Daddy Levi loves basketball; he loves to play it, watch it, the whole shebang. So naturally we are already planning on Levi J. being a baller. This weekend I scored a free basketball hoop, just his size!
A friend was moving and didn't want to take the hoop, so we got it for free fifty-free! She didn't have the basketball around, though, so he's been playing with a plush Angry Bird that Ray won him in Las Vegas. Also, an old tennis ball that a neighbor dog chewed on and abandoned.
He's getting good with the ball! He has a mean layup, and does it both right- and left-handed.
It's not his first basketball hoop, actually. We have another free hand-me-down hoop that he used to play with a lot as a baby. He still does the occasional dunk in it for old times sake.
I made a piece of furniture! Well, kind of. I did use a drill. Our living room furniture isn't really the right style for our new house, so we've been trying to figure out how to make it work. The coffee table was one piece that just had to go. So I made one out of a pallet!
All I had to do was sand it, stain it, and add the legs (which don't really match, though). Easy! Of course, with the little guy around, it still took me like two weeks to do it. And he wanted to help, which resulted in wood stain all up and down his legs. And wood stain does NOT come off skin. He had to wear pants for quite a few days after that.
Anyway, it's kind of big, but I really like the way it looks. And I really love the pricetag (pallet was nabbed for free behind Home Depot).
And since every blog post needs a cute baby Levi pic, here you go!
This weekend we had visitors from Arizona. Our first houseguests in our new home! My friend Brenda, her daughter Lily, and her husband (for a day) came for a fun Florida weekend. Her husband, Mike, was going to Miami for a bachelor weekend with his guy friends, so Brenda and Lily came along to hang with us.
Lily will be a year old in July, so we figured out that she and Levi J. are like Irish twins! And they sure acted like siblings (in a good way).
Best shopping cart ever. If I had real Irish twins, I would only shop at this grocery store.
Looks like they're at the drive-in movie watching the lobsters.
Lily and Levi J. got along so well. They absolutely loved playing together. And Levi J. was so excited to teach her everything he knows.
Teaching her the maracas.
More maraca lessons.
Teaching her to drum on the chairs.
Teaching her to climb the stairs.
We had a great time! We hit the pool and the beach, rode the trolley around downtown, went to our favorite local diner, drove around the island and gawked at the mansions, went to Cityplace for ice cream and live music, and spent a lot of time talking and catching up.
A million pics of the babies and only one of Brenda and me.
Beach naps are the BEST!
Riding the trolley. He insisted on having his own seat!
Ice cream at Sloane's, a West Palm Beach must-see.
Brenda and Lily were the perfect houseguests. Brenda constantly did the dishes, they both entertained Levi J. to no end, and they brought Levi J. a gift: alphabet flashcards with desert animals on each one! And a present for me too, a beautiful bracelet.
Best bums, I mean buds!
We were sad to see them go. Hopefully they will come again soon! And they kicked off a fun summer of guests: Sherrie and Preston come next month, and Niki, Bryan, and the Brimhall babes in August! Yay!
Little Levi is ob-sessed with this book. We read it multiple times a day, and kiss it goodnight before bed.
I remember reading it when I was kid, so I bought it for 50 cents from the library when they took it out of circulation.
The little guy can't quite say Moon Man, but it's so cute to hear him say "Moon Me! Moon Me!" on every page he sees the Moon Man's picture. It's a weird and interesting book, and I kind of love it too.
Life totally changes when you have a kid. Duh. I've found that most things, though, are either positive changes or are things I don't miss.
One thing I do really, really miss is going to the movies. Levi (big) and I used to go to the movies almost every weekend. We saw just about every PG-13 movie that looked halfway decent. Now, we only go to ones we really, really are dying to see.
BUT, joy of joys, I finally get to go to movies again, now with my other Levi! We went to our first movie together (other than when he was a tiny baby and was sleeping) last week.
The movie theater by our house shows free kids movies in the summer. This week was Despicable Me. A few friends decided to go together and see how the toddlers would do. We didn't know what to expect, but we figured if they flipped out and we had to leave early, at least it was free.
And they did great!
All the kids watched the entire movie, except Mia, who only had to leave about 5 minutes before the end. They were mesmerized! And the moms were thrilled to have one more thing to do in the blazing heat of summer.
I was especially thrilled to be able to share something that I really love with my little guy. Now I just need to get him to love popcorn, too...although then I'd have to share it!
We're going again this week to Madagascar 3. Hope I won't have to eat my words (only popcorn).
Happy Father's Day! I know so many great dads out there; it really touches my heart to think of the great men who love their kids and put them first in their lives.
But a special shout out goes to my husband, who really is an incredible dad. He loves his little boy with all his heart, and would spend every waking minute with him if he could.
Levi doesn't want to go anywhere without his little buddy. I'm so happy he wants to take the baby with us everywhere we go, whether it be Europe, the Bahamas, or the Cheesecake Factory. He really loves his baby.
And happy Father's Day to my own dad, too!
I love him and miss him, and glad we're able to stay close even when we live so far away.
In a world of deadbeat dads, I have been really blessed to have so many wonderful fathers in my life.
Since Father's Day is this weekend, and also since I didn't blog about this when it happened, this will be a post about when my dad, Papa, came to town! It was immediately before the move and the Europe trip, so hopefully you'll forgive me for neglecting it until now.
I don't think Dad has been to visit since I quit my job, and it was so fun to be able to hang out all day every day instead of running off to work every morning.
First stop, the Breakers Hotel.
It's one of the oldest, fanciest, and most famous hotels in Palm Beach, but I had never been there. Since it's right on the beach, we decided to check it out.
It actually had a lot for kids. There were several play rooms, including an art room with a big aquarium and kid's movie theater. We played some basketball, colored some pictures, then snuck to the beach.
Making sand castles.
Even though the Breakers is right on a beautiful beach, they didn't make it very easy to get to the beach from the hotel. And once we got there, there were hardly any other people on the beach. I guess everyone was at the pool just looking at the beach.
Papa and little Levi worked on a sand castle until a wave took it out. The wave caught Levi by surprise, and it wasn't a happy surprise!
Scared by the wave that knocked him from behind.
We also got in some good pool time. We were going to ride bikes, but after a lot of work and a Walmart run, we couldn't get the bike trailer's tire to stay inflated. So we just relaxed instead.
And just like when I was a kid, Dad made little Levi wear sunglasses. He even bought him a pair with Cars on them!
Looking so cool.
Of course, the glasses didn't stay on for long, but we'll keep trying.
We also went out to a nature preserve in the Everglades and saw some great wildlife.
Love the Glades.
We got to see a little gator swimming by, and saw some beautiful pink birds that were just incredible to see in the wild.
I didn't take this picture, but these are the birds we saw. Rosetta spoonbills.
My dad also spent time with Lexi and Ale in Miami, so when I dropped him off we hit food truck night for great food and music.
I like how the truck behind us says "Authentic Mexican." That's right!
Always, always fun to spend time with Dad! We're still trying to tempt him to live on a boat in South Florida, but so far no luck. Love you mucho, Daddio!
Silver lining: we got a bonus day in Europe! But the reason for the bonus day was a total nightmare.
So, we caught the train from Paris back to Germany because our flight home was from Germany to Miami.
Our train back to Germany. We had to sit in the luggage compartment because there weren't enough seats. Little Levi has his feet propped up on a stranger's suitcase.
But what is the one and only thing we needed to fly back to the United States? The only thing we couldn't leave without? Not one, but three passports were still sitting in the safe in our hotel room in Paris. And we were in Germany. And I didn't remember until four hours before our flight.
So we went to the airport anyway, because we didn't know what else to do. We talked to the airline and rescheduled our flight for the following morning. We had exactly 24 hours to get our passports from Paris and get back to the airport.
We used the payphone (who uses payphones anymore? Us, apparently. Not only were our cellphones not international, but they weren't charged either) to call the hotel in Paris. But they hadn't looked in the safe when we checked out, and there was someone new staying in that room. So they didn't know if our passports were there or not. Then they transferred me to the concierge to find out if he could send our passports to us in Germany. He wasn't sure. After some back-and-forth, I finally got the sense to call our friends Tom and Jenny, who were still in Paris and thankfully were still in their hotel room. They said they would get it worked out. When I called them back, they told us the hotel had our passports, but it would cost 1000 euros to ship them to us in time for our flight.
We had already paid an arm and a leg to rebook our flight home, so we were feeling a big fat NO to another 1000 euro charge. Instead, we rented a car for the day and drove to Paris, picked up our passports, and drove back to Germany.
It was a long drive (more than 5 hours each way), but a really beautiful one.
We drove through Germany, Belgium, and France, and got to see the location (and cemetery) of the Battle of the Somme. And Levi got to drive really, really fast on the Autobahn!
I was sure little Levi was going to flip out. He had already been wearing thin the last few days and showing signs that he was ready to go home. But miraculously (and I mean that literally), he was an angel.
It certainly helped to have a tablet computer filled with games, Elmo, and Yo Gabba Gabba.
But even taking the tablet into consideration, he was extremely good.
I think he is just so cute when he naps in weird places.
We made a few pit stops, and even tried out a Belgian McDonald's.
At the gas station.
Our credit card wouldn't work at the Belgian McDonald's, and we didn't have hardly any cash left. So the manager comped us about 50 cents on our meal, thankfully.
It was exciting and nerve wracking to drive in Paris. It's practically impossible to see the street signs. We did rent a GPS along with the car, and definitely would not have been able to function without it. We made it to the hotel, got our passports, bought some grapes and a baguette (little Levi, picky eater that he is, pretty much lived on grapes and baguettes the entire trip), and turned around and went back to Germany.
We got back to Dusseldorf around midnight, got a few hours of shut eye (little Levi wouldn't sleep in the crib so he bunked down with me), and went back to the airport. And this time, voila! Smooth sailing all the way home.
The flight to Germany. How precious is he? Like an airplane Moses in a polyester river basket.
Our flight home was over 10 hours long, and during the day. Traveling to Germany was an overnight flight, and little Levi slept in the plane's bassinet pretty much the entire flight. But I was incredibly nervous about having to entertain him the whole way home.
But he was such a champ! Again, nothing short of a miracle. The flight was pretty empty this time, so the seat next to us was available and he was able to have his own seat. He napped, he watched cartoons, he colored, he made friends with a kid behind us. I was overjoyed.
And then we were home! I have to say, I was glad to be back. It was amazing trip, but it was an exhausting trip. It was worth the exhaustion, though. It's a trip we won't forget.
Well, little Levi probably already forgot. But I won't.