Sunday, December 23, 2012

An Update on Harry

Harry had an appointment with his eye doctor on Tuesday. We were all pretty sure he'd need a cornea reshaping surgery and had mentally prepared ourselves for that. His regular eye doctor examined him first and said that the left eye looked like it had made some improvements. The dryness problem had been resolved, thanks to the near constant eye drop application regimen we'd had Harry on. There was also a very slight improvement in his left eye vision. Nowhere near where it needs to be to actually be considered functioning, but still very encouraging since we hadn't seen any improvements for a really long time.

The cornea specialist then came to examine him and to determine the course of treatment. Much to my (and, I think, the doctor's) surprise, the specialist does not want to pursue surgery at this time. He said his concerns were that it could cause even more scarring that would further impede his vision and that since Harry is still growing, reshaping his four-year-old cornea could cause problems when he is fully grown if the shape of his eye should change. Instead, Harry will begin wearing a soft contact with a harder, gas permeable contact over it, on his left eye for the next ten to fifteen years. (You read that correctly. Ten to fifteen years. I'm sure I annoyed the cornea specialist by repeating it over and over. "How long? Ten to fifteen years? Ten to fifteen years?") At the end of the ten to fifteen years, he will likely get the surgery we had been anticipating. While I understand, and even agree with, his reservations for doing surgery, this is going to present Harry with a whole new set of challenges. Namely, he is going to hate Cory and I putting the hard contact in and taking it out each day. It is supposed to be "a little uncomfortable." I really can't see this going well. Also, any other time he's worn a bandage contact lens, he's rubbed it out of his eye on the walk from the doctor's office to the parking garage. I'm kind of anticipating having to tell his doctor that we've lost thirty lenses already. His is supposed to sleep in the soft lens, which I think will make it a lot more likely that he will rub the lens out. He'll wear the soft lens for two to three months at a time and will need antibiotic drops four times a day to prevent infection. He will also need moisturizing drops throughout the day to keep his eye from getting too dry. For ten to fifteen years. And, he's not supposed to swim for the next ten to fifteen years. (I forsee us breaking this rule. "I'm taking Jack and Addie to the pool. Harry, you can look forward to that in college." Probably not.)

Harry has an appointment next week to be fitted for the lenses. Assuming that goes well, he'll begin treatments to retrain his left eye to see, probably by dilating the right eye, in February. Please pray that he responds well to all of this and that it will work. During all of this, we have known that the recovery time was in the span of years, but we weren't anticipating it to be that long. Right now, thinking about dealing with this in ten plus years is hard to wrap our minds around. Please pray for our family as we adjust to this new normal.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Purex Baby Giveaway!

Even though my "baby" is two, I was still excited when Purex sent me their new Purex Baby Triple Action laundry detergent to try. This detergent is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested to be extra gentle on sensitive baby skin. My kids have been known to have sensitive skin, so it really is perfect for the whole family. It is lightly scented, but nothing overpowering. I think it smells just like a baby fresh out of the bath, which is one of the best smells in the world. I washed my comforter in it, and I am loving the way it smells. Now, when I snuggle my sweet babies, it reminds of when they really were still babies :)

The people at Purex were nice enough to send me three coupons, each for a free bottle of Purex Baby. Although, honestly, this has been my favorite detergent so far, and I kind of want to keep the coupons all for myself! But instead, I'll pick three lucky winners on January 5, 2013. I'm going to try a Rafflecopter giveaway for this. You can earn two entries. The first is a mandatory entry for following the blog. I'll need you to leave your email address on that one so I can contact you if you win. A second bonus entry can be earned if you leave a comment on this post. Good luck!

And finally, some legal stuff: I received this product for free from Purex. As a Purex Insiders blogger, I agreed to try the product and post a review on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Purex. This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only. And don't forget to enter my other giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TriCalm Giveaway!

Moms Meet has sent me another great product to try and giveaway to you! This time I got a tube of TriCalm. TriCalm is a steroid free skin ointment to help relieve itchy or dry skin and minor burns or irritations. It can help with all sorts of conditions. Bug bites, poison ivy, allergic reactions, winter skin, and eczema are just a few of the conditions that TriCalm can be used for. It is steroid free, so it can be used long term. It uses a special compound found in leafy green vegetables to help relieve skin irritaion. You can read more about it on their website and Facebook page.

Jack gets really dry skin, especially on his hands, in the winter. I am happy to have a safe, natural product to help his hands feel better and heal. Since TriCalm is steroid free and plant based, I even feel comfortable using it on Harry's super sensitive skin. And you can have a chance to try it with your family. TriCalm and Mom's Meet are giving away two full sized tubes of TriCalm ointment to two of you, lucky readers! All you have to is enter below. I am going to try using a Rafflecopter giveaway for the first time. You can earn two entries; one mandatory entry by following the blog, and one bonus entry by leaving a comment. I will draw to lucky winners on January 5, 2013! Good luck!

And finally, some legal stuff: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet Program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to try the product and post a review on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC, or the manufacturer of the product. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. And don't forget to enter my other giveaway And don't forget to enter my other giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

He's baaaaack! And he brought a friend!

Fred, our Elf on the Shelf, finally made his reappearance for this holiday season. You may remember his adventures from last year that you can read about here and here. Last year, he came on St. Nicholas Day. This year, in his wisdom, St. Nicholas thought it would be better to wait to come to our house on a Friday night instead of a Wednesday night. So, Fred came a few days later than last year. For about ten days before he showed up, the kids kept asking when Fred was going to get here. I told them I was pretty sure Fred wanted to come to our house when it was all decorated for Christmas, and that I couldn't decorate if it was a mess. Therefore, if the children hoped to hasten Fred's arrival, helping to clean was probably the best way to make it happen. Thanks Fred!!!

The big day finally came. The kids were super excited about their shoes full of treats, but even more so about Fred arriving. It turns out, Fred brought another elf with him (thanks to Aunt Sara!) The kids noticed the new, much bigger elf first. Jack yelled excitedly, "I think Fred grew!" But they soon noticed tiny Fred peeking down from the top of the door and realized they were lucky enough to have two elves!

The first step when you get a new elf is to name him. Jack was pretty set on Ned because he liked that the names would rhyme. Harry agreed, until I stupidly said that I thought Harry would want to name him Elfie. (His dragon is Draggy. His leopard is Leppy. His panda is Pandy. You get the picture.) Because of my mistake we had to call him Elfie Ned (and write it in the "official" book.) But, for the past few days, everyone just been saying Ned, so all is well with the world. Ned spends a lot of time hanging upside down, prompting Jack to say, "That Ned sure loves to be upside down." I have to say, I love the way the kids just talk about them like they are definitely real and have zero doubt about them.

Last year, Fred had an accident that Jack was sure would be one hundred percent healed by this year. (The chalkboard in the picture is actually the scene of the disaster, so I had some reservations about them being there. But there just aren't that many places for them to go!) When he saw the Fred still has a "scar" from that, he decided we just need to keep giving him hot chocolate. We had a big conversation about how sometimes scars just stay. (And thankfully he was long asleep when Fred's leg fell off again two nights ago.) By the time Christmas gets here, our time with our elves will have been fairly brief this year (Really, how many places can they be where Addie won't touch them and ruin their magic? Not a lot, I assure you.) but the kids have enjoyed every second of it. The effort to maintain the magic of childhood for as long as possible is well worth it. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

Here are the four winners from the Moms Meet and Dial handsoap giveaways!!!

Dial Holiday Foaming Antibacterial Soap - Bethany

Sparx Candy - Cat

Softcup with a prize from me - Marilyn

Softcup with the prize sent from Moms Meet - Mandy

Congrats to all the winners! I will get your prizes to you next time I see you. Mandy, I will send your info to Moms Meet, and they will send it to you.

I have another giveaway from Moms Meet to get up in the next week or so, so check back for that!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dial Antibacterial Holiday Foaming Handwash Giveaway!

When I got home today, I found a nice suprise from Purex Insiders! A box with two bottles of Dial's new Holiday Edition Foaming Handwash. There are four different bottle designs. I got the snowman and the candy cane. They are super cute, and are officially the first Christmas decor put up this year. Foaming handwash is my favorite kind of hand soap, and this has a fresh, almost citrusy smell. Plus, it is a festive red color. Even the kids were excited about it. Which I found funny, because it's soap. You can find out more about all of Dial's products on their Facebook page.

Since I like to give something away with my reviews, I am going to give one lucky, local reader, the candy cane bottle of Dial Antibacterial Foaming Handwash! Here is an explanation of what I mean by "local," cut and pasted from the other local giveaway I am hosting right now. *Since this is an actual product, (not a coupon for you to go get the product yourself) I am going to limit the winner to a person who I will be able to deliver a prize to in person. The chances of me buying shipping materials and getting to the post office in any sort of timely manner are slim to none. (Really, just none.) Soooo, if I will see you any time soon, or you'll see my mom, or you know my friend who I could give it to to give to you, etc. (I think you get the picture...) this giveaway is for you! I'm going to refer to it as a "local giveaway."*

To enter, follow the blog and leave a comment saying you want to win. I will draw the winner Wednesday, December 5 using And finally, some legal stuff: I received these products for free from the Purex Insiders program As a Purex Insiders blogger, I agreed to try the products and post a review on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Purex Insiders program , or the manufacturers of the products. Also, obviously since the giveaway is local, it is open to U.S. residents only. And, check out my other local giveaway going on right now. Good luck!

Moms Meet Giveaway!

Recently, (Actually, not so recently. I've been meaning to get this up for a few weeks.) the nice people at Moms Meet sent me some products to review on the blog. Since I prefer to do giveaways with my reviews, I am going to share some the products with you!!! Here are a few disclaimers first. Since these are actual products, (not coupons for you to go get the products yourself) I am going to limit the winners to people who I will be able to deliver prizes to in person. The chances of me buying shipping materials and getting to the post office in any sort of timely manner are slim to none. (Really, just none.) Soooo, if I will see you any time soon, or you'll see my mom, or you know my friend who I could give it to to give to you, etc. (I think you get the picture...) these giveaways are for you! I'm going to refer to it as a "local giveaway." (Probably pretty obvious, but U.S. residents only.) Another disclaimer: The second giveaway is for ladies only!!! So, if you have a Y chromosome, and are easily offended by "lady talk," (I'm talking about the "P" word here, people) stop reading now, or at least don't scroll down past the first giveaway. Okay, so local and lady time talk, got it?

****Change of plans!!! I reviewed the info for the Softcup program, and it says they are sponsoring a giveaway too. So, I will choose two winners. One local and one that does not have to be local, as Mom's Meet will be sending that prize pack out! Sorry for the confusion!!!***

And finally, some legal stuff: I received these products for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet Program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to try the products and post a review on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC, or the manufacturers of the products. I will choose the two winners on Wednesday, December 5, using Also, be sure to check out my other local giveaway.

Okay, with that all out of the way, I present you with giveaway number one! Xlear, a brand that is known for using xylitol, a plant based, dentist recommended sweetener, sent me some of their new candy, Sparx. My family tried the Fruit flavor. We all really liked it. Jack referred to it as "the healthy candy." Like, "Mom, can I have some of my Halloween candy?" Me: No. "Well, how about some of the healthy candy. It's okay, because it's healthy." Me: sigh. Yes. And he's actually right. It is sugar free, and may help prevent dental caries. Added bonus: Addie loved shaking the little candies in their tube. You can find out more about all their products on their Facebook page. We are particularly fond of their toothpastes. My mom loves their adult toothpaste, and all three of my kiddos have used and loved their flouride free toddler toothpaste.

So, one lucky winner will get a tube of the Citrus Sparx to try for yourself! If you are local, follow the blog and leave a comment saying you want to win. (That'll actually enter you in both giveaways, no need for two comments.) Good luck!

On to giveaway number two! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! There's gonna be lady talk, so turn back now if you don't want to read it!

So, the goal of Moms Meet it to share all sorts of green products. And guess what? You can even make your time of the month greener. (I'm talking about periods, so really, stop reading if this is gonna bother you.) Softcup offers you an alternative to traditional products. It can be used for swimming, sleeping, sports, and more, for up to twelve hours. It is sorta like a disposable Diva Cup. It also doesn't have any of the risks associated with traditional products. You can find out more about Softcup on their Facebook page. One lucky, local, winner will win a sample pack with ten Softcups for you to try. Again, follow the blog, leave a comment that you want to win, and you will be entered in both drawings. Good luck! I'm going to repaet this here! ****Change of plans!!! I reviewed the info for the Softcup program, and it says they are sponsoring a giveaway too. So, I will choose two winners. One local and one that does not have to be local, as Mom's Meet will be sending that prize pack out! Sorry for the confusion!!!***

Here's a funny video. It's not from Softcup, but it's pretty funny, so I had to include it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Purex plus Oxi Winners!

The winners for the Purex plus Oxi giveaway were entries 1, 4, and 5. Congratulations to Mami2jcn, katychik, and Bethany! Mami2jcn and katychik, I have emailed you for your addresses and will send your prizes out as soon as I hear back from you. Bethany, I'll give you yours next time I see. (I saw you yesterday and totally forgot! Sorry!) Enjoy, ladies!

I have two more giveaways that I will try to get ready this week!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Purex plus Oxi Giveaway!

The nice people at Purex sent me another new product to try! This time, it was Purex plus Oxi. Like all of their great products, this detergent works for my HE washer. (It works for reguar washing machines, too.) It got my brood's massive amounts of laundry clean. In fact, it should work for getting rid of over 101 different types of stains. Overall, I am very happy with it, as I have been with everything Purex has given me to try.

Now the best part! Purex has given me three coupons, each good for one free bottle of new Purex plus Oxi, so you can try it for yourself! All you need to do is follow the blog and leave a comment on this post saying you'd like to win. I will draw the three winners using on Wednesday, November 7th. Good Luck!

Also, Purex is having a sweepstakes right now to promote the new detergent. They are giving away more than $6000 in prizes, so make sure to sign up here by November 30th!

Here's some legal stuff: This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. Purex provided me with a sample of Purex plus Oxi so I could review it. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

P.S. I hope to have another giveaway up some time this week, so check back for that!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Maggie Stiefvater Day!!!

So, a few weeks ago (when I started typing this, it originally said last week, but I am just now finishing it!), my bff, Steph, and I went on an awesome kid free day trip to see one of our favorite authors, Maggie Stiefvater! If you are wondering to yourself who she is, do yourself a favor and start reading The Scorpio Races right now. Then read all of her other books. Then come back and finish reading this post, which will be like, tomorrow, because you won't be able to stop reading. You're welcome. Seriously, she could write her interpretation of the phone book, and I'm sure I would find it amazing.

Okay, back to the trip... Our awesome husbands took time off of work (Thanks Cory and Jake!) so we could have a kid free day of awesomeness. (Warning: I am probably going to use the word "awesome" A LOT in this post.) We left around 11:00, (without kids; have I mentioned that?) traveling in style, ie: not in a minivan, thanks to Steph's fab mom, Debbie. We stopped and ate lunch at a real restaurant with real adult conversation, and then we were back on the road.

We arrived at the mall with the book shop in plenty of time, so we enjoyed some kid free shopping (which, ironically, mostly involved buying stuff for the kiddos.) We stopped by the book shop, Barbara's Bookstore, and bought our copies of The Raven Boys, from a very helpful and enthusiastic bookseller, who I thought might have been Barbara herself. (Not 100% on that at all though!) She was excited that we had driven such a long way and let us reserve front row seats. She said it was her first time reserving seats for a book signing! She also recommended a yummy nearby Italian restaurant for dinner, Salerno's Pizza.

Finally, it was time for the book event! Maggie and Libba Bray were so funny, and nice, and genuine. They obviously had the whole doing signings together thing down pat, and everything about it was awesome. Steph and I even won a prize for traveling the farthest to be there! It was a still that Maggie drew for the book's animated trailer, that she made herself. Overall, it was an epic day, and pretty impressive that we decided to go and got everything arranged in less than two weeks, since we normally have to plan about a month in advance if we want to go to a movie or Starbucks or whatever. I'm gonna throw in another awesome right here. AWESOME!!!!

Oh, and The Raven Boys is also awesome!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Giveaway Winners!!!

Here are the winners for the Soft Scrub and Kashi giveaways!!!

Soft Scrub

Marissa S. (Send me your new address please!)

Sara M.

Mandy E.

I will get your coupons to you ASAP ladies!


Cat M. (I submitted all of your info, so they should be sending your prize soon. Let me know when you get it!)

Congratulations to all of the winners :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kashi Giveaway!

I'm having another great giveaway! The nice people at Moms Meet and Kashi sent me some of their new Kashi Chocolate Soft-Baked Squares to try. My kids really like them! The texture is just like that of an ordinary brownie. They have a rich, chocolatey taste, but the first two ingredients are organic whole wheat flour and sweet potatoes. So, I can give them to the kids as a snack or treat and not feel guilty about it! (Side note: I really hope Jack's teacher has noticed that they are Kashi snacks, and doesn't think I've been sending regular old brownies as a "healthy morning snack."!!!) They also contain black beans, omega-3s, fiber, and a whole bunch of other good stuff.

My family has really enjoyed them. And Kashi and Moms Meet want to give you a chance to enjoy them, too! All you need to do is follow the blog, and leave a comment saying you want to win (and your email address so I can contact you if you win.) One lucky winner will get two coupons, each good for one free Kashi Product of their choice, and a Kashi lunch tote. (This prize will ship directly from Kashi, so I'm not 100% sure when you will receive it.) This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. I will be choosing the winner on Saturday, September 22. Good luck!!!

Now here's some legal stuff: I received this product for free from the sponsor
of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

P.S. Don't forget to sign up for my Soft Scrub Giveaway here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Soft Scrub Giveaway!

I don't think it's a secret that I don't enjoy cleaning. So, anything that makes that easier gets a thumbs up in my book. Recently, the nice people at Purex sent me a couple of bottles of new Soft Scrub Total All Purpose Cleaner and Total Bath and Bowl cleaners. The all purpose cleaner has, as it's name implies, multiple uses, primarily in the kitchen and bathroom. The bath cleaner works for pretty much everything in the bathroom. I am really liking these cleaners. The scent is fresh and not overwhelmingly chemical-ly smelling, even the ones that contain bleach. The spray bottles have different settings for different jobs. There is a regular spray setting, and also a foam setting. It turns the regular liquid into a thick foam that is perfect for tough stains. The foam stays in place and attacks the stain. Also, the bottle sprays perfectly when held upside down, which, combined with the foam, makes it great for cleaning toliets. (I tried it, and it really worked!)

Now the good news for you! I have three coupons good for one free bottle of the new cleaner of your choice! All you have to do to enter is follow the blog and leave a comment saying you want to win. (If I don't personally know you, please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.) I will draw three winners on Saturday, September 22. This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

Soft Scrub is having a sweepstakes right now, too! Click here to enter for a chance to win $1000 and other great prizes!

P.S. I hope to have another giveaway up tomorrow, so check back for that!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back to School!

All three kids have been back in school for a few weeks! Jack for like 3 weeks, and the little kids for about 2 weeks. It has taken me a long time to finally write about it!

Jack is in second grade this year. He is really enjoying it. He loves science and library. He knew a few kids from last year and has already made a few new friends :) This is his second year at this school, so he feels like an old pro!
Here are some pictures of my big kid on the first day!

Harry is back with the same class and wonderful teachers he's been with since turning three. This is his last year before kindergarten, and I will admit, I got a little teary when I realized that he is one of the oldest kids in the class this year. (Only two other kids returned from last year.) It seems like just yesterday, I was taking my tiny three year old to a class full of big kids. Now he is one of the big kids! Crazy! It has been a bit of an adjustment for him this year. His bff/wife (they got married at Pizza Hut last year ;) is a year older than him, and is in kidergarten this year. He has been in the same class as Ave for the past two years, and was pretty sad when he realized she wouldn't be there this year. Also, being back at school increases his chances of getting ill. So, if you could keep him staying healthy in your prayers, we would really aprreciate it. :) Especially for strep throat (which is what started everything,) and pinkeye (that poor kid's eyes just can't handle any more problems!)

Addie is back at school too! She went for the fall semester last year, but took a sabatical for the spring to work on her book. (Or, she was too young for the spring program.) She is going three days a week and loving it! They have an observation room that allows me to sneak a peek without her knowing. I've watched a few times. It is fun to see how she plays and interacts with other kids when I'm not around. Plus, with her in school, that means I have five and a half kid free hours each week (but who's counting?) And, at least one of those days, Cory will have off! The first week all the kids were in school, we went out to breakfast one day! Without kids! Like a date! Awesome!

Hopefully, with my kid free time, I will get two giveaways up in the next few days. So, check back for those!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Greatest Show in the County

Way back in May, when the kids and I made our Summer Fun List, Harry wanted "go to the circus" on the list. I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen. Happily, I was wrong. It turned out, a little family owned circus had set up at the little airport near our house. Kids got in for free, and adult tickets were buy one get one free. So, even though it was a school night, (actually, it was the first day of school!) we set out for a cheap night of family fun under the big top. Also, the previous week, I had finished reading The Night Circus, which made it impossible for me to turn down a chance to go to the circus.

When we first walked up, Cory and I were a little skeptical. Cory kept reminding me of my childhood heartbreak when Circus Vargas set up in the Venture parking lot with promises of a unicorn. It turned out to be a goat with one horn. But Great American Family Circus promised an elephant, not a unicorn, and I was pretty sure that couldn't be faked. The kids were so, so excited. We filed in and sat on the bleachers. They encouraged the kids to sit in the grass surrounding the ring, so Jack and Harry were really close to the action.

Finally, the show started and all of our concerns vanished. As far as I could tell, the performers were all from two families. And several of them were very young (little kids and teenagers.) It atarted with a brother sister juggling act. The boys gasped in amazement when the brother juggled with fire. Addie loved the contortionist, and was mimicking her from the bleachers. She pointed in wide eyed wonder at the "aerial ballerinas." Jack laughed until his tummy hurt at the little boy and girl dressed as a lion and lion tamer (and kept looking back at me to make sure I was watching the hilarity.) Harry's favorite was the ladder act. And we all enjoyed Tiny, the elephant. The ringmaster was funny and genuine. (My favorite part was when he, in a thick what I thought was Russian accent, asked the boys and girls to promise him they wouldn't do drugs or join any gangs. He was really sincere about it.)

The performers were so talented, and I found the whole thing to be charming and a little magical. I think the "running away from the circus" seed has been planted in all three of my kiddos minds and hearts.

So excited!

Addie contorting.

One of the aerial ballerinas.

Cotton candy makes everything more fun!

Tiny the elephant!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Georgia on my mind

The week before school started, my mom took the kiddos and me on a trip to Atlanta to visit my Aunt Elaine. She has a beautiful house and an amazing pool, so that alone would have been a fun trip. (Though, based on the amount of times my boys decided to pee outside, I'm guessing the neighbors felt like the Clampetts had moved to town. Boys. Sigh.) But we also did lots of super fun, kid friendly activities. We spent the first day hanging out around the pool all day, but after that we were off! (Though we did find time to swim every day.)

Our first day trip took us into the city. We ate at The Varsity, the world's largest drive-in. Then we went to the nearby Centennial Olympic Park. The kids (and my mom and me!) had a blast playing in the Olympic ring fountain. It was fun and free! I also found my brick in the plaza that my aunt got me for Christmas the year the park was built. Next, we went to Stone Mountain. The boys and I rode the cable car to the top and explored the mountain. (They kept saying things like, "It's a good thing Daddy's not here becuase he would be afraid." And they were correct!) Then we all walked around the park. We just missed being able to see the nighttime laser show and the amusement park activities. (School in Atlanta starts on August 1st, so all the extra attractions close. If you are planning a trip there, make sure you check what they have going on before you go on and on about the laser show to your children, and then have to explain to them that you were wrong about it, and would, in fact, not be attending it.) It was a great day!

The next day, I got to live the dream of every girl who grew up in the 80's and go to Babyland General Cabbage Patch Hospital! But it was for the kids. Really. Yeah, the kids. Anyway, it too was free and awesome. (Though they have plenty of stuff available for you to buy;) We got to witness a "birth" in the cabbage patch, which was pretty cute. They asked the audience for volunteers to name the baby, and Jack was chosen! So, if you are at the Cabbage Patch hospital and see a doll named Jackson Toby, he's named for my Jack :) There was a ton to see and play with. The boys left with new toys curtesy of Grandma, and Miss Adeline left with a new doll, Bianca Chelsea, who looks a lot like her! Though Harry tried to deny it when we got in the car, all three of the kids (and all three of the adults) had a lot of fun. After that, we ate a hibachi restaurant that mesmerized the kids, and, in an "It's a small world," moment, the chef let us know that he used to live in a small town about forty miles from where we live!

Our last big outing was to Zoo Atlanta. If you know someone in Atlanta, all 159 libraries in the county have free passes card holders can check out once a year. So, free passes in hand, we headed to zoo. It is a really great zoo. They have pandas!!! I was so, so excited to see the pandas. (I think that the other people at the zoo thought my panda enthusiasm was humorous. But pandas are only at four U.S. zoos, and I haven't seen any since I was five. Their lucky proximity to pandas has made them jaded to it being a big deal!) The parakeet exhibit was so neat. Though it might not seem like, the seed sticks are worth the dollar. The birds came right to us! All of the exhibits allowed you to see the animals really close up. And, the children's zoo had fun rides and a nice playground. Jack tried the rockclimbing wall! It was big enough to have lots of animals, but not so big that the kids were too exhausted to see everything.

There were a few other things we wanted to do, but ran out of time. We'll just have to do them next time!

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