Sunday, September 23, 2012


Truly, this place is the mother of all amusement parks. I can almost see how people spend so much money here. Almost. It's been 3 years since our last visit.  It was time. Yes, I am 7 months pregnant, but it was time. I decided it would be easier to go while pregnant than with a newborn...but I'm not sure now that the logic made as much sense as I originally thought.

We had enough in gift cards to pay for all of us to get in. Thank goodness kids are free until 3 years old! Thank goodness my parents came for most of the first day (also getting in for free)...that was such a help. Thank goodness Disneyland is such a magical place!

Now, because I have a free shutterfly book if I order in the next two days (seriously! The things I will do for a free shutterfly book! I don't know if it's worth it!), I have been quickly scrapbooking our entire year, and especially our trip....and will post the "pages" below.

Some highlights:
*The utter joy on Tanner's face when we walked "into" Cars Land. And, conversely, the utter terror on his face when we saw Mater, DeeJay, Lightning McQueen, and Red... Tanner is used to the die-cast cars, and the fact that these ones were large and talked was a little much for him.
*Going on Heimlich's chew-chew train tons of times, and not even having to get off.
*The light crowds on our first day. We never even had to get fastpasses...all the lines were under 10 minutes. (The second day was substantially more crowded. I would get fastpasses while they were on one ride, so even the long lines didn't slow us down much.)
*Seeing the shuttle Endeavor fly overhead while at California Adventure.
*Being pushed around in a wheelchair the first day. That was nice since it was 91 degrees (both days).
*Playing "spot the Mormons" and realizing just how easy that game is.
*Watching the parade on Main Street. Well, watching Tanner was way more entertaining.
*The irony of everything breaking down. World of Color malfunctioned so we only saw the first 5 minutes. Toy Story Mania broke down twice, once while we waited and once while we were on it. Screamin' broke down with Emma and Spencer on it. Splash Mountain broke down while they waited to get on, and finally decided to try again the next day.
*The Halloween decor. It is amazing! And they have a petting zoo set up there right now. Tanner thought watching the sheep "go potty" was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen.
*Spencer got his FIRST EVER blister. That's not really a highlight, but I think it's amazing enough that he made it 33 years without a blister on his foot, that I had to document it.

We went to the beach in the morning before driving home. Emma was out past the waves with Papa and with Spencer, and Tanner played in the sand like a champ. Those beaches where I grew up are so beautiful and fun, and I love to see my kids have the kind of fun I remember.

Until next time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the end

Our summer revved up quite a bit at the end, leaving this 6/7+ month pregnant body a bit tired but oh so glad I could still participate.  And now we're in the full swing of school, of fall, and of soccer. Here's a little bit about the final days of summer.

We went to this fun amusement park and did the $11 unlimited-ride wristband for the 3 kids. I think the big kids did about 30 rides each, and Tanner about 15. Considering that each ride is on average $4 if you pay individually...we saved hundreds! I'm grateful I had friends help with my kids at different points during the night, and I'm glad I had a friend to drive home with at 10:30 at night to keep me awake - I was pretty dead on my feet.

(They had big/scary-ish rides too, but I couldn't get pics of my big kids on those ones...)

Another friend organized a last-minute camping trip at a beautiful place only 30 miles from home. It's almost harder to camp for just one night as opposed to 2 or more because you're either unpacking/setting up or loading/packing to go home. But 6 families made the little trip and it was fabulous. One highlight was all the men cooking breakfast - enough for an army - and another was staying up late talking about kids and parenting and other things we all have in common. Good times.

We managed to squeeze in a 1.5+ mile (steep steep steep) hike with all the kids. Even saw a tarantula! I had no idea they lived here...

We had lots of swimming/water time...

Spencer and my friends organized a fun surprise bday for me. Perhaps the biggest surprise was getting there and seeing my kids there...I didn't know it was possible for Tyler to even be awake at 9 pm! The treats were great, and Ashley was a perfect hostess as usual. I was at YW before, so lots of the girls came too. Crazy, fun day.

Emma hiding before I got there... And I can't find any of the other pictures.

We finally got to go to Les Mis! It took a lot of planning, and a lot of money in order to get last-minute tickets, but I'm glad we went. We're missing two of our group here. My kids had the best baby-sitter in the world; they may have had a better night than we did.

Definitely one of our most fun summers ever. Add in our two weeks in Utah and the excitement of Spencer's dislocated/torn ligament shoulder and it will be hard to top this in the future!

Now for a bit of a slower pace...well, probably not.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

my normal

I have been thinking a lot about this post lately.  I truly don't know why, as I wrote it 3 1/2 years ago, other than the fact that I once again find our normal changing. Don't get me wrong; I still have train tracks running all over my house. In fact, I find my house just getting more and more cluttered, with toys spilling out of the "toy room" every second of the day. I really do remember writing it though...sitting on the corner of my bed, feeling the change that we anticipated while we waited the 4 long months to close on our first house and send our oldest to school for the first time.

I think back fondly (or not so fondly) to when I had one, or two, little babies. How getting out was a chore, how everything was so far away (in Massachusetts), how I was so physically tired, how Spencer worked all the time... Hmm, maybe things really aren't that different now, except that Costco is a whopping 6 miles away and everything else is within 2 miles. But now we have no choice but to get out, to be busy. Now I have at least one thing to take the kids to every single day of the week, besides school, lots of games/practices, busier callings, homework, piano, a house to maintain, and barely any free time. It's just a new season of life.

School started today. Remember this, from June?

I miss that feeling we all had. Especially as one of my kids was in tears with anxiety last night.

I have been thinking about how to make this school year even better. I want all of us to be our best selves when we are actually together. The kids get wiped out at school and when they get home it's often a mad dash. I am really hoping to not be the crazy, busy, nagging mom when they get have things under control--including dinner--so that our few hours together each day are as chaos-free as possible. I think if I am happy and am not a stress case, they will be the same. They feed off me more than I care to admit.

Here we go. I'd better not get too comfortable here, as THIS normal is quite temporary.