Sunday, December 19, 2010

The (second) Happiest Place on Earth

I say second happiest because it is always so nice to come home--home to our own beds and our sweet lonesome cat. (She got kitty depression while we were away--she didn't eat or play with the cousins who came to visit her.)

The trip started with a night in Las Vegas. We always stay off the strip, but unfortunately, the kids still saw some of the sin Vegas has to offer. We saw a few sights and had ate at the MGM Grand Buffet where Jessi ate nothing but shrimp. We survived, but I could do without ever going there again.

We did three days in Disneyland--the perfect number in my opinion.

Jessica loved that Disneyland had Michael Jackson. She loved Captain EO.
Christian got a few stares as he went to town on his turkey leg (that he shared with Mike.) It was almost as big as his head.
We decided to bring the stroller. Best decision ever. The babies used it often--especially when they got tuckered out.
The highlight of the trip for Jessi was meeting Tiana. She wore her Tiana dress and we got to see the real Tiana perform.
A favorite ride was Screamin'. I think Andrew and Bev did it ten times.
It was one of my favorite rides. I am becoming a bit of an adrenaline junkie--I loved the roller coasters. Christian decided to try it. He got on the ride and it was about to take off when he changed his mind and got off. When we got back from the ride, he was sitting with two other little boys who had also changed their minds.
We saw lots of Toy Story characters. The longest wait we had in line was the new Toy Story 3 ride--about 25 minutes.
The girls did matching nails for the trip--red with sparkles.
Hollywood Tower of Terror--another favorite. I love Andrew's wide eyes in this.
Jessi's birthday was Tuesday, so she got to wear a special badge. As we went through the park that day, she got a lot of "Happy Birthday's" from the park workers. She loved it.
I had the kids wear these t-shirts all three days. It wasn't my plan, but it just made it so darned easy to see them. I bought them before we left. They were quite the hit. We got a lot of comments about them. One of my favorites was a man that said we had too many kids so I had to number them to keep track of them. I forget that when we leave Utah, many people think a family with four kids is freaky.
December is a fun time to be there. Everything is decorated for Christmas.
They enjoyed being driven around the park. I found myself wishing for an adult stroller and someone to drive me around all day.
By the end of each day our stroller turned into the Griswold vacation stroller--snacks and jackets and bags hanging off of it.
Sometimes I forget that Christian is only six. He is such a beast--so brave and athletic--that I forget he's still just a little kid. He didn't like the roller coasters at all. He stayed on this merry-go-round for a good 20 minutes while the older two did Screamin'. He also loved the Buzz ride and Autopia.
We did Jessi's birthday lunch at Ariel's Grotto. She got to see several princesses. She was so grateful--she kept saying, "Thanks for taking me here."

One of the favorite rides is the river run. They all got soaked at about 9:30 in the morning on the coolest day we were there. I ended up going back to the hotel for dry sweatshirts.
All four kids list Splash Mountain as one of their favorite rides.
Mike takes the role as the hunter--he makes a plan of attack, gets us to all of the rides and gets fast passes. At one point the first day he had fast passes for six rides. It made it so we did every ride as many times as we wanted. We have also learned that it pays to get there when the park opens--those first two hours are golden.

I loved the rides and the fun, but the best part was spending so much time with Mike and the kids. We had some good conversations, got in a few snuggles, and played a lot. It was a good, good time.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I saw this on the news and then found it for the kids to watch.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I could totally become addicted to the internet--especially to YouTube. A few days ago, it started innocently enough. I watched one video. Then I watched all of the best flash mob videos. Before I knew it I was watching cat videos. Here is one of our favorites:

And now, I am walking away from the computer.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Feeling the Spirit of the Season

My friend just sent this to me. It is a must see.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today, the same as everyday, Jessi sat on the barstool and gave me her lunch order. Because it is just the two of us, she usually gets to pick what she wants to eat.

Food is an important part of her life--probably because she was deprived of it in her early life. She is always asking about what I'm cooking, what the smell is, if it is sweet or salty. She loves to watch and help me cook. She loves going to the grocery store. Each time we go, I try to let her choose something new to try. Her latest favorites are: Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup (I don't think my other kids have ever tried it,) fruit leather, Spaghetti O's (She LOVES them and just opening the can makes me gag a little bit.) Whenever she is with me at Harmon's I buy her a chicken leg. Most kids would want candy or a soda. She wants a chicken leg from the deli. We get home and she sits up to the bar and cleans that leg to the bone.

So, today she sits on the barstool and tells me that she wants a hard-boiled egg, a string cheese and pink fish (salmon.) I decided to indulge her. I fixed it while she played with her Strawberry Shortcake guys in the tepee she made in kindergarten today.

I called her to sit up. Before she took a bite, she said, "I have a happy life."

Me: "I do too. We have lots of blessings, huh?"

Her: "Yeah, we are lucky to have lots of good food...and Strawberry Shortcake guys."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

We're Goin' to Disneyland!

Jessi has had this old sweatshirt of Bev's hanging in her closet for a few years. She keeps trying it on to see if it fits. It finally does--just in time.

Several months ago, we started talking about going somewhere. I have had the itch for a vacation and the kids have almost the entire month of December off of school. After not much deliberation, we decided on The Happiest Place on Earth. (We both really wanted to do Mexico, but Jessi is in the princess phase, and it has been a few years since we have done Disney.)

I had been thinking up a great way to tell the kids--something cool like a treasure hunt. The kids had just come home from school and the weather was great, so I sent them out to play while I called Mike with the details. I got them outside, went in the office, closed the door and called him. I told him the all of the plans, then turned around to see Andrew sitting on the floor under my craft table with his DS.

He had apparently wanted a few minutes of "personal time," aka: Mom not bugging him, so he headed into the office to relax with his video game. He had a look of half excited and half "I'm a dead man" on his face.

He instantly said, "I promise I won't tell. I will forget this ever happened. Mom, don't be mad at me."

I wasn't mad. We ended up telling the other kids in a very non-creative way--that night over dinner we just announced it. I think I am excited as they are.

A good thing about this trip is that I have to be very prepared for the holidays. We did the annual trip to Toys-R-Us to see what the kids want to put on their Christmas lists. We bought our new fake Christmas tree--it's going up tonight. I have many projects that need to get done before Christmas--I'm trying to get them checked off. It's going slowly.

I have tried in years past to be done with most of the shopping by Thanksgiving. If I am going to accomplish that, I have a lot to do in the next week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

youtube is da bomb.

Jessi alternates between watching Sesame Street and Michael Jackson videos on youtube while I am on the computer. She sits next to me or behind me in my chair and I do my stuff on one side of the screen and she watches her stuff on the other side.

Just some random comments she made while we watched Bad today:

He's really skinny.
Mommy, I know why he wears makeup. Because it makes him more stylish.
I wish he was still alive.
Does he have a dad?
Does his dad know he wears makeup?
Does he borrow his mom's lip gloss or does he get his own from the store?

We came across this one today. Now I know why I am addicted to Diet Pepsi--I was brainwashed by this commercial when I was 15 years-old.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We love Sesame Street

Jessi won't stop watching this. The only problem is that she now wants long braids.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween. I have a real love-hate relationship with this holiday. I like the festivities, the pumpkins, the kids having fun. I don't love the stress of planning school parties, costume trauma, too much stinking candy. I hate getting scared and I hate gore.

I do it for these guys.

Jessica was Tiana from Princess and the Frog. Her favorite part of Halloween was getting to wear makeup.

Christian was going to be Harry Potter. Then he saw this at Target and changed his mind.

Bev was going to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Then, she saw this cat lady costume at Target and changed her mind.
Andrew wanted to be Poseidon. I thought, "Oh, that will be easy--just wrap him in a white sheet and call it good." It was a little more complicated. Gold spray paint saved the day. It changed a devil pitchfork into a trident and a princess crown into a crown fit for the god of the sea.I couldn't find gladiator shoes in a kid size. So, I got some Hannah Montana sandals and some leather and went to town. I had him close his eyes when he first tried them on--to avoid him seeing the Hannah Montana in the shoe. When he took them off he saw it and said, "Mom, you are humiliating me as a man.
They were not the most sturdy shoes ever, and we had to do some repairs every time he wore them, but he was satisfied and that's all that mattered.

Andrew and Bev had big plans for trick-or-treating. They wanted to hit a lot of houses. Because of the rain, they just did our neighborhood.

Mike took the kids around and I stayed home to hand out candy.
They all came home with their buckets full. They then entertained themselves for the next hour by trading candy. The next day, I had them choose their favorites to put in a bag. The rest got put away or sent with Mike to work.
We actually got four pumpkins from our patch this year. Bev got the big one, which she wanted to carve. The other kids wanted to use the potato head decorations. Christian chose to use the pirate stuff on his. His pumpkin's bottom stem thing had unfortunate placement. Christian thought it was the funniest thing ever. I told him he needed to stop talking about his pumpkin's private parts or I would have to make the pumpkin some pants.

Monday, November 1, 2010

last week's pictures

Jessi was on the floor in my bedroom watching Princess and the Frog while I did laundry. I grabbed my camera because she just looked so sweet.

As I pulled in the parking lot to pick up Jessi from tumbling, thousands--I'm not exaggerating here--of birds covered the parking lot. I was the first mom to show up, so they had not been disturbed. As I drove in, they took off over my car. For a few seconds, the sky was almost black with birds. I have never seen anything like it. I was really glad to have been in the car--the van got splattered with bird poop. As we were leaving, they came back and I grabbed the camera.
Andrew and Bev had their piano recital. They take lessons from Katie, our sweet neighbor who lives directly behind us. They got to dress up and play Halloween songs. They did great.

Andrew had his last season game. His team goes to the playoffs this week. He had been sick, but thankfully started to feel better on Friday. He was really stressed that he might miss the game. The dads get to help hold those post thingies that mark the downs.
Andrew loves football. I never understood how people love it so much. I do now.

My favorite photo is one that will have to remain in our own private archives. It is a picture of a sick Andrew in a hot bubble bath with Tiger perched on the side of the tub. He stayed home from school for most of the week, and she was by his side.

We are a little obsessed with gum around here. My sister Melanie told me that her kids liked trying different kinds of gum, so I started buying lots of different gum. It has all been fun and games until I found stepped-in gum on the carpet of the car and another piece stuck to the back of one of the chairs. A certain child is on "gum restriction" right now.
The only things that remain of the garden are the parsley and some carrots. Christian would eat them straight from the ground. I have strongly encouraged him to let me wash them first.
Last week we got our first big snowfall of the year. I had to venture out to taxi kids to school and back. On days like that I want to stay home. I don't like being cold.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the pinewood derby

I am playing catch-up with the blog. I always have the best intentions, but then when push comes to shove, I end up choosing Oprah or Law and Order or reading to my babies or sleep.

So, I have made the goal to catch up over the next few days.

Two weeks ago we had the Pinewood Derby. Mike is the Cubmaster and I am the Primary counselor over Cub Scouts, so we were in charge of the event. We thought we planned well, but we quickly found out that we were unprepared for a few things.

We were not prepared for the intensity of it all. We had some scoring issues along with some other problems. We learned a lot from the experience. Part of me wanted to do another one next week to improve it and fix our mistakes. The sane part of me is grateful it will be a few more years.

Our most important goal was for the kids to have fun. I think we succeeded in that.

We made the decision several months ago to include the girls in the derby. The girls and the boys had such a great time.
Mike had the kids design their own cars. Andrew's was designed with speed in mind.
Bev's was more of a form-over-function kind of thing.
So, Mike helped the kids cut the wood and carve out the cockpit--is that what it's called? Anyway, they used the saws and the Dremel. Then he had them sand their cars. Of course, I couldn't resist doing a second sanding on them. Bev saw me sanding her car and made me stop. She said, "Mom, this is my project--stop."

I am as bad as those dads that don't let the kids touch their own Pinewood Derby cars.

I then helped the kids with the painting. Andrew would have let me do the whole thing myself. I will admit that I did glue the pin stripes on. But, he cut out the U of U sticker and painted the car.

Bev, on the other hand, wouldn't let me touch it until it came time to put the stickers on. She picked out her own paint and glitter and rhinestones and did the work with minimal help from me. I carefully put the glittered stickers on. They looked fabulous. Then, Mike went to put the wheels on and we realized that the first and last letters were behind the wheels. So, I took them off and did it again.

Ironically, Bev's car--that was built for it's cat and aesthetic appeal--got third fastest in the girl division. Andrew's was fifthish.

We are grateful it is over and happy that the kids had fun.