Monthly Archives: July 2014

two days at Legoland

it was tuesday night (7pm-ish) when the munchkins found out about our trip to legoland.

it was wednesday around 5pm when we rolled out of town.

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after three summers involving long road trips (the past two years we’ve driven to washington state to see family and friends and the year before that we drove FROM washington TO the east coast and back), we figured this trip to Cali would be SO DARN SHORT.

but guess what…. it was still 6.5 hours of driving.

that’s a long time.

especially with three VERY EXCITED munchkins in the car.

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it was a long drive that involved a late night stop at walmart to buy the pull ups i forgot to pack.

but it was so amazingly fantastic to finally pull up to the hotel – at midnight.

and after a short night’s sleep, the kids were WIRED. we ate breakfast at the hotel and then found a starbucks and another walmart (someone’s underwear didn’t make it into the suitcase)

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before we reached the final destination:

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we wandered past the entrance and found ourselves in Miniland:

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(that photo was taken for Uncle John – the kids are in NYC!!!)

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following a quick trip to the bathroom…

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we made our way to PIRATE SHORES where we rode our first ride…

Captain Cranky’s Challenge:

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we did “child swap” for most of our rides. that means we stood in line as a family. then one adult and one Munchkin would hop on the ride. when they got back, the other parent and the another Munchkin would hop on the ride. alex was too small to ride most of the rides (insert frowny face here) but she still managed to have a good time on the trip.

it wasn’t uncommon, however, to hear alex exclaim “my turn!” or “awex turn!” when one ride would end!

most of the rides in PIRATE SHORES are water rides and i wasn’t sure what to do with our camera, so we skipped town and headed to FUN TOWN to ride some more rides…

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we started with Skipper School:

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and then found our way to Sky Patrol:

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there are HUNDREDS of lego structures and “people” and animals all over the park. some of them didn’t even look like lego structures until you got up really close!

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and then Dave and the Munchkins went to the Fire Academy:

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they got the bum truck. boo!

EVERY kid wants to drive, right? so after lunch, we took the munchkins to Driving School:

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they LOVED it!

while the bigger Munchkins went to driving school, alex found some fun of her own while waiting for them to finish their lesson!

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the Kid Power Tower is pretty cool, too:

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next we made our way to DUPLO VILLAGE in the hopes that alex could enjoy a few more rides.

these lego instruments played music and were triggered by sensors… davey LOVED running back and forth and back and forth – alex just wanted to play in the water:

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i had to show you this photo…. as i was watching dave and the munchkins play by the different water features, this guy walked by with what i can only assume are REAL arm sleeve tattoos that make him look like a tiger.

SERIOUSLY.

he was wearing a furry tiger hat and his arms were ORANGE with tiger stripes on them.

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then we saw something amazing….

we saw EMMETT!

yes. THE Emmett.

from the Lego Movie.

so davey got in line to meet him while i took samantha to the potty. but when i came back, he was out of line and he was crying.

it was heartbreaking.

it turns out that he was halfway through the line when Emmett had somewhere else to be, so Emmett left. davey doesn’t take disappointment well.

we tried to make the best of it and we hoped that we’d see Emmett again during our stay at the park.

samantha got to meet Wild Style, though:

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and then we found something to distract davey…. sets from the ACTUAL Lego Movie:

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we spent a long time in here looking through the movie sets and looking for various Lego figures and characters.

dave enjoyed the old school Lego sets:

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i just enjoyed and loved everything.

but THIS was amazing:

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but then we found this amazing wall of mini figures…

i even found a mini Dave:

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but the biggest bonus of all…. when we walked out of the Lego Movie area,

EMMETT

WAS

BACK!!!!!

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We got in line for the Safari Trek and someone’s late night and early morning finally caught up with her:

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so i rode first with samantha and then dave took davey while i put alex in her stroller. she took a pretty good nap for being at an amusement park!

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alex enjoyed Duplo Playland – they had some GIANT duplo/lego bricks to enjoy:

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we finished our tour of DUPLO VILLAGE with a ride on Fairy Tale Brook:

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in DINO ISLAND, we enjoyed our first roller coaster of the trip (and the first roller coaster EVER for the munchkins)… it was the Coastersaurus. Apparently no one else remembers that ride. but i have photos to prove it:

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since we were back near the main gate, we found our way to Guest Services where we used their air pump to fill our VERY FLAT stroller tires!

it was in that area that we found the Lego Friends waiting for us outside The Big Shop….

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yes.

they are all made out of Lego blocks.

well, except for that Samantha one there in the middle!

Davey found the Lego Hero Factory and enjoyed some quality time with familiar pieces:

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(samantha enjoyed it here, too!)

we found the LAND OF ADVENTURE next, where i rode on the nauseating, spinning, Bionicle Blaster with the Munchkins:

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and then we hit the big time. the real deal. something that made these parents excited. we found the Technic Test Track (aka: Project X):

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this was a REAL roller coaster.

with a BIG drop.

and these crazy, sharp turns that left me fearing one of the kids would fly out of their seat!

it was FUN!

The older two enjoyed the Dune Raiders next:

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while someone else was extra crabby….

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what a creepy spider!

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before our trip, we read somewhere (the Legoland website, i believe), that the park was “friendly” to various food allergies, so we were expecting it to be easier to find GF food for dave. instead, lunch was a burger (where he forgot to ask for it without a bun) and the other restaurants featured things like pizza, pretzels, pasta, hot dogs, burgers, fried chicken tenders…. you get the idea. the idea of a $12 salad wasn’t appetizing. or filling.

but we found a BBQ “restaurant” in CASTLE HILL, so we spent our afternoon working our way through the lands to that area. the bonus? after 5pm, kids eat FREE (with a purchased adult meal) in several of the Legoland restaurants! i think my meal was around $12, but i got 1/4 of a baked/BBQ’ed chicken plus french fries and baked beans. it was so tasty after hours of walking and enjoying the park in the hot sun!

double bonus?

we ended our first day in Legoland enjoying some rides that we hadn’t seen yet!

we found the Builders Guild:

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with all kinds of cool Lego creations and nice tables where you could sit and build.

and Beetle Bounce:

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and The Royal Joust:

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we found this piece of magic in a little shop in CASTLE HILL:
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Samantha wanted one (though, thankfully, she didn’t see this one that was already made) but at $50 PLUS the cost of the matting and framing…. yeah, we don’t think so, baby girl!
and The Witching Well:

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and we closed the park with our final ride of the day,

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yep. it was fun to be at the park after closing. to walk back towards the entrance and discover that all the rides were closed. some were covered. some were locked.

it was fun to feel like we had CONQUERED the park!

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it was NOT so fun to get back to our hotel at 9pm and discover that someone had tried to break into our room earlier in the day:

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(that’s the broken trim on the door that adjoined our room to the room next to us. the ONLY lock on the door. i would NOT recommend staying at the Rodeway Inn in Oceanside. we took our desk chair and propped it under the doorknob for the rest of our stay.)

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our munchkins were pretty well wiped out after a late day of travel and then 11 hours at legoland. dave and i were able to wake up on our own, get ready uninterrupted and then snap a photo or two of these crazies:

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(alex started the night in between davey and samantha… she moved herself to this position at some point! also, during the night, samantha fell out of bed and whacked her eye on the corner of the nightstand…. and didn’t remember it AT ALL the next day!)

after our continental breakfast at the hotel and a quick stop at Starbucks, we arrived at the park prepared to visit the park, the water park AND the aquarium in one day. ALL of the following photos are from our iPhones, as we didn’t want to deal with the good camera while in the water park.

we started our trip in FUN TOWN at the Sky Cruiser, where the Munchkins were able to wait in a Lego play area:

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(exercise at Legoland looks a lot different than it does at the gym!)

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the ride was a bit of a dud. we thought we’d be able to see more of the park (too many tall trees) and it was really short. in the end, this ride is overrated.

HIGHLY overrated.

on our way back to the LAND OF ADVENTURE to ride Project X again, we discovered a few other things near MINILAND USA, including Darth Vader:

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and this cool Model Shop:

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(seriously amazing, right?!)

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(love this bikini wearing, jet ski riding girl)

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(GO HAWKS!!! YOU’RE STILL THE SUPERBOWL CHAMPS!)


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(the world cup soccer players)

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there were so many creations here and while we were watching people WORK in the model shop, a guide, Mike, came out to talk with us and answer questions and point out various creations.

after a quick stop in the LAND OF ADVENTURE to ride Project X again (still so much fun!), we took a brief photo op in CASTLE HILL:

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before venturing to the Legoland Water Park:

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the water park was crazy crowded. and we had a hard time finding seats. we eventually found some, dumped our stuff and went exploring. alex and i settled in at the Duplo Splash Safari (with a visit to Kid Creek and Splash Zoo) while Dave and the other Munchkins ventured to the (new this summer) CHIMA Water Park to ride the Pirate Reef.

We then moved our stuff to the CHIMA Water Park and tried to relax in shallow water near some slides (Crug’s Run, Cragger’s Splash and Crooler’s Twist) before we ventured to the Lion Temple Wave Pool.

THAT was cool.

it was a breezy day and since we’re used to 91* pool water, the water at the water park was pretty cold. so when we took a break for a late lunch, the wet munchkins were VERY, VERY cold. after a short 2 hours (or less?) at the water park, we were all done and ready to head back to the main park.

after getting dressed, it was apparent that we needed a sit-down break (everyone’s legs were TIRED). so we headed to the LEGO Show Place to see the CHIMA 4D show. en route, we found Chewbacca:

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it appears that dave found himself a new girlfriend, too:

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and then we made it to the show in time for good seats:

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and a few photo ops:

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with a VERY SHORT LINE, the Coast Cruise in MINILAND USA was our next adventure:

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(283,000 lego pieces were used to build that elephant)

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(160,000 for the Sydney Opera House)

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(143,000 for the Taj Mahal)

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(117,000 for the Eiffel Tower)

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(83,000 for Mount Rushmore – only the faces are made of Lego bricks)

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(and 300,000 for the Octopus Band, including Harold the Hammerhead)

we worked our way back through another part of MINILAND USA to check out the Star Wars area:

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On the way back from another potty trip, Samantha wanted her photo taken with Luke Skywalker (“because there’s a Luke in my class and I want Luke Waltemeyer to see me with another Luke”)… so here’s that photo:

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while I preferred the backwards words of wisdom from Yoda:

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as we ventured back toward the Sea Life Aquarium, we found it was time for a Character Dance Party…  Samantha was enthralled but COMPLETELY shy (she wouldn’t dance at all):

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but alex loved jumping and running all over the place!

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and it was fun to enjoy some more photo ops with some more characters after the show!

the aquarium was small and… small. but there was an area to touch starfish and some sea life. there was a room full of jellyfish (different kinds). there was an “aquarium room” where it was floor to ceiling glass walls with sharks and sting rays swimming around.

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back in the main park, we walked to the LAND OF ADVENTURE so the munchkins could play in Pharaoh’s Revenge (where i got beaned in the neck with a ball by an evil 10-year old child that i really wanted to throttle hug) and then we could enjoy a family excursion in the Lost Kingdom Adventure:

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we got to shoot at targets with laser guns!

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from there, it was time for another ride for Alex – Cargo Ace:

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and then we called it a night. sort of.

we wandered back to the front of the park (it was ALMOST closing time – 8pm).

we visited The Big Store where each Munchkin had $10 to spend. Dave chose a small Lego kit and a Simpsons mini figure (surprise package) while I opted for the WonderWoman keychain and a package of stickers (technically car decals). what i really wanted was a “tourist” sticker of Legoland – you know those white oval stickers with black, block letters in them? but there were none to be found. and the employees had no idea what i was asking about. oh well.

Dave liked this set but at $200 it was out of his budget:

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and after spending $50, and walking out the side door, we found the pirate:

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we had seen him the night before, but missed our chance to get a photo with him. we made up for that as we headed out of the park. it was a fitting end to our two-day Legoland adventure.

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everyone spent some time in the motel room that night building their Lego sets (or Duplo sets, in Alex’s case):

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(yes, samantha chose a wedding “cake topper” set.

davey chose two mixels.

alex received a duplo set with 4 animals – rabbit, goat, pig and a sheep).

and at 10pm, it was lights out….

and at 8am the next day, this is what we saw:

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apparently two 11-hour days at Legoland really wipes out the Munchkins! 

it was a wonderfully, fantastic surprise.

we did not enjoy EVERY moment, but overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Legoland and we WOULD repeat the trip (though we’d reconsider the aquarium and the water park tickets). but our vacation didn’t end here – we enjoyed saturday morning at the beach (Buccaneer Beach in Oceanside) but i’ll save that for another blog post.

and with that, i will close this longest-ever-blog-post that contains well over 130 photos.

thanks for following along!

i hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse of Legoland through our lenses!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

birthday shenanigans continued…..

so you’ve seen the fun PARTY that happened here for Davey and Alex.

(but if you missed it, here’s the post with all the details)

i’m rather impressed that the TMNT meets Daniel the Tiger’s Neighborhood meshed as decently as it did!

the party was on alex’s actual birthday. but since it was for both kiddos, we let davey open his gifts from his friends that night but he had to wait for his gifts from us and his grandparents.

so two days later, after the end of dave’s work day, and after dinner but before dessert, we pulled out some more birthday cards for alex and davey and we let them go to town:

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i love davey’s excited faces!

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and alex used EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of her elmo/abby cad abbey stickers IMMEDIATELY. it kept her quite occupied while we watched davey open and read his cards and gift!

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first, davey opened the Lego Movie, his gift from the girls and us. but there was this extra note on it:

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this was his big surprise:

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 i’m pretty sure he was crazy-excited!

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i know samantha was a bit giddy:

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we pulled out the cupcakes and ice cream left from the party and sang to davey and let him blow out a candle (again! he did this at his party, too!)!

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but the birthday shenanigans weren’t done yet! AFTER our trip to Legoland (more details on that soon), there were MORE birthday presents and cards to open. (our family really likes to stretch out the birthday love)!

davey had another card (this one from his great grandparents):

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and ANOTHER lego set (from uncle john, auntie stella, cousins Liz, Kat, Gwen & JJ):

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and i don’t know how he does it, but my brother is an AH-MAZE-ING gift giver.

seriously.

he’s one of the best i’ve ever known.

he has this uncanny knack of picking out the PERFECT thing for my Munchkins.

that lego set above, is a great example. as is this:

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alex has not stopped playing “wif my wetters” since she opened this on Sunday afternoon!

and you can imagine the hours davey has been working on his new Spiderman Lego set:

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all in all, i’d say that turning 4 and 7 has been pretty-darn fantastic for my Munchkins thus far! and i am VERY thankful for loving family and friends who were able to help us celebrate their birthdays – they are each a miracle in their own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

together again… blister and bother

my oldest niece turned 23 earlier this year.

i think. (yes, i’m a bad aunt).

anyway, about 12 years ago, she was a whopping 11 years old. and after YEARS of my brother calling me “blister” (as a play on the word “sister” – it was a term of endearment and annoyance), she suggested i call him my “bother” (as a play on the word “brother”).

can you say,

GENIUS?!

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so for one day, Blister and Bother were reunited in Cleveland, Ohio.

yep.

the man who lives on Long Island in New York drove FOR HOURS with his 15-year old daughter in the minivan. and they drove for HOURS – just to see us.

granted, they did some other fun things while they were in the area (can you say Cedar Point?!), but they wouldn’t have made the journey if we weren’t going to be in the area.

and that makes me feel special.

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we enjoyed a day at the Great Lakes Science Center.

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the science center was cool. there was an interesting space exhibit:

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then we ate lunch at the science center before finding the Lego exhibit:

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i guess alex has a new boyfriend?!

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the upstairs exhibit was a fun hands-on area.

where ALL of the kids (yes, all SEVEN of us) had a grand time!

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i was able to balance the longest… on a skateboard on a fulcrum… for 99 seconds!

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(oddest thing: i was able to help samantha and alexandra get their hand prints on this board…. but i couldn’t get my own FINGERS to show up! apparently my circulation is THAT BAD)!

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my brother threw a ball 49 mph. yes, i was impressed!

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the outer deck/balcony area was cool. it overlooked this huge ship you could go explore (for an extra fee). we didn’t go to it.

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(i snapped this photo mere seconds before alex started running towards me and then TRIPPED on the uneven stones causing BOTH KNEES to bleed….)


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after the science center, we enjoyed an afternoon snack/coffee at this quaint coffee shop.

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and dinner at this cool place in Cleveland.

and dessert at Cold Stone Creamery.

and random “necessity” purchases at CVS.

and then our day was over.

just like that.

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and for this day, i am so very grateful!

 

 

 

please, not yet!

no!

please!

not yet!

i’m in denial.

i don’t want it to be real.

it’s not true.

please?

i’m not ready!

seven years? already?

i’ve really been a mama for seven years?

this blog post is going live at 4:11 Pacific Time on July 15th.

that was the day and time i became a mama for the first time.

S.  E.  V.  E.  N. years ago.

seven SHORT years.

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this Munchkin has endured a lot.

he’s endured mama learning to live on little sleep.

he’s endured mama through working from home, working from a store (that was closing) and mama not working at all.

he’s endured mommy & daddy learning HOW to be a parent.

he’s endured countless changes to the routine (especially when baby sisters came along).

he’s endured mama’s crazy ideas of HOW to parent vs. the realities of how mommy ACTUALLY parents.

he’s the oldest.

he’s the only boy.

a lot is expected of him.

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he’s amazingly tender hearted.

he is so loving.

so kind.

quite generous.

quite loving.

ridiculously intelligent.

(and often times infuriatingly intelligent).

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among other things, he loves Lego, TMNT, swimming, outer space, reading, playing with his friends, spending time with family, eating sweet treats, watching TV, playing the Wii,  basketball, his uncles, time with his Daddy, building things… and so much more.

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so wonderful.

so (relatively) easy.

he is a joy.

a delight.

and i have been his mama for seven years.

S.  E.  V.  E  N.

they’ve gone by so quickly. i fear that it was just yesterday that i was in so much pain that i couldn’t sit down. i was only 36 weeks pregnant. just yesterday that i called the hospital (it was a saturday) and they suggested i come in to get checked out. it was just yesterday that the nurses told me i was in labor. it was just yesterday that my very own OB was on call and saw me that weekend. it was just yesterday that i was told i was going to have a baby. that weekend. THAT WEEKEND. FOUR WEEKS EARLY. i was NOT ready. not at all. i was supposed to go back to work on Monday. i had a week of appointments scheduled. instead, i was awake all night. and at 4:11 am, i was given an amazing gift. a son. in my arms.

my son. my davey.

i will never forget that. i will never forget becoming a mama for the first time. i will never forget the joy of holding him in my arms.

and that was seven years ago.

and yet, i still think it was yesterday.

thank you.

thank you for making me a mama.

thank you for your unconditional love.

thank you for being who you are.

thank you for your kind heart.

thank you for your sensitive soul.

last one

you are so very special!

i love you, davey dunkin!

my garden doesn’t grow…. it’s a good thing we have family!

it’s true.

i can’t keep an outdoor plant alive to save my life.

i struggled in washington, too.

seriously.

but give me an indoor plant… i’ll forget to water it and the thing will still live.

so weird.

and i’m not really even trying here in arizona – i don’t enjoy it and it’s not worth the effort to me. that’s why i’m thankful for friends AND for family members who enjoy gardening. and are good at it. like grandma. and uncle arnie.

would you like to take a walk through grandma’s garden with me?

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vibrant colors.

decorations.

people playing and laughing and chatting and having fun…

it’s a pretty rockin’ garden/back yard.

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but not to be outdone by his mother in law, i think uncle arnie would like it if you took a walk around his garden, too:

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(that photo above is one of my favorite still shots of samantha – lucky shutter speed timing to capture that photo)!IMG_2301 IMG_2300 IMG_2292 IMG_2288 IMG_2287 IMG_2285 IMG_2282 IMG_2276 IMG_2271 IMG_2266

(yes, that’s a real pay phone. no, it’s not connected. yes, it’s in uncle arnie’s garden).

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(yes, that’s a real parking meter. no, it’s not connected. yes, it’s in uncle arnie’s garden).

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with so much open space, arnie & ibbie’s back yard is a great spot for games. soccer, ten ball, colors, gymnastics, dancing, races, laughing, exercising, sweating, catching fire flies and so much more!

visiting the butterflies

once again, these photos are all backwards, but i’d rather get another OHIO post up on the blog then spend the extra time to put them in order…. so i’ll let you enjoy photos from the afternoon visit we took to Miller Preserve to visit the butterfly room…

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in case you’re wondering, the Miller Preserve has more than just the butterfly enclosure, but it costs money to go into the green house (or whatever it is) and we weren’t that interested. we were, however, thankful, that visiting the butterflies was free!

yes, we DID have to prevent alex from SQUISHING and SQUASHING the butterflies on the plants and the ground and her hand. there were a few close calls.

poor butterflies!

all the munchkins wanted was to hold a butterfly.

a butterfly landed on another girl and after several minutes, she showed samantha how to get the butterfly to walk from her own hand onto samantha’s hand. and then samantha shared that butterfly with the rest of us. until alex almost squished it. but then it landed on my shoulder and the “butterfly passing” started all over again.

thanks for the fun afternoon, Aunt Marcia!

recap of TMNT meets Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

 

so my apologies, but i really do not want to take the time and exert the energy to “flip” over 100 photos…. so you’ll get a glimpse of our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meet Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood party IN REVERSE (that means you’ll see the END before the beginning).

the t-shirt TMNT masks were a huge hit and they were quite easy to make. i call this a Pinterest win!

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how is she FOUR?

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and how in the world is this Munchkin almost SEVEN?!?

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our two-hours of swimming (the only PLANNED activity for the party) got derailed after an hour. the weather took a turn for the worse and a big storm blew in. i had hoped it would blow out just as quickly, but no such luck. granted, it WAS over before the end of the party, but not soon enough to be able to send everyone back into the pool!

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the TMNT love pizza.

so did this crowd!

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the cheese puffs were a huge hit, too!

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mom or dad’s phone is usually a good entertainment tool, too!

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before the pizza arrived but AFTER we were kicked out of the pool, we opted to “kill time” by opening some presents….

the Munchkins took turns (alex opened one gift then davey opened one then alex, then davey…. you get the idea). both munchkins made quite a haul!

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i love that two of the munchkins have summer birthdays. despite the unpredictable storms that can come rolling in, birthday party entertainment is easy as long as it includes the pool! (as i type this, the wind is going CRAZY outside).

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so. many. presents…..

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but fear not! we had some fun goody bags for our friends!

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see all those strawberries? they were gone before i could blink!

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i LOVE how the cupcakes looked!

many, MANY thanks to Pinterest for the links to the free printables AND to Katie for her help in resizing the Daniel the Tiger (and friends) printables to use as cupcake toppers!

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it’s hard to see, but there’s a Daniel Tiger & Friends bunting here:

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i also made a TMNT one, but i don’t have a photo of it yet.

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in the end, i think it was a successful party.

i also think the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did a good job meeting with and playing nicely with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood!

F. O. U. R.

four?

already?

for real?

are you sure?

at 10:12am, four years ago, this little peanut entered the world:

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she was our third child.

our biggest baby (at 6 lbs. & 11 oz.).

she was born the “latest” at 39 weeks.

she nursed the best.

(without spitting up).

initially, she slept a lot. ahhhh. she slept. as a newborn. sleep……

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now she is so full of personality – it astounds me.

after all we went through while pregnant with her….

(there are so many, MANY stories from week 24-39!)….

after all we went through while waiting for her to be born…

after all we went through waiting for her to walk….

after all we went through with her waiting for her to talk….

after all we’re going through trying to convince her to use the potty….

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despite it all, we are SO VERY, VERY thankful that this sweet, stubborn, lively, loving little girl is part of our family.

without her there would be less smiles,

without her there would be less hugs,

without her there would be less kisses,

without her there would be less snuggles,

without her there would be less love,

without her, we would be less.

HAPPY, HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY, SWEET ALEXANDRA!

you are so very, very loved by so many people!

*************     *************     **************     *************

SOME OF ALEX’S CURRENT FAVORITES:

EATING: fruit snacks, bananas, pizza, granola bars, applesauce

WATCHING: Daniel Tiger, Blues Clues

LIVING: dressing herself, putting on her own shoes

LEARNING: reading books (and having them read to her)

DOING: searching for Waldo in books

SPECIAL: playing with her friends Jada and Kayleigh

SINGING: “Jesus Loves Me” and “Praise Ye the Lord” and sing-song lessons from Daniel the Tiger’s Neighborhood

MOVING: jumping, running, holding hands, piggy back rides, swimming

day one…

 

after a nice lunch at great grandpa & great grandma’s house, the munchkins found their way to the basement to enjoy TOY TIME….

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us adults wound up sitting down there to chat while the munchkins played and explored.

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there are so many things about this basement that dave remembers from his own childhood – the carpet, some of the toys, some poles/posts that he used to try to climb, the steep stairs, the different rooms (including great grandpa’s office and great grandma’s craft space)… i LOVE visiting this house. i love the history. i love the memories that i have there (just over the past 12 years!). and i LOVE that it’s a place where family gathers. it’s kinda like the epi-center for so many of us. i’m sure grandpa & grandma have spent countless hours in that basement praying for family, friends and strangers around the world.

aunt marcia joined us and she had a math problem for davey to solve. 3 munchkins + $15 + everyone needs the same amount of money = how much money per munchkin?

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and once the problem was solved, we were off on our first shopping adventure at this discount grocery store called Marc’s.

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i think the Munchkins were a bit overwhelmed! they had $5 each and they worked HARD to maximize their purchases. dave and i helped steer them in certain directions (“are you sure you want to spend $4 of your $5 on a cinderella toy when you already have one at home?”)

but in the end, the two older ones made their choices on their own (samantha even chose things to SHARE with her siblings – like the candy necklaces and markers!) while i chose alex’s purchases carefully. for just under $15 (tax included), the purchased all the things you see below:

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dave even found a toy HE wanted… but in the end aunt marcia purchased it for him so he could have a “toy,” too!

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the journey…

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2 checked bags, 5 personal carry on items, 3 car seats, 3 Munchkins and 2 parents hopped on a red eye flight from Phoenix, AZ to Cleveland, OH a short while back.

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we parked our car at the airport and hopped on the shuttle to the terminal.

we checked in our bags and hauled those darn car seats all the way to the gate (b/c i thought we would have to pay to check them with baggage but i knew they’d be free to gate check them. we should’ve asked… on the way home we checked them – for free! – with our luggage. made walking through the airport SO MUCH easier).

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these two munchkins were SO EXCITED for this trip! not only were they looking forward to seeing family, they were also looking forward to the flights – davey flew once when he was 11 months old and samantha’s only time on a plane was that same trip – when she was still inside me! (but then, technically, i guess davey was on a plane once before – i was pregnant when we went to mexico for a “final hurrah” before having munchkins).

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these munchkins did great on the flight. alex slept for at least 2 of the 3-1/2 hours. she even slept through the landing! i DID give each of the munchkins some melatonin on the flight to help them drift off to sleep – i knew they were too excited to be likely to fall asleep on their own.

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as we were walking off the plane in the morning, i told davey to peek into the cockpit. the pilot one-upped me: the co-pilot moved out of the way and the munchkins were invited into the cockpit. the pilot let them sit in the seats and he moved them around (raised and lowered) and he showed them the different levers and controls – it was so cool!

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and then we picked up our rental van and headed out to the DeJong Bed and Breakfast.

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after a few pleasantries, i napped and then dave napped and when i woke up, the two oldest Munchkins had gone to their room to nap! alex, however, stayed awake all day (with a few “naps” in the van to/from places).

next up: great grandpa & great grandma’s house!