Friday, June 29, 2012

Aruba (Part 1)

Steve still has airline and hotel points from all his travels at his last job, and we decided we wanted to take a international vacation as a family before it gets to exhausting/expensive with older/multiple kids. (Sorry future children). Steve wanted something relaxing and I wanted something with a short flight (or in this case, two short flights each way), so we settled on Aruba.
Every family has at least one bad vacation right? Well, this was ours.
Bad thing #1
Having gotten to the Newark, NJ airport very late, we discover it is under construction, and the airtrain to take us to our hotel pick up location is out of order. We ask an airport employee where to go, and he sets us off to section P4 just outside baggage claim. After an hour, and three increasingly impatient calls to our hotel, we notice no hotel shuttles are picking up at our location, and we find out we are at the wrong P4 location. What, there’s two P4 locations?!? Oh yes. So we ask a more informed airport employee how to get to the correct P4 location and he directs us to a bus (that has temporarily replaced the airtrain) that takes us to the correct P4 location. We call the hotel again, explain that we were in the wrong place and tell her we are waiting at the correct pick-up location now. She tells us the shuttle is on it’s way.
Twenty minutes later, the hotel shuttle picks us up. Whew. I am very excited at this point to get one very tired baby and mama to bed. We get to the hotel, try to check in and… it’s the wrong Fairfield Inn! And our correct Fairfield Inn is 30 minutes away! The clerk tells us we have to take the airport shuttle back to the airport and wait for the other Fairfield van. Ugh. I’m ready to collapse having been the only one able to keep Brielle happy through this whole ordeal. But here is where God gives us a little break. The other clerk (Daniel) working the front desk informs us his shift has just ended and he can drive us to the other hotel himself. Wow. At the time he told us it was right by his house, but we find out later it’s actually 20 minutes away (and his wife is anxiously waiting for him to get home). We couldn’t have been more thankful to Daniel.
Brielle got admittance to her first Red Carpet Club at the airport the next day. Here she is hanging out in the lounge.
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Brielle was a champ on the way over, but we did take our first day easy just trying to let her catch up on some sleep. She’s not the best sleeper on the plane (which means mom is not a good sleeper on the plane either, so maybe I was the one catching up on sleep…). Here’s one of the many cute bathing suits Bri got from her 2nd cousin Ashlyn. Thanks Ashlyn!
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On the second night we were there, we took salsa lessons. Oh yes, the whole family. Here’s Steve and Bri.
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And a video (notice he does pretty well until he looks at the camera, then he misses the direction change)

Bri was pretty tired after all that dancing.
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Before heading out to Aruba, Steve did a little research and found a butterfly farm to visit. We thought it would be a fun experience for Brielle, so we packed up the family and went. I don’t know if you recall back in 2010 when we went to a petting zoo on our East Coast trip and the deer found me irresistible.
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Well, the butterflies were no different.
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There are three on me in this picture, one on my right shoulder and two on my left calf and ankle.
This guy actually hitched a ride on me for 15 minutes (Steve timed it) while we walked around the butterfly farm.
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I tried to give Brielle a closer look at the butterfly.
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Bri also liked watching the fish. (Notice the butterfly still on my ankle.)
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Look at the size of this one. It’s as big as Bri’s face! Yikes!
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Alright, I think that’s good for today. Stay tuned for more Aruba fun and 2 more bad things…

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Baby Yoga

When learning how to crawl, Brielle practiced by doing Baby Yoga to strengthen her legs:
Downward Dog
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

We’ve got a lot of work to do in our back yard, and we decided to take advantage of this long weekend with beautiful weather to get some of it done.
Last time I used this picture to show you the TV cabinet we removed from the back of our house; now I want you to look at the foreground of the picture and notice all the brush.
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Wow, what a mess. Steve’s dad let us use his Kubota tractor to remove two of the smaller trees in our back yard. Here goes the first one:

Here are some still shots of the same tree coming down. The pictures are quite dark due to all the shade in our backyard. But don’t worry, by the end of our day (and this post) that shade will no longer be a problem. ;)
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And now for the second tree:

For this one, Steve’s brother Mike got to take the tree down. Here’s Steve’s dad telling Mike what he needs to do.
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Here’s Mike doing what he’s told.
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Ta Da
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Look at the size of the root that was pulled out!
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And now, the much brighter and more open yard (with a little clean-up needed)
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After the boys had their fun, the real work began. Notice the professional in these next few pics delicately remove the over growth in the back yard. Notice the concentration, the precision, the skill, the pick?!?
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Ahhh, what beauty.
Then on to the front yard. Here’s what it looked like before:
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And now:
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Brielle even helped Mama tidy up the front yard after most of the plants were removed.
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Okay, so she might be sleeping here, but she’s helping in spirit.
Whew, what a weekend.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

All Caught Up! *

And here it is, the blog to get me officially caught up (until I fall behind again…)
8 months! And this time, she is still 8 months while I am writing this. Woo Hoo.
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Brielle is standing without parental assistance (as seen in a previous post), and working hard on crawling. I’m a little worried she’ll start crawling before Aruba, more for the constrictiveness of 4 long flights and having a crawling baby on my lap! But I’m sure it will work out.
* Footnote: I started this post before vacation and a family visit but obviously didn’t get it posted in time. Can we still consider me caught up? I can’t seem to catch a blog post break!