Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Patch 2008

Last week we made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. We started doing this a couple of years ago with our good friends the Dahles. Angela Dahle is America Tarpein's little sister, and America is married to my older brother Chris. We have taken pictures of our kids together at the pumpkin patch for the last couple of years, for Tia America. This year our other good friends, the Burgoons, joined us. I've know Ben Burgoon since I was about 6 years old. I also met his wife Faith when we were youngsters, but we never knew each other that great growing up. Faith and I have since become good friends!
The weather was a little rainy and muggy, but it made for great picture lighting!
Mattie and Daddy picked out a pumpkin for them to carve together, another fun family tradition. I don't get involved in the carving business, just the eating of the toasted seeds! This year Matt wanted to do something funny and unique I guess, so he found a favorite picture of ours of Gibbs. The picture was taken when I was pregnant with Mattie, and Matt was goofing around with Gibbs. I think that the pumpkin turned out quite hilarious! And, its a good thing we took pictures of our pumpkin right away, because it was all caved in the next morning. Got to love the FL humidity!

Stephanie's Baby Shower

Well, my baby sister ( a whole 15 months younger than me) is having her first child this December. We were able to throw her a baby shower a couple of weeks ago.

It was a great time that consisted of good friends, good food and lots of presents!

One of my favorite parts about her shower was the cake that my mom and I designed and had made for the shower. Steph's husband Greg has been a die-hard fan of the Tampa Bay Rays since they became a team. So, since they were in the play offs for the World Series, we had a little baby boy with blue eyes and a blond curl, in a Rays shirt put on the cake!

It was so funny to see Stephanie's face when she saw her cake. We even cut the baby out, so she could take him home to Greg. The shower was a lot of fun and I can't wait to meet baby Lochlan this December. I'm hoping that he and Reddin are already great friends, since they are choosing to come down to earth, practically together! It will be fun to watch our boys grow up and experience the same things at the same time! Love you lots Steph!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Trip 2008

A couple of weeks ago we took out annual trip to Massachusetts to visit the Beantown Menzies. It became a tradition 2 years ago when we went for the first time right before Mattie turned one, and fell in love with the New England area. Of course it doesn't hurt that we love spending time with Wayne, Becky and Co! Last year we went in September, did some apple picking and went to a clam bake. This year I really wanted to see the leaves changing color and also experience some cool fall weather, so we held off until October.

Matt had 3 days off after a 5 day trip, and we decided to meet in Boston, to save time. Well that didn't quite happen! We looked at the flight loads and saw that things didn't look so great for me to get to Boston on that Monday, so instead Mattie and I flew out Sunday evening to Baltimore to meet Matt there.
We got in late on Sunday night, and stayed at his hotel with him. The next day our plan was for me and Mattie to fly to Boston and for Matt to meet us there after the one flight he had to do to JFK. Anyone that flies stand-by knows that nothing is set in stone! Loads looked good on Sunday night, but by the time Monday morning rolled around the flight was full. We headed to the airport to try out our luck, and as luck would have it, we did not make it on the flight to Boston. Matt and I talked it over, and decided that Mattie and I should try to make it on his flight to JFK, so that if we were to get stuck somewhere, we would be stuck together. This idea made me very happy because I was exhausted from the day before, and didn't think that I could handle a whole day at the airport with Mattie by myself. The JFK flight was over sold, and I was starting to worry that Mattie and I would be stuck in Baltimore all day, but our luck turned around and we were able to make it on the flight!

Mattie was so excited to finally be able to fly on one of her Daddy's flights! We got on the plane and Mattie was able to visit the cockpit to see Matt. I took a quick picture of them.

Mattie was very sad that she couldn't stay in the cockpit with Matt for the whole flight!

When we arrived at JFK, we found out that there are very few flights to Boston on Delta from NY. Matt called his brother Wayne, and with a little research found out that there are multiple flights to Boston from LaGuardia, NY on US Airways. We called for a town car/taxi service to take us over to the LaGuardia Airport. We got there and didn't make it on the first flight. I started chatting with desk lady while Matt took Mattie to get something to eat. We were talking about baseball, since the Rays and the Red Sox were playing, and the Dodgers and the Phillys were playing. She told me that she was routing for LA since her team, the Yankees, were no longer in. I told her that my husband grew up outside of LA, and that was his favorite team. I told her that he had even named our girl dog, Gibbs, after his favorite player Kirk Gibson! She thought that was hilarious. Well, about 20 minutes later when they were going to start boarding, she came out from behind the desk and handed us some tickets to first class! We're not suppose to be able to sit first class when we are traveling with a child, but she bent the rules a little for us! It was a very short flight to Boston, but it was nice to sit up in first class, and was Mattie's first experience and probably last until she's older! We got to Boston very late, and we were very tired. When we got to the house we basically called it a night.

The next day all of the kids headed off to school, except Caroline and Wesley, and Wayne headed to work. We spent the day hanging out at the house and then in the afternoon, we made our way over to Tougas Farm for some apple picking!
Our drive over was absolutely beautiful. Now don't get me wrong, I love love love Florida, but New England in the fall was phenomenal!

The apple picking was a lot of fun, and watching Grace, Caroline and Mattie run around was a hoot. Those 3 are so cute together! (Wish we lived closer to her San Diego cousins, so she could play with them too!) Mattie had a great time tasting apples and sharing them with us. After we picked our fill, we stopped by the kitchen and picked up some Apple Cider Doughnuts. They are so moist and so yummy. We had a wonderful evening with the whole family.

On Wednesday, Wayne took the day off and the kids did too. We made our way over to a park, where Thomas and Christina have both played sports. There was a lake lined with gorgeous trees of all different colors.

We took family pictures, with Wayne and Becky's family looking much cuter than our family! I didn't quite think it through, and Matt, Mattie and I weren't dressed super great like the Beantown Menzies! Oh well, maybe next year! After taking pics, we headed to downtown Boston for one of my absolute favorite things... a chocolate chip cannoli from Modern Pastry.

Everyone was so kind to accommodate my pregnancy craving! After getting cannolis and cupcakes, we went to the Boston Temple to have a little picnic.

The weather was beautiful and we had a great time playing on the grounds and taking more family pictures.

That night Matt went with Wayne, Christina and Thomas to church. Becky and I had a fun night hanging at home with the little girls.

On Thursday, Becky and Caroline took me and Mattie to a super fun place where you can paint ceramic things. Mattie and Caroline each picked out a butterfly jewelry box. They had such a fun time picking their colors and painting their butterflies. We left the jewelry boxes there to fired up and finished. Thank you so much to Aunt Becky for taking MoMo there to do that fun project! She is very excited to get her butterfly in the mail! We did some more running around before heading back to the house to drop the kids off. Matt and Christina watched the kids, so that Becky and I could go and get pedicures. We thought that it would be fun to get our toes painted black with orange polka dots for Halloween. They turned out cute, and Becky ended up painting the little girls' toes like ours that night. The little girls thought that was the greatest, to have toes like their Mommy's!

Becky also made a fun and spooky Halloween dinner for the kids, which included jack-o-lanterns with brains spilling out, eyeballs and bones.

Really it was spaghetti with meatballs in orange peppers cut like jack-o-lanterns, and bread sticks shaped like bone. The kids had cupcakes with brain icing. Mattie thought it was the coolest, and Becky has inspired me to try and be a more creative mommy!

Early Friday morning, Matt headed back to JFK to start his next 5 days of work, and Mattie and I headed back home to Florida to finish preparations for Stephanie's baby shower.

We had such a wonderful and relaxing time in Massachusetts visiting with our amazing family! The colors were breath taking, and the weather refreshing. Wayne and Becky, we can't thank you enough for letting us take this last vacation before baby Reddin arrives. Mattie loves her Beantown cousins! Another huge thank you to Becky for all of the baby boy clothes. They will be a tremendous help when Reddin makes his entrance into this world. We love you guys!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gymnastics and Swim Lessons

I have been way behind in my blogging, so I guess I better catch up a little. There are a couple of things I wanted to blog about, so that I didn't forget them in the future! The first being that back in August, Mattie started taking gymnastics once a week. Matt and I went back in forth on whether we were going to put Mo in preschool this fall. We really wanted to because she is so social and smart, but at the same time, I felt she was still young, and I wasn't ready to give up my daytime stuff with her yet. Also, she was still wanting to do swim lessons, and they would have interfered with preschool. We decided to hold off on preschool for now, but we still wanted her to have her own outlet, since we have the baby coming soon. We thought about putting her in a dance class, but decided gymnastics would allow her to use more of her energy.

My friend suggested a place that she takes her kids called Tumbleweeds, so MoMo and I checked it out. Immediately I loved this place. It is an Olympic size training facility, and it looked like it would be super fun. They offered two different classes for her age group. One was for 2-3 year olds and a parent has to participate. I definitely didn't want to do that one! The other was for 3-6 year olds, and they have to be potty trained and be ok being away from parents. Since Mattie was almost 3, they let her join that class. Its called the Sweet Peas. The lady helping me asked if Mattie wanted to try a make up class, since she had missed the first one of the fall session. We stayed and Mattie tried the class. She LOVED it!

We enrolled her, and she has been enjoying them every week!

Her favorite thing to do at gymnastics is the balance beam. No matter what fun things they do during their 45 minute class, she always tells us that the balance beam is her favorite.

The parents sit on the other side of walls with big windows and watch. The children go throughout the gym and do all kinds of things, from the bar to the trampoline to floor exercise stuff. She is loving it, and I am loving it because its something for her to do on her own!

The other thing that I wanted to blog about was Mo's swim lessons coming to an end. Mattie has been taking swim lessons since April, and this is her last month taking them.

Lessons will stop for the winter season and start back up in the spring. And, for only $20 a month, I'm sure we'll be doing it again next year! Last month when Mattie turned 3, she was able to graduate to the Preschool class. She had a lot of fun, because there were quite a few of her friends from church taking the Preschool class too!

I loved it because I didn't have to get in the water with her anymore! She practiced all of her skills from swimming under water, to floating on her back, to diving under water for the sinking rings. The last week of lessons for that session, the teachers put life vests on the children and let them jump off the diving board. Some kids were a little timid, and some had no fear! One guess to how Miss Mattie reacted!

She jumped right in like a pro! I'm glad that she is not a timid child, but sometimes that can be scary. (My mom tells me that I was the same way!) Tomorrow is Mattie's last day of swim lessons, because we will be out of town next week when they are really finishing. I'm glad that she got to do the diving board last month, since she'll miss it next week. So, until next spring, Little Fish MoMo will have to make due with only gymnastics and a new baby brother!