Saturday, November 17, 2012

a highly educational field trip for a mom...

The third grade went on a field trip to a local teaching zoo and planetarium. I went as a chaperon to hang out with Ashley. We went to the planetarium first, and I tried to take a video of the cool things we saw on the ceiling (including falling planets and a roller coaster ride!), but it was too dark.

Then we headed over to the zoo. It's not the kind of zoo that has elephants, and one boy in my group whined the whole time, "But where are the elephants? Where are the lions?"

 Instead we got to see a kookaburra.
I'm not sure if it's sitting in an old gum tree, but it was fun to see anyway.

Colorful peacocks wandered around freely, but never fluffed up their feathers for us.

The orangutans were extremely active. Maybe they had to keep moving to keep warm.
You know, because 63* is so cold to those of us living in the Swamp.

But the most educational thing I saw during the field trip was this:
 It's blurry, but this boy spent the entire field trip taking pictures of Ashley.
And I'm not exaggerating. He took about 799.9 million pictures of her.

 And this boy put his arm around her and tried to hold her hand the entire time. You can see the paparazzi boy in the red hoodie checking out the other boy putting his arm around her.

 The boy in the black shirt teased the boy in the blue shirt about his crush on Ashley and how he was always trying to make her laugh. The boy in blue didn't deny it.

As I said, it was educational for me.
Luckily she's not flirting back much in return.
Thank goodness for the tomboyish part of this princess's personality!

Friday, November 9, 2012

two gator parades down, one to go

This is the second year we've attended the university's homecoming parade. It's a pretty big deal here. About a hundred-thousand people show up to watch, and the kids even get a day off from school.

 We're wearing our blue and orange camouflage so we blend right in. You probably can't even see us.

 Roto Rooter has a classy float.

 I hope this isn't a real dead gator playing football on this float.

 I think our coach might have a big head after winning so many games this season.

 Even the gator-soldiers got into the festivities.
I didn't know they let big green alligators serve in the military, but apparently they do.

 For how much the gators love their football team, I was surprised they were all stuffed into a dump truck.
Maybe those are the disposable bench warmers.

 It's always fun to see Albert and Alberta waving at you from a convertible.

 McGruff is one tough dude. He rode around in this Homeland Security vehicle.

 Even though the kids were excited for the parade, we still had a bit of this going on, when someone didn't get a closer seat due to the fact that we showed up right before the parade started.

Next year will be our last gator homecoming parade. maybe we'll act like crazy gator fans and show up early enough to have a cushy seat in the shade where we can see all the action and maybe get the candy and coupons that are only tossed to 100,000 people on the front row.

It's great to be a Florida Gator!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

camp crystal

The 5th grade went on a 3-day 2-night field trip to a lake camp that the school district owns.
Ethan said being away from his parents made him nervous and excited at the same time.

 While he was there, they did archery (where he got a bulls eye), team building activities, hiking, catching fish in the lake with nets, went on a hay ride in the dark, as well as a night hike where they saw shimmering spider eyes everywhere.
 In the shower he caught a tiny gold-eyed tree frog and a leopard frog. Apparently Ethan didn't get friendly with his bar of soap while he was in there, because it was still brand new when he came home.
 This lizard bit another kid's finger and was hanging and wouldn't let go until Ethan saved the poor lizard.

 This is their cabin. About 10 kids slept in each cabin, with 3 adults in an adjoining room. The boys all made tooting noises with their mouths as well as their bottoms while they talked all night. Chris stayed the first night and couldn't sleep due to another dad's snoring. And poor Ethan couldn't sleep because of all the tooting.
 At night, a man came in and said, "have you brushed your teeth?" yes. "have you said your prayers?" all the boys said, "not yet."
One boy gathered everyone together and had them repeat the prayer after him. "Dear God, Thank you that we could come to camp, and for all the chocolate chip cookies. Amen." They all liked that prayer.

Sweet Ethan and Malakai, who is also LDS, said their own prayers. One of the kids wondered what was wrong with Malakai because he was kneeling by his bed with his head bowed. Ethan had to explain that he was praying.

When Ethan got off the bus today, he was practically floating he was so happy. I'm glad his first experience away from us was a good one!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Frusins: (noun) cousins who are also friends

Some of our Frusins came to town last week, and ended up with two timeshare apartments in Orlando.
They were generous enough to let us stay in one of them for a few days over the weekend.
The kids loved hanging out with Jeremy again, and meeting baby Maggie.
Our Swamp pool is too cold now, so it's been a few weeks since we've been swimming.
Luckily, these ones were heated.

 After we had our fill of swimming for the evening, we headed over to the clubhouse, where we played in an indoor playground and arcade. Ethan and Ashley couldn't get enough of baby Maggie.
The kids loved riding on a virtual roller coaster,
even though sometimes their expressions were more afraid than amused.
They begged to go back again the next day.

It's rare where we're actually all in a picture together. Too bad we all have swim hair.
But chlorine tangles aside, you can see it was a beautiful night!

The next day we headed over to Jeremy's pool, which had two water slides and no lines to wait in.
Ethan and Josh took full advantage of their water slide time.

Just being lazy in the lazy river.

We crossed the parking lot to another Marriott resort that had an even cooler huge lazy river.
The kids felt like they were floating through the jungle.
Josh didn't like being spit on by the cougar.

This pool wasn't heated, and we only went around twice because it was too cold.
Josh was shivering and I had to hold him most of the way.

Our resort offered a swim-in movie and s'mores around a fire later that night,
but we were pretty tired from swimming all day.
The kids decided to take a relaxing bubble bath in the double-seated jetted tub.

When we weren't swimming, we played in the playground,

did a little shuffle boarding,

tossed beanbags, played ping pong,
and watched the Disney channel on an outdoor TV while eating popcorn.

 But they would have been happy to play games on the ipad all day.

 The vacation wore Chris out. Now he needs a vacation from his vacation.

 When we were hanging out in the apartment with the patio doors open, the music and pool noises floated up in the warm breeze. The kids kept saying it felt like a tropical vacation.
Which is kind of funny since we live here in the "tropics"

But it was a tropical vacation we never would have had if our Frusins didn't share their trip with us.

Thank you for the fun weekend!
See you again in a year and a half... 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

some trunks and some treating

last night our ward had a trunk or treat party. Josh was a mad scientist, and Ashley was an angel.
We had grilled hotdogs, veggies and chips.
The men were in charge of the food sign up sheet. Everyone signed up for chips.
But not everyone told their wives to buy chips. Ours was the only bag. 

These guys dressed up like missionaries. Oh, wait, those are real missionaries eating with us.
But they did dress up -- see the orange ties?

 Ashley's best church friends. We love those Kostansek girls!

 We didn't do much to the back of our car. Last year we had all of our spooky halloween decorations set up, but with our recent move, it felt like too much work. So we just used our spooky glow-in-the-dark balloons instead.

 The annual eating of the donut on a string.
One of the YW leaders and I also participated in this contest. Thankfully I didn't get a picture of it... since it was probably the scariest thing that happened all night.

 I look like I'm pregnant with this cat, but I'm not. I'm a cat burglar. That's a cat I stole from Ashley's room.

 My YW were in charge of the cookie decorating area. The kids love being in charge of how much frosting and how many sprinkles they get to put on their cookies. And of course, the first kid who sat down to decorate his cookie coughed all over the bowl of frosting. Then coughed all over it again.

Having kids cough on your junk food makes it easy to not want to eat it.

 Fishing for treats. (And as you can see in this picture, Ashley stole her cat back from the cat burglar.)

 Josh found another mad scientist/stake patriarch to hang out with.
I'm not sure who had skull surgery during the party, but it looks like the scientists did a great job.

 Before it was time for the cows to come home,
we rounded up our herd to get a picture in the insane assylum.
Josh is mixing up an invisible potion.
Ethan's saying, "Moo" instead of cheese, even though cows can rightly say "cheese" since it's a dairy product.
Ashley's looking angelic, as always.

It was a fun night and we bagged a ton of loot to munch on for days to come.
But we let someone else take the coughed-on cookies home...because we're nice like that.