Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Fun

We celebrated Easter for two weeks this year. It wasn't as spiritual as I feel it should have been, but it was fun! Josh's sister Christina and her husband Ross brought the kids Easter baskets when they came to visit mid month. It kicked off the holiday and made the kids very excited!

The Sunday before Easter we colored eggs with Josh's brother Gabe and his girlfriend Alexa. We stocked up on 7.5 dozen "Pea Wea" eggs for only $3 at the egg farm. I must admit that they looked pretty darn good!

Saturday we crashed the Easter Egg Hunt at the nearby town of Millville. The kids were quite successful!

Easter morning Caleb and Cara got a fun outdoor game kit. Caleb was so grateful. He thanked me and said that it was the best Easter ever! He said, "my gift to you is a great big hug!" And he gave the longest, tightest hug ever. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.

Andy and Ali got hooded bath towels. Ali is a flower and Andy is a puppy.

They needed the bath after a fun Easter Day at Grandma Iva's and Grandpa Neil's complete with Grandmas annual, awesome Easter Egg hunt!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Celebrating Spring

There is nothing quite like going out in the rain to pet, hold, and see baby animals to celebrate spring. The American West Heritage Center extended baby animal days this year so I took Caleb, Cara, and Andy out in the rain on Saturday. The weather kept the huge crowd away, and the kids seemed to have a great time.

The calves were so calm letting the kids pet them.

The pony rides are always a hit.

I was amazed at how brave Andy was.

Caleb insisted on wearing shorts. When I told him he would be cold he replied, "I don't care." He wares shorts any time that I don't MAKE him wear long pants.

Andy was mad at this point because he wasn't holding a bunny. He did get to hold one, but I couldn't take a picture of him holding any thing because I needed to help him.

The kids also loved holding the little chicks and ducks. They could have stayed and played with them all day. Poor little chicks!

Andy loved the lambs. I must admit they were really cute and soft.

Easy Ali is Back!

I think we have turned the corner! I hope that I am not going to cause myself bad luck by creating this post, but Ali has been a delight all week. She happily plays, emptying drawers and army crawling around the kitchen and house. She was a perfect baby until she started having ear infections last fall. Then she turned into a disaster! She got tubes in her ears at the end of March. After the surgery the ENT told us that the necessity of the surgery was confirmed when he discovered the fluid in her ear was what they used to call "glue ear." It was so thick it was extremely difficult to remove. I think that may have been the solution to a new Ali!

I have wondered a few times if she is really my baby. I have never experienced a grumpy baby. She also army crawls to get around. My other babies crawled with perfect form. It is amazing what she can get into crawling on her elbows. For example:

She is VERY "Kirky." For one she has the Kirk kid look. People have asked me if she looks like Cara, and I have said that she doesn't. I was wrong. I was looking at old pictures of Cara this week and they look allot alike. Ali also has the fear of standing that cursed Caleb and Andy. She is HATES standing. I would like her to be walking for the summer (as apposed to crawling through the dirt outside.) I make her stand a few times every day, and it brings her to tears. I think it is really fear. This is the happiest she has ever looked standing. It is probably because I gave her my phone, but it may be because she is with her cousin Kate.

She is a determined and stubborn. As my mom said, "there is no negotiating with her." She knows what she wants and she is going to get it. I am just glad to report that she is a happy baby again. I sure hope it sticks. Having a loving brother just 17 months older than her serves her well. For example he likes to share yummy food with her. I would have never given her this licorice or the cookies, let alone at the same time on the floor. Andy is always looking after his sister!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Love Disneyland!

I think Josh and I may have been more excited for our spring brake trip to Disneyland than the kids were. We learned, even before Caleb started school, that our neighborhood vacates during spring brake and unless you have something planned you will quite litterly be left in the cold which is terribly depressing. This year I planned a trip to Disneyland. Our van has 240,000 miles and when it dawned on us that it would not be a good idea to take it we decided to leave Ali at home too. It was a blessing to us that she spent the week with Grandma Iva. They had a great time together! And we had a great time at Disneyland.

We left early Saturday morning and we were able to listen to General Conference as we drove. The best conference tradition I have ever started is having the kids listen for specific words and each time they hear that word they get a treat. We have been doing this for three years now, and the kids really look forward to conference. They change the words every few speakers and they choose the words, usually three at a time. They can listen forever if every time they hear the word Christ, Temple or Love they get a peanut M&M or Sweetish Fish. It made the drive down go fast. We got to Vegas to my friend Angela Davidson's house before priesthood session. We took the kids to the park while the guys went to priesthood and then we went to Firehouse Sandwiches where we enjoyed some great food. The Davidson's were so kind and generous. We loved being with them!

Sunday we did the rest of the drive to Anaheim. I found a hotel for $44 a night on Priceline. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting and it served a great hot breakfast. It was right by the shuttle stop to Disneyland, and we were ready to go before the park opened on Monday morning.

Without doing any correlating we ran into our friends, the Lows, before the park even opened, and Caleb and Andy got to be with their best friends for the first few hours of Disney fun!

Caleb and Isaac

Our big splurge of the trip was doing Character Dinning at Goofy's Kitchen. It gave us a nice brake at lunch time on Monday. It was so convenient to have the characters come right to our table. We loved the buffet. Caleb wasn't really into getting pictures with the characters, but he did get all of their autographs. Cara loved everything about it. Andy was a little scarred. I think he was overwhelmed with the whole Disneyland experience. I think 2.5 is a little young for Disneyland - or maybe it was just Andy and the fact that we were playing around the clock.

I also took the kids swim suits on Monday, which was the hottest day of our trip, and they played in the water at Bugs Land in California Adventure. We played all day and all night. We really enjoyed the World of Color show and had a great spot!

Even though we didn't get to bed until 11PM we were at the park again by 7AM Tuesday morning with our friends, the Campbell's. Cara got to be with her best friend for the next few days of Disney. It is fun for us to do the short, quick Fantasy Land rides early in the morning. Cara still loves the the Tea Cups and Dumbo although she went on Space Mountain with me many times and seemed to enjoy all of the rides. (She didn't love Tower of Terror, but she did it which is better than Caleb.) She is the perfect age and personality for Disneyland.

Cara and her other mother, Hilary and her BFF Korinne.

Caleb's favorite rides were Thunder Mountain and Grizzly River Rapids. He couldn't get enough of them. I was proud of him for going on Space Mountain and the Matterhorn at least once.

Andy was expressionless most of the trip. I couldn't really tell what he liked, but I know he didn't like Pirates or the "It's Tough to be a Bug" show. Too scary. He was a great sport most of the time!

Tuesday we took a brake from Disney in the afternoon and went to the beach. We were so tired around noon when we were leaving the park, and I had a hard time finding bus tickets we needed to purchase. Consequently we ended up waiting for about 45 minutes for the bus. We were so excited when it arrived that we all just jumped on, everyone except Andy. We had left the bus terminal and gone half way down the block when Cara questioned, "where's Andy." WE HAD LEFT OUR TWO YEAR OLD AT THE BUS STOP AT DISNEYLAND. The bus driver pulled off very quickly and Josh sprinted Iike I had never seen him sprint before to go save our baby. Andy was happily sitting on someone's lap. He seemed to not have even noticed we were gone. What a blessing! The beach was great fun for the kids and a nice brake for me.

Tuesday night we had a magical moment. We timed riding the Story Book boat ride just right so that we would be on the ride for the fire works. We just entered Story Book Land when the first firework went off. They stopped the boat and we got to sit and watch the fireworks from the ride. It was awesome. It did lead to another late night though.

Wednesday Josh had a ton of work to do so he stayed back in the morning and worked while Andy rested. Caleb, Cara and I hit the park hard again. We spent the morning at California Adventure waiting to get on Toy Story and doing some of the other popular rides that Andy is too little to go on.

Wednesday's lunch brake consisted of swimming at the pool. We got the kids goggles, and Andy looked great in his. The kids love swimming, but it is hard to keep Josh and I away from Disneyland. We all went back for a while on Wednesday evening, and then I took Andy back to bed while Josh kept Caleb out until midnight. Luckily our friend Hilary brought Cara back after the fire works.

Getting up on Thursday morning was painful. We had seen everything and enjoyed the parks so much, but we were exhausted. At 7:00 AM when I asked who wanted to go to Disneyland with me Caleb sleepily said, "I do" and promptly went back to sleep. Needless to say we didn't get there until just after 8 AM. Caleb, Cara and I went and hit all of the rides that we wanted to repeat one or two more times. Caleb and Cara also got called up for Jedi training.

They both had the opportunity to help defeat Darth Vador. They loved it! We left the park around 2:00 for our drive home. It was a great time! The crowds were huge, but we navigated them great and had a super experience.

We spent Thursday night in Vegas and had dinner at Caesars Palace at the Cheese Cake Factory. Andy loved the fish tank. In fact watching the fish in the giant aquarium was the most excited I saw him the entire vacation. Friday we got some much needed sleep and drove to our friends, Todd and Jenny's new beautiful home in Cedar City. They treated us to a night out at a Brian Reagan show. The show was so funny! We laughed until we cried, and we always enjoy our time with Todd and Jenny!