Posts Tagged ‘family’

2012 Was a Very Good Year

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

2 Pennies 2 Rub has been on an unintended hiatus for most of 2012.  As I look back on the year, I can see how things got so busy and am sorry to have missed sharing some special moments with you.

A Year of Firsts

The kids’ first trip to the zoo to see real live animals!  And what’s better than animals? The train that we rode on at the end of the zoo trip.

The kids’ first Easter Egg Hunt.  Momma was smart by giving them buckets.  They’re easy to carry and hold tons of loot.  Once Oliver figured out there was candy in the eggs he was off running.  The other kids didn’t stand a chance.

The kids’ first Strawberry patch.  I have fond memories of picking strawberries with my family when I was young.  I also remember being very messy and sticky by the time we were done, but not remembering how I got that way.  Well, the kids were nice enough to remind me!

Evelyn’s first trip to the fair and Oliver’s first fair ride all by himself!  Evelyn was not thrilled that she was too short to ride the train.  However, she did like the roasted corn, cotton candy, hot dogs, turkey leg, and candy apples!

Oliver started preschool and took his first ride on the bus this year.  He takes the bus to and from school every day.  He loves, loves, loves riding the bus and going to school.  We even went to our first school fair and the kids saw their first hot air balloon and won their first “prizes” for playing some games.  They were some of the smallest kids there amongst the 1st – 5th graders and I was so proud that they held their own with the big kids.

The kids’ first Halloween Trick or Treating door-to-door.  We were a family of pirates and the kids did absolutely fantastic.  They caught on to the concept very fast and dutifully said “Trick or Treat!” and “Thank you!” at every house.

Their first visit with Santa Claus.  Evelyn climbed right up into his lap and gave him big hugs.  Oliver sat with me on the floor and told Santa that he wanted, “Presents. Lots of presents!” for Christmas.  He also said he wanted pancakes. :-)

A Year of Change

Over the summer we looked for houses to buy in Georgia and came across this one.  It was a foreclosure with all sorts of problems.  It suffered inside and out from several years of neglect.  Being the people that we are, we (I) fell in love with it and we bought it!

Over Labor Day weekend, we packed up and moved in.  Although we grew to love our little rental, we haven’t looked back yet.

Our house has many challenges that will keep us busy for YEARS to come, but it is all worth it to give our kids a safe place to play, a fun place to explore, and the room to grow.

A Year of Family

Moving to Atlanta put us closer to both of our families even as it took us farther from our friends.   Our lives have been busy with many visits from Grandparents, family and friends.  We have been on the road for many trips back to NC and to Florida to keep in touch with those close to our hearts.  In 12 short months we have had 11 road trips or home visits!!!  We will kick off the new year with a trip to Raleigh in February and have a big trip to Chicago and Grand Rapids on the books for July.  In between those trips we have 3 different sets of visiting friends and family.  Amazing!

Our family has also changed over the year.

In one year Oliver has grown into such a handsome little boy.  He turned 3 in June and is such a sweetheart.  He talks and talks and talks now and has started with the questions.  He is very tall for his age and runs and plays with the big kids all the time.  He knows how to write his own name, counts to 30, and has started to spell in school.  Oliver loves playing on the playground with his schoolmates, playing with trains and big trucks of all sorts, and watching Mighty Machines, Fireman Sam, Thomas, and Curious George.  Best of all, he loves his little sister (Ellie) and they are best buds.  He takes care of her when she needs help, he reaches things that are too tall for her, he actively plays with her, and they crack each other up.

In one year Evelyn has become my little Princess G.I. Jane!  She JUST turned two in November and is already speaking at close to a 3-year old level.  She brushes her own teeth, washes her hands, gets mostly dressed and all the way undressed by herself, and is mommy’s little shadow.  She wants to do everything that I do from putting on makeup (chapstick and a clean face brush), carrying her own purse when we go out, to cleaning and setting the table.  And of course, she wants to do everything that her older brother does.  She will wear his boy clothes, with her tutu and princess tiara.  She mimics everything he does and follows him wherever he goes.  She calls him “Ahber” and it’s so sweet to hear her calling for him when she wakes up.

No matter what year it is we are thankful to be together and to have people in our lives that love and care for us.  We are looking forward to 2013.  I hope to get back to blogging in the New Year.  There’s still money to save, tips to be shared, and love to spread to everyone. 

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy New Year full of good fortune and good health.  Welcome 2013!

More Fun at Play!

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

 When the weather is bad outside, we go Play inside!  I think Oliver’s favorite place on earth is Play.  Evelyn is old enough to enjoy herself as well.

 We get to pack our own drinks and snacks.  They get to fill up their tanks and go back out for more fun.

 Evelyn loves the rice table (must be the Thai in her!).  She holds her own with the big kids too and doesn’t let anyone push her around.

And their most favorite part?  Jumping on the trampolines!  Makes me wish I could do it too.

 

Daddy’s Helper – Raking Leaves

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

I love it!  My two men working hard out back.  Oliver likes helping out, especially when it involves his daddy, the outdoors, and a shovel.

Kids want to feel useful and contribute to their families.  If you give them the “tools” to succeed, it’s amazing what they will accomplish.  In this case, we gave Oliver a real short-handled shovel and a milk crate to fill with leaves.

He worked hard, until his face was red and his nose was runny, and he filled his milk crate to the brim.  He was so proud.

He was busy for a long time and enjoyed himself.  Even better, it didn’t cost anything for all this fun and the yard got cleaned up!

Fun Blowing Bubbles

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

 Can’t figure out what to do with the kids on a Saturday afternoon?  Grab a 99 cent bottle of bubbles and head outside for over an hour of fun!

 Evelyn was pretty good blowing bubbles when she wasn’t trying to eat the wand.

 Oliver had so much fun chasing the bubbles down.  When the wind took them over the fence he would wave, “Buh bye bubba.”

 

The first few bubbles he blew with his eyes open, until they popped in his face.

Evelyn is such a ham!  She had a blast watching her brother run his little legs off.  We spent a good hour and a half with the little ones, blowing bubbles and running around.  Great way to spend a day.

The hubby thinks we can make our own formula and use string to make gigantic bubbles.  I can’t wait to see how that works!

Fun at Play! Activity Center for Kids

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

 These pictures were taken in Dec 2011.  The kids are a few months older now and you might notice that they look different than those in the last post. Not trying to confuse anybody.

I thank my lucky stars to have found a place called Play!.  It is sort of a discovery center and mini-gymnasium all bundled up into one. 

In the gym, they have trampolines, a crash-pit, inflatable tumbling/bounce pads, slides, ramps, balance beams, monkey bars, etc…   

 We are usually one of the first ones in the door in the morning and the kids get the run of the gym.  The place fills up quickly though.  Oliver loves playing with the other kids and has blossomed from all the activity.

In the discovery center, they have different areas for kids to play and explore filled with things like books, puzzles, gears, chalkboards, trains, legos, blocks, etc…

Looks like someone else thought playing with rice  is good for little kids too!

The kids visit about twice a week.  I either bring them and play, or I can drop them off at their care center.  The kids love, love, love this place and are well taken care of.  They have gym time, arts and craft time, free play, snacks, and lunch.   Drop-off care is $11/hr for the both of them and we can do a max of 4 hours at a time. Their drop-off child care has been a blessing for me.  I’ve been able to go grocery shopping, run errands, go to the library, and swing by the doctor’s without worrying about them. 

The best part?  The days they go to Play!, they sleep like rocks at night – not a peep.

Fun at Monkey Joe’s

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Another place we like taking the kids when it’s cold outside is Monkey Joe’s.  I had seen Monkey Joe’s around before, but never tried one out until we moved to Atlanta.   Monkey Joe’s is basically bounce-house central.  Ours has 6 different air inflatable play “houses”.  There’s also a section full of toys for toddlers.

 I just about had a heart attack the first time Oliver went down this slide.  It reaches all the way to the ceiling (at least 20ft tall)!  He did not hesitate one second before jumping from the top of the slide. 

 There are 2 bouncy areas for kids 3 and under.  Evelyn doesn’t need her daddy’s help to jump anymore.

 

 Oliver burns off some serious energy at Monkey Joe’s from all the climbing, bouncing, jumping, and running with the other kids.  Evelyn is content to play ball with her momma.

If you have kids under 12, you might want to check out your local bouncey house.  The earlier in the day, the younger the kids are as the older ones will be in school.  That’s good for us, because the older kids are too rough around my babies.  There are also frequent visitor programs or advance ticket discounts.  Be wary of going on a weekend when there are tons of birthday parties and on school holidays. Don’t forget socks.  They won’t let the kids jump without them and they won’t let you retrieve stuck kids without your socks on either. 

All in all, it’s a great place for my kiddos to blow off some steam from time to time.  The kids love it!

Lucky Ladybugs

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Oliver found his first ladybug while playing outside.  He was so excited!  He even let it crawl on his hand.

After freaking out when it crawled on his hand and dropping it, he kept close tabs on it.

Evelyn didn’t like him keeping close tabs on the ladybug.

He found 2 more ladybugs on the back of the chair.  I repeat – he was SO excited!

Evelyn wasn’t happy that we wouldn’t let her eat the ladybugs, but she was happy again when we let her gnaw on the stick.  :-)

Ladybugs are a sign of good luck.  Three in one day!  Powerball here we come…

 

Gotta Love the Mall Trains

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The mall has become one of our favorite cold weather places to take the kids for fun.  Oliver could spend hours pushing every button on the soda machines alone – until he hears the train whistle that is…

In the past few years, I’ve noticed a rising trend of electric trains in malls.  Whoever sells, buys and operates these things are brilliant!!! 

A train ride costs anywhere from $3 – $5 per person and travels either a part of the mall or the entire mall length depending on mall rules.  The train at our local mall travels a short path and costs $4 per person.  I’ve seen it make 4 trips in 1/2 an hour carrying anywhere from 2 – 12 people.  If you averaged 4 people per trip, that’s $64 in 1/2 an hour!

Most trains are stationed near play areas in the malls.  For my train obsessed children, that means we rarely escape without a ride when we go to the mall. 

When you talk bang for your buck, mall trains are not the most frugal forms of entertainment for the family.  However, once you see your child light up and thrill in riding a “for real big boy choo choo train” it’s hard to say no.  (Again, brilliant moneymaker train people.) 

To lessen the cost for frequent riders, many trains offer package ticket deals.  For our train, if we pay $40 for a train card we get 4 free rides for a total of 14.  That averages out to $2.85 per ticket.  Other trains have frequent rider cards where you can earn a free ride after so many purchased ones have been counted.  Depending on who the conductor is, we can sometimes schmooze free rides.  One conductor likes the kids so much that he lets the 3 of us ride for one ticket total when it’s slow.

I am grateful for all the discounts we can get for as much as my kids LOVE these trains!

 

Reciprocal (free) Entry to Kid’s Museums

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

One of Oliver’s favorite places to visit is Imagine It – the children’s museum in Atlanta.  It is very similar to the Marbles that we loved so dearly up in Raleigh, NC.  They have plenty of exhibits set up for kids to play with, to explore, and to learn from.

Oliver was over the moon about the full size tractor!  He felt like a very big boy up in the driver’s seat.

They had some very cool train tables with holes cutout of the top for 360 degree play.

There was an entire section devoted to this very strange “sand”.  The sand stuck together as if it were wet, but was remarkably dry.

The museum also had painting stations, balls for vacuum tubes, gears, a mini-grocery store, and a big water play area for “fishing”.  All of this fun doesn’t come cheap though.  The regular admission price is $12.75 per person over 2 years of age.  In contrast, Marbles was $5 per person. 

As luck would have it, I noticed a sign in the entry way listing free reciprocal entry to other kid’s museum as a perk to museum membership.  Most large children museums are members of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM).  If you have a membership card from a museum that is in the ACM, you are allowed to visit other ACM affiliated museums for free. 

Your card should have a small ACM logo on the back if it is in the Association.  If not, just ask the museum you are visiting to look it up in their database (as was our case).  They told us here that we could get in for free until our Marbles membership card expires in May 2012.  That’s great news for us and is another benefit to purchasing yearly memberships.

 

Bubba U

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Every night, Oliver and I read books before he goes to sleep.  One of his favorite books is an alphabet book with pictures. He is so happy to be learning his alphabet and his smile is contagious.  No matter what is going on in the world, or in my life, he reminds me to slow down and appreciate the little things.  After a year like we just had, I am grateful for the reminder and am humbled to be a part of his little world.

I taped tonight’s reading to share with you the simple joy of a boy who is learning his ABCs.  If you ever feel stressed, just say, “Bubba U” and smile.

 

 

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