Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve

I am loving the age my kids are at, and that starting new traditions are so fun to them because they haven't experienced it before. There were so many things I wanted to do with them last year, but with a 1 week old I was not into it. So this year we did most of the things I have always wanted to do, and next year maybe we can do more (like gingerbread houses...) We had our traditional Christmas Eve party a week early with my sisters family and my mom. My mom has all those pictures. We had dinner and opened a present. Then on the actual Christmas Eve I made Chocolate Chip cookies with the kids, and we added festive M&Ms to them. We had a nice fun dinner when Drew got home. During dinner we discussed the real reason behind the season, and why we do gifts on Christmas. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights. The city puts out a map (list) of homes that register as contestants for the Best Christmas Lights Contest. We saw some amazingly decorative homes, and the kids loved it.
After looking at the lights we came home to open one present each. We decided to open the gifts that my sister in law sent. Autumn has a sweet relationship with Mrs. Heather (my sister in law) and she is the only one outside of immediate family that Autumn occassionally blesses in her prayers. So it was an easy choice who's gifts we would open. And the kids loved them! It was the perfect way to get them excited about all the gifts coming in the morning.

Bailey loved the Cabbage Patch Doll Baby. She hugged it and carried it around everywhere till we put her to bed.
 Weston saw that it was a train and was so excited.
 I love the look on Autumns face when she got a barbie.
After opening presents we got Santas plate ready and his mug of milk. Then we put out some carrots and water for Santa's reindeer. We don't have a chimney or fireplace- so it's very obvious santa comes through the front door (according to Autumn) so I let her pick where we put the carrots and water for Santa's sleigh pullers.
Autumn did the cookies while Weston got the milk.

 Autumn got all the carrots and water ready and set them outside the front door.

For bedtime we read The True Christmas Story, which is based off the story told in Luke. I had wrapped Christmas themed books under a small Christmas tree and the kids had gotten to pick a book everynight and unwrap it for the bedtime story, and I am so glad this one was picked that night. It helped us review the true meaning of Christmas right before going to bed, which lasted only a few minutes and then the kids were talking about Santa coming. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bailey's 1

 It's been really sad thinking about Bailey turning one. I have always been so excited for my kids to get older but with her- I've just wanted everything to slow down. I love this little girl so much, and she just melts my heart. I can't believe there was a point in time when I wished I wasn't pregnant with her. I can't imagine life with out her, and have been SO blessed by her sweet disposition and easy temperment. We got to celebrate her birthday twice this weekend. We spent Friday night with some of Drews family, doing gift exchanges for Christmas and celebrating Baileys birthday, then on Sat. night we did a gift exchange with my side of the family (my mom was in town) and celebrated Baileys birthday again. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and Bailey.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Disneyland- Day 2 (part 2)

I am terrible about blogging, so it's been hard to make time to do 3 posts so close together. So- after we met Goofy, we headed back to Disneyland. Drew really wanted an ice cream cone and I wanted to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride with the kids. Bailey- such a trooper.
 Bailey really enjoyed the ice cream cone.
 Weston on the Winnie the Pooh ride, I realized that on almost all the rides, I sat with Weston. :)
We were so lucky. When we got off the ride, 3 of the characters from the movies were right by the ride. We quickly got in line, just in time, because they cut the line off about 5 people after us. My kids were so excited.
Here they are with Tigger. 
 Winnie the Pooh. Sorry for the quality- I think the flashes of my camera, the photographer, and Drews phone all clashed when we took the pics.
 After that we had to hustle, to get back into California Adventure to eat at Ariel's Grotto. We had reservations and my father in law was there waiting for us. It was nice to just sit, eat, and relax.

After dinner we did some shopping, notice Baileys sweater changed? There was a disaster involving an explosive diaper, the highchair, my sweatshirt, and all her clothes. It was really cold at night and we had to wrap her in my sweatshirt and go to a shop to find something for her to wear. Good thing Disneylands clothes prices are reasonable...not. We got everything in 2T so she could wear it for a very long time. We got the kids toys to help pass the time while we waited for the World of Color Show to start. Weston got a light up bubble gun, which was pure genious, until the bubbles ran out. And they don't sell refills. :) (but we still use it in the yard at home)
So we pulled out the light up spinners we got the night before for the parade.

Autumn and Drew. She has a serious problem with closing her eyes for pictures, so I asked her to keep her eyes open, and this is the face she makes. She's obviously so focused on keeping her eyes open she doesn't think about the smile. :) 
On Drew's side of the family the boys are seriously outnumbered by girls. Weston has another boy cousin who's 4 years older, and another boy cousin who is 1 years old. These boys just adore their grandma. She holds such a special/tender spot in all their hearts. It's easy to see who they favor. 
And Bailey- well, it's special when Grandpa holds you and plays with you.
The light show was beautiful and held the kids attention, it was quite lengthy. As soon as we put them in the stroller and started exiting the park the kids were out. It totally made leaving easier.  

We had such a good time and feel so extremely blessed to have been able to go. There's no way we could've ever gone with out grandparents, they were such a huge help. And we know now that we won't ever go without them. The kids are still talking about Disneyland, I hear it come up in conversation atleast 5 times a day. This place is truely magical and so special to kids. The kids are at such a fun age to do stuff like this with. I never got to go as a kid, I have been a few times as an adult, but going with kids, and seeing things through their's priceless.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

DisneyLand- Day 2 (part 1)

We spent most of the 2nd day over in California Adventure. I really enjoy this park and the kids really loved all the shows, rides, and food this park had to offer.

They are building a new CARS area, and from what we could see it looks just like Radiator Springs, it was so funny, I can't wait to go back and see it when it's all done in 2012. Here the kiddos with Mater and McQueen.

On our way to the Bug's Life Show we ran into Pluto. 
I love this picture of Bailey. It was such a treat for my in-laws to get all this time with the kids, and all 3 of my kids just ate up all the attention. 
Us in the Monsters, Inc. ride. It follows the story line of the movie and the kids really enjoyed it. 
We then went and watched the Muppets 3-D show. Autumn still talks about this, especially since commercials are on t.v. for the movie coming out at Thanksgiving, and she always says, "the muppets, like the ones in Disneyland." 
After that show we went to watch the Aladdin show, it's basically the movie but a shorten live version. The kids were so into this, I was worried with it not being animated, but they knew the songs, dialogue and loved all the props. This is Weston and his grandpa waiting for it to start. 
This was a Disney Off the Page (kind of like a "behind the scenes") place. This was an interactive book, and you answered questions about yourself and it tells you which character your most like. I didn't take it, but Weston did and he was Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast. 
In that same place there was an area that looked like Ursala's lair, and you picked one of 4 songs, they show you the song and you hear the lyrics, then Ursula appears and steals their voices, so when the show replays you sing the song and then it plays it back to you, with your voices as the character. The kids picked Hakuna Matata twice.  
After that place we got in line for the new Toy Story ride. I don't know why both toy story themed rides are shooting games, Weston didn't get it, but he enjoyed his 3-D glasses, and just watching everything. It was the only thing that day that had a long wait line for riding, but there was plenty of fun toy story stuff on the walls to keep the kids happy. 
We also saw Goofy. 
We were heading out of the park to go back into DisneyLand because we had missed a couple of things there from the first day that I really wanted the kids to see/ride. We didn't think Day 1 could be topped, but I think Day 2 was just as exciting. More to come. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

DisneyLand- Day 1

We got to the park right when it opened because we were having Breakfast with the characters. This was such a highlight to the trip. When we finished breakfast we had only been at the park for a little over an hour and already felt like the trip was worth it and if it all ended right then it would all be worth it. The kids got so delighted to meet Tigger, Minnie, the Fairy Godmother, Chip & Dale, and Captain Hook. Although Autumn wouldn't look at Captain Hook, it was the funniest thing I have ever seen. I have zero pictures from this, which I will get into later.

After breakfast we took the kids on their first few rides, we did an airplane ride, the Buzz Lightyear ride, Finding Nemo Sub ride, the Jungle Tour, Dumbo ride, a Carousel, we went to Toon Town and met Mickey Mouse in his house. Again I have zero pictures from all these even though I took about 120 pics from the time we entered the park until this point. We then decided to ride the train around the park of Disneyland, it was around 1 o'clock and Weston was starting to get a little ornery, so I knew a train ride would cheer him up or put him to sleep. I took some pictures of my father in law with Bailey on the way to the train and wanted to show Drew and when I hit the button on my camera to show him it said, "No memory stick." I started crying and was so mad! I never take my memory card out of the camera, so I never thought to check if it was in there. I was also mad the dumb camera didn't have internal memory incase no memory stick was there. So thankfully, Drew and my father in law ran to a shop on Main St. and got me a new memory card. We then spent some time trying to recreate pics that I had now lost, or actually never had. My father in law has a few from breakfast on his phone that I need to get.

This was the view from the Train Station. It was beautiful. The park was decorated for Christmas.
After our train ride, some of the characters were out on Main St. Which I was so happy to be able to retake pics of the kids with characters that I didn't have from the breakfast.

 Weston would run up and hug every character right away.
These lollipops were heavenly. We got one for each of the older kids and it kept them quiet during the points when we were just walking around.

Then we went to Downtown Disney to eat at ESPN Zone, Weston with my father in law.
We had time to kill before the parade so we did some shopping at the stores down there. The kids got a kick out the lifesize Woody made out of  Lego's at the Lego Store.
 Drew and Bailey before the parade.
 I love this picture of Weston, after the parade we got on our shuttle to head back to the hotel. My mother in law is showing him her bag that has all the Disney characters on it and you can just see how happy he was and how wonderful this day was for him.

The day was such a huge success! Bailey was fine sleeping in the stroller or being held, the kids didn't complain about lines for the rides. (Ok, Weston did a couple of times, but a 2 year old doesn't really understand lines and why he can't just walk onto a ride. But considering he had no nap and was out in the sun all day, he did great.) The highlights for me of the day were the breakfast and the parade. I actually got teary eyed during the parade watching my kids light up with excitement with the music blaring so loud and seeing all their favorites characters wave to them and dance down Main St. They would shout out to the characters and wave excitedly and giggle with joy if they waved in their direction. That's when I realized how truely magical this place is for kids. And why it is considered the happiest place on earth.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Zoo

On Sat my sister, her husband, myself and our kids all went to the Phoenix Zoo. I hadn't been since Autumn was 1 1/2. I don't know what took us so long to go back, but the kids love it and we will definitely be going back more often. But it was especially fun going to the zoo with family.

Seriously- you can't tell but my kids were really excited. I am glad one kid knows what to do with a camera in their face. :)
Autumn was happy. :)
While waiting in line to get into the zoo the older kids looked at all the turtles.
It figures that my kids were the uncooperative ones, but out of the 3 pics I took at this spot- this is surprisingly the best one.

The boys on their way up to the tree house. Which overlooks animals.

Autumn, Parker, and Weston looking at the Rhino's.
This is how Bailey was the whole time. Easy Peasy. Man I am so grateful she is so easy going and happy all the time.

Parker wanted a turn pulling Ben in the wagon. It was really cute.

The kids took a break and played in the play area by the petting zoo.

Then we ate lunch.

It was Boo at the Zoo, but we didn't do anything really related to all the festivities, it was really just another day at the zoo for us. But at the Radio Disney area near where we sat to eat lunch there was this pig, which Autumn just adored. Weston wanted nothing to do with him, and I couldn't keep Autumn away.

Next we went to the petting zoo area, which was just goats. But Weston loved it! It took Autumn a minute but Weston was totally in his element.

 Parker and Christy.

 Weston just wanted to be on their level.
Christy and Bailey. 
Autumn pretending to milk a cow, surprisingly she sat right down and knew exactly what to do without anyone showing her.
 Parker and the tractors.

 Parker needs to show Weston how to operate a tractor properly.
 Mark and Ben...while the kids were in the petting zoo and playing on the tractors.
 The babies basically sum up how we all felt once we were leaving the zoo. It was fun but exhausting.
I am so glad we went. My sister brought up that her childhood memories of being at the zoo involved being with our cousins. And so this was a special trip for Parker to have all his cousins who live here with him. They go to the zoo pretty regularly so just being at the zoo was a treat for my kids, but anytime aunts, uncles, and cousins are involved it's an even bigger treat. I am grateful my kids get to make some memories similar to those that my sister and I have from when we were kids.