Black Friday Shopping: crazy or fun?

When Target invited me to be a part of their #MyKindOfHoliday program, I obviously jumped at the chance. I mean, it's Target---the store that has it's own column in our budget. Truman and Cecelia know and love 'The Red Store' already since its one of our top places to frequent in the winter (ahem, year round). So yeah, this post is brought to you by Target but it's not that much of a stretch to blog about a store we hold in such high regards already.

Now. Black Friday shopping is not something we traditionally do in our house. I mean, the past two Thanksgivings included a trip to Missouri to visit family and all of the years before that included working the day after Thanksgiving. Boo to healthcare jobs for that. This year? Not traveling to Missouri, Nate is off all day with the kids, and I don't have to work until noon and should be finished around 2ish. This.Is.Big. So many possibilities for Black Friday now: we could sleep in, then shop, then decorate the house for Christmas and THEN I could go to work after that while the kids nap. We shall see if the day is as productive as I'm hoping, but either way it's going to be a fun/unusual day spent mostly at home with my family.

When I mentioned this Target program to Nate, his first response was that they do have a fantastic doorbuster deal. One that might be worth a trip out into the craziness that is Black Friday. Now that I look closely at the deal it seems like this might be going on right now, before Friday? Hope it lasts a bit longer.

You might remember Nate going back and forth over buying an iPad for his birthday earlier this year. Well, he eventually bought the iPad Air 16GB a few weeks back when Target was running a special on them. Usually the Airs are $499 but they went on sale for $479 that particular day, honoring another store's deal. Since it seems like Apple products (conveniently) never go on sale, Nate figured that $20 was his reason enough to buy. Add that to our 5% off using the Red Card and we saved a little bit of money.

Well, the doorbuster deal is even better. The 16GB is going to be back down to $479 instead of the usual $499, PLUS they are giving you a $100 gift card if you buy the Air. Add that to a 5% discount using the Red Card? We are looking at spending $356 instead of $499. Pretty awesome, right?

And the iPad mini that is 16GB is also going to be on sale. It's usually $299 but they will give you a $75 gift card, and if you have the Red Card that means you will spend $213 instead of $299. Nate is seriously delusional enough to say that we 'need' a mini because of this deal. Even though I think the iPad Air is plenty for our family as long as Nate shares his toy with us (i.e. the kids). But maybe we will check it out on Friday just in case, assuming they don't sell out in seconds.

Do any of you shop in the wee hours of Black Friday morning? Worth it and fun, or one giant retail headache?

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.

How I make our family photo albums plus the dreaded photo storage issue

This is a post I had drafted way back in August, with the intention of writing about our family albums during my daily blogging month. Didn't happen. It just seemed like a really boring topic at the time, even though I had a few requests to write a post like this. Now that I finished Cecelia's first year album I am more inspired to share the process.

I have said it many times before: a big reason that I blog is solely to make my posts into books. More specifically, I use my monthly baby updates and create the text for yearly kid albums. I'll add in a few other 'random' posts into these albums, too, but mostly I stick to the basics. There is just something that comforts me to have these typed words in print. You know, in case the internet explodes or Blogger dies before my kids are old enough to read all of their posts online. It just feels safer to pull the posts into books.

But then there are also the hundreds (thousands) of pictures we take of our kids. How on earth could I ever USE all of these pictures for anything substantial, other than taking up a crazy amount of space on my Flickr account? And speaking of Flickr, how does one manage all of these images and videos? Where do they live other than my blog? Storage. Photo and video storage is no joke and super important, albeit very annoying at times.

Well, here is what works for me when it comes to photo storage and family albums. I apologize if this is totally boring. I will try to include some pretty pictures along the way.

Photo storage and organizing:

First things first: I take a lot of iPhone pictures, make iPhone videos, and also use my dSLR 'real' camera a decent amount. Which means that I have to force myself to organize and store all of these files or the memories are lost. And none of it ever happened, right? ;)

For my iPhone pictures: nearly every evening I use the Flickr app on my phone to upload the non-blurry 'keeper' pictures of the day. I pull them right over to Flickr and usually just create sets based on the month. Or if it's a special occasion, I will make a new set just for those pictures (ie 'Halloween 2013 iPhone' pics, or 'Colorado 2013 iPhone' pics). Using the sets on Flickr helps me find older photos a little bit easier. I should also title my images to help me find them later but I just don't. So far I've been alright paging through sets from yesteryear to find that one specific photo, and the blog actually helps with that, too. If I want to find a picture of Truman when he was 18 months old, I can go to his blog post and click on any picture. It will take my to my Flickr account and the correct set. Easy. My iPhone pictures live on Flickr and Flickr alone, I do not back them up onto my computer or the external hard drive. I delete the pictures off my phone and trust in Flickr pretty regularly. Cannot handle having hundred and hundreds of pictures on my phone. Purge, purge, purge!

For my iPhone videos: this is a little more annoying, which means I do this a LOT less. Like, maybe once every three months? I have to physically plug my phone into the computer, pull the videos into iPhoto and then put them onto Flickr from there. I have no idea why Flickr stopped having video uploads from the app. Super annoying but at least we can still add them from a real computer, I suppose. I also organize my videos into sets but they are a lot more broad. Mostly I will do 'CC videos' as a set and 'Truman videos' as a set, and just recently did a 'Both kids videos' set. Wild, I know. With the videos I will actually go back and add titles to reflect the date and age and all of that. Hate how my iPhone videos look all long and skinny on Flickr, with the big black bars on either side if I held my phone vertical. But at least we have home videos stored somewhere, I suppose.

Screen shot of my iPhoto events right now:
For my real camera photos: I pull the images from my memory card into the computer, into iPhoto usually right after I use my camera that day. I organize iPhoto into the events based on date. Then I go through that event I just made and delete any blurry or duplicate pictures, and then upload all of them directly to Flickr. This means I have all of my good images on the computer in iPhoto and also on Flickr.

External Hard-drive: every few months I will back up the images and videos on iPhoto onto our external hard drive. Mostly just because iPhoto gets really full and makes my older computer too slow, so I know it's time to delete the files. But I can't delete them until I know they are on the hard drive, too. I have considered trying out a new hip 'Cloud' concept but for now our external hard drive is my source for a second back up (after Flickr). I have this whole thing organized by topic and date (ie iPhoto 2013 Jan, Feb, March, etc). I'm not sure how much storage this hard drive has on it but it must be a ridiculous amount.

So to review---> iPhone photos = Flickr only. iPhone videos = Flickr and external hard drive. Nice camera photos = Flickr and external hard drive. I clean out my computer's iPhoto and my iPhone pictures pretty regularly once I have the images and videos saved online and/or on the hard drive.

Family Photo Albums:

Now the 'fun' part: taking those pictures and blog posts and making a digital, paper album out of them. I am attempting to do a first year and a second year album for each child, and then I will do a family album out of Instagram pictures, too. Once we get past our kids being two years old I will attempt to do one yearly family album after that. For now there are lots of monthly blog posts from years 0-2 that need a place on paper.

I've used Blurb as my album company since 2007, when I made our wedding album through them. Then I had a little album design business of my own for a few years and used Blurb a LOT at that time, and since then I've made the pregnancy albums, kids albums, and family albums through Blurb. So all together Cecelia's first year album is my 30th album through Blurb---you could say I like them a lot. I don't think you can beat their quality for the price even though it's never 'cheap' to make a 100+ page album. It's worth it to me and I love their sizes, their paper, and their printing quality. Of course, I applied to be an 'affiliate' with them through this site and got rejected so I guess a pep talk like this is not enough! But still. Like them a lot.

When you use Blurb as your album company, you can use their design software called Booksmart. That is all I use these days to make my albums but pre-kids I was crazy enough to design all of my pages by scratch in Photoshop, then I would upload those page files directly to a book. I didn't think Booksmart had enough design freedom but my tune has since changed. I now realize you actually can make your own templates for photos and text and you can move everything around to be more custom, not just using the pre-made templates for pages.

The first step in making a photo/blog post album for me is to pull alllllll of the pictures I want in said album. This.Is.No.Joke. I kind of hate choosing pictures for albums because I can't ever decide on a reasonable amount and it becomes overwhelming quickly. For Cecelia's album, I was smart and went through all of my Flickr pictures and/or iPhoto events and grabbed my 'favorite' pictures from each month of her life. I did this as I was making her first year slideshows and it ended up saving me a lot of time when it came to the album process.

So I had pictures from each month in groups on iPhoto, and then Booksmart allows you to select pictures that you want to use and will sort them out for you on the left hand column. I could select 'May 2012' first and then after those pages were done, I would move on to 'June 2012' and so on.

I also went back through my blog and copy/pasted posts that were all about Cecelia. I included the titles and the dates and made that text one solid piece, without photos to break up the paragraphs. This part is always kind of fun for me to go back and re-read those posts although sometimes it's overwhelming to decide which posts make the album cut and which do not.

Screen shot of Booksmart process:

This whole process of photos and blog posts took a lot of hours to complete for Cecelia's 112 page book. There are over 600 pictures in there so that was part of it. I personally love a cleaner, simple look to photobooks and if I could do a full bleed photo on every page I would, but then we'd have a book the size of the Bible so I had to do a lot of collages. Don't always love a bunch of pictures jammed together but if it's a clean layout I can handle it. I really don't have a choice if I want to keep 600 pictures in one book, anyway.

I chose the 11x13" size book for her first year, since that is the size I used for Truman's first year. My pregnancy and the second year album for Truman are the smaller 10x8" and I like those, too. In the past I have used a bunch of digital scrapbooking papers and frames (when I was designing in Photoshop) but this time I stuck with a plain old white background. Simple is better right now. I just wanted to get this baby finished!

A few of the spreads I like a lot:) You might be able to click these to see them a little bigger, since the font is pretty small shrunk down for these screen shots.

The back and front covers. I usually do one giant picture for these but had to do my monthly collages somewhere, figured this was the best spot:

First pages. Be still, my heart:

 I love photo/blog books so much. Guess I need to get going on our yearly Instagram album and then Cecelia's second year album. It never ends!

Thought of the Day

Sometimes I wonder how many hours of my life have been spent searching for a missing toy in this house. I mean, out of the seemingly endless amount of trains, toy animals, balls, and general CRAP we have strewn throughout various containers it always amazes me that the one thing Truman wants is the one mysterious toy that hides from me. And mocks me. And makes me want to pack up every single toy in this house and donate it all to Goodwill. For real. A needle in a haystack, if you will. And I'd like to consider my haystack fairly organized and 'controlled', but that darn needle keeps slipping into the depths of darkness.

Let me explain: my kids aren't (totally) spoiled rotten or anything, but they do have the typical middle-class American home that includes a ridiculous amount of kid paraphernalia. Ridiculous. We have boxes and bins that are supposed to conceal said toys. We have a freaking playroom that is supposed to house them all, too. But of course, the toys get scattered throughout our home almost always landing directly in the walking path of bare feet (i.e. legos and trains can nearly pierce the skin if you aren't careful, trust me). So yeah, we have a lot of toys despite my bi-annual C.O.T.C episodes (Cleaning Out the Toy Crap).

Tonight Truman could not find his beloved monkey, which is not a toy and is nearly a member of our family. So my heart was not quite as hardened at this point. We had Truman look for monkey by himself, like we always do when he 'loses' something. Because usually he is the one who knows where something is hiding. We don't step in and assist with the toy-hunt until he has truly exhausted most of his options. This usually works and I figured he would find monkey in no time.

However, after Truman, Nate and I searched for monkey for seriously 30 minutes or more I became increasingly irritated. How does one lose a lovey that is practically attached at his hip? We checked garbage cans (Cecelia??), the oven, under pillows, toy boxes, the toilet (Cecelia??), my work bag, etc. Eventually I found the monk-ster, hiding in the deepest, darkest crevasse that is our basement. Whatever. But then? Truman informs me that there is something else missing: a tiny red bouncy ball that he simply must have immediately.

I glanced around the family room, toys strewn about like usual. I peeked under the couch and then tapped out, saying, 'I'm sorry buddy, mommy can't look for anything else tonight. Be happy we found monkey and let's worry about the (blasted) ball tomorrow.' He didn't throw a mega-fit or anything because I think my tirade about how we have too many toys in this house during the monkey-search made him realize that mommy is about to lose it with his stuff.

Obviously, this is a first world problem. We are blessed beyond belief and having too many toys is hardly something to complain about when there are so many without these luxuries. I promise this rant doesn't mean I'm totally delusional and self-centered. But still, maybe I need to up the ante of my bi-annual C.O.T.C. to be monthly or something. I'm sure the kids would not miss half of the stuff I boxed up. I do actually have a few boxes of older toys stored in the attic and planned to 'rotate' out the older stuff for newer stuff but haven't done that since last Christmas. Which, of course, will be another time that will overwhelm me with STUFF. I sent out an email to our family this year suggesting that we all try a new and fun idea this Christmas: one gift a piece, and nothing expensive. Simplify. Enjoy the time together without worrying about buying a bunch of silly gifts. Remember the real meaning of Christmas. Novel idea, I know.

Of course, I think this idea will go over well for us adults but for Truman? The kid is becoming toy-obsessed and would probably hate us for eternity if he 'only' got one toy to open this year. Not really, I'm sure he would live, but I have a feeling we might break the 'one gift only' rule for him. Which only perpetuates the problem with the toy-takover of my home, so it's ironic that I'm whining now. Huh.

Anyway, I wonder if someone could keep track of the amount of time we spend looking for a missing toy. Would it be more or less time than we actually spend playing with that toy? Food for thought. I'm one toy-hunt away from doing a major purge. I'll probably forget about this by tomorrow, but it's nice to consider right now.

So ends my thought of the day on toys and needles in haystacks.

TV time

Nate and I really don't watch much television, which is why we got rid of cable earlier this year. As long as we still have PBS kids, The Today Show, the news, and Nate's mysterious way to get ESPN through the computer (or something), we are good. Don't miss it at all.

Plus, we got Netflix for $8/month and let me tell you something: I think Netflix makes us watch even more TV than cable ever did. Even with DVR, we just never watched anything. Now with Netflix we sill use those golden hours when the kids are both sleeping to watch some shows. Not every night but if we find a show that is like crack, then watch out. We'll squeeze in a few episodes a night, no problem.

Since I feel like 'watching shows' is kind of a new and exciting thing for us, I wanted to list out what we've been watching (as our minds rot away, staring at the boob tube). ;)

1. Downton Abbey.
OMG, I loved it so much that I would dream about it at night. All three seasons were majorly addicting to me. Nate stuck around for about two episodes before he bowed out, but I was hooked from about the third episode on. So many interesting characters and a great plot, plus I find the Brits and that time period in general super fascinating. Matthew is also freaking H-O-T-T and I'm obsessed with old lady Grantham. I won't spoil anything here, but that final episode? Heartbreaking and troubling and literally, I could not sleep the night after watching it. I believe they are coming out with the next season in January and since it's on PBS I plan to watch it real time. But I'm skeptical, to say the least, considering the last episode.

2. Breaking Bad.
Nate and I both started watching this beginning at season one, probably around the time I also started watching Downton. I stuck around for the first season and then found it deeply disturbing and could not stomach seasons 2-4. Nate watched those on his own and admitted it was super slow but 'awesome'. Eventually, maybe around the first part of season 5, I was lured back to the show and started watching again. I told Nate if there were any more mass murders set to opera music I was done. But I got hooked again. We watched the final season (number 5, part two) somewhat live---we bought a 'season pass' and could watch it Monday night after each episode aired on Sundays. Gah, that show gets me. It was so good, so horrifying, so complex, and pretty much awesome. I guess you get used to the drugs and the gore and the evil parts of it along the way. Nate and I were both somewhat depressed when it was over. For real. Jesse and Walt are two characters that cannot be matched. And Hank! Ah, this show.

3. Orange is the New Black.
We stumbled upon this one after Breaking Bad, as we were trying to fill that hole in our hearts for a good show. There is only one season out so far and we blew through it pretty quickly. The first episode was kind of shocking but again, I guess you get used to scandal as a show goes along. Loved these characters so much and all of their back stories. The final episode was not my fave and was pretty disturbing, since I much preferred the show when it was funny as opposed to dramatic. If they ever do come out with a  season 2 we will watch it, though. Love Piper and Alex so much (separately and also together).

4. Mad Men.
This was one that a lot of people recommended and we have watched the first season and a few episodes for the second. Nate thinks it's way too slow but I'm not ready to totally give up on it just yet. Kind of a cool time period and I want to keep watching to see what happens with all of these characters. But for now we are taking a break with this (bye, Don Draper, you are so freaking attractive) because we started...

5. Friday Night Lights.
My parents loved this show when it originally aired in 2006, and a few of my friends also swear by it. So we watched the first two episodes last night and I think we are hooked! This show reminds me of my high school in small town MO, to a degree. The football team was definitely held up as semi-gods in our town although our players were NOT as gorgeous as these guys. And our Missouri accents weren't as thick as Texans but still---reminds me of home in a way;) The only complaint I have is the shaky camera shooting. It made me feel a little ill to watch it bounce around like that but maybe I will get used to it. Because I'm sure we will watch another few episodes this weekend.

Anyone watch these and love/hate them? What else do we need to add to our list, now that we are officially TV-ers? Pretty Little Liars? New Girl? Portlandia? Chuck? (Nate loved this one back in the day). Dexter? Any suggestion must be found on Netflix or we are out. Of course, if Netflix hooks us with one season and then doesn't have the rest (i.e. Downton) I wouldn't be opposed to buying the other seasons, too.

How about that for a deep post?? ;)

Our family pictures

We didn't get professional pictures last year for our Christmas cards, because we had done LOTS of pro pictures centered around Cecelia's birth and newborn days. I knew I wanted to have Andrea take our pictures this fall, though, and felt crazy enough to include Henry this time. He hasn't been in our family pictures since 2010 and I felt like we needed his fluffy face gracing the presence of our cards this year. And NOW I remember why bringing our dog to pictures is a joke....but he did manage to get in a few shots and it does make our family seem more complete with that fur ball in them.

We had the date scheduled for Sunday, November 3 but then we changed it to Saturday November 2 instead, last minute. Andrea had an opening and we figured it would be good to avoid the unpredictability of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday. Plus it stayed light out longer on Saturday, even though it was pretty overcast all day, so we decided to go for it a day early.

I picked the location (outside of Hoyt Pool for the locals) and spent WAY too many weeks trying to envision our outfits. All I knew is I wanted mustard yellow involved, I found Cecelia's skinny yellow cords at Old Navy, and then began the over-analyzing. Boots for Cecelia or hot pink Toms? Rust colored scarf for me or an old multi-colored one (that I wear all the time)? Striped yellow shirt for Truman or a solid yellow rugby? DECISIONS! I had everything laid out on Friday night and kept switching out articles of clothing until finally, after getting opinions on IG, I had it all pretty much settled.

Well except I still couldn't decide on my top or my scarf even while I was getting dressed, but whatever.

We gathered up the crew and met Andrea around 4:00. It was cold, windy, and overcast but the colors were out of this world. We picked the best weekend to do these pictures, even if it was cold and dreary.

I told Andrea I definitely wanted a few shots of just Nate and I, since I honestly don't think we have a single picture of us by ourselves since kids. Not okay! I also wanted a few of just the kids, and then a few of everyone including Henry. After scouring Pinterest for cute poses I also wanted to try an airplane shot with the kids on our legs. Oh, so many ideas, so little time. But I think we got a few good ones, don't you?

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Me and my guy

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Fave. My family makes me happy ;)
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And these two are too much.
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My girl.
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Airplane time!
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Another fave.
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Love him.
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There was a wedding party hogging the bridge that I wanted to shoot, so we waited until they were finished to do our bridge shots. And of course, by then the kids were pretty much done. Even with fruit snacks and jelly beans. The ducks passing under the bridge were too much of a distraction and we were lucky to get any at all on my beloved bridge.
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A quick scarf change for one more picture.
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When we left the shoot I felt confident that it must have been a flop. Fussy kids, cold noses, a dog that wanted to pull his leash towards every single person that went by. I was just hoping to get a single shot where everyone was looking in the general direction of the camera. So I was pleasantly surprised when we got the images.

Andrea Weiss Photography did it again! My family is cute and fall is beautiful. Now to pick one shot for the Christmas cards...

{Oh, and because it's been asked on IG, I will try to make a source list for our outfits. No links, though, since I'm too lazy}

Nate: plaid button down by Banana Republic, blue sweater by Eddie Bauer, Joe's jeans, and shoes by Allen Edmonds.

Truman: striped yellow shirt by Old Navy, vest by Carter's, khakis by Old Navy, and boots are Toms.

Me: both scarves by Mossimo at Target, cardigan Mossimo at Target, tee shirt from Target, skinny yellow belt Target (sense a theme?), jeggings Old Navy, and brown boots Corso Como from Zappos.

Cecelia: hairbow made by GoGo;), cream shrug from Target, navy striped waffle shirt from Old Navy, skinny cords Old Navy, and boots by Oshkosh.

Colorado Trip 2013: Days 7 & 8

Almost done with vacation!! Whew, this is a lot of blogging but worth it, I think.

Tuesday, October 29: Day 7

This was our last full day in Colorado and it was another cold and dreary one. We were extra happy that we did so many outdoor activities in the beginning of our trip because the last few days were so overcast we couldn't even see the mountains from Fort Collins.

Truman woke up at 6:15 am this date and we didn't fight it....because Nate and I were already pumped up for our breakfast date together! Each of us showered while Truman ate and played, then my parents and CC emerged after that. Nate and I left for our date at 8 am and headed to Snooze--a recommendation from an IG follower.  Now let me tell you, my husband and I can DO some breakfast food. It's seriously my favorite meal especially if we eat out: the coffee, the pancakes, the eggs. Gah, I love it all. So it probably doesn't take much to impress us but I can say that Snooze was freaking fantastic. I got two scrambled eggs, their awesome hash browns, and a pancake that had oatmeal inside and peanut butter whipped cream on top. Nate got some sort of Eggs Benedict concoction with a sweet potato pancake on the side, topped with some sort of nuts and exotic whipped cream. Amazing.




We were home by 9:00 somehow and we gathered up the troops to head for the Museum of Discovery around 10:00. My parents stopped by Memaw and Pepaw's hotel to get them first and we all met at the museum after that. Seriously, this has to be one of the most incredible kids' museums ever. There was SO much to see and both kids (and all of the adults) were captivated the entire time.


Truman's favorite exhibit: The Ball Run. There were tubes that you stick to the wall to make a giant tunnel for whiffle balls

My favorite exhibit: a huge wall of tiny round mirrors, pinned to the wall. There were three giant air blowers that you could shoot against the wall to see the mirrors move. I could not stop taking pictures of this 'Wind Wall'.








Rolling tennis balls down ramps, another fave:


Nate made a parachute and let it blow around in this giant tube. Pretty sweet:


Mr. Bonz--a skeleton that rides his bike from the power you create with yours, and you see how fast you can get his heart beating.




Mirrors and rainbow light, can't lose with that combo:



Giant air blowers shooting beach balls into the air:


My other favorite room: The Reactable. I can't fully describe this one but all of these little cubes had symbols on them. As you placed each cube on the lighted table, they would all react with each other in different ways. So the drum symbol would make the surround sound music in the room strong with percussion. The music note symbol would change the tune all together. Some of the blocks and cubes would cancel each other out, make lines to each other on the table, and cause static. It was SO cool and Nate and I decided we wanted to go back to the museum just to play in that room and figure out what each cube meant and how it could interact with all of the others.






Other really cool things that deserved pictures:













We left at 1:00 pm and both kids were on the VERGE. Actually, no, Truman tipped over the cliff because he had his first and only major meltdown of our trip as we were leaving the museum. It all started with him wanting a small tractor toy in the gift shop. We told him 'no' at the beginning of the day when he asked. Then Memaw said she'd like to treat the kids to something in the shop as we were leaving, so we figured he'd grab the tractor and we'd be on our way. But no. He had to peruse the entire store and found a gigantic classic train set (that didn't even look that fun to me) and HAD.TO.HAVE.IT. We told him there was no way, that it could never fit in our suitcases, and the deal was to get something very small. Like the beloved tractor he wanted so badly. But it was too late, no reasoning would work at this point. After trying to rationalize with him I finally told Nate it was pointless and we just had to pick him up and leave. Of course, that caused a huge scene with screaming and wailing and OMG life is so hard on vacation. He sobbed the entire way home and neither Nate nor I felt bad for him. I know he was overtired and the lack of routine and constant attention just finally caught up to him. But come on, kid. Cecelia didn't seem to mind the meltdown and promptly passed out in the car amidst the screaming.

Once we got home we put CC down in the crib and calmly placed Truman in his room as well. I mean, pretty awful to have such a tantrum in front of my parents and grandparents on our last day there, but what are you going to do? Eventually Truman calmed down enough to come downstairs and he said he was sorry to every one of us. Then he ate lunch with us and was happy as a clam---three year olds are seriously EMOTIONAL, right? Wow. Love that little lunatic and I'm proud of him for lasting 7 days without an epic tantrum, I guess. ;)

Everyone else went to nap except for Nate and myself. Take a guess at what we decided to do next: 1. Brewery Tour, or B: Coffee. Answer? BOTH. Hahahahahaha. Vacation is the best.

We went to O'Dell Brewery for a tour from 3:00-3:45. It was super informational and a lot smaller/less excessive than New Belgium was. I mean, we 'only' got one beer at the end of the tour instead of the 6-7 at NB and our tour guide was not quite animated at O'Dell. But it was still super cool and I actually felt like I learned a lot about the brewing process here. Go figure!










After that we went for our final coffee date. We decided to return to The Bean Cycle, which was the first place we tried on our first day of vacation. Mostly because Nate didn't get a soy latte that time and he wanted to officially have one at each place. HA! Their Americano was every bit as badass as the others, too.



We got home around 5, and the kids were awake. Cecelia had napped for 3.5 hours and Truman for 3 so I figured they'd be in decent moods all night (they were, actually). We had dinner as a big ground around 6 and it was a little more calm than the night before. After dinner Memaw asked if she and mom could take the kids to Toys-R-Us to get the kids something as a treat. My mom had already given them two gifts during the trip but I guess MM wanted her turn at spoilage, so of course I said that was fine. Just no giant train sets allowed! The four of them were off, the rest of us cleaned up and then Nate and I started to pack our things.

Mom and Memaw brought the kids, new toys, and cookies home from their trip. We all hung out and the kids played (ie destroyed the house), and then we gave the children baths to wash off the chocolate and filth. Memaw and Pepaw left for their hotel around 9, and they planned to come over bright and early for a final goodbye the next day. Kids were down at 9:39 and the adults were shortly behind at 10pm this night.




I remember singing to Truman this night, doing my part of the bedtime routine. He was kind of weepy and kept saying, 'Are we leaving in the morning? I don't want to leave. I like Colorado.' Break my heart. ;(

Wednesday, October 30: Day 8

Crappy night as I couldn't sleep for some reason. Too many thoughts running through the old noggin, so I was awake from 3:30-5:30 and the alarm went off at 6:00. I think Truman needed to be tucked in somewhere in there, too, but I can't remember. Yawn.

Memaw and Pepaw came over at 7 which is right when both kids were waking up. I actually had to wake Truman up this morning, now that I think about it. Because the only time I cried this day was when I went into his room in the morning. The first thing he said to me was, 'I don't want to leave, I'm going to miss everyone. I'm going to miss all of my friends.' Ugghhhhhh. More than this mom can handle, for sure. I just told him that I was going to miss GoGo and PoPo, too. He told me that he was going to miss GoGo, PoPo, Michael, Lucie (the dog), and MM and PP. Poor guy was really having a hard time leaving this magical place of vacation. Hate living so far away from my parents because of moments like this, it always breaks my heart to hear Truman so upset about our time together ending.

We ate breakfast and scrambled around to pack everything up for good. Apparently we shopped a LOT on this trip because Nate had a hard time getting everything to fit in our bags. And those bags were 25 pounds heavier than when we came. Whoops. We left the house at 8 after saying goodbye to Pepaw, but Memaw decided to ride with my mom and kids in one of the cars to the airport. Dad, Nate and I rode in the other and we were off!

We arrived at the airport at 9 which was good, as our flight was supposed to take off at 10:15. We said our goodbyes and it wasn't actually too sad since we were kind of preoccupied with eleventy billion pounds of luggage and a rush to get moving towards our flight. But I did tell my dad on the drive to the airport that if he wanted to start looking for jobs in Milwaukee anytime soon, we'd happily support that decision;)

The line at the ticket counter was fairly long, Truman informed us that he had to poop bad, and it was pretty much general chaos getting our tickets even though we checked in online. It's always a pain to go to the counter but we had to do that to check our bags and add the 'infant in lap' to my ticket. Anyway, we avoided an accident successfully and Truman went to the bathroom with Nate as I changed CC's diaper. She was very unhappy already and basically she needed a nap like yesterday.

Approaching the security line we felt a sense of dread because the line was super long, and we had to walk forever just to get to security. Cecelia would not allow us to put her in the stroller and instead she insisted on pushing the empty stroller....into random people's legs and whatnot. OMG. Once we finally got through security CC was losing her mind and the sweetest TSA agent came up to us and asked if CC liked dogs. I was shocked and said, 'Um, yes?' and he said to watch this because it's 99% effective. He crouched behind her stroller so she couldn't see him and then proceeded to bark like a dog--very realistically. She immediately stopped, stared, and tried to find the 'daw daw'. It worked! I thanked the man over and over again and got the feeling he did this stunt a few times every day.

We rushed to our gate and somehow arrived before our plane had even landed. So we sat and rested a bit while Cecelia got worked up again. I frantically pulled out my emergency lollipops but once those were gone CC was yelling again.



We eventually boarded and found three seats next to each other. I dug even further for my EXTRA emergency SOS jelly beans within 5 minutes of sitting down on the plane, because it was just that critical. Don't worry, Cecelia ate almost the entire bag by herself over the next 30 minutes. But it kept her quiet and happy so anything goes, right?

The flight took off a little bit late, more like 10:45. And as expected, this 2 hour flight was a lot longer than the first one somehow. CC was just restless, Truman was fine with his ipod and headphones but not quite as captivated this time around. He also had a new dry-erase maze book that kept him entertained for quite awhile. I took Truman to the bathroom once, Nate wrestled our alligator baby in the seats and finally...FINALLY...right as we started to descend Cecelia passed out in my arms. Haven't had her do that in months but it was much needed. Of course, I wish she had slept earlier but oh well.




Nate's parents had parked our car in the garage for us the night before, so I took my sleeping daughter in the stroller and hunted for the car while the guys got our luggage. I eventually found it but as soon as I put CC in her car seat she woke up and was not the happiest. We picked up the boys and headed home, arriving there at 2:30. Both kids napped immediately and we began to unpack, remarking that yes, vacation is awesome. But it's awfully nice to be back home, too.

So in ends the length series of posts about our vacation. I want to go back immediately, but to answer a popular question: no. I don't think we are moving to CO anytime soon. ;)

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