Monthly Archives: September 2013

My Dad’s Visit

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Checking out the fish.

It’s been a little over a week since my dad left, and I can honestly say that having him here was the absolute best!  I’m SO glad he was able to come and I’m SO glad we were able to spend some quality time with him.  I’m not the only one that feels this way either!  Xander and Liam both loved him and he and Paul have really hit it off too.  While he was here we were able to show him a few of our favorite places around Key West–not all of them because we want him to come back, okay and maybe because Liam absolutely hates the car and no one likes hearing him cry!

The background looks photoshopped but it isn't!  We're so blessed to live somewhere with such beautiful views!

The background looks photoshopped but it isn’t! We’re so blessed to live somewhere with such beautiful views!

We took him to our favorite beach, and Xander showed him how he digs up the sand/shells.  We took him into the water and then he and Xander went on a hunt for the prettiest shells.  They found a couple of really pretty pieces of coral.  Did you know that Key West has coral reefs? It does!
We also took him to the butterfly place, and I’m sad to say that none of those pictures really turned out thanks to me having the car so cold on the way there, and then the exhibit being warm and humid.  :( We did have a good time though.  Xander loves watching the birds and the butterflies!  Oh, and they have two new flamingos!  Flamingos are one of Xander’s favorite animals!

Dad teaching Xander how to use his fishing pole.

Dad teaching Xander how to use his fishing pole.

Dad showed Xander how to use his fishing pole, and he and Paul also went on a fishing trip.  They went out to the reef and caught some pretty impressive fish, which I was super excited about because all their fish is now hanging out in my freezer waiting to be cooked and eaten!  We did cook and eat some while he was here–in the smoker he got us! YUM!  (BTW I have no idea how we lived without the smoker!!) Paul had an awesome time fishing and I can only hope that Dad found it to be half as fun as Paul did!

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Hanging out watching the sunset and drinking a fruity drink.

We also took him to Mallory Square for the sunset.  I was bummed that our favorite street performers weren’t there, but we still had a great time.  Xander really likes going down to the sunset, probably because I always try to get a fruity umbrella drink to share with him, and by share I mean that I get a sip and then he finishes it off! We all took turns with the camera that night so I have no idea who took what photo, but we got some AWESOME photos of the sunset.

Even if our favorite performers weren't there we had plenty of entertainment!

Even if our favorite performers weren’t there we had plenty of entertainment!

I’m pretty sure Dad thought that Mallory Square was lame, but it’s probably one of my favorite free things to do in Key West.  I feel obligated to take everyone that comes to visit there because we always have a good time people watching and laughing at all the crazies!

Another gorgeous view from Mallory Square.

Another gorgeous view from Mallory Square.

The only regret I have of Dad’s entire visit is that I didn’t take nearly enough pictures!  When we’re in Oklahoma my Budgie is always taking photo after photo, and I completely understand!  Since we’re so far away those photos are what keep us close!  Next time my camera might not leave my neck!

Liam would just laugh and talk to him..

Liam would just laugh and talk to him..

There is a quote going around the internet that goes something like, “The only thing better than having you as a parent is having you be my child’s grandparent.”  It completely fits my dad!  We had our rough patches growing up–who doesn’t?!?–but seeing him with my boys completely melts my heart!  Now if we could just figure out this distance between Key West and Arkansas so that he could babysit for us everything would be perfect! 😉

Three Minutes of my Life in Pictures

My dad left yesterday after an amazing week here with us. Honestly it was the best visit we’ve ever had with my dad! I had planned on blogging about it yesterday afternoon but Xander has started throwing temper fits and Liam is a handful despite recently outgrowing colic. So maybe I can do that over the next couple of days while Paul is home from work. In the meantime, I give you the last three minutes of my life on pictures:

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As you can tell, Liam is in love with Xander. Liam presses the buttons so the music plays and then just watches Xander dance. Life is good.

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My sweet boy loves his brother and starts smiling as X and I are dancing like fools.

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Xander got out the toy piano and started “playing music” along to the music that the bouncer plays. This scares Liam and the crying starts.. I must say that even for the screaming fit he’s still pretty cute in my eyes!
These boys definitely keep me busy!!

Our Week With the Letter F

Like I always start out my Mommy School posts, the whole point of the activities we do during Mommy School isn’t to get Xander into Harvard or make sure he’s the smartest kid around.  The point of the activities we’re doing is for me to expose him to the types of things he’d get to do if he was attending a preschool program.  If he masters his letters while we have some structured play, that’s a huge plus. :)

This is rough work guys!

This is rough work guys!

On Monday, I printed off a Letter F worksheet from this website, and then Paul and Xander sat at our kids’ table and colored it.  Later that day I put a flattened cardboard box down in the yard and gave Xander some red paint and let him paint a flower pot for the kitchen.  He absolutely loved it, and I loved that I have a piece of Xander artwork for my mint plant. :)photo 2

On our morning nature walk/frog hunt.

On our morning nature walk/frog hunt.

Our Tuesday activity was Finding Frogs.  We went on a little nature walk looking for them but only found chickens.  Any other day we’d find a half dozen frogs without even looking!  But, later that day we went over to our neighbor’s house (who happens to be Xander’s bestie) and we found a frog!  So I caught it and let the little ones hold it.  I didn’t think to snap a photo until we were about to let it go and it was hanging on the ball, but Xander loved watching him hop off of his hands over and over.  His little friend ended up liking the frog too, even if she was a little spooked at first. :)

Yes, Xander's mommy caught him a little green frog!

Yes, Xander’s mommy caught him a little green frog!

Painting on foil

Painting on foil

On Wednesday I put a piece of foil on the kids’ table and let Xander paint it.  I helped paint a flower and a frog–which he painted over– but it’s probably one of my favorite pieces of Xander art so far.  It’s currently hanging on the refrigerator and he’ll go over to it and say “painting hoil”  Apparently F-oil is hard for him to say.  We’re working on it though.

I absolutely LOVE how this project turned out and can't wait to find an excuse to do it again!

I absolutely LOVE how this project turned out and can’t wait to find an excuse to do it again!

Thursday I made a quick trip to Dollar Tree for some coffee filters, and we had our neighbor over to make flowers.  First we colored the coffee filters then we placed them over bowls and dropped water on them with our paint brushes.  The water caused the color from the markers to spread and made them really pretty.  The mommies then cut the flowers and poked green pipe cleaners through.  Xander and I taped them to the window before bed so he could see them when he’s sitting at his kids’ table.

Eating a snack by his little "Flower Garden."

Eating a snack by his little “Flower Garden.”

IMG_6868Friday we made our F letter page for our homemade alphabet book.  I thought about fish and a few other different animals, but Xander’s all time favorite is the Flamingo.  When we were in San Diego he would just sit in his stroller and stare at them squawking and walking around.  If you’ve never been to the San Diego Zoo you should add it to your bucket list, it is definitely my favorite zoo!  I think we could have gone every day of the week while we lived there because we always had a good time!  (There were several times that we went more than once in the same week, so I’m definitely not exaggerating!)

Xander showing off his F is for Flamingo!

Xander showing off his F is for Flamingo!

Our Week With the Letter E

Like I always say, for us “Mommy School” isn’t about getting in to Harvard.  It is just exposing Xander to the things he’d be doing if he was in preschool.
On Monday, just like always, we did a letter E color sheet that I got at this website.  I’ve said before that I like the worksheets at this site best because they have five different pictures to color with the letter E.  They provide pretty good inspiration when you’re lacking in the activity department, plus Xander loves coloring!

Painting our cards for Grandparents' Day!

Painting our cards for Grandparents’ Day!

On Tuesday we didn’t so much do Mommy School as we prepped an activity for Wednesday.  We made cards for all of the boys’ grandparents for Grandparents’ Day.  We used Liam’s footprints and Xander’s handprints and then I wrote “From the bottom of our hearts to the tips of our toes we love YOU!” on the inside.  I also had several photos printed and tossed those inside the cards.

Even Liam got in on the action.

Even Liam got in on the action.

The front of the cards.  (They varied in colors thanks to what I had in my supply of cardstock.)

The front of the cards. (They varied in colors thanks to what I had in my supply of cardstock.)

On Wednesday we put our cards into envelopes and took them to the post office to mail them.  That afternoon we did a science experiment and poured baking soda and vinegar into bottles to make eruptions.  Xander has asked to do experiments ever since!

Cracking eggs.

Cracking eggs.

On Thursday I filled some egg shells with sidewalk chalk paint and we went outside and cracked them on the concrete.  Xander loved this SO much.  It made a complete mess and I ended up having to sweep the steps off a few days later but he loved it and I’d definitely do it again.

It was a messy project, but he loved it.

It was a messy project, but he loved it.

On Friday we made an E is for Eagle page for our letter book.  It was inspired by this blog and she has lots of other cute activities to do if you aren’t a big fan of some of mine–or don’t have a reason to send envelopes!  Since we used our eggs earlier in the week–and I’m keeping all his animal letters for our homemade alphabet book–our Eagle isn’t a baby hatching like the one she did.  Either way I think it’s still pretty cute!  And Xander is getting pretty good at using the glue sticks!  (Scissors are still very much a work in progress!)

E is for Eagle.

E is for Eagle.

Our Week With The Letter D

Disclaimer: I’ve put blogging on the back-burner the last few weeks and I’ve just been focusing on enjoying life with my boys.  The next few days I’ll be posting our Mommy School activities and then Monday I’ll post with pictures of the boys. :)

Like I always say, for us “Mommy School” isn’t about getting in to Harvard.  It is just exposing Xander to the things he’d be doing if he was in preschool.  We did a lot of drawing this week, and a few less structured activities than we’ve been doing in previous weeks.  I also took ZERO pictures this week! I know total shocker!

Here's our D is for Dolphin page for our homeade alphabet book.

Here’s our D is for Dolphin page for our homemade alphabet book.

On Monday Paul and I introduced the letter with the LeapFrog magnet set and trace card.  We also colored a couple of worksheets.  My favorite site for the weekly color sheets is this one. I like that it’s got the letter, plus five pictures that start with that particular letter.  For example this week it has a dolphin, a duck, a deer, a dog, and a drum.  There are lots of things with D but not so much with other letters so I have a feeling these color sheets will provide a little inspiration for me when it comes to other letters.

On Tuesday we watched an episode of Dora the Explorer.  Xander LOVES Dora so this was a real treat for him.  Later we pretended to be like Dora and explore–I know explore starts with E but it was nice and sunny so we I took advantage of the weather.  We drew pictures also.  This is one of Xander’s favorite activities and he’ll actually go to the closet that I keep the crayons and markers in and ask for his “colors”.  I love it!

On Wednesday we had a Dance Party and made Dots with our markers.  Dance Parties aren’t new to our house.  Pretty often I’ll turn on the music and we’ll just jam out.  Poor Xander has some pretty lame dance moves and I’ll admit that he got every single one of his moves from me.  (He thinks bouncing is dancing by the way–that’s a thanks to me constantly bouncing Liam!) Hopefully he’ll pick up some better ones from his friends soon.

Thursday we walked our dog and played with playdough and our letter D cookie cutter.  We also watched another Dora episode where there was a drum.  I offered to let him watch Diego, because I have several dolphin episodes recorded, but Dora won out.. What can I say he loves that chick.

On Friday we made our “D” page, it’s an odd looking dolphin.  Xander laughed and called it silly after I showed it to him.  He LOVES gluing the pieces down though, and actually got ahold of the Alligator page from A week and glued all over it–and had nothing to glue to it so it was a big mess.