Thursday, October 8, 2015

Maren's Visit--Everglades Alligator Farm

Maren's visit in April continued with one of our favorite adventure's the next day.  Since it was the weekend, Dallas was able to watch Daxton and let us girls have a fun day out together.  We decided to make it a crazy one by exploring the Everglades Alligator Farm.  We had great sunshine and very low crowds which made for a perfect day to visit.  

When we arrived we booked our airboat ride first.  We should have thought about how this would effect pictures for the rest of the day...

Our selfie before hopping on our airboat ride, looking pretty cute and fresh...

The Everglades Alligator Farm is my favorite place to take visitors now, because it's the only places we've found that does a "thrill" airboat ride, plus they offer headphones which make it a lot more enjoyable.  We were able to get the front row, optimal for the best views and craziest ride.

Our driver did several different 360s with water spraying all over us.  We had so much fun and laughed the entire ride.  I was so glad I brought my go pro to capture our experience!

On our way back in, Maren took off her sunglasses at which point we realized just how wet we had gotten!  Guess she forgot her waterproof mascara!

These pictures are absolutely classic!

So in love with this shot!
Makeup and dirt all over our faces and hair.  I love that neither of us cared and we simply had a blast of a day.

After our airboat ride, we explored the rest of Everglades Alligator Farm.  We of course saw tons of alligators, and were a little shocked to see that it was mating season in the breeding pond...

We also watched a great alligator wrestling show and then held baby alligators after.  Maren was pretty excited to interact with her first alligator.
After our adventures at the alligator farm, we drove up the road for yummy fresh milkshakes and produce at the Robert is Here fruit stand.  It was such a great day with Maren.  I love that girl so much and count myself so lucky and blessed to have her as my dear friend!

Maren Visits--Jungle Queen Cruise

Mid April brought us a great surprise...
Auntie Maren came to visit!!
Maren has been one of my dearest friends since 2002 (wow that ages us a bit!)  I was so excited when she called and told me that she had a few days off and wanted to come visit.  I immediately went to planning several fun adventures... unfortunately the week Maren was in town it rained... a lot.
We were still able to have a lot of fun, but didn't get to have nearly as many relaxing days at the beach Maren was hoping for.  I told her it meant that she simply needed to come visit again :)

For our first adventure we found great deals on the Fort Lauderdale river cruise, the Jungle Queen.  It was my first time going on this tour so I didn't quite know what to expect.  It was definitely fun, probably because I had Maren by my side, but it wasn't the best river cruise I have been on in Fort Lauderdale.  I liked how it took us up river which usually is not toured on most cruises.  But we were NOT impressed with their "private" island we stopped at for an hour in the middle of the cruise.  We made the most of it, though, and Daxton was a sweetheart for the whole tour which made things that much more enjoyable.

Maren and Kirsten Selfie! 

Daxton was pretty entertaining dancing along to the music and making funny facial expressions.  As long as he had a little snack in hand, he didn't mind how long the cruise was.

Going up river through Fort Lauderdale...
Daxton was pretty excited when we saw daddy's building (the one with the huge pyramid on top.)

Some of the gorgeous views along the way...

Like I mentioned above, this tour was one of the only cruises that takes you this far up river.  It was fun to see different sights and go under one of the main freeways.

The island we stopped at was outfitted with several different animal enclosures and had it's own alligator wrestling show.  Everything was rather small though, with large crowds from our giant boat, which made it difficult to maneuver.  Maren and Daxton were able to find a good spot to view the alligator show and quickly became best buddies.

We were able to see lots of different birds and lizards and there were even some animals we were able to take pictures with.  Of course Daxton ran away the second we asked him to hold a bird.

It was pretty fun to see all the natural wildlife wandering around.  I'm constantly in awe of how foreign things still feel!  Massive green iguanas walking around at your feet are not something I grew up with!

I love that Daxton is growing up with such unique experiences that have shaped his little personality and mind.

After exploring the island, the cruise continued by taking us down river, through Fort Lauderdale, and into the intercoastal.  We loved looking at all the million dollar mansions and yachts.  It was gorgeous but so crazy to think that people live that way.
Overall, is was a really fun afternoon, but I have to say that I wouldn't choose the Jungle Cruise again.  There are much better river cruises available, but it was fun to try it out and have another adventure with my girl, Maren.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Day to Day in April

April was a pretty crazy month for us.  Dallas's work schedule continued to be insane, so we were on our own for most days.  We filled our time with swim lessons, LOTS of play dates, and a couple weeks of travel to Washington to visit the family farm.

These are a few of the highlights from our month of April...
Daxton started his second session of swimming lessons with Coach Nicole at Just Swim school, but this time he got to be with his buddies!  Emily, Ayla, and Daxton made the absolute best swim class.  The improvement was shocking from his previous swim session to this one.  The second he was surrounded by his buddies, he had no fear, loved the water, and wanted to try everything the girls were doing.  He quickly became a little fish.

The kids loved these floaties which allowed them to work on kicking their legs on the top of the water propelling them the length of the pool.

They also loved putting on their own swim fins.

One of Daxton's good buddies, Jack, turned three in April so we were able to go to a couple parties for him.  The first was a fun morning/afternoon spent at Dania beach.  Since we came straight from swimming lessons, we were a bit late, but we had a lot of fun playing in the sand and waves, and eating yummy birthday cupcakes.

Goofing off with Zoey in the waves and sharing trucks with Jack on the sand.

We spent about an hour with everyone before people had to leave, but we ended up staying another couple hours just the two of us for fun.  It was such a perfect beach day and the water was incredible.  We couldn't resist!
The birthday boy and his gorgeous momma, April.

My favorite picture from that day...
I mean seriously, that water! 

The next day there was an official birthday party for Jack at their clubhouse.  There was a yummy lunch, swimming, games, and an incredible birthday cake created by our friend, Whitney.  We had so much fun playing with everyone and being able to celebrate with Jack.

The water snakes everyone made while swimming in the pool... 

Gorgeous decorations and stunning cake and cupcakes.  Daxton about lost it when he saw the whale cake!

We told the kids they couldn't get cupcakes until we got one good group picture...bribery never hurt anyone.
Look at how cute these little ones are!

Some other highlights from April...
Daxton and Daddy had lots of fun using his new blocks to build cities and ramps for all Daxton's cars.

Daxton had a lot of fun trying out his new ziggle from Easter.  We met up at the park with his buddy Julian several times where the boys would have ziggle races, teach each other new tricks, and then play on the playground.  Daxton loved when he got to wear his safari hat.

At home he would practice up and down our street, where his outfit of choice were his stinky rainboots, a diaper, and his safari hat.  I'm sure the neighbors were wondering what kind of a mom I was!

Another big achievement was when Daxton started drinking from a regular cup instead of a sippie cup.  He was pretty proud of himself and loved that he could make a chocolate milk mustache.

In April we also had several fun play dates.
Monica, Jeni, and I decided to take our kids to the Flamingo Nursery for yummy fresh tropical shakes.  The nursery was stunning, with row upon row of gorgeous plants, flowers, and trees.  The kids had tons of fun feeding and then chasing all the ducks around.

A pretty hilarious group shot!
As they were posing, several ducks came up from behind the bench and under their feet.  Daxton and Olive started squealing with excitement, which in turn freaked little Claire out.  I love all their different facial expressions!

In April we spent a lot of time with the Kohfelds, because of these two :)
Daxton and Ayla became inseparable and SO stinking cute together.  We would play at least 2-3 times a week with them; either going to parks, pools, or other fun adventures.  It also worked well, because Aubrey became such a dear friend to me.  So while Daxton played with Ayla, Aubrey and I could chat for hours.

We loved meeting up at Young At Art since both of us were members.  YAA is a really cool children's museum in Davie based on imaginative play and art aesthetics.  

Daxton and Ayla at the entrance...
Dax was so excited to see so many rain boots! 

They would chase each other around, giggle loudly, share snacks, and explore every nook and cranny of this museum.

They both especially loved the water table.  
One day they created a game where if they blocked the fountains with their hands, it would spray in all directions.  They thought it was hilarious and spent almost an hour playing in one spot.  By the time we convinced them it was time to leave, they were soaked.  Of course neither Aubrey or I had brought an extra change of clothes!

I got the best video of them squealing at the top of their lungs while spraying water EVERYWHERE.

One of our favorite traditions we started with Aubrey and Ayla happened every Friday after swim lessons.  Once they finished swimming we would drive over to Flamingo Nursery for refreshing smoothies and a smiley face cookie.  Emily, Ayla, and Daxton would drink their smoothies while Aubrey, Carrie, and I would chat for a couple hours.  The kids loved running around exploring all the fun "secret" spots throughout the nursery.  

Relaxing in the colorful lawn and rocking chairs.

Climbing on the different signs and furniture...

Both Daxton and I loved the butterfly garden at Flamingo Nursery.

Another big milestone was going in for Daxton's 3 year checkup.  We met his new pediatrician and office staff, made sure he was up to date with immunizations, and then completed the physical.  We were happy to hear that everything went well.  Daxton is in the 90% for both his height and weight and is happy and healthy!

Showing off some serious attitude while waiting for the doctor to return with his flu shot...
Love those furrowed brows!

In April we also got Daxton several different Alphabet games and manipulatives.  He played with them for awhile, but mostly likes to use the alphabet apps on the iPad.

April also started the fun weekly routine of pool group where these two adorable kiddos could have yet another excuse to hangout and play.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center and Red Reef Beach

One of our favorite play dates we had in March was visiting the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Boca Raton.  We met up with several friends to spend the morning learning about sea turtles and other sea animals.  Aubrey and I decided to drive up together, which made Daxton and Ayla super excited to be able to talk and play with each other the whole drive.  While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, Daxton, Ayla, and Olive had fun climbing on the sea turtle statues outside of the entrance.

The rehabilitation center wasn't too big, which made for the perfect quick activity to do with toddlers.  They had several different aquarium tanks for children to observe fresh and salt water animals.    I loved all the different paths and walkways for the kids to explore. Daxton, once again, refused to go anywhere without his safari hat.

They had some pretty cool tanks full of reef and deep sea fish.  Dean and Claire posed perfectly on the ledge, while if you notice the reflection of Daxton... He was more interested in the bolts drilled into the wooden pillars...

After spending a couple hours at the rehabilitation center, Arianne, Aubrey, and I spent the rest of the morning/afternoon at Red Reef Beach across the street.  Dean, Ayla, and Daxton played SO well together!  They shared toys, built sand castles, jumped in and out of the waves, and swam in the ocean.  Because they were so great with each other, us moms got to spend all that time talking and catching up.  It was a perfect afternoon!

I loved being able to snuggle with both baby Max and baby Reef.  The water felt great, the waves were calm, and we were all happy...
It was a pretty great day!


This past March our family had a lot of fun celebrating the Easter Holiday.  It will always be a tender time of year for us, since Dax is our little Easter baby.  We were able to bring him home from the hospital's NICU for the first time on Easter Sunday three years prior.  What a joy to be able to celebrate with friends and family.

This year our friend, Heather, threw a super fun Easter egg hunt at her house in Fort Lauderdale.  She lives right on the New River with a large yard for all the kids to hide their eggs.  It's the perfect location for a great outdoor celebration with friends.

We arrived a few minutes late, so we missed the group picture at the beginning, but we quickly joined in the fun.  Within a few minutes though, Daxton lost interest in searching for eggs and just wanted to eat the candy he had found...
A boy after my own heart

Once all the eggs had been found, several of the kids walked to the front lawn to watch the boats go by as they ate their candy.  Daxton and his best little buddy, Ayla, went to work eating their candy and showing each other what it looked like in their mouths... Kids are so gross sometimes!

The kids had so much fun waving to all the yachts and boats that passed by.  I'm sure the passengers were wondering how a bunch of kids ended up hanging out at one of the riverfront mansions.

Daxton had a blast playing on all the different cars, toys, and scooters around the yard.  He looked so adorable with his hair styled and gelled.

After the Easter egg hunt there was a little birthday party and snacks for all the kids...yes, more candy and treats.  The kids were on quite the sugar high!  Little Claire did not complain at all about the sugar overload.

Hanging out along the waterfront...

I love these couple pictures below!
Daxton and Ayla are such cuties together!  I loved watching their little relationship grow.  They love each other so much and are such cute friends.

On Easter Sunday, we went over to Uncle Jim's and Aunt DeeDee's house for a yummy dinner and another Easter egg hunt.  I made a cake for dessert, since I wanted to practice some things from my cake decorating class.  I think it turned out super cute!  

After dinner, everyone hid the eggs outside for the Easter egg hunt. We had brought over about 50 eggs and they had probably another 50, so needless to say, the back yard was COVERED with colorful candy filled eggs.  When we brought Daxton outside to begin the hunt, he immediately started squealing and running around.  He was so excited!  He ended up filling several baskets before finding them all.

Some of the fun hiding spots...

Not sure where he found the pirate hat, but he was very excited to search for "treasure" and eat all the candy along the way.  He was very excited to reach for the ones balancing in the pool.

Cousin Thomas helped with pointing out all the colorful eggs Daxton missed along the way.  

He wanted so badly to hop in the pool for a swim and even got in up to his waste before he listened and climbed out.

We ended up having to take all his clothes off, because he was drenched.  So the rest of the Easter egg hunt, which continued into the house, was done in only his diaper.  It seemed pretty fitting since he never wears clothes anyway.
We love being able to spend time with the Lovegrens!
They helped make Easter such a special day.  We loved being able to be with family and reflect on the beauty and sacrifice of our Savior.

When we got home from Easter dinner, the Easter bunny had left a special present for Daxton on the doorstep!  He apologized for not being able to drop it off that morning, but this little man didn't seem to mind.  Daxton was SO excited to finally have his own ziggle!  He immediately hopped on it and took to the road to show off his ziggle skills.  
It was a pretty perfect Easter holiday spent with friends and family.

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