Friday, October 23, 2009

G is for Ghosts, Golf, and Gardens

On to G, it seems like the alphabet is going by fast. Even taking breaks for holidays we will be done in the spring, but at least it will give us something to do to pass the winter months.
For our first G I stole this idea from Lindsay from our twin club, stamping the boys feet in white paint to make little ghosts. Too fun. I don't think you can get enough of the little hand and foot prints. Plus they had quite the laugh while I painted them, apparently their feet are ticklish. Next we went to Trafalga to mini golf. I had a buy one get one and I didn't golf, so in total with $1 in tokens each we spent $7. Not bad, I think we'll go back. We also did all 18 holes and those tokens in an hour, I wouldn't have minded dragging that out a little, but oh well.
Carter ready to start--he was most focused on actually hitting the ball, even if it took many strokes to get it where it needed to go.
Davis heading for the cup. He was less interested in actually playing and more interested in watching the ball go down one hole and out another. We played all the windmill type holes several times.
My sillies. We played the inside black light course (pretty fun) though after they said they really wanted to play outside. Next time I guess.
Best of all was playing Games. They earned enough tickets for a spider ring, hooray!

Finally today we went to the Children's Garden which sadly is closing next week. Pout. We sure love it--although today the boys were cranky and whiny. Ugh I hate it. They have been that way a lot this week, I think they are a little under the weather/tired. They keep skipping nap, choosing instead to trash their bedrooms and then are so ornery that they didn't sleep. Davis has had an off again on again cough and they both have had a little bit of diarrhea. Don't you love cold and flu season? Lowell had a nasty bout of stomach flu that he is starting to recover from but that laid him out flat for a day (though he still had to watch the boys poor guy) and I have had a sinus/ear infection that wouldn't really bug me except for the vertigo. I have been so crazy dizzy and tired, lousy stuff. Now I am just waiting for us all to swap colds since we all have had something different. Or not.

Here's my cranky fellows at the gardens today--they sure look pleasant in photos huh?

In other news this week, we started preschool with our friends A and A. It went well, all 4 needed some refocusing and brief tasks with rewards but I was expecting as such. We all got to act out different dinosaurs and they seemed to think it was cool that I was right in it with them. At snack we had all G snacks (G cookies, goldfish crackers, and grape juice) and they took turns burping and laughing their heads off:

Hard to tell they are cracking up, but hey, whatever makes them happy right? A and A are coming over tomorrow for trunk or treat with our ward, my kiddos are SO excited. You'd think when you are born with a built in best friend you'd be pretty set and while they really do love their brother and of course spend almost every moment together they also really love to have outside friends, especially A and A, J and B, and their cousins.

We made the annual family trek to Cornbelly's on Tuesday and while I still think it is exorbitantly (sp?) priced, we really did have a good time as a family. And this was my only day off this week so it was especially nice to spend the time together.

They wanted to be Pumpkin Princesses, cute ones too! They also had a pumpkin carriage, but they insisted I sit in it and they drive because I am their princess. Sweet bubbas (their Daddy has taught them well)
A sweet lady there had a bunny (I am thinking from Farm Country) that the boys played with in the corn box.
Our traditional self portrait on the hay ride which somehow always cuts someone off, sorry Carter. Lowell and I were laughing so hard though, it was fun.
The boys with their 3D glasses in the fun house, that dizzy or not (3D glasses and black lights=I am going to vomit!) we did 3 times. We paid way too much to do this last year at Ikea, so I was glad at least it was included this year.
This one cracks me up, "mommy" Davis with crying baby Daddy. And my naughty rule breakers. Yes they are. I wonder if I can get a Jr. version for my house . . .

Other than that I have just been working a lot. Like 78 hours in 7 days lot. My sweet co-worker had her baby so I have been covering while the new gal is trained--also I have been training her. So if I have missed any emails or facebook notes, I have had much less down time at work even though I have been here plenty. I'm 8 hours into the 22 hour shift that will finish out the week, I'm going to go put my feet up. Loves to all!

Monday, October 19, 2009

F is for Fine Feathered Friends, (Scarecrow) Festival, and Fishing

I am a bit late on posting on F. I was tempted to put it off another day even but then I am head first into G week and it will just get confusing (for me, I am sure you all don't care). So . . .F
Cyndel was off for Fall break and was very gracious to join us in visiting the Tracy Aviary to see our Fine Feathered Friends. I drive by Liberty Park on my way to the zoo all the time, but I didn't realize how cool it is. We really need to go back and explore some more. We parked and immediately were surrounded by ducks and geese. Cyndel who has a slight phobia of birds (how much does she love her nephews to go to an aviary anyway?) wasn't so sure about them but the boys were excited. I was completely unprepared but a very sweet mom whose little one was too scared gave us their bread so we got to Feed our Feathered Friends.

Next we went to the aviary where none of us had ever been (Lowell who has lived in Utah his whole life still has not been there). It is one of only 2 free standing aviaries in the nation. Seemed like a good enough reason to me. It was fun and impressive, lots of interesting and unusual birds. My fav were the Golden and Bald Eagles. Such majestic and beautiful animals. There were in the open without a net, because they had health issues that prevented them from flying, which made them easy to view. We went to the little bird show they had and watched a hawk eat a dead baby chicken. I could probably skip that in the future but you can guess what 4 year old boys think of that. Also a funny and naughty cockatoo. And of course we saw the Flamingos to round out our Fs for the day-
Thanks Cyndel! On the way out we also saw a newt and a snake, wow good times!


Later my parents were gracious enough to take the munchkins to the Scarecrow Festival and give Lowell a little break. What a wonderful treat I am sure! (I was at work). According to my folks the boys just loved it, ran and ran and had a great time. We went again the next night (because my sisters were working and we could get in for Free--yes that is my Favorite F word) and I have to admit I found it mediocre and not worth the money they were asking for it, but since it was Free to us, it was a Fabulous time.

For our Final F, the boys got to test out the Fishing poles they got for their birthdays. We went to Vivian Park where there is a little stream where only 12 and under can fish (and for Free).
C man
Big D

Our sweet Grandma who is a master fisherwoman and came to tie the lines and show us how to cast.
Lowell (he has just taken up fishing himself) helping Davis.

I have to say my 4 year olds don't quite understand the concept of fishing. Well, really they don't understand waiting. Or that fishing is about sitting quietly and enjoying the outdoors. They wanted to cast and then reel in then cast, etc with no space between. And they wanted to play on the playground and forget about fishing. Luckily it didn't take too long for Davis to get a bite.

Doesn't his face just show how excited he is? He really thought it was cool to have caught a fish.
The proud little fisherman. Not a bad size fish for where we were fishing either. And here is why I don't think I will be going with them again, why the boys and Daddy can have this as their little hobby that they don't tell mommy about. I look at that pic and see a proud Davis, but also a sad little fish gasping for air and being held up by hooks in his throat. Seriously can't you just see the hooks digging into his flesh? So sad. Of course I wanted to throw him back and luckily we were able to do so safely. The hook was masterfully removed by grandma with a special little tool and he was dropped back in the stream. He seemed to be in shock and bleeding a little bit (from being dropped on his way back in) but he picked up speed and the bleeding stopped (whew!). I then asked Carter and Davis what they wanted for dinner and they both said, fish! Grandma I think was a little disappointed too. The boys and I had a little chat about how it was better that the fish was happily swimming in the stream now. I guess I am a California hippie at heart. I hate to think of animals hurting or being killed, especially by me. Sure I eat meat, but animals that are raised for that and I don't have to kill them. Anywho, the 3 boys can still fish, but I think it best if they don't tell me about it.

Moving on, here are some Fun extras from this week:

Lowell had a birthday as I posted earlier and we were able to go redeem his gift certificate to go indoor sky diving. The boys got to watch their daddy Fly. :)

Lowell and the instructor in the wind tunnel
My camera was having issues with the glass, but I think you get the idea
Horrible flash, but cute Lowelly face. He said he had fun but it was too short, just 2, 1 minute sessions. Believe me, even that was not cheap. Next my sis Hillary was so kind to watch the boys so Lowell and I could go out to dinner. Good times.

And just because here are my cuties on a rainy day:
Davis
Carter
And the cake they insisted we make for Daddy, good thinking guys!

Now back to G week, already in progress . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shameless Plugs

Get Snow White on DVD for cheap:

Here's how:
1) Join Disney Rewards http://disney.go.com/disneymovierewards/
2) Click on "Join Now"
3) Enter the UPC code under the barcode from your Older version VHS or DVD of Snow White - NO SPACES or DASHES (Here's one I found online: 707729114796)
4) Follow the steps to print a $10 off coupon on the new version (you can actually print 2)
5) I bought mine at WalMart today and though it said $24.96 on the stand, it rang up as $19.96. So I got Snow White Blu-Ray/DVD for $9.96. Woohoo!
The coupon expires on the 20th, so get on it, pronto.

I have recently joined swagbucks, it's a way to earn points you can redeem for prizes (Amazon gift cards for Christmas) just for searching on their page. I have 8 so far, it is really fun when you win one. :) Here's a link: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/dodiemt

Finally if you haven't joined artscow, here's a link for them: http://www.artscow.com/?Ref=355382. I have loads of free credits on there so if you need anything, let me know. It is easily the cheapest way to print photos and has the best/cheapest route to photobooks. I am obsessed.

K, commercial break over, now returning to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to my eternal companion

Lowell's birthday falls one week after the boys'. In fact, they had originally scheduled my C-section for his birthday which he thought would have been cool. I have to say his big day gets put on the back burner a bit compared to the celebration that is Carter and Davis each year. Just how it goes with adults, especially parents I think. Our birthdays shrink away as our kids' become more important. Lowell actually wouldn't want it any other way. He's happy to just let it pass by. Of course we won't do that, the boys and I have surprises up our sleeves for tomorrow and then in the evening Lowell and I are going to go redeem a gift certificate he has for indoor skydiving. Then out to dinner. Happy Birthday honey (it's tomorrow, but it will be tomorrow when he reads this), I love you so much! Isn't he cutest hubby you've ever seen? The other day I was reading and came across the term, eternal companion. Funny, it had been a while since I had thought of it in that way. For a good while I was happy to always call him my husband, then hubby, and now mostly just Lowell. But the term eternal companion has such a lovely ring to it, it means so much more than husband. Lowell is my best friend who I am infinitely blessed to have along for the ride with me for all eternity. While I do not claim to fathom the concept of eternity, in fact it almost seems frightening or wrong that I'll live forever, I know the one thing that makes it okay is that he will always be there. You go the first half of your life with your birth family and then on your own never realizing you are missing your other half. If you are as lucky as me, you then find him and you are complete. Complete in ways you never knew you were lacking before. Lowell and I almost have a cosmic 6th sense, we often pick things out of the other one's brain before they say it. Maybe we have just lived together long enough but I think there is a deeper connection there. At church yesterday we were singing Families Can be Together Forever and the second verse almost brought me to tears, ". . . I'll prepare most faithfully, so I can marry in God's temple for eternity." It just struck me in that moment what a blessed thing that is. That I have had wonderful leaders and examples in my youth that helped steer me toward the temple and then to meet someone worthy to take me there so that we are now married for eternity. Such a beautiful thing. Just a realization of my childhood dreams and the great joy it is that my children can sing that and know they are a part of an eternal family. Anyway, Lowell thanks for being my eternal companion, you know I wouldn't want to have anyone else by my side. Love you!

Happy Mickey Birthday

Well, another successful birthday party in the books. Truthfully I had sworn we weren't going to have a party, that Disney and a party with Mickey himself was enough. But then some family members mentioned they'd still like to celebrate with the boys and I didn't want to have a hole in my birthday album for 4, so we had one anyway. But then I swore it was going to be low-key, just family--no location just at our house. Which I did, though the treats might have gotten a little overboard.

Mickey Mouse Rice Krispie Treats

The extra cake, from left over batter

And the main attraction, the birthday cakes! I have to admit I am pretty proud of them. It was my first time doing the cake by myself and also my first time working with fondant (which I made myself!). I was very tempted to get a premade cake (noting my exhausted state from the past week) but even though I had to sacrifice a much needed nap I didn't want this birthday left out from our traditional fun cake, so there you have it.

The back (the little papers are from the parade at Disneyland)

Davis's cake

Carter's


Carter eating an ear
Davis with his "alloon"

Baby Jonny donned some mouse ears too, such a cutie!

We made dipped Mickey cookies and personalized them for each guest.

The boys got fishing poles from my parents and insisted on fishing in the bath tub (after we forbade them from fishing in the toilet any more--Carter had quite an adventure with that one).

My birthday boys

The lighting is bad, but they are painting masterpieces thanks to Mike and Sina's gift.
I think we are finally done with birthday, but it was fun. Now they are anxious for Halloween and even Christmas is starting to be talked about. Oh the joy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

E is for eels, Eeyore, and (Mickey) Ears

Where to even start . . .I know, with a warning: this is a long post. I was almost testing it to see if there is a limit to how many pics can be in one post, so far I haven't found one. I considered doing multiple posts, but really I am being lazy and just want to lump it all in one. So here is our family birthday vacation:
We left early Sunday morning (I drove from Provo to Mesquite, yea me! while listening to The Lost Symbol) and arrived at the Aquarium of the Pacific about 10:30. We couldn't check in to the Anaheim condo until 4 so we planned the aquarium as something to occupy the time in between. Of course having just driven through the night we weren't at our freshest but I still enjoyed it. The boys were a bit edgy and we didn't stay as long as I'd like but it did serve it's purpose. Also, what a cool aquarium!

They had a Lorikeet exhibit where you could feed them and these were much more friendly than the ones at the Denver zoo.

The boys really loved having them on their hands and Lowell is so good with animals, he had 3 on him at one point. Carter was trying to take the nectar cup away from Lowell and a bird who was enjoying it and the bird bit him. That ended our Lorikeet adventure--though he wasn't hurt badly, he was over it by the time we moved on.

And who wouldn't when the next thing is petting giant rays and sharks. These were pretty docile fellows and more rough than I would have guessed. They also had a fun outdoor play area. Next we caught a seal and sea lion show and added another E to our week, eco-friendly. I am all for protecting the environment and helping animals but I wouldn't say I am much into the "green" movement. A little overboard for me. Next we got another E, eels. And jellies, sea turtles, dozens of different fish yadda yadda.

Forced photo in front of the aquarium--time for lunch (hooray for Jack in the Box! Those who live by one will think we are crazy but we love it whenever we get it. We ate there 3 times!).

Then on to our traditional beach stop (3 times now), Newport Pier. It was rather windy as you can see from my handsome guys above.

The water was pretty warm though the breeze was chilly. Didn't stop the boys from wanting to get wet and losing their shirts. Carter had some help getting wet when he tripped running from a wave and got rolled.


But he was smiling immediately after. Such a trooper, or just loves the beach. It was also a good look at the boys with structured (aquarium) vs. unstructured (beach) play time. Safe to say they do better with the unstructured.

And I ADORE beach photos so yea for me!
Possibly the best shot I've had all year. Hooray!
We love the ocean, they were shivering but we couldn't get them to leave. We kept playing in the sand, finding oodles of shells, and just enjoying the view.

Almost makes me want to move back to Cali I loved it so much. I didn't want to leave myself but we were pretty beat. We picked up some groceries, checked into the condo and crashed for a "nap" by 5 pm. Well, that nap ended up lasting until 6 am for the boys and I. Rob and Lowell got up for a while and then were wakened by us ready to go to "Dinneywand".

Waiting to get checked in, with hair spiked as high as we could hoping to get my ever so short children on to the good rides (it didn't work). We had hoped for it to be slow (of course) and even expected it to be based on the time of year. But it turned out to be quite busy. I don't know if it is the birthday promotion (we saw lots of birthday buttons), fall break at various parts of the country, or a Jewish holiday (lots of them too) but it was much busier than we would have hoped. So we used Fast Passes and planned around lines. I've decided the reason you need 3 days for Disney is just due to lines, you could do it all in one if it weren't busy. We ended up skipping Fantasyland in its entirety because it was just too crazy. Sorry Dumbo, we missed you.


But the Tigger/Pooh ride was still fun as was meeting the yellow bear himself.

And Goofy (good shot I'd say, thanks to Rob for saving me when my camera battery died)

And of course the man himself, Mickey Mouse. Insane to wait that long to meet him but the boys are SO into it. And there is only so long when he will still be real to them so why not. We met him several times in fact.

Captain Hook too.

And a shot at the entry plaza (Carter cut off, sorry dude). I caught my fav rides, Thundermountain and Space Mountain (transformed for Halloween to Ghost Galaxy) twice. I don't think Disney does truly scary all that well (except for kids, the boys are afraid of much of fantasyland) but it was still a fun ride. I love space mountain either way. It was a very full day, playing from opening to closing.

Davis even zonked out on the walk back to the condo.

The birthday boys were bubbly and ready for more fun the next day though.

The 40 minute wait for Nemo was lame but we found ways to entertain ourselves. I really tried to do what the boys wanted on their big day and Nemo was on the top of their list. I didn't do any rides without them that day, and did less rides than the other days as we also saw Disney Playhouse Live, had a Disneyland Birthday party, and played inside the castle.

And we waited to meet Minnie, plus got a good group shot.

Goofy's line wasn't as long and Carter says he's his favorite.
Back over to Disneyland we caught the boys' birthday party with Mickey and Minnie. We each got to decorate our own cake, here's mine:

And Davis with his:


Carter too:
Then the big surprise, M & M joined us and everyone sang and danced.

And took pics.

And got covered in frosting


But had a good time.
We went home for lunch and a little rest (very little) and headed back in costume. Oh my goodness did the boys get a lot of attention as Buzz and Woody. They were wearing pins saying it was their birthday as well, so between the two they were showered with people talking to them and wishing them a happy birthday. They ate it up naturally.

You've got a friend in me

With Rob on the jungle cruise

They had a special firework show for Halloween that was just awesome. Somethings Disney just does SO well. You can just tell there is a giant balloon to the left of the castle where characters were projected.


video
A quick video so you can enjoy the magic, I loved all the music.
Waiting in line for the Astro Orbitors playing with their Mickey light up swords (I couldn't go the day without buying them something . . .)

Space Ranger Davis with the big man himself

Daddy and Carter

Pilot Davey
We stayed until after the extended hours closing (9 pm) catching Nemo with only 5 minutes wait and then visiting the Disney store in downtown Disney to redeem some of the boys b-day money. So we went to Disney because the boys would be free for their birthday. But once I pulled some of my own Disney magic I ended up with 3 day park hoppers for all 4 of use for only $300, cheaper than if I upgraded their free pass. But I thought I would ask if they had any other options besides the free day and hooray they did! They could get a pass for another day in the year, 6 fast passes for multiple rides (tempting but they couldn't ride most of them so that seemed a little selfish), or get a gift card with the amount of a one day pass on it ($61!). So the kids had $61 each to spend at the park, quite the birthday present from DisneyLand. That night they went home with giant suckers and a "real" Buzz Lightyear toy.

Home again (yes at 10 pm) we had some more birthday cake

And partied in the condo. Then the boys crashed. This has been the easiest trip for sleeping, each night Lowell sat with them for 10 minutes and they were out cold.

The next day we started at Disney California and met Lightning McQueen

Rode the Zephyr and cheesed it by a 4 for my big 4 year olds.

Watched Daddy and Robbie on Screaming (I love their faces) after waiting only 25 minutes for Toy Story Mania. Then we picked up our free birthday tortillas, had some delicious soup in sourdough bowls (yes expensive but far better and more filling for the same price than the pizza we had a couple days earlier). We did the Monsters Inc ride again (line was short so we did it a bunch) and I caught my fav ride there, Soaring over Cali. Yes it made me miss it. More time at Bug's Life Land and we were ready to go.

Saying goodbye to Disney California.
Back at Disney we ohmygosh ohmygosh saw Jack Skellington. Oh how we love him and his voice was spot on. He was so kind with the boys (probably because when he left on break they screamed their heads off and then we waiting 20 minutes for him to come back). They also enjoyed The Haunted Mansion that Jack takes over for the holidays.

We saw the parade and the boys were invited to dance in the street twice, so fun! We caught It's a Small World one more time and were going to do Buzz Lightyear again, but the line was too long and we had done it like 8 times already so we just did some more shopping and said goodbye to Disneyland. Surprisingly I think even the boys were done, we were all tired of crowds and people and ready for some space and down time.


Traditional sucker on the way out (that they worked on until almost Nevada)
We love all things Mickey!

And one last goodbye to our friend who Davis was thrilled to see in costume.


And a last family shot outside. We then drove through the night again (I did Vegas to Fillmore this time and was SO tired, ugh!) which probably sounds crazy but the boys were out before they even finished their dinners and hardly stirred until we put them in their beds at home. That makes it worth it to me. Now having to work all night after we got home and again all night tonight is not as pleasant but I will catch up on sleep sometime.

Davis showing off his Disney booty, the Buzz plus a Pirates of the Carribean playset (and 2 suckers and a bag of gummies).
Our last E is still to come but I figured there was plenty of stuff for one post already! The (Mickey) Ears refers to the bubs' birthday party with Mickey cake, cookies, etc. More to come on that one.