Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Vacation with Grandma!

We are so lucky that each summer my Mom chooses to spend about 10 days of her summer vacation just living and hanging out with us here in Parker! 

She flew in last week during a torrential downpour. Her plane was unable to land due to the weather and it was running out of fuel so they ended up flying to Colorado Springs to refuel. Meanwhile, the boys and I were already waiting at DIA to pick her up. Luckily, there was a McDonalds somewhat nearby, so I took the kids for a late lunch and to kill some time waiting for Grandma to eventually fly back to Denver. About 3 hours after her original arrival time, she had her bags and was hopping into our car! Finally! The boys were actually so great during the long wait and they were SO happy to finally have Grandma in town! 

After a stressful travel day, when we got home, we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening just playing at home. We grilled and enjoyed some low key time together. That's what we love best about my Mom's visits, she just jumps right into normal Jansen family life! 

The next day we ran errands and hit up the park. 

Grandma loves to read with the boys. She brought a new book for them, "Underpants, Thunderpants"! The book came with a c.d. as well. It was the perfect, funny story for 3 little boys! 

That evening Grandma took the boys to see the movie "Despicable Me 2"! The boys sure love their movie dates with Grandma! They had so much to say about the movie when they got home. And all week they would randomly tell us something that happened in it or ask a million and one questions about the movie. 

Wednesday we hit up the pool. 

The boys liked showing off their cool pool to Grandma! 

That evening we went to Mark's softball game. 
While Mark played, Grandma took the boys to the park. 

And then they joined the Syers cousins and some friends to play in the creek. They had a good ol' time and Heath ended up going home without pants on. No surprise he waded into the water up to his thighs. And then, of course, he didn't like his shorts being wet when he wasn't in the water. So Auntie Cara just took them off. Good thing his shirt was long and he wasn't walking back to the car, through the park, with his undies hanging out. 

Grandma came to town bearing some fun gifts from her and Grandpa. Books, their favorite candies, Super Hero Pez dispensers, and 5 DOLLAR GIFT CARDS TO TARGET! The boys loved being able to pick out a special little something for themselves. When we got to Target Nolan decided that this was a NO MOMS ALLOWED shopping trip. He only wanted his Grandma. So I went off on my own to the grocery side of the store and Grandma and the three boys shopped for toys. We gave them a little lesson in the value of $5 before they went on their way. And they understood that they would each be able to pick out a small item. Nolan and Heath each picked out a Disney's "Planes" airplane. (another movie they are super excited to see with their Daddy soon) And Brooks got a "Monsters University" football. Grandma may or may not have kicked in an extra dollar or two at the checkout, but the boys had so much fun shopping and using their gift cards to pick just the perfect little present. 

We laugh, because we are just not at a point in our lives where we partake in a lot of fine dining experiences. And this week with grandma was no exception. We grilled chicken, made BLTs and cold tuna noodle casserole, ate quesadillas, and PB and J's. Nothing fancy, but Grandma doesn't mind. 

When my Mom was here for Spring Break, we passed a Long John Silvers. We wondered, "Who eats there?" And we discussed how we probably hadn't eaten there in over 25 years. This week we decided to try it again after all those years. When we walked in, we were the only people in the restaurant, which answered our question of who eats one. Ha! We ordered our food, waited AWHILE, and then dove in. And surprisingly...we all really enjoyed it! 
We ate fish planks, french fries, coleslaw, hush puppies, and popcorn shrimp! The boys fell in love with a new food...popcorn shrimp! The gobbled it all down in no time! It probably won't be a restaurant that we frequent often, but it was a good dinner out. Thanks Grandma! Later in the week, Grandma also bought a box of popcorn shrimp for the boys to eat at home now. Nolan likes to peel off all the breading and eat that first, and then eat the shrimp plain. I love shrimp and I love that now the boys do too!


It wouldn't be a Grandma visit without a little baking. 
The boys helped my Mom make some yummy chocolate chip cookies. They turned out great! 

On Friday, we took it easy in the morning and spent some time playing outside. 

Nolan wrote a little love note to his Grandma! 

And then we headed to the pool. 
Brooks doesn't look too happy in this picture, but I think that it was just a little too bright to smile for the camera. But he was loving splashing with Grandma in the pool. 

So did this guy! 

Later that evening we had a little backyard Happy Hour and watched the boys play t-ball. 

Brooksie just LOVES sports! 

After dinner that night, we went to Sonic for some 1/2 price milkshakes. They were just a little excited! 

So was this guy who got his OWN mini milk shake. He was in heaven not having to share! 

Saturdays are filled with sports for us these days. 
Mark and Heath had t-ball. 

And then Nolan had soccer. 
It was fun for Grandma to be able to watch her boys play. 

After t-ball and soccer, Mark and I did some yard work and Grandma watched the boys splash in the kiddie pool. 

And they had a picnic lunch. 

In continuation of our fine dining experiences, we headed to Country Buffet for dinner that night. 
A student of mine gave a me $20 gift certificate there for an end of the year teacher gift. Kind of a funny gift, but thoughtful none the less. I saved it to use specially when my Mom was in town. When I was growing up, whenever my grandparents from Michigan came into town, they always took us to The Old Country Buffet. (They've changed the name since to spruce up their image- no more OLD in their name.) We loved it and I had such special memories of eating crazy amounts and combinations of food there with them. 
Mark was a little terrified to eat there again. He just has memories of eating at The OCB after baseball games in college and eating too much and leaving with gut rot. But this restaurant was just reopened a day before, it was clean and fresh, and most of the food was surprisingly of good quality and flavor. We had so much fun, despite Brooks not wanting to sit and throwing food every which way. We ate and ate and ate. The boys feasted on so many different foods and capped the night off with a couple of desserts as well. This restaurant is definitely one of their favorites now. And now they have good memories of eating here with their Grandma just like I did. And the best part of it all, is that we all ate for FREE! I had a buy one, get one free coupon and the kids ate for just 99 cents. With my gift cards, I actually ended up having $1.15 left...what a deal! 

On Sunday, we went to church and then had a backyard party at Aunt Sue's house. She has such a cute backyard and she and Dave planned some fun activities for the boys to do. 
We played a little t-ball,  

ate some yummy pulled pork sandwiches, 

and made BIG bubbles! 

They were huge and so fun! 

We all took turns perfecting our bubble making skills. 
Dave also brought his old army men down from the cabin for the boys to play with as well...which they thought was super fun! 

We played a few rounds of Bags, (Dave was the big winner), had some cool refreshments, and enjoyed chatting and laughing together. The boys loved Sue's yard animals, her reclining couch, and all her fun memorabilia. Thanks Sue, and Dave too, for a fun evening. We love you guys are are blessed by your friendship!  

On Monday, my Mom had already been here for a week. And we were loving every minute with her. The boys would wake up early every morning and rush downstairs to say "BOO" and wake her up. It was so nice for Mark and I to be able to sleep in a little bit each morning, and they really enjoy their special morning time with Grandma as well: watching cartoons, eating breakfast, playing Legos, and snuggling up together. 

After our normal morning routine, we headed off to the Centennial Splash Park for a little more water fun. 
This is a fun, FREE, activity to do during the summer to mix it up a bit. 

Can you spot my Mom and Brooks walking in the middle of all the splashing chaos?!

It was a fun morning, but this Momma had had just about enough of her children this day. I had been with them NON STOP for about 5 weeks, and we were beginning to wear on each other. I was so ready for nap time this day! During nap time, my mom and I planned a little one on one time for the boys later in the week. We all were just at a point in the summer where we needed a little space. Just keeping it real. Ha! 

The boys took a great nap after all their splashy morning fun. And my Mom and I may or may not have taken a little snooze on the couch as well. When we woke up, we were refreshed and had a nice dinner at my Uncle Gerry's house that evening. 

On Tuesday morning, my Mom and I planned for Heath to have a little one on one time with his Grandma. Heath wakes up super early, so he got up, got dressed, threw a tantrum because his head got stuck in the head hole of his shirt, we managed to push it through, and then he was out the door with Grandma a few minutes later. 
They went out for donuts and picked up a few groceries at King Soopers and they had the BEST time together. Heath is THE SWEETEST THING EVER when you are one on one with him. He is so funny and sweet and smart and a great conversationalist. It was a nice little get away for him. 

 After their date we all headed over to Mammoth Heights to show Grandma Nolan's new school and playground! We played for awhile but were interrupted by Heath having to poop. Typical Heath. 
So we had to take off early, but we snapped a picture under the shade area with Marty the Mammoth! I can't believe that in just 2 weeks, Nolan will be a Kindergartener here! He is so ready! 

While my Mom was here, I scheduled doctor and dentist appointments. It's just so much easier to take care of things when you have a live in babysitter! Ha! I took the boys to the dentist and they rocked it! Mark has usually taken them, so it was neat for me to see how independent and comfortable they are there. Besides Heath not wanting to sit in the pink chair, the visit went off without a hitch. Nolan was in a room with the dentist by himself the whole time, I didn't even see him. And he was so confident. Heath did awesome as well and we left with 2 clean, healthy mouths, no cavities, and prizes. They love the dentist. I hope they always do, because, I do not. 

That evening we had a nice dinner at Mark's parents house. We ate, chatted, and the kids ran around and played in the backyard. It was a nice night. But I didn't even take one picture, can you believe it?! 

Wednesday was our last full day with Grandma, so we were sure to fill it with tons of fun! 
We watched the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". And then we read the book and it's sequel, "Pickles to Pittsburgh". 

The boys got to skip rest time and Grandma took them to see the movie "Turbo". I have somehow gotten into the habit of drawing characters on their popcorn bags. I'm not the best artist, but they love it!  In this picture they are showing off their characters, Skidmark, White Shadow, and Burn. 

My Mom took this picture at the theater. They are so excited to see this movie when it comes out in September! They thought "Turbo" was super fun! And after the movie Grandma took them on another fun mission- on the hunt for one more treat. They came home with another "Plane" and a "Turbo" toy. Nolan picked out the character "Smoove Moove". He is voiced by Snoop Dog. And they toy talks in his voice. It's actually really cute and Nolan copies his voice, saying, "It's slow motion, baby." It's so funny. 

More reading, this time, A House for Hermit Crab

I love having my Mom here to to have an extra set of helping hands for the normal day to day responsibilities. She is wonderful about helping with dishes, cleaning, laundry, bath time and so much more! Grandma was always on drying and lotion duty after baths or showers! It made the whole bedtime process go so much faster! 

On Grandma's last day she took Nolan out for his breakfast date. 
So the little guys and I had our own breakfast at home. My Mom made her awesome Blueberry Buckle, so I enjoyed a big piece and an iced coffee while Heath preferred his Crunch Berries. Grandma continued another Johnson family tradition of buying the kids Captain Crunch cereal. We grew up eating it with my Dad's parents at their house in Michigan. So I love watching my boys enjoy it with their Grandparents too. 

Meanwhile, Nolan and Grandma had bagels and smoothies at Panera! They ate by the window and watched the rain and chatted. Nolan sure can talk your ear off sometimes! And his Grandma is always engaged and present, they are the perfect pair! 

Grandma bought the boys folders for school, so they wanted to get working right away on some projects to put in their folders before school starts. Nolan drew a picture of the mountains and labeled it. 

Heath decided to do some water color painting. 

We spent the rest of the morning playing outside. In this picture, Heath is freezing Grandma. We really wish we could, because then she couldn't leave us! Ha! 

The boys rode their scooters and bikes and chased the neighborhood black cat. We have a friendly cat who wanders around the neighborhood and hangs out in our yard and on our porch. The boys LOVE him! He sort of grosses me out because we've seen him carrying around dead animals, but he really is sweet.

Then later that morning, we had to head to the airport to drop Grandma off. It is always so sad! Nolan got teary eyed and couldn't look at my Mom when he said good bye. He is such a sweet sensitive guy. Luckily though, Brooks and I will be off to Chicago next week, so although it was sad to have Grandma leave us, at least we'll get to see her again so soon! 

Wow, that was a lot of pictures and a lot of fun! I have one more post of some fun photos I snapped of my Mom with all three boys. I'll get around to that soon. But in the mean time, thanks Mom for another great week together. We love you so much and are so thankful for the incredible Grandma that you are to our boys! You are thoughtful, understanding, fun, creative, loving, and so much more! We can't wait until we're all together again! 


Cara S. said...

Great post! It's fun to get a glimpse into your every day life and see some of the traditions you had growing up in Chicago. Glad we got to see your mom at softball, even if it was only for a few minutes! Glad you get to go and see her again next week.

Kati Hart said...

What a fun and BUSY time with your mom!!!! Looks like you had so much fun. I enjoy learning about all the sweet little traditions your mom is passing down from your childhood. Also have to say I love your candor about being at home with the boys all summer. You are a fabulous mom and definitely deserve some time to yourself every once in awhile (and I also can't wait to hear the flip side of this in ten years when they want nothing to do with you :)). Love ya!