September 18, 2014

Throwback Thurs: Random College Edition.

So!  This weekend Matt and I are headed to our ten (TEN!!!) year college reunion!  Crazytown.  So I thought I'd throw up a few pictures from our last year of grad school for a fun little TBT.  Enjoy!

APX Convention 2003
Don Pablos on the River in Cincinnati:  LB and I will be recreating this picture this weekend.
End of 2003
2003 Matt in vigilante mode about to toss a pumpkin over a railing.  To celebrate New Years Eve.  Like you do.
disney 070
Disney 2003.  The next time we attempted this we did it with 3 kids.

Disney 2003
A bunch of people you don't know at Disney 10 years ago.  Isn't my blog thrilling!  But the dude on the far left is getting married next weekend and it's going to be super fun times.
disney 025
World of Coke in the ATL.  Because POLAR BEAR.

Bridge Break 2004
This was a school project.  For seriously.  It was part of Bridge Break.  A thing... architects do.
Bridge Break 2004
Here we are at Bridge Break.  I'm very confused as to why I have a box of bubbles next to me.
Bridge Break 2004
The University of Cincinnati MArch class of 2004.
Engagement Party
At our engagement party.  10 year college reunion means that our 10 year wedding anniversary is also coming up.  In less than a month.  TIME FLIES, FOLKS!

September 17, 2014

Halloweekends at Cedar Point.

So. HalloWeekends at Cedar Point is pretty fantastic.
We brought our kids on Sunday and it was So. Much. Fun.  We just had the best day.  My parents offered to come with us and watch the kids while we rode a few coasters.  And as luck would have it my brother and sister-in-law were planning on going the same day!  So my entire family was there together:

Three generations of coaster riders. So fun to be there with my whole family!! #iheartcp #bloggingatCP #halloweekends #cedarpoint #stevensonpartyoffive
My sister-in-law loves the Mantis so she wanted to be there for a Last Stand before it closes next month:

We didn't all hang together all day, though - they had coasters to ride!  But we met up for some key moments:
Woodstock Express
The Woodstock Express.  The Dude is hanging on for dear life!
It was the kids' first time at Cedar Point so it was their first real experience with roller coasters.  They were hesitant at first... And then got really into it - they rode the Wilderness Run 3 times in a row!

A little bit nervous. ... #cedarpoint #bloggingatCP
The Parent Swap was awesome. It's  a system where only one parent has to wait in line for the coaster.  The other parent can be with the kids.  Then when the first parent is done riding the other parent gets to go directly on the ride.  Makes SO much sense so that everyone can have a great time and do the things that they want to do! We used it all day.  The kids even got into watching us ride:

Coaster Riding
Watching Matt ride Top Thrill Dragster from the grandstands - he's the guy in the orange shirt right in the middle.  The picture on the right is of my dad and Matt on the Millennium Force - they are right in the middle of the train.
Fall is so much fun at Cedar Point.  The Halloweekends decorations are really neat.  There are a bunch of haunted houses that we didn't do b/c kids but even the stuff for the little ones is fun.  They especially loved trick or treating through the Kiddie Kingdom.  I loved the graveyard for old rides.

Cedar Point

There were almost no lines all days:

I can't believe the Raptor is 20 years old!!!!  I remember waiting in every one of those switch backs the summer after 8th grade when it was brand new.

And the weather was PERFECT:

Cedar Point!
Other highlights include taking the kids on the Dogems.  We did it once at the beginning of the day and once as we were leaving because the Dude loved them so, so much:

The Sky Ride - another one we did twice.

PicMonkey Collage
I even took Tiny on it.  He LOVED it.  Pointed at all the coasters and said CHOO CHOO.

Cedar Point!

And Dinosaurs Alive - the kids loved the dinos, the adults enjoyed the views of the Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster.

Cedar Point!

Bottom line?  We ALL had fun.

Yay Cedar Point!!!!!

Disclaimer:  I am a Cedar Point Blogger and was invited to attend their BloggingatCP event.  Tickets were provided for me and my family.  All opinions are as always my own.

September 15, 2014

The First Day of School. Ever.

So!  Last week my Dude started preschool.

First Day of Preschool!

That nervous smile just kills me. And his answer to "what do you want to be when you grow up" seems super legit.

First Day of Preschool!

On the very first day I got to go in with him for a little practice day.  Check out the classroom, meet the teachers, learn about circle time.  You know... the highlights:

First Day of Preschool!
Tiny got to come in and learn about preschool, too.

The dude did great.  No problems.  He was too busy to color his name tag but no big deal.  Most exciting was hanging out with his buddies.  He's lucky enough to know and be friends with quiet a few of his little classmates:

First Day of Preschool!
On the way home I asked him what he wanted for lunch and he requested smoothies.  One of his favorite foods since he was little. We saved them for a special bedtime snack:

First Day of Preschool!
And I have to include the throwback picture because LOOK HOW BIG HE IS NOW AND HE'S GOING TO SCHOOOOOOL AND IT GOES SO FAST:


 Speaking of things going fast - Tiny got to have a smoothie, too.  His very first one!

First Day of Preschool!
The next day things got real.  The first day of drop off.  It was... yeah it was awful.  He was great up until getting in the car.  Then he decided he didn't want to leave me.  That school wouldn't be fun if I didn't come with him.  It escalated into tears and woe.  The school was great about it, though.  The school director (who is helping out with the 3yo class in the beginning) took him and told me "It's fine just GO."  So I did.  And then I pulled around the corner and freaked out.  But!  My friend pulled up next to me and was very reassuring.  It's so nice to know some of the parents this time around!  A bit later I texted the director (because that's how you parent in 2014) to see how he was doing.  Apparently he calmed down immediately.  Cried literally one tear.  They wiped it up and he went on with his day.  She even sent me a picture of him participating in circle time.

Not crying.  Score!

When I picked him up the look on his face was AMAZING.  He was SO PROUD.  So EXCITED.  So HAPPY.  And he didn't stop talking for a solid hour.

First Day of Preschool!
You know what, mommy?  ....  Know what? 

I think I heard every single detail of the day.  Who he sat next to in circle time.  What they ate for snack.  What song they sang.  The whole sub story of the book they read.  What his favorite car was and what the other kids played with and on and on and on.  It was awesome.  And crazy how different the preschool experience was from when my daughter first started.  She had no hesitation but also told me basically nothing about her day.  But the verdict from both of them was the same:


September 10, 2014

Inca Trail 2007.

So how about something completely different to break up the Back to School posts?  (the dude starts tomorrow. Brace yourselves for many more pictures because it's his First Day of School EVER.)  Waaaaay back in 2007 Matt and I went on a trip to Peru.  It was amazing.  And Epic.  And of course I never finished blogging about it.  And I didn't even have any kids then to use as an excuse!  Anyways 7 years ago today we were hiking the Inca Trail.  Which is this insane 4 day hike through the Andes to get to Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate. It was an epic journey and one that I still reference as one of the coolest/hardest things that we've ever done.

The Sign!
At the start of the trail.
Map of our route - the ruins and elevations along the way.
Day 1 was fairly low key.  Started to hike up into the mountains and passed some very pretty scenery:

Inca Trail Day 1
This picture was actually used on CNN.  Seriously.
Mount Veronica

Day 2 was... yeah.  It was DAY 2.  It was the day that we trained for months beforehand.  Basically you climb up a giant mountain to a place called "Dead Woman's Pass"  The trail rises higher than the highest point in the contiguous United States.   You start down in the jungle: 

And rise out above the treeline into the mountains:
by way of steps.  Lots and lots and lots and lots of steps.  

And then some more steps.
I have issues with altitude - it makes me short of breath and light headed and such.  So there was a fair bit of this happening during all of those steps:

Why are you taking this awful picture of me?  It's not like I'll post it on my blog 7 years from now or anything...
But we made it to the top!  

And it was awesome:
And .....then we hiked back down the other side:

Inca Trail Day 2
Day 3 was the day that I knew would be hard but I wasn't prepared for being HARD.  I mean we passed day 2 so how hard could it be, right?  Haaaaa.  Day 2 was 1 climb.  Day 3 is several.  Weaving up and down and all around the mountains:

Inca Trail Day 3
With lots and lots of "steps"

Inca Trail Day 3
At this point I think they are just messing with us.
There are several Inca sites along the way that are pretty spectacular:

Inca Trail Day 3
Inca Trail Day 3

 Unfortunately the day we were there it was very, very smoky:

Inca Trail Day 3
Literally that is smoke from farmers burning last year's crops.  When it cleared the scenery was fantastic, though:

Inca Trail Day 3

 And you end at a pretty amazing site:

Inca Trail Day 3
Inca Trail Day 3

 I spent that whole night worrying.  I was exhausted and really upset that the smoke would make it impossible to see Macchu Picchu from the Sun Gate.  Which is the sight that is supposed to make all of this hiking worthwhile.  The whole reason we were there.  I tossed and turned and fretted.  And when it was time to get up to hike to the gate - somewhere around 4am so that you hit the gate at sunrise - I got out of bed, looked up, and saw..... STARS.  Perfectly clear skies.  Perfect end to our adventure.

Machu Picchu
That gray blob in the background is Machu Picchu.  Notice how the sun hasn't hit it yet?  We got to watch the first rays of light travel across it.  Amazing.

Machu Picchu

I could probably do about 5 posts just of pictures of Machu Picchu.  But I'll edit it down to a few:

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu 
It was an amazing trip.  I hope someday we can take our kids on adventures like this. 

Machu Picchu
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