Saturday, December 03, 2011

Idaho - Part 1

This summer we spent two weeks in Idaho with the Young side of the family. It was our first visit there in over three years (it was the first trip for Jaxy). Getting there was a little crazy, but airplanes aside it was a great trip!

Donnie flew standby, and the kids and I had confirmed seats. He made it right on schedule...our story was a little different :)

We boarded our first flight from Atlanta to Denver, and after sitting at the gate for more than two hours (mechanical delay), we finally took off. What should then be a 2 1/2 hour layover in Denver turned into a mad sprint carrying two kids, and three carry-ons. We would have had just enough time time to make it before the flight took off at 10p.m. if we ran really fast.

As they made the first boarding call, lightning struck. That closed the ramp for a mandatory 15 minutes. Halfway through that time, it began to hail - golfball sized hail. That lasted for about 20 minutes. When it was through, we had to wait for every plane to be inspected. We were at one of the last gates, so one of the last planes to be inspected. Finally around 2a.m., our flight was cancelled.

By this point, almost every other flight had been cancelled too, and the hotels were all full. I stood in line to get new tickets, and called Donnie (who was relaxing in Boise at this point) to try to find a hotel for us. At first, I was told we would be on the flight the next night at 10p.m. Then I was told we would not receive our bags or carseats tonight. I pleaded with the lady - "I have two little kids, no toiletries, no carseats, no extra clothes or pull-ups (Jaxy only used them at night, but I wasn't going to share that). I could not stay another night there.

She took pitty on me (probably because Jaxon was screaming at this point, and Sydney was sleeping on my feet), and booked our tickets for the next morning on another airline. So we found a buddy family (another lady with 2 kids; there is safety in numbers) and made our way to the only hotel with a vacancy. It was really scary. I mean REALLY SCARY.

We checked in, walked to the gas station next door and picked up toothbrushes and deodarant, and headed back to sleep (and hopefully not get bedbugs). The next morning we arrived at the airport to find that even more flights than the day before had been cancelled. Thankfully, we were one of the very few planes that actually made it out of Denver that day.

We arrived in Boise, went to Darren & Julie's house (where we spent our first half of the trip), and I showered. Thankfully, our trip back went through Chicago, and we had no weather-related issues :)

The kids had so much fun getting to know their cousins...and their pets. Jaxy still talks about "Lainey's dog Buster." We had a lot of time to hang out and catch up, and let the kids run wild.

The weather was really nice while there, so we spent a lot of time outdoors. We went on a bike ride at one of the many parks. We had a picnic at another one. We went to the Boise Zoo (it was only $.25 with our Zoo Atlanta membership).

Kade has a jumpy house business, so he blew up one of his jumpies, and the kids were entertained for hours. We also went to the old train depot and let the kids play in the water.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jaxy's 3!

In June we celebrated Jaxon's third birthday. If you ask him though, he will tell you, "I am not three!!! I am five!"

I think he wants to be big like Sydney. Jaxy is such a sweet little guy. He loves to cuddle and give hugs. He is quick to comfort you when sad, and has an unnatural obssession with Band-aids. We go through a box a week if they are not well hidden.

Jaxy loves to wrestle and play any kind of ball - he likes the ideas of baseball and golf, but still is a little small :). Donnie takes Jaxy to play mini-golf quite a bit, and he tries really hard to hold his club just right.

Jaxon is a carbaholic. He loves waffles, muffins, cereals, etc., and will only eat cantaloupe from the fruit department. Vegetables are gross (I tried to give him carrots once and he asked, "Do you think I'm a rabbit?! I can't eat this."), but corndogs and chicken are delicious.

Jaxy has a sweet, little voice which he doesn't use a lot. He is shy and quiet, but once he warms up to you (which takes a while) he will chat your ear off. He loves the "Toy Story" franchise, and "Cars" also. He likes to have collections - rocks, coins, leaves, invisible trophies...

Jaxy likes to climb, jump, and, when he thinks I'm not looking, dance. He loves The Aquabats, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

He says lots of silly things, but my favorite is when you ask if he needs to go potty, or if he is ready for bed, etc. he responds, "No thanks; I'm fine."

We love Jaxon so much, and are very glad he is a part of our family!

A few weeks before Jaxy's birthday, my mom became ill, and had to undergo a craniotomy. She spent the next 30 days in the ICU, followed by a month and a half in an inpatient rehab facility. Due to these unforseen events, we didn't have a big party for Jaxy.

On his birthday, we ate at Chick-fil-A, saw "Cars 2," and ate a yummy ice cream cake. We invited some family friends to join us, so it was like a mini party. Jaxon had a great time, and after cake, we stopped by the hospital to visit a little with family. We didn't want the kids to see my mom, so we visited with my dad (who never left the hospital), and my sister Jana and her fam.

Jana helped Jaxon and Sydney put on gloves and masks, so they were happy.

Random photos...

Just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean we haven't been busy over the last few months!

We haven't had a lot of play time, but we managed to catch a half dozen Braves' games (Jaxy asks every morning if we can go see the Braves), and spend some Saturdays at Stone Mountain Park 9the kids love, love, love it here :))

The other pictures are random ones I found on Donnie's phone...

Do you think it was this bad for Dorothy?

So the South was rocked by a series of tornadoes at the end of April. There was monumental damage across the Southern States, and many people lost their lives. In Georgia, the northern part of the state and then around the center were the hardest parts hit.

Volunteers from all over spent weeks helping people clean and sort, in hopes that they could one day rebuild. Donnie served with a group from our church who traveled to Alabama to help in some of the hardest hit areas there. They worked just outside of Birmingham over Mother's Day weekend (that's why Donnie was not around to take photos :), and why he didn't have a he was a little busy)

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day this year we decided to take some photos of the kids and make little photo displays. Donnie is the photographer in the family, but he was out of town (more on that in the next post), so it was up to me :)

I asked the kids to put on nice clothes so we could go to the front yard and take a few pictures for their grandmothers...they came out in costume. So I dressed them myself. Freedom of expression is overrated, right?

Pre K graduation!

Sydney finished her first year of school in May. It was only Pre-K, but it was a lot like regualar school. She met at the local elementary school, attended 5 days a week, and she followed the same hours the other kids followed (7:55 - 2:25).

She had three teachers, and Sydney loved them all. She only had 19 kids in her class, 14 boys and 5 girls :). Two of the other girls live down the street from us, so they became pretty good friends.

At the end of the school year, Sydney invited the girls over for an "End of Pre-K Party." Then she told me about it :) We had snacks, made little purses and necklaces, and played pin the tail on the donkey - remember, she planned the party :)

She had a great time, and is now excited for Kindergarten!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Anniversary trip

For our anniversary this year, we took another little weekend trip to D.C. I really love it there :) And it was springtime, so the flowers and trees were in full bloom :)

We had such a great time last time that we decided to go up a day earlier this trip, and spend three days there. There is so much to do, and most of it is free, so we wanted to go to places and do things that we didn't do last time.

We tried different restaurants (and cupcakeries), different museums, and we even saw a play at the Shakespeare Theatre close to Chinatown (there are many Shakespeare Theatres). We saw An Ideal Husband, which isn't Shakespeare, but Oscar Wilde, and we loved it!

Our favorite museum was the Newseum - we spent 6 hours there! We watched documentaries on Hurricane Katrina, highlights in sports over the last 100 years, investigative journalism (this was in 3D, and was pretty cool)... We saw exhibits on the Berlin Wall, 9/11, Katrina, the First Amendment, FBI and the media (lots of really cool cases from gangsters of the 20s to the Unabomber, and the D.C. sniper.

There is a huge room full of newspapers, current and over 100 years old. There is a section dedicated to people who have lost their lives while on assignment for a media outlet, and a studio where you can try your hand at reading the news in front of a live camera.

The Newseum is one of the few places you have to pay for, but it was definitely worth it!

Donnie has a friend who works for Senator Lee (R - Utah), and he hooked us up at the Capitol Building. Normally, you have to set a reservation up for a tour way in advance, and wait months to get tickets to view Congress in action in their respective chambers, but Donnie's friend set us up when we randomly called a day before we arrived.

We met with his friend, and Senator Lee's intern (interns are who give the tours). They took us on a private tour. We even went to places the normal tour does not go :). We were able to step out on the back deck of the building - the place where the president gives his inaugural address. We were not surprised to see guards with M-16 assault rifles :)

We also went down a little stairwell with markings from soldiers who tried to storm the Capitol, but were fought back and killed, and saw a really cool bust of Washington. We also saw all of the normal things too, like the old Senate chamber, the Rotunda, the place where people lie in state, all of the statues, paintings, and even a few Congressmen (like John Boehner, who walked right past us with his security detail. He is even more orange in person...)

Donnie's friend also gave us tickets to the viewing area to sit in the galley in the House chamber (they were still in session). Unfortunately, we were near the front of the line when they had to evacuate the House because of crazy protesters (it was tax day after all). It was still a great tour!

Before the evacuation...

After the evacuation...

the rotunda

a bust of George Washington

This is the view from where inaugural addresses are given; they take out part of the front railing, and add a stage.

The guy in the far left is the weapon-toting guard.

The pretty springtime flowers in front of our hotel, and pretty much everywhere in D.C.!

In line to see a famous celebrity...

Just kidding! This was actually the line to buy yummy cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake.

An old newspaper at the Newseum

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