Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Haircuts for All

On Sunday morning, when Allie was frustratingly raking a brush through all of the knots in her long, tangled, mess of a hairstyle, she declared that maybe shorter hair wouldn't be such a bad idea.  Since I had been awaiting that very proclamation for the past six months, we immediately left for the salon before she changed her mind. 

It had been a couple months since Zach had his hair cut, so he was also in need of a trim.  Olivia probably could have gotten by without a cut, but since it had also been a good six months since a scissors touched her hair, we signed her up for a trim as well.

I was worried Allie would change her mind, especially when the stylist asked her a million times if she was sure she wanted all her long hair cut off.

After the first cut, I breathed a sigh of relief...there's no going back now!

After a chlorine stripping treatment for her severely damaged hair, she was good to go.  I was a little concerned she would HATE the new do, but it turns out she LOVES it! 

In fact, she may have inspired me to go short again!  However, when I told her about my short hair aspirations, she rolled her eyes (yep, we've got that lovely habit down pat) and told me I should keep it long because she doesn't want us to look like we're matching.  (Hello.....my mom and I don't have matching hairstyles and people still think we're sisters?!  Join the club, babe). 

We'll see...but, for now I'm leaning toward the chop....I can only wear so many ponytails before doing something drastic. 

Olivia's Funny Comments

I've been trying to keep track of all the funny things Olivia has been saying lately, but she talks so much that it is almost impossible to record all the things she says that make us laugh!

Here are a few that I remember from the past month or so...and they still make me chuckle.

After preschool one day, Olivia was very proud to recite to us the Bible verse she learned:

"The Lord is my LEOPARD!" she proclaimed. 

When I asked her if she was sure it was leopard and not something like shepherd, she argued with me for quite some time about why the Lord is her leopard.  Reasons included:  God is strong like a leopard (in her mind a leopard is much bigger and stronger than some guy who watches over sheep), God is beautiful like a big leopard, God is fast like a leopard. 

She came home from school the following week just as excited to tell us the newest verse she learned:

"The Lord is my HELPER!" she announced. 

Ahhhh....now it all makes sense.  She still insists, though, that the helper verse is entirely different from the leopard verse. 
In the car we were having a conversation about preschool when Olivia stated, matter-of-factly, that her preschool does not have a restroom. 
We argued back and forth for a good five minutes before I said in a rather exacerbated tone, "Olivia, I would not send you to a preschool where there was not a restroom.  If you need to go pee or poop, there is a toilet right inside your room and I'm sure your teachers would be happy to help you." 
"I know they have a bathroom, Mom," she responded, annoyed that I had just pointed out something so glaringly obvious, "but, they don't have a room with a little mat and a pillow so I can take a rest if I get tired.  They really need to get a rest-room in my preschool!"

And, finally, while we were eating lunch, Olivia was telling me yet another story from preschool about her teachers and friends.  When she finished the tale, she looked at me with wild eyes and yelled,

"MOM!  I KNOW!  I need to write all of these things down in my DIARRHEA so I can remember them!"

Snow Day FIVE?!

Well, it looks like we are on snow day #5 for the month of January (with no snow...just snot-freeze cold temps with wind chills nearing -40 degrees...seriously, it is so cold that when I take the dog outside to do his business, I hold my breath for as long as possible because it literally hurts to breathe).

Yesterday, I decided to enforce mandatory (mom-made-up) homework assignments for the kids.  Since I had already promised cartoons (I told them on the first snow day that cartoons in the morning are a snow day tradition), the deal was that they had to complete their homework assignments (with minimal complaints...this morning I actually kept track as they were only allowed 3 complaints before there were no cartoons...yep, I'm that kind of mom) before cartoons. 

Allie tackled some math, word problems, grammar, piano practice, and reading:

Zach (very reluctantly...he definitely strategically timed his three complaints so he was able to adequately inform me that this was not what he wanted to do on his snow days) worked on math, writing, piano practice, and reading:

Olivia, the most enthusiastic of the bunch, worked on tracing her name and operating the scissors:

And, yes, currently it is Tuesday morning and all three kids are still in the same pajamas that they put on before bed on Sunday night.  Just FYI...I actually got dressed this morning. 

Since I'm not too terribly good at feeling stuck-at-home, you can imagine I have had my fill of cold weather days.  We've cooked, we've cleaned, we've done laundry, we've run around the basement, we've played with the dog, we've colored, we've played Uno Attack, we've watched cartoons, we've read books, we've bounced off the walls, we've played more Monopoly Jr. than should be considered humane, and the kids royally creamed me at Yahtzee multiple times....

You see the 168?  Yep, that is my score. 
I think once the temps start to get closer to the 0 degrees mark this afternoon, I might load up the kids and make a trip to the grocery store to replenish our milk and eggs....for some reason, when everyone is home, I always run out of milk and eggs! 

Although we've enjoyed the break (even though the kids would never admit it), we're ready for some normalcy again.  Plus, with every snow day spent home from school, I lament the loss of that beautiful June summer day that the kids will probably have to spend in school to make up for it. 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Escaping the Bitter Cold: Our Trip to Kalahari

I think it is safe to say that this is the coldest January I ever remember living through!  With three "snow" days (no snow, just -20 degree actual temps with -40ish degree wind chills) on the books in the past two weeks and another polar vortex blast (isn't it great that we now have cool sounding apocalyptic names for weather events?) coming our way Monday with the very real possibility of a fourth "snow" day, I am grateful for the warm family getaway we just returned from yesterday. 

Granted, we weren't able to bask in Florida sunshine or rake our toes through warm sandy beaches, but spending three days in an indoor waterpark (with a glass roof that lets in the arctic sun minus the freezing temps), running around with bare feet and swimsuits, felt just like heaven on earth!

We've spent the other couple of snow days keeping busy at home or at the indoor play park (like the entire rest of the Twin Cities who felt cooped up after two snow days in a row)....

Snow Day #2 at the indoor play park
....so, it was kind of cool that we were already at the Kalahari Resort and Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells when we got the call that school had been cancelled for a third time. 

I also felt a little better knowing the kids would be missing one less day of school than originally anticipated. 

We arrived early Tuesday evening and the kids were so excited that we were barely in our room five minutes before every single one of them had their swimsuits on. 

Much of our three days' time was spent at the waterpark where the kids enjoyed the water slides, wave pool, lazy river, "hot" pools, and kids' activity pools.

Ben was brave enough to try out the Flow-Rider.

Allie tried a couple times too...but the wave was pretty powerful and she gave up after almost losing her swimsuit bottoms!

This was Olivia's favorite slide.  I'm fairly certain she rode it at least a hundred times.

I always enjoy the break from normal household activities that vacation brings...especially the no cooking part, but still enjoying big breakfasts and lots of tasty treats!

Zach particularly loved eating here because not only do the kids meals come on leaf plates, but they come complete with a gummy worm!

We also had fun exploring the resort together.  Even though we didn't go anywhere geographically warm, when we were inside the Kalahari Resort, we felt like we had momentarily escaped the cold of the Midwest and were livin' the jungle life.

Planning our vacation mid-week during off-peak time does have its benefits.  For example, the kids pretty much had free reign of the indoor play park.  And, since they were also the only kids that entered the coloring contest, they were counted among its winners!

When our fingers and toes got too pruny in the water park, we made our way over to the indoor amusement park.  We enjoyed the arcade games, Ferris wheel, go-karts, ropes courses, climbing wall, laser tag, bumper boats, carousel, and interactive 3-D games. 
Apparently Olivia has a secret talent for winning arcade games...here she is with her first 100-ticket jackpot win of the week.

Allie and Ben made it all the way to the top of the ropes course...which I believe was about 6 stories tall!

Olivia with her second big jackpot win of the week...this time, 500 tickets!

Zach is still not a fan of the carousel...so Ben sat next to him on the stationary bench. 
We arrived home yesterday after far too much junk food (I never thought I could actually grow tired of pizza and processed cheese nachos) and far too little sleep (our bed never felt better than when I collapsed into it last night). 

Although tired and recovering from vacation fun overload, we are all healthy (oh, yes, Zach did come down with strep throat a few days before we left) and happy to be home.  The kids especially missed this little guy:

When asked about their favorite Kalahari vacation memories, each of the three kids had something a little different to add. 
Allie:  The Master Blaster (basically a waterslide that is more like a roller coaster)
Zach:  The Lazy River (I totally agree, buddy)
Olivia:  Winning all my tickets and getting my nails painted pink

Me?  Well, I enjoyed all of vacation....but, I especially liked putting the kids to bed at the end of the day, followed by a movie with Ben and our contraband treats (they had AMAZING German Chocolate Cake and Peanut Butter Pie!).  Granted, by the third night, I was asleep within minutes of the kids' bedtime, but that's ok too.

Now...to tackle the laundry pile and cross our fingers in hopes of another "snow" day on Monday to relax before real-world re-entry!