Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chula Vista = Picture Overload

A couple months ago we found out about a deal at Wisconsin Dells for a short trip.  Included in the super low price was two nights in a two bedroom junior suite (perfect for putting the kids to bed and still being able to watch tv), waterpark passes, and all you can eat/drink.  It was too good to pass up.  We ended up having to upgrade our room because all the regular rooms were booked and all that was left of the two bedroom options was the Wild, Wild West theme room.  It was pretty funny and Jackson got a kick out of it.
 He slept in this covered wagon and we slept in the wigwam.
 The trip was so great.  We spent all of our waking time either swimming, eating, or walking to and from the pool and buffet.  Chula Vista is a big resort so it was quite the hike through the underground walkways from our room to the pool.  Luckily, Jackson is easily impressed and there was a lot to look at along the way.
"Oh, hi golilla!"
 He kept insisting that this airplane was Thomas no matter how much we tried to convince him it wasn't.
 The buffet was great for us.  It wasn't fine dining by any means but when one of your table guest grabs the sugar packets, immediately dumps them on the table, and demands that Daddy "make a train", fine dining isn't what you want anyway.  There was plenty of good food to eat and it got the job done!
 We went to the pool the first night as soon as we got settled in our room.  The kids LOVED it!  I was so excited because Jackson is pretty unpredictable and I was slightly worried that he would freak out and the weekend would be a disaster.  That crisis was quickly averted.
 Charley loved it too!
 She sat and looked around while Jackson splashed like a crazy man in the kiddie pool.

 Jackson preferred to stay in the wading pool with the fountains, small slides, water guns, etc. so several times throughout the weekend Bryan or I would go off and do some slides while the other stayed with the kids in the shallow area.
 I was impressed with how much they could cram in an inside area.  The lazy river was great!  There were plenty of big water slides and even a roller coaster type slide that allows you to go up and down with conveyers.
 The water was really warm and the temperature in the room was super balmy so it was really comfortable even though it was so cold outside.
 Over our 48 hour stay we went to the waterpark four separate times.

 We were quite the sight in the lazy river with the kids piled on top of us.  They loved it so much though!

 Charley might qualify as the most easy going baby ever.  She was so chill the whole time even though there was no set nap schedule, late bedtimes, and lots of new experiences for her.  Bryan loves this picture above.  I think she is pooping. :)

 When we got home late Tuesday afternoon I noticed JJ had scratches all over his forearms, legs, and belly.  He was rolling around in the water so much that he had scraped his skin.  He didn't care one bit!

 We were so excited about swimming that no one used the shower the whole time we were there.  Is that gross?  Oh well!  We took chlorine baths and then washed up at home.  We didn't want to waste any time!  Charley was sporting some pretty good hair dos after falling asleep in the stroller after swimming.
 I had a cold during the trip so by the last day I was ready to be done swimming.  The thought of shriveled fingers for another day was too much so Charley and I just sweated hung out and had a bar beverage while the boys swam. We only had a little bit of time before we had to drive home.

 We had so, so much fun!  We talked on the way home about how we think this was probably the most succesful trip we've had as a family of four and probably the best since we had kids at all.  The fun to tantrums ratio was a positive one!
Luckily we were in a good mood because the weather coming home was unpleasant.  These were the road conditions for about an hour.  We were driving about 20-25 mph and trying to stay away from the semis that were slipping around a bit.  It only took us an hour longer than normal to get home.
We have some great neighbors who watched Claire for us so once we got home they brought her over and I got to work with the snowblower!
Such a fun and relaxed adventure for us!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Busy Bag Swap

We just had our BIG Busy Bag Swap. We were talking about making some at a play date several weeks ago and some of the moms had done one that was successful. I posted it in our Facebook group and there were 16 moms who were interested. I made the felt faces from the last post.  There was a lot of work for everyone to make 16 sets of each game but the end result is worth it!  We now have 16 different games that JJ can play!  He has tested several out and given his stamp of approval.
This is only 12 of the 16 but it gives an idea of what's in each bag.  These are Friend Memory Match, Clothespin Spelling, Color Wheel Matching, and Fishing.
Blogger keeps moving this photo here so I'll leave it.  I made a bag for each kid and then the moms just put an activity in each bag.  Kind of like passing out Valentines:)

These games are Popsicle Stick Shapes, Shape Matching, Bead Stringing, and Color Shades Matching.
 The last set of pictures is Sticker Books, Button Snake, Number Matching, and Opposite Matching.
It was another really successful playdate!  It was a bit loud with 9 moms, 10 toddlers, and 6 babies but everyone survived.  Except JJ's train table.  It has seen better days.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Phone Photos

I just uploaded (downloaded? I don't know the difference) lots of pictures to the computer so I wanted to share them here too. It's wonderful to have a nice DSLR camera but now that iPhones can take pretty good pictures, I find myself using that a lot! What a great resource to have though. Here are some pictures from the last couple weeks.

I'm not sure what was going on this day with Charley but she just looked so different to me.  Maybe it was her hair?  I don't know but something was different.  She was having a fun time hanging out with the boys at our play date.
 Jackson and Jacob have been playing together for over 2 years.  It's fun to see them change.  They are definitely in the "MINE" phase right now.
 Jacob stayed the night with us last Friday night so his parents could go out on a date.  Jackson thought it was so funny that Jacob was going to be sleeping at our house.  Bryan was out of town so it was just me with the three kids.  He texted me the next morning to see how it went but when I responded, "Great!  Let's have another" he reminded me that they don't come at age 2.  He's always the voice of reason.

Jackson had a small classroom performance at school on Valentines day.  His Thanksgiving performance left him screaming and running towards me and he stood and stared like he had never seen his classmates before for the Christmas one.  I wasn't expecting much for this one but he really got into by the third song.  Silly boy. 

 I just want to eat this picture. Her chubby little fingers clutching Sophie as she sleeps. It's just too much!
 Nana and Papa were with us this weekend.  We had a relaxing time and my dad was able to install a new kitchen faucet and mount our big mirror above the fireplace.  Thanks dad!
 We all enjoyed having extra hands around here.  I often feel like a circus performer juggling the kids.
 Charley started eating some real food this weekend.  When I would give her a puff or melt before, she would open her mouth and then usually just spit it out.  This weekend she was eating Ritz crackers, blueberries, and green beans!
 Today it's been pretty warm so after playing the basement for a while, we bundled up to go to the park.  Jackson would not put down his bag of snacks and Charley kept giving me her serious face.  It's really the only one she's got!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Proof is in the Pin!

It's time for another link-up with Sarah's blog, Life{Sweet}Life. I had a lot of pinterest projects this month so I was ready for it!  It's quite a wide range of topics too!

The first project was Felt Faces for JJ.  My Mom's group decided to do a Busy Bag Swap.  We ended up with 16 participants.  I made 16 sets of these faces (LOTS of cutting) but I will get 15 different bags from other moms!  I'm so excited.  Our swap is next Tuesday.  This site linked to the pin has lots of great ideas!

My next project was No Bake Cookie Butter Cookies.  I saw the Trader Joe's Flyer and this product jumped out at me.  I still don't get how cookies makes a spread like this but I don't ask questions.  I just eat it.  It is delicious on Ritz crackers or with apples.
 These are the no-bake cookies after our small group devoured them.  It made a lot!  I'm not sure I would make them again.  Since they look like peanut butter I kept eating them wishing it was peanut better.  The Cookie Butter itself is good but I think next time I'll just make regular no-bake cookies.
 Project number 3 was from this pin.  These turned out well especially if you like those packaged, thick sugar cookies from the grocery store.  It was all really good but I don't really like those super soft cookies.  The icing was just kind of "eh" to me.  I will make the cookies with my regular icing recipe next time.  Just powdered sugar and milk.
 I didn't have to make anything for project 4!  I have given up my relationship with the sun so in order to fix my crazy pastiness, I am in the market for sunless tanning lotion.  This pin was so helpful!  She did a great job describing a bunch of different lotions.  This was one of her top choices and I love it!  I mix it half and half with my regular lotion and I still get a great color.  The only think I don't like is that it has some shimmer to it so it doesn't do well on your face unless you want to look like a high school cheerleader at a pep rally.
 And finally, this pin.  I love this when I saw it and then one day it hit me that I had what I needed to do it!  When my parents were here when Charley was born, their dog pulled off some of our fence pickets.  They were just taking up space in the garage so I cut them up and screwed them together with another piece of scrap wood I found.  I just free handed the words with regular acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby.  I messed up the spacing on the bottom so it's squished but I'm over it.  The perfectionist in my wants to pull off that bottom board and re-do it but the lazy part of me is fine with the way it is.  This project took about an hour, start to finish.  So easy! 
 Also, that chevron piece next to it? Bryan calls that our Charlie Brown urn. Ugh. Boys.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Music Class and Mom Guilt

Wednesday mornings are Jackson's second favorite day of the week.  Let's be honest though.  When you're Jackson, every day has to be pretty great.  Playdates, music class, school, church, daddy, children's museums, parks, etc.  He's living the toddler life.  But this kid looooves music class!  When we were going to Cradle Talk Caryn, the music teacher, came to promote her MusikGarten.  She did a little sample of what would be done in class and JJ was so amused!  Even at seven months.  We have been going to music classes ever since.  It's especially fun (and expensive) now because Charley is now a class participant too!  She's her usual self.  Totally serious with massive cheeks.  Here's a peek into our class.
JJ running around with his friends before class.  They hadn't seen each other in a couple weeks and were ecstatic.  And loud.
Charley's favorite part is eating the shakers.

Or the scarves.

Jackson too.  This was the activity that sold him way back when.

He still hasn't tired of it.

Just drummin'

Getting instructions from Miss Caryn.
I am hoping to go back to teaching in the fall and this is one of the activities I will be so sad that we can't participate in anymore.  I get really sad about it and have to remind myself that the kids will still be fine if they haven't had weekly music classes their whole lives.  Oh, mom guilt.  Get away from me!