Friday, August 31, 2012

travel, travel, travel

in case you haven't noticed, we've been on the go this whole year.  although it's not without its challenges, it's been awesome fun for the most part.  the next few months is actually what we (read: i) are dreading.  the separation.  daddy going to work for at least a week at a time.  the kids and i staying home.  our families being too many miles away. 

ah yes, i've digressed.  i was writing about how fun it is to travel, so back to it.

people give me the strangest looks when they learn about what we're doing, where we've been, and that we're not afraid to go again.  they have plenty of comments, too, but i try to just laugh about those.  (no, i'm NOT crazy, thankyouverymuch.)

in fact, recently, our best family times have been in the car.  maybe because those have been some of our only family times lately, but we'll take what we can get.  people have asked how we manage so many hours in seatbelts, so i've put together a little list.  my top ten weapons tools.

snacks - kids love snacks.  so does mama.  they pass the time really well, so i try to make them healthy and not care how many we eat.  last trip, i'm pretty sure we skipped at least one mealtime because we'd had so much to eat on the road.  we love dried fruit and fresh fruit (bc all that riding does bad things to digestive systems), cheese sticks, nuts, and little containers of cereal and/or crackers.  an added bonus is that when i pack good snacks, we spend a lot less time and money at the gas stations.

$1 bin at target - every time i go to target (which is a LOT), i cruise thru the $1 section.  some of our best entertainment comes from there.  the items are usually small enough that i can stick them under other stuff in the cart unnoticed, which means we've got brand new stuff to check out in the car since it stays stashed away until travel time.  our recent favorites have been elmo notebooks & stickers and animal flashcards, but they've got tons of fun stuff!

timing - we hate being on the road in the morning.  we do it when we need to, but leaving around lunch is so much better.  if everyone can wear off some energy during the morning, they're usually ready to nap or at least chill for a bit once the wheels start turning.  evenings are ok too, and nighttime is even better - provided there's not toooo much excitement going on to prevent sleeping from happening in the backseat and provided the driver has lots of cofffffeeee.

favorite toys - a few of the most favored toys might disappear a few days before departure.  they always magically reappear in the toy bags, tho, so don't worry.  :)  it's the phenomenon about absence making the heart grow fonder.

no selfish expectations - i always stick a magazine and a couple things to do in my bag, but i rarely touch them.  if i don't expect to get to work on anything, it's just an extra perk if the opportunity actually arises.  but, let's consider how often both kidlets sleep at the same time that i'm not driving.


comfy seats - we LOVE our britax car seats, and used the marathon version for both our kids.  they're super comfy for sleeping, and have been at all ages.  thing 1 is still technically able to ride in his, but no one in the front likes feet in the face.  he's just too lanky to really fit well, and he's plenty old enough for a booster.  just makes getting comfy a little more tricky, but we take pillows and his "special blanket."


sense of humor - this is a must.  for the times when things are ugly.  when there are bodily fluids outside of where they should be.  laugh, don't cry.  :)  and, a little funny business can change the mood in the backseat pretty quickly when everyone's tired of riding.  just ask the kids about the goofy songs that daddy can make up and choreograph.  they just can't help themselves from laughing their lil selves silly.  neither can i, actually.

dvd's - or not! - we always take a few cartoons just in case.  in all the recent travelling we've done, we've actually only used videos for part of one drive.  i tend to use them more if daddy's not with us on a long drive, but really we just keep this as our last resort.  the kiddos love the cat in the hat and the fisher price little people, so when all else fails we can turn one of those on and have some happy faces.

songs - we often sing all together, and don't you wish you could hear!  everyone takes turn picking what they want to sing, or we listen to a CD.  or, we listen to daddy as i mentioned earlier...


books - i'm not so good at reading in the car, but daddy is.  the munchkins almost never get tired of hearing stories, or just looking at books themselves - so, we keep quite a stash in the car.  and, since novelty is often the key, a new book or 2 usually accompanies us.  don't you get tired of reading the same ones over and over, too?

so, there ya have it.  the road comes our way too, just in case you were wondering.  ;)  see ya soon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

brownstown

special days in lots of ways, but this is a little of what i could capture with my camera.  :)
 
our newest cousin with her papaw john
 

giving thomas a pretend bath
 
trying to get a pic of the cousins in their matching clothes.  someone was NOT interested in having her hair done or being friendly for the pictures, and someone else was NOT interested in being at all cooperative either... hmm.  how come the pictures always catch MY kids being goofy?
 
they made up for it later, tho.  isn't this sooo sweet?
 
never fear, the silliness always comes right back!  poor caleb doesn't look quite as excited as he apparently should...
 
the whole family - minus 1 soon-to-be-daddy.
 
again, quite the cooperation with pictures.  :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

more play time!

since more park time = more nap cousin time, we decided to spend another day at the park.  it was a perfect day weather-wise, so we picked up a pizza and kept the mess outside.  :)
i think she looks like her daddy here.  anyone else?

fun times on the swings.  every one of these kids loves 'em.

the pouty face is more about being dirty than the actual fall.  after being wiped off, she still wouldn't be discouraged from riding the "round and round" with the bigger kids.

another day, we had some playtime with our buddies.  it was another awesome temperature day!

loved, loved, loved seeing everyone.
we're all back home now, and on to the next adventure - unpacking.
you know i'm doing laundry today... what's going on in your world?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

crafting with mama


got to help make a couple sets of cards to swap, and got to help put the finishing touches on a couple of quilt tops.  relaxing and fun!


Friday, August 17, 2012

the fiercely independent two-year old

if you're ever around this girl, you'll certainly hear "do it all by self" quite frequently. 

the latest task she's conquered is dressing herself - completely!!  she's been doing it for a couple of months now, and aside from being occasionally irritated about how long it can take - we're proud of her.  :)


 pretty amazing for her age, but she's figured it out purely because she doesn't want to be helped!  no idea where she got this notion...

she's also got her papaw figured out:
"i gave you a kiss, now can i have a drink?"

mission accomplished

proud lil miss

Thursday, August 16, 2012

meeting our newest cousin,

and her first "girl" outing.  all the brothers were there, but no daddies - so we're counting it as girlie fun since there are so many boys it's hard to get away without any of them these days.


however, we all love the chaos and the perfect mix of kiddos.  we know we're going to be so sad when they're all grown up, so we're happy to have them.  (at least, that's what we tell ourselves when it's lunchtime and we all want to go out.)  they keep us laughing, and have a fun time together. 

 


just three tries to catch a still picture  :)


the most hilarious spelling on our bill

we asked for:  mac & cheese
a cheese quesadilla (quesadilla con queso)
chicken fajitas (fajitas pollo)


took advantage of the best weather we've had in a looooong time at the park after lunch.  spent our time looking at baby and playing til we were totally exhausted.  a good day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

o-hi-o, it's off to work he goes

a pretty drive thru the smokies on our way from TN to OH!

got to stop and see some family, plus gobble up some prettttty yummy italian food with them.  some of us like to share some when we give kisses...
(thx for the pic, bc i kinda borrowed it.)


it was just too much of a coincidence that the outlet mall where we got back on the interstate had a really nice playground, and a pottery barn store... a good time for all.  *wink*
we all had a late night because the kiddos had a blast watching the olympics with us.  the floor routines performed by the gymnasts in our room were done with much more emotion and pizazz, tho.  :)
snuggle bugs & best buddies

the next morning, we left daddy to do his work, and we went on to see the other grandparents in illinois.  good thing there was something else fun to look forward to, bc leaving daddy wasn't such a hit...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

tennessee

this trip wasn't exactly on the calendar until just a few days before leaving, but papa & gram moved and we wanted to see them in their new spot.  it just kinda worked well to squish another trip in since school will soon be starting, and we'll be a little less likely to just pack up and head out so much.  plus, there was another work trip scheduled, and we wanted to spend as much time with daddy as we could.  so, in the car we all went to tennessee.
after a long day in the car, we were thrilled to eat supper outside! and, of course, 2 little things were beyond thrilled to see papa & gram... 
who doesn't love driving a little red mustang?  these kids had quite the time exploring the new place in this!!

we got some unexpected bonuses on the trip - cool temps, lots of rain, and beautiful scenery.  it has been way toooooo long since we've seen green grass OR rain!  the fog in the hills was gorgeous.

sad to say goodbye, but those hugs are pretty fun!
til next time, papa & gram.  xoxo.

Friday, August 3, 2012

summer card

once a month, i am forced to make some cards.  no, really, i like it!  :)  it's part of a card swap that we do thru the mail, and it's like opening presents when those packages of fun cards come!

it's not always super convenient because there is always something going on, but i love that it makes me sit down and work on something fun at least once a month.  and, making 7 cards doesn't take too long! 

besides, how fun is it to have a stash of cute handmade cards just sitting there ready to go?!?  i'm happy to report that i've actually been inspired by the stack of cards sitting here, and i wrote a few!  now, to work on being on time for events like birthdays!  (ha.)

this is the card i made for this round of swaps - from a fun little pack of paper that came free with a scrapbooking crop i did at archiver's a looooong time ago.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

hotter than hot?

you don't usually hear me complaining about the weather, but this forecast certainly caught my attention:

117 tomorrow?  maybe it's a good time to skip town again...

splash!


it's been so stinkin hot here that we've had a hard time finding fun things to do during the day.  the grass is brown and pokey, and it's no fun to be out very long.  i know it got hot in illinois too, but this hot spell of temps above 100 has lasted and lasted.


the splash park isn't so crowded early in the morning, and we had it to ourselves this time.  the kids had fun running thru the water and playing in the "car wash" (in the first pic).


with school about to start, we're hanging on to every opportunity for fun together.  thing 1 will go to preK, so it's just mornings.  but, it's every morning.  and thing 2 still needs to sleep every afternoon.  so, we're off to enjoy ourselves as much as we can!