Thursday, July 28, 2011

Congrats, Kelly!

My younger cousin, Kelly, got married a mere 16 hours after we rolled in from Denver. We had a blast hanging out all those hours with family and celebrating the union of Kelly and Khaled. Here are the few pics I snatched, all dance goodies.

There's Larissa, snapping pics of the bride and groom's first dance - yet, I'm snapping in the opposite direction. Look at those two most adorable dancing cousins! Can't stand the cutieness!

Princess Stacey came to give them a lesson on dancing, in all her 8 year old wisdom:

But Amelie and Kail went right back to their way of doing it!

The woman of the day and her dad's dance

Thanks, guys for a fun night!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So, Jeff signed up for a training about working undercover, which happened to be in Denver. Since they are required to have so many training hours, it was approved that he go on the department's dime. They gave him a company car and gas card, and the training company paid for his room and $39/day for food. It lasted for a whole week, so we were originally thinking we'd sneak along with him, then found out he was bunked with another guy. We couldn't work out lodging for us, and especially transportation there, so we decided to stay home and miss him lots. Then, the night before he'd be leaving, he was told people bring their families all of the time and he could just call and request his own room. Booyeah! So, we were treated to an impromptu, 100% free vacation last week! The short version goes something like this:

Sunday: Drive there with minimal stops, check in and be impressed with our hotel suite. Girls did pretty well - only needed one huge playtime stop at McD's in all the 8 hours there.
Monday: indulge in free breakfast (made-to-order omelets, french toast, pancakes, bacon, sausage, potatoes, muffins, fruit, cereal, yogurt, every morning) swim at the hotel, naps, dinner at Johnny Rockets, Fro Yo, and HUGE richie mall playplace
Tuesday: Mom and girls went to Dinosaur Ridge to see real fossils and dinosaur replicas, nap in the room, lunch at Chili's, dinner at Golden Corral.
Wednesday: puzzles and nail polish in the hotel, leftovers for lunch (we had plenty!) Little Caesar's for dinner, movie time in.
Thursday: Mom and girls hike Red Rock - challenging with 2 babes but gorgeous and very fun, naps, dinner with an old bestie from FL Sarah and her entourage, then hanging out at her place.
Friday: packing up, swimming (with daddy this time,) lunch at LePeep (love it!) and overpriced, overly amazing desserts from D Bar (Keegan Gerhard ring a bell anyone?) then headed out of town. We just so happened to be hungry right at the same McD's from our trip in... not much variety in Wyoming, I'm afraid...

Seeing as we were there by ourselves, I didn't have anyone to steal pics from, so I have a precious few that I stole quickly with that SAME LAST bit of battery power on my camera. Visual highlights:

digging for fossils, and life-sized dino replicas

the girls' first hike!

And my $4 brownie. Yes, I'd pay that again, it was so good.

Textual highlights:
  • Alisa is swimming adventurous - or suicidal! She kept me on my water-logged toes, while she climbed out, ran around and walked right off the edge of the pool over and over. Luckily I caught her every time.
  • At Dinosaur Ridge, they had signs warning for rattle snakes. While the girls were digging for fossils, Amie looked in her bucket and said, "look, mom, a snake!" I instantly grabbed both girls by their shirts and jumped us up out of the fossil pit, much to the startling of everyone around us. Then I looked back in her bucket and saw... a worm. Awesome.
  • Hanging out at Sarah's house, the girls were mesmerized by their large German Shepherd, Koda. They both wanted to play and pet lots, but would get scared, too, as he was taller than them. In bed that night, Amie told me "Mom, it was fun at Koda's house."
  • While swimming our last day, Amelie met a little girl and followed her around relentlessly, saying "Best friend! Come here, best friend! Let's swim, best friend!"
Overall, it was just a great time to get away. Between the gas card, hotel, free breakfast, and Jeff's per diem, we didn't even spend a dime! I figure that us going on the vacation actually saved us money, cause we didn't use our car, gas or usual utilities the whole week. How sweet is that? Gotta love a free vacation - and the 3rd we've had in the past 7 weeks! With 1 more coming up, Woohoo!

MTMMS: Toomi-Soomi!

Ever heard of Team Umi Zoomi? It's a newish show on nick jr. It's one of Amelie's favorites. They are tiny computer-animated people in a computer-animated world that use their "mighty math powers" to help real children.

Best story ever:
While getting ready to go to my cousin's wedding (congrats Kelly!) I put Amie in a little dress that had an attached jacket. It was zipped and she was trying to get it off. She got kinda cry-y whiney in that way that toddlers do and asked me to help her. I just told her it was stuck and that it can't come off, then returned to my business. After a few moments' struggle, I turned around to see Amie with the jacket unzipped, and heard this:
(down on her knees, cause they're tiny people.) Oh, Thank you, toomi soomi! I couldn't have done it without your help!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To-Do, To-Do, Playing outside is fun to do!

Often in my groups at the hospital, I talk with my patients about mindfulness, and how so often we get into trouble/eat too much/waste our time simply because we are not thinking about it, or being intentional with our extra minutes. I make them make lists, lots and lots of lists. Things they like to do, things they want to try, things that work for them, things that are free, things that will get them out with other people, etc. If people just have some fall backs, some things ready-to-go, they're much more likely to fill their lives with meaningful moments and happy experiences. (You know, instead of looking back and wondering how 3 hours just passed while you were on facebook...)

OK. So what? Lately, I've taken a look at how often my kids are at home and how of course, we are much less patient and loving with each other when we sit around the house all day. Well, I made this list of things. I decided that I am going to, without fail, every single day of the summer, do at least one of these things with my girls. (Outside is ideal, but I included indoor for this rainy weather.) I know, you're thinking "the summer's halfway over?" But, I made this commitment awhile ago, I just haven't blogged about it til now. At first, I thought every single day was a lofty goal for me, but some of the things happen naturally, for example, every Sunday we hang out at grandma's house, check! Not only has it been a piece of cake so far, but it's been FUN! and less frustrating the times we are just home. So, I'm gonna share the list, or most of it, here with you, in hopes that you'll get out, too. Additionally, please leave your go-to activities here in the comments. Then, everyone will have an amazing list of resources for those days. You know the ones I'm talking about. Not good for anyone.

Here's my list:
  • parks, parks, parks - there are SO many if you just look! we're trying a new one each time
  • splash pads
  • visit grandma and grandpa
  • playdate with cousins
  • picnic in the yard
  • go for a walk
  • take dollies for a walk in their stroller
  • play in the sprinkler
  • make cookies/treats
  • deliver treats to family/friends/neighbors
  • outdoor concerts (there are tons in the summer)
  • free summer movie in the park
  • play at a toy store... and leave without purchasing!
  • art/craft time
  • build a fort
  • play dress ups
  • home dance party
  • puzzles
  • hide and seek in the yard
  • museums
  • story time (all libraries and even Barnes and Noble do this free)
  • festivals/parades (your local city fest, or holiday celebrations)
  • fireworks! (I don't know about you, but there's been a fireworks show around our neighborhood every single night this month!! Much less annoying when you're watching.)
  • play fashion photo shoot somewhere new
  • hike
  • fire in the mountains
  • roast marshmallows
  • swim! (don't be limited - think community pools, friends in apartments or even your neighbor's kiddie pool)
  • visit the local shelter and take the dogs for walks/play
  • fast food playplace (for too-hot days... and no, you don't have to buy!)
  • cook a meal together kiddie-style
  • sidewalk chalk
  • movie-theater-style redbox (popcorn, tix, lights down)
  • make a tape/video/album of you for grandparents
  • garden walks
  • bird watch
  • zoo
  • read at the library
  • play at the library
  • check out books/movies from the library
  • scheduled programs at the library (can you tell I like the library?)
  • feed ducks
  • watch airplanes
  • make up stories about people while you people watch with a treat
  • make storybooks
  • play board games (so far all we can handle at my house are Candyland and Chutes and Ladders... on a good day)
  • walking/running/biking trails
  • bubbles!!!
  • go for a drive
  • go for a bike ride
  • Our Utah-specific favorites: International Peace Gardens, Millcreek Canyon, Church History Museum - top floor, Jordan River Parkway
I actually have a lot more info than I posted here, namely free festivals, movies and concerts in the valley, if you want more infos. Here is great list I found as well, if you wanna check it out.

Hopefully this habit continues beyond the summer, right? Thanks for reading, and don't forget to leave your favorites here too!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fourth Fun

I'm pretty sure that half of the people that read my blog are going to stop because I just (steal and) post THEIR pictures here... But how can I not when they take such great pictures of my kidlets? Photo credits in advance: Thanks Liss/Jason, mom, Marcie, Steph and maybe even a few Kaycee!

I thought we'd kick off the festivities early with a little trip to the splash pad at Liberty Park. My friend Marissa and her two kids joined us. I was totally patting myself on the back as mom of the year for providing such a great, fun day for them, arranging playmates, braving two girls by myself for errands, not to mention with no AC in my car. Turns out it was a little premature. Lisie didn't love the water section (which baffles me!) Amie did, but it is too large of a space to keep track of two kiddies that little in all the playgroundiness and millions of kids. After a few loss scares, a few cryings, hot-sidewalk-burnt feet and swapping of snacks, we decided it was time to turn in. We were actually there for well over an hour, but it didn't seem like it to me, since I didn't get to sit and read or visit like I wished. Oh well!

We got to join the crew in Delta this year for part of the weekend and had a grand old time! Our girls are now old enough to just love every minute of it AND they actually slept at night, so it was all around wonderful! We left home in the a.m. on Sunday after Jeff got off of work, and he slept in the car. We arrived and after a little settle in/visit time, we suited up and swam in the lake, i.e. I floated in the relaxation station.

Those cutie girls had a blast together!!

Then, after some lunch and reading, we (me and the girls, along with all the other girls plus Ty, Hunt and friend) went out onto Tonya's boat for a little knee board or tube action. Jeff wasn't in the mood, but I went with the girls, and most of the other moms and kids. I actually got Amelie on the tube! She lay on her tummy, and I lay next to her with my arms over her, both holding on. She acted like she wanted to go on, and said she had fun, but I'm not sure she actually enjoyed it. She couldn't lift her head up to see because of the life jacket she was wearing, so when we hit bumps, she'd hit the tube with her face.

Driving the boat!
Woops-Kylee and Marcie fell in!

Then, Steph and I thought it was a great idea to take Tanner and Alisa on together. Yeah, we went like a half a mile an hour! Tanner cried at first, but Lisie seemed to love it! She just relaxed, then when we got off, she turned right around and tried to crawl back out of the boat and back onto the tube. We spent a lot of time on the boat, and while Amie seemed ready to get off after a time, Alisa was in heaven, she just laid back and loved every second of the wind blowing through her hair.

That night, we watched Tangled, painted toenails, played games, read books, hung, visited, all that good vacation time stuff, as well as had a little Happy Birthday Dayna celebration.

The next morning, we went to the Delta parade, where the kids got TONS of candy, and it was a bit overcast, so it wasn't even miserably hot like every other 4th of July parade ever.

Steph thought she had to conduct the parade.

We headed out after that, and stopped in at my parents' for BBQ dinner and fireworks. We had a fun time there, swimming, eating LOTS, hanging, roasting marshmallows, playing ladder ball, and of course, fireworks. We had a pretty darn good show on our own, and then it seemed like ALL the neighbors had aerial fireworks, so we just sat outside and enjoyed for a long time, not even bothering to go to Thanksgiving Point, like originally planned. I ended up getting ash burning my one eye, then later a hunk of something fell and hit my other eye, bruising it. Not so fun!
Same confused face...

Love it! She couldn't get enough of us throwing her, even when she was shivering cold.

"I got chocodett!"

The kids thought it was super great that they got to bring the next fireworks out to Uncle Jason before they'd run away and he'd light them.

It was a great holiday weekend, and Jeff even had fun!