Friday, May 30, 2008

A minivan that's NOT a gas guzzler?

So, with the impending arrival of #3, we need to think about a bigger car. Doh! I've been dreading this because I really disliked driving (and parking, esp) big cars. [My dream car is the Prius with a bigger rear window!] But we need a car that can accomodate a family of five and can afford us some type of trunk space. So, we're thinking the minivans are it because most of the SUVs that we've looked at have barely any trunk space and I'll definitely need some room to tote my double stroller around. Anyhow, after doing some research on the matter, it seems like the minivans are gas guzzlers for the most part. And with gas prices creeping (or rapid climbing, really) towards the $4 mark this summer here in FL, this is disheartening. Filling up my Camry already makes me sad, so we're looking for a fuel efficient model. Kev is investigating the Mazda 5 right now because it seems to be a bit more wallet-friendly at the pump. But does anyone have any suggestions for a minivan (or even an SUV) that is NOT a gas guzzler? Maybe we overlooked some? (A vehicle that also has great safety ratings would be great!)
[We are also reading up on if we can get 3 carseats in a row in the back of my Camry, so stay tuned!]

Our Orlando vacation

It's funny to think that we've been in Florida over almost a year now and have just now ventured east to Orlando for a mini-vacation over the Memorial Day weekend. Alas, it was when we've just about run out of weekends here that we think of this...but oh well. :) Anyhow, we're back to report that it was a really fun, relaxing vacation!

We took off Friday afternoon, right after the kids woke up from their naps. The traffic was not horrible and we make it to our Residence Inn (the one closest to Sea World) at around 7pm. Thank goodness we had lots of snacks to tide ourselves over because we decided not to make a stop til we got to our hotel. We had gotten a reasonable rate on Travelocity and was just glad we got a room at Residence Inn. [I'm going to digress a bit and say we LOVE LOVE LOVE Residence Inns. We love that they offer 1 bedroom suites at a reasonable rate so that after the kids go down, we can still watch TV, play games, read, and enjoy ourselves. We love that they offer free HOT breakfast - read: eggs, freshly made pancakes & waffles, sausages, ham, and the regular cold stuff - cereal, fruit, yadda yadda. We basically made it our breakfast plus snack and didn't have to buy too much for lunch. Haha! We're so Chinese, I know. ;) They also have a kitchenette with all the utensils and cookware for those that want to cook themselves. And it's always super clean and neat. Yay!] Anyhow, after a quick dinner at McDs, we just played at the hotel (they had a playarea in the back) and checked out all the amenities they offered. It was nice to get settled in a bit earlier and get some downtime to read and relax before bed. The kids did take a while to get settled since they normally sleep in separate rooms but after chatting for a while (we were trying to figure out what they were talking about but to no avail), they finally dozed off. Phew!

Saturday, the kiddies woke up a bit early around 8am and we head off downstairs to our nice, big breakfast. Yummers! Then it was off to Sea World! We had gotten the FL resident special tickets online when we were home, so it was nice to skip the lines. While Kev headed for the Kraken, the kiddies and I went to Shamu's Playland. It was nice not to wait in any lines for the kiddie rides and to be able to take pics with the cool Orca statues without anyone rushing you. Haha! Anyhow, the double stroller came in super handy here - Aidan can hop on and off at will and it was streamlined enough to get through the crowds no problem. The canopy was also pretty good at covering both kids if Aidan leaned back a bit. And I guess it was pretty comfy since Jana fell asleep in it - LOL! We had slather ourselves and the kiddies with sunscreen, so no one got burnt - yay! The new snacks I bought helped to fill in the gaps, so we didn't have to spend a ton of money at each meal. But I would have to say that the food at Sea World (and Busch Gardens, for that matter) is way better than the food at other amusement parks, in my opinion. The meat was usually juicy, the fruit sweet, and the bread moist. :) The cool thing that happened to us that day was this: it started to pour right when we were about to look for some lunch. So every place that offered lunch with some sort of covering was totally packed. We ended up going to this grill place and was wondering how we were going to get seats since people were already standing around eating their food and others are patrolling the place like hawks to get seats. But Kev and I decided not to worry about it until we paid. And just right before we finished paying, some couple finished up and "psstt'ed" me, telling me that they were getting ready to leave and wondered if I was ready to jump into the seat to save it. God totally provided! Thank you, Lord! :) Anyhow, after lunch we headed home for a nap break but Jana was too excited to sleep and got a bit cranky. Oh well. We ended up meeting Kev's high school friend (that he found via facebook) for dinner at the City Walk at Universal and had Bubba Gump for the first time. It was nice - never knew they could do shrimp that many ways! Haha!

Sunday, we started a day a bit later and ended up at Sea World again. There is truly so much to see and do, that a 2nd day was definitely warranted. Thank God for SW's current special where anyone can come back for free a 2nd day. :) Aidan really wanted to feed the dolphins today but the line was super long. :( Maybe next time? We spent most of our time around the Shamu area where they had a good sized spray park - the kids can spend hours there! We also decided to go back after dinner since they have different shows at night and we are so glad that we did! We went to the Shamu Rocks show and it was so fun! It's definitely more rock-n-roll than 'Believe" and the kids loves clapping to the music and seeing the crowds. The kiddies learned to do the wave that night. :) There were other shows that we caught parts of, including their fireworks - it was really neat and the kids didn't want to leave! :) The only bad thing was while we were exiting the Shamu Show that night, Jana's shoe was squeezed off, leaving her with only one shoe for the remainder of the night - doh! Here's a pic from the Shamu Rocks Show:

Monday, we really took it easy and slowly packed and got ready for the day. Then it was breakfast time again - yay! :) After checking out, we headed off to the outlets to buy Jana new shoes because she actually only has one pair of shoes for warm weather, which means she really needed new shoes. The sales person looked at us a bit funny when we declined a bag or even a box for our shoe purchase - I had to explain that my daughter lost a shoe at SW last night. Then he just laughed and said that he actually hears that a lot. [Note to self: make sure the kiddies' shoes cannot be easily pulled off, esp when going to amusement parks.] Then we headed off to Downtown Disney. It's funny because we had been to all these places when we came to vacation in Orlando back in 2005 but it was still fun! We had also gone to Downtown Disney on a date (since my in-laws were with us last time and could babysit) so this time was very different with kids. We were in awe of the lego sculptures back in '05 but to see the kids ooh and aah at it was really neat! Plus, Kev and I only spent a few minutes making things out of legos at the lego station but spent almost 30 minutes there with the kiddies. ;) It was also a nice walk around the place since the weather was beautiful that day. Then after lunch, we finally headed home. What a great trip!
Aidan's Lego creation

And we leave you with Jana and her new shoes. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Quick updates

Kiddies on our trip back up north - nice PJs dontcha think? :)

1) We went up to PA to find housing 2 weekends ago and we're currently working on a lease! This is a nice townhome in Nazareth, near Bath. Hehe - all these funny names over there!

2)We are taking a trip to Taiwan from mid-June to the end of June with a quick stop in San Fran right before we head back to FL. Yes, and that's with our 2 kiddies in tow. The main impetus is to visit the grandparents and for them to see their great-grandkiddies. :) We've been reading up on tips to travel internationally with 2 little ones but if anyone has any experience or tips, we'll take it! Email me!!

3) We are pleased to announce that we have some Novemberish news! ;) If you remember, please pray for us!

4) We are still moving early to mid-July so I'm currently working on getting estimates from movers (again). Therefore, we hope to get most of our packing done before we head abroad. This will definitely be a whirlwind summer!

5) Last but not least, Kev is taking his oral boards this weekend - please pray for him!

Alrighty, hope all is well with you and yours!

Potty thoughts...the clean kind...

So, it's been quite a few weeks that Aidan has been dry all through the night without having to wake us up to take him potty in hte middle of the night. Hallelujah! With this new milestone under his belt, Aidan has been so different. And, I mean, different. This is how it happened: So after a few nights of dry diapers, we decided that we would put him in underwear overnite as a test run. Then he continue to keep his underwear dry, for the most part. And since then, he's been saying things like "Yes, I will" [to requests like it's time to take a bath - normally there will be pleas and bargaining], "Ok, I will do it" [let's stop playing and go have lunch - usually there will be hiding or bargaining], and "That's ok, I can do it by myself" [where he has been stubbornly wanting us to do things for him that he can clearly do himself]. Kev and I could scarely believe our ears. Everytime we heard that we kept staring at each other as if to say "Did I just hear that correctly" or "Did that just come out of his mouth?". I mean, Aidan is a very pleasant and generally obedient boy...but he really is just 3 and a half and has a tendency to want his own way and do his own thing on his timeline. But who knew that keeping dry at night would empower him in such a way?! Maybe someone has already written about this observation in a book or something but I thought I would share our experience in case no one had. ;)

And now, Jana. I had already written in the past about how Jana wants to go and can go #2 on the potty for a while now because of her great desire to emulate Aidan in everyway. So, I thought, let's see if she's ready to potty-train totally. So this morning, I decided to give it ago. Wowzers. Let's just say - only 1 tiny accident all day today and she was in underwear almost the entire day [just not naps and bedtime]!! AND, she told me she had to go without prompting! She is getting raisinettes for each deposit into the potty and for keeping her underwear dry - maybe she really likes raisinettes?! :) And here's hoping that this is not just a fluke but that I'll really be diaper-free for a while!! Will keep y'all posted!