Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Thomas the Train and Elmo would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

The kids helped make the ghost hanging above them. Every time they walk under it they make spooky sounds.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Touch a Truck (part 2)

This is a continuation from yesterday's post about the Touch a Truck event we attended.

He's always wanted to be a garbage man...

Honking the horn on an RV. We had a long talk with the owners who travel all over in this. Families that like to travel always seem to find things to talk about.

We were very specific about this being the only time they should ever be in the back of a police car.

I'm relaxing in the limo. Sweet Son wants to drive while Sweet Daughter wants to know what the drink options are. Another photo that we hope isn't a glimpse into the future.

We ended the day on a motorcycle. He loved the color. She loves that it's shiny. 

(Tomorrow will feature photos of the firetruck from this event!)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Touch a Truck

We heard about this event at the last minute and are so glad we went. It's called "Touch a Truck" and is exactly that. The parking lot is filled with different trucks and other interesting forms of transportation. The kids get to climb in, sit in the drivers seat, and even honk the horns. There was a small fee to go in, but all of the money went to charity. Here are some of our photos (more will be posted over the next two days).

Driving a City Bus

Driving a Fed Ex truck

Hanging out in the back of the Fed Ex truck

Driving a Mixer truck (Yes, I'm in the corner encouraging her not to jump out)

Honking the horn in a big rig - We also got to sit in the very comfortable back seat.

Come back tomorrow for photos of a garbage truck, police car, motorcycle, and more. 
(Wednesday is all about the fire truck.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkin Carving

Every year we carve a pumpkin. Every year we let the kids do more and more of the work. When they were 1 they got to pull out the seeds. When they were 2 they got to pull out the seeds, clean them off and cook them. Now they are 3. We decided to let them use the pumpkin carving tools and see what they could do. They were VERY closely supervised.

They quickly realized it's not as easy as it looks.  They didn't start with a plan, just sort of jabbing it in.

Then they realized they could cut out chunks. Wonderful Husband finished the pumpkin and they proudly showed everyone the pumpkin they carved.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

More Football Fun

Every Fall I have multiple posts about college football. I play in the alumni band and the kids love coming out to see what Mommy does when she's gone.

 It's clearly a very cold day based on the big coats. Someone gave the kids horns so they could play along with the band. (I am in the background of the photo, but it's difficult to see me.)

Inside the stadium - This is actually before the game (hence why the stands are still empty). We are singing the alma mater and showing our pride with "pony ears." You can just barely see Sweet Daughter on the other side of me. Next to her is the wonderful Mr. Gary. He is a father of boy/girl twins. He is also a grandfather of boy/girl twins (and a couple of singletons I believe). There are so few people who really get it - what it is like to raise twins. He gets it on multiple levels. We all need friends like that.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quotes from Sweet Son

Fun stories/quotes related to Sweet Son:

Sweet Son was singing non stop for almost 30 minutes. I complimented him and ask why he was singing so much. He said, "When I sing my penis doesn't hurt." Upon further questions, his penis doesn't hurt when he doesn't sing either.

At school he ask his teacher if he could learn more Math. She agreed and took him to the Math center. She said he could choose counting, one-to-one correspondence, patterning, sorting, or measuring. He told her he wanted to learn the algorithm that makes the traffic lights work. hahaha

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

I took the kids to the pumpkin patch this afternoon. It's across from our neighborhood, so I put the kids in the wagon and we walked. As we were walking I noticed all of the parking lots full and the dirt lot next to it full also, but the patch itself didn't seem busy. The pumpkin patch is by a church, shares a parking lot with the Y, and there are a bunch of sports fields behind it. I figured the cars were for one of those and we kept going. We got there and the kids got to jump in 2 bounce houses by themselves.


Then they got to run around the patch by themselves. They started to do the hay maze and suddenly were overrun by girl scouts (brownies, y-guides, something with green vests and patches). A bunch of 4-6 year old girls who weren't following the rules and were being ignored by all of the adults who were with them.


We picked out our pumpkins - 1 giant for home, 1 giant for Sweet Daughter's class, 2 medium for Sweet Son's class, and 2 tiny ones for home - and go to pay. I'm waiting for the credit card to process and trying to figure out how to get both kids and the 6 pumpkins home in the wagon. A woman comes over and asks when the girls can go on a hay ride. The man very calmly says that, as he told the other woman who had asked, he can't go until the cars clear out of the dirt lot because he can't turn the trailer around. She asks what the cars are doing there and he points out the hearse and police motorcycles and says it's a funeral. She then gets an attitude and tells him to just go make a quick announcement for those people to move their cars because the girls meeting would be over in 5 minutes and they just can't wait any longer. I almost dropped a pumpkin and the look he gave her was priceless. Needless to say by the time I left the girls still hadn't gotten their ride.

Who in the world would think that request is ok? Aren't the girl scouts (or whatever they were) supposed to teach respect? I'm just flabbergasted by how inconsiderate some people can be.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Festival

It's that time of year again! Wonderful Husband's office throws a festival for families twice a year. There is live music, free food, games, and more.

After going through the obstacles, Sweet Daughter is ready to go down the slide.

A tattoo of a jet for Sweet Son.

There is even a hay bale maze. There is an interesting story here. For the first time in her life, Sweet Daughter broke away from us without permission and ran into the maze. She had no idea what was just around the corner.

It's a Scary Scarecrow! He was jumping out to scare the big kids as they were going through the maze. He had no idea a small child was coming and did his job. Sweet Daughter started screaming and crying. A year later and she still talks about the Scary Scarecrow. He felt awful. He tried apologizing, but she wasn't going anywhere near that maze much less him. Sweet Son loves being scared, but the poor Scarecrow was too upset to really scare Sweet Son at that point. We left with two upset kids.

To help everyone get back to their happy place, we played some of the games. They won prizes, got balloons, and ate dinner.

They also had an area set up to make art. This year each child got to decorate a plate that became artwork in a local soup kitchen. This was great! The kids got to make a project and not bring it home. Trust me, we came home with so many great prizes we didn't need anything else.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A great deal

There is another great deal on Educents that I wanted to make you aware of. 8 Hardcover Science books with Dr. Seuss style rhymes for only $35 - A little over $4 a book for hardcovers!!!

Teach your child about science and nature with The Cat in the Hat! Get a head start on learning
with the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library. This series contains 8 hardcover editions of colorful
fact filled books written in the rhyming style of Dr. Seuss that makes Science fun for you and
your child! 

Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library includes:
8 quality, hard cover editions
Oh Say Can You Say, Dinosaur?
My, Oh My a Butterfly!
If I Ran the Rainforest
A Whale of a Tale
A Great Day for Pup
There’s No Place Like Space!
Oh Say Can You Seed?
Inside Your Outside

Inside Gross Motor

One of the great things about Wonderful Husband is that I can show him a picture or draw something and he can usually build it. I wanted a couple of things to help the kids with their gross motor skills. Things that are fun and the kids would never know they were exercising while using.

Homemade Balance Board
The first project was a balance board. It's rounded on the bottom and flat on the top. I've seen these called boats, rockers, and a few other things, but I've always called them balance boards. After this photo was taken we did add some anti-slip stickies (the kind you put on the bottom of the bathtub) to keep the kids from sliding off. We play catch while standing on this. The kids will sometimes pull this over to the easel and stand on it while they are coloring or painting. They use it for a step stool (usually for getting into things I don't want them to) and really do use this a lot. Wonderful Husband made it from scrap wood in very little time.

This one is much more complicated to use. There are two holes in the end and you put a foam ball on one or the other. There is a small rectangle on the middle bottom of the shape you can see. So it is actually on a small angle. When you step on the other end, the ball flies into the air. In theory you can then catch it. This is much more difficult than it sounds. Turns out this was way too difficult for the kids, but the adults had fun playing with it. The kids mostly just used it to send the balls flying across the room. I can see this being used more as they get older.

Monday, October 14, 2013

NASA in Houston

On the way home from the cruise we decided to stop at NASA. The kids have been interested in all things space and it was a chance to let them run off some energy before the long drive home.

The entire place is filled with hands on activities. The kids were able to go from one thing to the next without us constantly telling them to just look. We did many things that I don't have photos of (or at least ones I'm willing to post publicly). We took the tour of the grounds and saw the rockets, astronaut training facility, and shuttle.

One of the kids' favorite parts was when we rode a shuttle around the moon. Ok, so it was a simulator, but they were still impressed. There are a couple of simulator rides, but only one that is approved for children this young. It didn't even have seat belts. Our kids loved it and still talk about when we went into space. 

This interactive board was next to where you wait in line for the tour. If you touch one of the shuttles you can control where it goes and it sets off sparks. Another area that I didn't get a good photo of is the HUGE playground. There are tons of places to climb and slide. The best part is the foam balls. You can shoot them at people, you can send them up chutes, there are just so many options. It is an indoor playground which helps when the temperature or weather isn't cooperating outside. However, it's in a very dark area and all of the photos we took didn't turn out well. Our kids spent more than an hour and a half playing on it and there was plenty of seating around for the parents to sit and watch.

Another of the hands on exhibits - You controlled where the chair went and tried to complete the challenge on the video screen in front of you. My kids weren't quite big enough to reach the controls while sitting in the chair, but both loved it anyway. At some point we will visit NASA in Florida because I've heard it's even better.

For  more photos from our visit at NASA come back for Wordless Wednesday this week and next.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lessons Learned while Cruising with Preschoolers

While we had cruised on our own before, the experience with twin three year olds is completely different. Here are some of the lessons we learned on this trip.

We travel so much that our kids just naturally get out of the car and start carrying luggage.

You never know who you will run into. Here we are with a friend (and former co-worker) that we ran into on the ship. We had no idea we were going on the same cruise and had fun catching up.

The service is SLOW, especially during dinner. We have cruised before and had exceptional service. This trip the service was painfully slow and many nights we left before dessert because it was simply taking too long. Things like having to ask for more bread or a refill just simply didn't happen on our other cruises.

Bring something (stickers in this case) for the kids to do while waiting for meals. Yes we look silly, but the kids were quiet, contained, and didn't disturb anyone around us. Every meal we got compliments from people around us on how well behaved our kids are. 

We are a very active family. We don't spend a lot of time sitting still. We are always on the go and one of our concerns was how our kids would burn off their energy in such limited spaces. The kids' club was fine, but didn't really get the kids up and running around. We took the kids up to the running track every day to let them simply run in circles. The other people on the track loved it and were encouraging. They were giving high 5's and offering words of encouragement.

Our overall impression of cruising with preschoolers? We will try cruising again, but not on this cruise line. The positives simply didn't out weigh the negatives on this trip for us. Honestly, the level of service and entertainment on this cruise line (which we had traveled on more than once before) has gone down so much I don't think we would even consider it without kids. I still love cruising and once we find a good fit I can see it becoming one of our more regular styles of vacation.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Port Day on a Cruise

So our short cruise had only one day in port. Rather than buying one of the shore excursions, we were just planning to go to a beach. We got off the boat without a rush and took a cab to one of the better local beaches for swimming.

Swimming in the beautiful clear water.

Then the clouds moved in. I'm not sure if you can tell in this photo, but it is raining. We stayed for a bit - it wasn't cold - but eventually decided to go back to the boat. By the time the cab got us back to the boat the rain had stopped and the sun was out. It was nice to get back to the boat early so it wasn't crowded.