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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Toddler Terror Cruise 2013 Part I: St. Thomas

We are back home from our big cruise vacation with the kids.  We had an amazing vacation and we got to see so many beautiful places and do so many fun things.  Chad's Mom, aka Mimi, and Chad's Aunt Phyllis, aka Phil, came along with us to help with the kids, and they were such a tremendous help to us. The kids LOVED getting to spend time with them too!

We definitely had our share of rough spots along the way, including Brady and Chad getting stung by a jellyfish on the beach in Antigua.  I was a wreck about poor Brady being stung but he took it like a total champ and was back in the water playing like nothing happened in less than 10 minutes.  How many 2 year olds can say they braved a jellyfish sting on a Caribbean beach?  Also, every person on our trip got sick with the cruise flu bug to varying degrees with the exception of Mimi.  It started with Aunt Phil around Tuesday and lasted a day or so and she recovered.  Chad got extremely sick on Thursday night and recovered by Friday afternoon.  I got so sick on Saturday night I had to go the infirmary and get a shot to stop my nausea, and Chloe and Brady got sick in quick succession in the early morning hours of Sunday, the day we were supposed to disembark the ship and travel back home.  We were extremely lucky that by 9 AM on Sunday we were all feeling better and we were able to travel home that day without any incidents.

Any time you travel you take a risk that you are going to run into some issues along the way, and you can just about double those chances when you are traveling with two toddlers, but overall our trip was amazing, even withstanding our illness.  The children got to see so many amazing things.  In St. Thomas they saw so many beautiful sea creatures at Coral World including sea turtles, sharks, and sting rays.  In Tortola they swam with the dolphins and interacted with them up close and personal.  In Antigua and Nassau they played on the beach and swam in the beautiful Caribbean ocean.  Aside from all of the great experiences the kids were able to have, we were very lucky to get to spend so much quality time with them for 8 days and also that they were able to spend so much time with their Mimi and Aunt Phil.  They bonded with them so much during our trip and it was difficult for us all to say goodbye when our trip was over.

Below are some pictures from the first port, St. Thomas.  This was our first day off of the ship.  We did not have a scheduled excursion on this day.  Instead, we planned to arrange for transportation to visit Coral World.  Coral World is like an aquarium that also has some outdoor exhibits including a beautiful sea turtle cove.  We explored Coral World in the morning and made it back on the boat in time for nap time that afternoon.  It was a beautiful place!

Chloe and Chad at Coral World.  
The port of St. Thomas
View at Coral World

Mimi and Phil with Brady and Chloe at Coral World

Mimi and Chloe checking out the sharks at Coral World
The sea turtles were beautiful to watch and my favorite part of Coral World
Chad and Brady at a scenic overlook in St. Thomas
Watching the sharks
Brady and Chloe looking out at the sea turtle cove at Coral World
Our whole group in St. Thomas
Coral World
The sea turtle cove at Coral World is pictured here
Out in that pod you could do a swimming with sea turtles experience, but Brady and Chloe were not old enough yet

Me and Chloe in St. Thomas

We enjoyed our morning in St. Thomas and our visit to Coral World very much!  Stay tuned for my next post which will have some pictures from our time on the beach in Antigua.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Big Kid Beds!

Over Thanksgiving break Brady and Chloe both caught a relatively mild form of a stomach bug that was going around at the time.  It involved a lot of not eating much with the exception of Pedialyte freezer pops (bless those things!) and one middle of the night incident with Chloe.  This is exceptional because I can count on probably one hand the number of times Chloe has gotten up in the middle of the night since she started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks old.  Girl loves her sleep.

We knew something was up when we heard her stirring the night before Thanksgiving.  I went to her room and found that she had been sick in her crib.  It took both Chad and I working together to get everything cleaned up and in the washer with new sheets changed and Chloe into some clean new jammies.  We got her settled down and let her come back to our bed with us for a little while, but eventually decided it was time to return her to her crib when she showed no signs of being sick again.  I placed her in her crib like always, but she hiked one of her legs over the crib rail, and before I knew it she was up and over the side of the crib and on the ground, like a ninja!  

Needless to say, that night marked the end of Chloe's crib dwelling days.  Chad was hopeful that maybe it was an isolated incident and she would forget that she'd climbed out of the crib the night before.  That was definitely NOT the case at nap time the next day, so we knew it was time to convert the crib to a "big girl bed" with toddler rails.  Everything we read said that if you saw your little one get out of bed, go into their room, pick them up, and put them back in bed.  Do not talk to them or engage them in any way.  Do this as many times as necessary until they fell asleep on their bed.  We had to do this about 5 times per night for 2 nights with Chloe, and on the third night she just slept in her new bed with no problems for naps and night time.  We are very proud of her and thrilled at how well she transitioned!  

A picture of our big girl in her "new" bed:  

Way to go Chloe!

Once Chloe was established with her new bed situation, we considered when would be the best time to switch Brady to a "big kid bed" too.  He seemed happy and comfortable in his crib for the time being.  He usually gets up before Chloe in the morning and also at nap time, so he always came in her room with me to say hello to her when she woke up.  He saw that she was sleeping in a "new" bed and would even climb up and play with her on it every day.  By Christmas we decided it was time to say goodbye to his crib as well.  We figured it would be a good time to do it since Chad would be off for several days and he could help me during the nighttime if Brady had a difficult time adjusting.  We were concerned it may be harder to switch him over since he hadn't tried to leave his crib on his own yet, and also because he has always been not as avid a sleeper as Chloe.  He still is a great sleeper (and we thank our lucky stars we have two great sleepers!) he is just more prone to have the occasional middle of the night wake up and is always an earlier riser than she is.  

Well, we switched over his crib to a bed with toddler rails and held our breath.  That night at bed time he saw his new bed, went over to it and crawled right in.  He tossed and turned a little, but never left his bed and didn't wake up at all that night once he fell asleep.  He has been in a big kid bed ever since with no issues.  The switch for Brady was even less difficult than with Chloe!  I think it helped seeing his sister in her bed for a few weeks ahead of time.  We were relieved and happy to have successfully moved past that hurdle of babyhood!  

Mr. Brady in his "big boy" bed:

So proud of my big kids!  I cannot believe that soon we will be celebrating their 2nd birthday!  Can we just freeze time please???  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Like Christmas Exploded All in One Blog Post

Oh my word, I have neglected the poor blog since November!  I am so sorry about that.  I wish I had some brilliant reason why, other than life is just busy with two very busy toddlers and two parents just trying to keep our heads above water.  A major part of my recent neglect of the blog is our ongoing pursuit of becoming healthier and losing weight.   We have been working on this weight loss and fitness goal since June.  As a couple, Chad and I have lost over 100 pounds and counting.  When we are not spending time with Brady and Chloe, working, or catching up on errands and household chores, more than likely we are in the gym.  This leaves two very exhausted parents with very little free time for blogging.  Excuses aside, I want to be able to connect with friends and family that may not have Facebook and that want to keep up with what we are up to.  So I am going to try and check in with the blog more frequently than I have been in the last few months!

The month of December was very busy with many fun holiday activities.  I want to share some of what we did last month with some family pictures, so here we go!

We decorated our tree

We hung our stockings by the chimney with care
We added an ornament every day to our beautiful Advent calendar made by my talented friend Jessie
We adopted our Elf on the Shelf, Cookie, given to us by our wonderful friend Carlea and he got into all sorts of  shenanigans
We decorated the outside of our house with lights

Chloe called Rudolph "Dodo"
The kids LOVED playing outside and seeing the lights every day!  
They called this tree "BALLS!"  
We decorated sugar cookies!
Fun decorating our sugar cookies!
We visited Santa, not once, but twice!  We were thrilled, can't you tell?
Brady was actually more fond of Santa than Chloe was

This was at our neighborhood event where Santa came for a visit, I love this picture of Chloe with her Daddy!
Christmas cutie!
We wore Christmasy pjs
Chad and I went on a date to see The Nutcracker by the Houston Ballet
It was beautiful and we had great seats!  Can't wait to take Brady and Chloe when they are older!
We set out cookies and milk and a note for Santa
Daddy read us The Night Before Christmas before bed on Christmas Eve

We had a wonderful holiday season and we started many new family traditions that we hope to continue for years to come.  Christmas this year was a lot of fun for us, because Brady and Chloe were more interested and aware of everything this year and it was a joy to see their faces light up when experiencing different events and experiences associated with the season.  

Our family sends our best wishes to you and yours.  We hope that you had a joyous and peaceful holiday season and a Happy New Year!  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Girls' Weekend at the River Market in Little Rock

I got home late last night from my girls' weekend, and boy was I tired!  My exhaustion was definitely worth it though, because we had such a wonderful time.  Our weekend was packed to the brim with lots of shopping, trying out the local restaurants, visiting a park, going to the mall, attending the local holiday craft market, and we even made it to a comedy club and a piano bar!

One of the most amazing parts of our trip was when we ran into my great friends Chris and Carrie from high school/college.  I knew Chris and Carrie lived in Arkansas, but I wasn't sure which part exactly in relation to where I was going to be over the weekend.  I also knew that Chris works in a famous and very beautiful hotel, but again I wasn't sure which one or where it was.  Being the ditz that I am, I didn't think to contact them on Facebook to see if I was going to be near them before we left for our trip.  On Saturday morning several places we were thinking of trying for breakfast ended up being closed, so we decided to have breakfast at The Peabody hotel.  When I walked into the lobby I was struck by how beautiful it was.  No sooner were we seated for breakfast than my phone was ringing and it was a number from my hometown!  I had a bad connection and couldn't hear who was speaking on the other end.  Not a minute or two later, here come my friends Chris and Carrie!  What an amazing surprise!  Not only did I get to hug them and chat with them, but we also got to meet them for dinner that evening.  How funny that of all the places to have breakfast I went to have breakfast at my friend's hotel without even realizing it!  I am very excited that if we make this an annual trip I can make plans to see them again, and this time I can do it in advance!  :-)

By the way, if you have never been to Little Rock, the River Market area was beautiful and so much fun!  There were so many interesting shops and places to eat, and none of them were chain restaurants, they were all unique and for the most part seemed locally owned.  A lot of places in the area had different things they were famous for:  one place had amazing Chicago deep dish style pizza, another place was known for great beer that was brewed in the restaurant (not that I like beer, just an example), another had an awesome brunch, and one place was even known for having a purple milkshake!  

It was a weekend of kid-free fun and I enjoyed every minute of it, but I did miss my babies quite a bit and I thought about them a lot, and wondered what they were doing and if they were having a good time with Chad.  The report from Chad was that they were really great for him all weekend.  He took the kids to the mall and rode the carousel and the train with the kids by himself.  He even took them to Red Lobster for dinner one night and he said several people remarked on how well behaved they were.  Chad even managed a trip to Walmart with the kids in tow to pick up a few extra groceries.  I was so glad to hear that everything went so smoothly, although I was not shocked, since I have such great kids and they have such an awesome Dad.  

Here are a few pictures from my trip:

Me and my girls' weekend companions!  
Such sweet and fun ladies!  
Dinner with the awesome Chris and Carrie!
This park in the River Market area of Little Rock was gorgeous.

Beautiful Fall colors!
I had to take a picture by this Boston Terrier statue for my mom!
Horsin' around!  :-)

Whew!  This morning I was so glad to be home and get to see my babies!  I have been giving them even more hugs and kisses than usual, just because I can!  

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