Friday, June 27, 2008

Daddy's Home!

Keith arrived home Tuesday night just in time for dinner. After a long drive from Alaska to Florida, he was pretty tired, but very happy to see everyone. The trusty 4Runner has successfully made another trip across the country. The speckles on his bumper are bugs. There we tons of dead bugs all over the front of his truck. Yuck.
Joshua, Daniel and Grandma showed Keith the wonderful Welcome Home Daddy sign the kids made.
Megan was excited to see Daddy, but I would say she was just about equally excited to look for Meow-Meow. Eventually the cat came out of the truck, and I'm happy to report she survived the trip just fine.
We went out for pizza. The kids barely let Daddy get a word in the entire night. They shared all their adventures with him.
Keith and I are heading out tonight for a 3 night vacation without the kids. We are heading down to Disney to do a little park hopping and stay at the Shades of Green. Early next week I'll post some pictures of our weekend. We are pretty excited to be vacationing.
Keith has some great pictures from his trip. We'll both post those next week, too. Things have been a little busy around here. We are happy to report that we found a house that we LOVE and will be closing on it July 25th. I couldn't be happier with the entire situation. I'm so excited to know that this is the house that our kids will grow up in. It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful. The current home owner has fantastic taste in decorating. We don't have to paint anything! We just have to unpack our boxes and throw a few noodles in the pool (Joshua's requirement, I asked him if there was anything he was going to need for his new room and he said just a few noodles for the pool! I could take a lesson in contentment from him, he's always so happy with what he has!). What is extra special is that we will be the third generation of Coast Guard families that have lived in this house. Of course, that would be no big deal if we were still in Kodiak AKA Coast Guard City. However, I'm not sure anyone here in Altamonte Springs really knows anything about the Coast Guard. I've already been asked if it's something like a beach lifeguard. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Practicing his putting

Joshua has taken a huge interest in golf. At first I thought it was because he wanted to go to the super-cool looking mini-golf place that we drive past every day. However, he's proven to me that he really does know his stuff when he starts talking in golf terminology. He also happens to be a big fan of Tiger Woods.

Grandpa took Joshua up to Sports Authority last week and bought him a putter. Not just a putter, but a Nike putter, like Tiger's. Joshua is just thrilled. He has practiced putting every morning before breakfast.

Welcome Home sign

The kids (and Mommy!) were more than excited in preparation for Keith's arrival. Grandma and Grandpa were very helpful in gathering supplies to make a Welcome Home Daddy poster. Each of the kids added their own little contribution to the sign.

We worked on this on Monday night, it was a great way to spend some time thinking about Daddy, since it was his birthday. I'm so proud of everyone's creative input. Grandma was thoughtful enough to bring the sign in from the garage door so that the rain wouldn't destroy it. We plan on hanging it up in our next house for a while.
Grandpa even got out his Coast Guard flag and proudly displayed it for Keith's arrival.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday Shopping

Amazingly, this weekend, we went back to First Watch for breakfast. Well, we enjoy their healthy menu, so it's really not amazing that we went back. Joshua, again, needed to use the rest room. Which put me, again, on Men's Room door duty. So, as I'm standing outside the Men's Room, a nice 30-ish looking fella comes walking towards the Men's Room. He looked at me questioningly and I bashfully mentioned that my big boy 5 year old was using the Men's Room and that I would be more comfortable if he could have just a minute or two to finish up before a stranger walks in there. This man started laughing so hard tears rolled down his face. A closer look at him and I realized he and I had just had this same conversation in this same place just a few weeks ago. We laughed at the irony, and figured out we both dine at First Watch with our families on the weekends. Seriously, in a place as huge as the greater Orlando area, what are the chances of this happening? This nice man also said that my paranoia has sparked many interesting conversations with different friends of his over the past few weeks and that absolutely nobody is going to believe that I made him wait outside the bathroom again! When Joshua came out of the Men's Room, I glanced at my watch and told the nice man that it was about 8:30am, so in a few weeks, he might want to consider using the Men's Room a few minutes earlier than that if he didn't want to wait. He said he'd rather wait, he's afraid I'll come barging into the Men's Room doing my secret service sweep before I let my baby in there. We shopped quite a bit this weekend. Daniel tried on a cute hat at the party store. We got a few items to decorate a Welcome Home Daddy sign.
On Sunday afternoon, the kids were getting sleepy - it was too late for naps, but too early for bedtime. I loaded them all up for a ride. We ended up at Bruster's ice cream stand. I had to giggle when Megan was handed this napkin. She never has her shoes on the right feet! The kids enjoyed their little ice creams. I can't really handle that much dairy, so I just enjoyed the fresh air. The breeze was amazing, there was a rainstorm about to roll in.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

If you're grumpy and you know it...

The kids get up around 7am. They go to bed around 8pm. Daniel has been fighting taking a nap. It's a tough call, if he naps in the afternoon, then he's up until about 10:30pm. Today, he fell asleep during the 4 minute ride to the post office. I had to go into the office to sign for my letter (yippee, my snazzy looking diploma finally came), so I scooped him up over my shoulder and he slept on me the entire time we were in there. He managed to take a 30 minute nap and that seemed to take the edge off of the grumpiness.

Joshua is having a blast at GOAL camp this week. They went to Blizzard Beach on Wednesday this week. I was very anxious about sending him. Infact, he had a cold on Tuesday, and I was secretly hoping he would still be feeling under the weather on Wednesday so that he couldn't go. He isn't a strong swimmer. I finally came to peace with the decision to send him on the trip after I grilled the group of counselors with my multiple questions. When it came time to pick him up from camp, I had at least 5 different people mention that Joshua had to be rescued by a life guard, but it wasn't anything scary. The poor little guy went down a small water slide, got to the end and couldn't figure out how to get across the pool - he just bobbed along in the water with his swimming vest on. The life guard had to help him get out of the way so the next person could go down the water slide.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Have you seen this man?

* Keith and Daniel October 2005*
Keith is officially on his way to Florida. He boarded the ferry Monday evening and arrived on the mainland Tuesday morning. He'll be driving the ALCAN with his trusty map book (The Milepost), his British sounding Tom-Tom and our drunken cat, Meow-meow.
We last saw Keith on May 1st, when the kids and I boarded the first of 3 planes heading to our final destination of Florida. Before then, it had been a few hectic weeks with preparing for the movers, then my trip to Florida for graduation, then cleaning up after the movers in preparation to close on the house. So it's probably been a couple of months since we've all spent stress-free time together.
Our original plan included me flying up to Anchorage to meet up with him and travel with him camping across the country. Then the more we got to thinking about it, we decided that probably wouldn't be as much fun as it sounds. That would mean leaving the kids with Grandma and Grandpa for almost 2 weeks, and Keith and I being unreachable by cell phone at times. We instead decided on trying to take a small vacation without the kids if the timing of Keith's arrival works out.
Keith promises to take some good pictures on his trip and post them on the blog when he gets here.
(My apologies for such an old picture of Keith. I promise, I have newer pictures, but they are all on the external hard drive and that is in the 4Runner with Keith making it's way across the continent.)

Monday's outings

Monday was a bit of a busy day. Joshua went to GOAL, and the little ones and I went to visit Grandpa at work. Megan and Daniel got to sit at Grandpa's desk. The checkout lady at the bookstore on the first floor gave each of the kids a sticker. Daniel insisted that his needed to go on his back.
Back on our side of town, we went to a free puppet show at the Seminole County Library West Branch.
The puppeteer was an interesting fellow. He was so great with the kids. With just a pause or a silly look, he could make the crowd of kids errupt with laughter! Megan sat on the floor with all the other kids. Daniel was content to sit on my lap. Part of me wishes he'd get involved with the other kids, but an even bigger part of me is glad to cuddle for just a little while longer before he decides he's too big for my lap.
Everyone got to give the puppet a high-five on the way out the door.
While at the library, I signed each of the kids up for the summer reading program.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

I was brushing my teeth this morning when I heard Daniel wimpering in the kids' room. I called for him to come into the bathroom, and he replyed that he had boogers. So when he finally came down the hallway, his face, hands and jammy top were covered in droplets of blood. I know it always looks worse than what it is, but because his eye was glued shut with dried blood, I was a little nervous. After a nice warm washcloth and plenty of hugs and kisses, I was able to fully inspect his eye. The very unreliable witnesses/roommates tell me that he was playing with the bookshelves. I think a book fell and hit him in the eye. Not to worry, the shelves are anchored to the wall. By the time he went to bed tonight, he had a pretty good shiner.
Grandma, the kids and I took Grandpa to the Cracker Barrel for Father's Day breakfast. The kids loved their pancakes and fruit. Keith would have been so proud of me, I managed to choke down a spoon or two of grits. Just for the record, I still think grits are gross. I was born and raised near Boston, and Keith was born and spent his early childhood near Atlanta. This becomes an issue in our marriage sometimes. Most often times in relation to the baseball teams on the kids hats. We've reached a compromise that the boys have Braves hats, and the girls have Red Sox hats. However, grits are where I draw the line in our Northern vs. Southern battle. I shudder just thinking about the grainy-sandy texture.
After breakfast, we went back home to Grandma and Grandpa's house to put together Grandpa's gift. It is a huge shed for the backyard. The kids played with the boxes while the adults worked on putting the shed together.
I gave them markers to decorate the boxes with. They also decorated themselves, creating quite a mess.

Pre-Father's Day Festivities

We are all missing Daddy, and looking forward to seeing him soon. Because Keith is still in Alaska, we decided to share all of our Father's Day fun with Grandpa! Saturday night, the kids painted little wooden race cars. Daniel is saying, "oh, no Mommy, I'm messy".

Joshua did a great job working away on his car.
Daniel did a great job painting his car green.
Megan's car was rainbow colored. She's very meticulous. I wish I had gotten pictures of the finished products, but I did not!

After painting the racecars, we gave Grandma some peace and quiet around the house. We took Grandpa to get some ice cream. He had seen the Little Dairy Manor pictures on the blog and mentioned that he hasn't been there in years. So we loaded up the kids (this time with an extra change of clothes for Daniel!) and set off. Unfortunately, the Little Dairy Manor was closed unexpectedly. So we went to Friendly's where we could eat sitting down in the air conditioning.

Daniel enjoyed his little scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream with peanut butter cups for ears.
They boys were so cute. They loved sitting up at the bar watching all the ice cream sundaes being made.
Megan really enjoyed her vanilla scoop. Then to walk off the ice cream, we loaded back into the mini-van and headed over to Cranes Roost Park, only to find a car show going on.
We all enjoyed looking at all the old cars. Grandpa saw quite a few that he liked.
Joshua really enjoyed looking at all the different cars.

There was a DJ playing some sock-hop music. Quite a few people were dancing around in the street.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bringing my monkeys to the zoo

After we dropped Joshua off at GOAL camp, I loaded up Megan and Daniel to check out the Central Florida Zoo. It was a fantastic trip. We were there just as they opened and we left around noon, when the temperature was too hot to be outside.
I loved this sign. It made me smile that somebody at the zoo still has a good sense of humor. I read the sign to Megan and she laughed herself silly.
I couldn't resist this picture of Megan. A goat had just licked her hand.
Yippee for another butterfly garden! Megan was in heaven.

The elephant was a big hit. The kids loved how enormous he is. It gave Daniel a chance to use one of his favorite new words - "gigantor". Thanks to Night at the Museum, one of our favorite movies!
The zoo has a new water play area. It is included in the price of admission to the zoo. It is really cool - except for the slippery stone walkway that surrounds the water play place. Daniel took quite a spill. He looked just like Charlie Brown - his feet went right out from under him and his head hit the stone walkway with quite a bang. He was in a pretty foul mood for most of the day afterwards.
Megan (in her green and white striped swimsuit) and Daniel (wearing Buzz Lightyear). As if I needed to comment on which kids they are - we are always the palest people in any crowd!
There were climbing animals that squirted out water.
A view of the water park. There were so many cook things to play with. I was so glad we got there early, before it got too crowded. A family pass was just a little bit more than general admission, so we got an annual pass with the intention to drive out again a few more times in the early morning to enjoy the water park before it gets crowded. Not to mention the awesome animals. These kids had a blast. Some of the favorites were the llama and the kangaroos. I laughed so hard when the turkeys were gobbling and Daniel freaked out and ran over to me. I'm pretty sure he thought every animal in the zoo was going to eat him!

Megan had herself a seat on this stone turtle. I thought she looked so cute that she deserved a picture!
There is a merry-go-round and a small train ride at the entrance of the zoo. The kids were so excited about both of these features. I told them that if they made it through the zoo and water park with no time-outs (tantrums, fighting, whining, etc), we would ride both the merry-go-round and the train. They were wonderful the whole time!

Daniel chose to ride the giraffe. However, he made the mistake of looking behind him while the ride was going. I guess the horse behind him looked like it was charging for him. Daniel shrieked, "he's going to eat me!", and proceeded to quiver the entire rest of the ride. He was pretty traumatized from the merry-go-round. The train ride was really fun. We were the only people on the train! The conductor was quite funny as he yelled over the engine to point out different things along with way.

A sweaty little group shot. Maybe I should start getting group pictures before we've been out in the 100% humidity and 90 degree weather.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

ice cream with sprinkles

It was just an ice cream kindof day today. The sun (as usual) was shining and it was toasty hot. I took the kids to the Little Dairy Manor ice cream stand. This place was a pretty popular weekend night hang-out when I was in high-school, especially after a home football game. The kids loved their ice cream cones. At first, I tried to keep everyone tidy, hovering around with napkins. Then I realized that in the land of nearly 100% humidity, that it would be a losing battle to continue to fight the drippy ice cream cones. So I let them just have at it.
Daniel was amazed at the colors in the sprinkles.
Megan tried really hard to stay clean.
Notice the big drippy mess on his hands and running down his arms. He was so happy.
As we were enjoying our ice cream, a brother and sister in their 60's came and sat down near us. She leaned over to me and said that one look at Daniel in all his messy glory was enough to give her some cheer to get through the rest of the day. Upon further discussion, it was revealed that the siblings had just lost their father the night before and were on their way to the cemetery to make arrangements for the service this weekend. I shared diaper wipes with them to help them clean up their own sticky messes while I listened to their wonderful childhood memories about their parents. We all concluded that time goes by so quickly. Which brings me to mention that I chose not to take the wonderful job that I was offered at the Public Health Department. It's just not the right time for me to work full-time right now. Perhaps in a few months I might think differently, but right now, the hours would be way too long for both me and my family. I'll never get this time back with the kids, so I will enjoy it now while I can.
Daniel was a big sticky mess and ended up riding home shirtless.