Monday, December 09, 2013

Stalking and capturing the tree

We planned to go and cut our own tree this year for the first time. Yesterday, it started snowing big fat snowflakes. It couldn't be a more perfect day for tree adventuring. The boys were decked out for the weather.

And after some searching, we found a perfect tree. I honestly wanted one that was about 4 feet tall, given our limited space. The kids (and if I'm being honest, Ry) overruled me. Still, it was a lovely tree.

It was quickly cut.

 And dragged back to the car. Gummy Bear insisted on carrying back to the car. He made it most of the way before asking for some help.

And then it was decorating time.

Hurray Christmas Tree!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Thanks. Family. Ukeling.

We had my Dad, Stepmom and Father-In-Law for 3 glorious days over Thanksgiving weekend. We had a really lovely, lazy time. The boys really loved having their grandparents to play games, make cookies and other lazy-day activities.

La La bought "ninja-bread men" that the boys loved making and decorating.

They also got a lot of board-game time. Gummy Bear is actually pretty good at chess (you know, for a 6-year-old). Cheeky Monkey is easily distracted.

I had also gotten Gummy Bear a volcano kit for his half-birthday a while back. This was the perfect opportunity for the baking soda and vinegar explosion.

I only had to work Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend. While I missed saying goodbye Sunday morning, it meant that I got a lot of un-interrupted family time. This is pretty terrible picture of me, but a highly accurate peek and what it looks like when I get home from work in the morning.  You're welcome.

I have been doing a lot of Christmas Ukeling. I have apologetically been listening to Christmas music since the day after Halloween. My sister was here not too long ago and we recorded this song. It's a cover of one my favorite ukele-ists, Sophie Madeline.

We had a big ukulele Christmas singalong when the family was here over Thanksgiving. I may put some more Christmas Ukeling on the blog. There is so much great Christmas music and such a limited time to enjoy it every year. Shame.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

So very close

We are so nearly finished with our upstairs room project. It feels like this has been dragging on for half a year, although Ry assures me it's only been 2.5 months. As a reminder, we decided to put the boys in our bedroom together. I bought some paint and we discovered a leak in our roof (also, 3 layers of shingles, but that's another story). The leak led to a complete gut of the room. While we still have to finish the trim, baseboard and closet, the room is 90% of the way there. Today, we moved the boys in. The decorations are of course not finished. I also ordered matching bedspreads. Overall though, I feel like the room is as cute as a button. I didn't realize how freaking huge it was until we realized that we could fit a twin bed, full bed, bookcase, two night stands and a dresser in the room and it still looks huge. 

I am so relieved to finally be moving some of the crap cluttering our house. We are turning the old nursery into a guest bedroom and Gummy Bear's old room into a dining room. Ry's next project is a big farmhouse dining table. Awfully glad to have a handy husband. Anyhow, without further ado:


And After


And After

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blogging on

I just got off a 3-in-a-row at work. I simultaneously love and dislike these. I love putting my shifts together because then I get nice long stretches of days off. For example, after my Tuesday night shift, I am not back on until Sunday night. Lovely. While I'm in the midst of them though, it's rough. Literally all I do is eat, sleep and work. Today I got up after about 4 hours of sleep so I have a shot of getting back to sleep tonight. This has the weird effect of making me cry about everything. Cute picture on facebook? Blubbery. Lady walking her dog? Oh how sweet, and now I'm crying again. I guess the lesson here is that my hormones get all hormoney when I'm tired.

Anyhow, not much else is new here, but I am trying to get back into the blogging habit, so please to enjoy these random pictures of my kids:

Gummy Bear helping me remove the bagillions of candles he insisted should be on my birthday cake.

Cheeky Monkey ate half my edamame. Then he made helicopters out of the discarded carcasses.

They are never so peaceful as when entertained by magical electronic devices.

Getting them started early.

He's putting his baby and kitty to sleep and kissing them goodnight. Aaaand I'm crying again.

This is what it looks like when we Skype with my sister-in-law and new niece. Technology is fab. Please don't judge my dirty house. I have decided it's a lost cause. Also, I have more important things to do ... like make edamame helicopters.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Disney: The Highlights

We took our very first family vacation to Disney World in October. We decided to drive, pull our camper and stay in the Disney campground, Fort Wilderness. It. Was. Awesome. Also, tiring. Mostly awesome though. These pictures were taken by at least 3 cell phones and one camera, so they are all jumbled up. I am not going to reorder them in the proper order, but will caption them as close as I can get to the right day/park.

We decided to stay two nights in Myrtle Beach on the way down. This was a great idea. We had perfect weather and it really broke up the drive. Our campground was also on the beach. We literally walked about 100 yards to the ocean.

We got into Fort Wilderness late at night and got uploaded. Day one was spent at Epcot, which neither of the boys loved. Day two was at Animal Kingdom, which was a big success. On Day 3, Ry's mom and step dad joined us and we just hung out at the campground and Downtown Disney. Day 4 was Disney Studios and our final day was at Magic Kingdom. Overall, I think the kids liked Disney Studios the best, but that was as least partially due to the fact that it was over 90 degrees and many of the attractions at the studios have air conditioning.

Takeaways for me:
1. Staying at the Disney resorts is awesome. They are beautifully maintained and I loved the ease of the resort buses.
2. Orlando in October is still really hot.
3. Next time I will plan one more "down" day. The day spent in the pool really recharged us for the rest of the week.
4. Almost 4 and 6 are great ages for Disney.
5. The drive home sucked, but was far outweighed by the ability to cook in our camper, not pay for expensive flights and car rentals, and have the ability to pack more than would fit on an airplane.
6. Definitely bring reinforcements. Doing Disney with my in-laws was both fun and easier than doing it with just Ry and the kids. I always forget how much I love vacationing with our extended family until we do it, and then I remember that it rocks.

OK, here are the pictures, in no order whatsoever.
Hollywood Studios - blazing hot. Cheeky Monkey just couldn't walk any more.

Also Hollywood Studios. Just after the big EAR purchase.

End of Hollywood Studios day. To be fair, many of our days ended like this. Monkey didn't even move as we transferred buses and walked back to the campground. Big shout out to Papa Mike who carried him from the bus to the campsite.

At Myrtle Beach. Gorgeous. Also, the beach was ours and ours alone.

Napping is key. I should add that to my takeaways.

Setting out for Disney, day one. Off to Epcot!

I'm so bored! Epcot. That didn't take long.

Animal Kingdom. Our one character lunch. It was fun. I recommend only doing one though, unless your kids are total character freaks. Mine are not.



Watching the hippos at Animal Kingdom. Our safari was great, almost all the animals were out.

Another end-of-day shot. I think this was Animal Kingdom.

How we amused ourselves waiting for the bus.

Meeting Chip and Dale at the campfire singalong.

Creepiest dress ever. This is a skirt made entirely of Aurora dolls. Just. Ew. Downtown Disney.

Papa Mike helps Cheeky Monkey build a lego car in Downtown Disney.

Gummy Bear and the Army Man. He was strangely shy with this guy.

Cheeky Monkey and his idol, Jake.

One of our lines was actually for the Be Our Guest cafe in Magic Kingdom. It was so cool. Your food "magically" appeared at your table and was pretty delicious. The rooms were also gorgeously appointed.

We decided not to stay for the "not so scary Halloween party", but I got in some good gawking before we left. There were some seriously impressive costumes.

Hanging at the campground pool. Water slides and splash park. Win!

Also at Downtown Disney. They had a giant potato-head bar.

Ice Cream!

I think this was Hollywood Studios with his Mummu.

Many minutes were spent looking at maps and planning our attack strategy. It was also an excuse for icy beverages and snacks.

So excited to be at Magic Kingdom!!!!!

Log Flume at Magic Kingdom.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Back. Birthday. Boys.

My sister is in town for 10 glorious days. We don't get to see nearly enough of each other, and since both of us have stopped blogging, miss the little windows into each other's lives. So, we vowed to begin our blogs anew. I found that I use this blog as our family journal, going back to see what the boys looked like at certain ages or how big they were. I've missed a lot in the past year and probably won't go back to catch up (let's be realistic here), but hope to post a couple times a week going forward. So, without further ado ...

My cheeky monkey turned four this month. We had his party at our local YMCA and it was a huge success. Monkey is obsessed with Jake and the Neverland Pirates at the moment, so we had a pirate-themed party.  Mostly, the kids ran around in the gym, played with the giant parachute and bounced in the bouncy house.
Parachutes: my favorite part of elementary school gym class.
The kids raced around on these .... things.
And there was lots of bouncing.
Here's the spread. It was super fun putting everything together. We had "Pirate's Peg Legs" (pretzels), "Catch O' The Day" (goldfish), "Pirates Brew" (juice and soda) and whatnot.
And here was the cake. This was also fun. The beach was crushed graham crackers.
The Monkey had a blast and it seemed like our guests did too. Party: win!

Tried to get everyone to dress up in pirate gear. It had limited success. At least Monkey dug it.

I also missed out on Halloween here on the blog, so I'll toss in a few pictures from Halloween. 

The boys with our super-cool pumpkins. Jo and Mike came and spent several weeks with us again this year, so the awesomeness you see here is all due to Jo.

It should surprise no on that Cheeky Monkey was a pirate.

And Gummy Bear was a Jedi, a choice inspired by the fact that he got to carry a light saber.

And this isn't really a Halloween picture, but Cheeky Monkey is cute and he is wearing a skeleton shirt, so .... close enough.

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