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summer bucket list round-up

Dude. Summer, the bucket list, and this blog are getting away from me. Since I last updated, we have crossed a few more items off the list, but we have several that I’m afraid will be slipping into fall…

We went to the beach in South Carolina for a week at the end of July and had a lot of fun. Monkey and his 8 year old cousin had a great time, meaning that they made it kind of miserable for the rest of us. Bouncing off the walls, not listening, just running wild. I had to remind myself and others of how super annoying my cousins and I were around that age and what incredible fun we had back in the day. Monkey is still talking about his cousins and missing them. All’s well that ends well, I guess! We visited the Serpentarium and Botany Bay – our yearly excursions.

Monkey feeding turtles at the Serpentarium

serpent

 

Granny and MM at Botany Bay

bbay

Mama and Mommy had two dinners out – woot! We also discovered the joy of Firefly sweet tea flavored vodka and lemonade. Highly recommended!

We spent every day on the beach and in the water. The MM took daily beach naps, mostly on me but on my mom one day as well (she was in heaven).

Our beach setup

beach

 

Cousins on the beach

cousins

While we were in SC, we had a rented golfcart for the week so we can strike that one off the list as well. It is a life-saver as an activity that the kids love and the adults have fun with, too, when you’re not on the beach. Every evening we’d put the kids to bed and have cocktails and play games. The new favorite this year was Telestrations. A combination of Pictionary and Telephone – super fun and funny!

Boys passed out after day at the beach

asleep asleep2 asleep3

It was great to catch up with family (my parents, my brother/sil/kids, aunt, cousin, 2nd cousin) and we dropped the news to them that we are interested in relocating, probably to the Southeast. This will tell me who is actually reading this blog 🙂 Yes, we’ve decided that we really need to leave SoCal – too expensive, unappealing school options, etc. I’ll do another entry on this later, but figured I’d drop it here since it was a big deal to let my family in on it. Yes, they are all working on helping me find a job already 🙂

In terms of the bucket list items that are not crossed off the list, I am still holding tickets for the local trampoline jumping place and we also have a certificate for dance classes for Monkey (Hip Hop!), so those will be happening in the coming weeks. I’m bummed that we never made Gym.bor.ee classes happen for my little MM. I will be getting that going, too, as it can happen while Monkey is in school (he started his third and final year of preschool today). Monkey had a playdate last week at Noah’s Ark, which we’ve been to before and love, so another one off the list.

Total of  15 bucket list items complete. By the end of August, it’ll be more like 18. Not a bad tally!

Summer Bucket List

  • Trampoline place
  • Science Center to see the space shuttle (Endeavor)
  • Splash pad
  • Monkey attends camp for the first time
  • Swimming lessons
  • Dance classes
  • First Gymboree class for MM
  • Fly to the beach and spend a week playing with family
  • Ride in a golfcart
  • Wash Grandma’s car – not happening due to the drought here in CA
  • Go to the (local) beach
  • Touch a Truck event
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Drum circle
  • Plant flowers in pots on balcony – not happening due to the drought here in CA
  • Go miniature golfing
  • Go bowling
  • Visit Noah’s Ark
  • Go to Natural History Museum
  • Take the MM swimming for the first time
  • Mini vacation at fabulous resort on the beach (thanks, workplace!)
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Getty
  • NEW: 4th of July parade
  • NEW: Go carts!
  • NEW: Visit a California Mission

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more summer bucket list fun

Over the weekend we crossed another couple of items off the bucket list and added another new one! I attended a conference at a FABULOUS resort just south of us. But before I get into how insanely luxurious and wonderful it was, we also rode go-carts on the way down! DW noticed a Boom.ers on the drive to San Diego last time we went and really wanted to drive go-carts. We looked it up and discovered that Monkey is tall enough to drive on the small, little kid track and to be a passenger on the big track. Our hotel check in time wasn’t until 4, so we took a pit stop! (See what I did there?)

First, let me say that Boom.ers exists in the same hellish category where Chuck.E.Cheese resides. OMG hate. That said, the go-carts were a blast! We put Monkey in a car on the kiddie track first. He had no clue what he was supposed to do – “Put on your seatbelt.” <Blank stare> “Push the green pedal with your foot.” <Blank stare> But once he figured it out, he tore it up. He had his pedal pushed to the metal and took the turns like a champ – only got stuck on the side once. Of course, when it was time to stop, he completely ignored it and ran over the stop sign (DOH!) and then after the guy running things said, “Do not hit the car ahead of you,” bet you can’t guess what happened… I felt bad for the guy and we did what we could from the sidelines, but you know, he’s 4. He had so much fun and looked so cool doing it, too.

After that, DW took a turn driving him on the big course and then it was my turn. I had never driven a go-cart before (this stunned DW). It was super fun, but kind of stressful, too. I never knew when someone was coming around me! Monkey was killing me yelling, “Oh my God!” No idea where he got that from (seriously – we never say that). I laughed and told him to say gosh instead so as not to offend anyone and he actually obliged. Still, it was hilarious as we’d round a corner and he’d cry out, “OH MY GOD!” LOL!

DW and I really wanted to leave at that point, but there was a huge room full of video games, so you can guess where this is going. Monkey played a few games and we bribed him with some candy to get out of there. Still, I’d do it again just for the awesome go-cart action.

Then we were on way to the ridic resort we stayed in Sat-Tues. This place? Pure opulence. Our room was huge and had a big balcony overlooking the main lawn. So beautiful. The bathroom was a dream – huge soaking tub with separate shower. The boys and I got in the tub every night and even made use of the lavendar sea salt bath crystals provided.

View from our balcony

view

There is a golf course between the hotel and the beach (natch), so they shuttle guests down to the beach, where an employee sets up an umbrella, beach chairs, and towels in your preferred location. Oh, and they gave each boy a bucket and shovel on check in. The beach was gorgeous and both boys had so much fun playing in the water and the sand (see new header photo for evidence). This bodes well for our week-long beach trip next week.

Monkey at the beach

m_sand

We had room service a few times (just easier with littles at a fancy shmancy hotel). While I attended the conference on Mon, the family went to the Mission in San Juan Capistrano. DW loved it and said we absolutely have to stop on one of our SD trips so I can check it out. In the late afternoon, the family went for a swim in the kid pools (one was 1.5′ deep and the other 4′ deep). We ordered up a bucket of ice cold Cor.ona Light and had ourselves a nice cocktail hour.

Monkey at the Mission

mission

That night after we put the kids to bed, we had a cocktail out on the balcony and watched the sun go down. So. Awesome. We had planned to do this all 3 nights, but DW fell asleep putting kids to bed the first night and we both fell asleep putting them down the second night. (Both boys were up at 5:20AM all 3 days, so Mamas were pretty beat.)

On the last day there, I won a $200 gift card to the hotel during the conference! Sounds awesome, right? But we had to check out at noon so I spent about 15 minutes playing all you can grab in the gift shop. I was really hoping to score some resort-branded beach towels, but alas they were not to be had. I ended up with a branded beach bag, a pair of sunglasses, and some toys for the kids. I “paid it forward” by giving the remaining $10 to the person behind me in line 🙂

Now, I’ve shared the Face.book, happy-happy-joy-joy version of the trip but rest assured, it was not easy or super relaxing. See ridiculous wake times above. See also Monkey in all his 4.5-ness, not listening, being totally wild, messing with the baby constantly, etc. Let’s not even discuss the epic argument DW and I had on check-out. Ugh. Still, we had a good family time at a place we’d not be able to afford otherwise (thank you work), so I call it a win!

Summer Bucket List

  • Trampoline place
  • Science Center to see the space shuttle (Endeavor)
  • Splash pad
  • Monkey attends camp for the first time
  • Swimming lessons
  • Dance classes
  • First Gymboree class for MM
  • Fly to the beach and spend a week playing with family
  • Ride in a golfcart
  • Wash Grandma’s car
  • Go to the (local) beach
  • Touch a Truck event
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Drum circle
  • Plant flowers in pots on balcony
  • Go miniature golfing
  • Go bowling
  • Visit Noah’s Ark
  • Go to Natural History Museum
  • Take the MM swimming for the first time
  • Mini vacation at fabulous resort on the beach (thanks, workplace!)
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Getty
  • NEW: 4th of July parade
  • NEW: Go carts!
  • NEW: Visit a California Mission

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summer bucket list mega post

Since I’m woefully behind on updating, this post will cover all of the bucket list items we’ve crossed off the list so far this summer. We’re having a ton of fun and the best is yet to come!

Science Center to see the Endeavor space shuttle

A few weeks ago, we met friends to go to the Science Center. Full disclosure: We have already been to see the shuttle once, so this was our second time. First, DW, Monkey, friend, and friend’s son went to see a space-related IMAX movie. The MM and I tooled around the Science Center having fun at the various Discovery Zones. After the movie, we met up and started our way through the Endeavor exhibit. There are lots of small space ship items set up in the main science center and at the end, you go into a separate, specially built warehouse to see the shuttle, which is mounted to the ceiling. So freaking cool!

endeavor

Afterwards, we decided to look at some of the other exhibits at the Science Center. When it was time for us to go, Monkey threw a tantrum of epic proportions. It went on and on and on. Finally DW managed to get a grip on him and hoisted him over her shoulder and out we went with the screaming, hitting, kicking banshee child. Sigh.

Splash Pad

This splash pad is near Grandma’s house, so she met us over there when they turn on the water one Saturday. Both boys had a blast! It was the MM’s first time at such a thing and he wasted no time heading right into the middle of the water. I realized fairly quickly that I should have worn a suit as well – I was worried about the MM getting too deep in without me, so I was in the splash pad as well.  We played for about an  hour and a half and at that point, the MM’s lower lip was quivering (cold) and Monkey was over it. We went for pizza and then headed home.

splash

 

Monkey attends camp

We are in week 4 of camp and Monkey is having a ball. He goes 3 days a week, from 9AM – 3:45PM. Long, full days of camping fun, including swimming every day. We are loving the peace and quiet at home with the MM, but it’s so unlike his co-op preschool that it’s a little unnerving. Often we have no idea what he did all day as answers our questions at the end of the day with, “Mama/Mommy, I’m not interested in talking right now.” We know he loves swimming and his best camp pal is named Noah. He helped build a rocket and has done a few fun dress up days (sports, 4th of July). He comes home exhausted and looks forward to going to camp so it’s a win. Just wish we had a little more insight into his days there.

camp

Swimming lessons

Prior to the start of camp, we enrolled Monkey in two weeks worth of swimming lessons. These were group lessons and he was with 2 other boys his age. On the first or second day, one of the other boys started in with, “I don’t want to go under!” The other two boys followed suit and things went downhill from there. Monkey is so stubborn that even when the other boys moved on and started enjoying the lesson, my boy would continue with, “I don’t want to go under!” Props to the instructor, who was really great. She managed to keep him in the water and even had him under a few times. So, at the end of the lessons, we were thinking we hadn’t made much, if any, progress on the swimming front. Then we took him in our pool at home and guess what? This little fox immediately dove under the water over and over and over and showed us all of the things he had learned in his lessons. He is honestly thisclose to full on swimming! Goes under and holds his breath, tries to do underwater flips, refuses his swimmies, floats on his back, etc. My stubborn child was taking it all in. We tried to tell him if he did one more week of lessons, he’d be swimming but he’s not having it. We’re not too worried about it as we think he’ll be doing it on his own by the end of the summer at the rate he’s going. Spirited children are not for the faint of heart!

underwater

Touch a Truck

This event was also near Grandma’s house so she accompanied us. It was super cool (and super crowded)! They had all sorts of trucks parked in a lot and kids could get in them, wash them, work some of the equipment (raise and lower tow truck bed, for example). Ton.ka had a booth with freebies, a helicopter circled overhead and landed, there were food vendors and bounce houses. And it got so crowded and hot that we left before we even saw everything. We’ll definitely go again next year and start at the other end to make sure we see it all. Super fun!

Farmer’s Market

We went to our local Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks back. Monkey’s favorite thing: Bounce house! The MM’s favorite thing: free food samples! He especially enjoyed strawberries, hummus, and yogurt 🙂 Monkey and I shared a homemade strawberry lemonade on our way home. Delicious!

Take MM swimming for the first time

Monkey has always been a water baby. His first time in the pool was at around 6 months old and he was an immediate fan. We bought the MM a little water float like we had for Monkey and brought him in. He lasted in the float for maybe 5 minutes. Then he lasted in Mama’s arms for maybe 15 more minutes. Sigh. We have since learned that baby does not like the float AT ALL. He does like the pool and will happily hang out for an hour or so – in Mama’s arms. NOT IN ANYONE ELSE’S ARMS! Ahem. So there’s that. I will be glad when he’s a little bigger and can wear the swimmies as I think that will solve all our problems 🙂 Still, we have been in with him about 5 times and it’s fun.

NEW ADDITION: 4th of July Children’s Parade

We saw that there was a local parade where kids could decorate a bike, wagon, stroller, etc. and walk in a parade to a park. So we pulled out the old Rad.io Fly.er and went to work!

wagon

 

Monkey had a ton of fun riding in the parade and jumping in the bounce house, getting a balloon sword, and doing the limbo. The MM was too hot and crabby, so after the parade he and Mama found a shady spot under a tree and hung out, practicing the MM’s new fangled walking skills. Full on toddler, little baby no more.

And that’s what we’ve been up to! I’ve crossed off the items we’ve done and bolded the ones that are happening really SOON! VACATION, Y’ALL!

Summer Bucket List

  • Trampoline place
  • Science Center to see the space shuttle (Endeavor)
  • Splash pad
  • Monkey attends camp for the first time
  • Swimming lessons
  • Dance classes
  • First Gymboree class for MM
  • Fly to the beach and spend a week playing with family
  • Ride in a golfcart
  • Wash Grandma’s car
  • Go to the (local) beach
  • Touch a Truck event
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Drum circle
  • Plant flowers in pots on balcony
  • Go miniature golfing
  • Go bowling
  • Visit Noah’s Ark
  • Go to Natural History Museum
  • Take the MM swimming for the first time
  • Mini vacation at fabulous resort on the beach (thanks, workplace!)
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Getty
  • 4th of July parade

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summer bucket list

My pal Amanda over at Little Monster(S) and Mommies challenged everyone to do a Summer Bucket List. I’m pretty late (and cheated a bit by including some fun summer activities we’ve already done), but hey, I did it and I’m in! Our list is below. Yes, I’ll do posts for each activity we have done/will do so as to keep this blog somewhat alive. Come on! Join in the fun!

Summer Bucket List

  • Trampoline place
  • Science Center to see the space shuttle (Endeavor) – DONE
  • Splash pad
  • Monkey attends camp for the first time – IN PROGRESS
  • Swimming lessons – DONE
  • Dance classes
  • First Gymboree class for MM
  • Fly to the beach and spend a week playing with family
  • Ride in a golfcart
  • Wash Grandma’s car
  • Go to the (local) beach
  • Touch a Truck event – DONE
  • Farmer’s Market – DONE
  • Drum circle
  • Plant flowers in pots on balcony
  • Go miniature golfing
  • Go bowling
  • Visit Noah’s Ark
  • Go to Natural History Museum
  • Take the MM swimming for the first time DONE
  • Mini vacation at fabulous resort on the beach (thanks, workplace!)
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Getty

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eleven pipers piping, twelve drummers drumming

Topic: Song and Music

We are huge fans of Christmas music. DW has a few Christmas music blogs she visits and downloads new-to-us music from. We have a red iPod Nano with a TON of tunes on it. Our favorites have been the same for years, but it’s still fun to get new ones. Our very most favorite is A Big Band Christmas.

Followed closely by A Charlie Brown Christmas.

We also have Elvis, Johnny Cash, and many more big band CDs. Some recent favorites include The Surfers Christmas from Hawaii (different, but so fun) and Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas (OMG I love Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day… like I can’t tell you). If you’re into the indie scene like we are, you’ll also like The Christmas Song by the Raveonettes and The Spirit of Giving by New Pornographers (I’m not even religious but Joseph, Who Understood totally makes me teary).

Topic: Traditions Marching On

This is a good one as we are looking to start some new traditions. We bought a nice wooden Advent box that we will put to use next year when Monkey is old enough to understand it. My family always opened one gift on Christmas Eve, so I’m thinking we’ll probably do that as well. DW’s family does the brown sugar cookies for every holiday, not just Christmas. One thing DW’s family used to do that was fun was to buy for each other’s stockings. When I “joined” the family, I got in on that one and I always enjoyed both the giving and receiving of the little gifties.

Please share any traditions that you have – maybe we’ll steal one or more 🙂

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

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ten lords a-leaping

Topic: Achievements of 2011
I think the biggest achievement is simply making it through the year considering Monkey’s terrible sleeping habits 🙂 I’m only half kidding! A personal top achievement is getting a new position at work. I was really unhappy and just done with the work I was doing in my old department, so getting the opportunity to do something new and exciting while also working from home 99% of the time is just huge. I’m also so thankful that I was able to keep my salary so DW could continue to be a SAHM. That was really important to us, so I’m just thrilled we are making it happen.
Other than that, I can’t think of anything out of the ordinary. We are all healthy and happy and together and for that, I’m grateful. Bring on 2012!

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eight maids a-milking, nine ladies dancing

Topic:  Holiday Eats
We have already indulged in too many holiday treats at our house. DW’s family recipe brown sugar cookies and several batches of fudge have been made and consumed. Doh! Sometimes we make peppermint bark with dark and white chocolate and crushed candy canes, but not this year. We also like to make a minty milkshake (vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, and peppermint schnapps), but we have yet to do that this year either.
Topic: Party Time!
The only holiday party we have gone to in years past was my company party, but they haven’t had one for the last couple of years. I’m fine with that. About 5 or 6 years ago, though, my company rented out the House of Blues and had a 70s cover band! It was really fun, even though DW was sick that year and I had to go on my own. I have lots of buddies at work, so I still danced the night away with my fave gay boys 🙂
We don’t have any friends who do holiday parties, and we’ve done just one that I can remember. It was only us and our 3 fave couples who hadn’t yet met each other, so not sure you’d even count that as a party. Still fun, though!

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