Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Kids Are Cute

I know I'm biased, but pictures don't lie.



























































Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jumping Rope

Watching little kids try to jump rope is hi-larious ...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break?

Today is the first day of spring break. SPRING break. The first official day of said spring was seven days ago on March 21. This is the view outside our house this morning.





























We are currently experiencing what the weather people like to call a "light snow mist." Doesn't that sound all cute and fuzzy? Well, it's not. What happened to the 75 degree days of last week? And for this to be happening on spring break? You might as well bury me now. The snow has reduced our morning activities today to coloring, play doh, and a dance party (yes, we've listened to the Hamster dance song at least 5 times so far today). Please come back spring, I'm begging you. PLEASE!

Picture of the Week - March 27

Mowing the grass is way more fun with a purple tutu.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today's Special

Does anyone remember that show on Nickelodeon? It had something to do with a mannequin who came to life in a department store after hours. I think there were some sort of Muppets involved as well. And this whole rant is really off-topic anyway because what I was aiming to do was show you a list of things that are special to me today ... get it? Lame attempt, I know. Here are some things that I (and the fam) are loving right now.





















I still cannot believe we scored a bottle of 360 allergy pills from COSTCO for only $15!!! I am serious, y'all. My allergy-stricken nose does not lie. After wasting years of cutting Zyrtec coupons for the upcoming allergy season, I have found an alternate solution! One bottle of Zyrtec (48 tablets) costs over $20 alone, so this was a steal. I have never had a problem with generic medicines ... if you read the labels, the generics and the real deal have all the same things in them. So, I basically just saved myself some paper cuts (from all the coupon cutting) and some moolah (360 tablets of Zyrtec would have cost almost $150)!














We've had this cool art display rod for a while, I've just been lazy about sharing. We have been looking for a good way to display the cartloads of art that our kids crank out on a daily basis. The fridge just doesn't provide enough room and occasionally I have trouble finding the fridge door handle amid all the art. Enter the Dignitet curtain wire. We actually scored this at Ikea. It is supposed to be a wire curtain rod, but we use it to display art. The rod came with clips to hold the supposed curtains, but we use it to hold the pictures instead. Now we have a great place to display all kinds of art in our playroom!

PS - I am not that original that I came up with this idea myself. The nice Swedish people at Ikea already had it on display at their store when we visited a few months ago.





















Talking about Today's Special has now gotten me all nostalgic. Does anyone remember reading Highlights magazine? I have many fond memories of sitting at the hair salon as a kid and flipping through this kids' magazine and laughing at Goofus and Gallant or trying super hard to find the six difference between the two similar pictures. I really wanted I wanted my kids to read Highlights too, but they're still a little young. Enter High Five!! It's Highlights' version of their magazine for kids age 2-6! We've already received our first issue and they love it!














Matt recently returned from a trip to Philadelphia and he brought the kiddos back this Alphabet Magenetab. It's awesome because we have recently started to work on trying to draw the letters. It comes with a magnetized pen and as you draw along the lines, the pen makes the magnets pop up. I'm bad at explaining it, but you get the idea. The kids have really enjoyed it so far and it's an easy way to practice letters without having to pull out all the paper and crayons.














Ok, the kids don't appreciate this (yet), but I do! It's the March Madness app on my iPhone. It's great because it lets you watch any game, has real time scores, and let's you look at the entire and/or partial brackets. As a basketball fan, I'm in heaven this time of year anyway ... but this app just puts me over the top!

This last thing is amazing, so I have to prepare you. Now, I must warn you that if you don't have young, just potty-trained children, this may seem a bit anti-climactic. But this is one of the best things to have entered our house. Please welcome ... the Bemis Mayfair NextStep Toilet Seat with (WITH!) Built-In Potty Seat.

I'll pause until the applause dies down.

Finished? Ok.

This is the single greatest thing to ever come into our bathroom. We do not have a half bath, so the kids and any guests (and me during the day if I don't want to hoof it upstairs) all have to use the same potty during the day. We have transitioned away from little kiddie potties and only use the big potty now. We were using a removable potty seat, but we were endlessly taking it off and on and off and on depending on if a child or adult was using the potty. Plus, we didn't have anywhere to store the kids' potty seat. It seemed kind of gross (not to mention unsanitary) to see a potty seat hanging on a doorknob or on a towel rack, so I was elated to find this all-in-one seat.

Here's how it works (I know you are shaking in your boots with excitement) ...

When you open the potty seat, you see this:





















The adult potty seat is ready to go and you can see the kids' potty seat that is magnetized to the toilet seat cover above. So if you were an adult using the potty, you'd be ready to go (literally and figuratively) at this point.

But say you were a three year old with a booty too little for the adult potty seat. Well, you'd just do this ...





















And you'd be left with this ...





















A little potty! What a great invention! And when you close the lid of the potty the kids' potty seat re-magnetizes to the lid so that when it's reopened, you have the adult seat again ... genius! I know, I know, it doesn't take much to amaze me these days. But anything that can prevent hanging toilet seats on doorknobs is a winner in my book.

Does anyone else have any items they are loving right now? Any cool apps or kid-friendly things that make your life run more smoothly? I think my love for our potty seat may last me quite a while!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Should I Be Worried?

I still don't get the joke, but they sure think it's funny...

I still can't decide if I should be worried that they're laughing at a naked baby dancing (indicating future pedophiles) or that Luke appears to think smashing the baby on the table is funny (indicating future child abuser). I think we need to have more talks about modesty and gentleness over the next few weeks.

**Disclaimer - I in no way mean to indicate that pedophiles or child abusers are funny. They are revolting in every sense of the word. But laughing little boys are just too cute to ignore :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Singing in Church

A few weekends ago Peyton, Sam and Adah's preschool was invited to participate in Preschool Sunday at the church where their preschool is held. They had a lot of fun going to "big church" and getting to sing some songs for all the adults.

The girls were really into it from the start.





















 Sam, on the other hand, decided to sit in the corner.





















Finally, he decided to stand up ...














And immediately began to disrobe.














I was pretty sure that little boy nudity wasn't part of the church program, so we got him to stop before he managed to get the shirt over his head.

Finally, everyone relaxed and started to sing. They even did the hand motions!




































Adah really got into the motions for the last song.














The sweet members of Messiah Moravian Church gave the children a wonderful reception after the service complete with chicken nuggets and cake! We love the kiddos' preschool so it was a lot of fun to visit with and give back to the members of the church where they go to school every week. And who knows, maybe we have a few budding singers (or chippendale dancers) in our house!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Picture of the Week - March 20

Wishing I was back here today ...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Telluride, Part III: Snow Forts, Icicles, and Ski School

One of the best parts of the trip was all the time that Peyton, Sam, and Adah got to spend with their cousins, Anna and Thomas. One particular afternoon everyone decided to head outside for an afternoon of sledding and snow play. There was even a full fledged snow fort by the time they were done!














































We also staked out some pretty fantastic icicles.





















I don't know how sanitary it was to lick the them, but it had started before we could stop her.





















After a lot of deliberation, we decided to let the kids try a day of ski school. They begged to go for a few days, so we finally gave in. I wasn't able to get any pictures of them skiing because we were skiing ourselves that day. Bogey tried to sneak by and get some pictures when he could. Here's the best one we could get. I think it's Peyton (it's hard to tell when the girls have the same snowsuit).














Overall, they did ok. It was a long day for a 3 year old (9am-3pm) and they missed their usual afternoon nap. I think they did enjoy it, they just got tired by the end of the day. Sam did end up with a rockin' hairdo after wearing a ski helmet all day.





















Other highlights of the week included (and you probably won't get a lot of these unless you were there, sorry!): Uncle Tuffy, a separated shoulder, war drums in the loft, Cookie, Tadpole, Fire, Wiki-John, Gourmet, Clue, Uno, (lots of) chips, the house elevator, See Forever, Revelation Bowl, Bushwhacker, yard sales, dance parties, the Van Morrison Pandora station, Dial-a-Ride, 5am wake-up calls on departure day, and much, much more.

We had such a wonderful time and cannot wait to do it again with our family. Thanks to Bogey and Marmee for having the gumption to make it happen ... and thanks to Mimi for watching our sweet little guy at home. We love you guys!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Telluride, Part II: Snow Days

After the airplane debacle, the rest of our trip seemed like a breeze. Except for the fact that our van driver who was supposed to pick us up at the airport managed to flush the van keys down the toilet of the airport bathroom. We're still trying to figure out how that was possible. Once that was sorted out, we made our way to Telluride. After a long day of traveling, it was nice to finally pull up to our temporary "home."

Here we are upon arrival. Notice Adah's new nasty habit.














It would be a little much to give a day by day account of our trip, so I'll just hit the highlights and get to the pictures. We did end up getting the kids ski equipment just in case we decided to let them try ski school (we still weren't sure at that point). I think we got our money's worth from the helmet rentals alone. They wore them  constantly.






















Cute tiny boots and skis ...





















We spent most of our days either relaxing or skiing. Here's Adah warming herself by the fire in the town square. I didn't even tell her to strike this pose. She already has the Laissez-faire thing down.





















The definite highlight for the kiddos was the free gondola rides that ran from Mountain Village (where we stayed on one side of the mountain) to Telluride (on the other side of the mountain). We rode that gondola at least once, if not twice, a day. Needless to say, we have a lot of pictures of us in, around, or beside the gondola.





































Sam actually told us in the car today that he didn't like car rides, he would rather ride in a gondola. We'll get to work on that request, buddy. No promises.

Everyone really just had a lot of fun playing in and being around the snow. One day we walked into the town park to take a look around. The kids had a blast just playing in snow drifts and exploring.





















































I"ll take a break in case you're experiencing too-many-Clifford-vacation-pictures overload. Back soon with sledding, snow forts, and ski school!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Telluride, Part I: Tales from the Turbulent Bird

Let me just start with telling you how amazing this trip was, y'all. It was awesome. Beautiful mountains, days of skiing, great food, and time with family all smashed into one hectic, crazy, and blissful week. I know I'm not going to be able to sum everything up into one post, so I won't even try. I'm going to have a hard enough time just trying to narrow the pictures down. I figure the best place to start is at, well, the beginning.

I must admit that I was slightly worried at the beginning of our trip. Scratch that, I was petrified. I was terrified of that big steel bird in the sky (actually, the TWO birds) that we would have to ride in order to get to Colorado. I wasn't worried about turbulence (though I later learned that I should have been) or meals or safely. No, my worry was the confinement. Being trapped in a narrow, enclosed space with my kids without any ability to escape. I've been on those planes where the kid behind you kicks your seat rhythmically for TWO HOURS while his brother screams his head off for chocolate milk. I just didn't want us to be that family. The one where everyone claps when you get off the plane. The one where everyone groans when they see you step onto the tarmac with three young children and a diaper/activity bag the size of the the Rock of Gibraltar slung across your back. Little did I know that I had a whole 'nother monster to fear that was lurking, waiting for us in the clouds.

Overall, the kids did great. They were genuinely excited to be traveling and could not wait to see the airplanes. We gave them cinnamon rolls at the airport for breakfast and what kid doesn't love sugar to start the day? Their excitement was also amplified by the fact that we let them ride the moving sidewalks in the airport when we were walking to our gate. Who knew unbridled joy could be obtained from a constantly moving piece of metal?






















(I was about to dismember the dinosaur that Adah is holding by the end of the day. She insisted on only holding him by his tail and we had to stop every 10 yards for her to readjust her hold on him because he kept slipping out of her little sweaty hands. I didn't want to stunt the budding archaeologist though. The things we do for our kids ... )

(I also just noticed that I haven't said anything about Luke. He stayed home with Mimi since we thought he was still a little young for the trip. He had a great week at home doing what he does best ... being the center of attention!)

Ok, enough side banter and parentheses.

We finally boarded the plane and the kids were great! They got their first pair of wings from our geriatrically-challenged flight attendant (another story for another day) and had tons of fun reading those lovely in-flight magazines. They actually enjoyed the safety guide the best. At least they would know how to open the emergency exit if we really needed it.

And then we were off. There were no tears, no screams, just ... quiet. I was amazed. We were armed with DVD players and movies, but we didn't even have to pull them out. No one mentioned a thing about ears popping or anything else. They entertained themselves with books and other things. It helped that they were split up between different adults, so each of them got some one-on-one time ... something coveted in our house. Everything was going splendidly until ... (cue evil music) ...

About an hour into the flight I realized that I didn't feel too great. We had been experiencing some moderate turbulence for about half an hour and it was starting to get to me. We were on a small plane, so the turbulence was further amplified by that fact as well. I used to get motion sickness as a child and though it has subsided a lot as I have aged, it still can creep up every now and again. On top of that it was hot, very hot. As I looked around I noticed that everyone was fanning themselves and some were even visibly perspiring. Peyton was beside me and seemed to be feeling fine. I turned around to see how Sam and Adah were doing and my heart sank.

Sam was slumped down in his seat and his face was a pea-shade of green. Adah was sitting on Matt's lap with the same look on her face. Crap ... stupid hereditary disorders. We already knew Sam was prone to motion sickness (he lost his lunch when we drove to the mountains last summer), but not Adah. I tried to give them some Dramamine to help but motion sickness really needs to be pre-medicated and it was a little too late. The turbulence continued (going on one hour now) and I took Adah from Matt's lap so that he wouldn't be stuck with both of the sickies. As soon as I sat down with Adah, she lost it. Out came breakfast all over my jeans and backpack. We got maybe 30% of it in the airline supplied sick bag (and by the way, those bags are waaaaay too small ... I'll have to write a letter to Continental about that) and the rest went on me, the backpack, and the floor. Adah didn't get any on herself. Lovely for her. And the irony of the whole thing was that I had anticipated this and actually packed an extra shirt for myself in my carry-on, but no extra pants. How kind of Adah to soil the only piece of clothing for which I had no replacement. Thanks babe. She did proclaim, "I feel better now!", immediately after depositing her breakfast on my lap though. So at least ONE of us was in a better place after that episode.

In the meantime, Sam was going downhill. Matt took him to the bathroom as a preventative measure, but he wouldn't do anything in there (they are still pretty terrified of throwing up). As soon as he brought him back to his seat, Sam threw up all over the seat and floor. At least no one got it on themselves this time. At this point I started worrying about all the other poor people on our tiny plane. I was afraid we were going to start this chain reaction of puke where our kids puking grosses someone else out and then they start puking and then the person next to them starts puking and so on and so on. But everyone seemed ok at that point. Actually, everyone pretty much ignored us, which was fine with me.

Attempting to clean up vomit on a plane is, in one word, sucky. There were no towels. There was no carpet cleaner. There was no air freshener. We did the best we could with lavatory paper towels and a pack of wet wipes. And yes, I did have to wear my vomit jeans all day. I actually doctored them up well enough that you couldn't really tell that there had been anything on them. There was the faint aroma of cinnamon rolls as I passed by, but my hope was that people would think I was sporting some new exotic perfume instead of hours-old puke. The next plane ride was MUCH smoother and the kiddos were great. They didn't even complain about having to get on another plane after the whole first plane fiasco.

Sam, post-puke. Armed and ready for repeat scenarios.

After all that, I can say it was worth it for the trip that followed. Like I always say, you haven't really lived until you've worn puke as a fashion accessory. More photos to come from the (thankfully) vomit-free remainder of the trip soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Telluride, CO

We've just returned from a week of this ...















A few of these ...















And a whole lotta this ...






















And I'm about to fall over I'm so tired (note to self: do not schedule cross country vacations during daylight savings time). But what a great time we had in Colorado this past week! Back soon with stories and illustrations!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Picture of the Week - March 13

I was hoping one of them would like to play basketball ... and he can already dunk! Move over Kobe ...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kidspeak

A little background first ...

When we started teaching the kiddos their letters, we got into a habit of saying a name of something after the letter we were identifying. You know, B for ball, C for cat, that sort of thing. We always told them their name whenever we came across their letter (A for Adah, P for Peyton ...). This has actually caused them to become possessive of "their" letters (for example, Sam is NOT allowed to say he sees a P for Peyton because that is HER letter!), but that's another post for another day. I knew I was going to have to deal with sharing issues, but with letters? Anyway ...

We have some of those foam letters that everyone has in the bathtub for their kids. Matt (who bathes the kiddos) usually sits and talks with them while they're playing in the tub. Here's how one of their recent conversations went.

Matt: "Adah, what's this letter?" (holding up a B)
Adah: "That's B!"
Matt: "Right, B for bath. Now, what's this one?" (holding up the A)
Adah: "That's A-fer!"
Matt: "What? This is an A."
Adah: "No, it's an A-fer.  It's A-fer Adah!"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bubble Time

The weather has been so nice lately and the kids and I have been enjoying a lot of time outside. I can't wait for spring so we can spend most of our days in the yard. Being outside means we have opened up the garage and all the outside toys that we store inside. It's funny to see them rediscover all their old outside toys. Rotating toys is a great way to make old things seem new without having to spend any money!

Surprisingly, the hit toy so far had been bubbles. When we head out I usually fill up their little bubble containers and let them have at it. Peyton, Sam and Adah have almost grasped the concept and they can even manage to blow a few bubbles now and then. And then there's the little man. Poor Luke tries and tries, but he just can't manage to form any bubbles. He gets the concept, his little lips just can't do it yet. I love his perseverance though. Hopefully it will follow him throughout his life (and in more things than blowing bubbles!)