Kate

Light switches

“Doooddl, Dooooddl” I wonder what the heck Kate is trying to say as I’m putting clothes away. I keep going about my business, but she keeps repeating herself and looking at one object so clearly she isn’t just babbling…so I stop for a moment to try and figure out what she is saying, and it dawns on me. She is trying to talk to our Google home, and is saying, “Google” I pull out my phone to record this epic moment and then continue with the laundry. As I’m hanging cloths, I’m thinking about the situation that just unfolded and think about the implications; there is a good chance that this kiddo will live in a world without light switches (one of the main things we use the Google Home for in our bedroom). This blows my mind a little. How could my own child grow up in a lifetime that has lights that are only voice or motion activated? This technology advancement seems so future state, but is it really? Considering smart lights and voice activated devices weren’t even a thing when Lexi was born…the adoption of this technology over the next 5 years could mean Kate may very well live in a world without light switches. Small concept, but kind of mind blowing at the same time.

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Love,

Mama

Kate, Kate monthly posts

Kate 21 Months

Dear Katers,

I’m afraid we may be entering the terrible twos a bit early, which is new territory for me as I don’t feel like Lexi and William really experienced this. You fall apart into an angry little snake if you don’t get something your way. For example, you’ll want a bowl instead of a plate or I say no to a snack right before dinner.

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I’m not sure if you’re going to be feisty, or if you’re just almost two and that is just what kids this age due. Time will tell. BUT, you did get into markers several times this month. Lexi and William leave them out and you climb onto things, grab one, run off and then color over the carpet, furniture or the walls. For the most part, the markers have all been washable so they have been pretty easy to clean, except for this one where you found the one non-washable marker we have and drew all over the wall.

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I’ve noticed you have huge swings in personality. At one moment you’ll be in a store waving to people, shrugging your shoulders and putting on a huge cuteness show. Then 3 minutes later you are giving people the death glare and won’t make eye contact.

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You’re also showing a strong affinity to me. And by strong I mean nobody else can look or talk to you without a snarl when you are in a mood.

I also think you’re very close to potty training. You almost always tell me when you’ve pooped and want to be changed immediately. You’ll run over and get wipes and a diaper to let me know we need to take care of this situation. Over the past couple of days, you’ll announce to me either while you’re going or right after you’ve gone that you’re peeing. You say poop, but there is nothing there–just a wet diaper. So hopefully in the next couple of months we can ‘see-ya’ later to diapers.

Vocab continues to grow; Tate (aka Kate), Badger, sure, grammy, milk, turtle, fish, blue (and can identify the color often too)

At the beginning of the you’re month, we took a family vaca to Florida. After lots of flight drama, we ended up in Orlando so we spent a day in Disney and then drove to PCB to stay with Grammy and Papa for the rest of our time. You did really good on the planes and surprised me by falling asleep.

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You also really love to play at the beach. You could have sat there and filled buckets with sand for hours. The weather wasn’t great, so we didn’t swim as much as I would have liked, but you did do OK in the pool–still refuse to lay on your back, but we’ll keep working on it. By far, your favorite thing to do was go for walks. You begged to go and  love sitting in the stroller (which you call it babies)

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Katelyn Ann, you challenge your Daddy and I everyday with your constant requests to eat, hanging and climbing all over us and lack of patience to get exactly what you want when you want it, but you have both of us wrapped around your chunky little fingers more than you can every understand. You flash that cute little smile and twinkle your eyes and we have forgotten how tiring you can be. We love you to bits sweet girl.

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Love,

Mommies (as you like to call me)

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family vacations, Kate, Lexi, William

2019 Florida Vacation–Day 2 Animal Kingdom

Today started bright and early for all of us. Daddy and I woke up around 5:30 am to get ready, and pack the car before we woke you kiddos up around 6. Daddy brought all of our stuff to the car, we quickly got changed and headed down to get in the bus line around 6:30 am. The first bus was supposed to start to pick up people around 7, but it arrived around 6:45 and we arrived to Animal Kingdom around 7.

While waiting in line for the part to open (@8), we learned what we are doing is called gate crashing :). Around 7:30, they opened the gates and people RAN in a mad dash for Flight of Passage. Never have I seen so many adults running towards something that wasn’t an organized race. If you would have been watching from a drone, you would have thought they put a million dollars out and people were racing to get to it first. We got to the ride (in a much slower but still walking in a fast manner) and weaved our way through the line. Daddy, Lexi, Papa and Mama went on the ride while Grammy hung back with William and Kate. World of Avatar (where the ride is located) is AMAZING! There are beautiful plants everywhere, huge unexplainable boulders that appear to be floating in the air. Waterfalls all over the place.

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I wish we weren’t rushing to get on the ride so we could have observed it more. The ride itself was pretty cool. You were strapped into something to made it feel like you were riding a horse-like-creature. You put on glasses and watched a screen as you dove through forests and jungles and saw whales jumping before your eyes. They created a full sensory experience changing the sents as you went throughout the ride, sprayed water in your face or felt the mist and humidity of the jungle. Lexi was pretty nervous throughout the ride and screamed a couple times but I was proud of her for giving it a try.

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Following this ride, we high-tailed it up to the Kilimanjaro Safari to see the animals while they were still active. We saw lots of giraffes, white rhinos, elephants, gazelles, hippos, cheetas, crocodiles, antelope, kudo, ankole-watusi and much more. Highlight of this was having a giraffe pass our truck about 6 feet away.

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Once this was over, it was about 9:00, when the park opened to the public and became a little busier. We were all pretty hungry as we hadn’t eaten any breakfast. Unfortunately, that was the same thing on everyone else’s mind as all breakfast places were packed. We explored Gorilla Falls and saw lots of birds, fish and gorillas and went to find food.

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On our way to find food, we passed the bug’s life showing in the Tree of Life and decied to watch this as there wasn’t a line. I forgot how cool the tree of life is and all the animals that are carved into it all the way through the roots and the base of the trunk that we walked passed on our way into the ride.

Initially, the 3D show was a big hit with William and Lexi. They thought it was very funny. Kate was half laughing/half crying the entire show. Then, the spider appeard from the ceiling and scared the daylight out of William and Kate. Both were screaming (along with every other small child). I was about to take them out of the show when it ended.

It was about 10:30 around this time. We got a quick bite to eat and saw this cool looking bird.

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Then made our way to Dino land. First, we went to meet Scrouge McDuck (a rare character sighting).

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Then William went to play in the Dino Park and Lexi went to meet Daisy Duck–which was the only character we didn’t meet in Disneyland, so she was pretty excited.

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Lexi then joined William at the park and they had so much fun exploring, climbing up all the ropes and exploring the hidden slides, while Kate slept

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We then made our way to the triceritops ride–which was also a big hit. We grabbed some lunch (ordered all of our food on the app–so convienent to not have to wait in lines!) before heading over to the Dinosaur ride. I thought this was going to be a quite leisurly ride like A Small World. I was very wrong. It was scary and frightening and never have I ever seen William so scared in his life. He was screaming like he was about to be eaten by a dinosaur. Bill pulled him into his chest so he wouldn’t see anything and hopefully not have nightmares. #MomFail

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I did redeem myself by finding Pluto upon exisiting the ride and William thought he was pretty silly.

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After getting some pictures with Pluto we wandered around a little bit before heading to the 2:30 show of Finding Nemo. The kids thought it was OK, but weren’t as excited about it as they were about Frozen in Disneyland.

After the show, I had promised the Birthday Boy an icecream treat and there was no way he was forgetting about it.

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Next, we headed over to the area of India to see some Tigers and other Indian animals. Kate feel asleep again while we walked. While exploring one of the bird zones, I said, Oats–look at that bird right there (about 3 feet away) to which he screamed like a little girl and made me giggle a little.

We had about an hour to kill before our fastpass on the rollarcoster Mt. Everest was available and the line to meet Mickey and Minnie wasn’t too long. To our advantage–we were able to somehow use a fastpass and get to the front of the line. Lexi and William were pretty excited to meet Mickey and Minnie together and in their jungle attire.

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After that, we headed over to redeem our fastpasses for Everest. Originally, I told Lexi that I thought this was too scary for her but she was insistant upon going. It was one of the craziest rollar coasters I have ever been on. (no spoiler alerts here). While going down one of the big drops, I the force of gravity had gotten Lexi and sucked her to the outside of her seat. I pulled her back in but I think that was a little too much for her. She said she liked it and it was fun, but didn’t want to go again. So Daddy and I used the rider switches to go one more time.

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By this time, it was around 5:30ish and everyone was spent. We made a quick pit-stop in the store to look at souviners before heading to the bus.

Upon our arrival back to the hotel, we packed up the cars and began our 6.5 hour drive back to PCB. In hindsight, we should have stayed another night to enjoy the hotel a bit more, swim etc… but we all made it back to the condo by 1:30 am or so to begin our next phase of vacation.

Love,

Mama

William

William is 4

William, my sweet badger,

Sometimes, if I didn’t know better I would think you are made of pure sugar. As Grammy likes to say, you are a ball of butter. You have the softest, most beautiful skin and you love to give hugs, snuggle and are very affectionate with people you know very well. When we pick you up, you curl your legs into a little ball and just snuggle into our arms. Daddy likes to say you ‘take your landing gears up’.

Kate 3 months 11-4You also are very quiet and shy. You have always been much more mellow than Lexi and will quietly play by yourself or with Lexi, but Lexi is loud and doesn’t ever stop talking. Sometime, we don’t even know you’re there.

William toysI didn’t realize how shy you were until we were at Nikki and Trevor’s this past fall and Mitch said, that is the first time I’ve ever heard William say something. I was a bit shocked to hear that but when I thought about it, you often just nod your head to questions or Daddy and I will jump in and answer for you so–we need to stop doing that.

Then at conferences this fall, the teachers informed us that you haven’t ever talked to them. They pulled you aside to have you show them how to count and you looked at them and shook your head no. HAHA! You definitely know how to count but I just hadn’t realized how quiet you were in front of others as you definitely talk at home.

The day you begin to loose teeth, I think I may go into mourning. You have the cutest, most perfect little teeth that compliment your sparkling green eyes. You have the sweetest happy little smile, that usually involves your tongue hanging out like a little puppy.

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William tongeI wrote about your relationship with Lexi in her 6 year old post, but will mention it here too. She is your best friend. The two of you are Mickey and Pluto. You always want to be with each other, playing together and rarely do you fight or argue. You love to play with your ‘boy’ toys like transformers, dinosaurs and spiderman while she is playing with her Shopkins, LOLs or barbies. You intermingle your two types of toys into whatever scene you’re playing together. The two of your share a room and you find so much comfort in having Lexi be in your room with you. You regularly ask when she is coming home from school and are so excited to play with her when she gets back.

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You fully embrace your big brother role with Kate. You love to play with her (when Lexi isn’t around) and take care of her. You’re teaching her how to play when Lexi is at school. Kate will regularly get into and break your lego or Magnatile creations and instead of getting angry and upset, you just shrug your shoulders and say, ‘It’s Oh-tay, we can just build it again’ Let me pause here while I pick up the pieces of my heart sweet boy.

One of my favorite things about you right now is when we ask you a question that people commonly respond with, ‘Good’, you respond with ‘Nice’. Me: William, how was school today? W: Nice. Me: Oats, How was your Chipotle? W: Nice with a sweet little grin.

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At 4 years old, you are learning to write your name and can write ‘Will’ by yourself. You know the letter W but that is about it. You can almost count to 20 (you just miss 15), know all of your colors and shapes and are beginning to identify patterns. You are still working on consistently understanding the concepts of before, after and the difference between 5 minutes an 3 hours. You also replace your ‘c’ and ‘k’ sounds with ‘t’s’ and your ‘g’ sounds with ‘d’s’–so words are pronounced like ‘milt’ and ‘dood’–but you are capable of making the sounds when we ask you.

IMG_E3897You experienced so many fun things this year, many which were firsts for you:

  • First airplane ride to Florida (and first family vacation)
  • First time seeing the ocean
  • You started swimming lessons and are starting to swim short distances by yourself (10ft), can float on your back like a little seal, and flip over from back floats to front floats.
  • Spent lots of time swimming in our new pool in the backyard
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  • Learned to ride a two-wheeler bike
  • Went to the Bothwell cabin many times and spent time at a cabin with the Sampson’s
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  • Went camping to Storybook Land in South Dakota
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  • Spent several days boating on St. Croix and even went tubing
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  • In September, you started Preschool and go twice a week for 2.5 hours, which included your first time riding a bus, first field trip and your first Christmas program
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  • Your love for transform/rescue bots and dinosaurs surfaced. You continue to love spiderman and really any kind of superhero.
  • You are obsessed with the color green.
  • You love any kind of sweet there is
  • You love riding bikes, swimming, playing Legos/going to LegoLand with Daddy, building MagnaTiles creations, playing in the sandbox, being Daddy’s helper with work projects and just his little shadow and helping mommy make dinner or bake things.
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  • Visiting Disneyland which can be read about here, here, here and here
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  • You’re the cuddliest little sleeper, but still are pretty wild
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William, you are the perfect middle child. I love your calm and joyful demeanor. You brighten every one of my days. Please never stop reaching to hold my hand and asking me to ‘snuddle’ with you.

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Love,

Mama

 

 

 

family vacations, Kate, Lexi, William

2019 Florida Vacation–Day 1

I have been looking forward to this for months. Literally months. I was so excited to get away and enjoy some nice warm vitamin D and forget about routine and work and everything else.

We were scheduled to get out of dodge at 6:40 in the morning on Sunday the 24th. The previous Tuesday/Wednesday, reports of another snowstorm to hit us on Saturday evening into Sunday and just knew it was going to be an issue (We’ve had a large snowstorm at least twice a week this month). I called Southwest several times trying to proactively change our flight to get out sooner to avoid it all. They weren’t having it and said I could only change if I wanted to pay the difference. The challenge was, Southwest only flies to PCB on Saturday and Sundays in Feb, so the next flight there was the following Saturday, which was the day we were supposed to come home.

Sure enough, Saturday rolls around and I get the email that our flight was canceled. I get on the phone and start trying to figure something out. They said we could only fly to Pensacola or PCB, but there were no options, so I asked if we could fly into Orlando…which they said yes. So, we booked to leave at 9:40 on Sunday morning and head to Orlando. Given that we were in Orlando and the following day was William’s 4th Birthday, I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity to take the Birthday boy to DisneyWorld, so I found an affordable hotel–which happened to be onsite at Disney (Pop Century) and gave us the ability to have Magic Hours and get into the park early, which was a huge win considering we didn’t have any fastpasses. Grammy and Papa also decided to join us on the Disney adventure and each drove a car (theirs and the rented one) 6.5 hours from PCB to Orlando. The situation wasn’t ideal, but at least we were going to get a little something extra out of the inconvenience.

Saturday night, I did some research to learn about Animal Kingdom to have a game plan, but was still very skeptical that our flight was going to take off. And by skeptical–I was a ball of nerves and kind of edgy on to whoever I was talking to.

We ended up getting about 1-2″ of snow that evening and had no challenges in taking off. Kate completely shocked me and feel asleep for a good chuck of the first flight and all was good.

We arrived in Atlanta and grabbed some lunch quick while I figured out the Disney Magical Express. We somehow we misread our tickets or the time hadn’t changed on our phones and when we showed up to board our flight to Orlando, the gate had already closed. AHHH! I was SOOOO mad and frustrated. Still am, a month later. The woman at the gate wasn’t the most helpful and put us on standby to the next flight, which was at 5:30…3 hours from now. Thankfully, another employee herd me complaining and gave us tickets. While we were waiting, Kate pooped twice…which always sucks changing a poopy diaper in public, but twice. Then, William had an incident and pooped his pants a little so Bill was cleaning out his underwear in the sink in the airport. Oh yeah, we were those people. Other than that, the kids were amazing. Amazing. They colored and didn’t complain at all.

Kate was fairly tired, and I spent about an hour and 15 min just walking the terminal with her hoping she would fall asleep in the stroller. No such luck. After a slight delay, our flight took off at 6:00.

Upon arrival in Orlando, we boarded the magical express  and arrived at Pop Century to great greeting from an excited Grammy and Papa.

We eventually arrived in our room around 9:00. We ate some pizza quick, before I headed down to the concierge to get some of our luggage and ticket stuff figured out. After about and hour and a half and two very helpful cast members–I’ve learned a couple of things:

  1. It is VERY important to make sure you list everyone that will be staying in your room when booking a hotel room at Disney.
    • If you don’t, you will have challenges getting everyone onto the Magical Express
    • You may not have the correct number of beds (even if you provide a request)
      • Which will require them to give you a different room, which will delay the arrival of your luggage (which by the way, pack swimsuits or any items that will require immediate use in your carry on as it can take up to 5 hours for your luggage to arrive in your room)
    • You will have a heck of a time getting magic bands for the unlisted guests and then connecting them to your mydisneyexperience in the app

Finally, around 12:30 am, we were back in our room, had all of our luggage. I spent the next hour going through everyone’s bags and pulling out the things we were going to need in the park and re-packing the bags so it could make for an easy departure to the park the following morning.

Love,

Mama

Uncategorized

Kate 20 Months

Katers,

You FINALLY were able to play at a park this time for the first time in your life! Granted, it was in the snow, but it is still crazy it took 20 months! We have been to the park many of times over your lifetime, but not where you have been walking and capable of climbing up stairs. You went down the slide a couple of times, any were mostly annoyed you were dressed like a marshmallow and couldn’t move very well. I’m excited to take you to the park in Florida where I think you’ll enjoy it much more.

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You have also gotten a lot more affectionate and cuddly. You regularly come up and give me big open-mouthed slobbery kisses and announce that you are hugging. At bedtime, you love to read books before bed and nuzzle against me and most nights will fall asleep in the bed with me. I’ll sing Twinkle Twinkle, Row Row Row Your Boat, Rock-a-bye-baby and you’ll find my hand and place it on the ‘correct’ part of your belly or side that you want me to rub while you fall asleep. Girlfriend, you are particular.

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We also baby-sat MacKenzie over-night one of the weekends and you just kept pointing and saying baby. You didn’t seem jealous, but were curious why she was playing with your toys. Now, whenever you see a diaper–you say Baby.

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Your vocabulary and comprehension continue to expand every week. I have no idea what new words you’re saying, but there are new ones every week. My current favorite is ‘shurr–aka sure’

You’ve also started to go down stairs on your bottom, verses sliding down on your belly.

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We love you little munchkin.

Love, Mama

 

Kate, Kate monthly posts

Kate 19 months

Dear Kate, 

This was a VERY uneventful month, and my lack of pictures are proof of that. I’ve got a bit of the January blues going on, but Florida is 1 month away so at least there is something to look forward to. 

Everyone had some icky colds this month. You got it twice. But, I’m convinced our usage of essential oils dramatically reduced the severity and length of our symptoms. So grateful I gave these things a try. 

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Your top two eye teeth cut through the skin, and you were a hot mess for a couple of days with that, but now that those are through, our silly babbling little Katers is back. 

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Your comprehension and vocab get a little better everyday. When we has you to stop, or to sit down or to give something back, you actually listen. 

Words: mama, dada, baby, hot, please, sis-a, bro-a, wow, NO, yeah, up, baa (ball) (and I’m sure there are more that I can’t remember. But your favorite is Poop. Your big siblings ask you to say it all the time and you happily oblige. 

You had your first-ish experience with snow this month and you weren’t too impressed. 

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You love to push your baby in the stroller, read books, get into whatever your brother and sister are playing, eat, snuggle with bunny, wear sunglasses, carry things from one part of the house and deposit them in another location, wearing footie jammies (you call them mammies), roll oils on your chest and make your brother and sister laugh. 

You hate baths. Like really hate them a lot–particularly washing up. You refuse to lay down or have a major freak out if we poor water on your head. 

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Love,

Mama

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