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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday Fun: Downtown Aquarium Trip!

Since Chad works downtown and the aquarium in our city is in downtown, I thought it would be nice to meet him at his office with the kids one afternoon and go to the aquarium.  We went once before when the kids were about 4 months old, but we haven't been back since then.  We were interested to see how they would like it now that they can walk and experience more.  Our friends the Dermody family also met us at the aquarium and we all ate dinner together at the aquarium's restaurant once we were finished sightseeing.  I believe we all had a great time!

They were very excited to see all of the fish, but I believe Brady's favorite part of the aquarium was getting to see the white tiger exhibit.  One of the white tigers was hungry and kept pacing directly in front of the glass by the kids and every time he came by they would squeal with delight!  Good thing for the thick glass between the tiger and the kids, because I believe Brady would have tried to go right up to him and give him a hug!  Brady loves dogs, and I think he thought the tiger was a giant dog.  

We finished up our visit with a trip to the gift store, where all the kids picked out a stuffed animal to bring home with them.  Brady and Chloe both picked out white tigers (no surprise there!) and their friend Sam picked a shark and Abby picked a frog.  Brady did not put his tiger down the rest of the night except to eat dinner.  

Once dinner was over we said goodbye to the Dermodys and took the kids over to the Carousel for a ride.  I believe both kids enjoyed it a lot, unfortunately we didn't get any pictures this time since we both had our hands busy with the kids on the Carousel.  

I have pictures and one video of Brady with the tiger.  Please excuse the grainy/fuzzy photos.  These were all taken with my phone and of course the lighting was not ideal.  I need to get my DSLR charged back up and start using it again.  The phone is just so convenient!  

Chloe and Sam

Chloe and Brady

Chloe and Abby
Brady is not sure about this...

My underwater explorer! 
Ha ha!
Tigers and toddlers have something in common...they won't stay still long enough for me to get a non-blurry photo!
Brady was in L.O.V.E.
Brady wants the tiger and the tiger wants him...
Chloe holding one of the stuffed animal tigers we brought home
And finally, here is the video of Brady watching the tiger pace back and forth...

We all had a fun Friday afternoon at the aquarium!  Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Wows: Chloe Knows (Most of) Her Shapes

Here is a video of me and Chloe reading from this book earlier this morning.  I would highly recommend it for anyone who has a toddler who loves Elmo or Sesame Street.  Chloe is obsessed with it, so we've read it a million times.  The good news is that it goes over many things we need to learn: shapes, opposites, letters, numbers, etc.  

In the video we are on the page that goes over shapes.  She gets most of them right (we got a little stumped on Oval).  So proud of her!  Sometimes it surprises me how much they retain even at this young age.

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Under the Weather

Sorry for the infrequent posts over the last week, we've had a series of events that all combined to drastically reduce the amount of time available for blogging.

Around Wednesday last week Chloe and Brady came down with a summer cold.  They have congestion, runny noses, and they seem to just feel yucky in general.  This means more fussiness and drama then we are accustomed to in the Ringley household.  Chad and I are working hard to make sure to make them as comfortable as possible with lots of cuddles, hugs, saline drops, chest vapor rub, boogie wipes, infant tylenol, infant benadryl, and a little bit of honey before bed.  I am hoping we will turn the corner early this week and feel better.  If not, I will take them to the doctor.  They don't have a fever and they aren't waking in the night, but if they don't feel better soon it is probably still best to make sure it isn't anything more than a cold.

Combine their colds with the fact that the babies picked last week to drop from taking two naps to taking one nap, I was one busy momma!  Since we've gone to one nap we have switched to an earlier bedtime, but they are also waking up earlier.  Bedtime is at 7:45-8 versus our old bedtime of 8:30, and they are waking up on average at about 7:30.

Since they haven't felt great and have often wanted to be held but also distracted from not feeling well, we resorted to letting the kids watch a few DVDs.  They watched parts of Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King.  I wasn't sure that they would pay much attention to them or watch them for more than five minutes at a time, but they actually watched a decent amount of each movie and seemed to be interested in it.  I definitely don't want to encourage a lot of t.v. or movie watching, but it is good to know that in a situation where they aren't feeling well or something like that, they can watch it for a while and be distracted.  Also, I have wanted to get a certain educational DVD called The Letter Factory for a while now, ever since I read about it on another mom's blog.  It is supposed to be a great tool for helping kids learn their letters and letter sounds.  It is very highly rated on Amazon, so I went ahead and ordered it and I am looking forward to seeing what effect it has if any.  If they are going to watch something, might as well be something fun and educational!

I'm sure you can imagine I have taken very few pictures over the last week, and if I had they wouldn't have been pretty ones anyhow.  A lot of grumpy faces and runny noses.  But I do have a few to share with you.

I took this Wednesday, just before they got sick.  I put Chloe's hair up and thought she looked just like Pebbles.  So I dug her Pebbles Halloween costume out of the closet and it still fit!  Isn't she precious?

More Pebbles

And this last one is a video of Brady.  One thing that has brought him a lot of joy even while being sick is driving around the grocery cart Chad bought them.  He loves it!  Please excuse the crazy camera angle I don't have time to fix it or film a different one so this video will have to do for now!  Here is Brady driving around his grocery cart.  We call it "Supermarket Sweep":

Hope everyone has been doing great and hopefully I will have more time soon to update the blog again!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mother and Son Time: Brady's Second Haircut

Before we went on our trip, I mentioned in a post that Brady's hair was getting long and scraggly again.  I've been meaning to take him to get it cut since we've been home, but I just got around to it this weekend.

We went on Sunday afternoon, which turned out to be a great time to go since it was just us in the salon.  I took Brady by myself and Chad took Chloe shopping at a sporting goods store (I'm sure she loved that!).  We tend to do almost everything together as a family---either out of necessity, convenience, or just because we all like each other.   As the kids get older I think it will be fun to take them out with just one child and one parent for some individual parent-child bonding time.  My hope is this little excursion was the first of many.

We went to one of those kid haircut places this time.  The play area, the chair shaped like a car, and the fact that he could watch Disney's Cars on a t.v. right in front of him helped to distract him and he was very patient and calm the whole time.  I was pleasantly surprised and very proud of my big boy!  The stylist who cut his hair was very good with him and did a great job.  The only down side is it was expensive for a kid's haircut!

Here are some pictures of Brady's second haircut experience:

The salon had a neat play/waiting area with legos and trains
Being a good boy!
Isn't the little Taxi chair cute!
On the left is Before, on the right is After
What a handsome buddy!
All done!

I enjoyed my little bit of time with just my boy, and Chad said he and Chloe did have a lot of fun shopping too!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Weekend 2012

I hope everyone had a great weekend celebrating Father's Day with their families.  Anyone who knows  my husband knows what an amazing and dedicated husband and father he is.  He works tirelessly for the good of his children and our family in all aspects of our lives.  We are so blessed to have him, and we love him and appreciate all that he does.

This weekend we wanted him to have fun, relax, and spend some time doing some of the things he loves.  Here are some pictures from our Father's Day weekend:

I had a new idea for wrapping his present, over the course of the week before Father's Day, the kids scribbled on these pieces of paper (usually two at a time) and then I used them to wrap Chad's present

This is how it turned out.   Next time I am going to wrap the presents in white paper FIRST, then have the kids color on the present itself, instead of having to piece together all of the separate drawings

You can see their "drawings" a little bit better in this picture.  Note to self:  Next time get Daddy a smaller present!  

The babies got Chad a new driver.  They are such smart babies!  

Chad said he really played well using his new driver!  We were so glad he liked our present!  

On Saturday night, we went on a date to our favorite steakhouse and then to see The Avengers
Chad with the babies---Father's Day 2012

Chad, we love you and hope you had a great Father's Day weekend!  Also, we want to send our love to all of our Dads and Granddads, we miss you and love you all.  We got to spend some time talking to each of you on the phone or Skype, and we were so glad!

I hope you all had a great weekend, however you spent it, and that your week is off to a good start!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Fun: Random Pics from our Week

We let the kids face forward in their carseats for the first time, Chloe was a fan!

One afternoon the kids enjoyed playing in their pool in the backyard

The babies eating their breakfast at their new big kid's table

Blueberry applesauce, not the wisest choice for letting the kids try to feed themselves

Drinking milk out of a (clean) applesauce cup, perfect size for little hands 

A typical early morning, Brady, Elmo, and me hanging out while waiting for Chloe to wake up

Brady has learned how to climb on the couch, he is thrilled---but I am having daily heart attacks

Chloe playing at Story Time this week at the library

Caught this buddy in a rare moment, being still

I hope everyone has a wonderful Father's Day weekend getting to spend some quality time celebrating all the special Dads in your lives!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Aunt Debbie's Awesome Desserts

I mentioned Chad's Aunt Debbie's awesome desserts in my post about our recent visit to South Boston, VA.  While we were there we enjoyed her amazing Peanut Butter cookies and her delicious Strawberry Shortcake.  When we got home she was kind enough to share her recipes for both desserts with me, and I was surprised and delighted to find out that the recipes were just as easy to make as they were to eat!  

With Aunt Debbie's permission I thought I would share her recipes and the photos of my results when recreating the recipe at home.  The recipes are directly from Aunt Debbie.  

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:  1 1/2 cups peanut butter, 2 cups of sugar, 1 egg, & 1 tsp. of vanilla

Directions:  Mix together.  Use ice cream scoop to form cookies and then mash down and sideways with fork.  Put about 6 cookies at a time to bake.  Bake at 375 for 12 -15 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes.

I baked mine in the oven for closer to 9 minutes, but that is because my oven is an inferno so I always have to err on the conservative side when it comes to baking times.  I think one of the things I love about these cookies is the texture.  It is crumbly like a traditional cookie, but not too hard or crisp.  They are so good!  

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients: 2 packs of strawberries, 1 angel food cake, 1 pack of strawberry glaze, & 2 tubs of Cool Whip

Directions:  Cut up strawberries & sweeten with a little sugar or Splenda.  Cut up cake in cubes.  Layer strawberry glaze, strawberries, cake, & Cool Whip.  Repeat and end with Cool Whip on top.

This is a great light, summery dessert.  No baking involved!  I'd say this can be ready in 15 minutes tops, and really the most involved part is just cutting up the strawberries and cutting the angel food cake in cubes.  What a cool, delicious dessert for a warm summer evening! 

Our family loved both of these desserts, and we look forward to enjoying them in the future!  Thanks Aunt Debbie for the wonderful and easy dessert recipes!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Fun: Learning to Use a Spoon One Mess at a Time

Recently the babies have shown a curiosity and interest in using the spoon to feed themselves at mealtimes.  I didn't want to get into the mess letting them experiment with feeding themselves would create while we were traveling, but now that we are home I was ready to give it a try.

Chad is the best Dad a family could wish for, and he is very involved in every aspect of parenting the babies.  The one thing he prefers to avoid is food-related messes.  And you can imagine with two toddlers, we have a lot of those.  

So, to spare Chad from having to witness the gigantic mess that comes from letting the kids experiment with feeding themselves with a spoon, I've started giving the kids their own spoons and their own cups of applesauce at the end of lunchtime to "practice" with.  This way, the mess is all cleaned up and gone before Dad gets home, but they also get their spoon "practice" time in too.  

Here are some photos of my messy babies with their applesauce and spoons:

Working on our technique!

Sometimes the spoon becomes optional.

Have a great Friday everyone!

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