Tuesday, June 30, 2009

17 months

Getting close to a year and a half now. The boys sure keep us on our toes. As they are getting bigger they are becoming more daring and there is no stopping them. They climb anything that is within reach. Their favorite thing right now is standing up on their rocket car or Pooh Bear train....not a good idea at all!
We've taken them to the pool a few times as well as the splash park and they are loving the water more and more. They don't mind getting their faces wet which is great. Unfortunately it takes two adults to do these things with the both of them so when Michael is gone with work we don't get out as much as I would like. I thought I would be able to do the splash park by myself but it's usually pretty crowded and most of the time there's older kids chasing each other, running wild, and with my two boys being so small and going in different directions it doesn't feel safe.

Their vocabulary is expanding on an almost daily basis. Here's a list of words they say on a regular basis; ba/bash/balsh (ball/balls), najnaj (night night), ma (mat=food), bi (bil=car), gook (book), guck (truck), bush (buss), uss (usch), dada (bada=bathe), pish (push), pish (fish), appe (apple) mamma, pappa, dä (där=there), nan (banana). 
Jakie's favorite is definitely "pish" (push), he loves to push buttons or flip the light switches so we can't walk past any type of button without him asking to "pish".

They are both very strong willed and stubborn. We're getting some hints of tantrums but thankfully they don't last long, they just need some distraction and it passes. They really are a lot of fun, so sweet and cute! 
Here are some pictures from the park yesterday.

Running in different directions.

Sweet Jake.

Funny Luke. He just heard the sirens of a fire truck, said "shhhhhhh" and made this face.

Our attempt at a group picture.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Random thoughts...

I don't know how many days of temperatures over 100 degrees ( 38C) we've had now, it's awful and very discouraging considering it's only June. The A/C can't keep up. We have it set at 78 degrees and at the end of the day it's running constantly. The family room gets especially hot because of all our windows while the front of the house (including the bedrooms) actually stay pretty nice and cool. This heat is not at all normal for June, we usually see temperatures in the 100's at the end of July and August but not this early. It's going to be a long summer....

Michael has gone back to work after being off for a long time...around 4 weeks or so. Actually he's been gone for a few days and this is only a 3 day tour so he'll be home again tomorrow, nice!

The kids and I went to pick up our fish at a friends house yesterday, they had been taking care of them while we were gone on our trip. The girls were excited to see their friends ( 3.5 year old triplet girls) and it was the first time the boys were at their house. Lucas and Jacob had so much fun! Our friends have two sweet little dogs that the boys absolutely loved, especially Lucas...he was giggling so much when the dogs came up to him. And of course there were tons of exciting toys to look at. The boys were playing with little strollers for dolls, they love things they can push around, which reminded me that Maddie and Lily have these strollers from build a bear. The girls brought them out from their closets today and let the boys play with them. They also dug out some old dolls and accesories so Lucas and Jacob was pushing around little babies in strollers for some time this afternoon. After a while they got tired of this and decided they wanted to sit in the stroller instead of pushing them around. The first time Jakie sat down the stroller fell over but that didn't stop them. I think I helped them in and out of the strollers about a million times until I finally decided it was time for them to go back in the closets ;).
Here's a couple of pictures. Please ignore the food all over the floor in the second photo....I had not had time to clean up from lunch yet. And the green stuff on Lucas is spinach, he wore that all day btw.

Later Maddie and Lily were playing dress up and Maddie was wearing her Hannah Montana wig from last Halloween when she got the idea of the boys trying Lily's American girl doll wig. Surprisingly Lucas wanted nothing to do with it but Jakie was a good sport and posed for a picture.

And here's a picture of some chocolate chip cookies I baked the other day, they were seriously the best cookies I've ever had! Or maybe it's just because I haven't had cookies in over a year ;). I'm so excited because just last week I found a new dairy and soy free margarine which is how I was able to make these cookies. The boys loved them too! Well, everyone did except possibly Michael who thought it was way too much chocolate in them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shopping in the Texas heat

It's a real scorcher today as you can see from the picture below which is showing the current conditions at the time. Actual temperature was 100F (38C) and the heat index was 107F (41C). Needless to say we have not been doing any outdoor activities today.

This afternoon we went to the mall to shop for shoes for the boys. We've been looking everywhere for nice shoes that fit their feet. They have wide feet just like their mom and dad so it's been a challenge. We finally decided to pay up for some stride rite shoes. We got some sneaker sandals (I don't know what else to call them) that fit perfectly and they look great. The boys love them.

Here's Jakie in the shoe store.

Lucas is checking out the girly flip flops.

Here they are with their new shoes.

Lucas and Lily.

Jacob and Maddie.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Daddy's helpers

The boys have become such good helpers lately ;). Today Lily dropped something on the floor that disappeared under the refridgerator. Michael had to move it which hasn't been done in....well, three years! It was scary under there. After vacuuming behind it he also took it apart to clean the vents. Here he is trying to put it back together, Lucas is trying to help by licking the fridge while Jakie decided to sit on daddy's back.

After that Michael was in a cleaning mood and decided to vacuum the rest of the house and Jacob offered to help by coming along for a ride.

Here's Jakie on the vacuum and Lukie on the rocket.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 10, Back home.

After 10 days on the road we are finally back home. What a fun trip it's been! At the same time it feels great to be home. The boys woke up very early this morning so we got an early start on driving and the boys took a long nap in the car. We stopped for lunch at McDonalds in Mount Pleasant, Texas and from there we only had a 2 hour drive left. We got home around 3 pm and the kids were so excited to see their own rooms and toys.
This is the third time Michael and I drive the route between Dallas and the east coast. The first time was in early 1998 when Michael got hired with ACA and we moved from Dallas to Northern Virginia. The second time was three years ago when we moved from Northern Virginia to Dallas and this was the third time. I'm thinking it'll be our last unless we decide to move that way in the future.
In 10 days we've stayed at 7 different hotels and we've been through 10 different states! Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. I'm totally amazed at how well the boys have been doing on this whole trip. They have not had any problems going to sleep at night in different places, in fact they've gone right to sleep as we put them in their pack 'n plays. They've been doing great in the car too, not much crying at all. All the packing in and packing out at each hotel has been a little exhausting to say the least. And it's definitely been intense keeping an eye on the boys at all these new places that have not been at all baby proof. During this trip Jakie has learned to climb sofas and coffee tables. I was hoping that our sofa would be too high for him but one of the first things he did when we got home was climb up on it, great...

This is some of what we packed in and out of every hotel we stayed at, lots of stuff.

This is the view of the kids in the car from up front.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 9, Knoxville to Little Rock

We made it to Little Rock, AR. About 7 hours of driving. When we first started in the morning we were thinking we might overnight in Memphis to make the trip a little shorter (5 hours) but we didn't. We just stopped outside of Memphis and had dinner and then continued. As we got closer to Little Rock, Michael brought up the idea of keep driving all the way home tonight. We seriously thought about it but that would have meant another 5 hours of driving and getting home in the middle of the night (around 2-3am). The kids probably would have slept but after all we decided it was better not stop for the night.
Today wasn't a very exciting day at all. And since we left the camera in the car I don't have any pictures to add. We can't wait to get home tomorrow!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 8, Charlotte to Knoxville

We had planned to stay the night in Asheville, NC which is about 2 hours northwest of Charlotte, up in the mountains. We got there around 2 pm this afternoon. We drove around downtown and then we decided to drive by the famous Biltmore Estate. Turns out the admission fee would have been $100 for us ($50 per adult, kids free), that gives you access to the grounds for two days but considering we were only staying for a couple of hours the price was a bit steep. Maybe some other time.

On the way to Asheville, NC.

The Biltmore Estate grounds, before the admissions gate.

By the time we felt that we had seen enough of Asheville it was still early and we made the decision to keep going. We're all getting a little tired and anxious to get home so we drove another 2 hours and ended up in Knoxville, Tennessee. Todays drive through the Appalachians was very scenic but the ups and downs, twists and turns got to be a little much. Lily started feeling sick towards the end. At one point Lily said "Looking at the rocks and trees make my eyes hurt" and Maddie replied "That happens to me too"....cute!
One more night before we get home. The kids have been amazing on this trip but there's no place like home and I'm anxious to see the boys reaction when they see our house, I bet they'll be very excited to see their toys and everything else.

Here's a couple of pictures of Michael and the boys playing in the hallway of the hotel this evening. The boys love to push things with wheels so these luggage carts are like the best toy ever.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 7, A day in Charlotte

It turns out Charlotte is a beautiful city. It's very green with rolling terrain, nice houses and quaint shopping areas. Parts of it we liked a lot but....it wasn't love at first sight. Our expectations coming here were pretty high and now we are just more uncertain. Charlotte is still on our list but I think we both feel like we need to explore other places. 

We spent the day driving around a lot. We stopped at Trader Joe's for some lunch items and went to a neighborhood park to eat. After looking at more areas and houses we decided to take a tour of downtown before heading back to the hotel. Shortly after getting on the highway a car in front of us started swirving followed by a 540 degree turn and ended up facing oncoming traffic. She was very close to getting hit by several cars, we were just far enough behind her that I could turn to the right and slow down. As far as we could tell nobody hit anyone but we got off the highway at the next exit and decided to go back to the hotel.



Back at the hotel we did some laundry, made dinner and played in the room. After the boys went to bed Michael and the girls went for a swim in the pool and now we're packing up and getting ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow we're heading west again, we have two more stops planned and are hoping to be back home on Sunday.

Jacob climbs up the coffe table and on to the sofa, Lucas tried hard but couldn't so he's a little jealous ;). BTW, Jakie is wearing one of Maddie's tops. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 6, visit to the aquarium and more driving.

Before leaving Atlanta we decided to visit the Georgia Aquarium downtown, the worlds largest aquarium.

The boys looking at some fish.

The kids really enjoyed it, even the boys. We saw lots of sharks, stingrays, pirhanas, eels, otters, jellyfish, seahorses and much more. Lily touched a stingray and Michael touched a shark. We had a lot of fun and before we left we ate lunch in the Cafeteria.
Atlanta seems like a really nice city and it has made our list of possible places to move. The surroundings are beautiful! A few other pros are there's an IKEA, an H&M and plenty of Whole Foods stores (we love this grocery store and shop there a lot). The summers are very hot but it's not that much worse than Charlotte and you can't get it all. For now it's on the list.
We got to Charlotte around 7 pm and drove straight to the hotel so we didn't see much of the area. From what we saw our first impression was not too great. We're spending two nights here so tomorrow we will spend the day checking out a few areas we've heard are supposed to be nice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 5,Destin to Atlanta

Another day of driving. We left Destin right after breakfast, around 9:45am, just a little later than we had hoped. The boys took a long nap so we got about a 2.5 hour solid drive before they started to wake up. We then stopped at a Grocery store in Eufaula Alabama called piggly wiggly, let's just say it wasn't the most exciting shopping experience. We picked up a few things to eat and drove to Lake Eufaula state park as it was right off the highway we were taking to Atlanta. We found a picnic area right by the lake where we ate our lunch. Lily was worried to tears that there would be alligators lurking by the lake because when we first parked I thought a large piece of wood looked like an alligator. We tried to calm her down and told her that they would not have made a picnic area right by the lake if it wasn't safe. So we ate our food and then we let the boys run off some energy before getting back on the road. By the way, it was hot! We were all soaking wet from the heat, awful! Later Michael decided to google Lake Eufaula and alligators on his iphone and it turns out that Lake Eufaula has an abundant population of alligators, some giant sized gators at that. We definitely would not have had our picnic that close to the lake had we known.

Picnic at lake Eufaula state park.

Somewhere in Alabama.

I have to say that the parts of Alabama and Georgia that we drove through today were beautiful! It doesn't look at all as what I had pictured. It's very woodsy with a mix of coniferous and decidious trees, lots of hills and very very green. It looked like I imagine a more northern climate to look like.
We made it to Atlanta around 6pm (or 7pm since we switched to Eastern time), just in time for a quick stop at Whole foods and dinner at the hotel. We're staying at a Staybridge Inn and have a 2 bedroom apartment. The layout is convenient for us but it turns out that the hotel itself is not so nice at all. Oh well, it's just for one night. We've been able to do some laundry which is good because we were all running out of clean clothes. Tomorrow we have a 3.5 hour drive to Charlotte NC.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 4, Swimming and having fun.

We spent the morning swimming. First at the beach and then at the pool. The boys still prefer the pool and don't really like the feel of the sand. After lunch in our room the boys and I took a nap while Michael and the girls went back to the beach to work on their bodysurfing.

The pool.


Swimming in the pool.

View of the beach from our room.

After that we took the resort shuttle to The Village of Baytowne Wharf, an area with lots of cozy little shops, restaurants and fun for everyone. We ate dinner at a restaurant, the boys and I were able to eat some chicken and rice that they put together as a special order....very plain but at least we got some food. Then we just walked around. We stopped at a toy store, we bought a caramel apple and a chocolate dipped marshmallow for Maddie and Lily and we played at a playground. We could have tried bungyjumping on a trampoline, riding a zipcord or climbed a coconut tree (among other things) but nah....maybe next time ;).

Maddie and Lily.

Jacob and Lucas.

Tomorrow we will spend the night in Atlanta as we are continuing our road trip towards North Carolina.
I have added some more pictures to flickr if you are interested http://www.flickr.com/photos/74449527@N00/

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 3, Destin Florida

After a 4 hour drive we're finally at the beach in Destin. This place is gorgeous! When we first saw the stretches of sand by the ocean Lily asked "Is that sand or snow", that's how white the sand is and the water is bright blue. The resort we're staying at is really nice. We were able to get a junior suite so the room has a little area to the side with bunkbeds where Maddie and Lily sleeps. The view from our room is also awesome.

View towards the balcony.

The bunkbeds.

The view from our balcony.

After checking in and having dinner we went down to the beach for a swim. The water is very comfortable, Michael would say too warm, and the girls absolutely loved it. The boys are not so sure about the sand and wanted to be carried the whole time. On our way back to our room we stopped at the pool for a little bit, Lucas and Jacob liked that much better.

Heading to the beach.

The steps down to the beach.


Feeling the water.


Going to the pool.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 2, New Orleans

After breakfast and a quick swim in the pool for Michael and the girls we checked out and drove into New Orleans. We crossed lake Pontchartrain on the lake Pontchartrain causeway which is the worlds longest bridge over water and the second longest bridge over any terrain (Bang Na expressway landbridge in Thailand is longer) measuring at 23.87 miles (38.42 km).
The boys fell asleep in the car so once in New Orleans we decided to drive around a little so they could get a longer nap. Michael wanted to show me an area close to the airport where the devastation from Hurricane Katrina is still very evident so we did that. Then we stopped at Whole Foods before heading to the hotel. The hotel is right in downtown within walking distance to the mississippi river, Canal St and everything else New Orleans. We were able to get a 2 bedroom suite (no extra charge for the upgrade since we're using reward points) so we have a kitchen/living room as well as two bedrooms which is perfect since the boys go to sleep fairly early. After getting situated and having lunch we headed out for some sightseeing.  We walked down Canal St and then we turned onto Bourbon St (famous for it's nightlife and clubs). We were the only ones walking down the street with kids, people probably thought we were crazy but it really wasn't that bad. I'm sure it would be more inappropriate after dark. We walked past St. Louis cathedral, Jackson Square and went down to the French market place. The girls each got a traditional New Orleans mardi gras mask. We wanted to head back to Canal St and take a roundtrip on the ferry across the river for fun, we had walked a long way and it was very hot so we decided to take the Riverwalk streetcar. Unfortunately we just missed one streetcar and had to wait a long time for the next one to arrive at our stop so by the time we made it to the ferry it was getting late and the kids were tired. The ferry was not leaving for another 15 minutes so we decided to skip it and head back to the hotel.
Now the boys are sound asleep and Michael took the girls to the pool. Tomorrow we're heading to the beach! 

Lake Pontchartrain causeway.

New Orleans skyline.

A nice New Orleans neighborhood.

Downtown New Orleans.

Bourbon St.

T-shirts, the one in the middle was pretty funny.

Buying ice cream.

The boys cooling off in a souvenir shop.

Lily outside a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville store.

The riverwalk streetcar.

Maddie on the streetcar.

The view from our hotel room with the superdome in the background.

Lily and Maddie.