Cincinnati Christmas 2014

You know when you write a huge long paper only to have your computer blank out right when you finish it so you have to write it over again?

That just happened (but on a smaller scale) with this blog post. I am still scowling as I am writing this (wordpress claims that they have an autosave feature every 2 minutes. Lies.) Feel lucky that I decided to write this again.

Anyway, after Gatlinburg, we traveled on up to Cincinnati to do Christmas a bit early with my family. Kenny was very excited that he was able to see and play with Marli again.

Like I said in the previous post, when these two get together they are so mischievous! Lots of stories to share, but here are a few:

One day we were over at my parents’ house, and Marli and Kenny were playing upstairs. We heard loud laughter, but we didn’t think much of it. After a while, we decided to go check and see what was so funny.

They had dumped out a huge box of Reese’s Pieces all over the ground and were going to town stuffing their faces! We asked them to help clean it up, and Marli started picking them up and putting them back into the box. Kenny, however, grabbed two huge handfuls and ran from the room so he could stuff it into his mouth. While Marli and I were distracted cleaning up the mess, Kenny found a sucker, unwrapped it, and started munching down on it as well.

Another time we were all at Tracey and Jacob’s new house and the kids were downstairs playing in the toy room. We started hearing hysterical laughter as well as “wa wa!” (or water) so we decided to go check on them. Tracey went downstairs while the rest of us were trying to figure out what they could have gotten into (what water could they have gotten? I mean, there is the toilet, but they know not to play in the toilet.) Sure enough, Tracey came upstairs with two drenched kids who thought it was hilarious to splash each other with toilet water.

Straight into the bath for these two.

Straight into the bath for these two.

And one more story. I was watching the kids one day while Tracey and Jacob did some shopping and Ken was in the shower. Kenny and Marli were playing nicely in the living room, so I stepped out to go check on something else. Surprise, surprise, the loud laughter started, so I went running (Not really. I am 8 months pregnant. It sounds better that way, though.)

Marli and Kenny were batting the glass ornaments off of the tree into the fireplace to watch them shatter. They thought it was hilarious! The two little goofballs wouldn’t do that separately, but when they get together you’ve got to watch out. (Side story: We were at the store the other day, and Kenny saw some ornaments and got really excited. He was trying to point them out to us so he said “Ball!” and made a crashing noise.)

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And I lied, last story. When we were acting out the nativity scene, Kenny was Joseph and Marli was Mary, and a stuffed animal was Baby Jesus. They did really well with their parts when they had to go to inn keeper to inn keeper, but once they got to the “stable” their attention began to wane.

While we were singing Silent Night, Kenny decided he wanted to wrestle with Marli, so he started trying to jump on her. Marli wasn’t feeling it, so she said, “Kenny! Stop! You’re squishing Baby Jesus!” It was really cute.

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, by my sister Tracey is 14 months older than I am, and coincidentally enough Marli is 14 months older than Kenny.

My mom has always told us stories about how mischevious the two of us were together. Apparently I would instigate the naughty act, and Tracey would just sit, watch, and laugh. (Like toilet papering the bathroom.) Funny enough, Kenny is usually the one who starts doing the naughty act, Marli laughs hysterically, but she typically will join in as well (unlike her mom).

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It’s funny to see their two personalities and how some things are passed on to the next generation.

I hope these two continue to be good friends as they grow up in different states.

(Save, save, and DOUBLE SAVED!)

Gatlinburg

Wow . . . two months since I did my last post? Whoops.

Well here is a little life update (aka picture overload that probably should have been broken up into 2 posts) of the Alford Crew-

We went to Gatlinburg as a family a few weeks ago! It was a blast. My sister Tracey and her family drove down and met us there, so we were able to spend a few days with them in Gatlinburg.

We had a lot of fun exploring Gatlinburg with the Dorseys and Kenny sure loved spending time with his cousin Marli (and baby Averi when she was awake).

Kenny and Marli are so funny when they get together. Peer pressure is a real thing, and when the two of them got giggling and laughing with each other, things would escalate quickly (and we learned to go check on them to figure out what mischief they were getting in to.) More on this in a blog post to follow.

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Here Marli and Kenny are playing train around the hotel suite, which consisted of them saying “choo choo” over and over while banging into everything and laughing themselves silly.

We also went around Gatlinburg and explored all of the neat shops and sites. They had a lot of Ripley’s Believe It or Not attractions, so we were able to go check out a couple.

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34 week pregnancy update! ;) Really, I need to do a belly picture update, though.

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The Dorseys were only able to spend a few days with us down in Gatlinburg, and then they had to go back to Cincinnati. Kenny was super bummed that Marli had to leave and was stuck with us boring old folk, but he took solace in the fact that he would see her in a week when we did Christmas in Cincinnati.

Since we went to Gatlinburg in the off season (which I’m glad we did. Also, it really was a great time to go! The decorated the city beautifully with Christmas lights.) we won 5 different free tickets to different shows, museums, and game centers (5!!!!). It was great.

The first place we went to was called Wonder Works.011

It was a children’s museum + an amusement park + an arcade center. It was a lot of fun. Some of it was a bit too advanced for Kenny, but the other Ken had no problem doing the kid activities instead. :)

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The first room we went into was very loud and visually overwhelming, so Kenny wasn’t too big of a fan at first. He just wanted to cuddle and kept saying “go” because he wanted to leave. He warmed up quickly, though.

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We also won tickets to a dinner show called Lumberjack Feud.

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The show was awesome! They had real world champion lumberjacks (who knew that was still a real thing?) who were actually competed in events while still making it a fun show.

Kenny loved watching the show and paid attention the whole time. He especially liked when the horse came out to pull the big logs around and when the dogs would compete.

We also went to a place called MagiQuest which had a few different attractions. We just ended up doing the pirate glow-in-the-dark golf, and then Ken and Kenny did the mirror maze and laser room together.

Overall, it was a HUGE success. We loved Gatlinburg and the fun time we had with the Dorseys as well as a family. Thanks Mom and Dad Alford! (It was a Christmas present from last year.)

Utah . . . Part II

As promised, here is my Utah Part II post. (Also, for the record, I am sitting on the couch this time, and it’s a lot more comfortable. I recommend it.)

While we were in Utah, Kenny got some good cousin time, and he loved it. But somehow I didn’t manage to take one picture of him playing with any of his cousins. Memory capturing fail. It was really fun to see him interact and enjoy playing with them, though!

We went to a fall festival with Suzanne’s family, and it was a lot of fun! Kenny had fun playing with his cousin Clara in the “duck pond”.

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^^^Oh look! I did get one picture with a cousin. Too bad Clara wasn’t looking at the camera. I say this all the time, but I need to be better at taking pictures.

Kenny then wanted to go see the puppies, so we waited in line for the chance to pet the puppies. We waited in line forever (30 minutes), but it was definitely worth it. He loved it. A little black dog seemed to be Kenny’s favorite.

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^^^Don’t let the sour face fool you. I think he was just upset that I made him stop and take a picture.

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They also had a “photo booth” aka a background where you could dress up and take your own pictures if you had your camera. Both Kenny and I had masks on, but Kenny was looking at the mask and then ripped it right when the picture was taken. Oops. (Or as Kenny likes to say now “opps”.)

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^^^At the duck pond with Grandpa.

Kenny loved to see and feed the ducks. We were feeding the ducks some food, but then Kenny got hungry, so I got a granola bar out for him. He was eating it, and then all of a sudden Kenny started yelling “bar” and running towards me. I looked up and saw a duck booking it the other direction with Kenny’s granola bar in its mouth. Apparently the duck stole the granola bar out of Kenny’s hand.

At the very end, we were getting ready to leave, and Kenny got really excited because he saw some “wa wa” or water. He splashed his hand down into it. Yeah, not water. Nasty duck poop. So fun to try to clean up.

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^^^At the Bean Museum with Grandma. Kenny loved this. He loved looking at all the animals.

We also got to visit Ken’s grandpa, which was really nice. He passed away yesterday, so I’m glad we were able to visit him while we were in Utah.

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And then to close out the post, here is a video of Kenny and Grandpa playing “boo”, which then turned into a game of “where’s Kenny”. It was close to Kenny’s bedtime, so Kenny was not as excited/silly as he was at times, but you’ll get the gist.

At the very end, Kenny ran over and started pointing to Grandma to have her play, too. He sure loves his grandparents.

“Utah . . .”

“People working together . . . Utah! What a great place to be.” (Flashbacks to sophomore year in college when my roommates would sing the Utah state song at random times throughout the day. Miss it.)

Anyway, I promised a post about our trip to Utah.

To sum it up in one sentence- We had a great time! Despite Kenny never really changing over to Mountain Time (waking up at 5:00 am every day), we were able to get in some good extended family time.

We stayed with Ken’s parents, and Kenny loved spending time with his Grandma and Grandpa. He would ask them over and over (and over and over) to play “boo” with him (aka hide-and-go-seek where Kenny will hide but then come out after like 3 seconds of waiting), and they were patient enough to play with him. I will post some videos/photos of that in my Utah Part II post. (I really just don’t want to get up to go get the camera and my cell phone where the photos are so I’ll postpone that to another post.) (Yes, I am being lazy right now, but I’m also claiming the pregnancy card. I am big enough that it has gotten harder for me to get up and off the ground and that’s where I am sitting right now. On the ground.)

Anyway, onto pictures that already happen to be on the computer!

We went up to Ogden so that the boys could take their 4 Kens pictures. I think they turned out pretty well especially since we ended up waiting an hour past our appointment time to start taking pictures. Lots of candy and secret snacks were brought out to bribe Kenny to maintain a happy, good attitude.

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^^^He posed his hands like this on his own. What a goofball.

We also took some family pictures since we were there.

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^^^I really like how this picture turned out.

And here’s a couple of pictures of the whole gang-

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And towards the end, Kenny was getting a bit wiggly. He saw a truck up on a shelf that was a photo prop. He kept on wanting to get down and play with it. (No surprise there. That kid and trucks/cars/trains. This last week he chased a kid all the way out of the library because the kid had two trains that he wanted to play with. Yes, the trains were the kid’s. He brought them from his own home. And yes, I bet it was a sight to see me waddle/run after my toddler who was screaming/crying while ripping through the library after the other innocent kid.)

Anyway, we kept on promising Kenny that he could play with the truck after we finished taking pictures. We got the truck down for him, and the photographer decided to snap a few pictures of him with the truck.

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And the last photo of the day captured (my absolute favorite)-

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^^^An unprompted smile of joy because he got to play with a truck.

Charleston

So after living in South Carolina for over a year, we finally made it to the beach! We debated which beach we wanted to go to, and we finally decided Charleston. Boy am I glad we chose Charleston! (And yes, that was Ken’s idea, and he only mentioned it to me 2341 times on the vacation. I had originally wanted to go to another beach, so he teased me the whole time in Charleston about it since I enjoyed Charleston so much.)

My sister, Tracey, and her family came down as well as my mom. It was so fun to have everyone together (sans my brother and dad). Also, are we the only ones that had never experienced a vacation home before? We were planning on staying in hotel rooms, but a friend mentioned to me that they got a vacation home for relatively cheap, so we looked into it, and let me tell you- vacation homes are the way to go! We paid about how much we would have paid for hotel rooms, but we had a lot more conveniences, which was especially nice with the kids. We had three bedrooms (and a bathroom that Kenny slept in), fully stocked kitchen, washer/dryer, dining room, living room, and three bathrooms. And it was the perfect location for us! It was right in the middle between the beach we went to (Isle of Palm) and downtown Charleston.

We’ve already mentioned a few times that if we go back (yes! please!), we would like to stay in that same vacation home again. Loved it.

So we had a ton of activities “planned”, but we didn’t get to a lot of them because the vacation went by so fast. We were only in Charleston for 2.5 days, but I think it turned out to be the perfect mix between activities, beach-going, and relaxing.

Anyway, on to the pictures! (A normal person probably would have split this post into two because there are so many pictures. Fair warning.)

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^^^We spent some time walking the streets in downtown Charleston. We went to the market, saw lots of horses (the kids’ favorite part), and we bought an awesome photograph of the front of a house in Charleston. So artsy.

Another activity we did downtown was the walk along the battery. So pretty walking alongside the oceanfront. Also, such beautiful homes! Charleston is so charming.

And then while I was trying to direct everyone to rainbow row, we happened upon a spashpad and decided to let the kids play. Also, come to find out that if you type in “rainbow row” to google maps, it brings up “rainbow row photography”. Turns out that we had passed rainbow row about 20 minutes into our walk. Whoops. At least we stumbled upon the spashpad.

And here is rainbow row-

And then some awesome houses in Charleston-

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It was such a fun trip! One of my favorite parts was being able to see Kenny and his cousin, Marli, interact together. These two together are such goofballs. They just fed off of one another. Kenny would do something that would make Marli laugh, and they would continue on with this for 10+ minutes.

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 ^^^Pushing each other around the house in the base of a carseat. You can’t tell from the picture, but they thought this was hilarious.

And proof that we actually did go to the beach (We went everyday. I just didn’t take pictures.)-

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Oh, and I have to include this last little tidbit-

My mom is so hip she clued us in on some of the lingo “some people” say. One time she stood up, and said “oh boy”, so my sister asked if her leg had fallen asleep. My mom said “No, TB”. Tracey asked what TB stood for (throwback? tuberculosis?), and my mom said “tired bum”. Bet you’re glad you are in with the hip lingo now, huh? ;)

#HashtagTB#

Christmas in Cincinnati

This year Christmas was really good to us. We were able to drive (7 long hours) to Cincinnati to spend it with my family. We also saw some friends that we haven’t seen in waaaay too long.

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“Mary” started attacking Tut during the Nativity skit.

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Marli and Jake copying one another. That girls sure loves her Uncle Jake.

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We were able to go to the mall and let the little ones play and let out some energy. Love seeing these two cousins interact and play together. I hope they remain good friends.

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And we played lots of fun games together! Euchre (Jake is still cursed), Headbanz, Gulf, Apples to Apples, and the Phrase/Picture game. Gosh, the above picture. Jacob Dorsey is such a good artist and is able to capture phrases perfectly in drawings. And my poor mom. Her writing arm is in a sling right now, so she struggled with trying to draw in the given time period. Sometimes she would draw hilarious pictures where we were suppose to assume various details (Where is the toilet paper, Mom? Silly, it’s in the present!) and write the most vaguest phrases (a detailed drawing with a pictured animal/object interacting with a person would turn into “someone needing help”.) So many laughs.

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And then of course, I had to include this picture. While Jake was taking out the trash, the bag split. It could have been on a Glad Trash Bag commercial. So perfect.

Overall, it was a success! We were even able to squeeze in an extra two days in Cincinnati that we weren’t planning on. Best. Husband. Ever. Ken had to go to church in jeans and work boot because we weren’t planning on staying for Sunday. Loved it.

And Kenny really enjoyed opening presents. He sort of got the hang of it. Hopefully he understands more for when it’s his birthday (two weeks away!).

Also, Christmas is so much more fun with a kid. It’s so fun to see him open presents and get excited to play with “new” toys. It’s going to be really hard not to spoil this kid.

Hope you all had a great Christmas! :)