Thursday, November 3, 2011


I was going to call this entry "The Big Suprise"...
But so much time has gone by, that now it just doesn't feel like a "big surprise" anymore.

It was at the time though...we took a sorta last minute trip to...


In late summer Donald got a nice little unexpected bonus from his employer.
Did he spend it on a new "toy" for himself?
His first thought was, "let's take the kids to Disneyland"
I love him!
He probably felt like we owed it to the kids since we took our own grownup trip just a year ago!

These plans were top secret!
I did everything on the down low and managed to keep it a complete surprise!

We told the kids we were heading to Seattle for a last fun weekend before the passes got too hard to drive over.
We informed the school they would be missing a couple of days of school.

On a Wednesday morning we headed to Seattle.
But things got confusing when we entered the Thrifty Airport Parking Lot.
And on the shuttle, why were people talking about the airport???

At this point, Ivan was really confused and even had concerns that we were going to kidnap them.

Once at the airport and on the plane to Santa Ana, Hannah had a pretty good idea of where we were headed...but like a good sister, she kept quiet.
You just can't fool those big kids too well.
But Jenelle and Ivan remained completely confused!
This is Jenelle's confused/anxious look!

Our flight landed and we headed in a private van to our hotel!
On the way, Donald was telling the kids that, Surprise!  We are headed to a family retreat where we get to sit around a campfire and talk about our feelings with each other!
That didn't sound very good to anyone!!

We finally arrived at our destination and as they got out of the van in front of the Disney Paradise Pier hotel, the reality set in!
And just like I had hoped for, there was screaming and jumping and hugging!
Well...all three were happy, but only two were doing the jumping and screaming!

We started that night with a trip into Downtown Disney for dinner.
(ate at the Rainforest Cafe...over priced and pretty awful food - will never go there again)
But bad food can't destroy a kids' joy at Disneyland!!
These blurry pictures do a good job at illustrating how excited Ivan was...he could barely contain himself!

Now we just had to get some sleep and get ready for our first day in Disneyland!!

When I orginally started this post, I was going to do it in several parts.
Time has slipped away from me again and I have many other things I want to get to, so I'm just going to add the pictures that I want to remember and that I think you'll enjoy.
Suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time!!

 Does this look like a happy face?!

My awesome fam!!

DELICIOUS frozen lemonades...and some serious people watching while we ate!

Heading into the Matterhorn...Ivan looks concerned...and was so for many of the rides!

Isn't this odd - and just a little bit scary?
The whole scene was captured accidentally, but you just have to laugh at the pictures...both foreground and back!

While we sat and ate our dinner, a Disney employee walked by and said, "Hey, it's the corn dog family!"
She walked away and then returned asking if we wanted a picture.
Of course!
Who wouldn't want to be preserved forever on film after a exhausting day of walking around Disneyland and then stuffing your face with greasy fried food.
Why not?!

This ride caused a lot of grief for one little man.
There were bribes and deals and made so that we could all ride this together and one parent didn't have to wait.
One parent in particular who loves this ride with all her heart.
Do you want to know how evil I am?
I made him ride it three times.
Each time he hated it more.
But seriously...Disneyland tickets cost...well, let's just say A LOT!
I wasn't no one was going to miss out...sorry if that makes me bad.
Guess what though...he survived with no permanent damage.  
At least none that has manifested itself yet.

Then came California Screamin'.
Ivan said he would try it, but got more and more nervous as we approached the front of the line.
Jenelle was nervous too, but she was determined.
Donald and I decided that we had pushed him enough and he could wait.  
There was a place for him to safely wait for us to be done and come retrieve him...all the while being able to watch the cars take off and return.
When we returned from the coaster ride, Ivan was watching our faces intently.
He said that he really wanted to try it because when we started Jenelle was crying and when we came back, she was screaming to do it again!
We did ride again...and again...and again.
It became one of his favorites!

A couple of the pictures I took reminded me of a trip about 5 years how times change...

Five years goes pretty fast!

Thanks Mickey!
You rock!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I thought I'd better get some pictures in of fall because believe won't be around for long here.
We are already seeing temperatures in the low 20's at night and the passes are going to get snow this week.

But, for now,we are enjoying autumn.
The sun is out.
The colors are incredible.
And that wonderful end of the year / holiday time feeling is in the air.
 Our pumpkin harvest...
 fall mums...
gorgeous golden leaves...
 from our amazing birch tree...
and my ever present helper.

The kids have a money making opportunity this fall.
Donald told them that if they rake leaves throughout the season, he'll pay them $20 at the end.
His original offer only included Ivan and Hannah, but as you can see, Jenelle assumed she was part of the plan.
How can you refuse a little helper?
So now she's included as well.
Last weekend, after some time raking, Hannah came in with a complaint about Ivan.
Can you guess what it might be?
Um yea...
you guessed correctly.
We've had to talk about exactly HOW you earn the actually have to do some work!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Wow!  Where did the month go?
Well, I know, but I just need to catch you up!

Starting with the end I guess, was Halloween!
No school carnival this year - just trick or treating!

Donald grew pumpkins in the garden this year.
We have plenty for baking and lots for decorating too!
He really outdid himself when it came to carving and they were a big hit with the trick or treaters that came to our house!
 Jenelle's design is on the left.
Ivan chose a more traditional design.
This was Hannah's sketch come to life.
Donald's scary skull and...
the favorite of the trick or treaters...
As one little guy said, "it looks like he throwed up!"

Our costumes were a little different this year...mostly they went for scary.
Jenelle's turned out scary...but pretty cute too.
Hannah's had the desired effect...
It didn't last long...the masks almost always come off after a short while.

and then finally Ivan.
Ivan wanted to be a werewolf for Halloween.
We found a great costume with a mask and matching "gloves".
It even had a little electronic noise maker that howled when he pushed a button.
We didn't open the costume up until the night before Halloween and when we did...the rubber smell that came off the mask was horrible!!
Ivan put in on his head and took it off immediately.  The smell was so strong and disgusting!
He probably would have passed out from the fumes before the trick or treating was over!! the 11th hour he decided that he wanted to be a "classic" ghost.  
It was really pretty sad and funny at the same time.
Just a sheet...with some holes. 
And the holes wouldn't even stay where they should so he ended up spending most of his evening trying to pull the sheet back down.
He said it was hard to eat candy by shoving it through his eye holes!
Ha ha!
It's definitely a costume we'll remember though.

Of course the evening wouldn't have been complete without our friends Jack and Colin!!
Dr. Death and Cowboy Colin!!
Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!!
Here's to wondering what next year will bring!!