Sunday, July 20, 2014

Good Time Family Fun

This was my mom’s last weekend here in Pennsylvania with us, so we decided to make the most of it.

Friday afternoon after swim lessons, we picked Jarrod up from work and drove out to Hershey to visit Hershey Park.

We were excited about riding rides – even Evelyn!

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Mom gets motion sick and couldn’t ride any of the rides, but she was the fun slide champ!  Unfortunately there were trees around the slide, so I wasn’t able to snap any pictures.

Charlotte has been a roller coaster lover ever since we visited Legoland a year and a half ago.  When we got in line to ride our first coaster of the day – Trailblazer – she was so excited that she wanted to sit in the front row.  Trenton wasn’t as enthusiastic about riding a roller coaster.  But by the time the ride ended, he’d decided that he was a roller coaster fan!

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We rode Trailblazer two more times during our time in the park, and the new kiddie coaster – Cocoa Cruiser – once.  Since Trenton is taller than Charlotte, he can ride some of the bigger coasters.  This is the one he chose.


He said that it wasn’t his favorite…

A trip to Hershey wouldn’t be complete without chocolate.  There was so much to choose from.  We chose the deep fried heart attack kit kat.  It was good but REALLY sweet.

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Saturday was spent around the house most of the day.  But we had a surprise for the kids after dinner.

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I found this drive-in movie theater a few weeks ago when I was going to pick up a prescription for Charlotte and thought it looked like a fun place to go.  So when I saw that Planes: Fire & Rescue (such a cute movie – I give it a solid two thumbs up!) was playing this weekend, we put a trip to see it on our agenda.

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(They look like they’re sleeping, but they are watching intently.)

This one, on the other hand, really was sleeping.

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She did wake up about 3/4 of the way through the movie.  I wanted to document her first trip to the movies, but she wasn’t a fan of the camera flash!

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The drive-in was a good place to see a movie with kids in tow.  Trenton and Charlotte normally have a ton of questions during movies, and at the drive-in, they could ask away without bothering other people.

Today we went to church, had a cookout with relatives that live in the area, and I finished a project I’d been working on most of the week (more on that later this week!).  We’ll be sad to see Mimi go back to Texas this week, but we had a great weekend with her!

Friday, July 11, 2014


We found out last summer that Jarrod had been selected to promote to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  Navy promotions get spread throughout the fiscal year, with most of them happening toward the end of the fiscal year.  We thought that Jarrod was scheduled to promote next month, but when he checked in to his new command here in Pennsylvania and was working through paperwork with the command, they found out that this was his promotion month!

So Jarrod called me and told me that his promotion ceremony would take place the following afternoon!

I haven’t been able to take part in one of Jarrod’s promotion ceremonies yet.  His first was VERY short notice – as in just a couple hours – and I was already at school to substitute teach that day, and the second was while he was at sea.

So I felt extremely fortunate to be able to take part in this one.


I think someone else was excited pretty excited about having a part in the ceremony too.


And very proud of his daddy.


We are all very proud of Jarrod.


Congratulations, honey!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Watch Me Grow: Happy Half Year!

Someone celebrated her half year birthday today!


I can’t believe that this cute little ball of personality has been with us for six months already!

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Evelyn is such a great baby.  Pretty much the whole month was spent packing, moving, and unpacking, and Evelyn was a trouper through all of it.  She is a go with the flow baby and likes everyone.  She will let pretty much anyone hold her, and she loves dishing out smiles to her new friends.

Evelyn’s laughs have become much more frequent, and Trenton and Charlotte are definitely best at making her laugh.  She also thinks that sneezes are pretty funny.

We are still giving Evelyn the special formula and reflux meds, but her spitting up has gotten so much better.

Evelyn went about a week without taking a middle of the night bottle.  I thought we were inching closer to sleeping through the night, but then Evelyn managed to catch a cold.  Pair that with teething, and schedules have flown out the window.  Both sleeping and eating. 

We have a sitter on our hands too.  She’s not totally steady yet, but has gotten up to about a minute of sitting without toppling over.

Weight: About 16 pounds
Height: We meet with the pediatrician next week, so we’ll get this then
Drinking: 5 ounces of formula every 4-ish hours
Solids: Rice cereal, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans
Teeth: None
Sleeping: Normally up once a night around 2:30
Naps: With all of the changes that we’ve had the past month, Evelyn is not really on a nap schedule.  Sometimes she’ll go down for a morning nap and sometimes she won’t.  Sometimes she takes a long afternoon nap, sometimes she takes a short one, and sometimes she totally skips it.  I’m hoping we can get back on a schedule soon.
Clothing Size: Evelyn has grown so much in the last month.  She’s already outgrown a few of her 3-6 month clothes!  She still fits into all of her 6 month clothes.
Diapers: Huggies Little Snugglers size 2
Shoe Size: Still going barefoot…

First time sitting up without support:
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First time in a pool:
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First 4th of July:

First time out for a run:
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Yes, I took all three kids with me.  The big two ran along while Evelyn rode in the stroller.

Six months down, and only six months left to plan a first birthday party.  Good thing I have Charlotte to help me out.  She’s decided that she wants to be a professional party planner!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Surviving a Cross-Country Drive with Kids

We managed to drive from California to Pennsylvania with three kids and a dog without losing our sanity!

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In all honesty, the drive itself wasn’t bad at all.

I thought I’d share a few things that helped us along the way.

New things keep the kids busy in the car.  After good days on the road, Trenton and Charlotte got “surprises” to use in the car the following day.  Their surprises were things like puzzles, stickers, puzzle books, and workbooks.  Also, before our trip, I went on eBay and bought Trenton and Charlotte each a couple games for their Nintendo DS’s and books for their LeapReaders that I used as surprises.

Nip car sickness in the bud.  Charlotte started complaining of “forehead aches” our first day on the road before we even got out of California.  Her DS and LeapReader were making her carsick.  I made her put them away for the rest of the day, and the next morning I walked across the street from our hotel to make a visit to CVS.  I bought Sea-Bands and Bonine.  She wore the Sea-Bands each day in the car and also got half a Bonine each morning (CVS only had the adult version of Bonine, so that’s why I had to split them in half).  These worked wonderfully, and Charlotte didn’t complain of “forehead aches” again.

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Talk to locals.  Jarrod met a couple in a laundromat in West Yellowstone, Montana that told him about a route – Alt 14 - through Wyoming that went through the mountains and was only open during the summer months.  We took the route – along with the roads that took us from the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone to Alt 14 - , and boy are we glad that we did.  It was one of the most gorgeous drives I’ve ever been on!


Get out of the car.  It’s always nice to get out of a cramped car to stretch your legs and learn about a new area.


It’s also a nice change to run around in the snow on a nice summer day! 

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Get off the interstate.  Jarrod and I saw a show about Devil’s Tower National Monument a week or so before our move.  When we looked at the map, it wasn’t that far off our route, so we decided to get off the interstate to check it out.  Trenton and Charlotte were equally interested in the actual way that the formation came about (volcanic activity) and the Indian legend as to how the formation came about (Seven Indian girls were being chased by a bear, climbed on a rock, prayed that the rock would save them, and the rock grew.  The bear clawed at the rock (leaving claw marks), but the rock kept growing until the girls were pushed all the way up into the sky where they still are today – a group of stars known as the Pleiades.)


If you’re in South Dakota, stay here!  We got into Rapid City, South Dakota around 2:00 in the afternoon.  We called the hotel we had made reservations at (Best Western), and asked if we could check in early.  Our room was ready, so we checked in, changed clothes, and hit the hotel’s indoor water park.  This was definitely the best Best Western I’ve ever stayed at (and they have a good military discount)!

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Watch those road signs!  The badlands wasn’t on our list of places to stop and see, but when we saw a sign for Badlands National Park, we decided to check it out.  We didn’t spend much time there (it was hot, and we had Bailey with us), but what we saw was really neat, and the kids (including the big kid) had a blast “rock climbing.”


Be flexible.  Our original route had us visiting Chicago.  But it was hot, and we had Bailey with us, so we didn’t think we’d be able to see much in the Windy City.  So we changed our plans and took a more southerly route.  I messaged a friend from Monterey who is now living along the new route we were going to be taking, and she offered up their guest bedroom to us.  With about 24 hours notice.  Military friends are so awesome!  And it was so nice to relax with friends and spend a night in a house rather than another hotel.   I think the kids enjoyed it too!

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Grow an extendo arm.  Yeah, so I didn’t do this, but it would have been nice.  Especially since a certain baby can’t hold a bottle herself or keep a paci in her mouth very well. 

3600 miles, 12 states, 3 national parks, 1 national monument, 1 national memorial, 2 reunions with friends, and many many memories made.  I’d say we had a pretty good trip!  Now getting into and out of hotels and all the kids asleep each night and back out the door before 9:00 the next morning was another story.  If anyone has tips on that, let me know!

And if you missed any of my other posts about our drive, here they are:
- Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks
- Mount Rushmore

Sunday, July 6, 2014

4th of July Weekend

We are still working on getting the house squared away (with the awesome help of my mom who flew out here), but we did take a few breaks over the holiday weekend.

Friday started out with a bike ride for the boys in downtown Carlisle – part of the Carlisle Summerfair.  They made it 4 1/2 of the course’s 6 miles.  When I asked Trenton about it, he told me that it wasn’t really really fun because there were a lot of hills.  And they were all ups – no downs at all.  Yep, he’ll probably be one to say he walked to and from school in the snow uphill both ways too…

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We were invited over to our neighbors’ house for dinner and fireworks Friday evening, so I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen making food.  It would have gone quicker if I wouldn’t have had to make a second batch of coleslaw after spilling most of the first on the floor.

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We had a wonderful time Friday evening. We met more new neighbors, ate delicious food, and had fun with fireworks.

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Saturday was spent working around the house and playing outside.  If you missed it on Instagram – @creativelyblooming – we’ve been having fun with our water slide on the hill behind the house.

Our original plan for today was to go to Gettysburg (only 30 minutes away!) for the annual reenactment, but Charlotte has been having side effect issues with the medication that she’s on for a UTI, so we decided against a full day spent in the heat and sun.

Instead, we started the day off at church, came home for lunch, visited the library (our second visit in the week that we’ve lived here), and worked more around the house.  We went out for dinner at a cute little BBQ stand, and enjoyed the nice evening weather.

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All in all, we got a lot of work done, but also took time to enjoy the weekend too.  I’d say that it turned out pretty good!


*And I’m not quite finished with move posts yet.  Look for one more coming later this week!*

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mount Rushmore

One of my favorite stops on our cross-country roadtrip was Mount Rushmore.


One, because Mount Rushmore is pretty dang awesome, and two, because we got to see it with one of my very best friends.


We opted to visit Mount Rushmore in the evening so that we could see it lit up.


Before it was dark and the monument was lit, we walked around the park, learning about four of our nation’s most influential presidents.  Then we settled in (standing because all of the amphitheater seats were already taken) for a short film and then the lighting of the memorial.

Hearing about all of the wonderful things that these men did for our country was very uplifting – especially so close to our nation’s birthday.

The night ended with all of the active duty men and women and veterans coming down to the stage to be recognized.


I loved the overwhelmingly patriotic feeling that I got visiting Mount Rushmore.  And I highly recommend seeing it at night to anyone else wanting to visit.  The amphitheater was full, but the trail was virtually empty, and we didn’t have any trouble getting out of the parking lot once the evening’s festivities were done.  And another plus – after staying out until 10:30 at night, the kids all slept past 8:00 the next morning!