Monday, October 31, 2011

October fun

Nathan and Jared had a costume parade at school, including music from some of the high school band.  The spiderweb was our trunk-or-treat creation.  We thought Owen looked pretty cute in the wig - it wasn't really part of his costume.



The boys had a good time at their school carnival.  I made this spider cake for the cake walk, Nathan was one of the few to hit the floating baseball into one of the holes in the baseball game, and Jared surprised us by wanting to participate in the pie eating contest.  They were supposed to find a piece of bubblegum in the coolwhip without using their hands and then blow a bubble.  He didn't win, but we had fun watching him.



We took a little outing to the local pumpkin patch.  Nathan and Jared enjoyed the corn maze and they all had fun playing in the hay and picking out pumpkins.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whew!

 What an exhausting, exhilarating, expensive, and emotion-filled experience!  A couple of weeks ago, we took the boys out of school for 2 days to go to Disneyland.  We have wanted to take them and knew it would be a necessary adventure since we live in CA, but we were hoping to avoid some of the crowds.  We hate crowds.  I'm not sure what it's like when school's out, but it was pretty crowded.  Talking to some of the people in line, some of the schools in Utah and Arizona (at least) were on fall break.  Maybe we caught a lot of fall breakers, or school skippers like us, or maybe Disneyland is just always pretty busy.  Understandable, because it's a kid's dream and there is so much to see and do.  You can't see everything in 2 days.  We probably experienced about 1/4 of each of the Disneyland Resort Park and Adventure Park next door.  We didn't go on any of the big roller coasters or Tower of Terror (Alex and I didn't want to stand in line for just one of us to do those when we were there for the boys to have fun).  It really is a magical place for kids and pretty fun for adults too, if you don't get too exhausted by dealing with kids (which we did).  It was challenging with 4, especially since Weston had to be in the stroller most of the time and Nathan was the only one tall enough to do all the rides.  Jared was still too short for some of them, which is sad because he's the brave one and wanted to go on them.  Nathan was more tentative, although he did go on the Indiana Jones ride with me.  His head was down most of that ride.  There was no way he was going on any of the big roller coasters.  Both of them did the raft ride at the Adventure Park and Splash Mountain and their very first roller coaster "Goofy's Flight School".  

We had to take turns taking Nathan and Jared on rides.  We took advantage of the fast passes, but it was still hard for Owen and Weston to wait for us to get done. Weston was quite a trooper, having to spend most of the time in the stroller.  When he did go on rides, it was hard to hold him for the 10-15 minutes or whatever the wait was, because you have to park the stroller and then stand in line.  Imagine trying to keep a toddler who has just been sitting in his stroller for 2-3 hours confined to the line.  He went on some rides like the caterpillar in "A Bug's Land," the Ferris wheel, Winnie the Pooh, and the carousel.  He seemed to like getting wet in the water play areas in "A Bug's Land" and wandering around "Innoventions" looking at the lighted blue floor.  It's tough to be too small at Disneyland.  Most of the rides were still too scary for Owen.  Even the mild story rides usually had a scary character in it, like Ursula in the Little Mermaid.  He got to the point where we would be walking, and he'd see something that looked scary.  He'd stop right there, frozen in place, and scream, "I don't want to go on that!"  Owen's favorite was probably Winnie the Pooh, but he also seemed to like the Dumbo ride, which I thought might be too scary for him.  He liked most of the things in  "A Bug's Land," although he wouldn't play in the water area.  Actually, I think Owen's most favorite thing of all was popcorn!  (We were just glad that he's still under 3, so we didn't have to buy a ticket for him.)

Speaking of "A Bug's Land," there is a show about bugs in that area that we tried to see.  Since that whole area is geared towards the younger kids, I thought it would be a fun show.  I tried to take Nathan, Jared, and Owen to see it.  When we got inside, they warned us it might be scary for the little ones.  I didn't know just how scary it would be.  It was a 3-D show, complete with effects such as air blowing on you.  You really feel like you're in the show.  The very 1st scene was a giant poisonous spider that shoots out venom at its prey, and "it never misses".  As soon as we got "sprayed with the venom," Owen AND Jared were both screaming in my lap.  I scooped them up and got out of there.  I have to admit, it was really scary.  I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed sitting through the show with spiders and bugs coming after me.  If you're ever at the Adventure Park with kids younger than about 8, DO NOT take them to see this show!

The 3-D show that we did enjoy was Star Tours, a motion simulator ride on a spaceship, where you feel like you're in a Star Wars scene - very cool.  The technology for these rides is amazing.  We also saw a theater performance of Aladdin - also really good.  Owen even enjoyed that one and wasn't too scared of Jafar.  I loved the World of Color show at night, with water, lights, and music.  Unfortunately, even though we got advance "tickets" for an area and sat there for about 45 minutes before the show started, we still couldn't see it very well.  I took a couple of videos of the ending (while holding Weston), mainly just so Alex and Jared could see it.  Jared seemed to have to go to the bathroom at the most inconvenient times - one of those times was the finale to the show. 

We stayed until about 10:00pm both nights, to try to get our money's worth.  That's a really long day for kiddos whose bedtime is normally 7:30.  We stayed one night at a cheap motel called Zaby's Motor Lodge, which turned out to be very convenient for us.  It was only about a 1/2 mile from the park, so we could walk to Disneyland AND it was only about $60.  They let us check in early on the 1st day and park our van there all day both days (even after check-out).  I thought it decently clean too - we'd stay there again, IF we go again.  I'm sure we'll go again eventually, but it was really exhausting - I compared the experience to childbirth.  You swear you'll never do it again, but then a little while later, you're right back there.  And look at us... 4 kids later.  I guess if we stopped having kids, our Disneyland experience wouldn't be so hard either, right?  Oh well.  Did I mention that it was 95 degrees on the first day?  Hot and crowded.  Just what you associate with amusement parks.  But now Alex and the boys can say they have been to Disneyland (it was my 2nd time, although the last time I was there was maybe 28 years ago.  When did we go Mom?) 

Anyway, enjoy the Splash Mountain pictures, especially the one of Nathan and me.  Love it.     



Can you read the captions under the character names?
Donald - "impatient, irascible and hard to understand"
Goofy - "sincere, good-natured and lovably bumbling
Pluto - "faithful hound and best friend"

Besides Nathan not being a "hound", those describe their personalities pretty well.




                         

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Monday, October 24, 2011

BOW WOW

Nathan and Jared's school have a thing on Wednesdays called BOW WOW, bike or walk Wednesdays.  We walk most days, so it's not an unusual thing for us, but it seems like the kick off day for BOW WOW is always raining.  I think we walked in the rain last year too.  The kick off day is when they get prizes and things, so we HAD to walk.  We couldn't miss out on toys and stickers... 
Nathan and Jared both walked under an umbrella, and Owen held the umbrella over him and Weston.  Guess who got wet?  Me.  

Oh well.  It's a good tradition and good exercise.  Owen sure loved holding that umbrella! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

On Saturdays...

...you can find us at the soccer fields, sometime between 8:00am and 3:00pm.  We decided to do the "expensive" soccer this year.  It's not cheap to do AYSO, but the season is long (from the end of August to the end of November), they get a real jersey, and standard pictures are included in the price.  

Jared is in U-6 and his team is the Green Dragons.  He seems to enjoy playing and does well when he's paying attention.  Sometimes he's in his own little world or more interested in goofing off with his teammates.  His coach handles them really well and asks each of them to tell something they learned after every practice and game.  

Nathan is in U-8 (which is just 7 year olds since they had so many teams - there is also U-7 this year) and his team is the Blue Jets.  Nathan has really improved this year and is always really focused and aggressive.  He likes to play defense and also likes to play goalie.  He hasn't had much practice as goalie, but he's good with his hands and can punt it well.  He needs more experience knowing when to come out and get the ball and when to stay back in the goal.  It's really fun to watch him play.  His coach is pretty competitive, but seems to also handle these boys well.  

They have one practice a week, and they couldn't be more convenient.  They practice at the same time at the same place, and we can walk there.  We're enjoying it!


Here are a few videos - not very good quality, but just a little peek at what it's like to watch them play.  Enjoy the pack ball soccer... go U6!  :)

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

storage quota

I got a message saying I had reached my photo upload quota (or something like that) with Picasa Web Albums.  (But then I was able to make the previous post with a photo, so I'm not sure what's going on).  When I tried to edit the pictures of the boys on the side, the quota message comes up.

Is there any way around that or do you just have to pay for extra storage?  I thought about just starting a new blog, but I don't think that will help.  I'm not sure how Picasa and blogger are connected, but it seems like it's not the blog's problem.  I don't want to start deleting photos either, because I think they'll be removed from my blog as well.  So someone tell me what I need to do... :)  

or there will be no more pictures.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

why not?

Why not read books in the entryway?  Guess I should leave our newly acquired library books in a better location.  They pulled them out right where they found them.  I love that they love to read.

twins?


No, but I get that question all the time with Owen and Weston in the stroller or in a shopping cart.  Can you tell who's who in the picture above?



Here is a little bit more perspective...





Did you get it right?


Owen fell asleep in the stroller, but the funny thing is when I told Weston to smile, Owen smiled in his sleep (look at the 2nd picture).  You have to wonder what's going on in those cute little heads (which do look very similar from the top...)

September birthdays



Birthdays just aren't that exciting anymore.  But they still happen once a year, so we have to at least try to make them better than the average day.  That mostly involves extra food - just what we need for our slowing metabolism...  :)  For Alex's birthday, I made Mexican stuffed green peppers for dinner (his favorite).  For dessert, Alex wanted my new recipe - chocolate chip Twix cheesecake bars (I added M&M's as well).  We went to the beach after dinner.  What could be better than playing around in the dirt?

On my birthday, my only request was to go to I-Hop for breakfast so I could get the stuffed french toast.  We headed out the door at 6:50am so we could still get the boys to school in time (what, you think I was going to sleep in on my b-day?  No, I actually still got up around 6:00 and went for a jog before breakfast).  Later, I watched Winnie the Pooh with Owen while Weston was napping.  I was going to watch Nanny Diaries at the same time, but the computer wouldn't work and I didn't have the heart to pull Owen's movie out of the DVD player.  (By the way, Nanny Diaries was a pretty good movie.  Alex even liked it, so you know it has to be pretty decent.)  I didn't actually watch much of Owen's movie.  Instead, I resorted to checking facebook birthday wishes, which was nice to know that others had paid attention to the reminder and made the effort to comment.  ;)  Really, it was nice to read all the comments.  For dinner, we had sweet & sour chicken and egg rolls.  And I made my own dessert this year (no box cake this time*).  I tried out a new recipe - raspberry cream cheese pie.  It was pretty tasty!

* So, there's a little story behind the box cake.  I really don't mind them, but it's not my favorite.  I actually like pie better or cake with fruit on it.   Anyway, a funny little miscommunication between Alex and me happened sometime early on in our marriage.  For the first 3 or 4 years on my birthday, Alex made me a strawberry cake out of the box (the cake is pink and strawberry flavored).  Not wanting to seem ungrateful for his efforts, I didn't say anything.  But after the first few years of him making the strawberry box cake, I finally asked him why he kept making that.  He thought it was my favorite.  I'm not sure where he got that idea, but I probably did say that I liked strawberry cake, meaning that I like cake WITH REAL STRAWBERRIES on top.  We had a good laugh when we discovered that little miscommunication.  I don't think I've had a strawberry box cake since then.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

critters


We discovered this one day as we were getting ready for soccer... it scared me at first glance.  It was just sitting there on the soccer ball, but I wasn't expecting it to be there.  I was so glad it was a lizard and not a snake, although I still couldn't bring myself to pick it up.  All of us were hesitant to touch him, although Jared was the most brave.  The boys liked watching it and trying to play with him - I just tried to make sure they didn't hurt him.  For some reason, the boys like to poke things.

We have no shortage of critters around here - I don't mind the lizards.

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