Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shanell and Shamu

We had a great surprise when my fabulous friend Shanell decided to come out for a visit!

We stopped by the beach after the airport, for a windy stroll and some yummy lunch. It wouldn't be California without some beach!
I found this little display on the Boardwalk so amusing. It's just not right to have ocean behind your Christmas tree! Silly Californians.

While she was here, we obviously had to go feed our wild burros. I don't know who loved it more between Evan and Shanell!We seemed to take it pretty easy the during her visit, which I think was what she needed. Not like there is really a whole ton to do in town anyways, but Evan couldn't have been happier to have a playmate with him all day every day. He and "Nell" are great buds, and he still asks me every morning "Where Nell go?"

 Shanell left us on a flex, so we took her back to the airport and continued onward to Sea World to make use of our passes one more time before the year was up.

 Evan was old enough this time to enjoy the rides, and enjoy he sure did! The firs picture is right before the ride was to start for his first time. He was SO excited!! Nate and Evan rode this Elmo's flying fish ride more times than I could count over the next 24 hours. The bottom pic is at the end of his last time riding. Pure happiness :) 
 He also loved this spinning ride, which I thought he for sure would not. It's like the teacups at Disneyland. Nate let Evan be in charge of spinning it if he wanted to, and they spun a lot! Luckily, they got to ride this one a few times, too.
 It was a lot fun to be there at Christmas time and take in a lot of there fun Christmas shows, which I always forget to take pictures of. I'm just enjoying myself!
 We watched the Polar Express 4D experience, and were so surprised that Evan sat through the whole 20 minutes and kept his glasses on, too! He actually really loved it, and always talks about the "choo choo movie with bells".

 I did manage to get pictures at the Shamu show, because we were sitting so stinking close! Our goal was to get wet, because it was a very warm 65 degrees. Shamu didn't even sprinkle us, but managed to completely soak a little family and baby about 30 rows up. Soak zone my eye...
 We let Evan go wild here after seeing Shamu and the dolphins, and not getting wet once. He was soaked from head to toe by the time we made him leave, and was definitely the only kid to play in the splash zone. Stay tuned for some awesome video...

And if the splash park was not the highlight of his Sea World trip, then this definitely was. Everytime he sees this picture, he laughs SO hard and says, "Elmo, cookie monster so funny. Say cheese, Evan!" (He obviously doesn't know who Grover is, just assumed a blue monster was cookie monster.)
 Somewhere in this same week, Evan and I also had the chance to go to Disneyland with my sister and her kids. Evan got a kick out of the huge tree, and even got to see Minnie walk right by him. He was in shock.
 We saw It's a Small World on crack, Christmas style, as my sister calls it. There was so much to look at, Evan couldn't keep up. We came out just as they turned the lights on outside, and he could not look away.
 I thought the castle looked extra beautiful, and want to make it over there one day. I don't ever manage to take pics of my kid at Disneyland, because we are usually so busy making efficient use of our time, I just snap pictures of stuff I like from my phone as we are running from ride to ride :)
 Disney Christmas is pretty magical, and I was convinced they had gingerbread blowing through the streets.
The best picture I got of the kids was riding the bus back to the parking lot, which is probably Evan's favorite ride. :) They are usually so hyper after we are done, this is really as much as you can make them hold still!

Evan at Sea World Splash Park
We probably let Evan play here like this for at least 20 minutes. We have several different videos of him trying to "catch" the water. By the end of this one, he was starting to get an audience! It made me so happy to watch him so thoroughly enjoying himself. We sure do love that kid.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All Aboard!!!

Our favorite family tradition came and went this week: The Train Man! The Sagebrush Shortline Railroad becomes more and more incredible to me each year. And although a new piece or two is added each year, they usually aren't anything real spectacular; it just continues to amaze me how much time, effort, dedication and pure heart goes in to making this happen year after year. It's also becoming more fun every time we go, because Evan is grasping it more and really loving it. This year, our tickets were set for a really windy day (the day of the infamous wind in Utah!), and I was worried our train ride would be cancelled. But by the time night arrived, the wind had calmed down a bit, it was just awfully, awfully chilly! We braved it anyway, and it was SO worth it! because no one else was there!!! We walked right on to the train, and rode back to back at least twice, maybe even three times. Plus, visited with Santa, and all of this in less than an hour. Evan hasn't stopped talking about all of the things he saw on the train ride since, and asks me at least once an hour if we can go ride the train. :)

 I was thrilled to see the "no pregnant riders allowed" rule removed from the tickets this year (although I had planned on riding no matter what!)
Evan's favorite sights along the train ride that he chatters about constantly: "boat, skeletons say, 'phew, phew!'; penguins playing; big polar bears; castle guy play drums; Santa reindeer; moon; choo choo train; bridges on water".

Oh, and I can't forget, "Santa, Merry Christmas, lap, candy!"
I was shocked that Evan wasn't scared at all to go sit on Santa's lap. We told him as we were walking over we were going to see Santa (which I wasn't even sure he knew who that was) and he just said, ok! we walked in to Santa's tent and Nate went and sat him on Santa's lap, we told him to tell Santa Merry Christmas, which he did, then Santa told Evan to say cheese so Mommy could take a picture. Evan pointed to the candy canes, looked Santa right in the eye, and said, "Candy?" So Santa gave him his cane, and Evan immediately turned to me and said "Cheese". What a pro! No crying, shaking, screaming, nothin'. When Nate picked him up off Santa's lap, Evan just turned and waved, and said, "Bye!" He was so darn cute.
And my favorite part was watching him like the kid in The Christmas Story that can't move due to his coat :)
Thanks to my sister for reminding me of a favorite Christmas treat that I can't buy here, I made my own chocolate covered cinnamon bears. It definitely satisfied my craving for them, but I may need to make them again before we get to Utah, because Nate I finished them off way too quickly! Yummy, yummy, yummy.
 Evan is definitely almost two. We have our rough days together, but he always makes up for it by having lots of good days to follow ;) When he's good, he's really good, and so much fun, and so creative, and so grown up! He talks so much, and I am always laughing at the conversations we have together. I don't know where he gets some of his information...
 These were his "funny socks" that he could not stop laughing over. He kept running between me and Nate (in different rooms) to show us his "funny socks". Then he kept telling me people that he wanted to show his funny socks to. Since it was late, and most of those people don't live here, I promised him I'd take a picture so we could show everyone he knew :)
 He can be so sweet, and lots of times when we are sitting on "Evan's couch" (this is where we have to go to have a rest from playing, according to him), he turns to me and tells me to take a picture. His words "Cheese, please, Mommy" . And just so you don't think he is asking me for food and I'm taking his picture instead, he has a certain "cheese" smile he gives me, that is usually faded by the time I can get a camera out.
Tonight he was laying like this and looking like he was playing a flute while singing, "doo doo doo". I seriously don't know where he gets this stuff! But I'm glad he does, because it sure makes my days lots more fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks

We got to stay here in The Ridge for Thanksgiving and it was SO nice. My men began the day heading off to kick field goals (cause who wants to actually play football?) while I got lots of cooking done.
Apparently I was preparing Evan to go play football Thanksgiving morning in Utah. A thermal top, mittens, fleece jacket, and beanie. Nate informed me that all came off within probably half an hour, because Thanksgiving day ended up being beautiful weather. Weird! I'm still not used to this silly desert weather.

We got together with three other families and had such a feast. I wish I would have taken pictures of how much food we had, but I was too dang excited! It was absolutely awesome. The couple whose house we had dinner at, prepared entertainment for all of the kids for after dinner while parents cleaned up and rested :) 
Here's the kids competing for the coloring contest; the best turkey won. What do you know, they all won 1st place and a prize?! (PS-yes, that is my husband passed out on the floor in the corner of someone else's home...)

It was also one of the mommy's birthdays, so after Thanksgiving, we continued on and had a birthday party! 
Nate literally slept through singing, noise makers, and children walking on top of him. All that eating must have really worn him out. ;) (There was indeed a weigh in before and after the meal, along with before and after pies).

 We had such an enjoyable, lovely day, and I was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude to get to spend time with my little family, to enjoy such great company with good friends that can make family feel less far away, and just for the comfortable life we live, in general. It was a nice day for reflecting on my many, many blessings.

One thing I love about staying here for Thanksgiving is that I get to spend the entire next day fully jumping into Christmas mode!
Evan and Nate put up the Christmas lights on the house, and they look great! Evan thought it was hilarious to see Daddy on the roof, and he always loves when he gets to be a helper. (His hat says Santa's Little Helper!) He's kind of adorable :)

I spent the day taking down fall decor, and trading it in for lots of red and green!
 I didn't realize it until I started unpacking my boxes, but apparently I am starting quite the collection of Nativities. And I love it! But I don't know that I have room for any more :)
I pulled out all of the stops with Christmas music blasting all weekend, and we finally got to get out the Christmas jammies! I know, I really get way too excited for the little things in life.
 Evan was also quite thrilled by his new penguin jammies. But who wouldn't be excited over $3 pajamas? With penguins on them?!

This son of mine is truly his own character. He is growing up so much, and has quite the mind of his own.
There is no water left in this tub. But he REFUSED to get out. I don't know if he was just being (nearly) 2 and stubborn, or if he was super tired, but there was nothing that would get him out. At one point he started telling me about hearing the ocean...As much as this kid can drive me absolutely crazy, I absolutely love him and he cracks me up every day.

We loved having a long, easygoing weekend at our house. It is the first time in quite awhile that we have spent that much time together as a family, just us. We needed it, and even though Nate and Evan came down with some runny noses towards the end of it, I think we all felt rejuvenated and charged up to let the busy, wonderful month of December begin!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

...Singin' In The Dead Of Night

Last weekend, we joined a friend (whose wife was away for the weekend, and he needed to entertain his boys) down in Lancaster to visit The Blackbird Museum.

Blackbirds are these black, ridiculously sleek, smooth and fast-beyond-fast jets. They go coast to coast in one hour. ONE hour!! Can you even imagine?! I imagine these things sing in middle of the day, just as much as in the dead of night. I am sure these bad boys are loud!
I learned that a Blackbird has never been shot at. Well, technically, shots have been attempted, but come no where near hitting, because by the time a shot is in it's radar, the Blackbird is long gone.
Evan was thrilled to see "big jets, way fast!!!" He was completely beside himself when Nate lifted him up to let him touch this one :)

 Once Evan and his buddy Tyson saw this "old firetruck", they couldn't leave it. They thought it was way cool, and wanted me to take lots of pictures of it.
 Besides Blackbirds, this museum had another park of all different kind of planes. We saw an F-14 that looked just like the one Goose flew in Top Gun :) And lots of other cool ones, too.
 This is a B-52 bomber. I cannot describe how LARGE this plane is. We are talking, the killer whale of all airplanes. It is absolutely enormous, and can hold, literally, thousands and thousands of pounds worth of firearms.
 They even had a real pilot's seat to try out, and Evan thought this was way neat. He wanted everyone to sit in it, too.
Of course, we can't go out of town without hitting up Costco. Plus, my friend introduced me to this spinach and artichoke hummus from Costco that I have been desperate to have in my fridge! So after a busy, fun day, Evan was out as soon as the car was on the road home. I love watching him when he sleeps; it helps me remember how oh-so-very-sweet he can be :)

 Evan is a very busy boy, and is quite the helper, most of the time. Mind you, I did not ask him to help me unload dishes at this point. He opened it and got in all by himself.
I did figure though, if he was going to be in there, may as well make him useful. Like I said, a good helper. He seriously loves putting dishes away. Let's see how long this chore stays fun for him.
 When he was done, he obviously needed a break. He asked me for a "tiny water", then opened the dishwasher again and had a little rest. Crazy kid.
 As of lately, I am finding him in the oddest places, doing the strangest things. His creativity switch must have just flipped on, because he is exploring everything and telling the strangest stories these days.
 This is one of those times I show the world how great of a mom I am. Evan was telling me wanted to swing, but wasn't patient enough for me to get over to him to help him up into the hammock. He tried to get in himself, and this is what happened. Instead of immediately running to his aide while he kept repeating "I stuck! I stuck, Mommy!", I took a picture first. I know he'll appreciate it one day.
 He thinks he is so funny. And if you do happen to laugh at whatever he was doing, he laughs so hard and loud, and says, "Evan funny!" This is one of those times.
A few nights ago, Evan woke up about 330am just screaming and crying and having a fit. Nate went and got him and could not calm him down, so he brought him into our bed so I could help Evan chill out. Between both of us cuddling him, he was able to compose himself and fell back asleep. Neither of us cared to attempt putting him back in his room and risk going through all of that again, so we just let him sleep in the middle of our bed for the rest of the night. I say, sleep...I don't really know if Evan ever actually sleeps. He is all over the place! Which means neither Nate or I got any sleep. Evan refuses to be underneath blankets, so try as we might, he was constantly on top of our bedspread, which made having the covers actually on us a bit difficult. At one point in the night, he was laying exactly perpendicular between us, on our pillows, with his hand raised above his head, holding onto my ear (what a strange way for me to be awakened!), and his feet literally pressed into the back of Nate's head. And when Nate tried to move Evan's feet away from his head, they would immediately go right back and assume the position. Thinking about it now, is actually making me laugh pretty hard, but we were not amused at the time. (I wonder if he just liked the way Nate's hair felt in between his toes?) At one point in the night, Nate actually picked Evan up and moved him all the way down the bed, so he would be nowhere near his head. This just led to Evan feet kicking him in the back, and Evan using my hips and behind as a pillow. On top of all this, Evan was up and ready to go for the day at approximately 648am. Nate and I were exhausted and ornery before we even got out of bed for the day. Later that morning, I was going out for our usual walk, and needed to work out a little more stress, I suppose, so I jogged for about a mile (note:I haven't ran yet this pregnancy, and probably not for several months before that!). But it felt great, and Evan seemed to really be enjoying it. When I got home and went to get him out of the stroller, what do I find?! Sleeping Evan, in the middle of the morning!!! That's why I thought he was liking the jog so much, he was totally out. Apparently, HE had a rough night ;) I was so mad he thought he could sleep, while I was working hard and relieving stress that he brought on to me! :) But then I couldn't help but melt as I watched his sweet face. I left him in the hallway in the stroller, and got in some uninterrupted yoga in while he slept more. We were both in much better moods when he woke up, and he still took another nap that afternoon. :)