Monday, October 27, 2014

Fun Around Town

Going back in time to do a little catch up here.  Like before Florida and before I started in on the fall bucket list of fun.

The Little Gym

I couldn't pass up this Houston Mom's Blog play date!  Much closer than the last one we traveled to AND Chick-Fil-A was the snack sponsor.  The play date consisted of an hour long Little Gym class (we attended the 3 and under group) followed by a Chick-Fil-A lunch and a craft!  They started out on the timid side when the class began and were quite clingy during the Mommy & Me part (in our case it was Mommy/whoever Mommy convinced to tag along & Me), but they warmed up as the class got going.  The boys really got into it and enjoyed the inflatable jumping, bar swinging, balance beam, and climbing on whatever they could.  Allison was clingy to us unless the teacher was with her one-on-one.  Then all of a sudden she could do what was asked.  Caroline stuck to herself and did what she wanted to do.  She particularly liked this one apparatus she could climb and slide down.

Of course they all dug into the lunch and really liked their first tasted of Chick-Fil-A lemonade.  The craft was a little much for my crew, so they just colored instead.  And if you know my crew, you know they LOVE to color.  We ended the play date by picking up our favors: stuffed Chick-Fil-A cows and coupons!!  This event was so worth the $5/kid!!

Bad Pants

Another fun event!  This one is near and dear to our hearts as it supports the Texas Children's Hospital NICU.  Their big fundraiser each year is the Bad Pants Open Golf Tournament.  Leading up to it, they have hosted a Bad Pants Fashion Show in the past.  We participated in the fashion show last year.  This year they changed it up a bit: Bad Pants Day!  Rather than a fashion show highlighting the NICU graduates, they honored the NICU nurses with a break in their schedule.  We were honored to be the featured family and it just happened to be on the 2 year anniversary of Leah coming home from the NICU!  

We donned our bad pants (the kids' pants were gifts from Dave's Thai coworkers when we visited last spring), gathered up our entourage, and headed for the hospital.  They were so sweet to provide toys for the kids and lunch for everyone.  We had a great time playing and visiting with our old nurses and doctors.  No one could believe how big they have gotten!  Hopefully they keep inviting us back :)

Birthday Parties

We were able to attend 2 birthday parties recently.  The kiddos are sort of kind of getting the concept.  But really I think they just get excited to eat lots of cake.  

The first party was at a fantastic park.  They loved the playground and the play doh and coloring stations.  Then ELMO showed up!  Ben and Levi were fascinated, while Andrew and Allison were spooked, and Caroline was off doing Caroline things.  Typical.  After Elmo photo ops, it was cake time.  They wasted no time digging in!  They had a great time and it was hard getting them to leave!

The second party was a Frozen themed swimming party.  You better believe the second Caroline saw that pool she was getting in it.  Andrew was right behind her.  I just keep those 2 in floaties when water is nearby.  Actually, all 6 got in the pool at some point!  They had a blast swimming and of course dug into the cake and snacks.  We left with an invitation to come back anytime, so I guess they were fairly well behaved.  Again, another fun party they did not want to leave!  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Color Fun Fest 5K

It's no secret that I'm a runner.  And it's no secret that I can't wait to get my kids involved in the running community (2 more years to Kids K domination).  One type of event is definitely on my bucket list: a Color Run!  I see pics of my friends doing these all of the time and they look like a blast!  But, unfortunately for me, the kids are too young and my schedule's too crazy for me to attempt a Color 5K just yet.  BUT, that doesn't mean you have to miss out!!

The Color Fun Fest 5k is coming to Houston Saturday November 1st at the Sam Houston Race Park!!!

So... What's the Color Fun Fest?

An amazing adventure of an event!  You run through 4 color stations on a 5k course to finish looking like a human rainbow.  Next up is the post race party!  And more color!  Color fire extinguishers and the EPICOLORTOSS (imagine simultaneous color packets thrown throughout the crowd all at the same time!) will happen.  

Why do this?

Color Fun Fest 2014 has partnered with Free Arts for Abused Children to be the primary beneficiary charity.  This organization helps children with adverse pasts overcome their past through creativity and expression.  How great is that?!  There are also several local charities involved in the event as well. And all ages are welcome!  Truly a family fun event.

Details please...

When: Saturday November 1st  between 2-10pm.  The day run is at 5pm and the night run is at 7pm.  That means you have 2 options to fit in your schedule!

Where: Sam Houston Race Park 
              7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West
              Houston, Texas 77064

And here's the best part...

If you use the discount code PERKINSPACK tickets are only $25!!!
So go register right now!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beach Babies

I have deemed 2014 the year of travel for the Perkins family.  We have taken more trips (solo and as a family) this year than any other year since Dave and I were married.  Still a couple more after Florida, but you'll just have to wait to hear about those!

I won the trip to St. Pete's Beach, Florida from the Unstoppable Mom contest on the Live with Kelly & Michael Show back in March.  I chose to take the trip in September in order to space out our family trips and miss the big crowds since school was back in session.  I only had a couple of weeks between Montana and Florida, and as the Florida trip date approached, I wasn't very excited about it.  The thought of packing everything and doing another long road trip was wearing me out.  But, plans had been made, so I packed.

There was no way Dave and I were taking our 6 toddlers to the beach alone.  His mom rode with us in the van and my parents flew to Tampa and met us there.  We all had separate rooms at the hotel which was much nicer than in NYC when we were crammed in the same space.  We made the drive in just under 16 hours.  Like Colorado, we did it all in one day.  Unlike Colorado, the kids were about as well behaved as could be expected.  The big boys were fully entertained by trucks driving by and the rest were entertained with music and snacks and books.  They are only 2, so of course there was whining, but a tolerable amount.  The drive home was equivalent to the drive there- a success in my book.

We stayed at the Trade Winds Resort in St. Pete's Beach, FL.  They were very accommodating and I highly recommend it for a family vacation.  Lots to do for all ages!  Being there at the end of September was great.  It wasn't crowded at all- we often had the pool to ourselves and plenty of room on the beach and no wait at restaurants.  It did rain almost everyday, but only during nap times or the evening, so it never spoiled our plans.

Everyday we did the same thing, but it was perfect!  We spent the first part of the morning on the beach then switched to the kiddie pool area.  We either had a picnic lunch by the pool or ate in the room and put kids to nap.  The kids slept great the whole week.  I had intentions of doing activities on my own during naps, but I chose to just relax instead.  After naps we either went back to the pool or explored the grounds.  There was mini golf, a walking path, pedal boats, and lots of space for chase and hide and seek.  The resort had a designated dog play and walk area; it was marked by painted paw prints that looked like Blue's Clues.  So, of course we had to play "Blue's Clues" one day by finding all of the "clues" on the path.  The kids loved it!

We generally just got food to go and ate in the room, but one night Dave and I had a dinner date, and another night we took the kids to their first real restaurant meal!  With 5 adults it wasn't difficult to keep everyone under control, and the kids really did just fine.  Dave and I enjoyed our couple of hours away too.

It came as no surprise that everyone loved the pool area.  By the end of the week, Caroline and Andrew were jumping to us in the water and floating around on their own (wearing Puddle Jumpers).  The beach went fairly well.  Caroline loved everything about it- even the 2 story tall inflatable slide!  She begged to get on the slide and we eventually gave in and I held her the whole time.  Ben loved being buried in the sand- even more than Caroline!  Andrew liked the lounge chairs, but we did get him in the water the last day.  Allison and Levi varied upon the day, but we did get them in the water before the trip was over.  They all loved hunting for seashells and digging in the sand and destroying Daddy's sandcastles.  Another big hit was the balcony.  They spent lots of time watching for animals (i.e. seagulls, fish, and swans in the pond below our room).

The one thing that was NOT a hit was the elevator.  The first time they walked on just fine, looked a little nervous when the door closed, and then completely freaked out when it started moving!  I'm talking total meltdowns x 5.  Leah was fine as she's used to elevators.  A couple of days in everyone had adjusted but Andrew.  He would cry the entire time up until the last day and a half.  He graduated to quietly whimpering.

All in all we had a great trip!!  Definitely plan to do another beach trip in the future- but we'll pick a closer beach :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Montana Wedding... Why Not?

I was fortunate enough to spend Labor Day weekend in Glacier National Park.  Why??  Because my little brother got married!!  In Montana!  And I traveled alone!

Great wedding.  Great trip.  Now let me tell you all about it...

Stephen proposed to Sarah last spring.  They debated on where to have their wedding, but in the end they decided to go destination style.  They picked Glacier National Park.  (Can I just say AMAZING scenery and pictures?!)

Leading up to the wedding Sarah was sweet enough to invite me along for dress shopping.  We had a fun girls day as she went through a few dresses (she looked stunning in everything which was kind of annoying in a good way) before finding the perfect dress for an outdoor Montana ceremony.  They wanted everything simple, so there wasn't any big hoopla before the wedding weekend.

I was the last to arrive (my trip was the shortest for obvious reasons) in Kalispell, but was pleasantly surprised by the small town and our accommodations.  The Bad Rock Bed and Breakfast was a beautiful property and the hospitality couldn't be beat!  Including the bride and groom, there were 9 of us there, so this was to be a small, intimate wedding.  And, honestly, I loved that it was.

The first night there we played Cards Against Humanity.  I had never heard of it before, but it was fun!  And very interesting.  And not for children or the easily offended.  Consider yourself warned.  Needless to say, it had been way too long since I had a game night!

The first full day we all went for a run (what else would you expect from a traveling group of runners?) and how refreshing it was to have beautiful scenery and temps in the 50s!  After we all cleaned up Sarah had her hair and make up trial (again, stunning), quick lunch, then into the park to check out the wedding site and do a short hike.  That night we had a rehearsal dinner without the rehearsal, so just dinner.  We were all impressed by the Kalispell food scene!

Avalanche Lake

The family before the dinner

What better way to end the day than with a dance party!!!  We cranked up the old school jams, busted out the drill team stand dances (that's right, I remember them), and had a grand ole time.  Then Stephen learned that the bride and groom aren't supposed to see each other the day of their wedding and he wasn't thrilled that we were enforcing that rule.  Minus the hour they had to spend getting their marriage license... because, you know, that's kinda important.

The morning of the big day Sarah surprised us girls with matching Lululemon running shorts!  For you non-runners, they're awesome, ridiculously priced running shorts.  And I'm a little too excited to have my own pair now!  Before we tested them out running, we had to do a little modeling...


Be the bear.

Antlers anyone?

Catalog worthy right?!

After all the girls were mostly prepped for the ceremony, we grabbed a quick lunch at a yummy local cafe.  (We happened to have met the owner on our hike the day before and the place lived up to everything he sold us on).  Then we were off!  Friend/wife of best man, my parents, and I grabbed up all the decor and headed to the park to set the whole scene up and crossed our fingers Sarah loved it as much as we did.  Sarah and maid of honor picked up the cake, bouquets, and met the photographer at the B&B for a few pre-ceremony pics.  When Stephen and best man showed up at the site, the rest of us headed back to get our fancy garb on.  Then it was go time!

Cake Table.  The topper says "The Smilfs"  Smilf is my brother's nickname.

We arrived back at the ceremony site, double checked everything was perfect, then the ceremony happened.  Short, sweet, intimate, teary-eyed, beautiful, can't believe my little brother's getting married.. .. all wrapped into one.  From the best man singing John Legend to the pastor saying the wrong name (she thought Smilf was the real name) to the delicious deal (literal and figurative) of a cake to the weather... it really was perfect.  The photographer loved our guest commentary throughout her post ceremony session and the pictures will be AMAZING!!!!  After pictures, cake, champagne, and a couple of dances, we were off to dinner.  A  couple celebrating their anniversary bought our table a bottle of bubbly- how nice is that?!  We all said our toasts and congratulations (ok, I wrote a rhymey poem) and enjoyed yet another delicious Montana meal.  The newlyweds had a separate cottage to stay in that night, which us girls were able to "decorate" before they got there as a wedding night surprise :)

It's almost time...

The vows

First Dance

Toast to the newlyweds

Does it get any prettier?

So cute!  

The next morning we all met for one last breakfast at the B&B then went our separate ways home.  Well, the newlyweds continued on to their honeymoon.  After a couple of long flights I was back to reality.  Dave and his mom handled the kids (with a little help from the usual volunteers) while I was gone and they did a great job!  I didn't get to see the kids until the next morning and nothing brightened my day more than Leah's HUGE smile when I got her out of bed.

I am so thankful I was able to attend this wedding!  It was truly wonderful.  And now I have a truly wonderful sister-in-law and step-nephew- yea!!

Me, Groom, and Bride

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Growth

Along with summer outings, the kids have been growing and learning like crazy this season!  They are truly little people now with their own personalities.  I love watching them learn new things, even if they can drive me batty some days.  Oh those twos.  

A couple weeks ago Ben's eye was swollen shut.  No idea why and it cleared up in a couple of days.  He looked like the weird guy from The Goonies.  

Allison had a weight check and at 19 lbs she's still not on the growth chart, but she's close!  The doctor predicted that she'd be in the clear at the 30 month well check if she stays on track.  

Proof she's grown in 2 years time and still sweet with Maggie  :)

Andrew got credit for the first 2 word phrase: "more balls".  

We are also noticing some imagination forming- especially when it comes to boys and their car/truck/train sound effects and girls and their dolls.  And, no, we in no way push certain toys to certain genders.  That's what they choose.

finger painting

Leah's first finger paint!

Leah's current walker record is twice around the kitchen island!  She's getting more strength, head control, and weight bearing in her arms and legs all of the time.  I've been giving her more table foods to push her range of textures and tastes rather than quantity.  She's done surprisingly well with staying calm and keeping it down.  We've also been pipetting water through a straw and she's handled that with no issue.  

We noticed while watching Wheel of Fortune that every time a letter was called Leah would smile and coo.  We've tested the theory with different shows and toys and it's true.  Leah loves letters.

You know the nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl and when she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid?  Well, that about sums up Caroline these days.  She's in super testing limits mode.  But she can also be super sweet and helpful.  

They are all doing their "chores" (picking up toys, throwing away trash, and putting dirty clothes in the hamper) so much easier these days.  They are really noticing and copying what we do which can be fun and scary at the same time.  

Allison is still keeping everyone and everything in line and from time to time you might see her "working" the front desk of the children's area at church as special treatment for crying and pouting when we drop her off.  She just acts like she belongs up there with her crayon and paper.

And just for fun here's a little rhymey poem I wrote about a recent bath time experience.  It really happened.  And Dave did help with the last two lines:

1, 2, 3 little boys in the tub
having such fun splish splash rub a dub
just then I'm handed something absurd
Yep, that's right, a tiny little turd.
Then they start coming 1, 2, 10
A whole pile of turds, thanks a lot Big Ben.
And what could be grosser than Ben's derriere? 
All 3 boys throwing turds in the air.

The culprit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Summer Outings

School has started here in Texas which means summer is winding down.  Of course it's still super mega hot, so it still feels like summer to me!  And I am 100% so glad I am not getting my little people ready for school yet!

Our summertime was full of trips to the pool and splash pad.  I am always amazed that people volunteer their time to help me on these outings, but we do have a good time!  What also amazes me is how differently the kids react to the water activities.  Levi will only sit on the edge of the pool and kick his feet (he's usually trying to get into the lifeguard supply closet) but he LOVES the splash pad.  Andrew and Caroline love it all.  Ben likes being splashed in the pool, but he and Allison are timid at the splash pad.  Leah loves being in the water and she likes it when I run with her through the misty splash pad stuff, but nothing too harsh.  And don't try to get any of them in cold water!  Can't blame them for that one though.

We ventured out to the Barnes & Noble children's area to read and play with their train table, but it turned out to be Batman Day (who knew?!).  Allison was scared of the employees dressed as Batman characters and Ben chased a boy in a red shirt around the store, besides that it wasn't bad for their first time in a store (Yes, it was their first time in a store- not an easy feat).  They even used their walking rope through the store and didn't wander off! 

Art Class

Some of us got on the cooking show!
Cooking Class

Houston Mom's Blog put on a playdate at the Young Leaders Campus in Tomball where they participated in a gym class, art class, and "cooking" class (i.e. dumping snacks in a ziploc bag).  Definitely a different experience, but the kids had fun and they did great using their walking rope for transitions and in parking lots.  Andrew may or may not have stolen an extra box or two of raisins in the cooking class.  Levi did not like stickers on his artwork and he wasn't able to complete the gym activity as he was too distracted by the large mirrors and practicing his latest poses.  Pretty sure the mini marshmallows were everyone's favorite part of the day!  After the class we found a local park for a quick picnic lunch.  They loved walking through the leaves and the train that passed by!

In between all of our local outings, we headed to Austin for a weekend visit with Dave's parents.  The 3 hour drive felt like nothing after Colorado!  We spent most of the time outside- in the pool, chalking up the patio, and exploring the big backyard.  Dave and I even got to go out for dinner one night :)  The kids had a great time and handled everything really well.  Anytime we're driving now, the big boys point out every. single. truck. no matter the size.  And if we see a train it's a chorus of "choo choo!" from all 3 rows.  Laurie Berkner cds are also a saving grace on our road trips.