Thursday, October 22, 2009

Disney Day 1

Our day started bright and early with Adam and I getting up around 4:30 and the kids getting up shortly after 5. We were out the driveway by 5:15 with Alyssa and Joel still in their jammies ... and me wishing that I was still in mine. This trip marked Joel's first plane ride, but Alyssa had flown with me to Colorado in May, so she was a seasoned veteran. She took Joel under her wing, per usual, to make sure that he had a good first flight.

As soon as we stepped on the plane the flight attendants were really sweet to Alyssa and Joel and let them check out the cockpit. Then the pilot got out of his seat so that the kids could sit up front and I could take pictures. Then the co-pilot turned the microphone/speaker on and tried to get Alyssa to give a "shoutout to her Daddy in row 12", but she wasn't going for it. :)

Joel's "what do you mean I have to take my binky out for a picture" face.

I can't say enough wonderful things about the "Magical Express" transporation available to people staying at the Disney resorts. We walked up to a counter after we landed, showed them our baggage claim stub, then loaded a bus and our luggage "magically" arrived in our hotel room about 3 hours later.

We checked in at Disney's Caribbean resort and got to our room in "Jamaica", then headed off to check out the Downtown Disney area. My favorite stop was Goofy's Candy Company which housed THE. BEST. CUPCAKES. I have ever tasted in my life. I would go back just to get another one.

The kids had a lot of fun at the lego tables outside the Lego store and I was overwhelmed by the "wall 'o legos" - every color you could imagine.

The kids also loved the animated animals, especially the crocodile/alligator outside the Rainforest Cafe. We got back to our hotel room in time to enjoy our water view - both the lake and the pool - and a Floridian sunset.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Perfect fall day at the apple orchard

Last Sunday we got the pleasure of spending the morning at the apple orchard with some of our favorite people ~ the Kleffman family! Joel's favorite part was definitely the "tractor ride" (we actually rode in a wagon) that took us out to the apple trees and Alyssa said her favorite part was playing at the park/playground they had on site. But they both enjoyed picking the apples, too. I was surprised at how many apples the kids were actually able to pick because they were close to the ground. I'd only be apple picking once and I remember having to use this "basket on a stick" to pull apples down. Alyssa was all about the "baby" apples ... we brought a couple home, but I don't think they'll go very far towards our homemade applesauce!

All in all it was a great way to spend a perfect fall morning - thanks to Dee and the kids for including us this year.

Charlie, Sammy, Evan, Alyssa and Joel

Alyssa and her "baby" apple
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Tonight as I was curled up with Alyssa in her bed, she was rambling on about this and that, per usual. Immediately after she stated that she loved pink, I asked her if she knew what *I* loved.

She instantly rolled over to look at me with a small smile and said in a coy little voice, "Me?"

To which I replied, "Exactly".

Exactly, Alyssa. I love you.

One of my greatest hopes is that my kids always know that I love them with all my heart. That they never for a split second doubt that they are my entire world. That even when there is steam pouring out of my ears, even when I am screaming at the top of my lungs, even when I am dragging them kicking and screaming into the corner, even when I am threatening to list them on craigslist, I love them. With all that I am.

And tonight, I am reassured that at least so far, I'm not doing too bad of a job.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Twas the night before preschool ...

Even though the temperatures have been WAY below normal for the last several weeks. Even though the neighborhood kids have been in school for 3 weeks or more. Even though we haven't touched our swimming suits in more than 3 weeks and I can't remember the last time I hooked up the sprinkler, the end of summer is looming on the horizon here at our house.

I'm a little torn.

I'm excited for Alyssa to start preschool again. She's been bored to tears since all her neighborhood friends went back to school 3 weeks ago. Last year was a wonderful preschool year for her and I hope that this year will be even better. We chose to keep her in the 3 day a week class instead of moving her up to the 5 day a class - one of the tougher decisions that I've made in my 5ish years of mommyhood, but I feel like it was the right one. Its my hope that she'll break out of her shell a little since she'll be one of the older kids and take on some leadership. She'll be with the teacher that she really wanted and her friend Isabella from last year will be in her class, so I really don't worry about her.

I'm excited for Joel to start his "toddler time" class (hereafter referred to as OPPG or over-priced play group). Had I known how much he would blossom over the summer I'm not sure I would have signed him up for it, but I think in the end it'll be good for him to go. And at least half of his class is made up of boys, so it'll be good for him to be around some testosterone. When he and I went shopping for stickers for his bucket last Sunday he immediately made a beeline for the big princess castle sticker covered in pink sparkles ... not that there's anything wrong with that! He was fairly easily distracted by the Lightening McQueen and Mader stickers, though.

And I think my Wednesday mornings to myself are going to be good for me. For my sanity and for my stress level, which hopefully in turn will make me an even better mommy and wife.

I'm looking forward to having the structure and schedule that preschool insists upon for 3 days of our week. But there is a little part of me that is sad to see our carefree days of summer end. The days of going to the gym if/when the mood struck were nice. Or of staying in our jammies until the middle of the afternoon or heading off the zoo or the park on a whim. Or just sitting around and doing nothing. But that's what Tuesdays and Thursdays are for, right?

Stay tuned for first day of school pictures coming soon ... and hopefully with the start of the new school year I will mark the return of regular blogging!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Big Day

Yesterday marked a very big day at our house ... Alyssa lost her first tooth! I was totally floored even though I should have expected it on some level. She seems so young since she doesn't even turn 5 until next month. But I was 4 1/2 when I lost my first tooth and when we went to the dentist about 5 months ago they mentioned that her front teeth were a little loose and that she would be on the earlier end.

I had found these adorable "tooth fairy" pillows online a few months ago that I fell in love with. They had all sorts of "themes" like princesses, ballet, butterflies etc for girls and tractors, balls, cars, dinosaurs etc for boys and are personalized with the child's name. And have a "pocket" to put the lost tooth in. In the back of my mind I thought I would get one for Alyssa for Christmas. Whoops! :) So we were a little "unconventional" with our Tooth Fairy process. I told Alyssa that she could pick out what kind of pillow she wanted the Tooth Fairy to send her, then we would write a letter to her letting her know that she lost a tooth and asking her to send the pillow. Then I explained that she would put her tooth in the "pillow pocket" and the Tooth Fairy would take her tooth and leave her money while she was sleeping. So we wait for the pillow to arrive in the mail ~ and it buys the Tooth Fairy's local assistant some time to hit the bank for sacagawea dollars!

We had gotten home from the gym and the kids were playing while I was in the shower. Alyssa came upstairs and was absolutely hysterical. It took several tries before I realized that she was wailing "my tooth is going to fall ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut"! I figured she probably just bumped it and thought it was loose, but got out of the shower to calm her down and check. Sure enough her tooth was wobbly as all get out. I barely had to pull at all to get it to come out, all the while thinking "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh" - loose teeth give me the heebie jeebies and I was so not expecting this to happen so soon! I felt horrible that Alyssa was so upset. We hadn't really talked about losing teeth yet, so I think she thought that she had "broken" her tooth. I explained that it happens to everyone and that she'll get new, bigger teeth and that its just a sign that she's growing up. She perked up really fast when I told her about the Tooth Fairy bringing her money. :)

Interesting side note: I lost my first tooth when I was using my teeth to try to pull a mitten off in the winter. Alyssa was using her teeth to try to tighten her bike helmet strap. Like mother, like daugther. We then had a long talk about how teeth are only for chewing food/gum and not to be used as a tool.

All in all, she's pretty proud of her new "hole" and the fact that she can stick her tongue through it. I think she looks absolutely adorable, but I can wait for her new teeth to come in. I'm afraid she'll look too big then.

And again I'm reminded how lucky I am to be able to stay at home with my kids. I'm so thankful that it was me that got to pull out her first tooth and be there to wipe away her tears and celebrate with her ... to be there to watch those little milestone moments first hand.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Its Official! Ticker
Free Disney Tickers

I booked our Disney trip today! We'll be staying at the Caribbean Beach resort in a waterview room near one of the pools (there are 7, I think). Our flight gets into Orlando at about 3PM the day before Alyssa's birthday, so we'll be ready to hit the Magic Kingdom bright and early on her big day, starting the day off with a character breakfast with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet. The next day we'll have a character breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto before heading back to our hotel to hang out at the pools, playgrounds, etc for the rest of the day. That night we'll go to "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party", which I'm really excited to check out. Then we'll head to the airport the next day around noon. Short and sweet, but I think its going to be a really fantastic trip ... and so far I'm on budget!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Big day!

After Joel woke us up this morning by popping up next to Adam in our room, we decided that a trip to the "big bed" store would be in order this fine Sunday. So off we all went to pick out Joel's big bed. He and Daddy took the crib down and got the bed set up while Alyssa and I were at a movie and it was absolutely adorable how excited/proud was to show off his big bed when we got home. I ran out to Target and found some great deals on new bedding, then Joel and I got the bed all "dressed up" while Daddy and Alyssa were at the park.

Breaking in the bed ... 1 little monkey Joel jumping on the bed!

Ready for the big boy

Reading books
Out like a light ...
after a few excursions out to the hallway to check out what Mommy and Daddy were up to, of course! Overall it didn't go too badly - so far, but its only 9:30. :) I think it helped that he has slept in a big bed at Grandma and Poppa's with Alyssa a few times. He has been such a fantastic sleeper going down around 8PM and waking up around 8 or 8:30 AM and then taking a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. I hope his sleep habits transition into the big bed with him!

And for anyone who is wondering, I have broken down in tears several times today as I think about my big guy. Sitting here tonight it seems so weird to me that for the first time in almost 5 years there is not a crib set up somewhere in my house.
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Monday, June 01, 2009

Vacation - Colorado '09

The Friday before Memorial Day Alyssa, my parents, and I flew to Colorado for my niece's high school graduation. We had a great trip. Alyssa was a fantastic traveler and enjoyed her first plane ride. She kept asking me why we were going so slow, which I realized it does kind of seem like if you don't "know" how quickly you're flying. And she had a hard time wrapping her head around the fact that the "other plane" that she could see out the window was actually the wing of our plane. And it was cute how concerned she was about our suitcase when we checked it at the airport.

It was a weekend full of tension due to a couple ex-wive's and people who normally wouldn't want to be anywhere near each other. But everyone was on their best behavior for the most part and I was so glad that I could be there to see Brandy graduate. Glad and very, very proud. She has turned into such a wonderful, thoughtful and caring young lady. And I have a new reason to be thankful for my iPod - put a few cartoons/kid shows on that thing and its a great way to entertain a 4 year old while waiting for airplanes and at boring graduation ceremonies!

I also got to have coffee one morning with a friend of mine from high school that I've recently reconnected with. We had a great time catching up and it was fun to be "high school" Christi for a couple hours. He is one of the very few people in my life who doesn't know me as Adam's wife or Alyssa and Joel's mom ... I'm just Christi.

A highlight for me was that I got to take Alyssa (along with my mom and youngest niece) to "Santa's Workshop/North Pole" which is just outside of Colorado Springs nestled towards the bottom of Pikes Peak. Its a place that my parents took me when I was just a little older than Alyssa and I have fond memories of it. Alyssa had a great time riding the rides; the first time she's really be to an amusement park type place. She was nervous about seeing Santa at his house and didn't want much to do with feeding the deer, but she was very excited about riding the ferris wheel with her cousin Anna and I. I don't think she understood why I wouldn't let her wave at Grandma as she was trying to take a picture while we were at the top of the ferris wheel, though. :)

Other highlights of the trip were our visit to "Territory Days" in Old Colorado City (at least until it started pouring rain) and for Alyssa ~ jumping on the trampoline, playing airhockey, and finishing up a long day in the hot tub. Uncle Mark's house is almost like a resort!

Out of the mouths of (my) babes ...

One of Joel's newest/cutest things he'll say is "pretty please" - although it comes out "pea peas?" I'm not entirely sure where he picked it up, but he uses it without prompting (most of the time) and its absolutely adorable.

A couple weeks ago we were getting into the car after attending my goddaughter, Janika's, first birthday party. Alyssa had been eating these first birthday mints that Angie had found somewhere all afternoon and I happened to unwrap another one for her and one for Joel as we were all getting settled into the car. Then from the backseat I heard:

"You suck Joel!"

My heart skipped a beat as my head whipped around to look at Adam to see if he had heard what I had heard. And I wondered where on earth Alyssa had learned that and what Joel had done to deserve such a response. I breathed MUCH easier, though, when that line was followed by:

"Don't chew, suck!"

She was just watching out for her little brother ... making sure that he knew the ropes of proper mint eating.

Alyssa's Dance Recital

Last weekend marked the end of Alyssa's second year of dance with the spring recital. I'm still not overly impressed with the studio we have her at because I'm not seeing a lot of "technique" being learned, but she has a great time jumping around, tiptoeing, stomping, clapping, etc with her friends, so that's what matters, right?

I was so proud of her while watching her do her dances. I took all my pictures during dress rehearsal Friday night, so Saturday night for the actual performance I could just watch. I think too often I get so caught up in trying to capture moments on camera that I forget to actually watch what the kids are doing. It warmed my heart to see her up on stage, doing what she was supposed to be doing (for the most part) and just watching her face light up because she was having so much fun.

Her ballet routine was a song called "Bake Sale" that was actually "sung" by Minnie Mouse ~ lots of "this is for the bake sale, Mickey, please don't touch!" lines and the girls had a great time wagging their fingers.

Tap routine was a song called "Fiesta" and Alyssa's favorite part was that she got to count to 4 in Spanish. :) I would guess that she would say that this one was her favorite ... maybe just because tap shoes make a lot more noise than ballet slippers!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Then and Now

Alyssa on her first day of preschool
Alyssa on her last day of preschool

Maybe its just me, but I can't get over how much older she looks in the second picture. I'm a nerd to dress her the same, I know, but I love being able to compare the two!
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Thursday, May 07, 2009

29 years

Today is my 29th birthday.

Unlike some people, I welcome the end of my 20s. I have a small list of things I want to accomplish in the next year that I've been referring to as my "20s bucket list" (aka things I want to do before my 20s "kick the bucket) that I'm looking forward to. Most of all that I want to run (okay, maybe jog) a 5K. I'm leaning towards the Susan Komen Race for the Cure in October, but after sharing this with my friend Paula, she suggested that we do one together either when she comes to visit me here or when I go out there ... heck, maybe I'll do 2! I never thought that I would ever, ever, ever be the type of person who wanted to do an organized athletic event, but I really hope to do it. Along with that I hope that I will end my 20s on a healthy note. I want to have made exercise a daily part of life for me and my family and finally reach a healthy weight/BMI.

As I sit here tonight I'm slightly in awe of all the birthday wishes, calls, e-mails, messages, etc that I've received today. I am really, really blessed to have such amazing friends and family - I have a wonderful support system in my life.

I'm thankful that I'm at this point in my life with a husband who I love more today than the day I married him (even if, or maybe because, he bought me RAM* for my computer for my birthday and installed it in my computer several weeks ago without me knowing/realizing). I'm thankful that I have two perfect-for-me children. They are far from traditional perfection, but I wouldn't know what to do without them. I'm thankful that I have the friends that I have. People who I can count on for anything, any time. And I'm thankful for the woman who brought me into this world 29 years ago today who after through all we've been through, good and bad, I now consider one of my best friends. Since becoming a mom myself I think of my mom differently every year on my birthday. I realize that this day is not just about me, but its about her, too. And I'm thankful for her.

To those of you who are reading this who reached out via phone, e-mail, card, gift, cheesecake, or facebook and helped this be such a wonderful birthday ... thank you from the bottom of my heart. I expected my day to be very ordinary, but it turned out pretty darn extraordinary.

* Adam and the kids also got me an iHome docking station for my iPod, gift certificate to LL Bean for a toiletry bag that I'd been lusting after, new earphones for my iPod, and Mario Kart for the Wii ... it wasn't all RAM. And Chinese food and a GIANT chocolate cake. Adam did very well. ;)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The clothesline

Good for the environment and hours of entertainment for the kids ... its a win-win situation!

Until said children decide to sit *inside* the fitted sheet and pull the whole line down.

And for anyone who cares ... this was taken about 10 minutes before Alyssa decided to show off how she can turn the hose on by herself and proceeded to soak all the sheets again. *sigh* Do they make baby proofing something-or-others for hoses?
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Sunday, April 05, 2009


Joel was playing outside Friday afternoon with Alyssa and Braden from across the street when he face planted onto our cement patio. I heard his head hit the concrete before I saw him fall. It took me about 30 seconds to get up, grab him and sit back down then pull him away from me so that I could survey the damage and already a golfball sized lump had appeared on his forehead. Made my stomach turn to see it. Sherry, our friend/neighbor across the street, decided that from here on out she's going to call him "Goose" - we decided it would be a pretty cool nickname to have in 15 years when we're watching him go off to prom. :) The pictures don't do it justice, but I had to document it for an "ouch" scrapbooking page. Thanks for the idea, Angie!

in good spirits ... making faces as mommy was trying to take pictures.
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