Friday, October 22, 2010

California Trip -- Disneyland

Aaron and I knew that if we were making a mega trip to So Cal, we had to fit Disneyland in there somewhere. I was able to make some blankets for the 'give a day, get a day' promotion which meant Aaron and I got in for free! We had to pay for Finn (3 and up need a ticket and he JUST had his birthday a month before) but since we didn't have to pay for ourselves we figured it worked out.

Some of my family were also in Cali early so Mom and Dad, Tom and Lesli and Britt and her kids were there with us as well. It was SO FUN seeing Finn experience Disneyland for the first time. Kate had a blast too and was good all day even though she doesn't know Micky Mouse from a draft horse. The day went by SO FAST. Luckily since we were there in the off-season, the crowds were super small. The longest line we waited in was 15 minutes and the weather was PERFECT.

In line for Peter Pan. We may have scarred Finn by taking him on the Matterhorn first, but all was remedied by Mickey hats (courtesy of Brittany) and Peter Pan's Flight which he LOVED.

Splash Mountain pics above and video below:

Finn and Kate both fell asleep right before we saw Buzz :( ... so I just strolled by him for a quick pic(with mom in the background)...don't mind the guy and his kid that actually waited in line to see him!

Finn and Kate during Finding Nemo -- we all loved this ride! Finn kept saying "Wow!" and Kate was glued to her window the whole time.

Aaron's friend Dan and his son Luke me us in the afternoon. Since Luke is a little older, he can go on the roller coasters so Aaron did that with them for a while and I went to Tom Sawyer's Island and on some kiddie rides with my parents and the kids. Then I joined back up with the guys and we all went on a few rides together.

Hmmm, this was taken just about nap time I think.

The kids loved exploring Tom Sawyer's island with Grandma and Grandpa....and taking a couple silly pictures together.

While we were waiting for our turn on this ride, I asked Finn what ride we were waiting for and he loudly exclaimed, "Jumbo!"
Kate was so cute waiting in line. She loved to copy Finn and stand on the bars and didn't seem to mind at all that she was confined with a bunch of strangers.

Dinner Time = Turkey Legs!!!

After dinner we went on "It's a Small World." I didn't get any pictures of it, but it was one of our favorites because both Finn and Kate were so wide-eyed and totally into it. They have changed the ride a bit to include some Disney characters and Finn almost fell out of the boat when he saw Woody and Jesse.

Aaron's favorite ride was Buzz was one of the few rides that we went on more than once. Finn LOVES all things Toy Story these days and was in awe at this ride. You get to shoot at targets during the whole ride and we had a blast...pun INtended. Finn chose a Buzz blaster gun as his one souvenir. I think the above picture is funny because Finn is tired (last ride of the day)and Aaron is totally concentrating trying to get a good score.

We stayed in a hotel across the street that night and it was so nice being able to just walk a few minutes and relax instead of driving for two hours back to Poway. The kids were still super hyper at the end of the day and it was really cute watching them unwind in the hotel room.

A sad part for me was when we were talking about what a great time we had and Finn got a startled look on his face and said, "Mom! We forgot to see Mickey!". My heart broke. I had been prepping him for our trip telling him that it's where Mickey lives and we are going to see Mickey's house. I tried to get us over to Toon Town during the day but we were too busy and at the end of the day, Aaron just wanted Finn to be able to get as many rides in as possible. Finn was a good sport about it though and just asked if we can visit Mickey next time we come to Disneyland.

I am SO GLAD that we included Disneyland in our travel plans. It was SUCH a fun day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

California Trip -- Ellises, Parks and then some

Our good friends The Ellises used to live next door to us in our condo and moved to So Cal a couple years ago. We knew if we were driving all that way, we had to visit them! They kindly let us take over their home for a few days and we had a great time catching up. Finn LOVES them and even though they aren't parents yet, they are soooo good with him. On Sunday, they took Finn to their sunbeam class and he loved it. Kati is pretty much the best photographer ever and has always taken great pictures of my kids. She took a TON of us and put them all up on her website so I could download them. What a gal. Here are just a few:

We walked around the harbor, had a picnic at the park, played games and just relaxed. While at the park, Ian and Aaron coached Finn with a baseball set and it was awesome (that's what Kate and I are watching in the above picture.) Here is a video of Finn in action:

Since I was letting Kati take all the pictures, I didn't get any of the Ellises or one of all of us together...sad. I love friends that you can pick right up where you left off with. We are so glad that we got to see them!

After we left the Ellises, we drove to Matt and Jessica's house. Matt welcomed us to their home with a yummy lasagna dinner and the girls were all very excited to see Finn and Kate.

We were only able to stay with Matt and Jess for a couple days ...I wish we could have stayed longer! But since they had our kids while we were at the beach house (ttthhhhaaaaankyyyyoooouu), it was probably just the right amount of time for them :) While we were there, we went to the aquarium, a family dinner at Chris' house and a dinner at the park with a bunch of Aaron's highschool/our college friends. It was SOOO good to see everyone! Finn had a great time playing with cousins that he rarely gets to see...some he met for the first time! We miss everyone that lives out there so much.

Thank you so much to everyone who made an effort to see us while we were "home". We had such a wonderful time visiting with family and friends that we don't get to see enough.

California Trip -- Beach House

At the end of September, we finally went on the trip that we have been anticipating all's gonna take me 3 posts to talk about it all. I'll start with the reason for the trip in the first place.
It was my parent's 40th wedding anniversary this year, so all the kids wanted to plan something really special. We ended up booking a huge beach house for 3 nights. My parents and all 7 kids plus spouses had a fabulous KID-FREE weekend. Yeah, did you get that? Kid-free! That means I actually ate my meals while they were still warm! (Technically, Britt did bring her kids because Shawn couldn't make it, but they are pracitally adults, and Emilie brought a nursing baby, but she is super easy...and not mine) It was glorious.

The place was massive:
Main floor. The bottom floor had a kitchen and living area just as big as this one!

Bottom deck. There were two hot tubs, one on this deck and another on the second deck.

Second deck view.
Third deck view Mom enjoying her 'personal' hot tub. That glass door leads into their bedroom which was awesome and had the best view in the place!

All the fam at our 'semi-formal' dinner at PF Changs. My sister Stacie presented a really great photo book she made of my parents' lives together. We each got our own copy.
The happy couple!
Brittany and I after hittin the waves.
The boys filled their boy-ness quota by building a giant sand castle.

That's me and don't worry...a dolphin. We actually saw a TON of dolphins on our beach and some of them were even jumping over the waves for a while. We all went to a Padres game together! My parents love baseball so this was a perfect way to spend an evening. The Pads won and we had a blast! Here is a video that Aaron took of a classic ball-game moment:

Refer to the previous post for a photo of Aaron and I on the last day of the beach house, which was also our anniversary.

It was so nostalgic for me driving around Oceanside since that's where I lived when Aaron and I met, dated and got engaged. I lived in an apartment half a block from the beach with my sister and went in the water nearly every day. On our way out, Aaron and I drove by our first apartment and I was flooded with memories of our first year together. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad! I hope our next 40 years are as wonderful as yours have been.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Welcome Home, Parks Family, Welcome Home

Is this real?

Am I finally in MY house?
Sleeping in MY bed?
Typing on MY computer? Quite honestly the ol' gal was in storage so long I thought she might not have the heart to start up. But she proved me wrong, and has already randomly rebooted a few times just to show me how much she missed me. Tender.

Since I can't possibly begin to document all the blog-worthy happenings of the past 5.5 months (yes, it has really been that long since we moved out of the condo) I will do my best to sum up a few of the really major things.

MAY: I drove 20 hours to visit my parents in Canada with my sister Andrea and 5 kids total. A little crazy? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely.
Best Grandpa Ever
Best Grandma Ever
Boys playing outside The Milky Way icecream stand
Kate and McCoy's new jammies
Finn freezing but still lovin' the wading pool

JUNE: Jaxson got a sand box (seriously huge event as far as Finn was concerned) and Kate turned ONE!

Uh, yes, waiter? I think I might like one more piece of cake

Also, I took this picture on Father's Day and I really love it. It says so much about what a great dad Aaron is and how much Kate loves him:
JULY: Thomas reunion, Lagoon with all the Harkers and the Fourth. Food was eaten, rides were ridden, and fireworks were blown sky-high.

AUGUST: Moved out of Dan and Bobbi's and in to the Valentine's. Finally got walls in our basement. Kate started WALKING! Finn turned THREE!
Aaron was so happy to finally have walls up in the basement!

The fam at Finn's Chuck E Cheese birthday party

We scored this used power wheels for $50! Oh how wonderful it is to have a backyard and actually be able to have toys like this.
SEPTEMBER: We celebrated our 7-year anniversary and went on the vacation that we have been waiting for all year ! This trip merits its own post which will come soon. And, oh yeah, we MOVED INTO OUR HOUSE! The house will also have it's own post. But for now, here is one picture from our trip and pictures of one room in our house.

On the second deck of the beach house on our anniversary. That flower was one of many Aaron gave me that morning.

Our living room! The floor used to be cat-barf carpet, we sanded and refinished it black. Walls used to be peach, we painted them ivy green and grey. We still need a rug, curtains and stuff on the walls...most of which we have, it just isn't put up yet.

We still have lots of stuff to put away and LOTS of projects to finish (note the stripe of white on the living room wall) That used to be wood panelling...painted the room green before the wall was fixed. It is one of about 30 things that need to be done to make our house look normal but at least it is liveable and we are LOVING it.
Tonight Aaron was playing wildly with the kids and remarked how great it is that we can be as loud as we want and we don't have to worry about downstairs neighbors. It's just great to be home.