Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another trip to the beach

This morning the kids and I drove over to Daytona Beach to meet up with my older sister, Candy. On the way to get on the interstate, I drove through Starbucks for an iced coffee. Joshua said, "um, Mom, I think you are tricking us. I've never seen coffee like that before." I had to assure him that even though it looked like a fun drink, it really was just yucky coffee. Normally I'm only a cold weather coffee drinker, but I think the stress of all the uncertainties is giving me sleep issues and I knew I needed a kick to stay awake for the drive.

On the interstate, we drove past a rest area. Daniel got so excited from the backseat because of all the "Macks" lined up. Then he counted them, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 16, 16, 16, 20".

The kids had a blast at the beach. Joshua is getting quite brave in the water. I spent quite a bit of time standing out there in the water with him while he attempted to swim. I need to sign the kids up for some swim lessons.
Daniel enjoyed playing with his squirter and getting messy.

He was pretty proud of himself for squirting Candy. He stopped for a minute thinking he was going to get into trouble, but then he couldn't help but grin because he was excited to have finally worked the squirter without any help.
Joshua got all excited and said, "mom, quick get a picture of this bird, so I can look it up in my book". By now, my mom and other sister, Pam had joined us at the beach and we were trying to stifle our laughter. We've been taking pictures of animals that we see when we are out and learning more about their habitat and what they eat. Surely my son has seen a pigeon before? Right? Doesn't Bert dance with some on Sesame Street? Warren, my older sister's friend, took a picture of my mom and us three girls. But I have to admit, I fear for my life if I post it publicly on the internet. It is a quite unflattering picture of all of us. And having grown up the middle child between these two girls, I have to admit, if they worked together they could whoop up on me. So until I get a more flattering picture of us ladies, or until I have more sessions with the personal trainer at the gym to give me a fighting chance against the girls, I will refrain from posting our group picture. I will post a cute picture of me and Megan; both of us slightly disheveled from playing in the sand and sun.
I was going to take another picture of Megan, but she turned around too quickly to walk away. I think her little pink swimsuit is absolutely adorable.
After playing on the beach, we walked up to the splash park to rinse the sand off of everyone. They boys were so cute playing together.
After lunch, we were barely out of the parking lot when I heard two little snoring bears in the backseat. Sure enough, this group was exhausted. Notice Daniel's skinned up little knees and Megan's bruised legs. These kids play hard all day long!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday night antics

The kids are definitely getting acclimated to living in a fast-paced, commercialized society. Here is Joshua chatting with Daddy on the cell phone in the back of the minivan while we are cruising down the highway. (Grandpa was driving.). While we were in the minivan, Megan asked if we could eat out again tonight. She said, "please, please, we don't have to go all the way home to eat, there are plenty of places to eat out". Oh dear. We went out to the Seminole Town Center mall in Sanford tonight. We looked in the puppy store at all the cute little puppies. No, we are not getting a dog, we just enjoy looking at them. Then we went into the Silly Monkey, which is like a Chuck E. Cheese on a much smaller scale.
The kids enjoyed a small train ride.
Then we played some video games. Using my awesome basketball skills, I scored the kids tons of tickets for little prizes. Actually, I was sneaking up behind them stealing their tokens so that we could leave sooner. There was a tic-tac-toe basketball game where a random number would come up and if threw the basketballs to land on the board in a three in a row pattern, you would win the ticket number displayed. I was really good at that game.

After they collected their little prizes, they played on the indoor jungle gym. With their little tickets, I helped Daniel pick out some toy army men. He had enough tickets for one little Scooby Doo ruler, or 17 little green army men. He went with the army men. Joshua had enough tickets for 23 little green army men. Grandma made a little red dot on the bottom of all of Joshua's army men so that there wouldn't be any confusion. Then, yes, I hate to admit it, but we went out to dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. I haven't eaten in a Ruby Tuesdays in years. Their children's menu was the typical fare: chicken tenders, mac & cheese, grilled cheese or hotdogs, with a generous serving of french fries, of course. Since the kids had "junk food" last night for dinner, I ordered them an adult meal of grilled chicken quesadillas with sour cream and salsa to split between them. They all enjoyed it. However, Daniel seemed to enjoy my salad even more. That's the risk one takes when eating beside Daniel.
Further walking in the mall brought us to The Disney Store. You would have thought these kids were in the actual Disney World. And truthfully, after tonight, I probably won't even have to bring them down to Disney World for a long time! Megan kept thanking everyone for taking her to Disney World.
We looked around for quite some time. They had a really good sale going on and I picked each kid up a much needed beach towel.
Daniel was a bit heart broken that the dalmatian wasn't coming home with us.

Leu Gardens with the kids

Leu Gardens is open to the public free on Monday mornings. This morning it was in the 70's, so we loaded up the kids and took them to look at some plants and flowers. The cactus was a big hit. Everyone took turns touching on the non-ouchie part.
We were glad to have Grandma with us since she knows her way around the park very well.
The kids were practicing flying like butterflies over towards the butterfly garden.
Megan was in heaven watching all the butterflies flying around.
After the butterfly garden, we checked out the rose garden. Often times, this part of the garden is reserved for weddings. We enjoyed looking and sniffing many different types of roses.

We tried to get a good shot of the crew, but I can't ever seem to get them all to smile at the same time.
Joshua really liked the big flower clock. There was a large grassy lawn that the kids ran around on for a while.
Down by the lakefront, we looked and looked for turtles, but didn't see any.

After we got back to the house, Grandpa informed us that he decided to spray pest control stuff on the lawn, meaning that the kids couldn't play out on the grass until tomorrow. It seems like we had discussed yesterday that we would be playing with some water toys in the yard and grilling out for Memorial Day afternoon, but it must have slipped his mind. So, now everyone is napping and we are wondering what to do later today since playing outside on the lawn is no longer an option. Maybe we'll walk down to the park, but it was looking pretty crowded when we went by it just a little while ago. Whatever we do, I'm sure it will be great.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Daniel is thankful

I've been trying to teach the children that it is good to be specific with their prayers. Daniel takes this very literally at every meal.

He's saying, "thanks for the bread, for drink and for cheese, Amen."

A day in the times of Norman Rockwell

This morning started with another incredible breakfast from Grandma. She's feeding us so good! Grandpa read the kids a morning story before breakfast. After breakfast, the kids played some indoor bowling with Grandma and Grandpa, while I called around to get information and pricing to possibly take the kids bowling tomorrow morning. Yikes, it is a little outside of my budget to go to a real bowling alley, so we will stick with the livingroom for now. Grandpa washed the minivan and I went to work tightening car seat straps. Finally, everyone's tummies were full and the minivan was ready, so off we went down to the Orlando Science Center again. We watched a movie about the Alps on the large cinedome screen. Then we took the kids to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit. There were dozens of different Saturday Evening Post pictures all around, and it was so fun to really take the time to look at them.
Joshua enjoyed seeing Norman Rockwell using a mirror to paint his self-portrait.
Much of the exhibit focused on the fictitious small town life and characters that Rockwell painted. The boys enjoyed the model train table.
Daniel briefly tried his hand at creating a little masterpiece.
As we walked through different parts of the exhibit, many areas were designated to be hands-on areas. We enjoyed the school house.
Joshua is practicing for next year, when he'll go to school instead of homeschooling.
The kids enjoyed the old car. Megan kept looking for the seatbelts.

Here's Megan doing some work on a little factory line in the shadows of Rosie the Riveter.
This is Daniel driving an Army jeep that was on display in the Rockwell exhibit.
This crazy character fit right into the exhibit!
Megan got a kick out of the silly mirror.
Joshua could have stayed all day and played with the model trains.
There was a part of the exhibit that was a soda fountain shop. I remarked that it made me want to eat at Johnny Rockets. Everyone else seemed in agreement, so off we went to the Johnny Rockets in Winter Park.

The kids had a great time. Everything was fun and fantastic. From their little milkshakes, to the smiley faces from the waiter when he poured the ketchup. The kids had a blast. I think Grandpa had a blast rocking to the music with Joshua.

We walked around the shopping area at Winter Park Village. In Borders, Megan had a melt-down and it was time to leave. After we got home and had bathes, everyone snuggled onto Grandma and Grandpa's bed to watch Where the Red Fern Grows. We made it through half of the movie and will watch the other half tomorrow night. (Don't spoil the ending for me, I haven't seen the movie, and I haven't read the book since the 3rd grade - a very long time ago!).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lunch at the Academy

It started off as a beautiful morning. The weather was slightly cool at about 75 degrees. Grandma made some yummy pancakes with a very savory fruit topping. After breakfast, the kids and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Joshua picked up a leaf from a tree to bring home to identify the tree in our nature book. We also saw a bird in one of the neighbor's yards that we looked up in our nature book to identify as well. While we were looking things up in the nature book, Grandma came out with some cool objects. She really knows how to draw a crowd. She showed the kids some sharks teeth and some sand dollars.
The sand dollars and sharks teeth can be found more on the West coast of the state. Someday we'll bring the kids there to collect shells.
Then we had a running incident that got Joshua in big trouble. I think it's been so exciting lately - the whole process of staying in the guest house, then traveling, and now staying with Grandma and Grandpa, that the rules become a little fuzzy. Joshua helped me to write out the rules so that we could post them on the refrigerator.
Pretty much we only have 4 big rules: No Running, No Jumping and No Yelling - those are inside rules. Inside rules are applied everywhere that is considered inside (duh!), but for clarity for the kids, this means shopping stores, the house, church, the minivan (no yelling in the van). Mind you, these guys spend hours outside and I remind them that outside is the place for running and jumping and reasonable yelling. Our final rule applies all the time: Respect each other. This basically covers a million of other little rules - keep your hands to yourself, no namecalling, help each other, share toys, stop bickering, etc.
Then we went out to Forest Lake Academy for lunch with the student workers that Grandpa works with. The Academy was cramped for space because of camp meeting weekend, so our reserved room for lunch happened to be the high school's library. Joshua enjoyed looking at some books in the library.
We had a delicious lunch. Daniel insisted on using the potty about 6 times while we were there. And each time he eeked out a dribble of pee and was so proud of himself. He's pretty much potty training himself, but it has turned into a giant game. Usually he only needs to pee if he's just been tucked into bed, or if I've just sat down to eat something.
Joshua had a blast with the student workers. Grandpa let Joshua put his little hand in with the group while they did their prayer and then their cheer. Joshua was so excited to be in the middle of such enthusiasm. He was also quite the little show-off today speaking Spanish to a few of the girls. They were just eating him up. It was a good time of positive attention for him, and he really enjoyed himself.
After dinner, we drove out to Super-Target to pick up a few things. On the way back, we drove right beside a thunderstorm. The kids enjoyed watching the lightening from a distance. We didn't get any of the thunder or lightening in our part of town, but we did get some good healthy rain.