Tuesday, June 26, 2012

April - Easter

I will try not to bore you with a ton of words - most of the pictures speak for themselves :)
Easter Eggs

 (I accidentally hit the black and white button when I was editing this picture, and kind of liked it!)

 Easter Morning

 Breakfast of Easter Champions!
 Easter Day at Gigi's and Popa's

 My kids can't keep their hands off of Baby Isadora
 Lincoln and Ellery - two peas in a pod
 Great Grandpa and Isa
 Uncle Nate is always the life of the party.
 Proof that they really CAN get along, if only long enough to take a picture.
 The traditional headwear pictures.  I love looking back at past years both here, here and especially here.

I should try to take them before we leave, not after we get back.  It always makes for an interesting photo shoot with grumpy and over tired kiddos.

Monday, June 25, 2012

April - Spring Break

We decided to take our awesome foursome south for spring break, all the way to...  Columbus, Ohio ;)  

We need to ease our way into a big spring break trip (Although, let it be known that I am not a fan of going away for spring break.  I hate feeling like I need a vacation from my vacation, when I have to go back to school and teach.  Jason, on the other hand, would love to pick up and leave for spring break.)

Anywho...  the drive was about five and a half hours.  Doable, but not fun!  
We stayed 3 nights in a hotel room/suite.  We pushed the queen size beds up against the wall, and had the kids sleep in twosomes across the beds.  I am sure the housekeepers were totally thrown off, but it worked very well for our vertically challenged kiddos!  
Who ever doesn't believe that Jason and I won't do anything for our kids, didn't see us sleep on the pull out couch.  UGH!  Let's just say that it ranked right up there with sleeping on the floor covered in rolling pins.  Good thing we love them!
The main reason that we went to Columbus was that all four kids love animals, so we went to the Columbus Zoo.  Jack Hannah was the director of the zoo, and helped build it to be a beautiful, well rounded zoo!  It was a perfect zoo for a two day trip (for our kids, anyways - who hung in there for about 4 hours each day).  Because it would have cost $25 more to pay for each individual person to go over the two days, we are now members.  We are hoping to find a more local zoo that will accept their membership as part of a reciprocal program.  
The Columbus Zoo has so many different areas to explore!  It is divided up into 5 areas.  On our first day we went to 'Shores', 'African Forest' and 'Voyage to Australia and the Islands'.  We were tired by the end, but it was hard to stop when we knew there was so much to see.

We started out at a whole building dedicated to reptiles.  I learned a ton!

Don't they look excited?!?!  
One of the most memorable exhibits was the gorilla area.  This gorilla was quite playful when we were there. She would swing around the entire perimeter of the area, thumping her hind legs on the glass to get the spectators attention.  At one point she was playing hide and seek with Ellery - so fun to watch!
I don't have a picture, but the Bonobos were equally entertaining!
My own monkeys!
Having lived in Australia (I student taught there) , I LOVED the Australia area!  The signs and animals brought back so many memories.  We could walk around, and get up close and personal with the kangaroos.  
We ended our first day with a ride on the carousel.

After grabbing a bite to eat and heading back into the hotel to take a swim, Easton was running on the sidewalk and took a good spill!  I was in front of him, but his forehead hit the ground so hard I could hear it :(  Poor guy!  The look on the woman's face that was walking towards us was priceless - I think she wanted to run to him faster than I was.  I am pretty sure that everyone in the lobby thought he may be dying, but he quickly pulled it together.  
Day 2 took us to the 'North America' and 'Asia Quest' areas.  
We started out at the petting farm.  Those goats will probably never be the same after being tormented  lovingly brushed by my four.  If you get one of my kiddos, you get all four - eek!

There is a neat train ride that takes you around the North American exhibits.  What a cool way to see the back side of many of the animal's individual areas.

Hands down, the highlight of the second day was the polar bear exhibit!!!  There is an area above the ground and an area under water.  We were able to watch one of the polar bears roam above the water for a short time, before he took a dip in his 'pool'.  Jason ran down with Quin and Ellery.  They were able to see him dive deep and paddle around.  We spent a long time at in this area!

Gianna loved the elephants (or efififants as she calls them).  She had a mini-melt down when we had to walk away.  
I have hundreds of pictures!  So many diverse animals, but I will spare you!  If you are ever in the Columbus area, we would highly recommend going to their zoo!

There is also a cool shopping/dining area about twenty minutes from where we stayed called... Easton!  Well, with that name, we had to go!
It had every store imaginable, in an outdoor shopping mall atmosphere.  There was a magical fountain in the middle.  My kids wanted to dive in!  There were so many dining choices.  It was one of those places that I thought, "if only the kids weren't with us!"  Oh well, they probably helped save me a lot of money!

Too bad our name sake was super tired and grumpy by the time we left!  He wanted nothing to do with my picture shenanigans.  Oh well.
I love that our troops are getting more independent, so that we are able to do more of these types of trips.  Oh the fun to be had! ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

March - Quin's ParTEA

We had Quin's very first birthday party.  My mom bought a Groupon to Party Creations which started the whole ball rolling.  Quin loves having tea parties, and Party Creations offers a variety of theme parties - one of them being a Tea Party.
When my mom told Quin all about it, Quin asked if she could bring a friend... which inevitably turned into three friends.  I found these cute tea party invitations, and redesigned the 'tea bag' insert to include all of our information.  
It ended up being my mom, Quin, three of her friends from school and myself.  The girls all looked so cute!  They were each dressed up, and couldn't stop giggling!
There were two other 'parties' there at the same time as us.  Each girl was given a boa, tutu and tiara for the party.  We started off painting our nails.  They also made tissue paper flowers that decorated our table.
The girls had tea and lemonaide out of real china, and were given bread, cheese and crackers, and cupcakes to eat.  
Each girl was also able to customize their own bottle of 'shimmer lotion'.  
The party ended with a partner game of 'stack the sugar cubes'.  It was fun to see the different strategies to get the tallest sugar cube tower.
After the tea party, we treated the girls to lunch at Red Robin (Quin's favorite).  

Lunch was topped off with a song and dessert!  What a perfect day!!!

Also related to Quin's birthday, are the treats that she passed out at school.  I found several March related sayings/pictures on line.  She chose the rainbow design - I cannot for the life of me find where I downloaded this from.  Sorry that I cannot give you the link.  Together, we glued the tags.
Quin chose what she wanted to put in to the bags, and sorted it all into 18 piles.  All she needed help with was the twist tie.  She was so proud!