Saturday, March 31, 2012

2 year old stats

Well, it's official! Jack is our "tall" child. :) He is 34 inches tall which puts him in the whopping 39%--a record for any of our children. Ha! {and no, I'm not kidding.} His weight is 26.4 lbs (29%) and he has the smallest of all of my kids' heads at 49 cm (59%).

She was completely comfortable with all of his milestones (including his speech-yay!). Of course, he was a ham with her and showed off all of his skillz. :)

Stupid me forgot to bring up his motion sickness/constant vomiting which she told me talk with her about at his 2 year appointment. Wanna know what reminded me of that fact? Yep, about 45 minutes after his appointment he threw up {but that is a story for another post. Yep, a whole story.}.

Jack turns TWO! {the party version}

Well, my baby is two. Tear.

We started his { party day} birthday with our traditional birthday breakfast of donuts and eggs. He spied the Thomas the train napkins I scored at Target for $1.48 a pack and was over the moon about it.

Man, he's a cute kid. :)

His party was at 11 so we did the final things to prepare. I actually got in bed before midnight, which is early for me--especially for a night before a party. :) Chris got in bed at 11, he refused to stay up as moral support as I made Jack a birthday shirt to wear. He did not appreciate the "need". :)

I seriously wonder how people planned parties before pinterest. I love that site! I have been storing away ideas for months now and was very happy with both the cuteness and simpleness of the party. And, bonus, Jack had a blast--and that's really what it's all about (not a photo-op, I have to remind myself!).

Party favors were little trains. The original idea I found was to make the body of the train from a tube of lifesavers. Well, unless special ordered, lifesavers are only available in bags, which didn't help me at all. Because of peanut allergies I couldn't use the tubes of mini-M&M's, so I was seriously scratching my head! Two nights before the party, as I was searching my 6th (yes, sixth) store for lifesavers, I saw bubbles packaged 3 for $1. Done. So we have bubbles, a rolo, hershey kiss, "thank you for coming" on the back, lifesaver wheels and the toothpick cut off of the thomas heads--intended for cupcake toppers--to form my train. Cheap, cute, allergy free, not too much of a sugar high and relatively practical use wise. :) Super.

I found super cute wrapping paper at Costco and put out a request for shoe boxes from friends to come up with my train cars for my food. Very happy with them.

Food set up...(that would be a log car--pretzels, aquarium car--goldfish, citrus car--orange slices, coal car--raisins, and the next picture shows, produce car--celery, carrots and ranch, station house sammies--ham and cheese, and the adults' pasta salad and wagon wraps--spinach wraps with avacado, cheddar, ham, bell pepper and lettuce--and they were awesome!).

Closer up...

Cake Table:

Jack spent a good portion of his party sitting in Poppy's lap eating pretzles, err, "logs". :) He was in hog heaven...

And, my simplest cake to make yet, and the birthday boy L-O-V-E-D it. For simplicity sake I served cupcakes to the kids and cake to the adults. I pre-scooped birthday cake icecream into muffin liners (in a muffin tray) and had them in the freezer ready to pull out and serve. I did it for Ryan's party too and I think it's one of my favorite birthday party ideas yet.

He wasn't sure about everyone singing to him, but as soon as everyone finished he started trying to blowout the candles.

I'd say the cake was a hit. :)

Sweet little Caroline--that poor beautiful dress! :)

Chris totally wins a prize for father of the year. :) He often begrudgingly plays along with my crazy ideas, but this time he totally ran with it. I showed him a {pinterest} picture of a train built from boxes. I had been asking friends to save them for a few weeks (PS, you can't get refrigerator boxes anymore--all of the big companies sell/recycle them.). He spent over an hour constructing the train for the kids to play in. It was such a hit and he did an awesome job! I had a can of markers for the kids to decorate the train and they could climb all in it--such cheap fun!

Annie, Anna-Kate and Luke decorating. :)

Lydia in the train.

Me, with my big 2 year old!

We blew up the bounce house again (such a good investment for us!) and the kids enjoyed our backyard toys and the awesome new bubble machine that Mimi and Oompa gave Jack for his birthday!

Bubbles! (and every time I see kids giddy over bubbles it makes me think of Nemo. Lol).

Jacks buddy, Jack, going for a spin.

We ended up leaving the bounce house up all afternoon and the kids jumped to their little hearts' contents. Then we ate dinner outside, (leftovers from lunch-YES!) they jumped some more, threw them in the bath and everyone slept like rockstars. The end.

The big kids {And Anna-Kate showing off her "pink" tooth. Lol.}

Happy 2nd birthday little Jack...time sure flies when I'm having fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I went to Anna-Kate's 3rd quarter parent-teacher conference this morning (what??!?!?! This year is flying by!). I am so proud of my girl! She has excellent grades and, so I can remember...

Is reading at a 2nd grade level. Her teacher was "floored" at how well she was reading, (on a first time through a new book status) especially considering where she was when she entered school. She said Anna-Kate was doing "phenomenally" and that I should be very proud (which, of course, I am).

Her math scores are all high. The money section had given her problems, (adding various coins together and determining "fair trades" and then subtracting various coins was hard for her) but it has finally clicked and she got them all perfect on her evaluation.

She got the highest marks possible in Art, (with her teacher commenting that she is a natural) PE, (which is hilarious to me as she hates it) and music. Spanish she is an "S+"--we'll see about "E" by schools' end. :)

Honestly though, the thing I took away most was her writing skills. Her teacher showed me her paper of the alphabet from August, then a paper that she had written during oral dictation. It was unreal. Her teacher was extremely encouraging and commented on Anna-Kate's excellent pencil grip/handwriting and the good job she did with spelling (only 1 mistake in dictation for a whole page of writing!). In addition to dictation, the kids are learning to write short stories. They have learned about rough drafts, ("sloppy copies") which include a main idea, a couple of sentences to describe that idea and a concluding sentence. She shows such creativity, good spelling and the way she illustrates her stories is amazing (I swear, she can draw better than I can!). Next one that comes home I'll take a picture of and post. So great.

I'm just blown away by what she is doing--and to the degree of excellence. We are so thankful for her awesome school and thankful that she chooses to apply herself to it so well.

Monday, March 19, 2012


In case you were wondering, when Jack says...

"Eddie", he means "Woody"
"Essie", he means "Jessie"
"Ex", he means "Rex"
"Isa Buzz!", he means "Buzz Lightyear"
"Yee-haw" or "sigh" he means "Bulls Eye"
"Ninny", he means "Minnie"
"Kickey", he means "Mickey"
"Woof-Woof", he means "Pluto"
"A quack quack", he means "Donald"
"oofy" or "tat", he means "goofy" (and usually is referring to his hat)
"lip smacking noise" he means Nemo or Flounder
"uh-sess", he means "princess"
"beast", he means "Belle" (really awkward when he points to a sweet little girl in a Belle costume and repeats loudly-- "BEAST, BEAST!!!")

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Disney Trip, 2012

Alternate Title: "Would you believe me if I told you that this is but a small fraction of our pictures from the week?"

We spent spring break at the Port Orleans Resort this year. Chris' comment was that the French Quarter was just like New Orleans...without the smell or crime. Perfect. :) We were in building 6 on the ground floor on the corner which put us very close to the parking lot (but with lovely courtyard views, close to the movie green area, close to the pool, playground and food--but just far enough away to be quiet. Perfect spot! We enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and feel of the resort. It's smaller, so things were closer together and there weren't so many people. The kids LOVED the pool! The water slide was the perfect size for them and I was so proud of the big kids with their swimming. Anna-Kate picked right back up where she left off last summer (Ie, won't need swimming lessons, but we do need to work on form) and, by the end of the week, Ryan was jumping in and getting back into it! Jack, you will not be surprised to read, was not scared in the slightest and delighted in playing "TWO!" and would repeat the word over and over (as in, one, two--he jumps--three.).

Picnic poolside!

Our room was at the corner of "Rue d'baga" and "Cafe au Lait Way". Cute.

Often, as we walked through the main building, the door man would give the kids mardi gras beads or coins to throw in the fountain. They loved it, and by the end of the week, we had quite a collection. Anna-Kate being very silly with a very obliging Poppy. :)

We spent a lot of time at the playground (especially in the early mornings--to cold for swimming first thing!

While the kids played, I partook in the "local" flavor...fresh beignets and coffee. :) YUM.

Downtown Disney! We always have such a good time here! From the Lego store to the Disney stores, to eating at the Earl of Sandwich and our annual family pictures with Pooh and the kids with Mickey and Minnie...gotta love free fun!

The boys (especially) were dying to go to Hollywood Studios this year. We all enjoyed the Pixar parade a lot as well as the Disney Jr show, Toy Story Ride, Beauty and the Beast show and Ryan especially loved meeting the Toy Story characters and eating at Pizza Planet!

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, leave it to Disney to actually make you enjoy waiting in line! My kids had the best time waiting to meet Buzz and Woody! {Though, I have to admit to a proud Mommy moment as I watched the 4 (ish) age boy behind us. He was clearly not accustomed to the words "wait" or "patience". My kids were wide eyed at the things to look at and interact with and, even Jack, waited very patiently for the 30-40 minutes we were in line.}

(clearly, strapped to the rocket out of Sid's yard-- a la, Buzz Lightyear. :)

"Dose {alien} guys" as Jack calls them.

Evil Zurg!

And then...we met them...

...and walked outside and saw this guy!

Toy Story Ride: (PS, much better than the one in Magic Kingdom, in my opinion)

Chris and my Dad got to ride the new Star Tours ride and loved it! My belly was too big to be seatbelted in and my sweet Mom brought Ryan out when he got scared, so she missed it.

Even though he missed the ride, he was happy as pie to "ride" this thing.

The too short, too scared, too pregnant group (pre-Ryan and Nana coming out).

The kids all loved the "Honey I shrunk the kids" play area. (though we were made very apparent of just how many people were in the park! YIKES, it was crowded!)

We spent a long time trying on tons of hats in the shop area under Mickey's Sorcerer hat--Ryan had a ball!

Jack was so cute and LOVED wearing his "kickey" ears. :)

I refused to wait 1 hour to "meet" Cars. :) So, we took his picture in front of them. Thankfully, he was happy with that option. :)

Waiting on lunch at Pizza Planet. Sweet, happy guy! (who can hang! Pretty minimal fussiness and not one minute of a nap!)

Enraptured by the parade:

Family shots in front of the Sorcerer's hat:

For a change of scenery, we headed to our favorite resort, the Polynesian, for some lunch and a boat ride (the boat from our resort was closed a couple of days because of the rough winds and it being a canal and not an open lake the the Seven Seas). Stepping foot in the Polynesian is stepping into relaxation and of my favorite things. :) From the background music, to the beautiful flowers, the Dole whip and my very special memories from this resort. Ahh! I love it!

{Moral of this story, don't trust a stranger who says "I got a great one" until you look at it first.}

We got off the boat at the Grand Floridian to walk around and see the grounds (no shock, it was beautiful!). The kids loved this old car and I thought Papa would enjoy seeing this picture. :)

At the Whispering Canyon (at the Wilderness Lodge) we had such a fun and silly dinner! All you can eat bbq and a very literal wait staff. :) A lady at the table next to us asked for a bigger fork and got this:

In addition to Coke products and sweet tea, unlimited milkshakes are a drink option. Umm, yes please! Anna-Kate was thrilled I got it and that I was so generous. I tried chocolate and then caramel. Dad got strawberry and Chris got chocolate and then vanilla. How could you pass that up??

If someone at the table asks for ketchup, the waiter yells "Who's got the ketchup?" and everyone with ketchup brings it to your table. Jack thought it was hysterical!

Partway through the meal they had a time for the kids to get on stick horses and ride in a dinner "parade" around the restaurant. So cute and the pulled pork and mashed potatoes were super yummy (and their caramel apple pie was to die for--2 days later when I was hungry enough to eat it!). A definite repeat!

After dinner my parents put the kids to bed while Chris and I got to see La Nouba! This was my birthday present and I was stoked as I have always wanted to see a Circe du Soleil show. It was amazing. I literally just had my jaw open and was convinced I was about to watch someone fall to their death...amazing none the less. :) I did the head nod fall asleep thing for a few minutes (I was so tired as and it was so nice and dark...) so I stood up (which was better for my back anyway) and enjoyed the show immensely. Wonderful gift! This is our only picture as they were extremely strict about photography. I wasn't interested in them taking my phone away!

We only spent one day in the Magic Kingdom this year, so we were really excited to finally get there on Thursday morning for magic hours (that would be 8 am!). :)

Jack and Chris on the monorail...almost there!

Teacups. I love it as much as the kids, which is a good thing as I rode it three times in an hour. :) We all rode it, then I rode it with Jack when the big kids rode the cars, then with Anna-Kate as the boys and my parents rode Buzz Lightyear for the second time. :) Jack was hysterical and was spinning the center thing. Then his eyes would start following and you could watch him get dizzy. Hilarious.

We met lots of characters. :) The boys met with Buzz again, and I don't think Jack cried this time! We all met with Goofy outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean (not a favorite for any of my kids. Anna-Kate said she only rode it because she wanted to tell Adam about it and so he would be proud of her!). Chris wins daddy of the year award for sure...the line for Rapunzel was almost 3 hours long (no, I did not mistype that). He stood there for 1 1/2 hours chatting with a couple of other dads while Mom, Dad and I took the kids on the magic carpet rides and to the Tiki room (which is finally back to the original "normal" version--much better). I got a frantic call while watching the princess/villain show in front of the castle that if I could get there in less than 5 minutes we could see Rapunzel before the parade....Anna-Kate and I hightailed it over there and got to meet her (evidently, a lot of parents had "divided and conquered" and we just got back faster to get the picture--woo-hoo!).

After two years of talking about it, drinking as much milk as he could muster, and me buying new balance shoes {and folding Anna-Kate's knee socks under his heel) Ryan was finally "tall" enough to ride Splash Mountain (aka, "the bunny ride"). He was over the moon! I stayed in the kids' play area with Anna-Kate (who hates getting wet) and Jack (too short). Mom successfully kept her hair dry, Ryan loved it and the other kids had a great time!

Yep, we are this cheap...a picture of the picture of Ryan coming down the big drop. He might have looked terrified but Chris said he did great and Ryan said, "I was so brave!"

My parents scored the most awesomest (yep, awesomest) parade watching spot! We were at a bend (so got to see them coming for a while) and were in the shade. Ahh! We sat down, had some Dole Whips and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were front row sitting, so we even got some high fives and special waves (Ryan, Jack and I wore our birthday pins all week, which didn't hurt. :) ).

Chris always tries to get a picture of a kid in the "snake pit" a la Indiana Jones ("why's it always gotta be the snakes?")

The creme de la creme of {princess} character meeting: Cinderella's castle. :) The kids loved it and we all had a good time, but to be completely honest, the food has gone downhill. I don't know that we will eat here again. Last time we went it was hands down some of the best food I've ever eaten. This time it wasn't horrible, but it just wasn't good (and it didn't help that we had crazy high expectations!). That aside, you can't beat the individual attention of the princesses coming to your table as you eat. :)

With Cinderella

The great knight in the downstairs entrance, waiting to be paged up.

Snow White (I think Ryan was secretly dissappointed he disappointed she didn't kiss him like last year).

Aurora...aka Briar Rose...aka Sleeping Beauty...


Hahaha. I don't think Belle is used to this reaction from kids. She was stunned.


I have a similar picture HERE of Ryan with his sword at this age which cracks me up. :)

After dinner we were split up as Chris went out the back of the castle with Jack, searching for our stroller, and the rest of us went out the front of the castle and scored amazing seats for the Wishes and fireworks shows. This was extremely frustrating, but I'll not write it all down. Suffice it to say, I spoke to guest services about the problem. :) Anyway, the big kids loved every second of the fireworks and our unobstructed view of the parade from the balcony of Cinderellas castle. :)

After the fireworks, we headed back to Fantasyland for one last ride on Peter Pan, the carousel and to try our hand with the sword in the stone. :)

The last full day Mom and Dad went to Epcot for the flower show and we bummed around the resort. The kids got some great swim time in (nice hot weather!) and then we got ready for the boys' most anticipated meal--Chef Mickey! We had a great time at dinner and really enjoyed the food too.

At the entrance (Anna-Kate had just been awakened from a nap (!!) from all of the sun and swimming time. She was just recovering. :) ).

Loved seeing Minnie ("eesa Ninny!" ~Jack)

Jack was very unsure about the close proximity.

But then rallied to blow kisses (safe in daddy's arms).

That silly Goofy!

With Mickey:

So happy!

Family picture with Donald ("isa quack quack!" ~Jack)

Silly Pluto playing with Ryan. :)

I went to get the kids' dessert and when I came back Pluto had arrived. I don't know if he had come up behind Jack or what, but Jack was beyond terrified (which is odd because he is obsessed with Pluto, even choosing "woof-woof" for his end of the week prize).

All recovered with his rice krispie treat. :)

Since we generally go closer to Anna-Kate's birthday, I made a special point of making this for the boys' birthdays. So, I noted on our reservation that we were celebrating their birthdays and they each received a birthday placemat and these fun cupcakes!


Our last (partial) day we easily filled. We went back to the Polynesian for some Tonga Toast (google it...amazing...I would pay a lot of money for some right now in fact) and a final wave to the castle. We returned to our resort to load up and check out then took a boat to Downtown Disney (this was a low point of the trip...the boats were extremely slow and sporadic, to say the least.). We walked around the Lego store--the outside sculptures were a-maz-ing. So cool!

The kids picked their prizes from the Disney store, (Anna-Kate got the mini Alice in Wonderland with different outfits, Ryan chose a set of mini Toy Story characters and Jack chose Pluto) then we ate our final meal at the Earl of Sandwich. Yum.

Moment of silence for the end of the trip.

We then got Ryan's silhouette drawn, then spent the next hour and twenty minutes waiting to get on the boat/getting back to the resort. I was fit to be tied. Ryan fell asleep waiting.

Finally, Jack joined him and all was quieter. I cashed in our snack credits for some goodies and we hit the road.

When Jack woke up he was delighted to see Pluto on his lap and "read" to him. :)

As always, it was a special week. We loved the Disney magic, the time with family and the special memories with the kids and Mom and Dad. Thanks for everything Mom and Dad!!