Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Here Monkey Joes

This Thursday we are taking you to Monkey Joes!
A huge warehouse type space with lots of blow up slides and bouncy houses!
A great place for getting rid of some energy! We got there at 10am when our location opens. $7.99 for Q since he is now 4 and $4.99 for B. This is our second visit to this location. It is clean. There was an employee there that was having lots of fun with the kids. The girls at the front desk could have used a few smiles or some Starbucks. In my opinion, I would have expected a little more hospitality from them.
There are some games and a snack bar and a few trinkets for sale. There are also a handful of TVs with Disney on. I would prefer they not have those, since my boys like to take "breaks" and watch TV. I prefer they jump and use up some energy since that is what I paid for. There are 2 giant TVs for parents and a few desk with wireless. My kids are too young to not float around and watch them. B is so small that he actually needs me to help him up the slide ladder, (oh darn, I have to slide down too!) I do like that there are some spaces designated to the toddler set!

I did get to take a few pics but it's hard when trying to play (and I should have been talking to other moms)

So now you know there is a Monkey Joes in town. You know how to spend $13 and you know where to go to expend some energy!


Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Here-Adventures at the DMV

Todays new adventure took us to the DMV.
You gotta admit, the DMV in any city is an adventure. And with two small children even more so. I had a lot to get done there today. Honestly, I feel like I deserve a metal or something similar. Maybe ice cream. That is our usual prize!

Virginia has a DMV NOW page and a New to Virginia page that is pretty helpful. It is the DMV, so it can only be but so helpful, they want you to "forget" something!

I left the DMV today with a title for each car, registration and tags for each car, my VA drivers license and the same two living children I went in with!! That's right! I didn't have to give them my first born!! All with in one hour!

I printed out all the paperwork on line and had it all filled in before I got there. Below is a list of all the items I took with me. I packed it all last night, so I was sure to not forget anything. I also put it in a gallon size ziploc so NOTHING would fall out along the way or as I was chasing those two small children across the parking lot.

Current registration for the family mobile
Title
Transfer paperwork from the DMV (with mine and Chads signatures)
Current registration for my car
Title
Transfer paperwork from the DMV
My current NC drivers license
Completed paperwork for my VA license
My passport
My Social security card
Our marriage license (I had NO idea I would actually need this. I took it just to have another piece of official paperwork with my name on it. None of the car paperwork has my maiden name on it?!)
Our lease
Three bills (utility, gas, and cable)

I was a nervous wreck taking those boys in there and feeling so prepared, yet knowing I would leave with nothing. We got up got ready and went. We weren't there at opening but close. You check in at a front desk where someone checks in all your documents and gives you any paperwork to fill out and a number. At least this way, if you are missing a document, you know now, not after waiting to see someone! She also checked over my printed forms to make sure they were complete. This is also your first place to ask questions.

The boys were SUPER! Seriously, super. We looked at plate designs and got some good letter recognition in! When my number was called I gave each boy a lollipop and placed them in a chair. B promptly ate his with in a minute and was then bored. I packed some entertainment that he wanted nothing to do with. I let him sit/climb/play on the floor and circle my legs. I didn't care, he was quiet and no one seemed to care. Except the security guard who told me B couldn't sit on the counter. I was holding him and he wasn't going anywhere. He told me B wasn't listening to me, so I had to put him down? I wanted to hand them off to the friendly security guard and ask him to entertain them.

Not too long after that and we were done! On our way, legal residents of Virginia!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I fell hard....

Those darn marketing geniuses got me again.
Today I went to do some grocery shopping. Regular old grocery shopping. I make a list so that I don't forget what I need for my meals. I have never been a list only person because there are always things we are out of, that I forget to check on before I leave.

I do not buy snacks because I love them. I will eat them. All. Inonesitting.
But today, I failed. I succumbed to the marketing and pretty packaging. I love presentation. Whoever said it's all in the packaging was genius #1. #2 would have to be location. (It works in real estate too!)

These made the cut.

We can always use some animal crackers at the park or to leave in the car. They don't go stale, they don't get crushed too easily and I won't eat them! But they are cute, oh so cute. Anything Lilly is cute and I can usually justify somehow. Who doesn't want to tote these around for spring?!

As for these:

Well, I couldn't resist. I am a sucker for Doritos. Not just any chips, but Doritos. New and Limited Edition? Oh, why not? I have not eaten the whole bag. I will share them and that will be my fix. Done. FYI, they are yummy.

It was me and not one of the boys that added these to the cart:

We got a late start on the grocery store run, meaning B didn't have a morning snack before we left and it was time in the grocery store. I picked up these yummy and delicious Panda Puffs and let him go to town. Out of the box and all. Yes folks, I am that mother. He was happy and I got to finish my shopping trip. For a few more minutes anyway. In case you were wondering they are "better" for you than goldfish. They certainly aren't apple slices, but who can eat them in the grocery store?

One last thing not on the list. These bad mama jamas.

Pampers clean and go wipes! This is proof that just because an item doesn't make the list, means you can live without it. You can not have enough of these. I am convinced. These were the wipes that got me through this epic mom moment

So thank you Mr(s) Marketing genius for adding to my regularly scheduled grocery trip.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

Last weekend we made our way to Williamsburg for a short visit at Great Wolf Lodge. We thought this would be a nice distraction from a party for Q (seeing as that all his friends live in Raleigh).

My mom joined us on our journey. That was a great treat! We got lots of good time with just Q. And Q LOVES spending time with Grandma!

Here are my thoughts. Remember this is my opinion from my experience.
The ride is short and easy. Love that with two excited children!! We left early so we could enjoy the park. We had lunch on the road to avoid "amusement park" food prices.


I went inside to check in. Lots of front desk staff made for a very short line! After exchanging pleasantries and a few "my boys are so excited" along with my last name, no I didn't book it under another name, then my first name, saying hello to the new staff member who came over to help, no, there is no other last name, then handing her my credit card, yes this is the card I used to book the room online, we finally found the problem. It had reserved our room for the day I booked it online?! I noticed I had been charged, but thought that was a deposit type thing. When I told them I noticed I had been charged, she said that is what they do. Charge when reserved. That can make a huge difference for someone! At the point I am about to cry thinking about having to go tell Q we don't have a room she starts telling me about what they do have available. For more money of course. They do have a business center, where I could have printed out my confirmation (of course, I could have brought one as well!!) but I was more concerned with getting a room. I am not sure what she could have done anyway. Lucky for us, this new room was already clean, so we could go on up! They also transferred my payment to that night instead of saying "Oh well, you didn't show, that's the charge". We also needed a room (like we reserved) with a little space/privacy since my mom was with us!

We parked around by our side of the building and took the elevator to the 4th floor. Everything was clean and maintained. Stepping off the elevator, there were no signs to tell you which rooms were which way.

Room keys were "in" your wrist bracelet. We learned this after giving Q Chads bracelet. When she asked if everyone needed room keys, I told her no, the boys didn't need one. Leaving Q's bracelet without key privileges. We also didn't test moms (which didn't work, when she brought B up for his later than usual nap). Room was clean and roomy. Plenty of space. We got our suits on and headed down to the park.

Easy enough, lots to see and explore on the way down there.
Baby/toddler pool was nice. It was right by the door and was freezing if you were wet and then standing there playing. I spent a lot of time sitting. It didn't smell real great. There were three small water slides. Great for Q so he could test out his nerves. He loved them, but went under the first time down and was NOT excited about that! It also had a few interactive play things. B enjoyed those.

The wave pool was fun. The water was shallow enough that Q could go pretty deep. The waves were pretty strong if you were anywhere near the shallow end. Water in the mouth is pretty unavoidable with our splashing kids. It tasted like gym socks smell. Gross! Q liked chopping at and jumping over the waves. B liked being rocked by them.

There was a "Wolf Rider Wipeout" where there were "waves" and a boogie board and you could test out your body boarding skills. We avoided this. But Q would have been tall enough to try.

Crooked Creek (think Lazy River) was more our speed. Single and double tubes provided enough entertainment for a little while. B LOVED the buckets that dumped water on your head. Q not so much. B kept pointing and screeching "BUCKET"!

Then there was a huge fort with two water slides and LOTS of spilling water, nets, crawl throughs etc. Q was pumped about trying out the water slide. I was extremely nervous, that he and Chad would make it to the top and Q would be too scared to go down. He did it! I was so proud of him! All that water in his face!! He could not wait to go again. This time I went with him. It's been a LONG time since I have been down a water slide!

Food is available (you can use your wristband to pay!!)It was food/snacks that you would expect. Nachos, soft pretzels, icees, etc. $3 for a pretzel.

We ate dinner in the restaurant. It was buffet night (there was no choice). Something I don't enjoy, because I don't feel like I ever eat that much. $20 for adults. $10 for kids 3 and over. Buffet food always looks good, but is never what I am expecting. This was decent, but certainly not worth the money. We did get free wolf ears. The boys seem to like them! There was some entertainment that we didn't want to miss, which is why we didn't leave for dinner.

At seven there was a magician. He was goofy but the kids loved it. Then there was pajama story time with Violet (the girl wolf mascot) in the lobby as well. However, it required all the kids to move to another spot. It seemed like chaos. Everyone was already seated and tuned in to the magician, I don't understand the move. Then you could get your picture with Violet. Parents could take these pictures. After that B went upstairs with grandma for bed. We took Q to the arcade.


We got 20 tokens for $5 (thanks to a tap of the ole' wristband). Most games cost 2 tokens including the ride on toys. Q enjoyed a few games. Whack a mole has met it's match! He enjoyed getting tickets out and then picking out something with his 75 tickets! Chad and I enjoyed watching Q get so excited over the games and his tickets. We also enjoyed watching all the more serious players. You know the ones. The people with bags of tickets. Playing skeeball like it's their job! Then it was time to put our big 4 year old in bed.

Breakfast time came to the tune of $20 for 2 cups of coffee a cup of fruit and some doughnuts. We got ready for the pool and packed up. You are allowed to stay and enjoy the amenities. We played for a couple of hours and wanted to get on the road for lunch and naps! The dressing rooms were terrible!! Ladies "locker room" consisted of a few toilet stalls (there are other just restrooms available) and three shower stalls. THREE! Only 2 benches!! The floor was soaking wet and extremely slippery. Sticking to the locker room theme there was no private space for changing. There was some room in the shower stall but everything was so wet and there were so many people waiting. There was only one changing table! NO WHERE to put a baby while mom changes. Certainly no room for a stroller. Pretty disappointing.

There was a lot more, but these were the highlights of what our family enjoyed! It was a bit much for a four year olds birthday (we have always done parties for friends and family at home) but again we wanted to make it special (as a birthday should be!!). Would we go again? Maybe. Q had a great time. It will be a few years, when both boys can enjoy more. Maybe next time we will go when the outdoor area is open. It was nice to get some fun pool time in without having to go to Florida!
I will add some water pictures once they get developed. I forgot our water digital camera!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Here

For todays "New Here" we are going to the mall.

Today we went to Chesterfield Town Center for a little playground action.

I'm not a big mall person. I like to shop, but I guess I spent too many hours working retail in the mall.

Today, I had an errand to run that was in the mall. So to avoid taking the boys in and out of the car (I don't know why, but I hate doing that to them?!) we went to run my errand and then play.

It's a big closed in area that is great in the early morning. About 10:30 they start to get busy. Great if you are hoping to meet and talk to other people but it is hard to socialize when your kids are climbing over or being pushed by others.

It's got things to climb, go under and slides. The equipment is all that hard foam and the floor is carpeted and a little squishy.
For the most part it's clean. It has a hand sanitizer right outside where the stroller parking is. Today it was empty, but what mom doesn't have hand sanitizer/wipes on her?! Of course, like most playgrounds it's free! Great for a rainy overcast cold day or when you have some things to accomplish!


There is also a smaller play area outside of Garden Ridge that is good for younger kids.

The mall is nice with a variety of stores and price points. The food court has a decent selection of fast food choices as well as a pretzel store and a smoothie store. A nice size Barnes & Noble(that host a story time. Times vary so be sure to call first). There is also a moms club that meets once a month in the food court.

With Spring here (I think?) we'll get to go outside and get a "real" playground review for next Thursday!

One Word Wednesday!

Creating

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Aeroplane....

The first thing that came to mind when sitting down to write this post was a song from one of my favorite bands,Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The weather was crummy and rainy which means after it cleared and warmed up a bit, the playground was still wet. Q decided he wanted an airplane. Ok, no problem. We have plenty of boxes around here! He was pumped!

We got to work collecting everything we thought we would need to create a kick butt plane. Boxes, colored duck tape (these marked our boxes for Richmond versus no tape meant it was going to the storage unit), a screw or two, some scissors. Now I know we could have had a really amazing plane if I had all my paint and art stuff, but alas we don't.

After some creative cutting and taping we had this:

I was pretty impressed. A steering wheel and a propeller that moves!
Q however, was not. He started with "but I wanted a real one".
"A real what?" I replied.
"A REAL PLANE".
"Oh." It actuallly frightens me to think, that he thought we were going to build a real one from a cardboard box. He's pretty smart, but I am not quite sure what he was thinking.
"This one is silly. You can save it for B."
At least someone is enjoying it!

Happy flying everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2011

4 Years


Oh Q. It's here. Year 4.
I must say, some days I wondered if we'd make it. You. Me. Daddy. Us. Being a parent is not for wimps. It's tough. Not everyday of course.

At 12:45 am on April 4th, 2007 you changed my life. THe minute I heard your cries you rocked my soul to it's very core. I knew life would change. I knew you would be perfect. I knew you would be everything I'd ever dreamed of. I had no idea how badly I wanted you. How badly I needed you. Those first cries were the warning that it wasn't about me. It was all about you. And now you were the one with a need. Your need was me. From that momment on we were one. I'll do whatever it takes.

This year you have changed so much. You have left more baby traits behind. Your run in more defined. Your language is beyond articulate. Your memory is out of control! You are inquisitive. You like to take things apart and reassemble. You are creative. You are sincere and sensitive. You are an awesome big brother. And you are one increibly amazing son.

Mama loves you no matter what. Every day. Through and through. NO ONE loves you like your mama.

Happy Birthday to the most amazing 4 year old on the planet! Here's to another year!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

We had a great weekend here in Richmond. The weather was a bit chilly but we had a fourth birthday to celebrate!

Saturday we headed to Zanney and GGPs to play by the river and have a picnic.




Present time!

(CUP)CAKES!

I had to include one of the little brother

Today we went and looked at some houses. But we did take Q to Red Robin for a birthday dinner. For tomorrows dinner he has requested chocolate chop pancakes. He has never had them, so I am not sure where that came from.
Grandma and Papa Joe are coming up for the day! We are pretty excited!

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's no secret

It's no secret that the people in this house like to eat. We also like to cook.

Q is getting better at holding, pouring and dumping in. B likes to sit on the counter and watch, sometimes stirring.

I am a recipe follower. I like to find new recipes and try new dishes. I have my favorites but I get bored easily and the only way to keep the momentum going is to try new things. It's the same for the boys. I find myself getting so excited when they like something, I just keep buying it and get frustrated when they all of the sudden don't want it. They are bored with it. Who can blame them? So the same could be said, when all they want is hot dogs or oatmeal or cheese.

Q is not a recipe follower. Now that he participates more in the kitchen, he has been getting his say in what he would like to eat. At lunch anyway. Our dinner are usually pretty balanced and Q likes most vegetables. (The only veggie I can think of at this moment that he doesn't like is asparagus. He proved his point by vomiting one time I made it for dinner. I don't make him eat it.)
For instance at lunch the other day he decided he wanted waffles. Easy enough! With peanut butter. Delish! And syrup. How sweet! And sliced cheese. Now you've lost me. He loved it. I knew he liked peanut butter and cheese together. But on a waffle. With syrup?! Yesterday for lunch he had peanut butter and honey. One of my faves. However, he added apple slices. Today for lunch he had a hot dog on a bun with mustard. And cheese. And a pickle.

I LOVE that he is creative in the kitchen. I LOVE that he loves food. I LOVE that he, like his mama, LOVES vegetables. I LOVE that he loves to cook. I LOVE that he is willing to explore and taste and use his senses to discover.

I LOVE my (almost four year old) blue eyed boy.