Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28

Tonight the church had a Preschool Family Fun Night. It was at our Southwest Campus, where we hold our Sprouts playgroup each week. Lindsey put together a fun night, and we had a good number of kids and their parents come join in on the fun.

Audrey just assumed we were at Sprouts, so she automatically jumped into Sprouts mode for a little while--which means, she was grumpy and clingy and not much fun to be around. But she got better as the night progressed and was having fun by the end of the evening. A highlight of Audrey's night was seeing her Sunday School teacher, Miss Peggy! It was the first thing she noticed when we got there: "Look, there's Peggy!"

The theme of the night was a Pajama Party, so all the kids were wearing their jammies. This is how Audrey sits during circle time. She is very serious about sitting all by herself in her chair. Though she looks like she is not having fun, I think she really does like listening to the songs and the story! (Again this is Sprouts mode...she's not always like that. In Sunday School, she is great at participating. She does all the dancing and actions to the songs, and she answers all the questions....just not at Sprouts, or any events similar to Sprouts).
This is Anna. She is about 3 weeks older than Audrey, and she was looking very adorable in her PJ's and pigtails, holding her baby doll.

Elliot is always adorable! As a part of the circle time, all the kids got a new tooth brush. They got to pretend to brush their teeth and dance while singing a song about brushing your teeth.
Audrey was very hyper by the time we left tonight and was talking and singing the whole drive home. She has been very talkative lately and just cracks me up with all the things she has been saying. Here are a few things from today that caught me by surprise:
  • Today we were reading a book about a dog. There is a page that has a series of pictures of the dog doing various activities. Without any prompting, Audrey pointed to each picture and narrated what the dog was doing in one big long sentence: "Doggie in the bathtub, doggie wearing glasses, doggie go potty on the floor, doggie having a birthday party, doggie go night-night." I think it is the longest string of words I have ever heard her put together.
  • This morning, I told Audrey that we needed to clean the house. She said, "Yeah, clean house! No crying, I'm so happy!" She was very excited about the idea of cleaning the house...though the actual act of cleaning and helping me quickly lost its appeal. =)
  • At the party tonight, Audrey found some chalk and a chalkboard. After scribbling for a few minutes, she said, "Mommy, look! Draw a picture!" I looked at her pictures and said, "Wow! What did you draw a picture of?" Audrey's answer: "A rhino". Of all the things she could have thought up, where did she come up with a rhino??
  • Daniel put Audrey to bed tonight (while I listened on the baby monitor). After a beautiful Daddy/daughter duet version of Praise Him Praise Him, they prayed. Audrey thanked God for: Jesus, God, her nose, picking her nose, Miss Peggy and Lindsey. Oh she makes me smile so much!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 27

Our Oscar party was a lot of fun! We had a good crowd of people come, the rain held off long enough for us to have our red carpet arrivals, many of our guests got into the spirit of the event and dressed, we had fun games and good food, and it seems that everyone had a good time!

Obviously, I have many more pictures, but I'm not going to get them all done tonight. For now, here's a picture of me and Heather--party planners extraordinaire! =) Seriously, it would be a lot of fun to go into the party planning business someday. We just need to find some people who would be willing to pay us to plan a party for them.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

February 26

I spent most of the day with my friend Heather, getting ready for our Oscar party tomorrow night.

So Audrey got to spend the whole day with Daddy. It sounds like they had a fun day. They went to story time at the library this morning, where it turned out some sort of literary fair was going on with special activities for kids. Audrey got her face painted! She was very proud and kept wanting to look at it, saying "See bu-fy? Miwor?" Then she would want someone to lift her up to the bathroom mirror so she could look at the butterfly on her cheek in the mirror.

Audrey also had fun helping Daddy put stools together for church, which is what she is sitting on in this picture. I was home to witness them putting the last few together (they put together 6!), and it was pretty cute. After they put each one together, Audrey got to test the stool out by sitting and wiggling on it.

I'm glad they had a fun day together...and I'm really excited about our party tomorrow night!

Friday, February 25, 2011

February 25

My project for tonight: make these Black Swan inspired, feather-ball topiary centerpieces. Heather and I are throwing our 2nd annual Oscar party on Sunday night. This year we decided to use Black Swan as our theme for the night...which means lots of black and white and feathers! We found some black/white feather balls on a stick, and I thought they would fit perfectly with our theme. The problem was what would we do with them? It's not too often that you try to decorate with feather balls on a stick.

So, with a little bit of hot glue, some ribbon and these decorative pails and rocks, this is what I made. I think they look a little sad/out of place by themselves, but in the midst of the rest of our decor, I am hoping that they will look good. Stay tuned on Sunday for pictures of our big party!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vacation Post #14: The End

The Orlando airport was Audrey's last chance to spot all of her favorite Disney this giant Goofy that was outside the Disney store at the airport.
Audrey was ready to get on that airplane. She wanted to hold her own ticket and give it to the person checking us in at the gate. And then she took off down the ramp all by herself. I helped her find our seats on the plane (after she pointed to each seat and said "this ours?" until we finally got to our row, 27!). Then she climbed up in the seat and said "Seat belt on now." Only two years old, and already a professional traveler!Normally at the end of vacation I am ready to be back home and get back to a regular schedule. But not this time. I was NOT ready to come home.

Perhaps it's because we had such a good time. It really was a lot of fun, and Audrey did a great job. She had plenty of "two year old" moments, but for as much as we dragged her around from place to place to place, she was a real trooper. This was such a fun age to travel and experience all these things with her. She is so easily excited, and I just loved to watch her and talk to her about all the fun things we did!

Or perhaps it's because we had such wonderful weather during our whole trip. Seriously, every single day was 80 degrees and sunny. It was amazing. And then we came home, where it is cold and dreary. The weather forecast for tonight is calling for 6-8 inches of snow. What a way to welcome us home!

Regardless, we are home now. Back to the real world. And back to regular daily blog posting. For those who have stuck with me through all 14 of these LONG posts, thanks for reading. I really don't write all of this for your enjoyment, but more for my own sake. Once vacation is over, all that is left is the memories. And the easiest way to remember all the fun we had is to write about it and take pictures. I used to journal, then I scrapbooked, now I that's the reason for so many long, detailed posts!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vacation Post #13: Animal Kingdom

Since our trip to the Magic Kingdom was so much fun, we decided to go back to Disney for one more day before flying back home. We picked the Animal Kingdom for our second visit. I wasn't all that excited about Animal Kingdom, as it just looked like a zoo, and we can go to the zoo anywhere.

But upon closer examination, we thought Animal Kingdom would be the next most enjoyable park for Audrey...and we were right! The combination of animals and Disney characters was just perfect for her! I've heard lots of mixed reviews about the Animal Kingdom. It doesn't have as many rides as the other parks, so it probably isn't quite as exciting. But it is still impressive. Here are a few things I liked about the park:

1. The scenery/landscaping/decor/atmosphere is amazing! SO MUCH DETAIL went into every little part of that park. I think it is far more impressive than the Magic Kingdom in that sense.

2. The Lion King show and the Finding Nemo show were phenomenal, Broadway quality productions...those two shows combined are just about worth the price of admission.

3. I was also impressed with the number/variety of animals that we saw. And the environments they were in (an Asian jungle, a tropical rainforest, an African safari) were way cooler than what you would find at a zoo.

4. For Audrey, it was the perfect place to see Disney characters. The lines were not nearly as long as Magic Kingdom, so she got to see many of her favorites!

5. The safari ride was really cool. We didn't ride any of the other big rides, as Audrey was not big enough (and I don't do rollercoasters), so I can't judge them. But even without riding them, we had a great day at the park.

On to the pictures and a quick summary of our day!

We started at the Festival of the Lion King show. The show was very impressive for us, but a bit overwhelming for Audrey. Some parts she liked; some parts she was a little scared. Definitely worth seeing though!

Then we headed to the character greeting trails. We had to wait in a short line for Chip and Dale and Mickey, but there was no line at all for Goofy or Donald...this was a big highlight of the day for Audrey!

Next, we had lunch. Then we took the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch. Audrey was very insistent that we find a goat! So we went to the petting zoo, where she was actually brave enough to pet some goats and a sheep too!
After taking the train back, we went to the Pangani Forest to find more animals (Audrey's goal for the day seemed to be to see as many animals as possible!). We saw birds, lots of fish, a hippo swimming under the water, gorillas and more.

Audrey fell asleep in her stroller after the Forest, but Daniel and I went ahead and walked through the Maharajah Jungle while she was sleeping. My favorite animal here was the tigers, and I was sad Audrey missed it because I think she would have liked them a lot! Daniel probably wasn't as big a fan of this section because he got pooped on by a bird while walking through here!

We got some ice cream, waited for Audrey to wake up and waited for the parade to start. This parade was probably not as exciting as the Magic Kingdom parade. But there were plenty of Disney characters in it, which made Audrey excited. Timon spotted her from across the road and came directly up to her to shake her hand!
We had a plan to watch the parade directly in front of the safari entrance, so we could get in line as soon as the parade was over. Our plan worked perfectly, as there was no wait at all for the safari (normally a very popular ride). I really wish I had a better lens/better photography skills. We did see a lot of cool animals (giraffes, lions, elephants, etc.) but I wasn't all that pleased with any of our pictures.

After the safari, we hurried across the park to see the Finding Nemo musical. Again, extremely impressive! Audrey liked this one much more than Lion King. After each song, she clapped her hands and said, "Yay!" She even seemed to be following the story line a little. Every time Nemo came on she said, "Looking for Daddy? Find him?" (Nemo sings a song early on called "Where is my dad" so it was pretty easy for her to pick up on this idea).
After Nemo, Daniel took Audrey for a ride on the TriceroTop Spin, which is exactly like the Dumbo and Magic Carpet rides at Magic Kingdom, so she liked it.
On the way out of the park, we spotted the character greeting for Winnie the Pooh characters. Prior to this trip, all she knew about Pooh was: 1. Winnie the Pooh is on her bag of toys in the bath tub and 2. Eeyore is on her toothbrush. But then we went on the Pooh ride at Magic Kingdom, and she loved it. And she started to spot Pooh and Eeyore and Tigger all over the place (we sure do live in a very commercialized world!). So, getting to meet them in person was very fun for her!
That ends our busy day at the Animal Kingdom! I will have one more vacation post tomorrow, and then it is back to the boring real world and much shorter blog posts!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vacation Post #12: Monday in Venice

I really wanted to take Audrey back to the beach and give it one more try. But I also really wanted to just have an enjoyable, relaxing time at the beach and going with Audrey probably would not have led to much relaxing.

So Daniel and I left Audrey with Grandpa and Grandma on Monday afternoon and headed to the beach by ourselves! It was the most beautiful afternoon...absolutely perfect beach weather! It was in the low 80s and there was not a cloud in sight. The sun was nice and warm, but there was a cool ocean breeze that kept you from feeling hot. It was seriously the most perfect combination for just sitting and enjoying the beach! We sat and read for a while (and Daniel slept!), and we took a stroll down the beach.

On our walk, we ran into a dog beach. There were SO MANY dogs! It was hilarious to see the dogs running off leash and jumping into the water.

We also enjoyed dinner at Sharky's on the Pier before heading back to the house.

Meanwhile, Audrey had lots of fun with Grandpa and Grandma. They went for a walk and saw a big alligator!

Vacation Post #11: Sunday

The revival ended on Sunday morning. We had a good time at the revival, and the people at Anchor Christian Church were very friendly and welcoming. If they wanted Daniel to come back every year for their February revival, I think that would be a GREAT idea! It worked out so well for us to turn it into a vacation and a visit with my dad and Chris.

After lunch, we drove back to my dad's house. As soon as we got here, we all changed into our swimsuits for some more fun at the pool!

This pool had three really wide steps at its entrance. Audrey loved playing on the steps and did not want to go into the rest of the pool. She definitely likes being independent, and on the steps she could stand in the water all by herself! The middle step was just right for walking around, as it came up to about her waist.
Audrey discovered that she could crawl on the top step, which was also very fun for her. She kept saying, "This very fun!"And she discovered that she could also stand on the last step, where the water came right up to her chin. She did really good at stepping down to it all by herself and carefully kept her head above the water (most of the time, at least!).This is Audrey shaking Grandpa's hand. Shaking hands was something new she learned at the revival. One old man wanted to shake her hand on the first day we were there. And from then, she would just walk up to people and hold out her hand and wait for them to shake it. It was adorable! I had a picture of her shaking hands with Jeff at church but Daniel accidentally deleted it off my you will just have to take my word for how adorable it was while we were at the church!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vacation Post #10: Saturday in Bonita Springs

On Saturday morning, Daniel held a training with some of the worship team members at the church here. So Audrey and I had the morning to ourselves. We headed to the Miromar Outlet Center, an amazing outlet mall near Bonita Springs. Audrey liked it because they had a fun playland.

I liked it because they had lots of fun stores and good President's Day sales! If only I had more room in my suitcase, I could have really gone shopping. But my bag is packed to the brim, so I only made one purchase: the first matching clothes for our two girls. This was also my first purchase for the new baby. Children's Place had PJ's for $1.99, and since I love their PJ's, I couldn't resist getting a pair of for both Audrey and the new baby. Audrey thought it was fun to pick out two: "one for Audrey, one for baby" she kept saying.

Saturday evening was night #2 of the revival. We got to the church really early, so Audrey and I played outside for about an hour while Daddy practiced. We've been on the go so much on this vacation that Audrey hasn't had much free time to just run around and play. She LOVED being outside and just ran around and around in the grass for the longest time!

Vacation Post #9: Friday in Bonita Springs

We took our second trip to the beach on Friday in Bonita Springs....this time in the late morning. We didn't end up having much time at the beach, because we spent most of our time driving around and trying to find a place to park! It was a beautiful day (as all our days down here have been!), and I think everyone wanted to take advantage of a warm day at the beach.

There were a few moments when Audrey was happy and having fun at the beach. Like these:

And then there were moments when Audrey was not so happy and not having fun at the beach. Like these:

We did get her to put her feet and hands in the water for a second or two. The water was pretty cold, so I don't blame her for not wanting to be in it. And we did get her to walk by herself in the sand...for about a minute! I think the combination of the sand texture ("too yucky" according to Audrey) and the crashing waves ("too loud") made this beach trip a bit overwhelming for Audrey. What we need is a bunch of Audrey's friends to go to the beach with her. That is how we got her to overcome her fear of grass. All the other kids were running around and playing in the grass, so Audrey wanted to join them. I think if Cael or Simon or Elliot or someone like that were playing in the sand, Audrey would forget all about it being "too yucky" and she would join right in with them! (Do you hear that friends...we need to plan a beach trip together soon!!)

Later in the day, after Audrey's nap, we took her to the pool. That was MUCH more fun. I showed her how to blow bubbles in the water, and she thought it was the funniest thing ever. She kept trying to blow bubbles herself, but all she would do was stick her tongue in the water and then laugh like crazy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vacation Post #8: A Quiet Day

Thursday was a pretty calm day. We packed a lot into those first few days, so it was nice to have a more laid back day.

We started the day trying to find a park where Audrey could play. Sounds like it would be easy to do...the town of Venice had 30 parks, so I thought for sure we could find a nice one. We looked at all the park descriptions on the website, and they included amenities like this: benches, trails, bird watching, shuffleboard courts. Very few parks had playgrounds! I guess this town wasn’t really designed with two year olds in mind! We did find a park with a playground and decided to check it out. It was kind of a lame playground. Audrey was bored by the slide pretty quickly, but she did sit and "drive" the car for a really long time. And the weather was gorgeous, so it was just nice to be outside!

Thursday afternoon we drove to Bonita Springs, FL. Daniel is leading worship for a revival here (thus the main reason for taking this trip), and we will be here through Sunday. Audrey had a couple of rough moments today…I think all this traveling is starting to wear her down. And it doesn’t help that she has been waking up with the sun this week (7 am Florida time, 6 am our time). Someone needs to teach this girl that when you are on vacation, you are supposed to sleep late!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vacation Post #7: The Beach

Late Wednesday afternoon, we headed to the beach! It was starting to get a little chilly with the ocean breeze, but still the weather was very nice.

We had been talking about the beach a lot leading up to this trip. I wanted Audrey to be excited about it, but I was also pretty sure that she would not like the beach. She is kind of prissy when it comes to being dirty, and sand has never been a texture that she likes. We did have our “beach in a bowl” that we played with a while back, but even with that sand she never actually touched it. She just used cups to move it around from bowl to bowl.

So, Audrey was acting really excited to go to the beach…but would she really like it once we were there in the middle of all that sand??

We first put her down in the sand with these beach toys, and she was pretty excited to play with them. She stood and squatted down and played with the sand a little, being very careful not to get sand on herself. Then she discovered a little bit of sand on her foot. “Wipe it off Mommy! Off!” So I wiped the little bit of sand off her foot, and she played for a few more seconds before noticing more sand on her foot. This continued for a few minutes.

Finally, she decided she was done with the sand. We tried to walk down by the water, but she was already kind of grumpy and decided she did not like the water either ("too loud")…here she is with Daniel, who was emphasizing her grumpiness.
She did, however, like the “ducks”. They were actually birds, but Audrey was very insistent that we call them ducks. She and Daniel ran and chased them for a little while, and that helped to brighten her mood.

I wasn’t ready to give up on playing in the sand. I sat down and started to play, and Audrey quickly agreed to come and play with me. We made some fish and airplanes using molds, and then we worked on a sand castle…just like Cinderella’s castle at Disney World. That got Audrey excited, “Princess go in there! ” she said.
The beach outing ended on a positive note. Audrey was finally having fun in the sand, and she didn’t want to leave. We’re going to another beach on Friday. This time we will have to work on walking in the sand and getting close to the water. Should be fun!