Adam and Vivi-0175

*farts* “Whoa, that was my butt waking up.”

*****

*seated at a very busy restaurant, large man walks by* “That’s a very big boy, I’ll bet he has a very large bellybutton on his butt. But you don’t. You have hair!” (Butt Bellybutton = Male Genitalia.)

*****

*Addie comes home from school, Vivi is very excited. She hugs Addie then disappears. Addie sits on the floor to do homework. A few moments later, Vivi shows up naked and waggles her bare rear in Addie’s face for absolutely no reason.*

*****

“Vivi! Don’t lick the walls!”

“Why?”

“Becau…*LIIIIICK*…se.”

*****

“Okay, poo-poo-head.”

“You don’t call me, or anyone else, poo-poo-head. Understand?”

“Yes. Sorry…pee-pee-head.”

*****

Vivi is eye level with Cody’s butt bellybutton at the moment and is obsessed with randomly throwing punches at it. I’ve heard Cody yowl from three rooms away more than once.

*****

“Will you please cut a banana for me?” *proceeds to cut banana for Vivi and serve it on a plate* “NOOO. YOU CUT MY BANANA AND THE ROCKET SHIPS ARE GOOOONE!” *melts into hysterical tears.* For the record, banana “rocket ships” are the pointy bits at each end I generously trimmed off because Addie never liked their total lack of symmetry.

*****

“What’s your new friend’s name?”

“Piper!”

“No, Harper.”

“Parper!”

“HAR-per.”

“PAHR-purr.”

“Harper.”

“Piper.”

“Whatever.”

*****

"Vivi? Do you like boatcations?" "Yes, I do very much. Thank you." #Boatcation #CarnivalSunshine
Vacation, you're both doin' it real, real well. #Boatcation
One of the main reasons we chose this ship was because of these beauties right here. Unfortunately, they have been out of commission since we boarded. :(
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My #Boatcation crew, two bottles of sunscreen down, 4 days to go.
Fuzzy headed Caribbean alarm clocks. Free tote bag with purchase. #Boatcation
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Between the ropes course and swimming all day she may come back stronger than Chuck Norris.
After seven days on a cruise ship, she learned how to sleep in. #Boatcation
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NO FUN TO BE HAD HERE. MOVE ALONG. #CarnivalSunshine
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These two.
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Most of our time was spent on the water slides, can you tell? One major bummer is the big slides weren’t working for the first four days (half) of our trip. Since school was back in session, there weren’t many kids on board so it didn’t seem to be a huge priority to get it fixed, but the families who were on board were pretty bummed. The ship we were on, Carnival Sunshine, was actually retrofitted and relaunched last year (originally built in 1995.) While we could tell it was an older ship (based on layout) everything on it felt fresh and updated. There were a lot of differences between it and the Breeze (Launched in 2012. Addie, my mom and I went on it last year) but the experience was just as enjoyable. The staff of the Sunshine seemed much more personable, perhaps because it is smaller so was easier to keep track of people? (Breeze passenger capacity: 3,690 – Sunshine: 2,642) I also have to say that the Red Frog Pub on both the Breeze and the Sunshine found some of the best acoustic performers I’ve ever heard on land or sea. Good job, guys.

And in case you’re all “Where’s Addie?” Addie made friends. SHE MADE FRIENDS. SHE RAN OFF WITH HER FRIENDS! My little introvert made friends! We barely saw her but we didn’t really care because she was HAVING FUN WITH HER NEW FRIENDS! (Total benefit to cruising with kids her age: she was able to sign herself in and out of Club Carnival so she could go to the activities she wanted to (she loved anything crafty as well as the scavenger hunts) then leave when things got too loud.) We had walkie-talkies (Vivi called them docky-dockies) so we could stay in contact.

Carnival’s partnership with Dr. Seuss throughout the ship was pretty adorable. The Green Eggs & Ham breakfast was $5 per person and there were actual green eggs on the menu. There was also a Dr. Seuss parade and storytime as well as Seuss themed activities in Camp Carnival. I hate to compare, but Carnival did an amazing job with its partnership while Royal Caribbean’s partnership with Dreamworks left a lot to be desired. (It was very unorganized, un-relateable to the much younger/much older crowd, and the costumes were terrifying.)

Do you have any questions about cruising? Specifically with little humans? I’m going to be doing another post about “What I Wish I Had Known” as well as “What Totally Worked” in regards to traveling on a boat with progeny.

Find out what we did and what we paid for entertainment/food in each port here. (Because knowing stuff like this will save you a ton on a cruise.)

Carnival generously provided us with our cruise fare. Any additional expenses, gratuities, and travel expenses were our responsibility. Opinions, as always, are my own.

There has been one item on almost every to-do list for the past three years, chances are you have a similar one on yours — or at least the thought in the back of your mind. “I need to organize and back up all my photos and videos.”

You with me? Good, keep reading:

Since you’re still with me, chances are the thought of backing up and organizing all your photos fills you with a certain sense of panic or doom. For me, it’s the fact that I use 5+ devices to take photos and videos which makes the task — in a word — monumental. While my DSLR photos are really well organized, my phone and point and shoot cameras usually just end up getting their memory dumped in a folder appropriately named “Phone Dump” with the intention of going through them later. (Later has yet to happen.)

I upload a lot of photos to Flickr, which is considered my back up of a back up, but I haven’t established a very efficient way of searching them and at the rate they change their desktop site around and the lack of functionality with their mobile app, I’ve been left using a few choice words in Flickr’s direction here recently. I also have two external hard drives, one dedicated to photos, the other for weekly backups of my entire computer. Again, I have all my photos in each location but there just isn’t a very good way to search or browse them (despite being fairly well organized in tidy little folders.)

Enter ThisLife, a new service from Shutterfly.

[Read more...]

Partner in crime. (Crime = making sure Vivi doesn't drown, much.) #Boatcation
...and maybe a less terrifying portrait?
Things became a wee bit ominous in the land of turkey and cake. #Boatcation
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The girls happily helped me give Cody boobs and mermaid hair.
One year ago at this same beach Addie befriended a toddler because she missed her sister. Today they get to play together. :)
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Chubby, sandy hand clutching her treasure. Toddlers. *sigh* (She fell asleep on me within two minutes of leaving the beach.)
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The end. #Boatcation
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What we did on each stop:

Grand Turk: There was a beach and Margaritaville pool right off the pier, rather than taking a taxi to a more private beach we figured we’d go with what was there. The girls were able to witness a beer belly competition. So, that was fun to explain. (Free, aside from a little souvenir for my sister.)

Puerto Rico (Old San Juan): You can find all that here. ($10 admission to the fort, $3 for pastries and $6 for water. Lots of water.)

St. Thomas, USVI: We took a taxi to Magen’s Bay ($8 per person each way + $4 beach admittance for Cody and me.) This was our favorite day, Magen’s Bay was perfect for Vivi, the water was shallow with no waves, the sand was soft with no rocks and there was plenty of shade. There were also iguanas, to which Vivi declared “DINOSAURS! LET’S CATCH ‘EM!” We brought our own snorkel masks as well, because I’m pretty sure I got sick in November from a dirty rental snorkel. Lunch for the 4 of us at the beach was $24.

St. Maarten: We left the girls on the ship and headed out to Maho Beach to hopefully see this. Sadly, all we saw was traffic (one lane roads around the WHOLE island + a traffic accident = long time in a taxi.) I had the world’s most tasty frozen beverage and if you ever find yourself in St. Maarten (Dutch Side) ask for Delores to be your driver, she took us around the entire island on our own little personal tour. We then had a coconut smoothie that changed both of our lives forever and ever, amen. ($50 for round-trip ride, $18 for various drinks and snacks.)

Cody’s Sister’s Apartment: Free! Hooray for family in Orlando with a sparkling blue pool!

San Juan
San Juan PR
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan PR
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San Juan
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Way better than the forts we build at home. #FortEnvy
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
It's not gas, just a fort.
Morro wall
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Nothing wraps up climbing a bazillion 300-year-old stairs like buying pastries from the back of a truck on a street corner.

Old San Juan? We dig you.

(Pictured: Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe Del Morro and Santa Maria Magdelena de Pazzis Cemetery)

Last week Cody took Vivi into the restroom at a restaurant so she could do her business. When she was done, he asked her to stand with her nose in the corner so he could do his as well.

Afterwards she burst out of the restroom and shouted “DAD DIDN’T SIT DOWN AND HE PEED OUT OF HIS BELLYBUTTON!” as soon as she saw me.

Threenager.

Last night on FaceTime she asked my dad if he was pregnant.

She also currently hates trees. (She has for awhile, one evening she simply got out of the car, looked around and said “I hate trees.” Her position has yet to change.)

She blames all of her farts on the cat, even at two a.m.

She is terrified of spiders and believes that any injury or illness is called an ‘ankle’.

We’re all headed out on a cruise next week in order to answer the question that has been plaguing Cody and me since our first cruise, can you actually leave a cruise relaxed if you have a toddler in tow? (Specifically a toddler like Vivi?)

She woke me up by throwing (her clean) underwear at my head and screaming “MOM I’M HUNGRY.” this morning.

I WISH I WAS THIS EXCITED ABOUT SWIMSUIT SEASON! (suit from H&M)

I took both girls to the library this afternoon, and without getting too specific — Vivi has had some trouble when it comes to potty training. Today I was the mom who had to pull her toddler out of the children’s section of the library, as she screamed and sobbed “I don’t want to go!” I knew she had had an accident, and in an effort to keep drama to a minimum I didn’t fully survey the damage before heading straight for the restrooms at the front of the building. It wasn’t until we made it to the front (after walking by dozens of people) that I realized her accident had made a much bigger mess than I had ever anticipated. Add in the fact that she insisted on keeping her skirt above her head as we walked out…and I’m really sorry to anyone who was at the library today.

*insert defeated sigh*

It was one of those moments when I want to tell those who choose to be child-free, “YOU MADE A FINE CHOICE FOR YOURSELF. I ENVY THAT YOU WILL NEVER BE COVERED IN POO AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY.”

Tonight that little toad crawled into my lap smelling of soap and cookies and said “You’re the best, mom.” and I thought “You know what? I kind of am.” and I realized that even though I don’t love this job all the time, it at least has enough perks to keep me around.

Her eyebrows more accurately represent what's lurking inside her, not that impish grin and button nose. #WolfInToddlerClothing #WatchOutBoyShellChewYouUp

So, braces are a teenager thing, right?

Wrong.

I figured orthodontists and talk of braces wouldn’t be a worry I’d have for at least a few more years, but after being a fly on the wall at a conference full of of dentists and orthodontists last year it turns out a child’s first visit to an orthodontist should occur no later than 7 years old and extreme issues can be avoided with minor intervention now. Which is to say, Addie’s teeth are a wee bit crowded in her mouth, each year I’ve watched them shift around and my worries of her dealing dental issues until she is old enough to have braces are false. A few small adjustments now will make for a happy mouth (and (most likely) no braces) later.

[Read more...]

When we told Vivi we were going to Cleveland for the weekend she asked if he was nice and if he had toys at his house.

downtown
downtown 2
historical
baseball
garden vivi
garden addie
Cleveland, for the first time.
gardens 3
garden 2
garden
Cleveland, for the first time.
jacks
Cleveland, for the first time.
Cleveland, for the first time.
Cleveland, for the first time. jack flaps
rock two
Cleveland, for the first time.
Cleveland, for the first time.
science
Cleveland, for the first time.

She’s still wondering who Mr. Cleveland is, and she was a little disappointed she never got to see his house — but all in all she was pretty pleased with him, his museums, his bowling alley, and his pancakes.

We all were.

******

Pictured Above: Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Jack Flaps, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center. Special thanks to the Cleveland CVB for providing us with accommodations, meals, and attraction passes.