Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halloween 2011

Our night started with a little bit of a costume crisis.  You know those ink tags on costumes that they're supposed to remove?  Well, they didn't remove the one on Lucas's.  So, I tried to take it off..but then I looked like a Smurf because my hand had royal blue ink all over it.  However, our night wasn't completely ruined.  Halloween this year was SO MUCH FUN!  Natalie was SOOO into trick or treating, the boys cooperated and used their manners, and it was a super nice night outside.  I actually think that this is the first time I took my children out trick or treating for a good amount of time.  Usually, they want to go with grandma and grandpa, or Auntie Darragh.  But, they were stuck with me.
  I left my parents at home to hand out the candy, and off we went.  It only took about two houses for Natalie to catch on.  I was so thankful the boys used their manners at every house, they watched out for Natalie, and they stayed with me the whole time.  It was so funny every time I asked them to pose for a picture, Matthew got this serious look on his face.  He claimed he wanted to stay in character...and be a serious SWAT team guy.  Whatever.

As soon as we'd walk up to a driveway, Natalie would scramble out of her stroller, grab her bag, and run up the drive saying, "hurry, hurry".  Then, she'd help her herself to the candy, or allow the neighbor to put it in her bag, whatever the routine was.  Then, it was back in the stroller and on to the next house.  Meanwhile, my parents were at our house handing out candy, eating potato soup, and ham sandwiches.  Derrick's parents, sister, and her boyfriend came over, too.  They were there when we got back-we were out for about an hour and a half.  It was such fun!

Marmon Valley Farm

Sometimes, if it's a nice early evening, Natalie and I will stop by Marmon Valley Farm while the boys are at karate.  We walk around and pet the cow, look at the chickens, and visit the ponies.  She loves it, I love it, and we get some fresh air and a little bit of exercise.
 She squeals at the chickens, and tries to catch the barn cat that walks around and wants nothing to do with her.  She is always carrying a baby under her arm-this trip it was baby Alice, or as she says, "baby alsis".  So cute.  She holds her baby up to the chicken coop or the cow pen or the pony ring and "shows" baby Alice the animals.  It's priceless.

Jacquemin Farms

The day before Natalie's birthday party, Kristin came over to help me make cake pops.  We were done about noon, and Natalie had a haircut later that afternoon.  So, what did we do on that beautiful, sunny, perfect fall day?  Did we come home and clean, prep more food, and get ready for the party.  Heck no!  We went to Jacquemin Farms for a couple hours and had a total blast.   We ran into Natalie's babysitter, Sara, and her son Jacob.  It was perfect because while Sara and I sat and chatted, my boys and Jacob ran through the straw maze and played in the bounce houses while Natalie played in the corn box.  Then, we rode the hayride out to the pumpkin patch and grabbed some fresh pumpkin donuts-they were still warm when they boxed them up for us-before heading home.  It was a super fun day.  Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures of the boys because they were running everywhere playing.  They had so much fun!

Natalie on her first hayride.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Natalie's Second Birthday

Natalie's second birthday was so much fun this year.  We had a pink and green ladybug theme-mainly because I had worked hard on her "Happy Birthday Natalie" banner last year-in pink and green-and I really wanted to use it again.  So, we went with pink and green ladybugs.  So cute!
My sister, Kristin, and I decided to tackle cake pops.  Let's just say, it was an adventure.  I might be brave enough to try again by applying the lessons I learned...but we'll see.  Kristin totally saved the day with running to Michael's and getting a ladybug mold, baking, and decorating the cake RIGHT before the party!  Yay for Auntie K!

We had our whole family over, and it was a ton of fun.  The gift rundown:

Grandma Connie and Papa Ron-Brown boots, Dress up Minnie Mouse set
Grandma Patty and Grandpa Keith-Shopping cart
Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Ben-My Little Pony, pink/green polka dot outfit
Aunt Kristin and Uncle Joey-Disney Princes  Castle Playbook
Brian and Sarah-GRACO baby stroller, sweaters
Great Grandma Mae-stuffed pony, money

Great Grandpa Jim and Joyce-$25 to KMart
Aunt Devon and Uncle Chris-My Little Pony, Books, Unicorn shirt
Uncle Darin and Sarah-VTech "Chase Me" Kitty
Uncle Daniel-Mickey Sing a Ma Jig
Mommy and Daddy-clothes, baby doll (aka Baby Alice)
Chelsey, Mae, and Charlie-Sleeping Beauty Dress up dress
Sara, Nick, and Jacob-Cupcake bag, books, bath paints

It was quite the fun time.  I love it when both sides of our family can get together and have fun together.  We had potato soup, chicken chili, and regular chili.  Also, some bread, cheese and crackers, cake, and ice cream.

Monday, October 24, 2011

To Natalie on Her Second Birthday

Dear Natalie,

Happy Birthday! I love having you as a part of our family. I love your sweet hugs, having "night night" books with you, watching you take care of your babies, and seeing you laugh and play with your brothers.

You have grown so much in the last year, especially with your words. You're saying two or three words together at a time now. Just the other day when the boys were playing, I heard you say, "Follow me, follow me". It was so cute, because they were saying the same thing to each other. You communicate so well, asking for a "nack", or a drink when you're hungry or thirsty.

Daddy, your brothers, and I love you so very much. You are a blessing to us, and to everyone. Your grandparents love you and spoil you to pieces. Even Papa Ron lets you drink from his cup or eat from his fork...which he doesn't do for ANYONE else!

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl. I hope you know how much I love having you in our family, and that you truly make our family complete.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to Reality

Ugh...I see that my last post was on July 9. That was almost exactly 3 months ago-today is October 13. Wow. I started this year so well with keeping up our family blog, and I'm sad to see that it's fallen to the wayside. Oh well. Life goes on...which is mainly why I haven't been updating. Derrick working at MAG, our church relocating to the school, the boys in separate classrooms and adjusting to being back to school, me going back to work, the twin sale....ugh. The list goes on and on. Here's a quick rundown, as we approach the middle of October-and Natalie's 2nd birthday next week!

August: The boys started 3rd grade, and happily and confidently went to their separate classrooms the first day of school. I was really nervous, but we made it through the first day of school with no tears-from any of us. Lucas has Mrs. Siefker and Matthew has Mrs. Canterbury. Matthew has quickly bonded with his teacher-she's a Disney fanatic too, and just finished her education to be a Disney travel agent...he loves her. Lucas has also attached to his teacher. He is so sensitive to others feelings, and if his teacher has a bad day, so does he. One of the highlights of the day is at dinner, when they talk to each other about their day. It's nice to hear them having a conversation,and sharing things that are unique to each of them, as opposed to feeling competitive with telling the day's events.

September: This month was the twin sale. I had a lot of things to sell, and sold almost everything. I went with 6 bins, and came home with only half of one full of items that didn't sell. It was great. Granted, I also came home with most of Natalie's fall/early winter wardrobe, but that's ok. The boys started back to karate and began flag football this month,too. They have really enjoyed flag football-they played for the Cardinals, through the Y. I think they like it, as opposed to soccer-because they aren't running aimlessly after the ball and each one has a responsibility for each play. Karate was a little rough because they had forgotten some techniques, but going every week has refreshed them and they're almost back to normal. We also managed to fit in a trip to the apple orchard.

October: This month isn't anything exciting so far. We've settled nicely into our routines-karate, football practice, bible study, etc.-and it's feeling like fall finally. Next week, we're celebrating Natalie and her 2nd birthday ladybug style. I ordered so much cute stuff for her birthday-I can't wait to take pictures! Our Sunday night routine has become grilled pizza and hanging out on the patio around the firepit with snacks.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Three cuties-Matthew, Natalie, Lucas

Happy Girl playing outside.

Since we forgot the sparklers on the Fourth of July, we got them out the other night. The boys had the most fun with them-lighting three or four at a time.
Matthew pretending to be a superhero.

Of course, they were pretending to be a Star Wars hero, or whatever hero their imaginations come up with. Natalie just pointed at them and kept saying "Hot", and happily playing.
Lucas with his sparklers

Friday, July 1, 2011

Girly Girl

Natalie is such a girly girl. And, secretly, I love that. Someday, I may not be so excited about it...I just look at her sometimes and think I've got trouble on the horizon. But, for now it's cute at 21 months. Her new word is "shoes". And, she loves to wear them. She'll put them on, and carefully walk about the house with anyone's shoes. She even slips the thong part of my flip flops between her toes. It's especially adorable when they're on the wrong feet. This morning, I was putting laundry away, and she was taking pairs of shoes out of my over the door organizer and trying them on. After she'd try them on, she'd put the pair nicely back into it's pocket.

There's no denying her "motherly", "clean house" instinct. In fact, her attention to detail is making me a little self conscious about my cleaning :). She'll sit on the floor by the table, find a crumb, and bring it to me saying "ucky, Mommy ucky". Then she gives it to me and I put it in the trash. Or, if something is out of place, she'll say, "Uh Oh, Mommy", and point to it. Like the griddle that was cooling off on the counter after breakfast this morning. Or the iron that is unplugged-those are out of place to her, and she reminds me by telling me "uh oh". I love the two word phrases she's using lately.

She is so fun lately. She's loving her Little People-her new thing is to line as many up as possible along the edge of the Little People castle. And let me tell you, she DOES NOT like it when one falls off! Also, she walks around saying "shhhh, baby" to let us know baby is sleeping and we should be quiet. One of her new favorite activities is drawing or coloring. I gave her a pen, some crayons, and some paper. I put her in her highchair, and she was content drawing for about 20 minutes. Awesome!

Boonshoft MuseumTrip

Lucas, Lindsey, Natalie and Matthew at WSU.

This week, we had a very fun outing to the Boonshoft Museum in Dayton. My sister works at WSU, and invited us over to Dayton for an afternoon at the Boonshoft and out to lunch. Of course, we had to end the day by stopping by the college so she could show the kiddos off to her coworkers and the boys could run off some energy before heading back home.

Lindsey helping Natalie at the water table. .

The museum was fun. It's like a toned down COSI, and the boys were almost too old for it. However, they made the best of it. On the first level, they climbed on a huge playground, danced in front of a thermal screen, and saw a huge python. Also, Natalie, LOVED the water table and playing in the fountains and with the squeezy fish toys. The boys and Lindsey worked together to make a "rollercoaster" out of pipes and a ping pong ball.
Lucas waiting for his next patient.
Then, we ventured to the second floor. Up here was a lot of role play rooms. For example, there was a "veterinarian's office", complete with stuffed animals, check in sheets with various symptoms on them, an xray machine, and lab coats.
Matthew diagnosing the snake over his shoulder-high blood pressure.
The boys kind of got into that. And, they were so cute in the lab coats with their clipboards and pencils to check the animals. It was so funny-every animal they checked had "dangerously high blood pressure." Seriously, where do they come up with these things?! There was a room with a recycling truck, and various play pieces of recycling to sort. They sorted while Natalie drove and honked the horn.
Natalie driving the recycling truck.

We also walked through a treehouse, and at the end they have huge windows where you can watch birds. It was very cool. Finally, we went to the small "zoo". We saw meerkats, otters, a porcupine, and some birds. There was an area where the windows were dark, and if you put on night vision goggles, you could see the animals inside. The boys loved that. Natalie sat with Lindsey for a long time watching the meerkats. She laughed so hard at them when they'd come up to the glass and look at her while they stood on their hind legs. Too fun!
Matthew and Lucas checking xrays.
After our museum fun, we went to Wendy's for lunch, then to Lindsey's office. All three kiddos (and Lindsey), loved the "oohing and aahing" over the kiddos. Natalie was too cute, the boys had grown so much, and they were so handsome-according to all the coworkers.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Disney Vacation Part 5-Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios under the Sorcerer's Hat at night-Lucas, Natalie, Me, Matthew, Derrick

Ahh, finally the end of our Disney vacation documentation. I'm relieved to have it all blogged...now just to order my blog into a book and the pictures to scrapbook...need to get on that.

Our time at Hollywood Studios was on a super hot day, but the boys waited patiently for the Star Wars Motorcade. Yes, we were there for Star Wars Weekends again, and the new Star Tours Ride had also opened recently. So, it was busy. But, they saw some Star Wars characters, rode Star Tours for what seemed like umpteen times, and had a blast.
Lucas and Matthew outside of Rockin'Rollercoaster

We started with the Rockin Rollercoaster. I loved it. I loved the music, the ride itself, and the Aerosmith theming of the whole ride. It was super cool and super fast! Then we made our way to Toy Story Mania. While Derrick, the boys, and the Goldens went on Toy Story Mania, Natalie and I did the Adventures of the Little Mermaid show. L.O.V.E.D it...and so did Natalie. Ariel is my fave, and The Little Mermaid is my favorite animated Disney movie. So, of course I had to share that time with my daughter. We all met back up and headed to the Art of Animation, where they show you how they decide upon and animate characters. Especially Matthew loved it. The kid loves to draw, and was super thrilled with his Draw Disney Characters book we got him as a souvenir. Whatever works, right?
3 sets of twins in one place-Dale, Matthew, Mason, Nate, Lucas, Chip

When we came out of the Art of Animation, we were in a room with a ton of characters to meet. There were also animation simulators and games to play.
Mickey has a hug for Natalie.

So, that kept the boys entertained while Natalie hung out with Pooh. As soon as Pooh stepped into his greeting spot, the girl couldn't hold still. So, we met Pooh, and played peek a boo and giggled. It was fun. Since the boys were entertained with finding their animated character personality-Matthew is Jafar as far as personalities go by the way-Natalie met Sorcerer Mickey. This was a more fun greeting than the one at EPCOT. This Mickey played with her, gave her hugs and kisses, etc. It was fab.
Mickey letting Natalie kiss his nose. It was so sweet.

We did the Star Tours ride a few times, the Backlot Tour, and then decided it was time for a swim break. So we all headed back to our resort for some swimming and chilling out. Hollywood Studios was open until midnight or so that night, so we went back to finish our our fun. The boys rode Star Tours AGAIN, we did the Great Movie Ride-which is way cool. And Derrick did Tower of Terror and Rockin Rollercoaster again with the Golden twins. While they were doing that, the boys and Natalie and I shopped a bit, got a snack, and hung out on Sunset Blvd.
Natalie running up to Pooh. Literally running.

It was a great trip, and we can't wait to go back. Since we're probably going to the beach with my family next year, we'll be back in 2013 and the new Fantasyland will be up and running. That should be awesome!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Disney Vacation Part 4-EPCOT

Matthew, Lucas, Derrick, Natalie, Me outside of Spaceship Earth

I know, the Disney saga continues. But, can you imagine how long of a post it would be if I tried to get all of our trip into one post...plus the pictures! Oh, my, my! I don't even want to think about it. Anyway, moving on to EPCOT. EPCOT was worth two days of our park tickets. We can typically breeze through it in one day, but the boys are so into science and learning, etc., that we did it in two days.
Lucas in Germany.
First of all, we had to seriously talk them into Test Track. They didn't ride it last year because for some reason they thought it was too fast and scary from when they were four. Whatever. I took them on it while Derrick stayed with Natalie...and then they rode it about three more times the two days we were there. Loved it.
Lucas, Me, Matthew, Natalie, and Derrick at EPCOT
So did I, but I'm glad they actually loved it, too. Another ride we did this time was Soarin. Ok, it was WAY cool. It's a hanglider fight simulator that takes you over the California natural features. Like orange groves (and yes, you can smell oranges), the mountains, snow hills, some parks, and the beach. I could seriously feel beach sand and salt on my face and feet as we were going through that part. It was amazing. And of course, the end, you end up at Disneyland and you're so high up in the "air" that you're eye to eye with the fireworks. So awesome.
Jacque, Natalie and Mason-this is what we see at the exit of Soarin.
Of course, we come off of Soarin, and Jacque is sitting with Natalie and Mason, both kids passed out asleep. Too funny. We hit the World Showcase and browsed our way through the countries. I love me a German pretzel in Germany...ahh, it's so fabulous. And while the boys were doing the Kim Possible Scavenger Hunt in Mexico, I indulged in a Margarita. Yeah, of course I did!
Lucas and Matthew trying on sombreros in Mexico.
The Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure was fun for the boys. They give a Verizon phone that is programmed to give you clues as you search around the particular country for the villain. When you find the clue, you point the phone at it and press OK, and then it talks to you, or gives you a code to enter (like 3 pinatas lit up with numbers under them to type in for a code). In a way, it was sort of creepy, but the boys loved it. We had some killer ice cream cones in France, and the boys were super cute trying on sombreros. We also rode The Land-the growing and farming ride-and the boys made their own paper and video games.
Mason, Matthew, and Lucas recording their victory dance at the end of their video game.
It really is a fun park, and their favorite thing is riding Spaceship Earth-the big "ball" at EPCOT. I love the NEMO and Friends ride, of course, and Derrick's favorite is Imagination with Figment. Natalie, she just chilled out in the stroller and was along for the ride. She did meet the Mouse while we were there...totally fun.

Matthew making his own paper.