Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back to the Vacay

On Wednesday night we drove to San Diego. The next morning we had another surprise for the kids....COUSINS! And Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents...

A few of my sisters and their families had planned this portion of the trip and called to see if we wanted in. We planned Disneyland around this. Starting in the upper left hand corner: Jill, Justin (holding TJ-ers), Sadie, Megan, and Parker. Next pic: Marianne and Ferdie's family: Josh, Maizie, Mollie, Kenz. Center: Look familiar? Bottom left: Lindy and her kids: Bronco, Brady, Brinnley, and Taylor. Her husband, Jaret, joined us the next day. Last pic: My dad, mom, Haley, and Jen.

We met at their hotel for some breakfast and then headed to Cabrillo National Monument. The tide pools were so cool! Parker held a sea slug so Olivia could pet him. The kids had a great time here. We did lose Sam. He wandered off. In a place where the ocean and rocks and cliffs collide, my mommy heart was sick. I found him up on the cliff standing back in a patch of flowers. A man approached me when he knew I was the mom and told me Sam was wandering close to the edge. He could tell he was lost so he had him go stand in a high place where his parents could easily spot him. Thank heavens for nice strangers!

After some time in the tide pools, we headed to see the light house. It was pretty cool. One side looked out over a Naval base {I think}. Anywho...there was a submarine coming up out of the water. It was cool to see. The view was amazing!

Then off to Mission Beach. The kids had no apprehension here. Straight into the water they ran. We buried Olivia and Meg in the sand and made them mermaids. Olivia still enjoyed "basking in the sun"...

This boy. I LOVE the middle picture of him. He had fun building sand mountains and cars with his dad.

Emerson mostly slept. She woke up just as we were leaving the beach and just in time for one "awake" picture.

A few random/fun pics: Jen connecting with her inner self on the beach, Aaron and me, the grand sand sea turtle, and a pic of Aaron and kids.

Then it was to the hotel for dinner. Lindy and Jill were in charge this night! After a day in the ocean a nice warm home cooked meal was so nice!

Monday, May 25, 2009


For the sake of Memorial Day....

Grandfather Cowan: I don't remember a whole lot about him. He died when I was really young. I remember the hospital bed in the front room. By the big window in the back of the living room. I remember singing "I am a Child of God" with all of the grandkids at his funeral. I remember thinking, when we sang the part about "rich blessings are in store", that it was like a can of Campell's soup...only Blessings soup. I think of him when I drive past farm land.

Grandpa Hurst: "Ride a cock horsey to Bambury Cross, to see a fine lady upon a fine horse. Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she will hear music where ever she goes! YEE-HAH!!" He used to chant that rhyme while giving us a ride on his foot (crossed over his knee so it would swing) then, at the end he would boost us on to his lap and generally give us a good ol' whisker rub. I remember his garden. I remember his fun wooden toys he built. I remember his marigold garden. I celebrate him with a bowl of ice cream.

Grandma Hurst: She always had a bag of M&M's in her purse. They tasted like she smelled. So yummy. I wish I could go buy a bag of Grandma Hurst flavored M&M's. She saved all her costume jewelry for the girls to dress up in. There was always a yellow cake with chocolate frosting on her counter. I remember sleeping over with her after Grandpa died (mostly on the weekends so my older brother, Jared, could have a break). I did puzzles with her and played Solitare to pass the time. She was watching me play Solitare one time. I had no moves so I pulled a card from somewhere I shouldn't have...."I saw that", she said. I can't cheat at Solitare to this day. I celebrate her with a bucket of KFC.

Grandmother Cowan: She was VERY proper. Always called me "Michelle". Never answered to "Grandma". Only to "Grandmother". Frozen government cheese. Toast (home made bread) with honey so old it was black. Ice cream cones. She was a Depression baby...we saved tin foil and used baggies and made due with what we had. We used to dance around in her living room to an old church record. She pulled pans out of the a 350 degree oven...with NO hot pads. Bare handed. She used to recite "Little Black Sambo" to us. I wish I had a recording of her telling the story. I loved the voices she used. She used to walk in the back door to a room FULL of people and yell, "Is anybody home?" One time, we all yelled back "NO!" From then on it was "Is anybody happy?" I can't eat toast with honey with out remebering her.

That's the order in which they passed away. I miss them terribly as I type this. It's been a while since I remebered back to the things they did to make me smile.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Big D

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Disneyland and California Adventure. Our biggest mistake was taking the kids on the Snow White ride first. Sam was terrified. Emerson screamed, and Olivia buried her head in my side. Sam asked to go home about every 5 minutes after that. We had a hard time convincing him to go on any other rides! I think, for the most part, Olivia and I had a great time, Emerson and Aaron tolerated it, and Sam mostly hated it...until we met the Princesses...

So, Sam was a bit skeptical of the big costumed characters. He really didn't want to get too close to any of them. The princesses and fairies were a different story! He liked the pretty ones! In the end, Sam really did enjoy a few things: the Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream, the popcorn bucket, the water fountains around the park, the big wet ball in the middle of Tomorrowland, and even a couple rides--Toy Story Mania and Small World!

Olivia was a bundle of excitement from the time we told her where we were going! She is an excellent map reader and was the first to start investigating the map to see where we needed to go next. She was VERY brave and rode Splash Mountain with me. Initially when we got off the ride she said it was "AWE.SOME!" Then she changed her mind and said it made her "Tweasy". Aaron was a champ and stood in line for the family so Olivia could meet the princesses. Dads rock.

Emerson mainly rode around in the stroller looking for a new creative way to get out. And when we did let her out of the stroller, she was very vigilant about staying close, but not so close that we could grab her to put her back in! She warmed up to the characters as the days went on. She waved at them and gave them high 5's when she could. Emerson, like her mom, really enjoyed the churros. I think Small World was one of the rides she liked best.

Here are a few of our "Character Greeting" pictures. I liked Eeyore the best. He looked so cuddly! Tigger still bugs me. I'm hoping it was confussion on his part. There were 2 little girls ahead of in line, one of the girls got her little book signed and a picture. When the second little girl went to hand him her book he ushered her out. The mom consoled her heart broken daughter and then cut back in and made him sign her book. All the moms around said it was the right thing to do.

Here's just a few random pictures of fun things. I love the one of Aaron and Emerson sleeping on the bench! I wish you could see the expression on Sam's face in the one where he's on Aaron's shoulders...SO happy to be there! Aaron and the kids had a great time seeking out the penny squishing machines. Sam still likes looking at his "ovals". Aaron has consented to go again...this time being very sure to take breaks during the day...I'm counting down the days!

Here's a slide show if you have time!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Welcome to Sunny California!

We woke up Easter Sunday, with the puking kiddos and everything, and decided to begin our very first trip further west than Ely, NV. Olivia was the only one to get "sick" in the car. We drove through Utah and into Nevada stopping in Primm, NV to spend the night. FABULOUS hotel prices here. Seriously, if you're heading to California....look up Buffalo Bill's on the net and look for the deals!
The next morning we headed out to sunny California! Olivia thought everything we saw was AWWWWE.SOME! We loved looking at the Joshua trees and the desert landscape. We decided to head straight for the beach and check into our hotel later in the day. About lunch time we rolled into Laguna Beach...

Olivia loves to "bask in the sun" the beach was perfect for her. She loved to run through the water and then go dry off. She even attempted a "sand angel". Olivia also enjoyed poking around in the tide pools on this beach.

Sam...he was terrified of the water at first. Stayed on the towel and played in the sand. Pretty soon he was saying "I wanna go step in the beach"...meaning the ocean, but I thought it was pretty cute! By the end of the afternoon he was running through "the beach" like the madman that he is!

Emerson is definitely adventurous. She's hard to stop when she gets an idea in her head. At first, she let me hold her hands as the waves got her toes...too soon she wouldn't let us touch her as the waves came up and Aaron ended up grabbing her just as a wave knocked her over. Unfortunately, she thought it was great!

This day is probably the best day, for me, of the trip. Watching the kids run and play and squeal with delight running to and from the waves. No lines to stand in, to time table to follow. Just relaxing and playing. The only thing that hinder my complete enjoyment was the fear that my kids would be swept out to sea. The beach is a scary place for overly paranoid mommas.
I also had my deepest thought on this beach. I watched my kids nervously take their first steps into a big unknown for them. They ran back to the safety of the towels the first few times. Gradually they started going further and further into the ocean playing and laughing...until a big wave would knock them over and then back to the towels. It's similar to life, really. I'm just going to get my feet wet. No big deal, I can run to the towel at any time. Maybe I'll get in a little deeper, I'm still standing. Deeper still. A wave knocks you over...can you get out?

Sorry, I'm no good at deep thoughts.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

one more

because my kids are cracking me up today!

Last night Sam was in trouble for getting out a bunch of Grandpa's games (checkers, trionimos, backgammon, rummikub, etc) and spreading them all over the basement while I was upstairs cooking. He was band from playing with them ever again. This morning, I got out of bed and walked past Sam's room where he was sitting on the floor shoving a big bag of Rummikub tiles in his backpack. "Sam, what are you doing?" I asked him. he looked up at me with his big, brown eyes, an impish smile on his face and said "I love you." I asked him if he was taking them to show and tell and he said " I want to show them my two thousand dollars!" I love this boy!

On the way home from school, I had to stop by Aaron's work to get a key to the house. He was telling Emerson that we were going inside Daddy's work. I told him we weren't going inside and he said, "Cease, Mommy! We are going inside!"

Today, Olivia had a field trip, so she was at school while Sam was. It was just Emerson and me. The car was in desperate need of a vaccuum. I left Emmers in hewr seat until I needed to clean it out and then she climbed all over the car while she was free. I put the car seats back in the car, hung the vaccuum tube back up and went around to put her in her seat. The door was locked. She locked me out. I looked in at her....she had the BIGGEST naughty elf smile on her face. I pointed to the lock and she came over and opened it for me (my 20 month old). As I was strapping her in I was smiling telling her that was naughty..."Funny!" ,she said!

I love the days my kids make me laugh!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Before I get on to the Vacation posts...

Yesterday was Aaron's birthday! I just wanted him to know that I really do love him....and sometimes even like him! He's a great guy and great dad....I love you, Aaron!

I attempted making a Vanilla Bean Cheesecake for him. My first cheesecake from scratch. I might try a different recipe next time.

Aaron and the kids gearing up for present time!