Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Splash pad b-day party

Last Wednesday Lincoln was super excited (as you can see below) to attend a birthday party of a little friend of his (Durham) from his primary class at church.
I took these two pictures of Linc (holding the birthday gift he brought) right when we got there because I wanted to capture how giddy he was to start playing with the other kids and to attack that splash pad! I love that little boy.

Durham (the b-day boy) and Lincoln.

Lincoln taking a turn manning the water gun. This splash pad is super cute. How cool is that snake?

Can you tell how much Lincoln loved this?

Here is Lincoln flying around the splash pad like Buzz Lightyear, often shouting out enthusiastically "To infinity and beyond!"

This Lincoln of ours can run, and run, and run. And run.

Durham with his cute cake (Marissa H. from church made it, with some help from the birthday boy's siblings).

Cute li'l Maryanne (Marissa's daughter) with Sabrina (the birthday boy's sister...who I must add is such a sweet, bright girl - I hope I have a daughter like her someday).

Linc enjoying some birthday cupcake form.

Durham opening Lincoln's gift. I have to mention how much fun I had taking Lincoln shopping (one-on-one) to buy it. This was the first time that Lincoln began to grasp the concept of buying a toy to give to somebody else as a gift. He was sooo excited to give it to Durham.

Of course Lincoln's excitement about the gift was fed by the fact that it was a Thomas the train. We knew that Durham likes trains and a Thomas lego set sounded like a good fit.

Of course, Lincoln was really sad when it came right down to parting with the gift. He wanted Durham to open and "share!" the gift with him right then. That's what his expression of longing is in this picture, if you can tell (notice that he is holding the gift in the photo).
We did eventually convince Lincoln to relinquish the gift back to the birthday boy and make a quick departure (in order to get back to Noah's school in time to pick him up). We had such a great time that we were sorry we couldn't stay longer, but we were both so glad that we were able to go! How fun to have a birthday party at a splash pad...and in September!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Let's go fly a...plane?

Now I'm not afraid of flying on commercial airlines, but I'll admit that the smaller planes make me nervous. Especially considering some recent local fatalities from private plane crashes (including a family from Noah's school). So, let's just say that the night before Mark and Noah went up in a tiny 4 seater...I didn't sleep. I wouldn't have endorsed them going if I didn't trust the pilot, but since I felt good about that I decided that I better not let my fear get in the way of them having an awesome experience. So! On September 18th Mark's boss took them up flying in his little airplane. Here are Noah and Dr. B in front of the plane before take off...

Noah inside the plane getting his headphones situated.

How cute is he? Such a little dude.

Takeoff. Mark said that the entire flight (including takeoff and landing) were smooth as silk.

Noah taking a drink from his water-bottle (you can see the ground 5,000 feet below in the background). Here's a funny sidenote from during the flight...Dr. B called his home while getting close to flying over his house, and his daughter was able to run out into the backyard and watch him fly overhead while they were on the phone. Cool, right?

Checking out the view.

Noah next to the propellers after landing.
I was so relieved to get Mark's text that they'd landed and were done, and I was so pleased to hear what a great time Noah had on the flight. He said to Mark, "Now that was BIG fun!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding new parks

Now that the September temperatures have been a little "cooler" some days (teetering around either side of the century mark) we've been venturing out some mornings and exploring the local parks! It's been a lot of fun and gets me excited for the 6 months of perfect park weather coming up soon! These first two pictures are of Lincoln and his friend Brody (Linc says "Bwowdee") on a dinosaur at the park. Brody is about 4 months younger than Linc and is a really sweet li'l guy. We also found out that he is attached to his sand toys, so we did recently go out and buy some so Linc could bring his own the next time we go to the park with Bwowdee. To be fair however, notice that Lincoln is holding Brody's bucket in this photo and they're both smiling. Two-year-olds can often be territorial, but they are also so dang cute!

Noah and Lincoln at the park early on a September Saturday morning. How adorable are they?!

Noah and Lincoln have been playing together a lot more lately, and I love it. Of course they argue and fight too, but it is so cute to see one of them immediately look to find their brother when they discover something fun or cool. Their brother is who they look to share their excitement with first, and I just love that.

Swinging. Noah is flying like Buzz Lightyear.

The boys watching a "big boys" football practice (they were like 10 or 12 year olds). Noah was enthralled. Lincoln watched because Noah was.

Another park morning. This time we went with my friend Dani and the triplet girls that she was babysitting for a few days. Here is Lincoln with the girls...

And to introduce the triplets, here is:


And Charity. They were named as such in their birth order. Sweet little gals, huh?

And here's my cute little Lincoln with his favorite new picture taking expression.

Sneaking a shave.

Sometimes we forget how much our children watch us. One morning Mark was getting ready for the day and his razor was out on the counter (you can see where this is going). He walked out of the bathroom for just a second and while he did Lincoln hurried and snatched Mark's razor and began to "shave" his face. When Mark walked back in (luckily after only a couple of seconds) Lincoln was rushing to shave as much as possible...quickly because he knew that as soon as he was caught that his experiment would be put to an end. And of course it was. Linc only got as far as his "mustache" area before Mark snatched the razor away, but Lincoln was already bleeding above and on his lip. He didn't seem to mind too much though - he was quite pleased with himself for sneaking in a shave just like his daddy, even if it was short lived.

I, of course, was sad about the cuts (even though they were nothing serious). So, later I thought to take a few pictures - not so much to show the injury as to document the story. (If you wanna see a post from his first "real" injury last year click here) So, here are a couple shots of Lincoln and if you look closely you can see the little cuts on and above his little lips.

Yes, I am aware my son needed a haircut. He got one a couple days after these pictures were taken. I had to include this picture though because this is his "I'm sorry I did that" expression. We were talking about how we don't use daddy's razor...

Showing Mom his owies...

Cut lip above two chipped teeth. Yup. That's our Lincoln. All boy.

And a silly shot just for fun.
We love you, Lincoln. And while we do worry about you getting hurt from your often wreckless inhibitions...we also love the gusto with which you live life. We love the way you jump into things without holding back. And we love how quickly you are back up when you don't land on your feet the first time. You're a blessing in our family and we look forward to watching these aspects of your personality develop as you grow up too!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cooling off in September?

Usually in September I'm reveling in the cooler, crisp weather that the month has brought with it. Well, we're learning a new norm here in Arizona as we are now nearing the end of the month...and we are still sporting triple digits! So, we continue to find other ways to cool off. On this day earlier this month we used popsicles. I hope that whomever first came up with the idea of frozen treats on a stick became independently wealthy during their lifetime. Brilliant!

Cheeks full of frozen, sugary goodness.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The restroom, potty, can, WC, loo, throne, powder room, lavatory...

Did you know there's actually an annual award for the best public restroom in America? Seriously. Eight years running. I came across it online today and couldn't help but share: C'mon. Take a peek. You know you want to! Of the 10 finalists there is one in Utah, and one in Arizona.

I used to plan getaways for Mark and I around cool bed and breakfasts. Maybe I've found a new criteria for choosing a vacation destination now! :) Ok, maybe not. However, if I were in the area I'd definitely check it out.

So, this got me thinking. (I know, not the deepest of topics. Maybe it's all the "potty humor" my boys are into lately) Anyway! I started thinking about some of the unique or memorable restrooms that I've used. Both fancy and otherwise:
  • ESPN Zone (we went in Chicago) - has televisions in every bathroom stall. And, according to Mark, above every urinal. Wouldn't want to miss a moment of the game.
  • Hard Rock Cafe (in Hong Kong) - had a bathroom attendant (which kind of wierds me out), but it was fancy with choices of lotions or even perfume to use when freshening up.
  • General WC - there were multiple times while traveling or living abroad that I recall being relieved to see the internationally recognized symbol next to a place to insert coins. Only a couple times did I not have enough change on hand...and had to continue my pee-pee dance until I could get somewhere else. Oh! And there was one in Berlin (I know there are others elsewhere) that was a cube of one way glass, so people can't see in, but you feel like you're using a toilet in a glass box. Creepy. No, thanks.
  • Trains - at least those I tried in Europe. Well, let's just say this...the waste gets dumped on the tracks while you travel.
  • While living in Taiwan I found that most public (and many residential) restrooms provided squats. Also, no toilet paper is provided, so you always carry a pack of Kleenex with you. At first when I moved there I'd take off everything from the waist down when I went. Luckily I eventually became skilled in the art of squats and didn't have to do that anymore. Oh! And the used TP never goes in the toilets/urinals there, but in a nearby trash. That was a habit I was happy to break quickly after coming back to the U.S.
  • Bidets - the first time I ever used one (after Mark's coercion) was at a fancy hotel in Guatemala City. It was actually quite refreshing, I must admit.
  • Harmons (used to be our local grocery store) impressed me by upgrading their bathroom while we lived in Salt Lake. Granite counter top, automatic everything (toilet, sink, soap), fresh flower bouquet on the counter, and this super high speed hand dryer. Noah would pull the "potty emergency" card there just so he could use the cool hand dryer afterward.
If anybody actually took the time to read this post, have you got anything to add? I've heard Japan makes some pretty interesting toilets - anyone tried one? Do you judge a business on the quality/cleanliness of their bathroom? Or do you know of a bathroom that should be entered into the 2011 bathroom contest?!

I'll close with this. When I was growing up, we used to pull quotes from a crazy animated movie called, "Tiny Toons: How I Spent My Vacation". During the movie a family of pigs on their summer vacation would suit up in hazmat suits to clean public restrooms before using them, and would refer back to the nice restrooms that were "sooo clean" as a trip highlight. If you know how me (or my mom) feel about germs, you can see why we found that amusing. I wasn't born concerned about germs though...I have to add this for documentation sake: As a young child my mom taught me to put TP on a public toilet seat before using it (they're dirty and I could get sick if I didn't). One time, before entering a bathroom, she reminded me to put TP on the seat and I responded with a smile, "I didn't last time...and nothing happened!"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

August wrap up

This is what Noah looked like ten seconds after declaring, "...but, Mom - I'm not tired!" Gotta love it. Not only will the heat of an Arizona summer wipe you out, but getting used to the new school schedule made Noah really tired for a couple of weeks. Now that he's a 'big boy' Noah won't hear of taking a nap, but for a couple of weeks there I could count on Noah crashing on the couch if after putting Lincoln down for his nap. Noah would relax as long as it was made clear to him that he didn't have to go to sleep.

Speaking of sleeping. Sometimes after we put Lincoln down for a nap he likes to peek under his door and watch what's going on...and then he falls asleep there. We have to be careful if we're opening his door to go wake him up. (Yes. That's a pink binky. It's the only one that hasn't gotten lost, and we haven't kicked the binky at bedtime habit yet.)

Moving on to August activities besides sleeping. We struggled to find new places to take the kids that were indoors and not expensive. Eventually I found out that our local library is very kid friendly. They have tons of kids classes and even this play area. As you can see, Lincoln loves it there.

While Ryan and Tommy were in town we managed to squeeze in time for a night swim!

We have enjoyed breaking out some craft projects. I didn't even notice Lincoln's hand in this picture until I loaded the picture...he has gotten in the habit of pointing and gesturing with his middle finger. Not exactly sure what he was showing me here, but he does look pretty pleased with himself.

And (mostly for his grandmas that like to see this kind of stuff), here's Lincoln doing a summersault:

Another good way to beat the heat: Ice cream and an indoor playplace (at the golden arches). This is Lily (from Noah's preschool), Noah & Lincoln.

And, even if I'm a little bit embarrassed to show pictures from yet another trip to a fast food place...Chick-fil-A has been a favorite place to take the boys to get out of the house & stay out of the heat. Especially if it's Tuesday night...because that's Chick-fil-A's family night! Kids eat free with a paying adult. In just a minute I'm going to start sounding like a commercial, but I seriously love this place. First though, a couple of pictures. On their family nights they always have a guest for the kids. A science guy with hands on activities, a clown with face painting, etc. (See Noah below who put in a request for his arm to be painted)
Noah requested a scorpion be painted on his arm. He was pretty proud of it.
Now, here's my shout out for Chick-fil-A. Get ready. I'm a bit overzealous about how much I'm lovin' this place. In addition to their awesome family night, I love that:
  • Ours has an awesome indoor play area for the kids.
  • I actually like the food (and, more importantly, so do the boys). Mmm, waffle fries.
  • They keep the place clean/tables wiped down.
  • The kids' meals include plastic place-mats that can adhere to the table...and bendy straws (which any parent whose kid likes to do the tip back the cup with the straw thing understands that this is nice).
  • There are real flowers on the tables.
  • If the boys don't like/want their kids' meal toy, they can trade it for an ice cream cone.
  • They keep a stocked bowl of individual Purell sanitizing wipes (I don't have to bring my own!) at the counter.
  • The playplace is on the other side of a glass wall. So the parents can wave, but still stay at their (quiet) table and eat/talk while the kids are playing.
  • There is a nice old guy (named Mort, I think) that is there just to keep things tidy and be helpful.
  • Free wi-fi.
  • The staff is friendly and responds to things with "my pleasure" cheerfully enough that you actually almost believe them that it is (their pleasure).
  • Their sauces.
  • The bathrooms are always clean.
  • Their lemonade ROCKS (and is refillable).
  • Plus they still aren't open on Sundays, which I find admirable.
On that last note, here's a funny little Tim Hawkins song about the topic:

So, if you come visit us here in Arizona (particularly during these hot months of the year) and you're here over a can probably look forward to one of our visits to our awesome Chick-fil-A.
"I'm in love...with Chick-fil-A"