Saturday, April 22, 2017

Easter Roundup

Here is a roundup of our Easter weekend:

Saturday started out with Ben's first soccer game of the season. This is the only photo I got, in which it appears Ben just missed the ball--apparently we are both works in progress. Ben's the one in the middle with the "can't miss them" neon yellow shinguard socks.

Saturday afternoon we dyed eggs. Liv did all pink and purple. Ben dyed all colors but only put blue, green, and yellow on his plate. I kept putting the poor, unwanted orange eggs on their plates.

Then we went to dinner at Panera Bread and stopped at the park on our way home. (Dad was out golfing.)

Liv's new favorite look is to wear her brown boots with shorts. Luckily she is cute enough to pull it off.

When we got home the kids decided to have a water gun fight since it was so nice out. Liv was soaking wet (hard to tell in the photo but her shirt, shorts, and boots were completely soaked). Ben was bone dry. So we see which kid needs to work on her skills.

Sunday morning the kids were up bright and early at 6:15 to see what the Easter bunny had left.

Three generations. :-)

Then we made a plastic cup tower to run through and hung out playing with the new things that the Easter bunny brought.

We headed to Nana and Papa's for dinner, but for some reason I got zero photos.

Happy Easter!

Spring Break Texas Style

This year we decided semi-last minute to head down to Texas for Ben's spring break. We loaded up the car and headed out on the 14 hour drive at about 7 p.m. on Thursday. We had to make it down early enough for Mike to log on for a day of work on Saturday morning, so leaving on Friday as we'd originally planned was out.

The kids were both super good the entire way down. They both woke up each time we stopped for gas. They were delighted to go into a gas station bathroom and a Walmart in the middle of the night--I guess they felt like they were really breaking the rules.

At about 6 a.m. we stopped for gas, breakfast, and bathrooms at McDonald's. This one had a playland, so that was a nice way for them to stretch their legs and let out some energy. (Little did we know that this would be the first of a million McDonald's playlands in our future this trip.)

Back on the road with a DVD to entertain them for the last few hours of the drive.

Once we arrived, the kids wasted no time checking out the pile of cozy blankets and new sleeping bags that Grammy had prepared for them. They slept on the floor in our room the first few nights, but then made their way onto the bed midweek. Poor dad ended up on the couch. Here the kids are pretending to sleep. (I guess Liv forgot that you close your eyes when sleeping).

I was not the best photographer on this vacation, so here are just random moments.

The kids REALLY wanted to swim in the lake, but it was too cold. We took them to the dock just to check things out one day. I had no idea this dock visit was such a hit, until, on our last day as we were preparing to leave, we asked the kids what their favorite part of the trip was.Ben said this trip to the docks. Had I known, we could have easily taken him back here a time or two. Live and learn.

The carnival just happened to be in town the weekend that we were there, so we hit that up on Saturday and Sunday. We managed to spend the most money possible in our attempts to get a good deal--it's a skill. :-) See, we planned to buy the kids wrist bands, but then Saturday by the time we got there the wrist band deal was only good for another hour. So we decided to do wrist bands the next day. But of course the kids wanted to ride a few rides after seeing the carnival in full swing.

$40 later...we headed out only to return the next day, when we did buy wristbands. But then Mike and I bought a pack of solo tickets to ride the Kamikaze. Then the kids had to have a parent for a bunch of rides, so Mike just ended up buying a wristband anyway. Then there were the treats and games and... you get the picture. Seriously, we spent twice what we should have had we thought things through. But a good time was had by all, so it was worth it.

Mike and I ditched the kids with Grammy and Grampy and drove South about 45 minutes for date night. We didn't really care where we went, as long as it did not involve kids.

We saw a movie (Life, pretty good). Took a short nap at the hotel. Had dinner at a steak joint. Perused Target and The Container Store with no crying or whining. (Mike was tempted but kept it together.)

We even had dessert at the bar in The Cheesecake Factory at 9:30 p.m. on a school night. :-)

The next day we had a leisurely breakfast, popped into the local outlet mall, then headed back and met the kids and Grammy and Grampy for lunch. It might not sound like a wild and crazy night, but for us it was heaven just to have 24 hours in which we didn't have to take care of anyone but ourselves and could be on our own schedule.

Friday evening we loaded back up and headed out. We stopped in Joplin at a nice, clean truck stop with a huge store where the kids can climb on the huge trucks. (We'd stopped here once before and remembered that it was a good spot.)

Until next time, Texas!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Livvie Lou is 4!

My sweet, crazy, dramatic little Livvie Lou is 4! She is a little spitfire who can be the sweetest, silliest kid around. She is always cracking us all up. But that mood can turn on a dime, and then look out! You do not want to get on this kid's bad side.

Her hands-down favorite activity is watching YouTube videos on the iPad. She particularly likes Family Fun Pack, which she calls "funny pack," or watching our own videos of her as a baby, which she calls "me baby" videos. She also loves her babies, playdoh, and "doing her homework" (which is just practicing her letters on a piece of paper--which she is getting pretty good at).

Stats: 40", 31 pounds, size 9 shoe, size 4 clothes (though she can still wear some 3T bottoms and 2T in shorts--skinny minnie's waist fits fine in 2T but pants are too short); favorite foods are strawberries, cheez-its, sausage, and fruity candy--man, does this girl love candy.

Liv's birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, so the Saturday before we had a small friends party for her at Chuck E. Cheese (her choice, definitely not mine). She had fun, but there were highs and lows. She can be very moody, and that place is so crazy that she got a little overstimulated at times. But all in all, super fun!

Livvie chose Frozen as her party theme, and was very adamant that she wanted an Elsa balloon and poypal (purple).

I forgot to get a photo of the crap in the goodie bags, but it was a typical collection of junk. Heaven for my little packrat, Livvie. She picked out some Frozen-themed candy, a little plastic Frozen camera, some princess figurines, and a Frozen bracelet and necklace.

We invited the 9 kids in her class at daycare, plus a friend for Ben (the brother of one of Liv's friends so it worked out nicely). We ended up with 9 kids total, which was nice because the place was crazy and chaotic, and more kids at her party would have made it that much crazier.

Here she is with her friend Miley deciding if she wants to do the party dance with Chuck E Cheese.

From this picture, you can tell she did not. Like I mentioned, highs and lows this day (and every day).

Ben is all about the games and tickets, even though he claimed beforehand that a Chuck E Cheese party would be lame. He loves it here, but I guess he was trying to play it cool. He collected sooo many tickets--I think we cashed in 800 at the end of the party. So that we could get more plastic crap. Lord.

After about 45 minutes of play time, we headed to the party table for pizza, drinks, cake, and a celebration show.

Being the birthday girl, she got a light-up crown and bracelet. She kept taking it on and off.

So her friend Brooklyn decided to put it on for her and crown her birthday queen!

Then it was our turn in the ticket blaster, where tickets blow around and you grab as many as you can. Liv wanted me in there with her. I have to say, it was pretty fun. All the kids loved watching this thing.

Miley's mom grabbed these adorable photos and shared them with me. This is Livvie with Miley and Rileigh, two of her best little friends. So much cuteness.

Here are a couple videos we captured during the party:

On Tuesday she brought cupcakes to Creative World to celebrate with her class. I snapped a few photos before school, but this one is just so Liv. She picked out that jean jacket herself at Target the weekend before; she picked out that lunch box last month; and she drags a doll along everywhere she goes. And those light-up peppa pig shoes have seen better days but she loves them still. In a rare moment, she let me put her hair in a ponytail but then added that random blue clip to top off the look.

Then we headed to Liv's dinner choice--the mall food court. LOL--only Livvie! She's been wanting to go back for a few weeks when we did Build A Bear and rode the carousel. So, we rode the carousel and then grabbed our food and ate. The kids picked McDonalds, and then Liv wanted a smoothie for her treat and Ben and I got Baskin Robbins. (Mike had nothing--party pooper!)

Once home, we sang happy birthday and she opened up her presents from mom, dad, and Ben. Liv is thrilled with everything she receives, so it is fun to watch her open gifts. But her new veterinarian costume was the biggest hit.

This video is a little dark but worth the watch for the excellent fire safety tip at the beginning.

Until next year, Livvie Lou. Happy birthday!