Tuesday, December 29, 2015

{a wonderful day: shopping, lunch, pottery, and baking...}

The kids and I had a great day today. Originally we were supposed to be in Toledo right now. The plan was the leave early Sunday morning, but Lilli was under the weather. She was croupy (as I mentioned before), so I decided against making the trip to Toledo without Ryan. Hopefully I will be able to reschedule that soon. In other happy Lilli news, she lost her first tooth on Christmas Eve:
See the missing tooth?
Yesterday was really exciting for the kids, because we got our first snow storm of the winter. They were thrilled! Here is a shot I took of our back patio this morning:
They kicked of their day today with some snow time, and then it was time for some hot chocolate. I even started a fire in our fireplace by myself! Here is my evidence:
I have to be honest, it didn't last long. Starting a fire is much harder than it looks!

We played around the house for a bit, and the kids started fighting at one point and were sent to their rooms. After their time was up and Caden came back into the kitchen, I received this note:
I love him... Then we headed out to Target. Caden had a gift card that was burning a hole in his pocket (Thanks, Grammie!), so I told him we could head out today. I needed a few things as well. It was very obvious that many businesses had some issues with getting their lots plowed. Target's parking lot looked like it hadn't even been cleared at all. We still braved the snow!

After our shopping, we stopped at Olive Garden for a late lunch:
Then I decided that we needed to make a pit stop at the Fire Escape in Oshkosh to paint some pottery. Daddy had to work late, so this was a nice way to kill some time and have a lot of fun. Look how concentrated they are:
They even dried their pieces on their own between coats:
Yes, they also dried each other as well.
Caden painted a helmet and Lilli painted a hedgehog:
Love those goofy faces!
I also painted a "cozy mug." I am excited to see how all of our pieces turn out after they are fired. We will be able to pick them up next week. Here is a pic of the three of us:
Ignore my hair. I look like a rooster! I didn't notice this until after the pic was taken, of course...

Once we got home I got some ham and bean soup going (the beans had been soaking since last night), and then Lilli and I did a little baking. We made some Kisses Peanut Butter Blossom cookies and banana bread. Lilli unwrapped the kisses for me:
Yes, that is a cheek filled with Hershey Kiss :)
She also helped me clean the beaters:
The cookies are out:
and the banana bread is almost done:
The house smells GREAT!

I am hoping to also work on a new hat face mask for Caden. He can't find his other (Grrr...), and he could really use it playing outside in this snow:)

Until later!
Barby

Saturday, December 26, 2015

{Merry Christmas from us to you}

I will be back to posting on Monday. Right now I am enjoying some extra time at home. Lilli is sick with the croup (boo), but I am enjoying the extra snuggles. I hope you all are getting some extra time as well with the ones you love.
Merry Christmas!
Barby

Monday, December 21, 2015

{pajama day turned twin day}

Because it is the week of Christmas (I don't understand how that is possible!!!), the Caden and Lilli have a dress-up day each day for their three-day school week. Today was Comfy Day, which we read to mean Pajama Day. Lilli was very excited about this. She also loved the idea of dressing in matching pj's with her friend Gabi. I surprised Lilli by calling Gabi's mom Stephanie to see if Gabi could go shopping with Lilli and me yesterday to get some new matching pajamas. 

The girls had a GREAT time. They were so well-behaved and patient. Listen to the list of stores we visited at the outlet mall here in Oshkosh: Oshkosh B'Gosh, Carter's, VF, Gymboree, Gap, Old Navy, and The Children's Place. Then we headed to Target so I could grab a couple of things. The girls decided they needed a snack:
Being silly
Cutie girls
They ended up finding the pj's they liked at The Children's Place. Of course the last place at the outlet mall :) It was definitely worth the trek, because these two cuties were adorable today. Another plus? It helped with my step total for my FitBit for the day :)

Stephanie sent me this cutie pic of the girls from today at school:
Love it!

Until later!
Barby

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

{fun holiday distractions on the computer}

I know this is the time of year when you don't have as much time as you would like, because you have a million things to do. I am there with you. Sometimes I just need to relax. I am a nerd, so I will show you something I found today about which I am VERY happy. If you use Google Chrome as your browser, there are some super cute holiday add-on games. I am the most excited about Christmas Freecell:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/christmas%20themes?hl=en-US&utm_source=chrome-ntp-launcher
They are very easy to get and they are FREE. You first click on this icon in the upper right hand corner of your browser:
Then you need to select this:

Then you click on Games:
I know Apps is highlighted, but click on Games.
I typed Christmas themes into the search bar at the top, and I went through the list to see what I would like. Here are a few that I added to my computer:

Christmas Freecell:

Christmas Solitaire:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/christmas%20themes?hl=en-US&utm_source=chrome-ntp-launcher
Christmas Countdown (that also can play your choice of Christmas music):
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/christmas%20themes?hl=en-US&utm_source=chrome-ntp-launcher
Christmas Coloring pages (for the kids):
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/christmas%20coloring?hl=en-US&utm_source=chrome-ntp-launcher
There is also another add-on that changes your overall theme on your browser to a Christmas theme with lights:
Super cute!

Again, I know you are super busy, but isn't it nice to take a little break sometimes and let your brain and your body rest? I know I need it sometimes :) Those Christmas cards can be addressed tomorrow, right?

Until later!
Barby

Monday, December 14, 2015

{tree fort update #4: phase two planning}

I know it is winter, which you cannot tell by looking out the window, but Bumpah is still working on his plans for the next phase of the tree fort set to begin come springtime.

A few weeks ago he brought over a model he made with his idea. Yes, a model. The kids LOVED it. And yes, it is a perfectly-scaled model. Check out how awesome this will be?
I know the kids can't wait! 

How about at least a little bit of snow in the meantime? This "winter" feels more like spring. Almost 60 degrees mid-December? Weird. Oh well...looks like the kids will only be getting a white Christmas in their heads, but at least they can also dream of this awesome tree fort :)

Until later!
Barby

Friday, December 11, 2015

{My LONG stay at the Kalahari}

You know we like waterparks, so when Ryan and I realized we each had conferences or meetings butting up to each other at the Kalahari, we were in! As I mentioned yesterday, we headed there Friday after work and quickly packing up. By the time we got there it was dinner time, so we ate right there at the Wisconsin Brew Pub. The food was very good. I tried to get a nice pic of us, and look what I captured:
I laughed out loud when I saw it. Usually Caden is the one to make the faces...

After we were done eating, it didn't pay to hit the waterpark because they close at 9 pm. They kids decided they were okay with just playing some games in the arcade next to the restaurant. While we played, Ryan took our things to our room. Here are the kids after we loaded the tickets they had won onto their game cards:
 
Once I got to the room with the kids, Lilli and I were pretty tired. We decided to rest while Caden and Daddy headed to check out the other arcade. That was our first night.

The next morning Daddy was up bright and early for his meetings, and the kids luckily slept in!!! Yes. It was glorious. We grabbed some cold cereal from the cafe there and ate it in our room, and then we headed out to the outlet mall to check out the Disney Store. I LOVE it there. They even read a little Christmas story to the kids and gave them little books:
 
 
Then the kids chose Noodles and Company for lunch. Lilli wanted to head back to the room to rest, and we were happy that Daddy was done with his meetings not too long after we got back to the room. Then it was time to hit the waterpark. Lilli and I hung out most of the time, so I don't really have many pics of Caden from Saturday afternoon's swim:
After we swam for a few hours, we decided to go to Monk's for dinner. Then we headed to MagiQuest to play a little bit. Caden brought his money, and he bought a new end for his wand (like his cousin Andrew has) and also a belt for the wand. Lilli borrowed the money to buy the same (she bought a different end). Yes, our kids are cool like that :)
 
Here is another shot with his new belt:
 Lilli sporting her new belt:
After playing there for bit, Lilli was VERY tired. We did two quests, and then we found a place to sit down while Caden and Daddy finished up. She fell asleep on my lap. She was done for the night, but Caden still had enough energy to hit up the arcade one last time. 

The next morning we got up and hit the waterpark right away. This was my favorite part of our entire time there. The kids were great together. They played the entire time. When Lilli was born, I thought we were a little crazy to have a newborn and a 22 month old. Now that I see how well they play together, I think we are geniuses. Look at these cute pics:
Here they are waiting for the water cannon above to hit them:
 
I loved it the most when they went down the slides side by side. Check out this video I took of them. If you look at Caden, you can see that he is "meditating" when he comes down the slide. He cracks me up...
video
They played together in the kid area while Mommy and Daddy were able to sit and talk. We could see them the entire time, and it was glorious! I love that they really do love each other and love playing together.
After checking out (and then checking into my next room for my conference), we had a quick lunch at Sprecher's. My family left me to head home, and I began my stay for my conference. I was there for an educational technology conference. The conference was from Monday to Wednesday, and it was very good. It was nice to also have some of my colleagues there. We had some fun besides attending the conference. The highlight? Wizard Quest! Yep, I talked them into trying Wizard Quest.
 Here Kelly and I are in the ball pit:
Victorious! We freed all four wizards :)
It was a fun time. My entire stay was from Friday through Wednesday. It was a LONG time to be at the Kalahari. I had a good time, but there is no place like home :)

Until later!
Barby

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

{2015 Photo with Santa: perfectly imperfect}

I am a perfectionist. I know...you are shocked. I know...I have issues. I am proud to say I am starting to let go of things, and I have realized that sometimes it's okay for things to not be perfect. I have a VERY good example of this from last weekend. 

Every year we take the kids to see Santa in Appleton at the Fox River Mall. EVERY year. All of the pics have the same setup. They look great in the scrapbook :) I had every intention of taking the kiddos there this year as well. Flashback to last weekend. We were walking back to our hotel room after leaving the pool, and the kids noticed that Santa was there. Lilli really wanted to see him. Remember, we had just left the pool. The kids were wet, they were wrapped in towels, and they were NOT wearing cute outfits. Here is the pic:
I love it. Look at their little faces. For a second I thought to myself, "Oh well. I can still take them to Appleton for another pic." Why would I do that?! This picture is perfect. 

They also told Santa what they wanted. We were the only ones, so the kids were not rushed. It was great time one-on-one with Santa:
Lilli was so excited that when she actually talked to him, she couldn't think of what she wanted. Santa was very sweet and told her that she could send him a letter. Caden asked for...a selfie stick. I know, we have failed as parents... Santa kinda laughed about that. Luckily, Caden informed me tonight that he changed his mind. He wants a special fishing pole instead. Don't worry, he informed our Elf on the Shelf Kleveno to inform Santa about this change :)

So don't worry about those perfectly staged pics! Sometimes opportunities just pop up, and those moments, although imperfect (wet hair and all), will be treasured even more.

Until later!
Barby

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

{here a conference, there a conference...}

I know I have been quiet on the blog for the last week and a half, and that is largely due to the fact that I was at an overnight conference for two days last week and I have been at another three day conference this week. Whew! For someone who doesn't usually travel overnight for work, the last two weeks have been hectic. Luckily Ryan has been doing an amazing job holding things down on the home front. 

I will update you tomorrow with pics about our Kalahari weekend we had last weekend as a family. Ryan had a meeting at the Kalahari on Saturday, so we came Friday after work. The kids and I bummed around until Ryan was done on Saturday, and then we stayed overnight again. Sunday Ryan left with the kids and I stayed, because my SLATE conference is also at the Kalahari (convenient, right?!). I have learned a lot, but I will be ready to go home tomorrow afternoon when the conference ends. Thankfully I have FaceTime, so I have been able to see the kiddos every day :)
Love those faces :)
Until later!
Barby

Thursday, December 03, 2015

{painting with Santa}

The main reason we came home on Saturday night instead of Sunday was a special opportunity Lilli had. She was able to take part in a pottery painting activity with Santa at the Fire Escape in Downtown Oshkosh. Lilli and her friend Gabi were able to take part in this fun time that also earned them a badge for Daisy Scouts. Score! Each kiddo got a pottery plate to paint. First they had to choose their base color. Lilli chose golden for her base color. She had a great time painting:
She did a wonderful job. After painting three layers,
It was time to hit the blow dryers to get the layers dried. Then Lilli got to go up and see Santa:
After snapping that cute pic, Lilli painted Santa's right hand red:
And Santa pressed his hand on her plate. Then it was time to paint Lilli's hand green:
And press it on the plate:
She was pretty pleased with the result:
The Fire Escape elves kept the plate so they could paint "Santa and Me" on the top and then glaze and fire it. They will also add Lilli's name next to her hand print. I think it's so cute. After we finished the plate (she also painted the back), it was time for quick cookie and some milk and then story time with Santa:
Lilli had a wonderful time. We also had a snag a quick pic of our little Daisy Scouts in their uniforms:
How cute are they?!
I also love this group shot of all of the kiddos that Stephanie took:
This was such a fun event! I know we will be back soon. I think this would be a fun activity to do as a family some Sunday after church. I even noticed they had a little Pikachu that Caden could paint. They had AMAZING mugs that I would love. I will keep you updated about any future pottery adventures :)

Until later!
Barby