Friday, August 26, 2011

First Day of MDO!

For weeks we've been telling Ansley she was headed to school soon... and the bittersweet day finally arrived.  Yesterday was Ansley's first day of Mother's Day Out!  I say bittersweet because I know SHE needs the interaction and learning AND I'm also excited about an afternoon to run errands and such, BUT....I almost backed out (thankfully Jason surprised us by being in the parking lot when we arrived...him being there definitely helped!).  If she would have cried for me like some of the other kiddos did, I'm not sure I could have left yesterday.  Instead, her little hand raised to give us a sweet wave as we walked out of sight.  Uh...I missed her so BADLY.  It took me most of the day to realize....she was not with me AND I didn't have to go to work.  I had a few good cries during the afternoon, got in some much needed retail therapy, and then got myself back together for her pickup.  She was excited to get to school and excited to come home, so all was a great day for her! 

 This is Ansley at the house before we left.  That lunchbag was her favorite accessory.  When we arrived at church she wanted to let Jason know EVERYTHING that could be found in there.  "I have meelk, wadder, cheese, fuit naks...." ;)
Here she is marching in like a big girl! 
This is the look of excitement in case you were wondering. 
There was a little bit of time for a quick pic of our family of 3. 
Here she is romping around with her buddy, Ellie. 
This was taken as we were walking out.  I asked her how her day went, what she did, of course I wanted ALL the details!  
"Um...I payed babies with Ellie and....payed babies"
This was just about more than my heart could handle! 
Big milestones are happening here at the BANDERMANN'S!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chiara's Birthday Party!

My cousin, Laura and her daughter, Chiara is in from France for a month to visit.  While they are here we decided to surprise Chiara for her birthday, luau style.  We obviously don't get to see her much because they live so far away (I only wish I could jet on over to Paris every so often), so the last memory of talking with her she was just a little thing spitting out English, French, and Spanish (the vision of a girl so young speaking all kinds of different languages is mind-blowing!).  Now, she's 10 and has turned out to be such a sweet girl. Happy Birthday, Chiara!
I was so sad when I realized Chiara's eyes were closed.  Bummer!
Here's Jansen taking a shot at the pinata. 
Jansen and Ansley loving on each other. 
Laura got this skirt just for Ansley.  She loved it! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lynwood at Cape Splash!

Our church had a picnic at the Cape County Park Sunday and then rented out Cape Splash for the 2nd year in a row.  Woo Hoo!  Ansley had such a great time at that place.  I should definitely take her there more often!  I got a few pics of her before the lightning scare, but not as many as I would have liked:(.  She was NOT going to leave willingly, so we had to bribe her with a little bit of ice cream from Dairy Queen with the Mayhew and Greene clans.  It was such a fun night with our Lynwood family! 

Here are a few pics from the evening
Ansley was SO excited to get there!
We ran into our little friends on the way in 
Can you see the excitement 
She was a wild woman! 
A quick pic before heading back out 
She was loving the fountains 
This little guy was having so much fun too! 
Fun with her buddies 
Because she loved Cape Splash so much with our Lynwood family, I decided to take her back before they closed.  My mom came over and we picked up Jansen from daycare so he could enjoy the waterpark too.  Kristi, Matt, and Alex met us there and Chad, Kristal, and Isaac were already there.  It was so fun to have other friends for Ansley to play with!  The day was gorgeous and we enjoyed splashing around!

She was stopping in the fountains, like she was going to take a drink
Getting showered!

They were totally hugging on each other and I just happened to get a picture.  So sweet!
Jansen was a little cold, so we bundled up and snuggled.  Love the little comb over.
Getting some smooches from Mimi.
Something was hilarious!
I love that Ansley loves the water...she's definitely a fish like her daddy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fun at the St. Louis Zoo

We went to the zoo Tuesday and this was just a glimpse at our day. It was a BLAST! I had no camera, so I didn't get much.  First up....the train where Ansley and Marlee screamed the whole way through the dark tunnels and I'm absolutely sure that I've experienced some hearing loss because of it. 
The stingrays and sharks were fun too.  Ansley kept saying, "Come ere, baby ray, come ere".  Here she is patting the barrier for them to come like they're dogs.  Precious.  
She stopped just long enough for me to get a picture, she was dripping wet!
Ansley sitting in the hippo at the kid's area. 
 The fountains were the most fun part of the day.  She loved it!
I absolutely love watching her have fun!

And...she ate her first corn on the cob (thanks to Marlee for sharing).
It was an extremely hot day, but things are always better when you're with friends!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vaca in PA!!!

We just got back from vacation in Pennsylvania and it was so great! 

This is how Ansley slept...oh how I wish I could've gotten this comfy during our 17 hour trip!
Once a year we try to see our PA family...sometimes they come here and other times we go there, depending if there's a big occasion (wedding, baby, or just because).  I love visiting them because my cousins from PA are all around my age and we miss seeing each other so much!  Also, my Grammy Booth (my dad's mom and only living grandparent) lives there, so of course, seeing her is a must.  We usually stay busy the whole week seeing the local sites around PA and then we usually go on some sort of excursion (we've been to Gettysburg, Philidelphia, D.C., New York, too many to mention).  On this trip, we were pretty much busy the entire time and decided to only go to the Poconos and Hershey, PA.  Thursday and Friday we traveled, so most of our day was spent in the car and in the hotel.  We usually use hotwire to book our rooms when we get to a good location, so we did the same thing this time.  We usually can find $40 rooms and they've always been really nice...unfortunately, it was not the case this time.  Hotwire booked us in the Mansfield Inn which was a total and absolute dump!  The front desk was in the same building as a tavern...if that tells you anything (Jason's response to Hotwire when they asked what was wrong with the hotel, that was actually a MOTEL..."I wouldn't make Osama Bin Laden stay there if he was still alive").  Needless to say, they refunded us.  We were exhausted and hungry, but could not find a hotel that had any rooms, but thankfully on down the road we did!  Whew. 
This is Ansley in the hotel pool right before she had thrown up in it....I know, disgusting!  She got choked on some water and all her dinner came up.  It got pretty interesting to say the least! 
The first day we arrived in PA we visited with my Gram , unpacked, and helped her outside (well, Ansley and Jansen helped water flowers)
Such a big helper!

And then later, we all sat around the table with our barbeque sammies in hand and listened to what Miss Priss had to say (a glimpse at some of our conversation).

The next evening we went to a Luau at my aunt and uncle's house.  My Aunt Sarah is all about making things fun, so of course, she had plenty of games to keep us entertained after eating a full spread of food.  I had no camera that night unfortunately, so I have nothing to show of it (failure).  The most fun part of the night ...the pinata for the children was filled with yo-yos, so hilariously enough Jason started trying them out.  He had a little bit of yo-yo skill from his good-ole Jr. High days back at Woodland High, so for most of the evening we made fun of him, including my brother.  After some taunting from Jason, Kyle tried his hand at it too and immediately was intrigued...he was horrible so he didn't put the yo-yo down the entire night.  The next day we laughed so hard because my brother had 'yo-yo elbow' (he was so sore!), yet he still wouldn't put it down! Who knew a yo-yo could bring so much entertainment?!  Sunday we went to church (baby Ashton was baptized :) and we ate lunch and lounged at the pool). It was pretty laid back.

Baby Ashton getting baptized 
The church had no air conditioner and no open windows.  Can you see my this point I'm sure my back is dripping too. 
Our family of 3 
My Gram with her boys
The whole crew 
On Monday, we went to the Poconos (the PA mountains).  We wanted to zipline and do some other fun activities, but it was rainy and most everything was closed, so we went shopping in at an amazing outlet mall.  I'm pretty sure all the New Yorker's do their shopping was pretty swanky.  Thankfully, we had stopped on the way to get the boy's some NEW yo-yos at a Toys-R-Us and I'm so glad we did!  Those things kept those boys entertained the entire shopping wouldn't believe the children that swarmed around them as they were doing tricks outside the stores Laura and I went in.  They were like superstars! Ha!

Kyle walking the dog :)
After doing some minor damage there and watching the boys yo-yo the day away, we headed back to Grams for her famous barbeque sammies.  Yum!
Tuesday, we wanted to do some swimming with the kiddos, so we planned a trip to the river.  As a child, my Grammy grew up living on the bank of the Susquehanna River.  The old farmhouse still stands snuggled in a valley with a breathtaking view of a gigantic mountain and sits right next to the river and a set of train tracks.  It is such a great location!  My great aunt and uncle live in the house now and farm the surrounding ground.  It's quite an operation!  We always get together with them while we are in PA, so usually we request a visit to the river.  It's always a good time!
Here are lots of pictures of us lounging in the Susquehanna River 
My mom and Ansley 
My cousin Nate and his girlfriend, Colissa 
Ansley and I floating 
Maddy, Jason, and Ansley 
All the kiddos wanting to sit by Jason...he's the kid magnet.
Ansley was wanting to drive and found a pair of glasses that she DID NOT want to take off. 
My dad and Uncle Jeff took a ride on the motorcycle
On Wednesday we took a short drive to Knobbels (one of the best amusement parks for kids!) and spent the entire day on rides, eating lots of kettle corn, and picnicing in the pines.  It was fun.  Ansley was loving all the activities and she especially loved their famous merry-go-round.  She's definitely a horse lover! 
Miss Priss on the train 
My parents sat in front of us...they didn't want to miss a thing!  The train took us to several spots in the park and through the woods.  She kept saying more, more. 
Maddy and Ansley on the ladybugs 
Now for the jeeps...Jason felt like he needed to ride too 
They were all about the steering.   
Flying with my cousin, Becky and Maddy.  These girls had so much fun together!
Guess who? 
This girl wants her license! 
My mom and dad on the Phoenix (this was their 2nd time).  What a ride! 

The tongue shows how clearly excited she was! 
This girl was so good...even without a nap!
My uncle Jeff and Maddy on the Ferris wheel 
Ansley loving on baby Ashton before he left.  He is precious! 
My cousins and I after an awesome day at Knobbels.   
Ansley enjoying her very own moose tracks ice cream cone.  She tore it up. 
That next day it was time to head back.  We had such a special time visiting with our family and soaking up all that PA has to offer!  I treasure the times we get to spend with my Gram and hated leaving her, but hopefully next year she'll make another visit to MO. 
Our family pic before departure. 
We visited Hershey, PA on our way home.  Ansley unfortunately got another fever (she also had one on the way up), but she was acting fine, so we continued as planned.  I mean who wouldn't want to stop at the chocolate factory?! 
The Hershey factory was a well oiled machine...starting with these buggies that drove us around explaining the process of making the amazing chocolate that I can never get enough of! 
These cows sang a few cute songs explaining their role in the process.  It was seriously so funny! 
We even got the backside view. ;) 
And there they are...sweet chocolate kisses. 
It was surprising to learn that Hershey is responsible for all the other sinful candy I love to eat too, like Reese's, M&M's, and even Twizzlers!  It was almost impossible to get out of there without buying the whole factory out...seriously, we were kids in a gigantic candy shop.
After indulging in WAY too much chocolate we headed back to MO.  Unfortunately, we only got to the border of PA and OH when Ansley started getting sick.  We quickly found a hotel room after some major hosing off at a hole-in-the wall gas station and got Ansley in bed with some EXTRA pampering.  She was such a sweetheart through the whole thing and she kept saying to me...."Mommy, I want to hold you" (she gets a little mixed up on who holds who).  After a LONG night in the hotel, we began our final journey home.  The day in the car with Ansley had gone much better than we had expected, so we did the last 10 hours.  We were on Rt. K getting so excited to almost be home and FINALLY able to get out of the car for good when Ansley got sick AGAIN.  This time...all over me!  It was not pretty...but we were home.  And we could get in our own shower, our own beds, our own blankets, and just snuggle!!!  So that's what we did.  Ansley was back at it again the next day and thankfully had no more fever.  Thank you, Lord!  
It was a great trip to PA minus a few moments and we can't wait to see them again next year!