Sunday, July 20, 2014

We Survived Our Summer Vacation

Daddy & Logan
Preston throwing shells
I must say, after we made our vacation arrangements and the day finally arrived, I was apprehensive about taking two kids 3 and under on a flight across the country.  To put the icing on the cake Preston conveniently came down with a bad stomach virus and was, let's shall we say, not "sea worthy" for a day prior to departure.  Logan was sporting a drippy nose and mild temp.  We had a red eye planned praying to the high heavens that the kids would be so conked out they would sleep the flight away.  50% of that idea worked out.  One of our travelers was not a great sleeper on his first night flight.  Preston kept waking up to kicking and screaming every forty-five minutes.   Therefore; I didn't sleep a wink the entire time.  We were all in zombie-like status for the rest of the day.  We got a nap in but it took a good day and a half to get back on schedule.  
Grandma and Logan (and his new use of a cane)

Andover Bell Tower with my father's name on it?
Rob was all about walking around Phillips Academy and to downtown Andover.  It was great because it wore out the kids and they napped so well for being on vacation.   The large bell tower at the end of the campus has had names on the side dedicated to Andover soldiers who served in WWI. Under 1917 my father's name (close to it) has been a fascination of mine for decades.  Who was this Edward Hines Jr.? Did he have any relation to my father or my extended family? Looking at the names during our visit had so much more meaning because two names down from "my father's" are the last names Preston and under that Taylor (almost a Naylor very close).  The bell tower was the site where the Andover military would train and drill. According the plaque on the bell tower wall in 1789 President George Washington held an informal reception on horseback greeting the townspeople and the Academy students.  So much history in my little town!

Our adventures soon brought us to the Cape.  Logan had to make a brief appearance at the walk-in clinic to discover that he was suffering from a bad ear infection.  Antibiotics hard at work and we were at the beach the next day.  We lucked out and had wonderful weather and the kids loved it. Logan went into the water with me and splashed his little heart out, in addition, to eating fists full of sand.  Daddy and Preston dug holes, built sand castles and scoured the beach for rocks. The heat, the sun and our fun lent us all to some good Naylor napping later in the day.  We had the pleasure of a good old fashion BBQ thanks to the Maffie's and their grandchildren, as well as. a family visit from the Hines'and Mr. Mullen (who shares a birthday with Logan).  All and all a wonderful Cape visit with lots of great memories.

Nature had a surprise in store for us.  The rest of my aunts and uncle came to see Logan and Preston before we left.  About an into our visit one of the most violent of rain storms attacked my mother's house.  First it was thunder and lightening, then heavy rains but soon came whipping winds and hail.  It was a sight to be seen.  The windows, even while closed, got flooded with rain water.  What do you do when your power is off and it's dinner time?  You take the family to Joe Fish!  The boys were relatively well behaved for it being such a crazy evening.   Of course, the power went out and didn't return until 3 AM the next morning, which made for an interesting sleeping experience.  Thankfully there was no real damage and everyone was safe and sound.  We even got to see Eileen and the Coco boys at Mad Maggie's for some yummy ice cream.

Even with the sickness, the crazy flight and unexpected storms we survived our summer vacation. The late night flight ended up being a better fit for the boys who slept 2.5 hours soundly on the return.  Time to enjoy the last couple weeks before work starts up again.  Two months went by way too fast.
Logan 10 Months at the Cape with Grampie's picture
Preston and a New England stick

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Disney Success Story

Seeing Disney through the eyes of a child puts an entirely new spin on its magic and excitement.  This is Preston's first look at the Disneyland entrance and the Disneyland Railroad (Choo Choo Train) that got him smiling from ear to ear as soon as we got in.

I had an idea of how he would react but Preston managed to surprise me with his secret adventurous personality when it came to rides. Previous to this Disney adventure Rob and I had made several attempts to get the boy on carnival and kiddie rides to prime him for the big trip.  To no avail.  The only "rides" he enjoys were the McCormick Ranch Railroad train and the mini train in the mall. Carousels, yes; he has been on but never gave us any indication that he enjoyed them.

Thumbs Up for Astro Orbiter (in the background)
Disney made an impression on Preston and the first ride we went on was the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland.  It was questionable but he stood in line, just fine.  He got in the "space ship" yet another good sign.  I was strapped next to him, watching his face to make sure I caught any signs of displeasure.  We started to TAKE OFF. The wind in our hair, the view of the park and the smile on his face was absolutely PRICELESS!  He loved it! Even when we got off the ride he said "that was so cool!".  It was official, he had his mother's adventurous gene and Preston was loving Disneyland!

It's a Small World, a personal favorite, followed.  We also got to experience a Jedi training show that Tara's niece, Kai, was super excited to participate in.  Preston proceeded to enjoy Toon Town, Mickey's house where he met Mickey (within a 2 feet distance though), Donald's house, Goofy's house, Tea Party Cups, Haunted Mansion, Roger Rabbit, Jungle Cruise, Tarzan's Treehouse, Winnie the Pooh and the Railroad.
Toon Town Car
I think I got most of what Preston went on that Disneyland day.  We had Disneyland's California Adventure to look forward to the next day as well.  We ate at the Hungry Bear eatery where Preston got to eat a large Honeybee cupcake.  The day was coming to a close.  We had planned to return for a nap earlier but Preston took one while I was using the baby center facility.  The facility was so quiet, all these nursing mothers and a place to change your baby or give them a nap.  It made me wish Logan was with us.  But I digress.

About an hour after we ate our big meal, we all went shopping for some souvenirs and headed towards main street to get a good spot for the fireworks.  I looked into the stroller and Preston was out for the count.  I was amazed he lasted as long as he did.  What a trooper!   I know I don't have all the rides in any discernible order.  We were jumping from one ride to the next at times it was a blur to me.  Tara knew her way around the park like the back of her hand.  This was only my second Disneyland trip, Preston and I were just like two excited kids on Christmas morning.
Loving the Tea Cup Party Ride!

I was so happy with the shirts I decided to make for Preston and Tara's niece Kai two days before we left.  Hers pink and Preston's green with an iron on that said My First Disney Trip.  All I needed was the iron on sheets, cotton t-shirts, an iron, a printer and my desired image (in reverse).  I went on Etsy and bought the image I used for $2 and it was an immediate download, used my ink jet printer to print the image on the iron on paper.  So simple and yet we got several comments on them and it cost less than $6 to make!  
Wednesday was California Adventure day.  We had a little twist in the morning events.  Tara had us down for a Princess Character Breakfast at 930 a.m.  Kai got to meet 6 different princess, most of which came right to your breakfast table.  It was so adorable.  The breakfast was super yummy and creative.  Preston used up all of his princess stickers to decorate his Disneyland bus he got the night before while shopping.  Of course, Preston goes to Disneyland and wants what?....more vehicles.  One of the princesses even commented on how nice his bus looked.  "Good enough for a princess to ride in".  The entertainment value for Preston wore thin and I was up several times trying to get him back to eat with us.  His waffles were shaped like a boat, with a sail and blue water which got his attention pretty quick...thank goodness.
Preston riding the Golden Zephyr

Our California Adventure started off with the Golden Zephyr which was similar to the Astro Orbiters at Disneyland the day before only bigger.  He was a huge fan and off to a great start.  There was a negative about several of the rides at California Adventure.  They had to measure Preston to make sure he was 40 inches.  He wasn't a fan of standing next to a poll and being measured.  This downfall unfortunately prevented him from riding the Lightning McQueen Cars ride in Cars Land.  We made several attempts to get measured but nothing was working and we had to abandon it.  The one ride I knew he would love and we couldn't get on it.  A little disappointing.

Passed out even with a performance 10 ft away
Preston did though ride Mater's Junkyard, Flik's Flyers, Tower of Terror and Monsters Inc.  By lunch time Preston had had enough and actually fell asleep while pushing him back from our last final attempts to get on the Cars ride.  We went back to the hotel room for a nice two hour reset. We watched movies, rested our feet and ate lots of the food we had brought with us.  By the time we re entered the park our focus was getting our spot for the World of Color show that was going to take us to closing time. World of Color was this parks equivalent of the Disneyland fireworks except with a Vegas water light show put into the mix.

Mom and Preston on Mater's Junkyard Ride
Preston's tolerance for pictures and rides had hit its limit. Tara and Kai went on one more ride while Preston and I window shopped and played some carnival games along the Paradise Pier.  We even got some ice cream as the sun set and the sweatshirts came out.  We walked around Cars Land and finally made our way to finding a seat for the World of Color.

Kai and Tara on the Golden Zephyrs
At first Preston was skeptical about the show, he wanted to go back to the hotel.  Once the show started he was hooked.  He was staring the entire time wanting the people in front of him to move. Famous Disney movie clips, Disney music blasting, high rise water spectacle, colored lights and even pyrotechnics made the show unforgettable!  I would highly recommend catching it, the fast passes to get the best seats helped as well.  The show ended close to 11pm and Preston was still wide eyed and waiting to see more! Another Disney child is born.

By the end of Wednesday's California Adventure day Preston said he wanted to go home. I missed Daddy and my baby, he missed Daddy and Logan.  Four days was just enough time to have fun and enjoy the parks but not too many days that it got overly exhausting and too difficult.  The drive home was a little tough on Preston but he made it!  I think he was proud of how well he did too.  A successful Disney trip!  Happy kid, Happy Mommy and endless memories to carry with us forever.

Friday, May 30, 2014

School is Out Summer is Here!

Supporting the team
 Logan looks like a bruiser here, he is probably close to 17 lbs now.  He is crawling, moving and cruising.  He wants to be where Preston is and go where Preston goes.  It's fun to watch them together.  I will get MANY more days to watch them together now because I am officially on summer break!

We got a chance to celebrate baby Kyle's first birthday!  Take a good look at the picture below, what do you notice? A cute family celebrating their baby's birthday and our kid trying to steal the sprinkles off the top of the cake.  He was quite stealth about it, I might add.  Everyone was singing.  I had my camera out.  Rob had Logan.  Preston was right by me.  They just blew out the candles and surprise Preston pops out and starts taking stuff of the cake.  Gotta love the little man's tactics.

Frosting Bandit

 The pool was open for business.  Normally this really wouldn't matter but this time it was different.  Preston actually put his feet in the water and enjoyed playing with the pool toys outside the pool.  A big difference from being the only one inside playing with the inside toys.  A great day to be outside enjoying time with friends.  

Frida and Preston
I would like to officially welcome the newest Naylor member.  Frida is the newest addition to the family.  A great surprise from Rob who was determined to find me a female chihuahua to fill the void I had when Manchu left us so unexpectedly.  She has been part of the family for a week, getting used to the other furry ones, as well as, the humans.  She is a snuggler.  She walked right over to Preston's lap while he was on the phone with my mom earlier this week.  She sits, gets comfy and curls up for a nap.  She is very friendly and a perfect addition to the family.  I wasn't sure if I would be ready to welcome a new dog so quickly but as soon as I met her my heart opened again.  This dog was picked up as an abandoned animal in the streets of Avondale.  Rob answered a craigslist ad and 24 hours later she was getting used to her new home.  The vet says she is about 8 to 9 months old and healthy for being abandoned.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Summer is in View

The other weekend I finally bought a wading pool for the boys to play in.  We never got one for Preston because he was so anti-water fun.  He didn't like water parks, sprinklers or pools.  As soon as I put Logan in the water he immediately started splashing around and smiling ear to ear.  Preston stood out of the pool for no more than a minute, I asked him if he wanted to come in and he said with a resounding "YES!".  Preston was the in the wading pool for almost an hour!  I guess he just needed a wing-man.  The hat Logan is wearing is Preston's old hat that his brother hated wearing. Of course, Logan loves wearing the hat and had it on the entire half hour he was in the water.

I love this stage of babyhood.  He sits up on his own, crawls when and where he wants to and can stop and entertain himself for a good amount of time.  His exploration of object straight to his mouth, stopping to stare at his big brother and pulling himself up to a standing position are part of his routine.  I remember Preston entering these phases of his life and it seems like yesterday. Watching Logan do things in the same place as Preston once did is just so exciting!

Swing Town

We went to the park this morning.  I place Logan in the baby swing for the first time ever.  Man, oh man, did he love that swing.  If he slowed down to a small amount of motion he would push his little body and legs in attempt to get himself going again.  I was pushing him faster and higher and he continued to laugh louder and longer!  Preston was all over the playground.  He was sliding down the slides this time, which he never did in the past.  Now that Preston is in preschool he has access to a playground with a couple slides and he is more confident with them now.

Good Morning Boys
Preston's daycare experience has been fun and entertaining. The first 2.75 weeks, with the exception of the first day, he cried and cried and wanted me to stay with him.  It was really tough dropping him off in the morning.  He would grab on, screaming "mommy" over and over and it was hard on both of us.  Just shy of his third week we walked in and there weren't any tears.  He just stood in the room, gave me a kiss and a hug like always and I left.  He finally understood that Mommy will be back.  Now on the weekends he says he wants to go see the "kids" or see his friends at school.  He gets reports from the teacher on how he did, how much of his lunch he ate and what he participated in during the day.  The first week I was amazed that he knew about plants growing in the ground, he talked about gardens, a magnifying glass and seeds.  All these things he learned from school because mommy does not have a thumb that is aware close to being green.

The next week it was a teddy bear picnic and someone brought cupcakes in for a birthday celebration.  The week after that the teacher said Preston was saying "no" a lot and telling the other kids to say no.  He wasn't being a good listener and actually told the teacher "I'm not being a good listener today, am I?".  Preston enjoys school.  Some days when I have to wake him up to get the day started I start to hear "no school today Mommy, maybe tomorrow".  He never cries or throws a fit...well, yet.  It gives Rob some good old fashion one on one time with Logan and let's Daddy get the sleep he needs.  Some days Daddy wouldn't get any sleep because one would be down for a nap the other would be up.  I hated hearing when that happened because Rob needs his sleep.

Summer is less than 2.5 weeks away!  We might continue going to school for some of the summer so Mommy can get some well deserved sleep now that she doesn't have to run off to work.  The sleep deprivation is tough on us when Logan is going through a growth spurt, up 3 times during the night and when I have long night events at work.  My latest event was the big ART WALK that I have been putting on for the last 5 years.  This year was great I had our band teacher join me with students that performed!  A real Fine Arts Night.  It was great to have more than just my artwork going on.  I like when good things get even better.  I was pleased with it all.  In addition I was part of a CIRT Team that went over school improvement plans at three schools in our district. Remember Washington Elementary School District has 28 elementary schools so we were just one of our 15 teams. The principals and leaders at each school had to present their plan to us and we found the components of their plan to be evident or not evident.  It was great to hear about the highlights each school has for themselves.  People are doing some great and wonderful things out there in our district.

I also finished up our last BEGIN II Art meetings, where I oversee the art cadre of second year art teachers.  It was an elite group (only two) this year but probably worked out for the best considering I had to take time off during my maternity leave.  This was my second year as art cadre leader and I am starting to get into the groove of it and plan to continue next year.  Our big celebration is Monday!  All this on top of teaching kids art.  A teachers day is never truly over at the end of the school day.  Summer is when I really get to slow down and stop to enjoy time with the family.