Monday, December 8, 2008

Thanksgiving in Virginia

We spent this Thanksgiving visiting family in the DC area and had a great time. I think Tracy was just excited to dress Alexa in winter clothing - and, of course, she had to buy some news ones as well!

So, what is the first you do when you get to Virginia in late November? Go swimming of course! Alexa's cousins volunteered to come pick us up from the hotel if they got to use the pool. Naturally, the hotel wasn't expecting any swimmers so we had to sneak in. The good news is that we got in. The bad news was that we got in because the doors leading to the courtyard were broken and wouldn't close completely. So, the heated whirlpool saw the most action...

The kids pretty much played all day every day and got along fabulously! Alexa got to try making S'mores and playing in leaves - both were a big hit!

The food was great but the company was better...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Growing Up Fast

Well, we took a big step this weekend and allowed Alexa to go play outside by herself. Although it is liberating, it's also pretty scary. Yesterday, I was watching the kids for awhile and Alexa did not look before crossing the street one time! We live in a gated community and the traffic is pretty light, but there are just enough young drivers to make me nervous.

So, today I went out just to watch and apparently Alexa has learned her lesson. She was going back across the street with her friend and I noticed they were just standing at the end of the driveway with no cars in sight. I asked what they were waiting for and Alexa pointed and said "that car to go by." I looked and there was a car waiting behind the gate, which is at least 200 feet away. I thanked her for being careful and said it was okay to cross when no MOVING cars are coming. I'm a little less nervous now...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Little Halloween Treat

Halloween actually started on the 30th for us this year. Our library had a special dress-up storytime with healthy snacks and cookies, plus a costume parade for the waiting voters outside. I quickly learned that things are far more complicated with 4-year-olds because their memories contain more Halloween history.

The plan was for Alexa to wear her Jasmine costume but that changed quickly. Apparently she grew enough for the top and bottom pieces to no longer touch. As a father, I guess I shouldn't complain that my daughter is uncomfortable with showing her midrift! Still, I tried to reason with her that it makes her look MORE like the "real" Jasmine and even showed her the Aladdin DVD cover. Too late, the damage was done. Luckily for Alexa, she has quite the collection of costume options. The Belle dress was out because it drags on the floor slightly. The Cinderella dress didn't even merit a response. So, the winner was her mermaid costume complete with the holes due to its now tight fit. Oh well...

Fortunately, the library visit went well as all the kids were buzzing with excitement (even before the snacks!). Alexa's best friend, Zack, who tends to be more laidback like Alexa was talking more than the librarian. One older girl just completely usurped a story and recited it from memory as the librarian tried to turn the pages fast enough to keep up. In short, it was one of those times when being a parent is really fun and you just sit there with a goofy grin for about an hour. The only bad thing was my lack of a camera- sorry!

On Halloween, I used all of my negotiating powers with help from Tracy and Alexa actually wore her Jasmine costume:

However, you will notice she did pull-up her pants high enough to reach her top. Oh well, compromise is good...

Then it was off to school for a party complete with snacks, a haunted house, and trick-or-treating the other classrooms. I was proud of Alexa because she was initially scared of the ghoul standing outside the Haunted House, but she took my hand and made me go with her.
She surprised me by wanting to go through it again! Even though I was requested to go with her, she quickly left me behind as I slowly navigated the three-foot-high "doorways". She even stopped to feel the "eyeballs", "worms" (not intestines at this age), and point out the scary spiders.
Then, finally, it got dark enough to trick-or-treat - and note Alexa's complete disregard for her midrift! Even though it was rainy and late, she hung in there and made it around the neighborhood with Tracy. A recent phenomenon in our house is Alexa's desire to do things on the pool table. So, of course, there was no better place to dump her haul. Ah to be young again...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Visitors from Denmark

This week we hosted a couple of young ladies from Denmark who were touring Florida with their rhythmic dancing and gymnastics group. They stayed for two nights and performed their show for the neighborhood. Alexa had a great time with them playing pool, the organ, and Wii! We received the traditionally gift of a Danish flag, which Alexa took with her everywhere.
I think everyone had a good time and we'd love (especially Alexa) to host again!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Aruba Notes

Last week, we spent 6 days in Aruba at our Marriott timeshare. We had never been to our actual property since it was being built when we bought it in 2002. The property was gorgeous - so much so that we never left the resort! The lazy river was a huge hit with all of us but I found Alexa's favorite part a little surprising - she loved the spa whirlpool. If Alexa had her way (which she kinda does most of the time), we would have: gone to the beach for 15 minutes, swam in the lazy river for a lap or two, gone down the waterslide a few times, and then spent as long as possible in the spa. This sequence would be repeated until the pool closed or Alexa passed out.

Adding to the fun was a 24-hour stomach flu that Tracy and I each got - thankfully not on the same day. Alexa managed to find more energy than usual and never came close to needing a nap. She was usually the first one up each morning as well. Ah, to be young again!

The other big "attractions" were the many iguanas and geckos scurrying around the pool area. If you were lucky you could catch one swimming across the lazy river, but that was rare due to the number of people usually in the water.

Tracy got the great idea to have Alexa's hair braided on the beach. Over an hour later and with a much lighter wallet she got her wish. Alexa was a real trooper and didn't complain at all. After some initial itchiness, the braids were a big success!

Overall, I think everyone caught-up on sleep and no one got sunburned, which is a bonus particularly for me!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A note from Tracy

I'm feeling chatty today and since Adam is doing such a crappy job keeping this blog updated (sorry, babe!! :)) I thought I'd post a little here in addition to posting on my scrapbooking blog. I just walked out of the office to grab some lunch and had one of those ...ahhhh... moments. I often complain about the Florida heat and miss the season changes horribly, but today is just glorious - sunny, dry, breezy and 84 degrees (thank you car thermometer). Pretty close to perfect...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rides Schmides

We recently took a trip up to Orlando. This is something we do every 3-4 months when we have gone too long without paying exorbitant prices for food and standing in close proximity to total strangers for hours at a time. That isn't totally true - I have a lot of family there as well and we typically spend our time away from Disney visiting with them. This trip was necessary because we bought 4-day passes that would expire soon.

The game plan was to hit Disney Hollywood Studios (nee MGM Studios) for the first time and Animal Kingdom for the third time (this is our "goto" park because Alexa can't get enough of animals and it is small enough to see what we need to and still leave early if necessary). Of course, Alexa is super excited and can't wait to get into the park. Disney is great for 4-year-olds because pretty much everything is exciting to them: the drive to the park, figuring out which character section we are parked in, riding the tram to the entrance, going through security for our bags that they don't have to carry, putting the ticket in the turnstile machine, and..oh wait, look a character a can stand in line to see BEFORE we even get inside! Alexa loves the characters - and I mean LOVES - to the point of being pathological. If she starts to seem sleepy or irritable (usually related events), Tracy just says "Look, Alexa, some obscure character that you can hug and get your picture taken next to!" and we are off. Honestly, this is my favorite part as well. Alexa always hugs until she is forced to let go and gives each character a kiss. Basically, the rides, the shows, the exhibits and the eating are just things to pass the time until the next character encounter. So, as much as I'd love to recount all the shows and rides we enjoyed on the trip, nothing better summarizes our adventure than Alexa with all the characters.

Alexa did get to visit with her great grandparents as well...

And we did actual see some animals and go on a ride or two...