Thursday, March 22, 2012

Too Many Pictures from Our Too-Short Vacation!

Last week we left our icy cold and SNOWY home,


drove a couple of hours, flew a couple of hours, and ended up in Los Angeles, California--at the home of my sister Anita.

The next morning Ben, Janae, and Alaina played outside in summer clothes and bare feet!


We picked lemons from a tree in the backyard


and made lemonade.


The following day we were off to Disneyland. It's called "the place where dreams come true," and it definitely was for each of my little ones.

Ben wanted to attend Jedi Training and fight Darth Vader . . . and it happened! He was called up from the crowd and had his turn to wear the robe, get up onto the stage, and use a light saber against his favorite Star Wars character. (We got it ALL on video, too!)


Ben also got to build his own light saber later that evening when we went to the Star Wars store to pick out a souvenir. Even though he'd been trained as a Jedi, he still picked a red one. . . .

Janae wanted to get Rapunzel's hair. I wasn't sure if there would be such a thing for sale at Disneyland . . . but I should have known better. We found it as soon as we entered the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, and before long it was on Janae's head. And then she met Rapunzel!


Alaina wanted to meet the princesses, which happened on Monday when we returned for our trip to California Adventure. She had her Cinderella dress on and carried her Cinderella baby into Ariel's Grotto where we had lunch. Pretty soon there was an announcement that Cinderella was coming . . .


and then Belle, too! So fun for the girls.


Ben wasn't too impressed by all the fuss at the princess lunch, but afterwards he got the cotton candy he'd been dreaming of since he'd walked into Disneyland, which seemed to make up for what we'd put him through :)


During our visit we also got to meet lots of fun Disney Characters, including Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Tigger and Piglet,


Sully and Boo from Monster's Inc., and--another highlight for the girls--Tinker Bell.



I loved seeing my children so happy--skipping around, holding hands, and looking at things in amazement.


We also got to go on some rides we hadn't seen before, including some really fun ones like Indiana Jones, Ariel's Undersea Adventure, the Grizzly River Run, Soarin' over California, and Toy Story, which became a few of our favorites.


But--even having said all of that--Disneyland wasn't the highlight of the trip for any of us! My kids had so much fun with their cousins that they actually would have rather stayed at Auntie Nita's house than gone back for the second day.

With Anita, Mike, Jordan, Kya, and Tyson, we also got to have a bonfire at the beach (a cold and windy beach, it turned out!), and--another day--see Santa Monica Pier and play in the water there. We also went to an amazing ice cream cookie place called Diddy Riese, which was just across the street from UCLA.

On Saturday, which was Jason's birthday and St. Patrick's Day, we visited the La Brea Tar Pits--we got to see lots of skeletons from early animals like woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers that had been preserved in the tar,


and had fun outside, even though it was a little wet.


Janae picked flowers from every garden she saw on the trip--before we could stop her, she'd always have a bouquet in her hand :)


Later we had some famous Randy's doughnuts--instead of a birthday cake--to celebrate Jason's 39th.


On Sunday we went to see our church's Los Angeles Temple and visitor's center. We walked through the beautiful gardens and the kids had a great time running on the grassy hill.


It was sunny and windy . . . as you can see from everyone's hair in the picture!


When it was time to leave on Tuesday, we all wished we could stay another week. Alaina, particularly, did not want to say goodbye to Auntie Nita--in fact, when Anita jokingly said, "I don't want you to go," Alaina whispered, "I'm staying with you!"

Pretty soon, though, we were all on the airplane heading back home. Luckily we have lots of pictures to remember the wonderful time we had--so many that I couldn't even put all of my favorites onto this post (I found out I couldn't put more than 20 on at a time . . . I've never reached that limit before!).

And luckily we have the summer to look forward to as well, when ALL of the cousins (and sisters!) will have a chance to be together again. . . .

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sleeping Arrangements

When we moved into our new house, we had a pretty clear idea of what would work best for the rooms. The larger room would be a girls' room with two beds, and the smaller room would be a boy's room (i.e., Ben's).


This arrangement, however, did not last long.

Janae was used to sharing the bunk bed with Ben, and Ben was used to having someone sharing his room. Alaina was used to having her own room, but sleeping in her parents' bed.

It only took a couple of weeks for us to rearrange things: Ben and Janae were back in the bunk bed in "Ben's" room, and Alaina's bed was in the larger room--along with all the girls' toys.

But as days passed, and Alaina never slept in her bed or her room, we decided to move the toddler bed into the parents' room--

giving the girls more room to play.


This has been going well. Alaina sleeps about half the night in her bed (a big improvement!), and then rolls over into mine and Jason's bed without even waking us up (even when she falls back to sleep on my head, or across Jason's neck).

We should have realized it was too good to last.

Being potty trained and more or less weaned, Alaina realized she was a big girl, . . . and that she should be sleeping in the big kids' room.

So . . . she and Ben moved the toddler bed into the smallest room in the house--that now has 3/5 of the family sleeping in it.


(Ben assured us that he doesn't mind having only a small strip of room to set up his Lego scenes.)


All day long, Alaina maintained that she would sleep with Ben and Janae. I thought maybe when she woke up she might roll over into Janae's bed (and sleep on her head for a change!).


Last night, though, I couldn't sleep (waiting for Alaina to wake up and cry for me), Alaina woke up at 2:45 and cried her little eyes out, and then--when I took her into my room--she clung to me like never before and then proceeded to sleep on Jason's neck.

I.e., nobody really got much of a sleep--especially when you consider that we also lost an hour.

I suggested moving the toddler bed back into mine and Jason's room, but Alaina has other ("big girl") plans.

Of course, in a couple of days things will change again as we go on our holiday to visit Auntie Nita for a week (only 2 more sleeps to wait--at least we hope we will get two sleeps!!).

So--how it all gets sorted out remains to be seen.

But I'm pretty sure we can count on some pretty creative sleeping arrangements with these three . . .

Saturday, March 3, 2012

If You Blow Out Five Candles . . .

Janae had her birthday party this afternoon . . . two days before she actually turns 5. But according to her--and several other young birthday experts--once you blow out the candles, you have already turned the next age. So, here are some pictures of Janae turning 5 :)

We had a Tinker Bell party with lots of pixie-hollow decorations,


including butterflies on trees (I found a couple of great "indoor trees" for the occasion!),


and lots of hidden fairies for our pixie hunt (rest assured that by "hunt" I mean "look for"--not "exterminate"!).


With some help from Grandma we figured out how to turn butterflies into fairy wings for the girls to wear, and to sew tinker bells onto socks as well.


Janae and Alaina were really excited for things to get started . . .


and Ben decided to join them, opting to dress up as a pirate rather than a pixie :)


We found a way to get Tinker Bell onto Janae's cake


and to turn the cake into a flower!


The fun really started when the girls arrived--they all made such cute fairies and had a great time playing together. I was worried about tears or tantrums from the birthday girl, but she did GREAT!


Janae's friends knew what she liked . . . and got her stocked up on art supples, new Barbie/princess stuff, a toy blowdryer/curling iron set, and a Scentsy cat that she'd had her eye on for quite some time. We also surprised Janae with her current favorite movie (you might be surprised to hear that it was How to Train Your Dragon!), which we had been borrowing from the library whenever we'd had the chance.


Finally it was time to blow out those five candles (notice she is holding her toy curling iron in the picture!) . . .


and since then Janae has been saying, "I'm five!"