Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I did on my vacation

This is our version of the 3rd grade essay assigned at the beginning of the school year describing to the teacher each moment of summer break. Only this is more of a picture essay, if you will. 

There were so many firsts on this vacation. The girls took their first flight. They did fabulously. Seriously, we were so proud of them for (mostly) behaving despite the confined space and the constant hurry up and wait that just happens when traveling through TSA security and airlines in general. Our advice to anyone who is thinking about flying with children who are young like ours:
  1. Bring lots of snacks. These were great for take off and landing when the pressure changes and their little ears hurt. It kept them swallowing to relive the pressure.
  2. Bring their favorite books and QUIET toys. People already cringe a little when a child boards the plane. Don't make it worse with battery powered beeping.
  3. Bring the carseat. These were a PAIN to lug around the airport, no doubt...but we had our carseats for driving around in Florida, carseats fly for free, and the girls were in a spot they knew and couldn't escape from while on the plane.
  4. Prep them beforehand about what is going to happen. We checked out books from the library about flying for the first time that were super helpful starting this conversation and making the whole experience "familiar" to them.
  5. Let them run around before boarding and during layovers. It might annoy some people, but it's better than a super antsy kid on the flight.
And then we arrived in Florida! Where things continued to bounce along pretty perfectly. Long story short, we got a free upgrade on the rental car! Super way to start the trip!

This was the view from our condo (on the one gray-weather day we had).

 The condo was huge. The same square footage as our house.

Another first for the girls: seeing the ocean! They absolutely loved the beach. The waves were a little intimidating, but they just held onto Mommy and Daddy and waded right in. The weather was about ten degrees above normal almost all week, so we tried to take advantage of the beach often.

Aunt B made them new terry cloth beach robes! Super cute even with these goofy faces.
At the beach, the girls were very much themselves. Meaning everyday, Miriam would behave like she had a checklist of important work in her mind. Collect shells. Get in water. Dig sand. Get in water. Chase seagulls. Get in water. Repeat.

And Vivian raced in every direction, giggling and playing. Her favorite: running into the water, running out of the water, throwing her body in the sand, running back into the water looking like a moving mud pie.

Of course, there was Disney one day to keep us busy. And we ate more than our fair share of the ice cream in the town. On the last day Miriam even got her own bowl of strawberry ice cream. She's getting so big! When we weren't at the beach, the girls loved to watch more TV than is ever allowed at home, to color, and to read with Mommy and Daddy. They were truly living the dream.

How about a window seat where you can watch the ocean on a stormy day and share a snack with Bunny? Yes, please.

We also got to hang out with Tim's best childhood friend and his family. They live in the town where we were staying. The girls were thrilled to play with little Eli again. They also want his hair. And Brian made us a very yummy grilled seafood supper. So good.

And suddenly, it was time to say, "Goodbye, Beach." We miss you!

And back to the airport. The Tampa airport is amazing and we will happily fly through it again because they have an indoor playground!!!

Ok, so there were some imperfections on this trip. Right before we got there, red tide was moving out. This is basically an algae that comes in on the currents and "eats" the oxygen in the water killing the fish. Fish wash up on the beach. Seagulls have many meals. Yucky. Makes it difficult to breath at the beach and caused some kind of reaction for Miriam. If you look at these pictures, you'll see her red, puffy eyes. Also, Vivian ran into the steel corner of an elevator at the condo and got an instant black eye. So you can see that in the pictures, too. What would vacation with children be if we didn't have a few mishaps??

But, Beach, we really do miss you.

And that's what we did on our vacation.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Doing Disney

Mommy, Miriam, and Vivian experienced Disney for the first time while we were in Florida. We took lots and lots of pictures so the girls could "remember" their first adventure into this magic world.

We spent one day in Magic Kingdom.

As you can see, the weather was perfect!

With very light crowds, we were able to get one most rides with hardly any wait at all!

We saw a 3-D show that Miriam loved! Often, she would hold her hands out to try to catch the characters as they seemed to hop out of the screen at her!

Vivian, on the other hand, was scared of the whole thing and clung to her Daddy. She still says to him daily, "Let's talk about scared, Daddy. What happened to the eyes?" It didn't make sense to her then, it still doesn't now, but she knew she felt safe with her Daddy and loves to hear about it.

 Then we went to the most magical part of our day...

Belle's house and the Beast's castle. This is part of the new Fantasyland that just opened. 

Miriam was asked to be enchanted silverware for their re-enactment of the day Belle and the Beast fell in love.

The girls got to meet Belle!

A real, live princess!!

 We took in a few shows, all were really well done.

Vivian still talks about the Country Bear Jamboree.

Mommy thought this little bear was pretty funny singing about about tears in her wine. Is that allowed at Disney?

 A trip on Aladdin's magic carpets....

 ...a Jungle Cruise...

...two trips on the Dumbo ride...

 ...and much more (It's a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, the Buzz Lightyear ride, the Carousel of Progress, the teacups ride, food, gift shops, etc. etc. etc.). Yet somehow we didn't even cover the whole park! Vivian did take a nap in the Hall of Presidents which kept her going strong all day.

We stayed for the fireworks show at the end of the night. It was spectacular.


Then it was time to take our two very tired little girls home. Miriam has asked for promises that we will go back. Yes, Miriam, someday we will take you back. Just give your Mom and Dad a few years to recover, ok?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yes, there is...

A friend of ours, who shall remain nameless, came to dinner last night. He hadn't seen Mommy in a while and he said, "Whoa! There's a baby in there! You've really got a bump now, huh!?!"

Baby in Florida!
Yes, Baby is in there. Growing and growing. We're at thirty weeks now. And this Baby is a fun little creature. Miriam was talking to Baby yesterday morning. She felt Baby's hiccups and advised Baby, "Stop breathing, that will stop the hiccups." She continued talking to Baby, her face very close to Mommy's belly. And suddenly Baby kicked her in the face! The sibling rivalry begins! Miriam was absolutely shocked. She looked at Mommy like she couldn't believe what had just happened, like she finally understood there was a real, tiny person in there! If only we'd had a camera at that moment to capture the look for all of you. 

Besides picking on its sisters, Baby also seems to enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, late night acrobatic practice, and causing Mommy some serious ligament pain. Must be a big, healthy child in there.

These next ten weeks are going to fly. These past 30 weeks have flown. And we know we still have so much to do. The girls need their bunk beds painted and their room painted and their belongings combined because they will soon (hopefully very soon) be sharing a room.

And sorry we haven't said much here recently, we've kept ourselves pretty busy, like normal. Last week we were in Florida. More, many more, pictures of that to come. And this week we've been attempting to catch up around here. You know, finally getting the Christmas decorations down. And no, they're not down yet. But perhaps by the end of the week (that's within two maybe not). Tackling the endless stream of work Tim does. Occasionally looking at the ironing pile and considering if it should be attempted at all. Ever?!?!

Mommy did get something pretty HUGE done this week though...Vivian's quilt!!!

It's actually done! See, some progress has been made!!! The girls can be moved in together!

Oh yes, and we have a baby doll scrap quilt now, too. Because dollies (and bunnies and puppies) cannot be left out around here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 - The End

We wanted to share a little wrap up of our last few days of 2012. It's been a bit wild around here...we've had some kind of party for eleven days straight ending today. Even God rested on the 7th day!

We've kept up the crafting with the girls, though some days it only looks like a colored picture. Here's one of our more ambitious creative masterpieces, a foam gingerbread house.

We also celebrated Pepa's 94th birthday, though he did try to convince us he is actually 49. A bit of selective dyslexia perhaps?

The girls loved his birthday cupcakes.  Vivian's belly was coated in green frosting when she was finished and they both needed a bath.

And our dear friends Matt and Jill were married this past weekend in a beautiful, small country parish. They were so sweet, it was a lovely wedding, and we were so blessed to be able to witness it.

Matt's smile at the rehearsal says it all!

And we were able to spend time with friends we never see enough of at the reception!

Becca and Sarah
Ashley and Rachael
Eric demonstrating the "Call Me Maybe" dance
Tyler doing "Gangnam Style"
2013 looks to be busier and more joyful than ever with Baby #3 arriving, the business keeping Tim going in all directions, and one of Sarah's sisters getting married. We pray that you all have a very blessed, healthy 2013!