Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Family of 4 Vacation

                               Los Angeles Trip

We recently took out first vacation as a family of 4. We had traveled to NY and LA with the kids separately so this was a new adventure for us! We visited my brother and his family in LA for several days. Our big concern was how Amber would do on the airplane. I flew with her back in May when she was 8 months old and it was tough. She did not want ot sit still and I had to put on quite the dog and pony show to keep her entertained. I was worried because she is now several months older and really hates to sit still.
   We knew if we provided Nathan with books and a DVD player he would be fine.
   We got to the airport pretty early and ended up walking right through security; therefore we had some time to kill before we boarded. Nathan looked so cute walking around holding mickey and pulling his Thomas the Train rolling backpack. He did not want to put the backpack down!

 The kids did pretty well on the plane. Luckily it was not a full flight, so no one was sitting in front of Nathan to complain about him raising and lowering the tray over and over.
  Amber fell asleep for about an hour and really did pretty good for the majority of the flight. As long as she had her lovie and paci she was easily calmed.


She is really into books right now, so she was content reading them over and over.  This is the 1st time I have flown with Nathan since we had to buy him his own seat (He has flown with my mom a few times in the past year) and it was much better than when he had to sit in my lap!
    He is really into Mater (from Cars) right now, which is humerus because he has never seen the movie before. He has several books about Mater,so we figure that is where his fascination comes from about Mater. Anyways, our plan was to let him watch Cars for the 1st time on the plane. He has never seen a "real" full length movie before, he only watches Veggie Tales, Clifford or Mickey Mouse. We figured this would be a huge treat and keep him occupied for most of the flight.
 It was so interesting, when we turned the movie on he kept asking for Mater, so we fast-forwarded to when Mater enters the scene and then after about 15 minutes he asked to watch a Veggie Tale. So funny! At least I had brought several Veggie Tales with me!
  I had brought popcorn for us to munch on the plane and that was by far his favorite part of the flight. (once we were in the air and he could not see airplanes anymore)
 We arrived on Thursday evening and spent the night in an airport hotel. My brother and my niece (Maeva) came and picked us up the next morning. It was so good to see them again. Nathan and Maeva took right to each other again. We headed to the beach to ride bikes alongside the ocean. However plans changed and we ended up walking along a pier. We then were going to let the kids "dip" their feet in the ocean. Ummmm......Do I KNOW my child?? Telling him he can only put his feet in the water is like telling a starving man at a feast that he can only have a cracker!! I SHOULD have known better. I pulled out my camera to take a few pictures. As I turned around, my son takes off running into the ocean, just as the current was pulled back so before I got to him a wave came crashing down on top of him. Needless to say my camera went into the water as I was rescuing him and took it's last sad. I now had no camera on the 1st day of our trip.
Below is the last picture on my camera before it met its end. Thankfully, my sweet sister in law had an extra camera I was able to have so I could continue to take pictures!


Saturday morning we decided to take the kids to Griffith park to ride horses. However, we could not leave until the cement truck arrived! My brother is having big renovations done to the house and the kids were very excited about getting to see the big truck!

   Nathan is into truck of all varieties right now, especially the trash truck, so he was quit mesmerized by the cement truck!
After the cement "show" we headed to the park.
Maeva and Nathan rode in the jump seats that are in the back of my brothers Tessla. They had 5 point restraints, and were riding backwards, so I feel it was much safer than a car-seat. He had them specially added to the car and I think they are a nice touch!!!!!

Maeva insisted Nathan needed sunscreen, and that she should be the one to apply it! It was adorable!!!
Of course, he needed some on the back of his neck too! He stood very still for her to grease him up.

There are 4 different speeds of horses for the kids to chose from, to ride. 1st you have your starter pony that just walks around in circles. Then you have your walking only pony but he is outside of the circle. Next you have the fast Pony that you have to be 3 years old in order to ride. Then you have horses that gallop and you have to be 7 years old to ride those.
  Last year, Nathan rode the walking only pony but we could tell he wanted to ride the fast ones (that was Dan's assessment!!). Maeva was not fond of any of the horses last year.
 This year they both were so big and brave. We fudged a little on their ages so they got to ride the fast ponies! They loved it! Maeva's head just bobbed up and down!

          Maeva did look little next to all the "big" kids who were riding the fast ponies!  After the Pony's we rode the little train.  We wanted to play on the big playground afterwards, but it was pretty hot outside.
Amber got to ride the ponies too!

On Sunday, we went back to the beach, since it was evident my child really wanted to play in the ocean! We drove to Santa Monica beach and played in the water and sand for awhile! Nathan loved the ocean. I was afraid he was going to have a big meltdown when it was time to leave, but thank goodness he was pretty cold from the water so he more than happy to be wrapped in a towel! He ran in and out the water, over and over again! He was so happy!

Maeva loved being in the water as well. It was fun to watch the 2 dad's with their kids out in the ocean!!

Amber enjoyed the beach, however her favorite part was eating the sand!! She and her aunt enjoyed sitting under the umbrella playing with sand toys!
Maeva loved building sand castles with her daddy and Amber "helped" by destroying them!
I did let Amber put her feet in the ocean but I was afraid it was too cold for her to be totally immersed. When I put her down on the sand she took off crawling right into the water! What is with my 2 kids??? Do either one of them understand the high drowning risk of just taking off into the water? Although, I am thankful they do not fear the water!

Amber got mad at Uncle Joseph because he was trying to prevent her from snacking on the sand.
This was our only family photo of the whole trip. Oh well, at least we got 1!

After we pulled the kids out of the water we buried them in the sand. Not only did they think it was a fun game but it helped to warm them up. Nathan was literally shaking and very mottled looking. Maeva made sure Nathan's feet were covered with sand!

A little cousin down time after a busy morning at the beach! They both were in a little Veggie Tale trance.
Amber says "Wait, I want to watch too, and I want to hold the DVD player all by myself while chewing on the screen". Needless to say, she got evicted from the movie watching party!


On Monday morning we said good-bye and headed to the airport. Aunt Lorraine and Maeva left early for work and school and then my brother took us to the LA rush hour traffic, BLESS him!

I tried standing on my head while dancing to get them all to smile for a cousin picture, but at least they were all looking at the camera!

   Overall, we had such a fun and successful 1st family vacation. I look forward to the many more vacations and travels that we will make together as a family!

Monday, September 2, 2013

August update

We have been enduring the awful Texas summer heat the last few months! I still don't know why we live here when we both hate the heat so much!
We have been creative in finding activities that don't require too much outside time, which is hard since both our kids LOVE the outdoors. It is so hard when it is 80 degrees at 7am and 100 degrees by noon. All that to say we have stayed creatively busy!
One of the kids favorite indoor summer activites is to play in each others cribs. It is so funny. Some days they will play in Amber's crib and other days they play in Nathan's. This entertains them for over 45 minutes! They both laugh until Nathan gets a little too rough with sister, then we call it quits.
 We were invited to Nathan's friend, Davin, (Da-do is what Nathan calls him) birthday party. The kids had so much fun painting and playing with bubbles. I had not been brave enough as of yet to let Nathan paint, so I was curious to see how he would do with it and what he would do with paint. He really liked it! He was kind of a neat freak about it. He did not like getting it on his hands or body, unlike Davin, who was covered!! He loved picking out different colors and mixing them together. He stayed interested in it for about 20ish minutes. He also had fun "painting" on Davin!
 "I'm supposed to paint my friend's back right?"
 Sister's favorite part was the bubbles! The girl loves watching and pointing at bubbles! Another fun indoor activity.
Last weekend I took the kids down to Houston to visit my Grandparents. Dan had to work, so I drove with my mom. We had a nice visit, as usual! I Love going to Houston. There is just something calming and memory invoking about visiting and spending time with my grandparents! They are such amazing people and have played such an important role in my life, I try to visit as much as possible! The kids love them too! Nathan started saying "pop" for my grandpa this visit! Nathan loves older men.
We went swimming a few times at the neighbors pool, and surprisingly Nathan did not want to get into water. Amber loved it, she is a little swimmer girl!
 We went ot P.F.Changs after church and Amber tasted her first baby back rib!!

 Amber was sharing her carrot with Tracy. The kids love the dogs and have never been afraid of them, which I am so thankful. We also went to the park and fed some baby ducks and turtles. They were all so hungry. One duck was eating bread out of Amber's hand and off her leg. She was laughing, it was so cute. OF course I didn't get a picture.
One of Nathan's favorite things to do at gram and Pop's is to take a bath in their jet tub! He could spend all evening in there playing with the jets and bubbles! The kids are doing better about tolerating the car drive back nd forth from Houston. Amber still gets a little fussy after a few hours, but overall the do pretty good!

 We went to Lowes the other day and they both were having so much fun together in the cart. Amber was just holding on to her brother's leg the whole time...SO CUTE!!
We had another speech evaluation for Nathan this past week. He is already receiving services from ECI which is the state funded program and it is well.....state funded. They do a good job but we wanted a second opinion on his "diagnosis" and we were concerned they wer not being aggressive enough in his therapy. We had him evaluated at the Callier Communication Center. The speech Therapist there told us he does not have Apraxia, which was our concern, and that is a huge blessing. She said he just has speech delay and would benefit from aggressive speech therapy. By aggressive, she said 2 times as week would be sufficient. Unfortunately insurance will not cover the therapy so it will be an out of pocket expense..Yikes! Yes, it will be an expense we did not anticipate but we feel it is worth it. Nathan is making so much progress each day, we want to help in any way we can.
I would say he has really started to say more words in the past 2 weeks. He parrots the last word of a sentence quite regularly and attempts a ton of words now. He is still leaving the ending off most words but we know what he is trying to say.
I can't believe he is 2 1/2 already. He continues to be a sweet boy. He is a pretty compliant child and we don't have too many discipline issues with him. He still gets time-out for taking toys from sister or telling us no (with attitude). HE is still more of a passive child. HE has started "jumping" recently and still LOVES music. He calms very easily with certain music, which is a blessing when I get stressed from his whining. I just put on that music and he will just sit and listen to it or pick a book and flip through it while listening to his music.
HE is starting to "play" with Amber and they are taking more interest in each other, which has been great fun to watch. He trys to get her to chase him! They laugh at each other more now too!
I will post an 11 month post about Amber soon. I am a little behind. It is hard to find the time to blog between taking care of kids, the house, working, working out and being a wife. I never realized how much juggling I would have to do!