Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Rooms, New Car, and a Cousin Campout

Summer's coming to an end, school is just around the corner, and we're trying to cram in as much fun and check off as many To-Do List items as possible before the first leaves fall.  

Poor Maddy has been stuffed head to toe in her toddler bed since March, but who can shop for a new bed and decorate a room in the middle of the school year?  Well, probably a lot of you - but not me!  So, she waited patiently until Summer.  Hopefully her growth wasn't stunted too much from the close quarters. 

Maddy adores the color pink, like seriously ADORES it, and requested pink everything in her new room.  (She also requested we paint our house pink and is still fuming that that didn't happen.)  Because Pepto-Bismol chic doesn't suit me, we came to a compromise: 

She was pretty happy with the results.

Bonus tip of the day:  When your husband does a fantastic job painting and then spills a huge puddle of blue paint in the room entryway, don't panic.  First, count your blessings that you, the children and the cat were not in the room as there is no possible way you can be blamed for this major goof up.  Just come to the rescue with some rubbing alcohol and hopefully this mistake will be visible to you alone for the rest of your life.

Since Maddy's room makeover went so well (see, I've already forgotten about the paint stain), we decided to spruce up Isabelle's room too with fresh paint and a new bed frame.  Super cheap when you convert the toddler bed into a full size bed.  Plus it was originally their crib!  Best.  Purchase.  Ever.  So, Isabelle's sleeping in her crib again...

...and doesn't mind there are a few gnaw marks on the footboard leftover from babyhood.  She can't complain...we told her not to chew on her crib.  It's not our fault she wasn't an active listener at 10 months old.

Next on the list was getting a new car because who has time to sit in a dealership for 10 hours during the school year.  As we have established - not me!  I've been driving my Mazda, which I love, for 12 years and we really needed something with more room.  I thought I would have to get a dreaded minivan but thank goodness the Toyota Highlander exists because it has everything we need.  Seating for seven, 4WD, and heated seats.  Plus, I never realized how much energy I had to exert to turn the key in the ignition of a car until I tried the push button start.  Have you heard of this?  You push a button, and the car starts.  Like magic.  Welcome to 2013 Aubrey Brock!

Maddy likey!

But, the best part of summer was spending some time with my sweet niece and nephew, Vilia and Shepard.  They came over for their first campout at our house.  Some of you may feel this is a copout and not a true camping experience.  I feel we were really just being realistic.  Anyone who takes an 8, 4, 3, and 2-year-old camping in the wilderness without working plumbing has my vote for Looney Tune of the Year.

They had a wonderful time!

'Sup, ladies?

Thanks for putting the diaper back on Shep.

What could be better than s'mores and beer around the campfire? 

It was one wild night.  I'm not sure what kind of campout Vilia thought this was...

I go back to work this week, ready for another great year of kindergarten. 

You know what that means Maddy - back to the grindstone.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Family Vacation Part 2

After another good night's sleep we were excited about finally getting a glimpse of Alaska.  We were scheduled to go through the Inside Passage and see Tracy Arm on the third day of our trip.  But first, we had another character sighting.  The great thing about being on a Disney ship was that we never knew who we would run into around the corner!

Maddy talked the ear off every princess she met.  Luckily, none of them seemed to be in a hurry and they all listened patiently.  Maddy had a lot of advice to give on curtsies, princes, and tiaras. 

Throughout our trip we saw whales, seals, and even dolphins.  The girls never missed a chance to hop into a porthole window and look out to sea.

Here we are in one of the most scenic areas of our trip.  I was hoping to capture a beautiful image of the girls.  I think this series of shots pretty much sums up how picture taking goes for the Brock family.  Can you guess which one is the most compliant child?

Our first iceberg sighting!

Can you tell it's pouring down rain?  Good thing hot cocoa and warm chocolate chip cookies were waiting for us just a few feet away!

Maddy was far more excited by her Disney friends than she was by the scenery. 

She got lots of special attention!

Disney has rotational dining in their three main restaurants so each night was a new adventure.  At Animator's Palette the restaurant went from black and white to color and dinner ended with Sorcerer Mickey and the waitstaff putting on a show.  What a treat!

Limbering up for post-dinner dancing.

By the fourth day the girls were ready to get off the ship and explore Alaska by land.  Can you tell?

While we waited to dock in Skagway the girls spent some time in the arcade.

Serious competitor.

Skagway is a very tiny town and unless you are very excited about spending a lot of money on jewelry there's really not a whole lot to see.  Instead of shopping we spent the day at an old mining camp, saw a show, and panned for gold.

A salmon bake lunch to start us off.  (You may notice the absence of salmon on the girls' plates - probably one of the few things they don't eat.  Good thing there was cornbread and blueberry cake!)

 Per Maddy's request - picture taken with a real Alaskan puppy!

Somehow it just made sense to have Maddy pose next to this sign.

Gold panning tutorial...

...before trying it out on our own.

I'd like to say we found enough gold to pay for our trip...

...but I think we only found enough to pay for the walk back to the bus.

Looking out over the town of Skagway.  Exciting, isn't it?

The next day we were in Juneau and found ourselves at the Mendenhall Glacier.  You can't tell in the pictures but it is a gorgeous icy blue color.

"Hey!  Glacial water really is cold!"

After our glacier visit we went on a whale watching expedition and saw lots of beautiful wildlife, which I didn't take any pictures of!

Another delicious lunch at this pretty lodge partway through our boat tour.

Lamenting the death of a sea star.

We were happy to get back on the ship that night to watch "Toy Story the Musical".  

The whole evening was a Toy Story theme, down to the dinner menu.  Maddy would like you to know she is drinking a Pina Colada out of this Woody cup.  P.S.  I may also have rediscovered my love of Pina Coladas on this trip. :)

Bubblegum ice cream sundaes with homemade pink marshmallows at Triton's restaurant.

I know, she already had a Pina Colada.  But it wasn't blue with pink marshmallows.  I'm a terrible parent. 

It's 10:30 P.M. - 3 hours past bedtime, but definitely Pixar Pals party time!  Maddy idolizes Jessie so dancing with her was the highlight of her trip!

Limbo with Mike Wazowski anyone?

Confetti and beach balls!

Monsters University after party...

...still going strong at midnight.  See, the Pina Colada and sundae were really all about maximizing crucial energy.  I am a good parent!