Friday, August 7, 2015

Oliver is 5

I'm pretty sure Oliver mentions once a week what kind of party he would like and what gifts he wants at that moment.  It changes, obviously, depending on what show he's obsessed with or what character from a movie or book we've discussed recently.  My poor kids don't get birthday parties with a million friends and tons of gifts.  So Oliver's wants and suggestions mostly went ignored.

A big gift he's been asking about is a guitar.  We watched Teen Beach 2 and he used to love One Direction ("Why did Zayn leave?"--Oliver) and started talking about a family band.  Oliver said he wants to sing, play guitar, and be on a show.  His personality is a bit hammy at times, so why not?

Corey and I bought him a guitar and a Lego Oliver had been eyeing.  We got him a small cake and ice cream from Publix.  We sang and let him open his presents.  And that was that.  He was super excited about all of it and maybe we can put off parties with friends a bit longer.

So Oliver, you are awesome.  You're sweet and cuddly and still love to give tight hugs and mouth kisses.  We all laugh at your silly faces, random jokes, and made up words.  We love your enthusiasm for running, innocent questions about math (what's 2+tree?), and the hilarious dancing.  Maybe bright lights are in your future...and maybe they're not, but we will always support your dreams.

Never stop growing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

road trip part 3

Late, but lasts trip post with random pictures from all the days.

After a long day in New York, we decided to have another easy day at home.  We thought about going back to Philly, but it was more walking.  Instead, we lounged around the house that morning and then Diana and I went to Target by ourselves.  I bought the things I went in for (diapers, wipes, and snacks for the road trip home) and also things I didn't know I "needed" (sandals for Logan, fake Birks for me, make up).  Then she drove me around her town and showed me some houses for sale.

The dads took the kids to the pool when we got home, but left the youngest with us.  Thanks, guys.  That night we stayed up late playing Settlers again and planning out the next day.

Friday we headed back to the shore.  Clark and their son, Matthew, enjoyed it so much we decided to surprise them with another visit.  The waves weren't as rough, but the tide was higher making the water deeper.  It was also a little cooler, so when you got out of the water, you didn't immediately get warmed by the sun.  We had a good time anyway and bought food from a sandwich shop across the street.  By the time we left, all of our kids fell asleep in the car.  The drive home was quiet and nice.

Dinner was quick reheating of leftovers and then the adults settled down for games and the kids watched TV in the basement.  Corey and I planned to pack the car that night so we could throw the kids in in the morning.  Diana and Matt helped and we crawled into bed later than we wanted, but things happen.

Our car ride home was long.  Soooo long.  We knew it would take at least 12 1/2 hours because our GPS said as much.  But I followed GPS instead of going the way we came and when Corey woke up, he wanted to course correct which ended up taking us out of the way even more due to traffic.  By the time we pulled in our driveway we were all toast and glad to be here...15 hours later.

We enjoyed our week immensely.  Diana and Matt were amazing hosts and we hope we were gracious guests.  We'd love to do it again someday.  Just maybe not driving.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

road trip part 2

Wednesday was my birthday, not a big deal, but it was also our day to drive to New York City.  Corey and I had never been, so were pretty excited to see it.  We started about a block from Times Square.  From there we went to Starbucks because all of the other adults wanted coffee.  Then we walked to Central Park for Corey to run because that was on his to do list.  The kids climbed a rock and jealously watched day care groups playing in the water park area.

 When Corey was done we headed back to Times Square.  Clark and Oliver were hoping to get a souvenir and every I heart NY shop we passed, they begged to go in because they thought it'd be their only chance.  We walked to Bryant Park, snagged some tables and chairs, and then Diana and I walked to Korea Town for lunch.  We took it all back and had a picnic, then headed to the Empire State Building.  We didn't want to pay a million dollars to go to the top, but we went in the lobby and took a picture.

After that we kept walking south toward the 9/11 Memorial.  Guys.  I think we underestimated the amount of walking we planned.  Luckily we had three strollers and a baby carrier between us.  Unluckily we had four kids too old for strollers, but not too old to complain about how far it was.  So anyway, we finally made it and it was cool to see the new building and the fountains for the towers that fell, but our kids were unimpressed.  And then we told them there was more walking.

We walked a little more south to the walkway by the Hudson that lead to Battery Park.  We didn't go all the way to the end, but we could see the Statue of Liberty from where we were, which was good enough.  There was a huge mall close by that we went to for dinner and a Sprinkles inside where I bought birthday cupcakes for myself.  We decided not to make the kids walk all the way back to Times Square.  Did I mention we'd walked from Central Park to Battery Park with stops along the way in sevenish hours?  We told our kids we could take the subway back, another check mark on Corey's to do list. 

It took a few upstairs/downstairs/are we on the right platform before we found the train that would take us uptown.  Then Oliver freaked out and started crying.  I'm not sure what scared him, but he didn't like the train.  He did like that it got us where we needed to be faster than walking.

We stopped in Grand Central to let some kids use the bathroom, good grief tiny bladders, then in a souvenir shop for our kids.  They picked out keychains and I picked them out some I Heart NY shirts.  The owner and I had some words of disagreement about price, but in the end he "gave" us a deal.  I was still frustrated, but Corey was just ready to go.  A couple more blocks to Times Square at night and then in the cars and home.

When we got home late, we put all the kids in bed, took showers, and then I ate my cupcake.  Mmm.


Monday, July 27, 2015

road trip part 1

It's rare that we get two vacations in a year, let alone a summer.  I don't count trips to visit my parents because usually it's not much of a break for me, mainly for the kids.  So the trip earlier in June to Tampa for Corey and me was our first vacation and then last week a trip to New Jersey to visit friends was our second.

A couple of years ago all of our friends moved away.  Not really all, but two families that we hung out with every weekend moved to Texas and New Jersey within six months of each other.  Corey and I were a little devastated.  Sure, we have lots of friends here in Georgia still, but these two families could be counted on to hang out till the early morning hours, bedtimes be damned.  We've seen them when they've come to visit, but it's just not the same as spending a week together.

The Williams moved to New Jersey and were visiting family and friends around the 4th of July here around town.  They half jokingly threw out an invitation to stay with them and they'd show us around while also trying to convince Corey to work for the husband and move there.  I've never been north of Virginia and I didn't really want to move, but a visit was within reason.  The drive up was never ending, but we were able to squeeze in a visit with my sister and brother-in-law and still make it before the sky was dark.

We kept our week busy so we could see as much as possible.  Sunday we went to Cape May, which was beautiful and the kids loved splashing in "real" waves.  After swimming all afternoon, we drove to Ocean City, walked the boardwalk, ate pizza, fries, and ice cream, then drove back to their house where we all crashed.

Monday we went to the Philadelphia Zoo.  Corey's a huge fan of zoos, so he was excited to visit one he's never seen.  The zoo was amazing.  The exhibits were much more viewer friendly, while still being animal friendly (in my humble opinion), than Atlanta's.  Sometimes you won't see an animal in Atlanta because there are hills for them to hide behind or whatever.  The kids loved seeing animals we don't have like bats, polar bears, a larger rhino, feeding birds, and lots of cool reptiles.

Tuesday we took the day off from driving.  We needed a break and Matt needed to work a few hours.  They took us to the pool that afternoon and there was a gloriously large 3 foot area that I wasn't worried about Oliver getting too far away and Logan in floats was comfortable being free.  Oliver also figured out swimming without floats.  He's not so strong yet, but with frequent stops, he is making it from side to side.  Yay!

Our evenings we ate delicious meals, lots of cookies, and played Settlers while the kids watched TV and eventually all fell asleep.  One night Diana and I drew henna designs on each others' hands.  They were supposed to last up to two weeks, but with the pool, beach, bathing, and washing dishes, mine is practically gone.

So I'll break these posts up because it's getting long, especially with all the pictures.