Friday, June 30, 2017

Vacation to the west!

Once again, it's vacation time!  Normally, I try to write every day we are travelling, yet most days I've been too tired to get to it (mommy does nearly all the driving, by choice :))  Anyhow, it's rather late (again!), but I wanted to at least note the highlights of what we have done so far...

Day 1: we traveled from home all the way to Cheyenne, WY.  Basically, just a really long day in the car.  You did great, though--you're a wonderful car traveler!

Day 2: From Cheyenne, we made our way over to Dinosaur National Monument.  This was a very neat site with amazing fossils.  We stayed in a hotel in Vernal, UT and had very yummy local pizza.  This area seems really cool--we all said we'd like to come back and explore more.

Day 3: This day was spent mainly driving, with a stop at Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho.  The sand dunes looked really cool, but the temperature on them (dark sand) was burning hot--so much for mommy's idea to try sledding on them (note: this idea cam from when daddy and I went to White Sands National Monument in NM a few years ago--you can do this there (and we will...))!  We stayed in a nice hotel in Boise this night.

Day 4: We drove to Collier Memorial State Park in Oregon to camp out for two nights.  The campground was wonderful (apart from mosquitoes--and yes, I did remember the OFF! this time!)--only drawback is that it is not near any real towns.  We had to drive to Klamath Falls (around 35 min one-way) to get dinner because it looked like it was going to storm (were going to grill originally).  You loved watching The Muppet Show on my laptop in the tent just before bed :)

Day 5: This was a super full day of fun--we started with going to Crater Lake National Park, where there was still snow on half of the park, so we were limited on what we could do (we did a short hike along the lake).  After this, we lunched back at the campground, then went to the Train Mountain Railroad Museum.  This place was really cool and you loved it--tons of old train cars, several of which you could go inside.  We returned to the campground, took a short break, then walked over to the logging museum that is also part of the park.  Your favorite part of this was going inside each of the cabins.  Think you will really love when we camp in a cabin tomorrow night...

Day 6: This day was spent driving from Collier to South Lake Tahoe, where we stayed in a hotel near the main strip.  We walked to the beach (hotel gave us a pass for the private beach!) and you were delighted to discover a playground on the the beach (and I was surprised, as I'd never seen such a thing).  You 'made friends' with a kid whose mommy said is normally super shy and we also dipped our feet in the lake (water temp was 63°F--not swimming temp, but wading felt great!)  We walked along the strip and ended up having overpriced pizza for dinner (was good, very similar to MOD pizza back home).

Day 7: From Lake Tahoe, we headed across Nevada to stay in a hotel in Ely.  The original plan had been to camp in Great Basin National Park this night, but the forecast low was to be 37°F--too cold for our comfort, especially for yours since you still don't like to sleep under any covers except your blankies (which mommy sewed into one big blanket just before the trip).  Thus, mommy opted to book a hotel and we just visited the park that evening instead.  The drive up Wheeler Peak was amazing.  We did a short loop hike once we got to the top and then came back down, stopping at a couple of viewpoints along the way.  Originally, I had also wanted to get the telescope out and check out the stars under the lovely dark sky, but we were all too tired after going out for dinner at a yummy Mexican restaurant post-drive.

Day 8 (today): Last night you stayed up way too late (past mommy and daddy!) and suffered for it, as we had to get up a bit early (7am) to make sure we could arrive for the Lehman Caves tour at Great Basin at 9am.  We got there with 10 minutes to spare (mommy goofed and missed a turn...oops).  The tour was an hour and a half long--you were doing well until about the 1 hour mark, then you got a bit testy.  Still managed to enjoy the awesome cave, though--we even saw 2 bats flying around during the tour!  We then drove across Utah and stopped at several view points along the way, one of which had a cool mini-hike out on a natural overlook of a huge canyon.  Mommy broke her thumbnail here (owie!) when we sat down to go down the the little rock stairs at the midpoint.  We had considered stopping at Arches NP, but by the time we'd done all these little view point places, you were tiring out and ready for the hotel (as were we), so we came here.  We went out for dinner (very good) and then swam a bit in the very large indoor pool before calling it a night.

Whew!  I'll do my best to update the next few nights, too--we've got a couple more before home.  Love you lots, little travel companion :)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

2nd tooth lost!

Hello again :) mommy only has another month of school to go, so hopefully, fingers crossed, toes crossed, etc, she will be able to post more often.  For now, I'm going to try to at least post short little things.
Yesterday evening at bedtime, you lost your second tooth--lower middle (your) left one.  It's been "wiggly" since you lost the first one; you seem to like to wait until the tooth is ready to fall out of your mouth.  I asked if I could try plucking it out and you said, "yes, just gently" with a bit of anxiety.  I barely had to tug and it popped out of place just as you were going to close your mouth to stop my effort.  I had to tell you it was out of place and get you to open your mouth back up so we could get it out lol.  You were happy enough that you didn't fret too much about the tiny bit of blood (had you rinse with some water).  Just like last time, we put the tooth in your special pillow and set it out in the hallway.  We asked the tooth fairy to please let you keep it (she did let you keep the first one, but you lost it the next day) and she obliged.  And again you got $5!  Lucky you!
In other news, your attitude about doing schoolwork is still not good and we can't figure out why.  It makes mommy and daddy sad when you act like this; we are trying our best to turn it around.  You love to learn otherwise, but balk when asked to do workbook pages.  You recently completed the whole Kindergarten book (it was TOO easy by far for you now) and we framed the certificate at the end for you.  Once we get you going on a few pages, you usually like it and have even done extra ones for fun at times.  Not sure why you forget this nightly, though.
Tomorrow we will go to your second practice for tee ball and a big birthday party for a kid of a friend of daddy's that you met a few weeks ago.  I hope it will be a great day!  Love you always, mommy.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring break 2017 day 4

This day started with eating the donuts we got from the shop in Gatlinburg--even at a day old, they were pretty good.  We then checked out of the hotel and headed up near Sevierville, to a petting zoo that also offers pony rides.  You were very excited for both. as was daddy (and mommy).  It was really great!  We got to see lots of different animals, some that even I had never seen before.  Nearly all of them ate right out of our hands and you seemed to like going in the pens with the goats and fallow deer best.  After the zoo part, we did the pony ride.  Dad lead the pony while you rode and you loved it, no surprise.
We had a snack lunch in the car after we got checked in at our last hotel, the LaQuinta Inn of Knoxville East.  Since the weather was still decent (it was cloudy and warm), we visited Frozen Head State Park, about an hour northwest of here.  We did a lovely hike along the creek that lead to 2 falls.  It was a great hike except there were tons of gnats constantly bugging us.  Not as big of a problem when we were walking along, but any time that we were still was a moment they used to surround us.  There were tons of black moths with spotted wings and some butterflies, too.  The only wildlife we saw this time was a little garter snake.  You complained about how long it was on the way up, then tried to go too fast on the way down (you were excited for playground time) and fell, scraping your arm and a little on your forehead.  We hope and pray that you have learned from the experience.  You held your arm out straight because you were worried that it would hurt to bend it the rest of the trail back.
We did stop at the playground (after mommy bandaged you up) for a few minutes--you weren't so sure this was going to be a good idea, yet quickly forgot about your arm pain after a sweet girl came right up and greeted you as soon as you stepped onto the play area :)
After this, we returned to Knoxville and had pizza at Sergeant Pepperoni's.  It was just average pizza, nothing special.  Following this, we continued back to the hotel, where we went swimming for a bit in the less than warm and not as clear as the St. Louis hotel pool.  All in all, it was a great day and I hope tomorrow will be just as lovely :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring break 2017, day 2

This morning started with a phone call from your room to mommy and daddy's, asking to come over and get your phone.  After this, we all got ready, packed up, said goodbye to grandma, and were on the road to head to the cave.  Our first stop was at a Casey's for a bit of gas and some donuts.  Daddy accidentally let you get a donut with filling--you did not approve at all and ended up eating the rest of one of his glazed donuts.
The weather was rainy for a while, then clear and actually quite warm in the car at times.  Our second stop was in Owensville at a city park for a quick potty break, picnic lunch, and time for you to play at the playground.  It seems we got on the road just in time, as it turned stormy again right after this.  I had the windshield wipers going as fast as possible and you told me to turn them on faster lol.  Luckily, we drove out of the storm after only a few minutes and had clear travel the rest of the way to the cave.
We arrived at Lost River Cave just in time to make the 3pm tour.  We had to walk a short path to join the tour, which started minutes after we arrived.  Our guide was very nice, led us down the hill and told us history about the place before we entered the cave area.  You found this part to be a bit too long, asking me why he (the guide) was still talking at one point lol.  Again, our timing was great--just after we got to the overhang of the cave entrance, the rain showers started back up again.  The tour was really cool--it was a boat ride in the cave, lasting maybe 15-20 minutes.  We got to see a couple of very small bats, feel the cold water at the side of the boat, and see back past the dam area before turning around and heading back out the way we came in.  It was raining lightly as we walked back up to the gift shop, then turned into a thunderstorm as we shopped.  We waited it out for a few minutes in the shop, taking our time to look around. We picked up a shot glass for Nana Linda and you chose a little crystal mining kit as your souvenir.
Back in the car, it was a wet drive all the rest of the way to the hotel here in Cookeville, TN.  We went to Chili's for dinner, despite your grumbling that you wanted to go elsewhere.  You were a bit of a pain when we first arrived, but then finally came to your senses and decided to get a kids meal.  Mommy and daddy had wings that were probably the hottest (spicy level) we've ever had in our lives.  We then returned to the hotel, ready to hit the pool.  You and mommy went down to check it out first.  I turned on the hot tub and watched as you tiptoed onto the first step of the pool a few feet away, telling me that it was too cold (I checked--it was indeed on the cold side).  We were the only ones in there and quicky figured out why: the chlorine/chemical level in the air was so high it was stinging our eyes.  Within minutes, you started coughing from it as well and we bailed.  Daddy was surprised to see us back so quickly until we explained why.
You wrote your journal, we watched TV, and are now about to head to bed.  It's been a great day again, hoping the to continue the trend tomorrow!  love you, little traveler.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring break trip 2017, day 1

It's finally spring break for mommy, so I decided we should travel and have some family fun time!  Technically yesterday was day 1--we went to Grandma Judy's to stay the night, which isn't a new thing, so I figured we'd start counting from today.  Today we traveled from Grandma's to St. Louis, to stay the night at the Lumière Place (HoteLumière). Uncle Kevin was with us, as we were first meeting up with Nana Linda so that she could take him to her place for a long visit.  We shopped in Costco with her, then grabbed some pizza there for lunch before heading over by ourselves (you, mommy, daddy, and Grandma Judy (Silly Buddy had to go away to work)) to the hotel to check in.  We tried to go to the zoo after check-in, but even at one hour until closing, it was too busy to even get parked, so we opted to go to Lone Elk Park in West County instead.  It's a drive-thru park that has elk, bison, deer, turkeys, and other animals roaming about.  We were lucky enough to see one elk (yep, a lone elk!), quite a few bison, and two deer.

We then returned to the hotel so that we could hit the pool--you were quite excited for this.  We bought you some goggles just the other day so that you could try getting used to putting your face in the water.  You love playing in the pool, but you're not comfortable with water on your face/eyes (even in the shower, this bothers you).  You did well today for a first try with goggles--you put your face in a few times, just for a couple of seconds.

After the pool, we cleaned up and went out to dinner at Grandma Judy's favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhouse.  You ate very well here--had some rolls with the cinnamon butter, most of a caesar salad, and a few fries.  We then returned to the hotel and hung out with Grandma until bedtime.  You are sleeping in her room so we can all have our own beds tonight :)  I think we are off to a great start and hope it only gets better as we go along!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Damn

Yes, the title of this one is a bad word.  The reason being is that the other day, while we were all hanging out in the living room, you were playing a game on your phone and suddenly said as plain as day, " Damn."  I had to suppress my laughter and sheer surprise to ask you to repeat yourself, as I wanted to be sure I hadn't misheard.  You've never said this before, and mommy and daddy don't use this word for the most part, so it was a little shocking.  You repeated it, not shyly, as I don't think you knew it was a bad word.  Mommy asked you kindly to not say that word anymore, as it's not a nice one lol.

In other news, your latest new thing is making books.  This is mommy's fault for suggesting it in the first place and you really liking it.  We sew together a few pages (and yes, you are still insisting the pronunciation is "soo") and you draw pictures with a few words to tell a story.  Your first one was called "Bee" and it was the best so far (you've made 4 now, I think).

Time for me to scoot off to work.  Love you lots, little guy. ~mommy

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas and more

Yes, it's been too long and mommy's excuse is the same as usual: too. darn. busy.  Mommy got a new job after returning from France and it has really eaten up her time.  I haven't even been doing my cooking like I was before, ugh!  Hopefully I can do better in 2017...for now, let's catch up a bit.

Obviously, we just had Christmas.  You loved it so much!  We stayed home this year so that Santa could come right to our house.  You got many presents and declared, "I must have been really good!" Well, yes, mostly...lately your temper has been getting the best of you more often than before, which we are working on.  Even so, Santa must have known that you are good at heart and decided to go with that ;) I think your favorite gift is the Angry Birds play set.  You spent most all of the day playing with everything, except the broken gift.  You received a play stove that you really wanted to play with; unfortunately, we discovered it was damaged and mommy had to return it to the store where she thinks Santa got it.

After returning the stove, mommy was told that there were no more of that stove to be found, so I came back home, got you, and we went to Toys R Us to pick out a different gift.  You chose an Easy Bake Oven and couldn't wait to get home and try it.  I think you liked it, even though you didn't eat the less-than-attractive cookies it produced as a first batch.  Problem is, you cook with mommy all the time, thus I'm not so sure this was the best idea.  We'll see how much you play with it in the coming months...

Today we just got back from a brief trip to Des Moines.  We stayed at the Prairie Meadows hotel with Grandma Judy (and Grandpa Roger, who you have started calling "Silly Buddy" lol) and visited mainly with them, but also saw mommy's aunt Diane, uncle John, and cousin Rick.  We haven't seen them for a couple of years because of how much trouble it was to travel to everyone with you a couple of years ago.  Now that you do better at sleeping in unfamiliar places, we will come back to Des Moines more often and see more relatives.

Other items that have happened that I can think of off the top of my head: you now have a couple of loose teeth (bottom right one is most wiggly, followed by bottom left and top left), you really liked 'sewing' on the machine with mom a while back (you got to press the foot pedal while I directed the fabric), your favorite game on your phone is 'Bad Piggies', you had a sort-of party for your 5th birthday (only a few people were able to come, but it was still fun), you are just over 4 ft tall, you can spell a lot of short words, you can read nearly everything you see, and you nearly broke mommy's nose 2 days before Christmas (it was not intentional at all, you raised your head up too fast while you had your back to me on the bed).

Sunday, we'll be traveling to Nana Linda's to celebrate late Christmas with her and give daddy some alone time to de-stress (mommy and daddy's Christmas break dates didn't match up this year :(( )  I will do my best to write more again soon, I swear!  Love you lots, mommy.