Saturday, May 29, 2010

We went on vacation!!

Can you believe it? We took a vacation that did not involve going to see family. Don't get me wrong, I love those too, but we haven't taken a non-family vacation since before Megan was born.

And now I know why.

A couple of months ago, we purchased a vacation through Bass Pro Shops and BlueGreen Resorts. We got a really good (really good) deal with the stipulation that we attend their timeshare (I'm sorry, "vacation resort") sales pitch. Originally, we were going to take it in September -- off season and the girls would be a little older. Then, Mark got engaged. And for some reason, going to his wedding in September takes precedence over vacation! Go figure! So rather than go in the summer (which I'm really really glad we didn't do that) we decided to go now. With a 2 year old and a 2 month old (cue hysterical-we've-lost-our-minds laughter). It was a good vacation. It was also a really hard vacation.

We drove to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Tuesday. That went really well because Megan watched movies and Abby slept. The drive from here took about 7 1/2 hours, stops included, so I can't complain too much. Our hotel was literally on the beach and was just a typical hotel room. Not good since Megan and Abby have completely separate sleeping schedules still. Plus, we were told it would be a suite, one of the reasons that we did the whole thing. This is when it comes in handy to have a husband who's not afraid of conflict. We started in this:

And switched to this:

Yes, we had a full kitchen and living space plus actually there were two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Chopper wasn't too confrontational about the switch, but I probably would never have said anything. This was our view:
And this is the actual hotel:

I highly recommend Best Western Carolinian because they switched us over to the suite. Granted, they had the space because it's not quite the on-season down there (for which I am very grateful) but they were wonderful to do that!!!

So that night was Megan's first experience on the beach. Megan LOVED standing on the balcony and looking out at the ocean. Chopper did too. I discovered a fear of heights. In hotel room #1 we were on the 9th floor and when I crept onto the balcony (literally) I had an overwhelming urge to get down on my hands and knees. Room #2 wasn't too bad, only the 6th floor! Megan DID NOT LOVE THE BEACH!! She was excited about it until we put her down in the sand and she got it on her feet. Then she had to be carried. I think the sound of the water up close scared her as well. We went onto the beach for a little while each day and she still didn't like it. I don't know what I'm going to do with that girl. Needless to say, we didn't spend a lot of time out there. Abby on the other hand liked the wind in her face and being outside. It's too bad she wasn't old enough to sit and play!

Notice in this last picture she is covering her eyes. She spent a lot time covering her eyes and hiding from the beach and the elevator -- she didn't like that either.

The next day we went to our mandatory timeshare (I'm sorry "vacation resort") presentation. 90 minutes turned into 3 hours. Add in two little kids and do the math -- it was much longer! The guy kept saying "I remember what that was like" about handling 2 little kids and I wanted to say -- then hurry up!!! The more he said it, the more annoyed I got. We weren't going to purchase anyway (just there for the freebies of course) but they really lost our business with the way they handled everything. The details might be as terrible as the actual presentation so here are the highlights: they were offended when I referred to them as a timeshare (we are not, we are a vacation resort!), we were told that the condos are so private we could run a meth lab in them (but we don't really want you to, but you could -- to which Chopper says "so we can have a meth lab?" and yet they didn't think that was funny . . . ), it was a one-time deal of course and apparently they keep files of who has been given the offer and turned it down (because they would refuse my money in 10 years, right). The long and short of it was that I ended up very very annoyed and we DID NOT buy into their timeshare (I'm sorry, "vacation resort") package.

But we got a cheap vacation! To make up for lost time we went to the Ripley's Aquarium which is small but has a really neat tunnel thing that you walk through and are surrounded by ocean. Megan was really fascinated by the sharks and the sting rays and I admit that we enjoyed it too. Then out to dinner with some friends who were down there at the same time we were and home to bed!

The next day Chopper and Ryan (our friends Ryan and Amanda) went deep-sea fishing and I took Megan and Abby to the children's museum. I WISH WISH WISH we had one in Fredericksburg. Megan loved it! And it was nice for me to not have to chase her around keeping her from touching stuff! Her favorite was the pizza making station (all fake) and the giant bubble in the hula hoop thing which I'm not sure I can really explain . . . It's a giant tire cut in half with bubble solution inside and you lift a hula hoop by a rope and it creates this massive bubble. It was pretty cool.
If you want to hear about the deep sea fishing, give us a call and Chopper will talk your ear off. He absolutely LOVED it but failed to take pictures of the fish he caught (which makes me wonder, did he really catch any? Just kidding, he forgot the camera). We spent the afternoon exploring a little bit. Myrtle Beach is a mecca for miniature golf. We didn't attempt it with the girls but there were some awesome looking places that I would love to play. You could spend an entire vacation just miniature golfing.

My favorite part was the beach, even if we didn't spend a lot of time there. It was beautiful and the weather was perfect for wandering and shell hunting. We tried to get pictures of the full moon on the water but they are kind've blurry. On the way home, Chopper stopped for boiled peanuts (pronunciation: bolled peanuts). They are a southern "delicacy" I suppose and something he enjoyed in his childhood. They're just peanuts boiled in salt water but they are definitely different -- they lose a lot of peanut flavor in the boiling and are soft to chew. Worth trying and they were fine but I wouldn't rave over them.

What else to say? We had a good time but the next vacation we go on with little kids probably won't be for a while, and we'll probably try to take a built in baby-sitter! Keeping up with them and dealing with them being off their schedules made everyone tired and cranky so I'm glad it was only a few days. Now we need a vacation from our vacation!!That's Chopper in the middle of the clam -- too bad the glare on the plastic is right over his face!!!
This was Abby most of the time -- either that or strapped to my front in the Snugli!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Abby's Quilt Finished!!!

Someday I will finish a quilt BEFORE the baby is born! Although it's fun to take pictures of Abby with her quilt too.

I found this fabric that I absolutely fell in love with back in December and then found a pattern that I really liked. Unfortunately, when I started the quilt and laid out the first squares, something was definitely missing. So I went around and around in circles about what to do to use this fabric (and drove Chopper crazy in the process) and finally decided that I would go back to my favorite pattern, stars. And this is the result! I really love this quilt! I know it's probably not traditionally colored for babies but it turned out so fun and bright! I love bright colors rather than pastels anyway. I hand-quilted in leaves and flowers and vine around the border and voila! I think I shall call it, Stars in the Garden!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Van Gogh Reincarnated?

Ok the last post I did about Megan's art was a farce, I admit. This one is not. Scout's honor. And I can say that because I'm married to a scout. Megan drew this and then told Chopper -- "That's Megan". I really am reminded of Van Gogh's self-portrait.

School's Out!!

Ok not really. Mary Washington College -- excuse me, University of Mary Washington -- is out for the summer. It's a great campus to walk on but better without all the students milling around so last week we got out there. Of course, Megan was afraid of the fountain that she loved last summer! But the walk was nice and Megan ran around in Ball Circle while Chopper and I lounged in the Adirondack chairs and Abby slept. I love doing relaxing things like this with my family! But a walk is no longer even a walk -- it's really a meander because Megan goes sooooo slow and once she finds something she likes, she won't leave. Like this wall. It was perfect for her to sit on and she just felt like the bee's knees sitting on the wall all by herself. Then she decided she needed to put her goldfish on the walk and study them individually before eating them. Abby's only contribution to the afternoon was throwing up on me AFTER she was already strapped in the Snugli. I think she's allergic to me because I'm the only one who gets thrown up on!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The New Addition

This is what Chopper got me for Mother's Day:
He certainly knows the way to my heart! When I protested over the money (ok, half-heartedly I'll admit) he informed me that he used some promotional deals and got a really good price. I'm not going to complain -- after all, my machine is on it's last legs and I have so many more projects to do! I'll be posting projects soon -- I've been on a roll but then I've only got 2 1/2 months until Denise's baby is due!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Yesterday in the car on the way home from a play date, Megan said to me, "e listen Glenn Beck?" I couldn't believe she said it and asked her to repeat herself, which she did. I guess I know what Chopper's been listening to in the car!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Busy Day

What a day! We started with a playdate with a friend of mine. That's a relationship of coincidence if ever there was one! We met at the library story time a little more than a year ago and as we got talking we discovered the following:
1. We both graduated from rival high schools in Winchester in 1998
2. Both ended up married to military men in the same year -- Air Force.
3. Now we each have two daughters and they are (both sets) a month apart.
So we go and Megan and Madeline play and as Abby and Allison get older, they'll play too! Hmmm, both M's and A's . . . interesting . . .

Then after nottaking a nap, a friend of mine in our ward invited us over to take pictures. SHe's a budding photographer and loves to take pictures of babies so we went and she took some great shots and played a little with the editing. If anyone needs a photographer, I highly recommend Anita Brenchly!!!

These are just some -- she took nearly 200 -- hooray for digital! She has baby chicks which Megan LOVED! We think she may have loved one or two to death actually . .

Notice that we have a little squeeze going on! But she really enjoyed the animals and we got some great pictures!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Odds and ends

I didn't really know what else to call this. Megan went through a phase where every time we heard a siren -- and it was pretty frequently since apparently we're on a major road for fire truck and police travel (yikes!) -- she ran to the window to see. So imagine how excited we were when one pulled up and stopped right in front of our building! I say we meaning Chopper and I. Megan did not care AT ALL! In fact, Chopper tried to carry her onto the patio and she screamed bloody murder. She was too busy playing animals. We ended up with 3 full size fire engines and an ambulance at our apartment building. The culprit? A 3rd floor neighbor's dryer caught on fire! It was quickly handled and I doubt there was every any danger but still, it was drama for us on a regular day.

I cannot believe how smiley Abby is. I've been comparing her to Megan (I try not to but it's hard!) and Megan we really had to coax to smile and laugh as she got older. Abby is just easy to please I guess. And adorable! There's a really cute short video from Pampers about Motherhood and it mentions taking 15 different pictures of the same thing . . . guilty as charged! But I'm only posting 3!!!

We've had beautiful weather and have been taking walks in the evenings. Originally, they were supposed to help me get some more exercise and start getting rid of baby belly but with Megan walking and meandering and examining, it's not much exercise! But we still enjoy it.