Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Hottest Coolest Time In Texas

When the girls were here visiting we went to Schlitterbahn for the day. It was me, mom, and 5 little girls. I think the heat may have been messing with our brains because normally I would consider my mom and myself to be bright individuals but we clearly weren't thinking straight when we thought this was a good idea.

104 degrees + 1 kid who naps regularly + 2 way different groups of kids + no waterproof cell phones = recipe for disaster.

We took a "before" picture of the group, presumably to show the police in case we lost one of the kids. It was 10:30am and already very close to 100 degrees, which meant that everyone was ready to get in the water. I had not even put the camera down yet when the older girls set off to ride the rides. That was totally fine because they are old enough to go off on their own. It just would have been FANTASTIC if we had set a plan to meet up at various times in the day. All I can say is the heat made us temporarily stupid because we just watched them run off while we slathered the little ones with sunscreen and DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.

Mom and I took the 3 little girls to the kiddie area to play. After about 4 minutes in the pool Savannah decided she wanted to ride the big rides, too. Those small slides just weren't going to cut it with her. So off she and I went to wait in a line that looked deceptively short.

We were fools.

2 hours later, we finally made it to the bottom of the ride. 2 hours is a long time to wait when you are 6 years old. Savannah started asking the "are we there yet" question with about 45 minutes to go (at least, that's how long the sign above our heads said we had to wait from that point but we were only in our swimsuits with no watches so we were at the mercy of the water gods. It may have been a total lie; WE'LL NEVER KNOW!) Vanna proceeded to ask if it was our turn about 138 more times from that point on. When there were maybe 10 people in front of us she told me that she had to go potty. We were 200 feet in the air on a water ride platform that did not have a bathroom. I told her she was going to have to hold on until we got to the bottom, but honestly, I wasn't sure if she could. I am only familiar with the capabilities of a two and a half year old bladder. Surely 6 year olds could hold it longer. At least thats what I was hoping.

The great news was that our turn finally came. We were on the same raft, just the two of us, and when we were done with the ride she miraculously didn't need to go potty anymore. I shudder even now at what happened to that urge.

Luckily we run into the 2 older girls when we were getting off the ride, which was God's way of making up for probably just being peed on. Off to the kiddie pool we went to catch up with Grammie and the two little girls.

Except they weren't there.

And they weren't in the wave pool. Or the Pirate's ship. Or the snack bar. Or the table that we put all of our stuff on. They were nowhere to be found. We spent the next 2 hours alternating between playing in the water and going back to our stuff to see if Grammie had gone back there with the kids. It was nerve-wrecking to say the least.

After being separated for over 4 hours, Grammie and the little girls caught up with us in the wave pool. Apparently Bella wanted to go in the wave pool while we were on the rides and when mom went to gather Avery up so they could all go together, Bella took off. Mom couldn't find her and Bella couldn't find mom. They caught eyes after only a few minutes but it was enough to upset both of them. So they thought the only reasonable thing to do would be to leave our section of the water park all-together and go to a different part of the park (which requires leaving one gate and going through another) where there were more kiddie friendly playscapes. Apparently they had a great time while they were over in that part of Schlitterbahn, but we had no idea where they had been so it was JUST A TINY BIT unnerving for me.

We spent the rest of the day all together, going back and forth between the 2 sections of the park. All the girls had a great time, even without a nap (ahem, AVERY). We stayed until they practically kicked us out of there at 8pm.

Here are some shots from the day.

Natalie and Emma riding the waves and current in the Torrent Pool.
You'll notice that Avery has her thumb in her mouth in this one. That's because it was almost 8pm and she had been in the water all day without a nap. A new record for her. She was asleep 15 minutes into the drive back home.
Mom's only rule for the day was that I could take pictures of her but I COULD NOT POST THEM ON MY BLOG. (Don't worry mom, I won't!)*
Silly Savannah and Emma after going on a ride together. Emma said, "Don't worry, Aunt Amy, Savannah always ruins pictures." hahaha.
Natalie and Emma hanging from the Swing of Death. I don't think that is the official name, but close enough. (the video is posted here).
Seriously, could Bella's eyes be more beautiful? They actually match the color of the water.
Savannah on the little slides. (Between you and me, I think she had just as much fun with the little kids as she did with the big ones. But don't tell her that!)
Avery and Bella giving hugs. They played together so well all day.

Some final thoughts about Schlitterbahn in general:
  • If you are going to the park with your church youth group, you probably shouldn't be wearing the skimpiest string bikini I've ever seen.
  • I think some people have just decided that they aren't going to look good in ANY swimsuit so they feel like they can just go for it in the tiniest thing they can find.
  • It's kind of unfair that men's swimsuits go down to their knees and women's suits get smaller and smaller. And we pay 5 times more than they do.
  • Only Victoria Secret models look good in those one piece suits with the sides cut out.
  • Haven't scientists figured out a way to keep pavement cool in the hot sun? I mean, we figured out a way to make bacon flavored vodka. Surely we could put our minds to keeping pavement from burning our feet right off when it gets hot outside.
*not pictured: me in a swimsuit. It is my blog, after all!

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Post Is Probably Rated PG-13. Or Just Awkward.

1. Why doesn't anyone else watch Southern Belles Louisville? I think I might be the only one in America. I’m not sure, but so far, in all my polling, no one has admitted to watching it. Which is awkward for me every time I ask someone. I say things like, “oh. Me either. Lame show. SoapNet should just stick to soap re-runs. What? Oh, I don’t watch anything on SoapNet either.” (averts eyes)

2. Anytime you don’t see nipple though my shirt I consider it a good day. Seriously, I have been done nursing for almost 4 months now and those little bastards still keep showing up in every outfit I wear. I think there should be some type of karmic break for someone who sacrificed her body to nurse 2 kids for a total of 2 years.

3. And it is always a surprise, too. I might leave the house looking completely appropriate and then BAM! I hit the ladies room after a meeting and there they are in all their glory. And I realize in horror that they were probably out and about during the meeting, too, which makes me want to crawl under my desk.

4. At some point this has to stop, right? They go back to normal? Someone tell me yes.

5. Also, it may help if I stop wearing nursing bras. It’s just…bras are expensive. I have been wearing nursing bras for 4 years now (throughout my pregnancies and nursing) so they are pretty much all I have. The old ones (that I kept out of sheer naivety) laugh at me each time I open the drawer. “haha! You think you are going to get those expanded ribs into us now, lady? Forget it!” But I leave them there anyway waiting for the day when my body magically returns to its normal size.

6. Somehow I don’t think that happens on its own.

7. Maybe I should find a new gym where I can drop my kids off while I work out.

8. Sure, because I have the type of kids that can just be dropped off anywhere. Maybe Jack but definitely not Avery.

9. Ugh.

10. I have been given the feedback that Jack hasn't gotten the attention he deserves here. Sure, lately Avery has been featured more. But it was her birthday. And she was with her cousins way more than he was so she is in more pictures. Plus, he fell on his little face about 3 minutes after Avery's birthday party started and just bled for the rest of the party so there aren't a ton of pictures of him from that day.

11. But here. A few pictures of him just to get a certain co-worker of mine off my back about it. Plus, I'm hoping that ending with some pictures of Jack will make you forget all about points 2-5.

Jack in the kiddie pool at my parent's house.
He will throw that water-soaked ball at you even if you are still wearing the clothes you wore to work that require dry cleaning. He does not discriminate. Just a fair warning.
And finally here is the poor baby with his messed up nose from Avery's birthday party. It's more of a surface injury than anything but he gets tons of sympathy for it. Just add it to my file, CPS. Add it to my file. (although, technically, someone else was watching him when this happened, so....)

There. Hope those cute pictures took your mind off the boob talk from earlier.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Yes, I Did Make The Kids Take 546 Pictures

I have a bit of a head cold, which is killing me because my friend, Jolene, had her baby on Sunday and I haven't been able to see him yet. He was 3 weeks early but weighed a healthy 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. They named him Jacob Douglas. I am so happy for Jolene and Derrin. I can't believe that they finally have a baby and I have too many germs to go see him.

My nieces have gone back home after a great visit. The week just flew by. We packed in so much stuff while they were here that I didn't have time to keep posting in real time. Here are some of the pictures I took of them while they were here.

I decided to take their pictures in front of a lot of cacti, I guess to prove they were actually in Texas, I don't know. This sort of plays into a stereotype of Texas but the fact is, we do have cactus here. A lot of it. And horses. We also eat quite a bit of BBQ. We have more state pride than country pride (let's be honest). Sometimes there is tumbleweed. And more cowboy hats and boots than you see anywhere else. These are stereotypes because they are partly true.

But I digress....
Annabelle, Natalie, Emma and Savannah.

Savannah. 6 years old. She takes a lot of crap from her sisters. She gives as well as she gets and often deserves it, but man, this one gets no sympathy from those girls.
Annabelle, Natalie and Emma.

Emma will be 11 in early September. She is a great mix of mature young woman and little girl. She still orders mostly from the kids menu but she is very responsible, kind, and takes good care of her sisters. She loves to bake so while she was here we made cookies and cake balls. She also cleaned up the house before they left and wrote a lovely thank you note that she left behind.
Natalie, my new teenager, is definitely the most mature of the group. She is very mothering to Annabelle. She was the leader of the pack while she was here, making sure everyone ordered what they wanted for lunch, talking to the younger girls about options on the menus, kissing boo boos, taking Bella to the bathroom, etc. She is such an avid reader, too. She is currently re-reading the Twilight books. She definitely stays up late and sleeps in like any respectable teenager should do.
Avery and Annabelle had so much fun together. It was sad to see Bella go because Avery just loved having a playmate around 24/7. Even though they are both 3 now, it is clear that Bella is the youngest in her family and Avery is the oldest. While Avery sings "Itsy Bitsy Spider" Bella could be heard singing:
Shut up and put your money where your mouth is
That's what you get for waking up in Vegas

And she knows all the words to Poker Face, too, in case you were wondering if she is just a one hit wonder.
Bella also knows all the psychological torture tactics to make someone be your friend. Avery hasn't learned yet so she was an easy target. For example, Avery wouldn't hug Annabelle when they saw each other one day so Bella told Avery that she just wasn't going to be her friend for the rest of the day because Avery was not very nice to deny her a hug. It worked. Avery hugged her immediately.
Well played, Bella. Well played.

I think you are all familiar with Curly and Avery by now.
Those glasses my dad is wearing really crack me up. I guess they are the kind that tint in the sun and look normal inside. I think it might just be worth it to invest in a pair of sunglasses for outside that are different from inside glasses. I mean, is it just me or do these look like they belong in 1988?
Here's the whole gang in one of just a few shots I was able to get of all of them together. Jack has the attention span of a gnat, so I never got a shot of everyone looking at the camera. I don't know how professionals do it. Do you think professional photos are so expensive because of all the therapy photographers must need?
Jack being almost smothered by the two youngest girls. He didn't mind the attention one bit. The good thing for him is that he weighs the same as Bella and can hold his own if he needs to.
At the end of the photo shoot the kids started to get a little silly.
I think this is there way of saying that we are done here.
So fine. We are done. I think that is enough pictures for one visit. In the future, these girls will appreciate having all of these photos. Just wait for wedding videos. Or 40th birthday videos. I think, instead of mocking me, they should thank me.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Guess She Wasn't Crying Wolf

The great thing about the third birthday is that there are no shots at the baby well check. Avery was a real trooper when they took some blood and she even peed in a cup for the first time. I couldn't have been more proud.

She couldn't have been more confused about being asked to pee in a cup. I just hope this isn't the start of a new trend.

For the record, she is 39 inches tall and 39 pounds. That puts her in the 90th percentile, as usual. At least she is consistent.

She is advanced in her verbal and reasoning skills. She started asking the "why" question about 6 months earlier than expected, which I hope means she'll stop sooner also. But I doubt it.

Everything was going just fine with the exam until our doctor looked in Avery's nose and told us there was something way up in there. We figured it was fuzz or tissue but she told us it was plastic. I couldn't think of what it could be...

Avery had to blow really hard several times to dislodge it and then Gwen and a nurse had to use a tweezer like instrument to reach way into her nose to grab it. And she pulled out a nickel-sized button!

Did I ever tell you that Avery made a picture frame out of buttons for me for Mother's Day? When she gave it to me it had a button missing. And then later when she was at my mom's house she told her that she had a button in her nose. Mom told me and we both checked her nose but didn't see or feel anything. We just figured she was pretending. Then for several weeks after that she would occasionally tell us that she had a button in her nose and we nodded in agreement because clearly she was pretending.

Apparently not.

She has had that button in her nose since MOTHER'S DAY!

Next time I think we will take her more seriously and go to the doctor just to be on the safe side.

Seriously, though, the size of a nickel. How did that thing fit in her little nose in the first place?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It Was a Story Book Kind of Day

Alternate Title: This post would be much shorter if I knew how to make those blog collages I am always seeing on better blogs.

Alternate Alternate Title: A lot of pictures.

The birthday girl was very excited about her party. She woke up bright and early and came in our room to announce that it was her birthday! Of course, we already knew that since we were there when she was born. I even have a scar to prove it. But we let her have her moment and played along.

Her birthday party, a story book theme, was at 10am so we had to get up and out pretty early to get it all set up. I had done a lot of pre-work but it is just never enough somehow so Matt and I had a late night getting everything organized and loaded in the car. It always happens like that.

Since we had her party at an unusual location for kids parties, I made a few signs to give people directions to the party room. I wanted to set the tone so I used book covers and changed the titles to welcome everyone. (click on the pictures to enlarge if you'd like details)
This was the sign off the elevator.
Then another sign down the hall...
And finally Grover greeting everyone as they came in the party.
The banner was made with book covers in between each word.
The favors had book characters thanking everyone for coming. Inside Avery gave book plates (the stickers that go in books that say "this book belongs to"), some sidewalk chalk, and some letter flash cards.
Avery handed out hats to the kids as they came in. She was cute trying to match their dresses or outfits with the hat.
All the food was based on children's books with food in the title. We love having cupcakes at parties because they are less messy so it was perfect that Laura Numeroff wrote If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.
We also had sandwiches. (The Giant Jam Sandwich)
And fruit. (The Very Hungry Caterpillar)
And lastly, chips and salsa (Chicks and Salsa)
We also had colorful fruit drinks and water. Man, it has been a HOT summer. We needed plenty to drink even though we were mostly inside.

During the party, we had a story teller come and read "The Monster At The End Of This Book" and "Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You?" to all the kids.
My friend Matt stepped in and agreed to come be our story teller after my friend Blake flaked due to bad personal scheduling practices. Someone get that boy a calendar.
The kids really liked listening to Matt read to them. He got them all involved and most of them paid close attention to the stories. (Thanks to Lauren for providing the floor mats!)
It was a great effort considering most of the kids there were 2 or 3. After the books we had a craft table set up for all the kids to make bookmarks. This was the part of the party that I took the most heat for. My mom just couldn't imagine that would be any fun for kids. And Josh would not stop harping on it. But it turns out that everyone really enjoyed this part of the party.
Natalie and Emma were great helpers!
Avery had a great time making her bookmark. I included this picture as a "told you so" to those who said this would be lame. What is that saying about a picture being worth a thousand words?

Next we played "Pin the Hair on Thing 1 and Thing 2" which is a homemade game we made. I have the super glue on my fingers to prove it. We also had a Curious George version so that there wasn't a long line at either game. You know, since 3 year olds aren't known for their patience.
I thought the kids were great sports, especially since most weren't used to being blindfolded.

Finally it was time for some cupcakes!!
mmm. Icing is my favorite, too!
No face smashing this year. I guess 3 year olds are much better at eating cupcakes than 2 year olds. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss that 2 year old birthday girl smashing her face in her cupcake.
It was cute to watch all the kids eat their cupcakes.
After that we tried to get Avery to pose with all her friends. That was impossible. So here are some of our attempts.
Avery with Olivia and their Godfather, Josh. He brought gifts even though we asked on the invitation that everyone bring a book to donate to SafePlace rather than gifts for Avery. Josh is above the law, obviously. Also, he is in a tie because he came straight from work and then went right back after the party. Now THAT is love.

After about 90 minutes the party was over and Grover made sure to say bye as everyone left.
The Monster at the end of Avery's party turned out to be Grover. I am so glad that Avery wasn't the monster at the end of her party. She napped like a champ for the rest of the afternoon.
And now we have a 3 year old! Kind of hard to believe how fast that happened. (picture from Bright Eyes Photography wearing the tutu from Shimmer Sisters)
After nap it was time to celebrate Poppa's birthday. So wonderful that they share a special day together. Happy Birthday to 2 of my favorite people in the world!