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.

Disney with Friends for Spring Break

For Spring Break a group of us decided to head up to Orlando for a few days at DisneyWorld.  I love that we are only three hours from so many fun theme parks!  There were originally going to be four of us girls (Monica, Sara, April, and myself) but as the trip progressed Sara found out that her husband has work off, so Dallin joined us as well.  Sadly, April's son, Jack, got really sick the first day we were there and they ended up driving back to Fort Lauderdale for the week.  Monica was a rock star and rented a house for all of us.  We each got our own bedroom and bathroom and then shared the living room and kitchen.  It was located within 10 minutes of DisneyWorld and had a great pool and splash pad for the little ones.  Dallin was a total trooper and didn't mind that he was bombarded by moms and kids.  He even got us all food a couple times while we were getting kids ready for bed.  It was such an awesome trip and so much fun to share a house with everyone, so that we could stay up talking once the kids were all asleep each night.

Our first day at Disney we decided to get to Magic Kingdom at park opening.  We knew that crowds were going to be heavy since it was spring break, so we wanted to get in as many rides as we could before everyone showed up.  It was a smart idea for sure!

Our group in front of the Magic Kingdom entrance...
Dallin, Sara, Molly, Me, Daxton, Monica, and Claire 

Riding the ferry from the parking lot to the Magic Kingdom entrance.  The kids thought it was funny to throw goldfish crackers over the side to waiting fish or birds.

In front of the Sleeping Beauty castle!

Daxton and I rushed over to Buzz Lightyear first since there were no lines and it was his favorite.  He loved shooting all the targets and snuggling through the dark swirling tunnel.

After we rode Buzz Lightyear a few times, we got in line for the Tomorrowland Speedway.  There was only a 10 minute wait since it was still early in the morning.  Molly and Daxton had fun climbing on the railings and watching all the cars zip by.

Daxton was super excited to be able to drive the car.  His little legs can't reach the pedals yet, but it was no problem for me to do the pedals and him to steer.  We made quite the team!  Especially when he found out how funny it was to hit the middle track if he let go of the wheel.  Needless to say, it was not the smoothest driving, but this little man loved every minute!

As a group we went on several different rides (Under the Sea with Ariel, Winnie the Pooh) and checked out the Circus Circus play area.  We took a snack break at Gaston's tavern where Daxton immediately jumped up on the fountain and showed off his muscles for Gaston.  These kids were so cute together!

We made our way over to Adventureland to explore, ride on a few rides, and eat a yummy Dole whip.  By the time 1pm hit, we had covered most of the park, ridden several rides, and eaten yummy treats.  We figured it was a pretty good time to call it a day since the crowds had already tripled from the morning.  As we were leaving we caught the Mickey Wishes show which had a few fireworks at the end.  It was a perfect goodbye for our day one at Disney.  
I love that we are annual pass holders so we don't need to worry about leaving early or fighting crowds since we can always come back another day.

We got back to our house around 2:30 and as I was trying to get Daxton to eat a bagel, I turned around and found him passed out on the bed...bagel on his belly and everything.  We all ended up taking afternoon naps that day and then woke to the perfect opportunity for a swim.  We spent the evening swimming, chatting, eating, and relaxing before putting the kids to bed.  It was a pretty good first day of adventures!

For our second day at Disney, we all decided to go to Epcot Center. Spring is my favorite time to visit Epcot, because it's the Flower and Garden festival.  I've had a few blog posts over the years highlighting the gorgeously diverse topiaries throughout the park.  It's always so fun to look for each of them and soak up all the stunning colors dotting Epcot.

Monica and I at the entrance to Epcot

Just a few of the beautiful topiaries at the entrance...

As we were walking to the Nemo ride, we noticed that there was no line to meet Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie!  We couldn't pass up that opportunity, so we popped in to say hello before going on any of the rides.  
Claire is such a sweet little thing and was so excited to meet each of the characters.  She reminds me so much of little Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch story.  Daxton loves little Claire Bear as well and would often make sure she was ok.

Daxton LOVED meeting Mickey!
I swear Disney is so much more magical with little ones.  His eyes lit up as he ran into Mickey's arms.  After hugging him tightly he posed for the camera and then kissed Mickey on the nose.  It was absolutely heart melting!

Daxton and his buddy, Mickey

Daxton also loved meeting Goofy and Minnie again.  There were lots of hugs and kisses given.  I even had to gently pull him away from Minnie since he wasn't wanting to let go.

Our next stop was over to The Seas with Nemo.  This is Daxton and I's favorite spot in Epcot.  The Nemo ride is super fun and then ends in a beautiful aquarium.  The kids had a blast looking at all the different sea animals.

In the largest tank, there were manta rays, sea turtles, several different types of fish, small sharks, and all sorts of other sea life.  We spent a long time letting the kids explore and in Daxton's case, talk to all the animals through the glass.  I also loved the hidden Mickey made of rocks in the aquarium!

We loved looking at all the other exhibits as well, including the manatees, dolphin, jellyfish, and baby clown fish.

Since there were four of us, we took turns doing the fun big rides with parent swaps.  While we were waiting outside test track for Sara and Dallin, we found a super fun play area for the kids that was based on the movie "Cars."  Daxton about lost it when he saw Lightening McQueen and Mater as topiaries.

We also found another fun play area that was based off the movie "Monster's University,"  another of Daxton's favorite movies.  He had so much fun playing on all the different structures, slides, and climbing obstacles.  I loved that there weren't many children!

A few of the beautiful colors spread throughout the park...

We loved exploring the butterfly garden.  Tinker bell and her fairy friends are the theme of the butterfly garden, so it was fun to find all the different little fairy homes hidden throughout the flowers.  There were several butterflies of course, but after visiting Butterfly World Daxton wasn't too impressed.  I do love that whenever he sees a butterfly he says, "Mom!  Butterflies for Mara!"  It makes me so happy he's talking about sweet Mara, even if he doesn't have any memories of his own of her.

Speaking of Mara, it was her birthday while we were at Epcot that day.  I loved that I thought of her the entire day!  With all the gorgeous flowers around, there were wild butterflies flying throughout the park.  I also fell in love with these giant butterfly topiaries in the middle of Epcot.  It was such a fun thing to be reminded of such a beautiful angel.
Love you, sweet Mara and miss you dearly.

Daxton was such a flirt whenever Monica would come around...He's quite the ladies man!
The new topiaries this year were, of course, Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

Meeting Duffy the Bear...
Neither of us knew who he was, but when you see a big fluffy bear, why not get a picture with him??

Daxton's favorite topiaries from our day at Epcot...
Peter Pan on the roof with Captain hook and Tick Tock Croc below.

Exploring the different lands...
Morocco is always a favorite.

The gorgeous bridges in Italy...

The one thing Daxton wanted to do more than anything was ride the monorail.  We were super sad that it was shut down at Magic Kingdom the day before and we weren't able to ride it.  So before leaving Epcot we made sure to put it on the top of our list.  We caught the monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and then rode it back to Epcot, with this squealing toddler so excited the whole way.
It was literally the perfect day with friends!

Sadly the next day (and our final day we planned to stay in Orlando) Daxton and I woke with stomach pains.  I knew that it would not be a good idea to try and push it by going to Animal Kingdom with Monica and Sara that day.  Instead Daxton and I packed everything up and headed home.  I wasn't too heartbroken, because we had had such a magical trip up to that point.  Daxton was an angel, the crowds weren't nearly as bad as I though, the weather was great, and the company was perfect!

Thanks Monica for setting it all up!
We had such a blast with you, Claire, Sara, Dallin, and Molly!
Can't wait to do it again!

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