Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Teddy Bear Tea Party

Monday was a holiday for the boys and I. We went to Build a Bear ("where best friends are made," Alex tells me. "I read it on the box.") and picked out a birthday present for great Auntie Cheryl.

Cheryl, if you are reading this before we see you in March, STOP!!!

Cheryl has always been a mom of dachshunds, and the boys just love her current dogs, Tamale and Miso. So when we found a stuffed Miso at Build a Bear, how could we resist? Especially since we could add a hot dog costume. It's too perfect a gift for a beloved aunt.

We then came home and the boys decided this was the perfect time to dress up all of their other bears and welcome Miso Junior to the family.

Ryan even brought out his kitchen and tea set, and we had our very first Teddy Bear Tea Party.

I was in seventh heaven. Proof these danger boys came from my womb!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ryan's Pinch Pot

One of the joys of having two children is watching them grow, and seeing their own unique, personalities develop.

Its also fascinating to see just how different they can be. Case in point: two years ago, I was dragging information out of Alexander about his kindergarten days. Dinner often felt like I was back at work, and he was the hostile witness I had to cross-examine to get to the truth about what happened between 7:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The pinch pot I discovered he had made at school, quite by accident when I happened to actually look at a detailed art display, perfectly captured my frustrations at the lack of information being sent my way. We've joked about it, and the words "pinch pot" have become synonymous in our house for "something important you did today that Mommy and Daddy MIGHT want to know about."

So you can imagine my display a few months back, when Ryan told us, unsolicited, "I started my pinch pot today."

We also received daily updates on the status of the pinch pot - what colors he was using, and what designs he was doing - and recently, he came home and told me that the pinch pots were now out on display, and did I want to come and see them?

Oh. My. God.

 I couldn't believe it.

Actual first-hand knowledge, plus an invitation to come to school.

So of course I bent over backwards to make it into school the next morning to see his pinch pot.

And what a pinch pot it is!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Very Merry Shrek-mas

Life has been so crazy the past month, I'm totally behind on blogging! Back to our post-Christmas trip to Dallas (which I started back in January and am only just now finishing *blushes*)...

We stayed at the Gaylord Texan hotel. We've never been there before, but it first caught my attention a few years back when they had a whole Alice in Wonderland themed summer experience, complete with Mad Hatter's Tea, a Queen of Hearts puppet and magic show, and some sort of 3-D trip down a rabbit hole. I really wanted to go back then, but every time I came ready to hit book on the website, I would remember I was the mom of two boys. Two boys who don't like anything to do with Alice in Wonderland. Even when it stars in a movie with Johnny Depp.

And then last December, mom went to visit a friend and they went and toured the Christmas lights and she just raved and raved about it. So I filed it away in my mind for things to do in the summer AND at Christmas time.

Originally, we were going to go to New Mexico for a week over the holidays to ski and play in the snow. But when Alex got sick, we decided to cancel that trip so we didn't lose too much money, not knowing where he would be HSP-wise during the winter break. Happily, he is doing better, so we went ahead and splurged on the Dreamworks Experience package for the Gaylord.

We had a fabulous time!

After our day at Legoland and dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, we headed to the Gaylord. The Gaylord is right across the road from the Great Wolf Lodge - another place on my radar for a future weekend trip. Fortunately, the kids don't really know what that is or we might have been in trouble we weren't also going to the water slide hotel.

Since we checked in late, we pretty much just spent the first night walking around and looking at all the beautiful lights and decorations inside the hotel.

The next morning, we had reservations for ICE, the big attraction at the Gaylord. Its in a giant area of their convention center that is kept at nine degrees. Yes. Nine degrees. They have over two million pounds of ice inside, and its carved into very cool ice sculptures. Since the theme of this year was Dreamworks movies, ICE was all Shrek inside. Shrek also includes Puss in Boots, which we had recently seen over Thanksgiving and loved, so we were all happy when we would find Puss.

In addition to the incredible sculptures - Dragon was my other favorite - the main attraction is the giant ice slide.

They give you these blue parkas to wear.

In addition to staying warm, apparently they also help you slide better.

The kids had a blast on the ice slide, especially Alex. After about 15 minutes of sliding, Ryan was, well, freezing cold, and wanted the promised hot chocolate at the exit. We put him off for a bit, but there is only so long one can put off a whining and crying Ryan. And his father. ;)

The hot chocolate was wonderful... and free, with our wristbands. We were given wristbands to wear for the visit which signified we were VIPs, ie, we had paid for the full package. We would get all sorts of freebies, like free photos and free cocoa, and unlimited slides, and early entry, and no lines, and character greetings. Alex especially loved the power of the wristband. He would kiss it and exclaim, "I love this thing!" every time he realized what treat was in store for him.

We had lots of fun just wandering around the hotel, and looking at the amazing holiday decorations.

 Trains are a favorite of Team Danger, and this gingerbread village display was incredible.

Lunch that day was the Shrek Feast, a character buffet.

This was a win-win on many fronts. First, our seating was for for 11:45 am. So breakfast was still on the buffet when we arrived. Alex got to get lots of eggs (his current favorite food) and Ryan got lots of Shrek waffles (his favorite food). And on our second trip to the buffet, lunch was then out.

The second win was that we got to meet three characters, Shrek, Princess Fiona and Puss.

Third, we got to drink Swamp Juice which Alex thought was the best thing EVER.

Fourth, there was a green chocolate fountain at the dessert table. Team Danger loves a good chocolate fountain.

 Fifth, there was a puzzle on our table and upon completion, we got Shrek Ears (which Ryan and I are modeling below. Alex wasn't having anything to do with wearing a "girl's headband.").

And fifth, the buffet was "free" with our wristbands.

After lunch, it was time for Po's Snow Tubing... basically indoor snow tubing slides in a Kung Fu Panda theme, and Po would come out and dance to "Kung Fu Fighting" every 30 minutes.

The boys loved the snow tubing, and with our bands, we had unlimited runs and, most importantly, we got to go in the short line. Carl petered out first, and after about 10 runs, I took a break and just had fun watching the boys enjoy themselves.

We then took some time to get our Character Passports filled up, and to meet more characters. None of these characters signed - they would just stamp the book - but still, the boys love doing this.

Carl and I are big fans of the Madagascar penguins, so we opted for a full family picture for this one. 

Our final event for the day was heading to Gingy's, for some gingerbread house decorating with Gingy from Shrek.

Gingy is one of my favorite characters. "Not my gumpdrop buttons!"

Our gingerbread house decorating went about as well as all my other previous attempts at gingerbread decorating. No one in our family has the patience for this. But we had fun, and the boys especially loved that we let them dismantle it and eat it right after building it. (No way was this sucker coming home to Austin with us!)

We were all pretty exhausted at this point, so we decided it was time to take a break from the Gaylord, and headed back to the Grapevine Mills to try out the big AMC 24 theater we had spotted next to LEGOLAND. Its like the Drafthouse, in that they serve you food inside the theater, except that kids are welcomed. We watched The Adventures of Tintin, and ate our dinner. Team Danger was fascinated by the concept of waiters inside the movie theater.

The next day, Carl slept in while the boys and I went in search of breakfast. We (read: Alex) was thrilled to find a buffet awaited us at the Riverwalk restaurant. The inside of the Gaylord is made to look like a mini-Texas... there's a Riverwalk section, one for Big Bend, the Hill Country ...even a Treaty Oak. Which would be kind of fun in its own right, even without all the Dreamworks activities.

This buffet also included Shrek waffles, which would have made Donkey very happy. "In the morning, I'm having waffles!"

Carl still wasn't quite ready to get up, so Team Safety went on Puss N Boots Scavenger Hunt for the Magic Beans. We loved this! Its funny how the cheapest part of the whole trip ended up being the one the boys enjoyed the most. Anyways... we had a list of clues that sent us ALL over the resort, and we loved looking for the hidden golden eggs, the hidden number on the gingerbread playhouse, and counting the number of presents under the tallest tree under the biggest light.


And at the end, the boys were given a few souvenir prizes. They were thrilled to be given their very own magic bean, that we would plant at home and then it would grow and give us a code to enter online for a chance to come back. Thanks, Gaylord.

The bean is still not growing at home, by the way.

It was then time to say goodbye to the Gaylord, and we headed home to Austin via Dinosaur Valley State Park. This was a lovely little bit of Texas I had never been to before, and it was fun hiking and climbing down fairly steep cliffs (that's Safety Mommy talking) to find dinosaur prints from long ago.

Suffice it to say, Team Danger was in their element here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...