Sunday, March 29, 2015


So here is the rundown of our little family vacay.  It was the first time we took a kid, much less two kids, on an airplane.  We were nervous but the kids on the plane turned out not to be our biggest issue with airport/airplane travel.  

Kiddos enjoying the play area in the Milwaukee airport. 

What was an issue was all our crap we brought with us... 

Three carry on suitcases, three "personal" carry on items and 2 ginormous car seats.  And let me tell you, you really want a cart for all this stuff!  But they are insanely hard to find once you get off the plane.  Like pretty much impossible to find and if you think asking airport employees will help, you are wrong.  Worst of all, we had to connect in O'Hare and had about 50 minutes between arriving and our next flight leaving.  So I entertained the kids while the hubs went on the incredible journey.

Surprisingly, kids love car seats when they are not actually in the car.

The hubs was able to find a cart and we loaded up and trekked across the airport for our connecting flight.  Only to find out after we got there, we forgot Sully's suitcase at the last gate!  The plane was already boarding once we got to the gate.  My poor hubs, he basically had to sprint back to the last gate and sprint back to our current gate.  By the time he got back, the door to the jet way was closed but they let him on.  Whew!

We made it uneventfully to Tampa and picked up our rental car and drove an hour to our destination. 

The next day, we headed to Cochina Beach on Anna Maria Island.  You guys, wow.  It.was.beautiful.

Crashing waves!

Watch out!  Shield your eyes!  Wisconsinites on the beach!

As you can probably tell, one year olds don't really dig the beach.

But chips and Grandma help make it tolerable:)

Thankfully, 4 year olds love the beach and the ocean...

Back at Grandma and Papa's, she is all smiles:)

My parents' neighbors had a sweet little pool and the kids really enjoyed that!

Syd getting all kinds of Grandma and Papa attention.

This guy lived up EVERY second of vacation!

Here is our next trip to the beach.  Could this kid be any cooler???

One year old toes not happy to be on the beach.

I can't hardly handle her suit.  And his goggles.

Searching with shells with Papa.


On Sunday, we went out on a boat to do some fishing.

Our catches for the day.

We rode around for a bit after fishing and look what we saw...
It was pretty special:)

The last day, we went to the Mote Aquarium.

Obligatory jellyfish photo...

Syd waving at all the fish...

This pic says it all, doesn't it?  They are hot, tired and kind of done.  

Our plane rides home went well.  Our only hiccup was when we were on the plane leaving Tampa and the hubs turns to me and says, "I think I left me phone in the airport."  Oops.  He sure did.  But after a few phone calls once we got home, and it was mailed to him.  He got it 2 days later so all is well.

I am so happy we went.  I am so glad we didn't let the fear of crying kids on a plane deter us from making these memories.  A special thank you to my parents for sharing their little piece of paradise with us:). 

A funny thing happens when you see your kids in unfamiliar settings.  You see just how vunerable and little they are.  How much they depend on you for so much.  It's humbling when you realize how much you are responsible for as a parent.  It's also kind of scary.  Scary and amazing at the same time.  Seeing the world through their eyes is exciting and new all over again.  It's great to remind ourselves that we share this Earth with other people and animals.  I am beyond grateful to be able to provide this opportunity to my kids. Now that I have been back to work for a whole day, I am eager to get planning our next adventure!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We survived!

Ok, I know that title is a bit dramatic.  But I was a little a lot afraid about how our first plane ride would go with not one, but two kids.  There is no way I would have even attempted to take my son (now 4) on a plane when he was only a year old but I felt he could now handle it.  On the other hand, my daughter (now 1) is a different bird.  She is pretty content as long as she is in Mama's arms, so I made the decision two months ago that we had to get out of there and fly to Florida.

Honestly, the plane travel went quite well!  But I was well prepared for it so I thought I would share what was helpful for us.

1.  Hobo bag-  you need a large bag to carry all your "tricks".  I chose this Large one after much thought and research.  It's a splurge, not going to lie.  But I rationalized it by telling myself that I can spend a bit more for a bag (I plan on using this on a daily basis) since I use the same purse/bag for 2-3 years.  I am way too lazy to change out my purses/bags more often.  For me, it was worth the money for a quality piece.  The great thing about this one is the different options for carrying it.  There is a small strap, longer strap and it can also be worn like a back pack (which I found most helpful when trudging through the airport carrying a one year old, wearing my camera bag across my body and pulling my carry on luggage with a very large car seat teetering over the top of it).

2.  Doug and Melissa Water WOW! books.  Both my kids used this and it kept them busy for quite awhile.  And since the pages can be used over and over again, I used it every time we went out for dinner to keep them from getting too bored.  These are really great and a good value since they can be used over and over again.  You just fill the wand with tap water.

3.  iPad.  Enough said.  This was for the 4 year old, and the hubs.

4.  Crayola No Mess Imagine Ink- this is great because the marker only shows up on the pages.  Not on tray tables, clothes or skin.  The 4 year old liked to color and the 1 year old just thought it was great to take the cap on and off the marker (by herself, of course).  And there are about 15 pages and some the pages have games.  I got a Mickey Mouse one at CVS before we left.  Again, the kids used them on the plane and when we went to dinner so the Mickey one was spent by the time we had to fly home.  I picked up a Frozen one at the airport for the ride home.  FYI- these are about $2 more expensive at the airport.

5.  Elastic hair ties- this needed for 2 reasons:  get your hair out of your face and out of the hands of sticky, grabby hands and for entertainment for 1 year olds.  My daughter spent, I kid you not, 25 minutes on one of the flights putting this on and off my fingers.  Cheap entertainment!!  Just make sure your kid doesn't put this in their mouth!

6.  Gerber Graduates Yogurt Melts- we also had the Puffs on hand.  This was mostly for the 1 year old but the 4 year old likes them too.

Surprisingly, the kids were not at all bothered by the ear pressure changes.  I was shocked!  So it was all about keeping them entertained.  Obviously, after one vacation I am no expert in plane travel with kids, but this seemed to work well for us this time.  Kept these two little nuggets busy enough!

I will share more about the vacation in my next post!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shelf reveal

I was wanting to beef up the decor above our tv. Because let's be honest, we spend a whole lot of time looking at that wall;). I wanted to be able to actually put substantial pieces on the shelf so I knew I needed to build my own because any store bought shelf was not deep enough. And while I was at it, I went ahead and painted room a much lighter color. It's called Barely Jade.  I used Behr paint and primer in one in flat. It is amazing how bright the room became! It is a neutral with a slight hint of green. It needed to coordinate with the white with a hint of green that I painted our bookshelves and half wall in that room. 

To get rid of all the green that was in room, I had to paint the backs of the bookshelves too.  Winter Glaze by Behr in eggshell finish.  One project leads to another which leads to another....

 These were the shelves right after they were built.

Here they were a few months ago.

And here they are now...

Sorry the lighting is terrible but you get the gist.

I left my chalkboard wall above the half wall because I am still having fun with that. 

I don't have a fireplace in the living room so I wanted this shelf to serve as a "mantle" of sorts. And I am pretty happy about how it turned out. 

Here it is...
Darn near impossible to get a decent pic with a giant tv. Gotta be careful what it is reflecting:)

There is one item I most certainly did not place here. The hubs likes his high school clays project prominently displayed:)

But how did I make the shelf and get it to stay up there, you ask?

First, I made a brace. I bought a 2x4 from Home Depot and had them cut it to 5'. They cut wood for free for you as long as you tell them the measurements you want. It's awesome!

Then I had a second 2x4 cut into 4 4" pieces. I attached these to the 5' 2x4 with screws like so...

Next step was to attach this brace to the wall. I found the studs and then used the level to make sure it was straight. Then I drilled holes through my brace, wall and into the stud. Then I screwed the brace to the wall. Ta da!

Meanwhile, I made my shelf with 2 1x8 boards and a 1x6 board.  I used my nail gun to nail them together. The only cut I had to make was for the little caps on the ends. The hubs used a jigsaw for this part after I measured it out and marked it. I apologize for the lack of pics on this part. If you need some visualization of this and some actual plans to follow that follow similar steps, check out this post by Shanty-2-chic here. 

Once my brace was up and my shelf made, it was time to hang the shelf. I had the hubs help me ease the shelf over the brace and the pre-drilled my holes for 2 screws into the brace. Then I sunk in the screws. 

Then I immediately got to accessorizing!

*prior to assembling the shelf, I stained it with a stain mix of 1 part classic grey and 3 parts dark walnut. If you make this mix, don't forget to really mix the grey. I didn't do a great job at this and much of the grey was still in sludge form at the bottom of the can:(. I didn't realize it until after the shelf was up and decorated. But I like the color it is so I am not going to go back and re-stain it. 

Bunting banner was made from my all time favorite remnant fabric ever!  If you are observant, you will bee seeing it soon in another area of the house. 

 The boy. Up to no good, I am sure. 

And now I have a great big new shelf to decorate and change out decor for the seasons!

Here is the only before pic of that area I could find.

And now.

 This project may have prompted rumblings of a new project involving DIY chalk paint to the cabinet below the tv. Nothing has happened just yet, but I have plans...

Also, if this post doesn't make sense in some areas, I blame it on my jabberjaws 4 year old whom literally needs to be touching me and talking to me every second today.  Not exaggerating AT ALL!