Legoland 2020

Monday, February 3, 2020

View the full photo album here.
Brian and I are both big ole firm believers in travel and in gifting experiences over things. For a while, we’ve asked for tickets and memberships as gifts from the grandparents on birthdays and holidays and we just LOVE it! I’ve been dreaming of cutting out the Christmas gifts, and this year it finally happened. Instead of a stack of gifts on Christmas morning, the kids each received one gift from Santa and then were given their gift from mom and dad: their first clue to a scavenger hunt throughout the house!

They worked together and had a BLAST finding all of the clues and assembling a huge floor puzzle. They were a little confused at first, but when we explained what LegoLand was (they had never heard of it), they quickly became excited. They also received a countdown which we have been marking off daily in our anticipation of the trip. It has made such an impact on the build-up! 

On Thursday, the kids woke up to little Lego Day gifts! They each received a LEGO keychain and bag tag for their backpacks, and a small LEGO set to entertain them during travel. They both completed their sets during the two-hour wait at the airport! Both kids are little expert travelers so the flight and subsequent drive went off without a hitch. 

We arrived at Legoland Resort just in time to catch the tail end of their nightly pajama party. The kids were immediately entertained. Beckett’s first words were, “this place is so fun!” They played in the LEGO pit, danced with the party, ran around the castle play area, and completed a scavenger hunt in our room, which led them to a set of legos for each of them! It was a great first night!

Friday and Saturday looked basically the same: a full day in the park followed by a full evening in the resort. And it was PERFECTION! 

Legoland is similar to any other theme park, except it is geared toward younger kids (2-10) and it's completely Lego themed! There are lego structures everywhere, all of your favorite Lego characters, and tons of Lego shopping!

One of my favorite parts was the Minifigure trading. All staff members have a collection of Minifigures and you can bring your own to trade with them! We brought a bag of our more generic figures and the kids switched and swapped to their heart's content.  

The rides were perfect for our kiddos. Beckett was in HEAVEN. Every time he experienced a ride, his face lit up like pure magic. It was so much fun to watch. Charlie also enjoyed the rides, but was just as content hanging out in the Tula while brother rode. Her favorite part was shopping, of course. The only problem was that once she picked out sets, all she wanted to do was leave the park to go back to the room and build! Lame kid.

We stayed at the park til close (5pm) and then went back, had dinner at the resort (which is a short walk from the park) and then enjoyed the evening activities! This hotel is the ABSOLUTE BEST. There are staff-led activities all evening, so we sat and watched the kids enjoy storytime, dance parties, building classes, etc while mom and dad enjoyed a beverage. Talk about perfect combination after a long day in a park!

Three nights was an ideal amount of time. After a totally awesome weekend, we were exhausted and ready to come home! The kids walked away with lots of fun memories and quite the stash of new Legos! 

The rest of the pics from this trip are stored here!

Our Sweetest Tradition

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Last year, we started a new family tradition of baking cookies together and delivering them to our neighbors. It was Brian's idea. Personally, I do NOT enjoy baking, and the thought of engaging in small talk makes me physically sick (this is not an exaggeration). However, this magical tradition has quickly become my ultimate favorite.

This year, I'm behind on everything (it's become a pattern). All of the things I thought I'd facilitate to make the season more magical and memorable are not actually happening. So I'm so glad we carved out a few hours (even past kiddo bedtimes) to spend some intentional and relaxed time together, doing something sweet for others.

The whole baking experience was a huge improvement from last year. I still depended heavily on break and bake (take it or leave it, neighbors), but the kids are at an age where they are actually independent and helpful, there were no tears, and their little personalities are so fun to interact with.

At one point I had to run out to the store and when I came home, I just melted at the scene through the window. The trees are decorated and lighting up the house, everyone was donning their Christmas jammies and aprons, and Brian and the kids were gathered around laughing and goofing off as they arranged cookies together. I could have just stared through that window for ages. (Do I sound like a Lonestar song?)

Later in the evening, Charlie got uncharacteristically sentimental when she very sincerely told Brian and me that we were the best family ever, and then proceeded to pull us in under each one of her little arms as she announced, "group hug!" I hope that moment sticks with me forever.

Today, we got to deliver the cookies together. I had less of a say in what the kids wore this year, so they don't look as magazine-worthy, but hey! The cookies are delivered and the neighbors were all so surprised and grateful. You win some, you lose some!

Charlie was MUCH more outgoing this year. Last year, she barely wanted to walk to the doors and refused to say anything to the neighbors as they tried to interact with her. This year, she was ready to put on a show with her best cheesy ridiculousness and wish everyone a Merry Wistmas! Beckett, on the other hand, has never really been shy and is always ready to answer questions or strike up a conversation. He's his father's child in this way.

The other Christmas tradition-y things on my list may or may not get done this year, but that's ok! I hope we make this one a priority for years and years to come! Do you think I'll be able to convince them to crawl into that power wheel and ride around the neighborhood when they're teenagers?

Buck is Six!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Today we got to celebrate six years of life with this awesome kid!! Beckett has recently discovered MARIO and is OB•SESSED, so we surprised him with Mario-themed everything and setting up THREE gaming stations in the playroom. He was thrilled. 

Per our tradition, we had one big family day to celebrate. The day started with cake for breakfast, followed by lots of video games (a special treat in our house). We took a break in the middle of the day for lunch at Chili’s - which Beckett chose because we have never allowed him to use the game screens and he knew his birthday would be an exception. Tricky kid. 

After lunch, we headed to Beckett’s first indoor soccer game ever! He had a huge cheering section, which made it a bazillion times more special. He has really come to love soccer, so playing on his birthday, surrounded by family, was a perfect addition to the day. Plus, his team sang Happy Birthday to him, which was so sweet to watch. 

After the game, we headed home for presents, dinner, and Mario themed cookies! 

Five was a great year for Beckett. It started out a little rough, but he has matured so much and has come to be a great helper around the house, a fantastic homeschool student, and a sweet, affectionate son and brother. Parenting is HARD, but we're so honored to be Mom and Dad to this fantastic kiddo. 

This year Beckett had his first international trip, started Kindergarten, and began taking TaeKwonDo! His favorite past times are playing with hot wheels, reading, and spending as much time on screens as mom will allow!

First Snow of the Season!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Today was the first snow of the season, so like any normal children, Buck & Chuck BEGGED to go out in the snow to play. I'm over here giddy for the opportunity to kick them out and have some silence, so I set off to make it happen.

The kids were THRILLED at the idea of playing in the snow. (You know where this is going, right?)

I scoured the house for supplies, but alas, there are NO WATERPROOF clothing items in this entire house. I mean, REALLY. What kind of midwesterner am I? I'm failing my children.

Against my better judgement, we loaded up and headed out. One hour, $60 dollars, two stops, and a fair amount of griping and bickering later, we had the basic necessities for snow play. Of course, during that adventure, my brilliant children realized that winter and snow mean COLD and started whining before we even got home that they in fact did NOT want to go outside and play. Threatening to return their snow play goodies only backfired when they both agreed that that would be the best course of action.

Whatever man. I'm committed now.

I told the kids they were absolutely going outside, gladiated potty breaks and artic-worthy bundling, and 20 minutes later, shuffled those fluff-balls out the door. To my surprise, they were actually thrilled to be out there and put their new snow pants to use.

I checked the time as we headed out, swiped a couple of photos, and scurried back in.

The kids lasted exactly 19 minutes and honestly, that was about 16 minutes longer than I expected.

A Week in the Life, Day 4 | Play Day

Friday, October 18, 2019

Once upon a time, we skipped all the academic stuff today. Whoops. 😉

Lucky for me, my kids are still young (plus they’re doing fantastic academically) so there’s a lot of flexibility in our days. We had planned to do math, Spanish, and reading this morning before our outing. Instead we had a relaxing morning getting ready, doing chores, & having breakfast together. Then we headed to the playground for an epic play date with friends!

Between my sister-in-law (Brittany), my college friend (Stephanie), and her sister-in-law (Missy), we had seventeen kids at today’s play date! I L.O.V.E getting together with this crew. Steph & Miss are actually part of the reason we decided to homeschool in the first place. Their kids are fantastic and we love getting the crews together to play and build relationships. Plus, these ladies are the type of people every momma should have in their lives!

Later this evening, we had soccer! I LOVE soccer nights. Beckett is on his fourth season with the same kiddos and Charlie just started this year (with dad as coach). We would encourage athletics whether we were homeschooling or not, but because the kids are not in a pubic school environment, we feel it’s even more important for them to do sports. In addition to soccer, Charlie does gymnastics and Beckett does gym & TaeKwonDo.

A Week in the Life, Day 3 | RoadSchool

Thursday, October 17, 2019

One of the reasons that homeschool fits us so well is that we are on the road A LOT. We travel a ton and have gotten in the habit of being on-the-go when we're in town, too. Our classroom is where ever we want!

We are quickly becoming pros at doing school on the road (aka RoadSchool). Sometimes that means taking our bookwork wherever we are (camping, family's house, vacations, etc) and sometimes it just means making use of the awesome technology at our disposal and doing it in the car! Yesterday was a car school day, plus a full day of learning at the children's museum with friends!

We were able to do reading, Spanish, math, and memory work all in the car. For reading & Spanish Beckett has an app that reads aloud along with a book. It works in both English and Spanish and he follows along as the story teller reads aloud. It's perfect for the car! Charlie uses Teach Your Monster to Read app on her iPad. For memory work, we use our CDs and all sing along. For math, both have apps that are supplementing the content they are doing in their standard curriculum. Easy peasy!

Then the rest of the day was spent at the Magic House with friends! We LOVE the Magic House and are so grateful for our membership there! The kids can play (and learn) independently while the mommas talk (win!) and the staff is excellent. In this shot, one of the staff members is working with Beckett on types of rocks, density and mass, using a balance, and some other goodness. They spent a good hour in the science room, exploring topical maps, learning about butterflies, identifying types of consumers by their skulls, using really cool microscopes, and more. And that was just the first room!

Most importantly, I love that they just get to PLAY so much. That's how small children learn best! Being able to create and enjoy environments where MOST of the day is spent playing, creating, exploring, using their imaginations, and being with friends has been SUCH a gift.

Right: Beckett & his friend Jonathan from CC
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