fun
Zoo fun!
Zoo fun!

May also brings teacher appreciation week. And, since I was room mom for Monkey’s class, I took up a collection and got the teachers gifts. I made water bottles filled with mints for day 1 – each of the teachers, including the “specials” teachers got one. Specials at our school are music, PE, and library. Day 2 was the “thanks a latte” coffee mugs, again filled with candy and for Monkey’s main teacher, a starbucks gift card. Day 3 was a note pad with pens. And the big class present was Day 4. And can you bleieve I do not have a picture of it! I worked so dang hard on it too. The Main teacher received a canvas with a bouquet of paper flowers on it. I had each of the students make a flower for it. I was very proud of that bouquet! Their teacher’s aid received a water pitcher with a bouquet of tissue paper flowers in it that the students made too. Every time I think about it, I want to kick myself. So wish I had a picture. We skipped day 5 because well I was broke and because Monkey didn’t go that day because we left to go to Colorado to visit my sister!

Teacher Appreciation Week 2015
Teacher Appreciation Week 2015
Teacher Appreciation Week 2015
Teacher Appreciation Week 2015

We went to Colorado because my sweet baby nephew was turning 1! And I could not even think about not being there for his birthday. When I first thought about going out there, I had thought to go by myself but Hubby had never been there and wanted to go, so we decided to take the whole family. So Birdie would get to fly for the first time and we would all get to visit Colorado for the first time. And – bonus – it was Mother’s Day weekend and my Mom would be there too! I haven’t spent mother’s day with my own Mom in years. So nice to get to this year.

I don’t have much to say about Colorado. My sister was sick pretty much the whole time we were there, which meant we didn’t do all that much. We did see the Garden of the Gods – but it was so cold (and I have a broken foot) so we just drove through instead of hiked. We also drove up Pike’s Peak, which was very pretty and made us dizzy. And of course, there was a sweet baby turning 1! He took his first steps while we were there too which made it extra special. And I got to spend some much needed one on one time with my Mom.

Got to see the cockpit on this trip to Colorado.
Got to see the cockpit on this trip to Colorado.
Flying!
Flying!
1st Flight
1st Flight
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods

In mid-May, Monkey started baseball practice! This was his second year playing and this year they were hitting off the machine instead of just the T. Exciting! No – not really. I do not like baseball. Ugh – it’s so boring. But it is the only sport he wants to play. So I guess I am a baseball mom. Hopefully I can get Froggy or Birdie into soccer. Must work on that.

Monkey up at bat
Monkey up at bat
Cheering on the Baseball team
Cheering on the Baseball team
6U Baseball
6U Baseball

And that was it. May is done. 🙂

March & April – and the foot update

Easter was early this year, so the Easter activities took place in March. The kids and I took a trip to see my Mom for Spring Break, leaving Hubby at home to finish remodeling the upstairs of our house. (YIPPEE) When we got home we dyed eggs, vistied the Bunny herself, made the Easter desserts, and then the Bunny came to see us! The Bunny hides the dyed eggs for the kids in the back yard during the night. (Ok so I got up and ran downstairs before the kids and did it.) So once the baskets were opened, we hunted eggs and then played with all the new loot and headed to Grammie’s house for dinner and more egg hunting.

Meeting Mrs Easter Bunny
Meeting Mrs Easter Bunny
Dying easter eggs.
Dying easter eggs.
The kids' easter baskets.
The kids’ easter baskets.
Found them all!
Found them all!

At some point, we finally made it to the Zoo to get my annual “in front of the tulips family picture”. The family one turned out frighteningly bad. But the one of just the kids is cute! And the kids love the zoo – it seems every time we go we find something new to see. And this time we upgraded our membership to include the rides there. So the kids love that we can ride the carasoul and the train each time we go!

Tulip picture!
Tulip picture!
Zoo time
Zoo time

Ok – so here’s the sad foot update.

The very next day after my February appointment, pain started. It wasn’t too terrible. Basically I just walked on the outside of my foot. And I kept my toes up. I know it’s hard to picture that. I just pulled my toes off the floor and let the weight be on the heel and outside of my foot. This would continue and the pain got increasingly worse until I finally went to a physical thereapist in early April. I kept my foot wrapped in an ace bandage for everything – in my shoe and out. I also bought various arch supports to try and alleviate pain. Nothing worked. One day I woke up with a terrible pain in my shoulder and neck and knew I needed to get to a chiropracter immedietly. But my regular chiropracter is closed on Thursdays. And this was a Thursday. So I called around and finally found a place that would get me in asap.

I show up for the appointment and it’s one of those all health places – they have physical therapists, regular MDs, chiropracters, and some other stuff. I thought, since I was there I might as well ask about my foot. They didn’t want to do any treatments until they could see what was in my foot so they x-rayed it. And that’s how I found out about the broken screw. Yep – I have a broken screw. Not even a full year after surgery and somehow one is broken. ***I’m so good at this lis franc fracture thing.*** They did help my back that day. I’m so glad I went in there, though I will continue with my own chiropracter instead of this new place.

I called and went to back to my orthopedic surgeon who basically said give it time because he thinks the pain is from the stiff joint now being able to move. I’m not all that convinced it’s not pain from the screw itself, but I’m willing to try physical therapy in hopes of skipping another surgery.

There's a broken screw in there. :(
There’s a broken screw in there. 😦
There's that broken screw again.
There’s that broken screw again.

So now we’re heading into May.

January & February – still catching up!

January was uneventful. So much so that I don’t even have shareable pictues from the month. We did celebrate Hubby’s birthday but other than that, January was a month of recovery from the Month of Christmas.

February was also pretty uneventful but there was Valentine’s Day! This was the first year of doing class valentine’s day cards and making the box for them. Monkey wanted a Minecraft box so, while not super creative, I made him one. I found a printable on line for Herobrine and just cut and pasted until it fit my (now empty) tissue box. (here’s the link to the herobrine printable – http://www.fps-x-games.com/2013/08/large-herobrine-printable-template-character.html) I didn’t plan ahead very well so I had to buy a box of tissues and just take them out. We just used a ziplock bag to hold all the tissues! Monkey took a flower to each of his teachers and we made out of this world cards for his classmates. (here’s where I found the valentines’ day cards – http://andreadekker.com/two-so-simple-diy-valentines-day-cards/.) We, as a family, don’t do a lot for Valentine’s Day. I got each of the kids a small bag full of some goodies – chocolates and a small toy. The boys each received a Minecraft figure and Birdie got a My Little Pony. They could not have been happier!

Herobrine valentines day box
Herobrine valentines day box
Back of the Herobrine valentines day box
Back of the Herobrine valentines day box
Out of this World Valentine's Day Cards for Monkey's class.
Out of this World Valentine’s Day Cards for Monkey’s class.
Valentine's Day present for Monkey's teachers.
Valentine’s Day present for Monkey’s teachers.
Monkey's, Froggy's, & Birdie's Valentine's Day gifts (and Hubby's candy too).
Monkey’s, Froggy’s, & Birdie’s Valentine’s Day gifts (and Hubby’s candy too).

February also brought the snow! I can’t say I really like snow at all. But the kids love it. So we played, built snowmen ( or improvised building snowmen since the snow was too powdery) and painted in the snow.

Snow Angels!
Snow Angels!
Froggy next to our
Froggy next to our “Snowman”. We had to build it not he steps because the snow was too powdery. Haha!
Our Snowman
Our Snowman
Painting the snow.
Painting the snow.

At the end of February, I had my “last” appointment with the foot surgeon. At this time, all was well. I had not been experiencing any pain or even much swelling. The doctor did an x-ray and all looked well. He discharged me and told me to come back if I ever thought I needed him. Yay! I’m healed! Except – not. I’ll explain all about the foot after March!

Foot is good! Healed as it can get.
Foot is good! Healed as it can get.
Foot is good! Healed as it can get.
Foot is good! Healed as it can get.