Friday, January 31, 2014

Florida Part 2

The last two days have been cold and rainy. Well, cold for Florida's standards. Jason refuses to wear jeans while we are here so we stand out like the tourists we are while the natives walk around in pants and winter coats :) Not to mention our rental van that has California plates. All the drivers here are very aggressive so no one gives us a second glance on the road though.

Wednesday we took it easy. We went to Wonder Works which is basically a hands-on museum for all ages. There were definitely some cool exhibits. Certain aspects of it were neat, but it was really an over priced tourist trap we decided. Add cranky kids and a daddy who felt cooped up and we had to hit the road early. We grabbed some lunch and headed back to the hotel for naps.
Team work to make a wall of bubbles
Easton's fav, the giant Lite Bright
Once everyone had a nap we grabbed dinner before rounding out the night with a swim at the pool. So glad I made sure to book a hotel that had an indoor pool! Otherwise we might not have gotten in any swim time this week.
Guess we haven't been feeding Easton well enough though- this is the second bar of soap he has tried to eat!
Thursday proved to be another cold and rainy day. Lots of people recommended we hit Downtown Disney since we were skipping the whole Disney World experience this time around. While I was looking for things to do I found ads for DisneyQuest an 'indoor interactive theme park' for all ages. I thought this might be something fun for us to do so off we went.

The good news is it wasn't too busy, the bad news is it was cold and rainy out which means a lot of stuff that typically goes on along the boardwalk was not happening. We checked out a few shops, where Emma decided to spend her hard earned money. She ended up with a plush cat from Aristocats (no, it's not her fav movie, she just loves cats), Easton got a plush Lightening McQueen and Elissa got Piglet.
A family made of Legos outside the Lego store
Emma and princess Aurora
Without really asking any questions we the headed to DisneyQuest, forked over a decent chunk of change and went inside. Let's face it, everyone was cold and wet so we were also looking for shelter at this point. Turns out DisneyQuest is essentially five floors of arcade games. Admission gets you unlimited access to all the games for the day. While this may sound cool to most kids, ours are still a little young for it.

There were several virtual games and 3D rides, but our children were either too small or Emma had no faith in following her daddy on board after the earlier roller coaster incident. The forth floor had games primarily geared towards a younger crowd so we spent the majority of time there. Emma had fun, but Easton spent most of his time either running like a spaz from game to game or hogging the fire truck ride.
As you can see Jason is thrilled :P
After two days of crummy weather, we were hoping for sunshine Friday. The forecast was sunny and 78 when we went to bed. The next morning it had changed to mid-60s and 30% chance of rain all day. We had planned to take our trip to Busch Gardens and hit the road praying an hour drive south would make a difference.
I broke down and bought the kiddos hot chocolate at Starbucks in hopes to warm them up.
It did not. I planned poorly again because the entire family was decked out in shorts and t-shirts with only a hooded sweatshirt to fight off the cold rain. While this is still better weather than what was happening back home, it was definitely not ideal. This also meant Easton had to walk because I wanted to keep Elissa strapped in her car seat and ride in the stroller to offer premium protection for her.
Wet moppets
Nice and dry

Needless to say, if there was a puddle within ten feet of us my boy would find it and splash in it. He was soaked from head to town before lunch. One family stopped and asked us if we were from Canada due to our apparel. Not quite, but close!

Several of the animals were now where to be found due to the inclement weather, but we did see a few from the train that tours the park. We also took a gondola ride over the park where you could get a birds eye view of the animals as well. It even stopped raining for the last hour we were there so Jason was able to sneak in a few roller coasters before we left. No our ideal day, but we made the most of it.

They got along long enough to enjoy a ride together
Before we went back to the hotel we stopped to visit my grandparents who spend their winters in Florida. I'm so glad we were able to hook up with them before we headed home. I wish we had been able to spend more time with them, but grateful that we had a chance to see their new place and sit with them for a while.

Tomorrow is our last full day here before we pack up and head home. Not ready to go back yet! This is what it looks like at home:
Our driveway is in there some where....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Florida Part 1

Well, we made it! The flight here was the Or so it seemed for this achy, flu ridden mama. I've never been more thankful to get off a plane! The kids did awesome though, I'm so proud of them. I'm also thankful for my supportive hubby who took care of the older two while I rode it silent misery.

Of course once we gathered our luggage and started looking for our rental car company, we discovered that they are the furthest from the airport. Lugging two large suitcases, a stroller, two car seats, a booster seat and three kiddos a mile on foot was quite a task! So was navigating the roads once we were all strapped in and headed to our hotel. The roads in Florida are crazy, as well as the drivers.

We checked into our hotel, unpacked a few things and headed out to get dinner and some groceries for our stay. With all the kids and the hubby along we spent almost two weeks worth of groceries on snacky food! Then we headed back to the hotel for an early bed time. Everyone needed a good nights sleep after the last two days.
Elissa getting a head start on technology
Monday was beautiful out, mid 70's and sunny. We decided to head to the beach to walk around. First we went to Daytona Beach where we had lunch and walked along the water. I goofed and didn't pack the kids extra clothes. We've never spent a day by the water and not gone home with soaking wet kids. Emma and Easton might as well gone swimming by the time they were done splashing in the waves.
Not sure about the ocean

Before we left we decided to ride a few rides on the pier by the water. Jason really wanted to take Emma on this little roller coaster. Let's just say it may be a long time before she can be convinced to ride another one. I think her screams could be heard for miles! Then we all climbed onto the ferris wheel for a better view of the beach. We took the scenic ride home so we could see Cocoa Beach as well and stop for some ice cream.

When we got back to the hotel we all took a dip in the pool before settling in for the night. No one put up much of a fight, I think everyone was exhausted! We had big plans for the next day so I was grateful we were able to get a good nights sleep.
Ready to hit the pool
Tuesday morning we got up and ready to head to Sea World. The weather was beautiful and spirits were high. We were able to see several shows, Jason got to ride a few roller coasters and everyone had a great time.  Except when we were in line for the last ride of the day. I had been carrying Elissa all day in my Moby. Jason offered to take her for a little bit. Not long after I handed her over he noticed his hand was getting wet. Needless to say she had an epic blowout. I had to change her on the ground while we waited to ride and do my best to clean off Jason's shirt and shorts with our limited wipe supply. He was not happy, but it was hard not to giggle.

Checking out the new penguin exhibit

Dolphin show

Elissa loved Sea World
The next few days forecast rain so we are hoping to hit up a few indoor attractions while we wait for the sun to return Friday and Saturday. So thankful for this opportunity to get away, be unplugged and spend time as a family of five!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rough Start to Vacay

At this point we're starting to question whether we are supposed to go on this vacation... Friday began with another nasty snow storm. My mom called in the late afternoon to let me know she was on the road headed to help with the kids so I could pack for Florida. While I really wanted to see her and would love the extra set of hands, I told her it probably wasn't a good idea. The roads were terrible. M-40, a main highway near us had been shut down for several hours due to a multiple car pile up. She promised me it would be fine and she'd see us in a little bit.

The drift outside our garage Friday night
A few hours later she was at a gas station 10 minutes from our house. Jason told her to stay put. He would come get her up in the farm pick up with the plow and they would get her van later. She was a bit skeptical that all this was necessary. 20 minutes later I got a call from my aggravated hubby saying he was stuck in the middle of the road less than a mile from our house. My mom ended up having to check into a hotel in town for the night. So frustrating for everyone. In the mean time, Emma spiked a fever and started throwing up. Not the time for the flu!

The drift outside our garage Saturday morning
The next morning the plow made two passes past our house. I figured if she got on the road soon she would not have any trouble. However she needed to stop at Meijer to purchase a phone charger first. A dead cell and awful roads are a bad combo. An hour later I get a phone call from my neighbors phone- my mom is less than a mile away and can not get any further. She was near tears and so was I at this point. It had been a long night with a sick kiddo. I called Jason and again asked for his assistance. My awesome hubby drove to my mom's van, helped her dig it out and plowed ahead of her to our house.
Using a loader tractor to dig us out
Once they got her van up our drive and she thawed out inside, mom took over kid duty and I got to work packing. Next thing I know Jason texted me to say he now has the flu and is headed home to go to bed. Seriously??? I called the airline at that point to ask if there was anything we could do about changing out flight. After 48 minutes on hold I was told I can change our return flight, but since our departure was less than 24 hours away the only thing we could do was forfeit our tickets. Meanwhile the snow outside continued to come down while the wind was blowing furiously.

Are much debate, we decided we better hit the road for Lansing if we had any hope of making our flight the next day. Suddenly I had a much earlier deadline than anticipated and my packing became haphazard. We needed to leave our house by 5:00 because the county plows are pulled off the road after that point for the day. If you know me, you know I like things neat and orderly- ridiculously organized. I was unable to do things in my normal fashion and things just started getting tossed in the suitcases. I figured I could reevaluate once we got to my dad's later.

We loaded up the vans and drove a caravan to M-40 with my father-in-law in the lead with the plow. Once we got on the freeway the driving was a little less intense. After we got about 45 minutes from home it was pretty smooth sailing. Amazing the impact Lake Michigan can have on the weather! We arrived at my dad's house about 7:00 and Jason headed to bed for the night. I put the kids down shortly after, repacked our suitcases and took a shower before laying down for the night.

At 4:00 am, my fears became reality. I have the stomach flu too. Based on Emma and Jason's bout with it, it didn't seem to last more than 24 hours, but I'm not looking forward to the flight ahead of us. Praying we make it to Florida without any more excitement! I'm sick, exhausted and anxious about this trip, but so ready for a little family vacation. We haven't taken a big trip since Emma was three when we drove to South Carolina- we are long overdue!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Working Hard for a Livin'

It's not child labor if they're getting paid for it right?!?
We have an upcoming trip to Orlando and Emma wants to take some money along to buy something while we are there. She earned some money when she stayed with grandma a few weeks ago by feeding the dogs and helping to set the table. I recently did my annual 'clean out' of our files and had a large stack of paper to shred. Emma decided she was up to the task. She's been busy shredding away while Easton is entertained watching her (don't worry, there is no way either of them can be hurtful to the style of our paper shredder). Win-win for mommy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Two More Sweet Blessings!

In the past week and a half we have welcome two little girls into our extended family!

My cousin Lindsey gave birth to sweet baby Hadley last week. The kiddos and I were able to make the trip to Lansing to welcome her into the world. So thankful to be able to cuddle that little bundle! She is just perfect.

Then earlier this week my dear friend Lyndsey had her forth baby, Miss Molly. Another perfect addition to the family! She is too precious. The whole family made an evening visit to the hospital to snuggle another sweet babe.

Praising God for two wonderful healthy girls and the chance to be a part of their lives! I pray that miss Elissa is able to find awesome friendships with these girls as they grow, just as I have been blessed to have with their mommies.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snowmaggedon 2014

The past few days we have been confined to our house due to record cold temps (think -30 with wind chill) and about 20 inches of snow blowing and drifting outside. At one point there was a three foot drift outside our garage so I couldn't have left even if I wanted to!
Monday we spent the day being lazy which was actually refreshing after all the Christmas craziness. No one left their jammies, we watched movies, read books, played games.

By Tuesday I was feeling like I needed to do something. I started cleaning and once my Norwex came out there was no turning back. At the end of the day our house was cleaner than it has been in a long time.

Thankfully today we were able to escape for fresh air. Emma had her first day back to school and I had groceries to get. The pantry selection was getting thin since Monday is when I typically shop.

All the snow is pretty, but it sure was nice to have a change of scenery!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Over the River and Through the Woods

Emma got to spend a few days at my mom's house over break. They spent a lot of time sledding and skating, things that mommy can't get out to do with Elissa in the house.

Grandma also let her have hot chocolate every morning for breakfast and there was a discussion about having licorice for lunch. Who wouldn't love to stay at grandma's?!?

I think everyone had a blast. Emma missed home a little bit towards the end, but was ready to head back as soon as we got to our house. So glad they were able to make some memories together!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

5 months

Geez, 5 months! Where is time going?!?
You are growing up right before our eyes princess!
This past month was mostly spent preparing for Christmas and attending parties. You have logged many hours in your car seat as mommy tried to get her shopping done. And you were such a trooper about it! Many family members were able to meet you for the first time over the holidays too.

Due to all the craziness, it feels like we've completely lost your schedule some where along the way. The good news is you seem to be flexible about when and where you take naps. The bad news is I think it's going to take a lot of work to get back on track.
Your cloth diapers are still on the lowest rise setting and you fit a size 2 when we use disposables. I have finally caved and put most of your 3 month clothing away- the pants were just getting too short! So you are currently wearing mostly 3-6 month except for sleepers. Those are 6 month because we don't have any warm ones in 3-6. You swim in them!
The past month has finally brought giggles from our girl and I can't get enough! They are so sweet. Hearing that sound would put a smile on anyone's face. You have also become very vocal and show a lot of expression. I think next on your agenda is sitting. You do a great job when assisted so it won't be long now.
Trying to cherish everyday with you!