October 20, 2017

Tolmachoff Pumpkin Patch 2017

Like every damn year when we go to the Pumpkin Patch, it was a hot day. Like 100 degrees hot. The problem is, that you can't really wait for it to cool off, because that might not happen until the month of November, so we braved the heat and went out for some Pumpkin Patch Fun! Also known as my favorite time of the year!

We took this little train ride (which really is an ATV that pulls a bunch of little cars behind it) first and quickly realized that we should've let him drive it by himself, because not only were we the only parents on board, it was also super bumpy and uncomfortable. 

Look how red he is here!

But apparently it wasn't too hot for some jumping, he had a blast!

We tried to "cool off" in the corn maze, but that wasn't very successful. 

He loved guiding us through the maze!

This was a potato shooter. He had been talking about it for days, but it must have been quite the letdown for him when he realized how loud it actually was. This kid does not like loud noises, every time I turn the blender on, he needs to be warned and he usually goes to hide in his baby bedroom.

This was my attempt at getting a picture with Fox. Clearly he had other plans. 
We only stayed for about two hours or less and he didn't want to leave, but I promised him to take him to another pumpkin patch the next day.
I'm so happy he loves pumpkin patches as much as I do! He was so filthy when we got home, but that's just the sign of a really great day, right?

October 13, 2017


I thought I would never finish this post. Getting pictures off 2 cameras and 2 cell phones only took me about 5 weeks, but better late than never, so get ready for a picture heavy post.

This trip was our 10-year anniversary trip. Although, it started out by us planning a kid-free trip, but we quickly realized that 1) we don't like to be away from Fox and 2) we are the kind of parents that don't trust anyone anymore to watch him this long because of all of his allergies.
Katie has been talking about going to Hawaii for a while now. We have both been before, I went over 10 years ago with my friends, in fact, just one short month before I met Katie...and it had been even longer for her.
When it comes to vacations, I basically just sit back and go along for the ride. Tell me what to do and I'll be there. Katie enjoys planning vacations, I do not. Leading up to this trip, my friends would ask me details about what we were going to do, where exactly we were going, for how long and honestly, all I could give was very vague answers, because I had no clue about any details, besides that we were going to Hawaii. Embarrassing, I know!

We started our trip on the beautiful island of Oahu, although, in all fairness, we didn't see much of it, because we spent all of our time there (2 days) at the Disney Aulani Resort. We heard about this resort from our friends that we met on our Tahitian Cruise last year and they convinced us that we had to go and they were absolutely right.

I mean, look at this kids pool area! We have been to several Disneyland Hotels before and while their pool areas were amazing, it was nothing like this. 

It was such a beautiful resort, right on the ocean and there was so much to do!

This was the view from our hotel room.

Fox couldn't wait to get into the water! Coming from 115 in Phoenix, it kind of felt chilly there for us (especially when wet), even though it was in the 80's.

He had so much fun going down the kid slides.

His favorite was the lazy river though, it was super long and I thought he would get bored, but Mommy makes everything fun, so he had a blast.

We went into the ocean later that afternoon...this picture is a little foggy, because apparently I had some condensation on the lens inside my water proof cell phone case, but I still love it!

See what I mean? These two always have a blast together.

After we swam all day, we cleaned up and got ready for a Luau dinner with Mickey and friends. At the resort, they had several Meet & Greets with different Disney characters, but while Fox liked seeing them walk around, he didn't want to take a picture with them. 

The food was only okay in my opinion, but we enjoyed watching the dancers.

After our stay at Aulani, it was time to head to the pier, because we had a 7-night cruise booked! We cruised with Norwegian, which was our second time cruising with them and I don't recommend them at all (more on that later), but it was the only cruise line with this itinerary, so we didn't have much of a choice.

The first stop on the cruise was Maui, where Katie had booked us a beach day. There were a lot of fun excursions to choose from, but most of them didn't allow kids that young on them, so a beach day it was!
Besides it being crowded, I loved this beach. I loved how warm the ocean was and how high the waves were. 
There were several huge sea turtles who would swim right by us, super friendly and definitely one of the highlights of this trip!

It was a super hot day. Fox loved the water, until he got swept away by a huge wave, because Mama (me) didn't pay attention for a split second. I felt incredibly disappointed in myself and angry. I kept thinking about what could've happened and it was too much to even fathom. We were only in the water knee deep, but it happened so fast and the waves were so strong, that's all it took. 
I immediately grabbed him and pulled him out, so he was probably just under water for less than two seconds, but I still felt incredibly guilty and couldn't believe this happened to me. Fox also made sure that I wouldn't forget about it and kept talking about it for the rest of the day (and the week for that matter). 

This was our second day on Maui and we had booked a snorkeling excursion that took all day. Fox was the only child on board and I was a little concerned about how he would do, since it was a long bus ride to the boat, then another long drive on the boat until we got to our snorkeling site, but this little dude is such a trooper and the best traveler there is. 
Let's just say, once you snorkel in Tahiti and Bora Bora, you will be disappointed by any other snorkeling excursion...although Katie did see an Octopus, which was pretty cool.

He definitely is a water baby and did not want to come out.

We pretended the boogie board was our police cruiser and we were police officers (his idea) and he took his job very seriously. 

After a couple of hours, we were back on the boat to drive back to the pier. 

This picture cracks me up. We randomly found it when we uploaded our GoPro Pictures. This kid!

On our balcony. Our room was tiny, but we booked a room at the very end of the ship, so the balcony was huge. They still freak me out with a kid though. 

Another day, another beautiful island. This was the big island and we had a volcano tour booked.

I have never seen a volcano before and it was amazing seeing it erupt from the distance.

Not sure what he has going on here, but this is so him. He loved all the Hawaiian necklaces, like the one he is wearing here, and he collected them at every port.

Being silly with Mommy

This was a lava tube, that we could walk into. Fox was a little bit scared because it was so dark, but it was only a short walk.

Obviously he was not feeling this picture!

He requested, however, for me to take his picture here in his "tree house".

I think the next day we were in Hilo (on the opposite side of the Big Island). We went on another snorkeling excursion, because again, there weren't many tours we could take with Fox. We considered to use the kids club on the ship but when we got there on the first day on board to register him, they told us there were only like 11 kids on board total (ages 0-17), and he did not want to go there, because every time we stopped by, there were no kids and no toys, so it was pretty lame to say the least. 
We had just left the harbor on this little boat (a zodiac) with maybe ten people on it, when Mr. Fox announced that he had to go pee. So what to do, in the middle of the ocean? The captain stopped the boat, we lowered him in the water with a pool noodle, but he was too shy to actually go in the water, so Mommy had to tell him that she is going right now too (even though she wasn't in the water) and that was the magic ticket. Ha. 

We saw a lot of dolphins swimming right next to the boat, which was amazing, because I had never seen dolphins in the wild before.

The water was chilly, but these two didn't mind!

It was a really fun excursion and we all had a lot of fun!

The next day we were in Kauai and went on a Mud Buggy tour, which was by far the best day on this trip (well, maybe besides the Aulani Resort).
We were so happy that Fox was allowed to ride it.

We drove around the huge property for about 3 hours with several stops in between.

You can't see Fox in the front seat, but he was there, yelling "faster" and giggling his little heart out.

They gave us these bandanas to keep over our mouths, since it was incredibly dusty.

We got to a little waterfall, which was super pretty...obviously we were excited!

Having a little pit stop before we continued on...and no, this is not soda, it was juice.

My favorite part about this property was, that it was the filming location for Jurassic World...you might recognize the background.

Such a beautiful place. They told us hundreds of movies were filmed here, but I didn't recognize any of the names besides Jurassic World and Pirates of the Caribbean. 

I mean, look how filthy this kid is! We had to throw away all of our clothes after the trip, because after trying for weeks to get the stains out, I finally gave up. Luckily, I took a T-shirt from the mud buggy company when they offered it, so I only had to toss my pants.

This was another lava tube that we had to drive through.

Fox was in charge of holding the little T-Rex that was used for photo ops and he took his job very seriously!

One of the vehicles from Jurassic Park

We were filthy! We found mud in our ears and nose for days after! I didn't get it as bad as Fox and Katie since I sat in the back.
Seriously such a fun day!

While the ports were beautiful and we had some fun excursions, the boat was very disappointing to us. We've done many cruises on different cruise lines before and Norwegian is by far the worst. It was an older ship, they didn't have good entertainment on the boat and no activities/places for kids. 
What was the most disappointing was the food though. Our food was just okay and we can live with that, but they literally had nothing to eat for Fox.
He has a lot of allergies (dairy, egg, shell fish, strawberries, green grapes) and is a picky eater on top of that. We cruised with him twice before (on Royal Caribbean) where we had no issues whatsoever with his food. They always made a special and safe dish just for him every night. 

When we booked this cruise, we confirmed with the cruise line that they could accommodate him. Katie even filled out a 7-page questionnaire. 
But when we got there, no one seemed to have record of him. We were told by a server, that he could have the pasta and later found out it had dairy in it...we didn't give it to him because her response was so snippy and weird when we asked about it, that we didn't trust her from the get-go. 
To make a long story short, all he could eat on board was a fruit plate, a hot dog (which he doesn't like), cooked chicken breast (which was hard and dried out every time we ordered it - I wouldn't have touched it either) and a pizza, which consisted of dough and tomato sauce. That's it. They didn't even have bread or pasta for him (luckily we had brought our own bread and bagels on board, along with peanut butter, oatmeal, granola bars and vegetable pouches).
So for a week straight, we were given attitude every time we inquired about an item to make sure if was safe for him and all he ever ate was the food we brought, a couple of "pizzas" and fruit plates. 
I can't even begin to tell you what this did to him. By day 3, he was so depressed, that every time we asked him what he wanted to eat, he said "nothing" and started to cry. After the cruise he told us that he never wanted to go on a cruise again because they didn't have food for him. It was heart breaking. We filed a complaint after we got back and asked for a partial refund of his tickets (did you know kids pay the same rate as adults?) because of what happened and they gave us a $200 ON BOARD CREDIT to use on our next cruise with them within the next year. What a joke. We will never cruise with them again, that's for sure.

But look how cute he is here. This was the only dessert he was able to eat on the cruise, one night only, a tapioca pudding. 
We were all happy to be home!