26 April, 2008

Spring Break Day 7

We are back in New Jersey! It's a little past 8pm and we just hit our first rest stop in NJ.

Lo and behold - a mile marker 105 in Virginia i caught back up with my at&t signal and since then my black jack has been working. Weird.

Today was mostly traveling, but we did stop in DC again. This time at the FDR memorial. Which was awe-inspiring as always. So many of the thoughts he had still ring true today. Of course it took us a little longer to find it - Courtney was giving directions to Teddy Roosevelt's island and memorial and I was giving directions to FDR's memorial. Quite funny when we figured it out! I do have lots of pictures fem today and the last few days; i hope to get them up once we get back home.

We all had a good time walking thru the memorial and playing with the water Chayton started playing a little kick ball, Nazeriah was singing and Kaija became our official photographer - she got a great one of Chayton (as well as some trees, the Washington memorial and some great stuff in the gift shop). Chayton soon let us know it was time to go and we headed back to the car to continue our journey.

The drive has been fairly uneventful, thank goodness. The girls have been plugged into the dvd player and we've sung a few hundred versions of itsy bitsy spider, twinkle twinkle and little bunny foo-foo (revised slightly). Okay not hat many, but Chayton is getting pretty good at all the hand signs for those songs.

We surprised the girls with Wendy's for lunch (no ff tho) and at dinner we lucked out. There's a Panera that we know of that we usually stop at when we head to DC. This time there was a new restaurant (and a line completely around Best Buy - what was that about?). Th restaurant was Noodles & Company and was very good. A nice change from the normal travel food and a break from Panera. Everyone (except Chayton) ate without complaining. C didn't eat - that doesn't bode well for tonight. He's gotten a little bit of a dry cough ... Let's hope that is all it is.

Now we are at exit 7b and in a bit of traffic. But the only traffic we've hit his whole time was heading out of DC (construction work) and this (who knows why we were all stopped).
… Sent via Black Jack - pardon the spelling ...

25 April, 2008

Spring Break Day 6

We are on our way home - already over the Virginia border. We really had a great time at the beach. Courtney kept his black berry off and my black jack is still not working, so we both really disconnected for once.

The girls and Courtney got in a swim at the pool while Chayton and I packed up. Chayton seems to be doing better, I hope it keeps going in that direction. While we were upstairs Chayton got upset that he wasn't with Kaija - kept standing at the door crying her name. So he and I took a little walk. Stopped by the windows in the hallway so he could visit with the birds (he loves looking at birds) then five or ten more minutes standing looking at the vaccum cleaner; then we finally made it in the elevator where he had to stand by himself and hold the railing. We took a tour of the lobby, but for some reason Kaika wasn't there (of course I couldn't take him near the pool - he would have full-meltdown if he saw both his sisters and daddy swimming and I wouldn't let him go swim). So back in the elevator where we stood talking to the housekeepers (he is so friendly saying hi to everyone), then another ten minutes admiring the vacuum; we had just made it to the birds and guess who got off the elevator? Kaija! Boy was Chaytons exceited - jaija, jaija! Then we all raced to the room door and the world was okay again. :-)

A quick lunch, some more packing and we said goodbye to the beach and pool.

Now we are on our way to our hotel for the night in Richmond. We had a fun stop at a rest area in NC where the kids were given their extra large bubble wands - these make 5-6 inch size bubbles, pretty cool! Even Chayton got in the act and got quite a few bubbles going. Then he spotted the doggies and we were off to make some new friends. There was even a man walking his cat!

More driving and we stopped for another fancy dinner at cracker barrel and our last taste ofsweet ice tea. Now we are just pulling up to Richmond and should be at our hotel in about ten minutes (that is if I stop blogging and give the directions)m hopefully we can get in a swim before bedtime!
Courtney Allen

Spring Break Day 5

Day 5 was a beautiful day at the beach - the wind was down and the temp was nice (still too cold for me to go in the water but not the girls and Courtney).

After breakfast we all went down to the beach. This time we took the kids' tent with the thought Chayton would take his nap there. You could barely keep Kaija out of the water, Nazeriah needed a little convincing. And Chayton finally started to walk around in the sand in his bare feet ... Not for too long, thom soon he was back lying on top of me. And while the tent was a great idea, Chayton didn't want to take his nap there. So come nap time he and I went up to the room.

A little while later the girls and daddy left the beach for a quick dip in the pool and came up to eat. Then we all took naps - how relaxing. Soon it was more beach and more pool, then dinner.

Courtney picked up some pizza and we ate in the room while watching HSM2. The girls were in heaven! After the kids went to bed we rounded out the evening with a movie, too - National Treasure The Book of Secrets. Which we were joined by Chayton who developed a 103 degree temp and then Nazeriah who had a bad dream. Chayton surprised us - he didn't eat a whole lot during the day but we didn't expect this. Luckily the fever broke really fast and he fell back asleep - of course now with us. It has been a couple of weeks since he's been sick . . .
Courtney Allen

23 April, 2008

Spring Break Day 4

Today started out a little slower than the others. Chayton, Courtney and I woke up before the girls. (I guess the swimming finally wore them out.) It’s 9:30am and we are all still in our PJ and up in the hotela room – there hasn’t been a request for swimming yet. Chayton seems to have the most energy, busy, busy baby. There is supposed to be more rain today, maybe we’ll head indoors to the NC Aquarium. But I’m sure we’ll be at the beach soon.

It's now 10:25pm [and I'm on the hotel computer finally getting all the updates up on the blog]. It did stay a pretty low key day - but it turned into a beautiful day outside. After breakfast and brunch, we moseyed outside to the beach. Where we even got Chayton to take off his shoes and stand in the sand - okay for a few minutes. It was quite an amusing sight ... me laying on the beach with a little curly-headed boy laying on top of me, not wanting any part of his body to touch the sand. Yummy, but funny!

It was soon time for Chayton's nap - and he was quite happy with leaving the beach for it. While he napped, I showered; Daddy and the girls played in the ocean a little bit longer, then tried out the outdoor pool and indoor pool before heading indoors for lunch.

After lunch, we hung out in the room a little everyone at least rested. Kaija wandered off to the bedroom to lie down she was so tired, Courtney followed, Nazeriah laid low, and I finally succumed to a nap, too.

While I was still sleeping Courtney stole away with all the kids for a nice long walk on the beach - Chayton in the Kelty backpack so his feet wouldn't touch the sand!

Once I woke up we all went swimming in the indoor pool - I'm not much for getting really cold. But it was great - I had on googles to protect my eyes [I still need to keep the water out, and well, can't rub them for the rest of my life] but it was pretty amazing to be able to see while I was swimming/playing underwater with the girls. Normally I'm usually blind as a bat or worried about my contacts floating away in the water.

After dinner it was showers and then we walked a few blocks to a fabulous Mexican place for dinner. All enjoyed and ate well! We had a fun walk down the boardwalk back to our hotel and then it was time to do Nazeriah's hair. We all hung out watching TV while I did her hair ... and Chayton's too. He so wanted to have hair do-dads put in. And did he look cute! Then he proceeded to try to help me comb Nazeriah's hair and hide all the other hair do-dads. Soon it was bed for Chayton, then after a few more home decorating shows, the girls were off too. And now it's time for me!

Spring Break Day 3

Daddy and the two girls started out pretty early this morning with a nice morning swim. Chayton and I slept in (the past few nights, he’s been sleeping with Courtney and I; I think that is better rephrased to he’s sleeping and we are tossing and turning – he’s a bed hog!). When Chayton and I woke up we were all alone. After a quick breakfast, the two of us got dressed and headed down to the pool. Chayton was so excited to go in with his sisters.

Then it was off to the beach … everyone got dressed (not sure why – check out the pictures) because it was still a little too chilly to go in the ocean (or so we thought). The girls love it! Especially Kaija. She immediately wanted to go chase the waves – Nazeriah stayed up on the sand for a little while before she realized how much fun Kaija was having. Chayton on the other hand … well, doesn’t like the feel of the sand between his toes, nor the cold water, so he sort of stays clinging to you. That quite all right with me – it was COLD! So he and I just walked around looking for smooth rocks for him.

Back upstairs to change clothes and make some sandwiches for lunch. Then it was off to Kure (cure-ee) Beach and Fort Fisher. Fort Fisher is the site of one of the last major battles of the Civil War (if I am remembering my history right). Once Fort Fisher fell, then Wilmington fell, and Sherman kept on going.

Most of the fort is still intact – all though it doesn’t look like what you imagine a fort to be. Because of the technological advances in warfare an open fort above ground just didn’t work any more. So what you see here is a row of grassy mounds. The soldiers built rooms and tunnels out of wood, and then covered them with sand/soil to protect them from the incoming fire. It worked – up to a point.

It withstood a first battle with the Union Army. But the second time around, the Union troops came with lots of back-up. There were over 50 ships that were stationed immediately off the coast, plus a few more ships north of the fort with the infantry. It seems it was quite the spectacle.

Nazeriah made quite a good point while looking at one of the dioramas – “But I can’t tell which side is which.” Hmmm …

While I was interested in the history side of things … the kids were more interested in playing. We brought our kickball along with us and soon set off outside for a little hike and exploration around the fort trail, with the possibility of a game of kickball. The latter didn’t really happen – it was too windy for our ball, and well, Chayton was a little possessive of it. He would stand and hold it, not moving, until the girls went away from him, then he would run with the ball.

The trail around the fort was nicely kept, a good part of it was a boardwalk-type structure which provided a nice peak into the ecological activity in the marsh area – we saw a bunch of crabs scrambling about in the mud. The trail continued across the street onto the beach. Again VERY windy and there was a warning posted to not go swimming. Of course there was a surfer (it was very windy after all). “Hey, you aren’t supposed to go swimming its dangerous. You are not listening to the rules!” yelled Nazeriah a few times. Kaija was caught up in searching for shells; Chayton didn’t want to be put down but was very interested in collecting rocks.

We soon got back into the car and headed home … for a swim in the pool! Chayton and I took a nap while the girls and Daddy went for another swim. After that we surprised the girls with a special treat for dinner – Chick-fil-a. How exciting! A little back-story, Kaija has wanted to go back to Chick-fil-a since she lost her second tooth in Georgia – that’s over a year ago. We stopped to eat dinner after leaving the Atlanta airport on the way to Big Grandma’s house. But, Ms. Kaija had a tooth that was about to come out, and she wouldn’t eat anything – not even the prospect of the elusive French fries and fried chicken nuggets OR ice cream would make her eat.

Kaija got her wish and Nazeriah was thrilled to play in the playhouse. BUT, neither girl wanted to eat their food … “It doesn’t taste good.” Well, now they tell us – as if Courtney and I picked this restaurant because we wanted to eat the food. They did all have fun in the playroom, and it was Kids Night – they had crafts, games and a magician roaming the tables. All in all, it was fun (and the milk shake was pretty delicious).

After dinner, the girls and Courtney went swimming (again) while I was putting Chayton down for the night. It was time for him to start sleeping in the pack-n-play. It took a little bit – but finally he went to sleep. I got in a few yoga-stretches before the girls and Daddy came back, then we all watched Dancing with the Stars before heading off to bed.

Spring Break Day 2

Well, I’m finally able to blog again. My Black Jack has decided to stop working … could be the cell tower somewhere up the coast that I got “stuck” in … or maybe it’s finally running out of caffeine from the dump in my coffee cup back in December. Either way, no phone calls or internet from that phone. Maybe I’ll get unstuck once we get back in New Jersey?

Day 2 – we started out in Richmond, VA at the hotela. Kaija, Chayton and Courtney went for a morning swim; while Nazeriah and I stayed back in the room for a little rest. Maybe I was the one resting, and Nazeriah was just waiting for it to be over?

With breakfast and a swim under our belt it was time to get moving again … oh wait, it was time to eat lunch. Off to Panera (and a quick side-stop at a really nice Franklin Covey store for Mommy and Daddy).

Okay, now we’re moving … onto North Carolina and the beach! On one of our rest stops, we met a gentleman and his dog (Kelsey) driving to Florida from Morristown, NJ. Chayton has become very dog-interested (okay, so he still sometimes calls them “kitty”). So far, we’ve made the acquaintance of two dogs and their people. Once Chayton sees the dog, he get’s quite adamant that we have to go over and pet the dog. And he pets them! He’s less afraid of these dogs than the girls are! So far, we’ve met a German Sheppard and a sheltie dog.

The rest of our drive was pretty tame – Courtney sat in the back with the girls and watched a movie with them; I was jammin’ out to music up front; and well, Chayton was stuck in the middle. We did hit a lot of weather – heavy rain for most of the trip and a little hail.

We got to our hotel and immediately went down to the beach … it was getting dusk, but there was also a big storm moving in. Once the thunder and lighting got a little close, all the girls were ready to go in (including me!). But it was on to the pool for a swim.

20 April, 2008

On the Road for Spring Break

We hit the road this morning at 10am! We were amazed at how early we left. Our first stop was DC ... The outside plan was the Earth Day Festival on The Mall; the indoor was the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. As weather.com predicted severe weather and a flood warning, we figured an indoor plan was a good idea.

On the way down, we were hopeful - at one point it was sunny and 78 degrees But as we got closer and closer to DC, the sky got darker and darker and it soon opened up on us. So onto the museum.
Courtney scored an extremely tight space right at the front of the museum - expertly squeezing the mini van in (directed brilliantly by me standing out in the rain). Off we inside.

It was pretty busy and allready 3pm, so we quickly toured the elephant sculpture and the dinosaour exhibit, then went to see the Hope Diamond. The girls were a little disappointed in the diamond - they weren't looking for a necklace but a big huge honkin' diamond. Oh well, still pretty impresive!

A few bathroom trips later and we wereoff outside. The rain stopped enough for a quick trip on The Mall - we thought we'd catch the tail end of the festival. But they had all packed up because everything was soaked. This is where the vacation really began. Courtney and i stopped being grumpy parents and went from yelling "jump over the puddles, don't get wet" to "go jump IN the puddles." who cared if they got soaking wet? We had a car full of clothes. (of course the first puddle we told Nazeriah to jump in, she does, then starts crying her shoes are all wet - up until then the silly bug was trying everything she could to accidentally get wet!). Very soon both girls were jumping in each puddle they came up to. At the car we had to strip them down they were so wet!

Onto the next treat ... Before we left, we all got to pick out a sugary cereal - any one we wanted. Normally these boxes wouldn't see the light of day at our house, but today we had a snack of: coco puffs (nazeriah), lucky charms (kaija) and cap'n cruch w/ crunch berries (mom,dad and chayton). Yum, yum!

Now on our way to Richmond. Next stop dinner. Which was at the oh so fashionable and healthy Cracker Barrel in Virginia, where we sat next to Elvis (his jeweled jumpsuit must have been at the cleaners - he was weaing jeans.) Courtney and I got to have our first sweet ice tea of the trip. Chayton was having a good ol' time "drinking" his cup of water (read dumping it all over himself) and eating everyone's food - he loved the corn (will go nicely with the bright pink and purple and green crunch berries).

Now we are back on the road for a short drive to Richmond and our hotela for the night.

… Sent via Black Jack - pardon the spelling …

10 April, 2008

Today's the day!

It's finally here - today i go have my LAZIK eye surgery. How exceiting and alittle unnerving.

It has started a little different than i had planned ... Kaija is home sick and we decided to keep Chayton home another day (from being sick, too). So it just means that Courtney needs to stay with the kids and not me. I am a big girl after all (so i keep trying to convince myself).

So in a little while we will head out to TLC Eye Center. Wish me luck!
… Sent via Black Jack - pardon the spelling …

03 April, 2008

Kaija's Tooth [Finally] Came Out!

It's official! Kaija finally let her tooth come out!
It's been hanging on for the past week or so, by a thread. But Kaija hasn't wanted to part with it.
Today at lunch, it was time. "I just bit into my veggie burger and it came out," reported Kaija.
Congratulations Toothless Wonder!