Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Break

Last week was Spring Break and we decided to head to the Keys for a night...not the Florida Keys but the Gurnee, IL keys. We went to the Key Lime Cove water park for one night with our friends the Lazars. Between our two families we had NINE girls which was a bit of a spectacle at Outback steakhouse. We got a lot of double takes. You could see other diners counting how many we had with us in their heads while staring at the table.

This was all of our first water park experience and the best way to describe it is Vegas for kids. The girls had a blast. The next day Sophia said that she wished we lived at Key Lime Cove. Ceci gets up every morning and says that she needs her bathing suit to go in the water.

We had a babysitter, Michelle, come during the day to help with Katie and Ceci. I made the mistake of not fully briefing her on Katie's deceptive speed and agility. I was checking in while Michelle had Katie and Ceci. All of a sudden I saw the flash of Katie's red polka dotted coverup dashing behind the front desk personnel. I turned around and Michelle hadn't even seen her take off. Turns out she had run through the gift shop into a back door that went down a short hallway to the front desk before I yelped "Katie!" and Michelle noticed she wasn't right next to her. That's my little road runner. When she was corralled and we figured out how she'd gotten back there Ceci looked at her and said "KATIE...go to TIME OUT!" The desk personnel kept saying "this is supposed to be secure".

Ceci was the most popular girl at the kiddie pool. She had three 8 year old girls fighting to play with her and help her up and down the slides. She'd stand at the top of the slide with her arms in the air like the queen of Key Lime Cove and then slide down to the waiting arms of one of her new friends. Ceci was up and down that slide about 1,000 times. She had a smile on her face for 48 hours straight.

Ella and Sophia were brave venturing into the larger pools. Ella spent a lot of time on the lazy river which was such an adventure for her she called it "the crazy river". She corrected us whenever we said lazy river so we all just started calling it the craaaazy river.

Rick and Katie on the crazy river:

We did have a lazy river episode with Ceci. Rick put her in the front seat of the tube which had a seat in place of the hole. He came quickly paddling back and said frantically "the water is brown". I thought someone must have had a pretty explosive accident to have a big brown area of water with all the chemicals circulating in this pool. Then he said "no, look, brown water where Ceci was sitting." He started walking toward a guard to ask what to do with this tan water when I had visions of us closing down the 10 million gallon pool and all being shamed out of the park. So he did the next best thing and dumped the affected water into a plant. Michelle deserved battle pay for washing Ceci in the shower while I bought another $3 swim diaper from the flip flop shop.

Sophia and I went down the big tube slides together on an inner tube and once she got the courage to go down the single slide on her back she was off to the races. She went on everything she was tall enough to go on and loved being one of the big girls.

Here are Sophia and her friend Maggie. What would Spring Break be without braids and beads? Instead of a hut on the beach there was a lady outside the bathroom braiding for $5. The girls were thrilled with their fancy hair accessories.

They also had an arcade that was like the casino for the kids. There were games full of candy which blew the girls' minds. They just stood staring with their mouths wide open at the illuminated mountains of penny candy.

Katie and Ceci jamming out:
The great thing about bringing 2-6yr olds at an arcade is that they think they are really playing all the games when it's just the display so it doesn't cost anything for them to have a blast "playing". We only had to pony up for the candy game for Sophia which made her feel like she hit the ultimate kid jackpot.

Ella entered her coloring page of Gabrielle and Troy from HS Musical into the daily coloring contest and we were all so proud at the end of the day to see that she was a Grand Prize winner. Ella's face lit up when she saw her picture hanging in the hallway. Rick was hoping her big prize might be a flat screen tv or maybe all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico, but the big prize was a lollipop and tattoo that said "girls rule". The tattoo was appropriate since I think we were the only family there without one tattoo among us. At least Ella could now help us fit in a better with the water park crowd.
We all slept in the same room which was fun for Sophia and Ella. Not so much fun for mom and dad. They started in the same bed but that wasn't working so I slept with Sophia and Rick with Ella. I felt like I was sleeping with Bruce Lee. She kept kicking me and trying to somehow climb me and Ella fell out of bed three times. Ceci and Katie were in a living room area with a door and when I went into their room in the morning Ceci was walking around so had somehow climbed out of the crib.

This is the only photo of me. I'm coming down the slide with Ella and Ceci. Not the most flattering but at least it proves that I was there too.

The girls were so exhausted when we left that they were all sound asleep within ten seconds of pulling out of the hotel. Rick and I were actually wishing for a longer drive home to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Despite our efforts to emphasize the real meaning of Easter and Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for us, Easter this year was all about eggs and candy for the younger girls. Sophia had a better understanding of why Easter is important and it seemed to sink in more for her this year.

One day in the car she said to me out of the blue:

"Mom, I really hope Mimi (her great-grandmother) rises from the dead. I'd really love to see her again."

me: That was only Jesus.

Sophia: But God can do anything. He can raise Mimi too.

me: Yes, God can do miracles but I don't think you'll see Mimi until you're in heaven.

Sophia: OK, but I really do miss her.

It was pretty sweet.

Here are some pictures:

Dying eggs:

Easter morning, Katie and Ceci discovered peeps:


Katie just stuck her face into the box:

See Katie behind Sophia devouring a Peep after I showed her how to take them out of the box. Also notice Sophia's overflowing basket. She was the only one to actually hunt for eggs. Ella went after them a little half-heartedly while Katie and Ceci were just happy to have a basket with marshmallows coated in sugar:

Ella wasn't afraid of the purple chicks either:

Couple more from the morning:

Then we got dressed for church:

And dinner at grandma and grandpas and more candy:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Princess Dance

Ella started Princess ballet class at the park district yesterday. I am glad to have gymnastics over and ballet class went really well. Ella loved it and Katie and Ceci were great while we waited.

The grown-ups could stay for the first five minutes and I was so relieved that Katie and Ceci didn't run out on the floor. They watched and then wanted to each give Ella a kiss when we left. There is a big break room with a tv and little tables. We ate animals crackers and made the sounds of all the animals while watching Clifford.

Here is Katie watching Ella:
I was feeling so good about how our morning was going that I decided we'd go right to the dance store to get some ballet shoes for Ella. I had totally forgotten that she would need them and she wore Sophia's old ones which were too small.

I had a friend in business school who used to grab me and say we were going home whenever we were in the middle of a fun night. Her theory was to always leave when you're having fun because the night will only go downhill. I need to start practicing this now. Kind of like quit while you're ahead. Instead I decided to push forward with our morning when we probably should have just gone home.

There was one salesperson and a couple girls ahead of us who had to buy shoes which was a bit nerve-wracking for me since we were in a store chock full of pretty leotards and tutus right at their eye level. The girls were good though. They kept picking up different items and saying "Soooo cute!" and then putting them back. There was a set of 3yr old twins in front of us with both a mom and nanny who were having a difficult time with them. Lots of whining and sass which made me feel even better about my well behaved brood.

Then as Ella was trying on shoes I smelled fresh poop. Not the end of the world until I looked over at what I assumed was Ceci next to me with a poopy diaper to instead see Katie who said "I pooped in my underwear". The salesperson looked horrified so I quickly replied "you mean your diaper sweetie" and asked the salesperson hopefully if they had a restroom we could use. Luckily it was something I could clean up in the bathroom and stuffed her underwear into my purse.

From now on I'm not going to push my luck when a morning is going well.