Tuesday, December 28, 2010

From swim trunks to snow boots

   What a different, but great Christmas we had this year!  Terry's parents, sister, and ourselves decided to make use of their vacation club membership and rent condos in Pompano Beach, Florida the week of Christmas.  I knew this would be quite different for this Northern raised girl, but I was looking forward to getting away and to the warmer weather!  We stayed at a place called Wyndam Palm Aire Resort and it was very nice.  We each had a 2 bedroom condo that were a good size.  The resort had 4 heated pools, a small put-put golf course, playgrounds, a spa, and an activity center for kids.  I have to make a little side note here to explain what we did at the beginning of the week.  I love Christmas and everything that goes with it, decorating, baking, looking through toy catalogs, shopping for others, and the anticipation in our kid's eyes as well as getting and decorating a live tree.  So, before we left I got out our Christmas decorations and I so wanted to get a tree, but I told myself that it didn't make sense to spend money on and put up a tree when we were going to be gone before, during, and after Christmas.  I told Terry how much I wanted a tree and he assured me that we could get one in Florida.  So, that is what I wanted to do the day after we arrived in Florida.  I wanted to get it as soon as possible to get more into the Christmas spirit and to be able to enjoy it all week and so we did.  I don't think Terry was thrilled about going through the hassle of putting the tree on the car, lugging it into the condo, etc. when we would only be there for a week, but he didn't complain. He followed me around as I picked out a tree, a stand, a tree topper, and lights (I brought ornaments from home) because he knew it would make me happy!  I love him so much!  When we got the tree set up Mimi, Papaw, and Aunt Lauren came over to help us decorate it.  It was great!  A favorite memory.
   It wasn't quite as warm as we hoped it would be, but of course we didn't complain because we knew it was a lot colder back home.  One of the reasons I was hoping for warmer weather was so that Isaac could do what he loves to do, spend a lot of time in the pool.  The mornings started off in the 50s or low 60s and eventually warmed up to the high 60s or low 70s.  Those temperatures aren't too bad, but it was also windy most days so it seemed even cooler.  We did still go to the pool some since they were heated, but we usually didn't stay much longer than 30 minutes if that.  Besides playing with Isaac and Hayden in the pool I also wanted to get some sun so one morning while Mimi, Terry, and the boys went to Walmart I laid out. It was pretty warm that morning and it was great to just relax by myself.  We didn't spend a lot of time at the pool, but we found plenty of other things to do.  One afternoon the resort was serving ice cream sundaes by the activity center so Isaac and I got one and then he made a craft in the activity center.  He painted a soccer ball bank. We then watched the 2nd half of a movie that they were showing.  That was one of my favorite afternoons because Isaac and I got to spend so much time together just hanging out.  At home there is just always so much to do that I rarely get to spend that much time with him one on one.  One day Isaac, Hayden, and I made our first annual Christmas train.  Last year we attempted a gingerbread house which turned out to be a disaster.  It was so hard to get the sides to stick together, Isaac took a bite out of one side before we got it put together, and it was just hard to manage so this year I wanted to try something different.  I had found a cake pan that made different train cars. We made a train track with black licorice and then put the train cars on it and decorated them.  We used gummy life savers for wheels and gumdrops, licorice, and sprinkles to decorate the cars.  I was happy with how smooth it went and how well it turned out.  That is also another favorite memory of the week.  Another favorite memory was watching Hayden light up on different occasions, try new words, and sing la, la, la, and ho, ho, ho to different Christmas songs.  His ho, ho, ho was my favorite!
   One morning we all went on a sight seeing boat called the Jungle Queen.  It took us by million dollar homes and to a small island where they had alligators, exotic birds, and monkeys.  It was a little chilly on the boat, but we had a good time.  That afternoon the resort had an animal show.  Terry, the boys, and I went to that.  They had a lot of different animals and the boys really enjoyed seeing them all up close.  During the show we ran into a family that Terry knew that used to live in Atlanta and were vacationing there as well, small world.  Wednesday night Terry and I had a date night thanks to Mimi, Papaw, and Aunt Lauren.  We debated about what to do, but in the end decided that what we always enjoy is just a nice dinner out.  I asked the concierge desk for recommendations and got several.  I looked at all their websites and chose a restaurant called Sea Watch.  We had a good dinner and a nice evening together.   Thursday afternoon Terry, the boys, and I went to the beach.  It was probably in the low 70s this day and the wind wasn't too bad.  This was really Hayden's first experience at the beach.  The only other time he had been to a beach was when he was 4 months old (Daytona Beach close to Thanksgiving), he wasn't feeling well, and he stayed in my arms the whole time.  I took his shoes off and let him walk and he seemed to like the sand, but when we got to the water and saw some small waves he wasn't too sure about that.  When the water hit his feet, he started to cry a little bit, and backed up.  He was content to play in the sand for a while, but after I coaxed him to try it again he got used to it and seemed to like it although he still needed us close by for reassurance.  Isaac saw a young man playing a banjo and wanted to go by him several times so that he could see him playing.  We stayed for about an hour and then needed to get back so that Hayden could take a nap.  On Friday Terry went fishing out on a boat with his dad and uncle.  Terry is not a big fan of fishing, but his dad loves to fish and so he went to spend time with him.  They left early and were gone all day.  Terry is a good son!  Apparently Terry caught his first fish when he was sleeping!  Then he caught a couple more.  While they were fishing Marjorie and Lauren wanted to take me and the boys to a mall that they had discovered the day before.  It was called Sawgrass Mills Mall.  It was a huge mall and it had this play place for kids that was like nothing that we had ever seen before.  It was called Wannabe City.  It was basically this huge indoor city for kids where they can try out different jobs.  They could be doctors, photographers, firemen.  I can't even explain it well enough to do it justice.  I have been to hands on play areas for kids before, but this one was better by a long shot.  It also had a city fair where there was rides.  Marjorie and Lauren took the boys to it, while I finished up some Christmas shopping.
   Christmas Eve I made Italian Sausage and Tortellini soup, we made sugar cookies for Santa, sang a few Christmas carols, Marjorie gave us each an ornament that we put on the tree, and the boys watched a Care Bears Christmas movie.  Saturday morning Hayden woke up early like he had been doing pretty much all week, but I was able to get him to go back to sleep in bed with us.  We ended up sleeping until 7:40 which is late for us.  I had Terry stay in the bedroom with Isaac and Hayden while I made sure everything was ready (Marjorie was going to add some things to everyone's stocking).  Terry said that while I was doing that Isaac said "I don't understand why we have to stay in here.   Most kids just get to run out.  I guess it is because we are in a condo."  We had a fun morning opening presents.  Santa Claus was good to everyone.  Another nice part of this trip was that I got to meet and spend time with quite a few people in Jim's family that I had heard about, but never met.  Jim's mother lives with her daughter and son-in-law and we went over there for dinner one night.  That evening one of Jim's brothers joined us for dinner.  Another evening Marjorie and Jim had Jim's mother, sister, and brother-in-law over for dinner and another brother and his wife came as well.  Christmas day we went back to Aunt Sharon's house and there I met her daughter, son, and some of her grandkids.  Isaac especially hit it off with his new cousin Taylor who is 6.  Isaac also liked their dog Max, but Hayden wasn't too sure about him.  After we got back to the condo we had a small birthday celebration for Isaac.  We put candles in the train cake and sang to him and he got a few presents.
   We took off early the next morning to head home.  On the way to Florida we broke up our trip into two days, but on the way home we decided to do it in one day.  Most of the time I don't get motion sick, but a couple times in the past couple years I have when I have been on a long trip, looking down, and moving around to give things to the boys.  I had taken a Dramamine the first day of our trip to Florida, but not the second and I was fine so I didn't take one before our trip home and I thought I would be fine. I also had packed everything up and didn't know where it was.  Well, that was a mistake!  It was very windy on the way home and after just an hour or so I started getting a headache and feeling nauseous.  After just about 2-3 hours I started throwing up and did so a total of about 5 times over the next few hours.  I couldn't believe I was so sick and we still had such a long ways to go.  Terry asked if I wanted to stop somewhere for the night, but even though I didn't feel well I just wanted to get home.  I had eaten breakfast before I got sick, but I didn't eat anything the rest of the day.  We had heard that there was snow in Atlanta Christmas day so we weren't sure what the roads were going to be like.  As we got closer to Atlanta we could see a little bit of snow and Terry said he could see some ice, but the roads weren't bad.  Isaac was excited to see the snow and touched it as soon as we got out of the car.  We got home about 8:15 and got the boys right to bed.  We had a great time in Florida, but were glad to be home.  It is true that there is no place like home!  When Isaac went to get in bed he said "My bed is lower."  He has a low car bed and he had been sleeping on a regular bed at the condo.  I have to mention something else cute that Isaac said, on the way home he said "Am I 4 now?" and when I told him that he was he just got a big smile on his face.  The next morning he asked the same question and when I said yes he said "But I am the same height"  I assured him that he has grown a lot in the past year.  That morning the boys were eager to go out in the snow even though there wasn't much on the ground.  We couldn't find Hayden's gloves so his poor little hands froze when he touched the snow.  I eventually put socks on his hands so his hands would at least be a little warmer.  We had a great vacation and Christmas and now we are unpacking, doing laundry, and packing for our trip to Nashville!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another Successful Birthday Party!

Yesterday we celebrated Isaac's birthday a couple weeks early with a great music themed party with family and friends!  Since Isaac's birthday is Christmas day we usually have his party a 2-3 weeks before Christmas to separate it from Christmas and to have it at a time when people aren't quite so busy with the holidays and can join us to celebrate Isaac.  This year as Isaac and I were talking about what the theme of his birthday party should be we talked about either cars or music.  I think at one point he asked if we could do both, but I told him we needed to pick one and he chose music which I was excited about because Isaac has always been all about music!  He loves to sing and he loves all instruments, but especially the guitar and drums.  I thought it would be fun for the kids to have a parade with instruments.  So, I had a banner that said Happy Birthday Isaac that the kids could decorate for the parade.  They had fun doing that and it looked really cute.  Then they got their coats on, each picked an instrument, and headed outside.  I tried to get them to line up on the side of the house, but it was a little chaotic with 9 kids as I expected it would be. None of the kids (except my niece, Kate) wanted to hold the banner because they were all holding instruments.  I needed to hold Hayden so he could keep up with the bigger kids so one of the moms helped Kate hold the banner.  They walked down the sidewalk playing their instruments, went across the street, and back towards our house.  It was a short parade (pretty cold out), but hopefully the kids thought it was fun.  Then we had lunch which consisted of pizza, chips, and fruit salad followed by cake.  I debated about whether to have Isaac's cake made or make it myself.   I thought that I wouldn't mind making it, but that I wanted it to go along with the theme and I didn't think I would be able to find any cake toppers that were instruments.  I looked around and as I thought I didn't find any so I decided to order a cake from Publix and let them draw a guitar and drum set on the cake.  Then when I was looking for decorations a man that worked at Party City suggested that I go to music store that sold instruments to see if they had anything that I could use for decorations.  I went to a music store in Buford and didn't find decorations, but they had instrument ornaments!  I saw a drum set and guitar that I knew would work perfect for cake toppers and cancelled my cake order at Publix.  It was so cute to see Isaac's big smile as all his friends gathered around he and the cake and sang Happy Birthday to him.  Isaac then opened his gifts which included two saxophones.  He also got a microphone from grandma and grandpa which was perfect for our boy who loves to sing!  A while back he had told Mimi (Terry's mom) that he wanted drums so she told him that she might get him a drum set for Christmas.  This was a big deal and something that came up often in conversation from that point on.  He was so excited and just couldn't wait to get his drums at Christmas!  Well, Mimi and Papaw decided to surprise him and give him his drum set for his birthday.  He was very excited and sat right down and played.  All the other kids then took turns.  It was funny to see some of the kids holding their ears, it was quite loud!  All in all I would say it was another great birthday celebration.  I have to say though that during the planning for it as well as at times during the party I was a little frazzled.  This year more than any other I have felt a little stressed trying to plan his birthday party and get ready for Christmas (as well as getting ready to go out of town in less than a week)  We have thought about the idea of having his party on his half birthday in the summer or waiting until January to have his birthday party.  We will see which he would prefer, but I need to remind myself not to do it in December again.