Thursday, December 18, 2008

Giving Thanks

This years Thanksgiving was a huge family affair. With Dustin and the kids and I in yet another new house we decided to share the day with us and we had quite a turn out that warmed this old
house right up. My Aunt Jeanine came all the way from Ohio to join the crew
and to surprise my Mom and Grandmother who knew nothing of her plans to be here. She walked up our drive way on her cell phone with my mother (whom was inside), walked in the door and right up to my Mom (still on the phone with her), it took a second or two for it to register, but then great cheers and laughter erupted. It was so nice to have her here.

My sister Becca was here with her Husband Sean and their daughter, home from college, Rachel.
Nana deserved to take a load off after helping me prepare the Thanksgiving meal for 30 people. Grandpa Larry (Dustins Dad) and Papa (my Dad) were soaking up the grand kid time and keeping them busy while I got the food out and ready for the masses.

After the filling meal, that was wonderful by the way and a big thanks to all that pitched in, there was plenty of time for us all to chat, relax and have some family time. Including story time for the kids with uncle Jeremy, photo ops with the grandparents, and of course some football.
Addison and Jonathan both seemed to fully enjoy their pumpkin pie and were quite entertaining as they gulped it down.
What a wonderful day, and though a lot of work, I cant wait to do it again next year!

Trick or Treat !!

Well Jonathans first Halloween and Addisons first trick or treat was a big hit and something we must do again, we may not even wait til next year. I mean they are cute enough to get candy from strangers any day of the year! We started out the day by putting on our costumes early and visiting all of our people. We surprised Nana at work and the kids went from cubical to cubical collecting handfuls of candy from their new best friends. Nana seemed to beam as she showed off her grand kids to her co-workers but because I left the camera in the truck we missed the Kodak moment.

Next we went to go see Papa and Linda at their house. The kids got to play with the cats and meet Amy, Papas parrot that I grew up with and have a close bond with. After posing for lots of pictures, we moved on down the street to share the love with Grandma. Grandma was very surprised when she got home from work and we were running around her front yard waiting for her. She said we made her day even though the kids ended up tearing up her living room and having a couple of temper tantrums, I'm sure leaving her ears ringing.

After napping in the car, a much needed one I might add, we got to Uncles house and posed for a family picture before we hit the streets for some free candy!

The first couple of houses were ruff, but after that things started to pick up. Jonathan seemed to get it very quickly and had a look on his face of "why haven't we done this before", Addison on the other hand wanted nothing to do with it for the first half hour or so. With tomatoes in the candy bucket (as a joke) at one of the first houses, Addison chose wisely, and munched on that tomato while lounging in the stroller. Seriously. After her snack she seemed to feel better and joined in the fun.

The rest of the night went smoothly. Jonathan trick or treated til he dropped and we all ended up riding back to the house in Aunt Jens Truck.

All in all the whole day was so fun and it was great to start our own traditions.

Friday, October 24, 2008

MO or Bust !!

How exciting! Not only am I getting the chance to go see family that I haven't seen in more then 8 years, but I get to take my kids whom they have never seen! It has been merely 6 months since Jonathan has been with us and he is again going to take an airplane ride and he is so excited. Addi on the other hand has never been on an airplane and I am truly nervous about how she will take it. Me...well the Africa voyage in January helped with most of the fear of flying, or should I say helped me get used to the fear, but it is still there on the back burner and I hope I will take the flight alright in front of the kids. My Dad and Linda are going with us which is a blessing because the last thing I would ever want to do is take 2 toddlers on a plane trip by myself.
Dustin Took us all to the airport in the Expodition, which was so packed full of luggage and people that I ended up in the 3rd seat, Indian style, with a cooler halfway on my lap. By the time we got to the airport my legs were numb and I had to un-stuck myself with the up-most care.
The job of getting everything out of the truck, including the kids, stroller and the car seats, getting it all to the check counter, tagged and checked was quite the job. I think all of us had a few more gray hairs when we were all done.
None the less we got on to the plane and seated without any problems and were off to see the family.
Jonesy obviously knew what to expect and loved every part of the flight. He got to play the whole time with his Papa who needed a nap after all of that. Addison really did great for it being her first time in the air. She had just a few break downs due to hunger and being tired, but nothing that a snack and Mommas cozy lap couldn't fix.
There was so much packed into this visit that I don't even know where to start. The first night we got there I stayed at my aunts house with the kids as Dad and Linda went to go see Mammam. Alone in a large house that I barley know has never been my cup of tea, but add a massive thunderstorm right over our heads and tornado warnings for the area and I was a big huge ball of nerves. We were fine of course, but i didn't know that. Turns out that an Arbys restaurant was demolished just down the road from the house that night.
After that drama, the next morning we were all got to go see Mammam after breakfast and I couldn't wait to introduce her to Jonathan. She had met Addison when she was 3 months old visiting us in Idaho with my Dad, Linda and my Aunt Donna. But still that was nearly a year ago.
When we got there the kids took right to her as if they saw her everyday of their lives and Mammam seemed to be in heaven with her great grandchildren climbing all over her.
We got to spend quite a bit of time with the whole family and had some great photo opportunities, including the traditional one with all of the cousins lined up in a row.
One of the funnest things we did while we were there was visit the Bass Pro Shop, which to all of you city slickers, is a big o store full of hunting and fishing gear. Maybe not fun for most of you but heaven for all of us rednecks!
Jonesy and Addison just went crazy! There is so much to look at from the mounted deer, elk and other animals, to the new boats, quads, and all the camping gear you could dream of. There was this huge fish there in a tank in the middle of the store. He was a cat fish that weighed 114 pounds! Yes 114! This thing was bigger in size then Jonathan and Addison put together and was heavier then the 2 of them twice over. It was insane to see it swim by the kids. Jonathan didn't realize at first that the fish couldn't get to him through the glass. He would step back every time the giant would come near and look to me to save him from it. Addison didn't seem to have a problem and seemed drawn to the tank amazed at all of the swimmy creatures.
The day we were due to fly home we were able to go see where my Papa was laid to rest. I had never had the chance to be there before and it was nice to be able to close that door.
It was the best trip ever and I was sad to have to leave but happy to be heading home to Dustin who I missed like crazy. I cant wait to go back and spend more time with my wonderful and loving family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Enchanted We Are

So here we are at another cross roads for my memory banks. I remember, though not well, coming to this very forest when I was a child and now my kids will have a few of the same moments in life that I had. Being one of the very rare times that Dustin is not at his 6 day a week grind and is on vacation and loving it, we made the most of it and took off early in the morning to start our Enchanted Adventure. Because I haven't been here for 15 plus years, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to remember or what to expect of the old tourist attraction. It seemed to be the same, though a little aged and not quite as magical through my now adult eyes. Wow am I that old? I guess the days of magic and wonder are long gone for me. What I didn't remember was how scary some of the attractions were in the gloom of the big pine trees and clouds. A bit on the spooky side even for me. Now for those of you who have never had the chance to visit the Enchanted Forest, it is a theme park just outside of Salem that has taken all of the nursery rhyme characters like Bo Peep, Little Miss Muffet, and the Crooked Man and made statues, houses and activities out of their stories. Take for instance the Alice in Wonderlands rabbit hole. They made a 30 foot tunnel out of cement that goes under ground, curves, ends in a cement hut (the rabbits house), and is spooky as HELL. The kids looked at me like I was crazy when I asked them if they were going to go into the big black hole, so I had to suck it up and leed the way. We got about half way before the darkness took over and all you can see is a small spot of light at the end. I am sad to say though I am a 27 year old mother of 3, I was a little bit creeped out and couldnt get to the end fast enough. I felt my was along and as we got to the end the kids cheered. I must have done the job of hiding my fear well because they wanted to do it again and again. I DIDN'T. The slide was really cool though. It is for the story of the lady who had so many kids she didn't know what to do, so they lived in a shoe. I don't get it? Anyway. The kids of course loved it and continued the over and over again theme. Addison couldn't go on her own and cause Dustin probably would have gotten stuck in the small opening to the slide, it was Momma to the rescue again. She loved it so much that we couldn't get to the top of the hill fast enough to do it again.
The Bumper cars was fun to watch. Hailey and Dustin really got into it chasing each other all over that arena. The train was fun too. It got a little loud with all the buttons Jonathan could push to make noises mixed with the gut squeals of Addison enjoying herself.
The worst yet and ironically the funniest part of the whole trip was the haunted house. Now, the only reason we went was because we thought it was a kids thing(being in a kids theme park) and we had missed the sign that had said "not for little kids"....YEAH. So we paid our money and went in. I was holding Addison, Dustin was holding Jonesy and Hailey was in the middle. We were walking down the hall and just laughing and looking at the not so scary decorations, all cool and collected. Well we weren't even halfway through when they ran out of not so scary decor and broke out the nightmare makers. Our pace quickened and we realized that we were gonna loose the kids to tears and soon. By Jonseys request I ended up holding him and Addison both at the same time while walking as fast as I could through the darkness. It's quite amazing how strong you can get in situations like this. Normaly I am barly strong enough to lift one of them for a few minutes, but with apending doom ahead and not wanting to scar my children for life I morphed into wonder woman and packed em like it was nothing. At this point we were ALL done and wanted out so bad that I was looking for any exit at all and would have taken it if I found one. It was when a burst of air came from something in the wall that all hell broke loose. Jonsey screamed grabbing on to me so tight I couldn't hardly breath, Hailey though she was holding on to Dustin at the time (the safest she could ever be) bolted in the other direction trying to get past me to get back to the beginning I guess. She turned and took off so fast that Dustin couldn't grab her and I ended up blocking her and keeping her from getting lost in the house. It was all I could do not to laugh though. It was like I ws seeing the 5 of us from the out side looking in, what would a person think right now? Those poor kids and those stupid parents, right? I'm sure we looked like a bunch of kenneled dogs trying to run from the fireworks on the 4th of July.
Anyway, so there we are frozen for a good 20 seconds in the hallway and none of us wanting to pass the air burst thing again. Then Dustin gets into defence mode, picks up Hailey and literally throws her over his shoulder, which is funny cause she hasn't been carried at all for years and in any other situation she would be laughing and having fun in that possition. He starts walking so fast it was hard for me to keep up carrying 2 babies of my own Jonesy with his head burried in my neck. What our faces must have looked like as we burst through the exit door. That would have been a great photo! Never will we do that again but on the same hand it was so funny I still laugh when I think of it. And Addi...she was the only one who had no idea what the heck was going on. Once we hit the day light she was looking at all of us like we had lost our minds.
All in all it was a fun trip, the kids had fun and we made some good memories, spookiness and all.

Water Babies

Wow, was I schooled. Talk about pulling teeth, hair and what ever else I could get my hands on to get my kids on the list for swimming lessons. Who knew? After 2 months of fighting for a spot in a class we got one and it was sure worth it, just look at that face. Yup that's me (sorry folks) in the pool with Addison which was a blast and I wish I could have done it that way with Jonesy too. The first day was kinda tough, leaving the pool with the claw marks to prove it.
After that she was all fins floating, playing, drinking pool water and even putting her head under. Jumping from the wall into the pool seemed to be her favorite thing to do proving our collective theory that we have a true dare devil on our hands and putting the fear in to her mother desperately trying to keep her head above water. Also amusing to her, and everyone else, was cruising by the audience seated close by just making sure that her fan club didn't miss a moment of her silliness. By the end of the 2 weeks she had learned a few new tricks, graduated at the top of her class and of course had the chance to look too cute in her bathing suits.
Jonesy was so excited to get in the water that he could hardly sit still waiting for Addi's session to be over. Everyday he would sit so patiently by the wall, just feet from Addison and I, the pool beckoning him I'm sure, watching us and waiting. 30 minutes must feet like hours to a three year old when faced with something they love to do but have to wait for. So when it was his turn, he could hardly get his clothes off fast enough to join his teacher by the pool. The first day was going swimmingly (haha) until Jonathan lost his footing following the teacher through the deep water to the wall. I was just sitting a few feet away, letting Addison put her feet in the water, you know, keeping the beast happy when it happened. As his head went under for the 3rd time in about 2 seconds and he couldn't get to his feet I jumped up to grab him. Its funny how you don't want to be "one of those Moms" that run for their child at the first sign of trouble never giving them a chance to learn on their own. So I waited....a whole 2 seconds three at the most....but I waited, gave him a chance, but man was it the longest 3 seconds let me tell you. The teacher finally got him up (listen to me it was 3 seconds for goodness sake) and he ran to me. After a few tears and a couple deep breaths (and i mean for the both of us) he got back to the lesson and everything was fine. Him being no fool though kept a hand on the teacher when they were in the "deep" water.
By the next week he had all of him confidence back again and was just as happy as a clam (haha). It was sad that it was over for them... but not for me let me tell you. It is a work out to get 2 infants to the pool, undressed, pottyed, and then when it is all over, getting them showered, dressed, and home. Jeez!