Friday, March 31, 2017

Temple Trip and Bike Rack

Danny and I have been wanting to get a bike hitch for about 2 months so a month or so ago he put a trailer hitch on the van. We were at the temple last week and it was closed for maintenance so we hung out on the temple ground and enjoyed the nice weather.  Blake got a laser gun with chest pads and the kids had a blast playing laser tag on the temple grounds.  It was so nice.  I love hanging out there. It is so pretty with the beautiful flowers and the calm spirit that is there.  After we went to the visitors center and listened to the plan of salvation walk through, little videos and missionary stories which was fun.  The kids last about an hour and then Danny found a nice mount for sale about 30 minutes away so we decided to go and get it.  I was pumped because I have been wanting one for a while.  It was perfect.  Even though Danny and I couldn't go in the temple, I told him it ended up being a great day. We were blessed for just trying to go.  Holds 5 bikes and I was excited to try it out.  




     

The next day we went to a bike park in Pleasanton.  The kids had a great time.  Scott and Tyler spent 2 hours on the bikes going up and down courses they made up.  Kira was scared at first but then followed Scott and did a great job.  Blake had fun keeping up with the brothers and only fell twice when he didn't peddle fast enough to get up steep hills.  Parker had a great time throwing rocks and sticks into the puddles that the park accumulated form all the rain.  We all got muddy and had a great time.  It is a city park that is fenced in. Nobody was there except for people walking to the open space so the kids had it all to themselves.  It was relaxing and fun for me knowing all the kids were entertained and couldn't escape. After the kids were done biking, they did parkour up and down the mounds. Fun day!







Quick Visit from Grammy and Grampy

Grammy and Grampy were in San Francisco for a dental conference.  They took the Bart out to visit on Saturday for a quick trip.  It was only a couple hours but was so great to see them.  The kids all fought over there time.  Kira wanted to show them her gymnastics moves on the bar, Scott wanted to do dry ice bombs (which we spent about an hour looking for in the morning), Parker play Monopoly Junior and then all the kids played on the trampoline.  It was a gorgeous day and it was so great to see them.  Grateful they took a couple hours to come visit us!! It made the kids day.

Scott worked on making dry ice bombs.  We went to the neighbors to get some plastic bottles.  The first attempt failed.  After some modification, he got it to work and it was really loud and a great explosion.  Glad nobody called the cops.

The kids have been working on getting Bessy, the lawnmower to run.  It leaks gas so needs some modifications but they have fun on it.  The bottom pic is form another day but it is fun they are having fun riding it around in our tiny backyard.   Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a bigger yard, then I realize that Danny and I don't like doing anything to maintain the small yard we have and
the idea is fleeting.  Maybe another stage of life.  We shall see.



Visit with the Marstons

Angie, Hyrum and their sweet little boy Isaac came to visit for work and we met them for a day in San Francisco.  It was a beautiful day and we had fun going to Pier 39 to watch the sea lions.  We then walked to Ghiradelli for some yummy ice cream and spent the afternoon hanging out at Ghiradelli Square.  It was fun for the kids to roll down the hill and just enjoy the sunshine.  On our way back the kids had fun playing in a fountain.  It was a great day except for sitting in traffic for 2 hours on our way home and getting a migraine.




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Trip to Los Angeles

My kids have spring break for 2 weeks in March.  I decided to stop Aquabears mid March so I could enjoy the time with them and have a break before Rec starts. I have been looking at the weather and was so bummed that essentially everywhere was supposed to rain the first week of break.

We managed to have some nice days and made the most of them around Brentwood.  As soon as I saw that it was supposed to be high 70's the second week, I booked a hotel in Los Angeles and decided to give Knotts Berry Farm a try.  I really had no idea what to expect, but my kids and I are so over Disney.  Last time we went in October was not fun.  Well, it was pretty fun, but sitting in hour long rides for everything with 5 kids just didn't seem fun to me.  The boys just went to Universal Studios and I think my little kids are too little.

My mom would love getting up at the crack of dawn to get a full day of adventure in on vacation.  I have realized, it is kind of nice to get up leisurely and out of the home when it convenient and not rushed.  I was a bit worried going without Danny because Parker has been so fussy the past couple of weeks and not sleeping well at all.  He got shots and broke out into a huge bumpy rash with I think was Meluscum bumps.  They were everywhere and he stopped sleeping.  I think he is transitioning from a crib lover to a crib climber which is difficult.  To ease my worry, I decided to have the mentality, that we would take one day at a time and when we wanted to end an activity, we would. No pressure, no agenda.

We made great timing until LA traffic and it took us about 2 hours in LA to get to our hotel.  I chose a hotel with a hotel, spa, 3 beds and walking distance to Knotts.  It was awesome having 3 beds.  I don't think Danny and I can do 2 bed hotels anymore.  Wasn't the most updated hotel, but it was good enough and awesome to be so convenient.  The kids loved the pool and spa.  After a day, the hotel got ants, so we had to pack up the room and move to another room with no issues.

We went to the beach. Corona del Mar is my favorite beach with little kids because I don't have to worry about crowds and big waves. The waves are big enough for the kids to have fun, but not big enough that I worry about my kids being swept away.  It was a gorgeous day and we had soo much fun digging giant holes, burying each other and playing in the sand.  Parker would run and then just drop and lay in the sand on his back.  He was so funny.  He loves going up to people and saying hi.  He will just keep waving and saying hi until they respond and then he moves onto the next person.  There was a guy doing handstands and he followed him around and tried doing handstands.  The other kids loved running in the waves and then trying to run out as fast as they could.  The water was soo cold.  I can't believe people would swim without wetsuits.  I hate cold water.  I applied sunscreen but didn't do it enough or trust the kids jobs.  We learned our lesson as Kira's back got burnt and the rest of us had spots of major discomfort. Came home tired after a great day at the beach.  It was so fun to be outside in warm weather.  I wish we lived closer to the beach.  I would probably be there multiple times a week with my kids.

Next morning, we went to Knotts.  I went in, not expecting much, and ended up LOVING it!  Everyone had a great time!  We got there when it opened and left when it closed.  Scott and Tyler could go on all the rides by themselves, which was AWESOME!  They let them take Kira and Blake as the chaperone for most rides and I hung out with Parker who liked walking around, dancing to the music, playing in the fountains and waving to everyone.

We spent the afternoon in the little kid section which was awesome and Tyler and Scott would go on a couple rides with us and then go on some roller-coasters.  I didn't expect it to have so much character to it.  They had roller-coasters and normal rides, but also had rides with animatronics, train rides with themes, and rides like the Buzz Light Year at Disney.  We could have easily gone another day without getting bored.  The end of the day we went to an area we hadn't been to and the kids ran out of time.  It was so fun seeing them be kind to each other, hang out with each other and go on the rides that the others wanted to do.  The weather was perfect and we came home tired. Can't wait to go back with Danny.  I love the memories of Disney and how animated each ride is, but it isn't fun spending your day in lines with little kids or big kids.  The person at the front said that she went to Disney the week before and did 3 rides all morning because Texas was all on break or something.  She said with schools having all different breaks not makes it such a gamble of picking a day that isn't packed.

The final day, we woke up, had breakfast and went to the pool.  The pool was cold.  I don't know if the heater broke or what but the kids still went in.  Parker LOVES the water and insists on lying back and squealing.  He would go from the hot tub to the pool and on and on.  I love that he loves the water but I get scared he will slam his head on the hot tub by flinging back.  Overall, we had a great time.  So grateful the car made it there and back without issues.  The kids all had a great time!  We had great weather and enjoyed a theme park that wasn't so crowded.  The only thing that would have made it better was having Danny there.

I was debating going on Sunday at church.  I don't remember what relief society was about but something the teacher said totally stuck me.  It was one of those moments that I knew the Lord was talking to me. She said she had just got back from taking her two teenagers to Los Angeles and how difficult it is because teenagers are a handful.  She said they are way harder than little kids because of hormones and that it was ok everyday she made sure to invite the Lord with her on the trip. When it got difficult waiting in long lines she prayed and knew she and her husband weren't alone.  That stuck with me the entire trip. I knew that it would all work out because I could rely on the Lord.  I was most anxious about the car breaking down or needing to repair a flat tire but realized prayer would make it ok.  It was a great life lesson for me.  Not sure if I totally agree with trips being easier with little kids or teenagers but grateful for church, her lesson and the spirit continuing to teach me.

Here are some pics... I wish I did a better job at taking pics. Kira's first roller coaster ride in the 2nd pic makes me laugh.  She was holding on for dear life.






















Sunday, March 19, 2017

John Muir House

I got to chaperone Tyler's class to the John Muir House in Martinez which was another nice day.  I went with Phylene and one other mom and we had a great time.  The tour guides talked about how John Muir was a pioneer in conservation.  His efforts were really what started the national park service.  Inspired me to go and adventure the National Parks with the kids.  I am hoping to go to Yosemite with the kids over break if the rain takes a break.  They did a presentation with guessing what National park belonged to the clue.  They then went on a mini hike and visited a building about Mexican pioneers.  Lastly, they visited his home and talked about his life.  We had a great lunch outdoors and it is always fun to see Tyler interact with his peers.  He is so calm and well behaved at school.  Hoping we get to see that Tyler at home someday.  He likes to yell, anger people and is never calm at home.  We had so much fun, I decided to bring Scott, Blake, Parker and one of Blakes friend the following week.  They got to watch a movie about his life and then did a Junior Ranger Program and made an oath after going on a scavenger hunt to find answers about the tour that they would conserve and honor wildlife.  It was cool, educational and a fun day out!






Hiking

With all the of the rain, the hills are green and gorgeous.  Weeks and weeks of rain has flooded a lot of california and made me somewhat depressed of not being able to get out and get sun.  It has however brought us out of a huge drought that we have been in for years. As soon as the sun was out, we took advantage of being out and went hiking.  It was muddy but so nice to see sun again. Shawna and I went to Borges Ranch in Walnut Creek. It was so fun!  The kids ran ahead, we found a small stream and then the kids went back while we got to leisurely walk with the little ones.  It is so great getting out. We probably hiked 4 miles.  Even better when it is with friends because then my kids don't fight with each other for some reason.  Instead they play nicely with friends.  Here are some pics.