Thursday, January 31, 2013

Potty Training Update

And with this, potty training commences.

How cute is this little big guy?  He was really excited to pick out his 'big guy underwear'.  Unfortunately Target has only plain white (boring) or madly-colored character undies.  After much deliberation, Justin picked out some with birds and some with cars.  I'm not a fan of either, but at least he has enough to get him through Phase 1 of potty training.  
Oh-- and I 'impoved upon' the white ones to make them more Justin-friendly.  Three Sharpies later, and we have some AWESOME construction underwear!  (Plus they have a "J" on the front.... which makes them super-awesome).
How's he doing?  He's progressing nicely-- most of the accidents have been on the hardwood floor (score!), but he's already starting to figure it out.  Here's to hanging in there (and hanging out at home) for the next few days to cement everything.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Puppy Treats

 In an attempt to use up a little more of our whole wheat flour, Alex and I decided to make some dog treats for the special pups in our lives.  We found a great cookie-cutter, grabbed a recipe online (note: this was not GF or dairy free ;-P), and got to work one day during Justin's nap.
 Dog Biscuits:  whole wheat flour, cornmeal, cheddar cheese, beef bouillon, egg, milk.  Mmmm...

 She also got to be a part of the packaging process.  I can't believe I didn't snap any photos of the finished product.  I think they were gobbled up very quickly after delivery, though.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Puzzle Story... a savant?

Yesterday I referred to the new puzzle we found at the thrift store.  I admit to wanting to test out J's puzzle-skills a little.  Let's just say I may have underestimated him a bit.  I expected there to be quite a bit of frustration and "Mama help me"'s with a brand-new puzzle.  Nope.  He dove in and just did it.  In like six minutes!   He's a genius!  I think he's a puzzle-savant!  Quick-- call the television stations!!

Test #2:  I got out one of Papa Bob's old Sifo puzzles from the antique display.  These puzzles are extraordinarily difficult.  They don't make any sense-- if you don't have a photo to reference, you're basically out of luck.  Kids must have been MUCH smarter back in the day, because Dave and I sat there for about fifteen minutes the first time we tried this one.  I wanted to see if my child was really a visual-spatial savant.
 (Having learned from the first time I attempted this puzzle, I took a photo before the kids ripped into it).
No worries.  We aren't working with Rainman here, go ahead and cancel the 48-hours interview.  Like any healthy 2 year old, Justin was quickly defeated by the crazy puzzle gods.  I can't say that I wasn't a bit relieved that I don't have a genius on my hands.  Who wants to be outsmarted by a 2 year old, anyway?
 Once Sister and I stepped in to help, the three of us worked together to defeat the Sifo puzzle.  Phew!   I figured out that if a puzzle has pieces that bridge a picture, Justin is REALLY good at 'matching' piece to piece.  In the instance of the dog puzzle, each piece is a separate color, making it much harder for anyone to figure out w/o a reference photo.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thrift Store Scores!!

As Justin and I bummed around town today, we decided to pop in to our local Savers to see if they had any new puzzles for my budding genius to try.  I admit to just wanting to test him a little bit-- he's gotten really good at the two he has, so I wanted to see if he'd be able to do a new one just as quickly (more on that later).
Instead of finding puzzles galore, we found something even better (at least in his eyes).  A beautiful train table-- no nicks or dents or dings.  The same color as our woodwork.  And only $15.00 (new they're like $150!)!  I've been anti-train table for a while now-- they take up tons of room AND restrict some crazy track building with their size, but for $15, I was willing to bring it home to try out.  Worse case scenario is that we play with it this winter and stick it on the front lawn for $40 during the Woodbury Garage Sales in the spring.
We got it home and Justin got to work cleaning.  Then, a largish piece of felt later, it was ready for play in the Marotz house (a neutral background allows for MUCH more imaginative play than painted grass and water does).
This will be a favorite, I have a feeling.  AND (as Alex pointed out) the table set-up means that cleaning up is even easier.  As long as everything is on the table, or in the bins under it, it's 'clean'!  No destroying tracks in order to vacuum.  Thumbs up!

Ooohh... and take a look at this Babar poster we found, too.  I love it!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Coming home

We left the hotel at 5:30am in order to get to the airport in time for our flight.  Uncle Willy and Miss Toni joined us to help with all of our luggage (gah!  5 bags for 4 people!) as Daddy took the rental car back.  Justin and Alex were running around on full-steam by 6am.

Luckily, an uneventful flight back home with a quick stop at the....arcade? in MSP.  I don't know.  I came out of the bathroom to find this:

We were all ready for a long nap, but glad to be home-- even if the negative degrees are about to hit.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Justin's Construction Crew

Alex was enjoying her afternoon in the Funky Fish Day Camp- learning to snorkel, tye-dying a t-shirt and having a wonderful time with a gaggle of kids her own age.  As a result, Justin was an only child for the day!  He oversaw the construction of Sand Castle #2-  bigger, better, and more detailed than the first.  He had a crew helping him-- Daddy, Uncle Willy and Gramps all took their turns working until the tide came up to the moat!

 Lunch break:  we got takeout from a FANTASTIC Greek restaurant down the street.... Dave and I were in charge of ordering, so we got a variety of goodies we remembered from our time in the country-  everything was superb, and majorly authentic!  Yummy!!!

 Back to work:

 Uh-oh.... here comes the tide!

Last morning on the beach

We've been starting every day with a beach-walk.  Before swimsuits and sunscreen and beach toys, just Alex and Justin and us.  This morning was a bit chillier than others (see the sweatshirts?!), but it was just perfect for finding treasures upon treasures.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coral Castle

Dave and I have been really wanting to go visit the Coral Castle ever since we heard about it on a radio show we listen to.  Turns out, it was only about an hour and a half drive from the hotel, so we packed up the kiddos and headed out for a Marotz family excursion.
 The original entrance for the Coral Castle.  This is basically an amazing rock garden/home that was built over a 22 year timespan.  The builder, Ed Leedskalinin, was a Latvian immigrant who dedicated his life to this work.  He was a mason of unusual talent, who built massive sculptures out of the heavy coral rock that makes up the ground in this part of Florida.  He was an engineering genius, constructing functioning rocking chairs, a Polaris telescope, and (to top it all off) a 9 ton gate that moved with the touch of a finger.  Oh-- and he was a 5 foot tall, 100 pound man.

 Part of Ed's sundial- the first (some say only) one in the world to tell both time and date.
 The sight of the Polaris telescope.

 Justin and I sitting on the loveseat rocking chair in the 'throne room'.

 Alex exploring the 'bedroom' (two stone beds in the foreground, she's looking at the baby's rocking cradle).

 Sleeping in the 'child's bed'.  Not too comfy........
 Alex and Justin operating the original turnstyle--  they could turn this 3-ton rock by themselves!  This is a pretty cool place!

Definitely worth a stop if you're in the mood to be amazed with the accomplishments of one man.  We thought it was pretty fun!