Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Schwartz's vs the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum

Since we went to the Naval Aviation Museum when we were in Pensacola over the summer, Cody has been in love with planes.  So when Chris asked if we could go to the Air Force Museum in Dayton while we were visiting Pete for Thanksgiving I thought it was a great plan.  This museum was kind of cool, and had we been to this one first I'd probably think higher of it.  But the problem is we went to the Navy one first, and the Navy one is waaaaaaaay better than the Air Force one.  The Navy one is really made for kids.  There is so much for them to touch and do.  The Air Force one is made for adults.  Lots of interesting things to read and cool planes to look at, but very little for kids to touch and experience.  

Here's a few pictures we took while we were at the museum.

Astronaut Sarah
Slightly ironic they have this suit set up for you to take pictures and then wrapped around the waist of it they have a sign that says, "Do not touch!".

The lighting in the hangers was a little dim so we had a hard time getting a group picture.  This one was well lit so mom snapped a quick pic of us.

Natalie, Cody, Chris, Sarah, David

Flight Training Mishap set up

Cody was hilarious at this display of the crashed plane.  With a big grumpy face he said, "I crashed it!" He told everyone that he broke the plane and he crashed it.  The look on his face while he'd confess to this sin had me rolling with laughter.

Cool sea plane

I like the paint job on it.

Over in the one room that had a few things kids could touch they had a simulator where you were supposed to dock at the ISS.
Sarah flying the simulator.  Cody cheering her on.

I'm pretty sure Sarah either crashed or flew far off course.  

Daddy's turn to fly the space ship.  Cody's helping.

Sarah inside a plane.

You can tell how interested I was in all the planes since I can't tell you what any of them are.  Anyway, above was the only plane you were able to walk through.  After we all went through it Sarah begged to do it again by herself.  At that point I realized just how hard up she was for entertainment at this place.  

Fun fact, see the tube above Sarah's head.  When this plane was in use that was the crew's passage.  The walk way we passed through was created by cutting out the middle section of the wings.

Some fighter jet.  Chris could tell you what it is.

Cute prop plane the kids wanted their picture in front of.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Thanksgiving 2013

Before we begin, I must admit I was really lazy at taking pictures this year.  So I apologize in advance for all the blurry pictures from Thanksgiving.  I pulled all of them off my mom's facebook page and she took all of them with her cell phone.  So they aren't the clearest bunch of photos but it's all we've got so it will do.

It was a Smith year for Thanksgiving so we all traveled to Pete's house in Cincinnati to celebrate.  They do a really good job hosting Thanksgiving.  And hopefully it is relatively low stress for them because I think we have delegated them to host every time it's a Smith Thanksgiving year.  Once again my family scored the basement for sleeping arrangements.  This is great because it's pitch black so Cody was still able to nap on days that we were home.  And he was a good boy and didn't need to be confined to the pack and play so that was exciting for us.

This was the best picture I could get of the two of them.

Elizabeth made a great meal!  Her neighbor is kind enough to let us use their oven as well so everything comes together at about the same time making a nice hot meal.  Plus, their kitchen/dining area is big enough to fit everyone unlike anyone else's house at the moment.

Mom took cell phone shots around the table so here we all are.
Peter (in the back), Henry, Me, Cody, and a partial picture of Chris.

Sarah, Logan, Emily, Henry, David, Me

Me (why am I in ALL of these?), Cody and Chris

AJ (Melissa's friend), Irene, and Dave

Dave, Sarah, Logan, Allison, Emily, Cody

Peter, Elizabeth, and Melissa

They made a ton of food so thankfully we didn't have to cook dinner for the other 2 nights.  We all just reheated left overs when we got hungry.  Makes the weekend much less stressful.

So after that we all just hung out.  Much electronics were involved.  Wherever there was an electronic out Logan could be found.  And wherever Logan was Sarah was right there too.  She loved playing with him.  And he was pretty patient with his newest fan.
Hanging out

Mom recently inherited some antique ornaments from her Aunt.  Aunt Dot use to have the most amazing Christmas tree.  And mom always loved her ornaments and decorations.  In earlier years, mom was supposed to inherit all the Christmas ornaments.  But for whatever reason not many survived so she was only left with 8 small shoe boxes full.  She kept 2 for herself and brought the other 6 for us to choose from.  We laid them all out and then took turns picking one at a time.

Looking over all the ornaments.

More of Dot's ornaments.

More of Dot's ornaments.

A lot of the ornaments were from the 20s and 30s, hand painted, and glass, so they are very fragile.  Others were from the 70s and Uncle Thoral had painted them.  Some were hilariously not our taste and we had fun laughing at the creepy clown which Emily chose.  I think mom enjoyed watching us pour over her Aunt's ornaments and select the ones we'd hang on our own trees now.

I picked this one.

And I picked this one.

The rest of the time was spent hanging out watching tv and playing cards every evening.  I had a pretty good run at Oh Heck one night only racking up 5 points.  

Friday, after I'm sure all the Black Friday shoppers were in bed again, we ventured out to get a few things.  Elizabeth wanted help making some deco mesh wreaths.  So we went to HobLob to pick up some things for it.  Their Hobby Lobby is massive!  You could probably fit at least 2 of our HobLobs inside theirs!  It's pretty much heaven on earth, no wait, that's the other place we went.

Showing Elizabeth how to make decomesh wreaths.

Discussing where to put the picks.

The final product.

Elizabeth made 2 matching wreaths to hang on either side of her garage door.  

After we got back from Hob Lob we gathered everyone else for our traditional trip to Ikea.  Chris didn't get to go back in 2011 because he stayed home with Sarah so she could nap.  He was very excited.  But before we could go to Ikea, as avid Shark Tank watchers, we had to go to Tom + Chee.  It was pretty good.  We even ordered a dessert sandwich off of their "fancy doughnut sandwiches".  Ours was a grilled doughnut sandwich with graham cracker, marshmallow marscapone cheese, and chocolate.  It was pretty tasty.  

Then we headed to Ikea where Chris fell in love with the place.  Sarah was old enough to go to the kid zone but Cody had to hang out with us.  So we spent a lot of time tossing him in stuffed animal bins and letting him climb on couches and maybe other things not meant to be sat on.
Sitting on a furry blanket reading a book in Swedish.  

See the puppy in the picture.  We let him pick that out of one of the stuff animal bins we tossed him in.  He fell in love and it has been with him every where he has gone since.  To make sure no one got upset Sarah also got to pick out a stuffed dog after we picked her up. 

We were really looking for a book shelf for Sarah's room and another roll of paper for their easel we got 2 years ago but allowed ourselves 3 impulse buys (because it's too hard not for things to jump in your cart at Ikea).  So we also allowed the stuffed animals, a pop up laundry holder, and a new bath mat to follow us home.

We dreamed of all the things we'd buy for the playroom and Sarah's new room once Chris finishes the upstairs.  I fell in love with the Manment (?) wardrobe.  
If this next baby is a girl I would totally buy that as a dress up storage closet.  I'd put some cute vinyl on the front.  It's so girly and adorable.   I love it.  But if this next one is a boy we wouldn't get enough use out of it for me to justify having such a fun storage piece just for dress up clothes.

All in all it was a great trip.  It was wonderful to spend time together as a family and the kids did really well on the two 8 hour drives.  On the way home we decided to break up the trip and stop for a long lunch in Nashville.  I thought it'd be fun to take the kids to the Rain Forest Cafe.  Sarah loved it.  Cody hated it.  He was not happy anytime the gorillas we sat near started to do their thing.  He handled it a couple of different ways.  He whined about them.  Then he tried to shoot them with the crayon in his hand.  Finally he decided he'd be ok as long as Chris had his hand on his back.  So he put Chris's hand on his back and didn't complain anymore unless Chris moved it.  Then he'd tell his dad to "put hand here!" 

See Chris's hand on Cody's back?

Sarah coloring before lunch came.

About the only thing Cody loved at Rain Forest Cafe was meeting the mascot.  Cody loves characters.  He was so excited and quickly smiled for a picture.  He even wanted to meet the frog again when it came around a second time.

Cody, Sarah, and the Rain Forest Frog 

Of course we ate so much that we felt like we needed to walk for a bit before we started driving again.  That mall is so huge and was so crowded it took us 3 hours to walk the loop.  Crazy!  I would definitely love to visit that mall some other time when I have unlimited funds and no kids (a girl can dream can't she?).  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Schwartz's vs CFA Date Night 2013

Sarah has been looking forward to her Daddy-Daughter date for weeks!  She seriously has told every person she has come in contact with about her upcoming date with her daddy.  So I'm glad that it's finally happened so she can move on to another topic.

The date started out a little rough.  Sarah woke up from nap time super grumpy.  She was still whiney and being a pain when Chris got home from work.  Chris basically had to swoop in and grab Sarah and head out the door to get to the zoo on time.  So her still being grumpy was not helping the situation.  And Cody fell apart when he realized Chris was leaving again.  It was a long week and the kids hadn't seen Chris since he put them to bed Sunday night (the date was Thursday evening).  So for Chris to come in, say hi, give kisses and then try to scoot Sarah and him out the door just broke poor little Cody's heart.  Luckily he perked up because he and I had a date planned too.  (Going to wal-mart then teaching a class a church, wohoo.)

I let Cody decide where he and I would go eat dinner.  He picked CFA so we headed there.  Just shortly after we ordered Chris texted "Call me.  Emergency".  So I did only to learn he and Sarah had just been in an accident.  They were rear ended, but thankfully no one was hurt and the driver that hit them was very apologetic and took full responsibility when the police arrived.  Also, luckily it happened in Millington so the police came quickly (instead of Memphis where it would have taken forever) so they didn't get completely soaked while they waited for the report to be filed and good stuff.

Right after the accident when I first spoke to him he didn't think they'd be able to go on the date.  I asked if the car was still drivable and since it was I encouraged him to still take Sarah to the Zoo date even if they were a little late.  Since I was at CFA I spoke to the manager on duty who communicated with the owner of that location who was at the Date Night and he made arrangements for Chris and Sarah to still be able to eat even if they were late.  Since the Millington police arrived quickly, and car was still drivable, Chris and Sarah were thankfully still able to get to CFA Daddy-Daughter date night. They missed out on a few of the activities that were supposed to be available but Sarah didn't know about them so she still had a great time with Chris.

Arriving at the Zoo for Date Night
This is my new favorite picture of Sarah.  It is a rare genuine smile caught on camera.  She has a beautiful smile but all I ever get is the cheesey forced one for pictures.

Our Chic-fil-a's in the Memphis area join together for Daddy-Daughter date night at host it at the Memphis Zoo with a sneak peak of Zoo lights.  Sarah was really excited.

Of course, it was still raining and they had no umbrella so the first thing they did when they got there was head straight to the gift shop and buy an umbrella.  Chris let Sarah pick one out.
Posing with her new umbrella.

Then they headed to the China Pavilion where dinner was being served.  Sarah got a goodie bag that included a pink tiara.  She loves it!
Dinner time.

After dinner they enjoyed walking around in the rain looking at the various light displays.  They went to the Northwest Passage where the daddy daughter dance was being held and Sarah danced with her handsome man.  They also rode on the carousel.
She loves carousel rides.

They also had ice skating available but Chris didn't take Sarah into the ice rink since they were both still  soaked from standing in the rain during the accident.  He didn't want her to freeze.  It's pretty cold in there!  Plus he figured they didn't have skates in her size.  So instead he took her for her first ferris wheel ride.
On the ferris wheel.

I'm glad they were still able to go and have a great time despite the rocky start to date night.  Chris and Sarah both needed some quality bonding time.  And she's still wearing that crown she got and talking about her date.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Schwartz's vs the Lego Duplo House Party

Have y'all heard of the website HouseParty?  It's basically a product testing company.  I got invited to a Little People House Party a few years ago but didn't go because the invite was from someone who is ALWAYS inviting me to stupid come buy stuff parties and I'm anti those things.  Sorry.  

Anyway, upon seeing pictures of the Little People party on FB from that person I decided to go to the website and check it out.  Um, it's awesome.  So basically from what I understand, companies contact house party and want to have a product reviewed or shared or what have you.  Houseparty puts out info and you apply to host the party.  Different parties garner different things.  But from what I learned about that Little People party was toy parties usually get you FREE TOYS.  I like free.  Free is my favorite.  So I signed up for the HouseParty emails and scan the subject lines for toys that I like.  When one comes up, I apply to host a party.  I think I've applied for about 4 or 5 and never got picked.  So when the Duplo party was announced I, of course, applied and assumed I would not get picked.

I was shocked and over the moon thrilled when I got an email saying I was selected as a host for this party.  First because it meant free stuff and second because my kids LOVE duplos.  It's one of their favorite things to play with.  And both of them like to play with the duplos equally and we play blocks every day at some point.  Daddy is, as expected, way better at playing blocks than I am.  Sometimes it annoys me because he builds these amazingly creative things and then the next day they ask me to build a zoo and I'm like, I can build a tower.  

Anyway, so I got picked to host a Lego Duplo Planes and Jake and the Neverland Pirates party.  In my host box I got all 3 Lego Duplo Planes sets and all 3 Lego Dulpo Jake and the Neverland Pirates sets, and a Jake movie that I got to keep.  The swag bag for the guests included some coupons, crowns, stickers, and coloring sheets.  I also bought some Jake tattoos and made some gold doubloons to add to the swag bags.  

As a host all I had to do was invite 10 kids, make the party fun, provide some food, and afterwards post some pictures to their secure site and answer some questions.  This blog post is not required but we had such a good time at the play date that I wanted show off the cute pictures.  The kids had a blast!

They colored while we waited for all the guests to arrive.

After everyone arrived I told them that we were supposed to have a Lego party but Captain Hook (that sneaky snook!) stole our treasure box full of legos!  Luckily we had Cubby's map to help us find the box.
Chris made the map and painted the gold doubloons.  Then Chris added the pirate decorations to those.

So armed with our first piece of the treasure map and the clue that it was in Crocodile Cove we set out to the first pirate challenge.

On our treasure hunt.

That was a lot of people.

Sarah, Jess, and Jack were so cute.  They kept talking about how sneaky Captain Hook was to steal our lego treasure.

Cody and his best friend Wy-Wy.

I'm pretty positive we looked nuts to our neighbors, especially when one of them texted me and asked why their was a plank of wood in their cove.  Ha!

So their first pirate challenge in order to earn some gold doubloons and the next piece of the map was the Walk the Plank!


I love his celebratory face here!

Sarah walked the plank.

Cody ran the plank

And then like 3 or 4 others ran across it so fast I didn't get pictures.  Sorry parents!




Henry and Auntie Em

Everyone got a gold doubloon after they walked the plank and when they were all done they earned the next piece of the treasure map.  That sent them back down the street to the other cove where they had to answer some pirate questions. 

Everyone knew the pirate password, "Yo ho ho!" so they all got more doubloons and the final piece of the treasure map that revealed the treasure box was hidden under the slide so off they went running.  Proper street crossing procedures were definitely not used but thankfully we live near the end of a non-busy street.

We found it!

Showing off their booty! (We lost a few kids to the swing set in the back.)

Then it was inside to play with our new legos.  I decided to keep my sanity by separating the kids.  So I asked them to play Planes legos in Cody's room and Jake legos in the living room.  I think it helped.  

Setting up the Jakes sets.

Figuring out the Planes sets.

Cody is a plane hoarder.

Cody got one of the Plane sets for his birthday, so he had some sharing issues.  That and it was an awful lot for a 2 year old to handle.  He was getting all these new blocks and all these people were over there touching his stuff.  He mellowed out eventually as long as he had his green plane which was one that he got for his birthday.  Since we already had that Plane set, I gave the one from the host box away as a door prize. 

Still working on those awesome Jake sets.

Got the island built!

And there's Bucky!

The girls are still working on building the hide away.

Finished Skipper's Flight School

After some hard core play time it was finally time for our play date to come to an end and lunch to be served.  I was pretty proud of the food names I came up with.  I served some fruit to scare away scurvy, peg legs (vegetable sticks), Cheese Planks (Papa John's cheese sticks) and cannonballs (meat balls).  I'm not very witty when it comes to coming up with creative names for party food so I thought these were pretty good.   

Snack time!

The Jake sets have been by far the favorite around here.  Many islands and versions of Bucky have been built since the party.  I was worried that having sets would stiffel their creativity cause they'd want the same thing built based off the directions but thankfully, and probably because of a very creative Chris, that hasn't been the case.  In fact, with the sets Cody has been more imaginative with his play.  He builds something with Chris and Sarah's help and then acts things out with his Jake characters.  The flight stuff hasn't been built again but the blocks have been used and Cody carries the planes around like they could save his life.  Instead of just needing to take the green one everywhere he now leaves the house with 3 to 5 planes clutched to his chest.  

Disclosure: Again, I was provided the host pack from House Party for free, however, writing a blog post was not part of the agreement to host the party.  So all pictures and opinions shared are my own and written because I wanted to share the cute pictures from our little lego pirate play date not as part of a compensation agreement.