Tuesday, July 31, 2012

3 day trip

This last Monday Jerad took his tests to become a licensed contractor. He had 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday of review classes to help get him ready, then two 2.5 hour tests on Monday. Since we were going to be paying for a hotel for three nights, I decided to bring the kids and make a mini-vacation out of it.

His classes were in Ventura, and the tests were in Oxnard. All the hotels in the area were booked so we ended up staying in Thousand Oaks which is about 30 minutes away. Friday while he worked I cleaned the house, caught up on all the laundry, grocery shopped for food to have at the hotel, cleaned out the car and packed everything. All with both kids in tow. I now know the meaning of "uphill battle" :) I literally wasn't 100% sure I was going to go until Friday morning so I didn't get anything done in advance.

We drove down after he got off work and got to the hotel about 10:30pm. The kids both relaxed and slept most of the way but checking into the room and unloading the car woke them right up and they thought it was party time for the next few hours.

We decided that  the easiest way to handle things would be if I dropped Jerad off at class and picked him up so that I'd have the car each day. We loaded up at about 8:15, and I dropped him off at 8:45. I always look for Children's Museums in the area because its an easy way to pass the time and Marshall always has a blast. Luckily there was one about 10 minutes away in Oxnard. It didn't open until 10am so I put the kids in the stroller and walked around the downtown park that was having a Salsa Festival for an hour. Finally we got in and just as expected, Marshall was in heaven:

watching the trains


The whole museum was pretty awesome. One thing that was brilliant was a car that was all stripped down so Marshall could push all the buttons, shift, mess with the glove box and do all the things he wants to do in my car that inevitably starts setting off alarms.

He "drove" baby Miller for about 45 minutes.


Another awesome thing they had was a wall of animals to check out:


Marshall's favorite exhibit was probably the one where he got to dig for fossils. This was basically hog heaven for a little boy who is obsessed with tractors and "scooping the dirt."

Miller is old enough that he no longer will just pass out and sleep the whole time in a carrier, so he got lots of playtime in as well:

the whole wall behind Miller is a climbing wall!

My plan was to take the kids back to the hotel for naps around noon, then go pick Jerad up at 5 when his class got out. We had both just assumed since the class was a million dollars they'd provide a lunch so they didn't have to deal with everyone leaving and making it back on time. Right as I was getting ready to leave the museum Jerad texted me saying that their lunch break was from 1-2pm and there was no where close for him to walk to so could I meet him for lunch. I killed some more time at the museum then brought him food. We decided since the kids naps were already all messed up it'd probably be easiest for him to drive us to the hotel and keep the car. Thanks to traffic he ended up being 15 min late back to class. Whoops!

Back at the hotel, the kids would NOT NAP. Which would have been fine if they were in good moods but notsomuch. I made a little paint station in the bath for Marshall which helped distract him from his mood a little:

I always bring finger paints and a brush when we travel. They're great in the shower, on paper, the balcony, anywhere really and are easy to clean up. He can paint with his hands, brush, or tractors/trucks so it usually keeps him busy for awhile.

When Jerad got back he took Marshall down to the pool for 2 hours so Miller could get a nap since he'd been up for almost 12 hours. Marshall is now brave enough to jump off the side of the pool so he had a blast doing that. Even though he wears floaties, when he jumps off the side he goes completely under. He them will swim (which basically looks like him running in the water) back to the steps, get out, and do it again! Jerad was busy making sure he didn't drown so there are no pictures:)

Sunday we decided it would probably be easier for me to just entertain the kids in Oxnard and Ventura for 8 hours than it would be to make the one hour round trip to his class three times. After dropping him off I stopped at a gluten free bakery and Marshall and I enjoyed our treats while Miller laughed at a water fountain

Once the museum was open we headed over there for a few more hours of fun:

Marshall knew his way around by this point and would RUN from one exhibit to the next

awesome display of different gears where the kids can turn them.

Once Miller started getting sleepy, I loaded them back in the car and found a parking lot that was under construction. I put them in the stroller, and walked around it for an hour while Miller slept and Marshall ate and watched the trucks and tractors.

At one I picked up Jerad. Marshall had fallen asleep in the car, so Jerad got takeout while I stayed with Marshall. We spent the rest of his break talking about how the classes were going and playing with Miller in the front seat.After he went back to class I set Miller on the passenger floorboard with some "toys" (my cell phone car charger and an empty water bottle) and he played while Marshall napped and I read a book.

When Marshall woke up we played tractors in the landscaping outside of Jerad's class for awhile:

Then once Miller was ready for his second nap we went to a nearby Toys R Us where he slept in the Ergo and Marshall played with the trains:

We had a BLAST at Toys R Us. I don't think I've ever been to one? I knew Jerad would like it too so once he was done we picked him up and brought him back to check it out. We ended up buying Marshall an awesome train table and set.

Then it was back to the hotel and pool where Miller was banished to a cage and forced to watch us have all the fun:

He crawls now. And FAST, hence the cage.

The kids went to sleep a little easier that night (barely), and before we knew it it was 6:45am and time for Jerad to leave for his tests. He took the car and I entertained the kids in the hotel room which was honestly more difficult than the 8 hours we spent out and about the day before. Anyways, each test was 2.5 hours long. One test was on law stuff, and one was on all the trade stuff. There is supposedly only a 40% passing rate and you need a 73% to pass. Jerad was beyond stressed. I kept joking to everyone that if he had applied himself and studied the way he did for the licensing tests in high-school he could have been valedictorian. Needless to say he passed both tests!!!

Go Jerad! I'm so proud of him. He's been working on getting his license for almost 7 months straight now. There were soo many hoops to jump through and the Contractor State Licensing Board was sooo picky. I think his application got rejected 4 times for silly things like a box still needing to be checked, a word needing to be included, them not liking the way his name was spelled. Once they were finally happy with his paperwork the wait time to actually get assigned a test date was ridiculous. Its been a VERY stressful process. During that time he also formed a Corporation so there was a ton of paperwork and fees and hoops for that as well. I'm so glad all this is behind us, I'm sure he is too. Now he just has to wait 2-8 weeks to officially get his license number and he's good to go!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Berry Picking

Well, we finally made it to berry picking this year! We had tried a few weeks ago but they were closed. Marshall was really excited because he LOVES blueberries

However, he was all about instant gratification and would put them in the bucket and immediately eat them:)

So we let him walk around and graze while Jerad and I each picked a bucket. He must have eaten at least a quart of berries.

We had a lot of fun and despite Marshall's best efforts, still brought home a lot of berries. They freeze so well I wish we'd have got more! Oh well, next year.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July part 3

After the boys woke up from their nap we headed over to Niblick Baptist Church because they were having a huge "Old Fashioned 4th of July Party" with a million fun things to do and eat that were all free. They had sack races, three legged races, watermelon, hotdog, and nacho eating contests. Balloon animals, a band, a ton of different bounce houses including one huge one that was an obstacle course, and another that was a water slide. We had So Much Fun!

Marshall eating a "snow cone" (no flavoring, he just loves the ice)


the waterslide Marshall went on. It was a lot bigger than it looks in this pic!

taking a popcorn break after the waterslide

I talked/forced Jerad into entering the watermelon eating contest. He's third from the left:

He didn't win, the guy on the far right did. But we did win a free entree at a local Mexican restaurant!

no idea what Jerad is doing in this picture

After watching Daddy, Marshall wanted to try too:

After a bunch of bounce-housing (which I somehow didn't get a picture of), we left and headed to Jerad's parent's house. We hung out with them, his brother Joey and his girlfriend, had dinner, then went outside to watch the neighborhood's fireworks:

Uncle Joey had a bunch of sparklers for Marshall:


You can't tell from the pictures, but he was in heaven and kept asking for "another one? one more time?" after each sparkler would go out. 

Joey's girlfriend holding Marshall and me holding Miller

We finally got home around 11pm. Phew, what a day!

I'm off the rest of the week (yeay!) which is a good thing because the boys are tiiiired and ready to chilax at home and catch up on some rest after such a fun filled week. They both slept in, and are taking extra naps. Hence the reason I've been able to post 3 blogs in one day:)

I tried to take them to the park this afternoon and Marshall had a meltdown and begged to "stay home and play on the floor." Works for me!