Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hey Baby, Let's Go to Vegas!

Well, we’ve officially left for our ’09 Family Vacation. It’s always been a dream for me to RV with the fam, so I started looking for one way deals months ago. We found a great deal that would take us from Las Vegas to Phoenix for a meager $24/day! Flying free with JetBlue makes for an even cheaper vacay, so we booked the trip and prayed for low loads.

The kids have been clueless about the whole thing though we’ve been talking for a week about it. We left the house at about eight yesterday with three matching little girls and a full tank of ‘get me out of here.’ Luggage got checked and we made our way to the gate. First trip was to JFK and we were golden. We rode in Row 25, adjusted our headphones and prayed for friendly skies. The girls each had a backpack with flying essentials like FLURP (noise putty), foam letter puzzles, dry erase alphabet cards, and rubber worms. They were stoked.











We arrived in New York at the new JetBlue terminal at JFK and promptly headed to drop of our bags at the JB bag room. That was awesome. We had Chinese food and I made myself a 1.3 pound salad that cost $12. It was awesome. The girls were happy to be up and around. We had a two hour and forty two minute layover in New York that I was dreading, but it really wasn’t too bad. I religiously distributed Purell all day and had antibacterial wipes poised and ready. I really need to invent a holster for hand sanitizer….

When we landed in NY we realized that we were the top five on the StandBy list. High five on that one, babe. Like one of Alex’s friends said, people must cringe when they see the Keefes on the standby list. ;) So after a little bit of anxious waiting, being sure that no one decided to take their Church Youth Group for a quick trip to Vegas, we were on. The girls were awesome at the airport….they figured out how to make a playground out of gate 1. We did some pre-flight calisthenics that I really wish were on video because we had them jumping and running, bending and hopping and just absolutely trying to wear them out before we got on a five hour flight. It was funny.

My prayer that morning as I cried great big grateful tears was that Alex and I would be able to get thru the day with sweet words for each other and that our patience for our kids would be unlimited was being answered. We were halfway there and Alex and I were still laughing and making fun of each other and really enjoying the first part of this vacation.

And then we boarded the plane to Vegas. Just kidding. We had explained to the kids that this flight would included a complimentary nap. Everyone would be napping….it was mandatory. They didn’t believe me. The flight itself wasn’t bad….the thirteen..yes…thirteen trips to the potty was interesting. We also realized about 10 minutes into our five hour and 27 minute trip to Nevada that DirecTV was not working. We were not adjusting headphones. We were surviving. It was naptime. We were tired. Our children were exhausted. So we just told them it was time to close their eyes and go night-night. Edie listened and promptly fell asleep on her Daddy’s chest. Soph passed out on my lap and Char was the last to give up the ghost. I found myself doing the headbob like I was listening to the newest T-Pain album. Anyway, I think the kids got a pretty good nap and by the time they awakened, there was only about an hour and a half left in the flight. And miraculously DirecTV was working and Ice Age 3 was up and running.






We landed in Vegas and the girls were pumped. We hopped on the tram then found our luggage. Then we hopped on the hotel shuttle and took a ONE HOUR bus ride to Treasure Island. Yes, it is like five miles from the hotel, but traffic was crazy and we dropped a bunch of people at different hotels before we got to TI. Check in took another forty five minutes. I stayed outside with the girls and watched all the beautiful people headed out for a night on the town. Charley pointed out all the shoes she liked and Sophie looked for anything possible to climb on. Edie had to pee, so I maneuvered the beast (our Graco double stroller) with our kids and luggage to the nearest potty. This is where the day got too long. I kept looking for my easy button. Three girls, one beast, our carry-ons and a giant belly does not make for an easy anything. So after Edie peed all over herself , and both cell batteries died, I gathered the children and my sanity once again and we finally found Dad. Boy, was I happy to see him. We made it to our room, I had my lack of food and sleep meltdown, then we happily headed down to the Buffet. It was 10:30pm. All you can eat Crab legs, prime rib, sushi, hummus, grapeleaves, salad, mac n cheese later, Daddy took Soph to the dessert bar. And came back with dessert….in each hand, he held two beautiful billowing pillows of cotton candy. When Charley saw him coming, she lost it. She squealed and hopped and crooned over that cotton candy. If I’d had that video…it would have gone viral. It was so worth the insane amount of money we paid for the buffets. We had cotton candy and our weight in chocolate covered strawberries and headed back up to the room for bed. It was the end of day one and the beginning of what is to come! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nails



This has to be the most amazing photograph ever taken of my husband. I am so proud.

You'll definitely want to check out Alex's Blackberry Photo Album where you can download and comment on his pix. They are fun.

For more awesome pictures, check out the Journey Mexico Blog.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Freudian Slip



Daddy was packing his bag this morning. When Edie saw the webcam in his bag she said, "Whaz that, Dad".

His reply:

"That's the camera I use to talk to you when I'm on vacation."

As soon as he said it, he immediately corrected. "I mean at work."

I had to smile. I'll be using this one for a long time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Four Kites







Though the day started with us scrambling to evacuate our flea-infested home, I sit satisfied and my heart rate slowly drops to resting. Love it.

The Odyssey is loaded and, thanks to an e-mail tip from an informed Mom, the Keefes head south to Chick-Fil-A for Crazy Hat day. Five crazy Keefes, five crazy hats, five FREE meals. It was fabulous and I realize now that Edie is as persistent about hot fries as her Daddy.

From there, we venture to the Inlet, park illegally and really enjoy our chicken, fruit and fries. The weather was amazing and the wind was blowing beautifully. Four kites, three girls, and the man of my dreams.

After all kites were launched, Elmo was happily flying above, Mickey was bouncing (after two failed take-offs), and Edie's new foil kite was super high, I sat down a few yards away and just watched. I watched my man and his three girls watching their kites. Then the tears came, like the waves of the ocean before me, I was completely overwhelmed. And I looked...I looked at the four kites flying and the three girls and I missed our newest sweet baby. The sweet baby that flies high and soars freely in Heaven. But for that moment, I wanted that baby with me. I wanted to be rubbing my belly and looking forward to the sacred day in September that I would be meeting that amazing gift. But fortunately, it was a moment and as I looked east and saw those four lovely people that live with me, and I just couldn't help but feel enormous gratitude. I watched Edie squatting...one hand holding the Mickey kite and the other raking the wet sand around her. I was taken aback at Charley and her eyes, watching, squinting, steering. And Soph, I watched Sophie running, jumping, evading the tide and digging her own little ditches. Each of them holds me tight....in different places. And I so look forward to the day that four little kites will be flying, high above the shore and each of those kites will have a little Keefe hand holding, directing, steering....

Thank you, Jesus, for today. Sometimes you give us wind that lifts us higher than we expect...and other times we have to run to feel just a breath. You are always present. I love you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Move Over Mary Lou

Wow. What a night. Our first time at Open Gym and Mommy's nerves were already shot at 4pm. Why? Cuz there's something about taking a certain unpredictable little girl into a certain unpredictable situation. I've done this before with not-so-grand results like big giant tears and and a runaway ballerina ...and you should have seen Soph ;). So it's been a few months and I think both of us were ready. I prayed the whole way there for an end to my anxiety and the ability to accept the outcome. The tomtom got us there at 6:33p and my little Mary Lou took to the gym like a little Chinese girl with a forged Birth Certificate. It was great. She was great. I was the typical freak Momma...with not just one camera around my neck, but two. And boy was it worth it. What a gift it was to have her big cousin, Kate there to play with, too. Thank you, Jesus. You're always better to me than I ever could be to myself.

Open Gym Admission $10
Babysitter to watch the littles $10
tomtom to get us there on time $90 (free shipping on Amazon)

Watching Big in all her proprioceptive bliss: PRICELESS


Enjoy the slideshow...it's my first.


video

Monday, February 16, 2009

Edie is Two.


We had a great birthday week for Edie this week. It was fabulous and I loved every minute of it. Edie loved it and I'm so thankful that she is here. What would our days be like without her shouting "Chawley!" at the top of her lungs and screaming "SSSSSoophie!" from one end of the house to the other. She is my precious curly girl that snuggles deep on the couch and cries louder than any other girl I've ever known. She loves flip flops; especially on the wrong feet and between her 2nd and 3rd toe. She loves macaroni and cheese and picnics in the back yard. She wants to ride a bike so badly she can taste it and wishes she could sleep in the big girls' room. She thinks she can swim. She loves Baby Samuel and Little People and bedtime prayers. She is strong willed and soft hearted and she is our Baby. Thank you, Jesus for two sweetest years and may you grant her many more.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Bella Goes Home


Another sweet RTS baby went home to glory on Sunday night. She struggled long and hard in her 23 months and I had the honor of praying with her mom, Monica a few months back when Bella was having a rough go. Once again, my gratitude is overwhelming. Please lift this family up today and give each of your kids a special kiss in memory of Bella.

Can't wait to see you, sweet Princess Bella. We love you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chuck E. Jesus



"No fingers, no thumbs, we go to Chuck E. Jesus!"

My husband in his infinite wisdom (and I am not being sarcastic, here) decided to challenge my five year old and my three year old to eliminate the need for oral soothing during the day. He told Soph that she needed three days without the fingers and we'd head to the place 'where a kid can be a kid,' and where parents carry hand sanitizers in holsters on their belts.

I was furious. Not because of the challenge, but because he initiated this feat without consulting Mom. I knew that as soon as the challenge was made that I would have to become the Finger and Thumb Commando. I knew that I would hear about Chuck's place four thousand times a day and that I would have to keep telling them no. I knew that glances in the rearview mirror in the Honda would take on a whole new responsibility and the quiet time spent there in their own little places of bliss would come to a screaming stop. And so would mine. Ugh. Personal responsibility. Parenting. Progress. Patooey!

The first day, I think I wanted to absolutely move out of my house. I knew Soph was going to have a tough time. I hate that. I hate that she would be uncomfortable. And I am really okay with the fingers most of the time. But a wise man (Scott Baugh) once said that God is more concerned with our character than our comfort. Ugh. I had to be more concerned about Soph's health and well being than her comfort. I was not ready for that. I'm the Mama.

But, much to my surprise, my little girl - I mean my big five -was ready. And my middle three was ready, too. With only a few reminders, they were pretty successful. This is why there are no random trips made to Chuck E. Disease's. They are all well planned and used as currency in this house. You may see it as a bribe, but we see it as cognitive behavior management. By the second day of the challenge, we decided to use the trip for an even greater need in our home: Charley's early morning freak outs. She started this about six months ago, I think. She just wakes for different reasons and comes crying into our room. Like a robot, I get out of bed, get her what she needs and get her back in bed. It was every night. So we decided to up the ante and make that part of the condition for the trip to Up Chuck's.

My husband is a genius. His faith is astounding. His love for his girls is astonishing. Though I doubted, complained, murmured and rebelled, his plan worked. Though Sophie still has to be reminded 'fingers' during certain times of the day and Charley woke me last night to put her pants back on, we are seeing the fruit of the challenge that he initiated just a few days ago. Not to mention the reward we get to be a part of. The helicopter bike was a huge hit and got at least 20 of our tokens.

So, here's to future trips to the place with games that only cost ONE token (sweet), overpriced pizza that looks great but tastes terrible, the Deal or No Deal game that I won FORTY TWO TICKETS on, the football game that Alex won FIFTY tickets on, the prizes that are broken before we even make it to the car, and the amazing smiles and sweetness that the Keefe girls bring us upon arriving.

Now we just gotta get Edie potty trained.