Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 1, Las Vegas

It was a very early morning. We were out of the house by 3:15. We dropped off the car at Globe and then made it to the airport by 4. I was concerned that we wouldn't make it through security in time, but since we were traveling with children, they moved us to a much shorter line. We arrived at the gate with time to spare.

Our flight to Las Vegas was long, but uneventful. We arrived on time at 6:40am.

We figured out how to transfer to the car rental agency, and picked up our Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Oddly enough, Sarah and Emily situated themselves in the second row next to Seth, rather than spreading out to the third row.

The rental agent directed us across the street to Winchell's for breakfast/lunch. The kids were starving and all three ate very well.

Our next stop was Hoover Dam. We drove the 40 minutes out of town only to find out the in-depth dam tour was sold out until 1:30. It was only 10am. We were exhausted and it was hot so rather than waiting, we took the 45 minute tour instead. It was enough, actually. We took a lot of pictures and walked across the dam bridge into Arizona. When we'd all had enough, we hopped back in the van and checked into our hotel in Las Vegas.

We had booked a Regal Suite at Alexis Park Inn & Suites right off the strip. While dated, it was clean. . .and huge (about 1500sq ft). It was two levels and we put the kids in the smaller room upstairs while Sal and I had the master on the first floor. It was a great choice for a family of 5 after a long day of travel. Plenty of room to spread out. We even had three bathrooms! I would stay there again in a heartbeat.

I was hoping to introduce the girls to In & Out Burger on this trip, and there was one pretty close to the hotel. It was a great choice for dinner, and they agreed it was delicious. We also drove down the strip too just to show the girls the glitz of Las Vegas. I don't know if they were that impressed.

Following dinner, I was beat. I suggested taking Sarah and Seth back to the hotel to get ready for bed while Sal and Emmy went to New York New York to ride the roller coaster. She loved it, and I think little things like that are good for bonding. The coaster was $30 total to ride, and then Sal spent an extra $17 on the picture, but it was so worth it. It's a memory she'll have forever.

We crammed a lot into our first day of vacation, and there were no complaints when we shuttled everyone off to bed.

Monday, June 19, 2017


It's finally here. Tomorrow starts vacation.

We took Seth to the doctor for an ear check, and they're clear. That's a huge relief. He shouldn't have any issues while we're gone.

We had a few last minute things to pick up at the store, and then it was just a matter of packing it all up. I'm so ready for this adventure.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tying Loose Ends

I don't know how I so easily forget there are so many details when traveling with children.

Sarah came down with some kind of sore throat, fever, headache, minor stomachache virus last week so it reminded me that I need to pack a pharmacy for this trip. I'm taking zofran, motrin, cough drops, dramamine in both chewable and pill varieties, pepto, tums, and that's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Sal needs a pair of sandals, and I need a pair of denim capris. I think the kids' attire is all set, as long as I get laundry done on Monday. He still doesn't know what he's wearing for our vow renewal, and really, it doesn't matter.

I need to pick up a package of pull-ups for Seth. We'll see how he does letting us know when he needs to potty on this trip. Right now he just feels the need, uses the potty, and moves on with his life. In other words, he doesn't tell us when he needs to go.

I need to run to the bank and empty our vacation fund. I'm debating on putting some of it on a gift card just so we're not carrying around a lot of cash. I already made tip/cash envelopes for the people/locations that I know require it. Sal and I also stockpiled VISA gift cards we received as gifts or awards over the past year to use as well.

I wish I could have squeezed in a haircut, but it's not really needed yet. At least not so needed it's worth paying over $100 for again already. I think I'll do the roots around my face sometime this weekend. That should be sufficient. I do have an appointment for the week we return.

We want to spend Saturday at a water park so I did some research to find one close to our hotel just to make the logistics easier. www.bigsurffun.com sounds like what we're looking for, a wave pool, some slides, and a toddler play area.

Last year I left my contacts at home in their case on the bathroom sink, and not being able to wear sunglasses at Disney was awful. I won't make that mistake again.

I'm finalizing some projects at work and transferring to my back-up those that won't be completed. I'm planning on working Monday morning from home, and perhaps into the afternoon.

I can't leave a messy house and I have a lot of work to do this weekend to get it spotless. The girls will come home Monday morning so it may all go to pot then anyway.

I can't believe the trip we have been looking to for so long will be here in four short days.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

1000 Books Before Kindergarten (updated)

Unfortunately, I haven't been as detailed a "book keeper" as I would like. I know we've missed quite a few that Seth has heard. Oh well, I guess what matters is that he's being read to, not that we haven't been keeping track.

1. All Day Long with Jesus, by Matt Anderson
2. On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman
3. A Big Guy Took My Ball, by Mo Willems
4. Me and My Mom, by Alison Ritchie
5. Spot Goes to the Beach, by Eric Hill
6. One More Swim, by Caroline Pitcher and Jenny Jones
7. How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends, by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
8. Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss
9. Hic-Hic-Hiccup, by Warner Brothers Looney Tunes
10. Sid the Squid, Underwater Adventures, by N/A
11. Elmo Loves You, by Sarah Albee
12. Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day, by Jamie Lee Curtis
13. Baby Animals, Gyo Fujikawa
14. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
15. George and Martha Best of Friends, by James Marshall
16. George and Martha, by James Marshall
17. Peter's Chair, by Ezra Jack Keats
18. Tell Me Again about the Night I was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis
19. Once Upon an Alphabet, by Oliver Jeffers
20. Five Silly Turkeys, by Salina Yoon
21. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
22. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
23. Happy Pig Day, by Mo Willems
24. Waiting is not Easy, by Mo Willems
25. Elephants Cannot Dance, by Mo Willems
26. The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle
27. Seven Hungry Babies, by Candace Fleming
28. And Then Comes Halloween, by Tom Brenner
29. Careful, Santa, by Julie Sykes
30. Pumpkin Jack, by Will Hubbell
31. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, by Eric Carle
32. Splat the Cat and the Hotshot, by Rob Scotton
33. Hi, Cat!, by Ezra Jack Keats
34. Black and Bittern was the Night, by Robert Heidbreder
35. The Birthday Cat, by Lesley Anne Ivory
36. A Woggle of Witches, by Adrienne Adams
37. Halloween Is. . ., by Gail Gibbons
38. Moby-Dick, by Jennifer Adams (Baby Lit series)
39. Sheep in a Jeep, by Nancy Shaw
40. But Not the Hippopotamus, by Sandra Boynton
41. Good Night Mr Darcy, by Kate Coombs
42. Ten Tiny Toes, by Caroline Jayne Church
43. Where is Baby's Belly Button, by Karen Katz
44. Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson
45. I Love You Through and Through, by Bernadette Rosetti Shustak
46. Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
47. A Christmas Carol, by Jennifer Adams (Baby Lit series)
48. My Little Miracle, by J. Beck and J. Croydon
49. Pumpkin Light, by David Ray
50. I Am Going, by Mo Willems
51. Quack, Daisy, Quack, by Jane Simmons
52. Where's Spot, by Eric Hill
53. Glasses for D.W., by Marc Brown
54. Miss Nelson is Missing, by Harry Allard
55. I Will Surprise My Friend, by Mo Willems
56. Bunny Fairy Tales (Ruby and Max)
57. Twas the Night Before Christmas (Clement C. Moore)
58. Christmas Angels (Claire Freedman)
59. Llama Llama Holiday Drama (Anna Dewdney)
60. Baby's First Christmas (Tomie dePaola)
61. Llama Llama Jingle Bells (Anna Dewdney)
62. Llama Llama Mad at Mama (Anna Dewdney)
63. Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Steven Kellogg
64. The Story of the Easter Bunny (Katherine Tegen)
65. How Spider Saved Easter (Robert Kraus)
66. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems
67. Flight School, by Lita Judge
68. Jack and the Toddler, by Sindy McKay
69. The Leprechaun's Gold, by Pamela Duncan Edwards
70. Easter Engines (Thomas the Tank Engine)
71. Little Bea, Daniel Roode
72. Where's Spot, Eric Hill
73. The Difference Between Babies and Cookies, Mary Elizabeth Hanson
74. Giraffes Can't Dance
75. Little Miss Birthday
76. Clifford and the Big Parade, Norman Bridwell
77. There's a Fly Guy in my Soup, Tedd Arnold
78. The Best Mouse Cookie, Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
79. The Night Before Mother's Day, Natasha Wing
80. Panda Big and Panda Small, Jane Cabrera
81. Olivia in Venice, by Ian Falconer
82. The Bible for Little Ones, by the Magnificat
83. The School House (Lost Puppies Series), Sesame Street
84. Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, by Al Perkins
85. Estelle Takes a Bath, by Jill Esbaum
86. Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson, by Lesa Cline-Ransome
87. When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky, by Lauren Stringer
88. Polar the Titanic Bear, by Daisy Corning Stone Seddens
89. The Thank You Book, Mo Willems
90. Good-bye Diaper, by Patricia Geis
91. Blankie, by Leslie Patricelli
92. Watch Me Throw the Ball, by Mo Williams
93. Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night, by Anne F Rockwell
94. Splish, Splash Baby, by Karen Katz
95. Curious George Goes to the Costume Party
96. Christmas in the Chicken Coop, by Felicia Bond
97. Moonlight: the Halloween Cat, by Cynthia Rylant
98. Max's Bedtime, by Rosemary Wells
99. My New Friend is so Fun, by Mo Willems
100. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff
101. Trick Arrr Treat, by Leslie Kimmelman
102. We're Off to Find the Witch's House, by Mr. Krieb
103. The Pumpkin Fair, by Eve Bunting
104. And Then Comes Halloween, by Tom Brenner
105. We are in a Book, by Mo Willems
106. Today I Will Fly, by Mo Willems 
107. My Friend is Sad, by Moe Willems
108. Trick or Treat on Milton Street, by Lisa Bullard
109. Ten Little Monkeys Trick or Treat,  by Eileen Christelow
110. Broommates, by Margie Palatini
111. The Story of Gettysburg, by Patricia Pingry
112. The Spooky Wheels on the Bus, by Elizabeth J Mills
113. I Love My New Toy, by Mo Willems
114. Ten Creepy Monsters, by Carey Armstrong-Ellis
115. Nuts to You, Lois Ehlert
116. By the Light of the Halloween Moon, by Caroline Stutson
117. Too Many Pumpkins, by Linda White
118. Clifford's First Snow Day, by Norman Bridwell
119. You're Getting a Baby Brother, by Sheila Sweeny HigginsonA 
120. Do Your Ears Hang Low, by Caroline Jayne Church
121. Still a Gorilla, by Kim Norman
122. Eek! It's Halloween (Bear in the Big Blue House)
123. Shoeless Joe and Black Betsy, by Phil Bildner

124. A Visit to Grandma's, by Nancy L. Carlson
125. Turkey Pox, by Laura Halse Anderson
126. Over the River and Through the Wood, by Lydia Maria Child
127.The Thanksgiving Door, by Debby Atwell
128. A Turkey for Thanksgiving, by Eve Bunting
129. Arthur's Thanksgiving, by Marc Brown
130. The Potty Train, by David Hochman
131. Caillou Potty Time
132. Prince of the Potty, by Nora Gaydos
133. Little Kids at Play
134. Snowflake Kisses and Gingerbread Smiles, by Toni Trent Parker
135. The Sun, by Melanie Chrismer
136. Jupiter, by Thomas K Adamson
137. Sun, by Gregory L. Vogt
138. A Christmas Carol, (illustrated) by Brett Helquist
139. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
140. Thomas the Tank Engine, Step 1
141. Counting Crows, by Kathi Appelt

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Vow Renewal

Honestly, I don't know where my ideas come from sometimes. I was thinking about our upcoming trip out west and thought, "would a vow renewal with Elvis be fun?"

I floated the idea to Sal who said, "yes, it would be."

We emailed a few wedding chapels and found one that will fit into our schedule and vision for a Vegas vow renewal.

It's really going to happen. I'm finally going to have the "wedding" I wanted. Small, immediate family only, and somewhere other than my home state. For clarification purposes, Elvis was not in my original plans.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Language Explosion

Seth's vocabulary has been expanding rapidly, and he's transitioned from single words, to stringing words into phrases, into using common phrases such as "What's this/that?" It is so cute.

As much as I love babies, I love this stage too when they start to grow into their personalities.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Potty Training

Three kids and three very different potty training experiences.

In a nutshell. . .I tried to potty train Sarah before she was ready. I wanted it, and that that would be enough for her to want it too. Wrong. We started much too early and I refused to give up. It was a horrible experience in every way, for all of us.

From the time she was born, Emmy has felt she needs to keep up with Sarah in every way. Using the potty was no different. A few weeks shy of her second birthday Emmy informed me that she had pooped on the potty. There was no looking back after that and during the day she stayed dry and clean.

Seth falls somewhere in between the two of them, but probably on the easier side of things. He also seems more textbook, based on what I've read and know about potty training.

We've never not allowed him in the bathroom when one of us is using the toilet. We've also been reading him books and talking to him about potty training for months now. Around his second birthday, I brought the potty out and had him try sitting on it. It was clear, he had no idea what it was for or why. At various times over the last few months, I've had him go without a diaper just to gauge his readiness. Finally, this past weekend, things seemed to click. As long as he's not wearing a diaper, he will use the potty (at least for pee), when he feels like he needs to go. 

When we try putting underwear on him, it provides him with a false sense of security and he goes in it instead, or at least starts to. He also doesn't tell us when he needs to go, he just walks over to the potty and does it, or he goes in his underwear or diaper. Daycare needs him to be able to them when he needs to go, so they won't work with him too much just yet.

Fortunately, Sal will be done teaching June 8 and he'll have a a couple weeks to work with him prior to our first summer vacation. I'm not opposed to using pull-ups on the plane or as a back-up method until we get back home. We are all committed to making sure he's fully potty trained before Seth returns to daycare in August. Please keep your fingers crossed. I do think he's ready for this though.

It will be so nice to put diapers behind us.