Saturday, March 28, 2009

California Trip, Part 3

After spending a week at Shannan's house, we headed out to LA Saturday morning to visit Meghan and Jay. After lunch we drove to Griffith Park. First we went to Travel Town to check out the trains. Max thought it was pretty cool to be able to touch and climb into all of those real trains! (In fact, he got very upset when a couple of the cars were reserved for birthday parties. Apparently you need to walk into EVERY car!) We also rode a small train around Travel Town which was a lot of fun. After the trains we headed over to another section of the park (this park is HUGE!) and Max and I rode on the merry-go-round. Max loved sitting on his horse until we started moving. We ended up sitting in one of the non-moving cars with Max clinging to me. After the merry-go-round we walked over to a big playground were the kids could run around. Emily especially enjoyed digging in the sand.

That night after the kids were in bed Jay suggested that Meghan and I go out while he stayed home with the kids. Meghan took me to Griffith Observatory were we looked at Saturn, walked around the exhibits inside and took in the amazing view of LA. Afterward we went to Pink Berry for an LA treat. I loved watching Meghan zip around in the crazy LA traffic and parallel parking her car like a pro. My little sister seemed so grown up!

On Sunday, after a few (crazy) hours at church and afternoon naps for everyone, we walked around Meghan and Jay's neighborhood to look at all of the different houses. They were amazing! Every house looked so different and had so much character.

By 7 am Monday morning we were packed up and on the road. I was nervous about making the drive in one day, but the kids did great. We made two bathroom stops and a lunch stop and made it home by 7:15 that night. I think the hardest part of the drive home was trying to go to the bathroom and change both kids diapers in the Walmart restroom in Mesquite. There wasn't a door to the bathroom, you just went around a wall, so Emily kept trying to escape into the store while I was changing Max and trying to keep little kids from touching the floor, toilets, etc. was stressful (and impossible). I was so ready to be back on the road and was not to thrilled to discover that Emily had a messy diaper by the time we reached the car. We were so excited to see Jeff again, and I was thrilled to sleep in my own bed that night.

I've decided that twelve days was a little long but it was so nice to see my sisters that live so far away and to get away from everyday life and just relax. Thanks Meghan and Jay for letting us come and visit!! (Next time we'll have to squeeze in a trip to the beach!) :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

California Trip, Part 2

While we were visiting Shannan we went to see a few of the sights in her area. On Tuesday (my birthday!) we headed out to the oasis after Kaitlyn got home from school. I had heard about the oasis but wasn't able to see it last time we were out since I was busy trying not to puke and pretty much in a zombie like state of yuckiness. It was really cool to see all the palm trees that are just out in the middle of the desert. Malia showed us her totem pole and we walked around a little to check out the trees and a couple of lizards.
On Friday (our last day at Shannan's house) we went to the Living Desert. The butterfly and humming bird exhibit was really cool, even if all my kids wanted to do was play in the water! They have a huge model train exhibit that Max especially enjoyed. Emily really got into eating any rock that she could find. (I had no idea that she loved to chew on rocks so much!) At the end, everyone, especially Emily, had fun playing in the water and sand discovery area in Gecko Gulch!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

California Trip, Part 1

Well, we've been home over a week and both of my sisters have posted about us coming out to visit so I figure I better stop being lazy and post about our trip to California. Jeff and I decided that he should stay home and work since he needs all of his vacation time this year to learn how to row so we don't die on the Grand Canyon next year. :) I was a little nervous (actually, a lot nervous!) about driving all the way to California without any other adult to help me with the kids, especially after my last trip out to California which involved a lot of puking. I have a friend that lives in St. George so I decided to break up the drive on the way down. We took off around 11:00 am on Thursday morning and made it to Danielle's house at 4:30 that afternoon with just one stop in Nephi for lunch. The kids did so great in the car and then we were able to spend the evening playing and relaxing at Danielle's house. Danielle and I went out to dinner (with Emily in tow) to Olive Garden while her husband, Stu watched the rest of the kids. I had so much fun hanging out with Danielle, something we haven't done much of in the last ten years.

The next morning we headed out for sunny CA. The kids were great again, and minus some crazy wind and a scary (to me) drive out of the mountains, the trip went really smooth. We got to Shannan's house about 4:00 California time and began soaking in the warm weather. We spent most of the next week with me relaxing while the kids played in the backyard. Shannan's house doesn't have any stairs so I didn't have to worry too much about Emily and I really enjoyed being able to send Max outside to play. We have got to get our backyard usable this summer because what is the point of having a back yard if you can't use it! We also spent a couple of mornings at the park.

Max and Emily had so much fun playing with their cousins. Max seemed to really like Rachael and was always hugging her or trying to wrestle with her. Emily loved carrying around any purse, necklace, or bracelet that she could find. She also got a new nickname, Squanto, from her Uncle Jim. I think because of her short, squatty legs. Jim kept telling me how cute Emily was and it was fun to watch her playing with him.

I brought out my Cuddlebug machine with me so that I could do some crafting with Shannan's girls. We bought some foam crowns and sticky back foam sheets that we used to cut letters and shapes out for everyone to decorate their crowns. Kaitlyn and Rachael had a lot of fun picking out shapes and colors and running the dies through the machine. Shannan's girls are really into princesses and have a lot of princess dresses and I wondered if Max was going to spend the whole week wanting to wear princess dresses, but they only got pulled out on our last day there, but it was long enough for Max to try to stake claim to the Cinderella dress, which he wanted to bring home with us. We had so much fun hanging out with Shannan and her family. I'm sad that we don't get to see them more often, but it was fun to get to go out to visit and enjoy their warm weather.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Adrienne

Adrienne is in California this week visiting family and so I will not get to see her today. Since I won’t see her I thought it would be nice to leave a few thoughts on the family blog. There are a lot of things that I appreciate about my wife and the longer we have been married the more that I have come to appreciate her. She is a very thoughtful person. She is always doing special things for the family as a whole and for each of us individually.

Adrienne is also very creative. Her creativity manifests itself in many different ways. Regular readers of the blog are already aware of her abilities when it comes to sewing and crafting. I am truly amazed by the things she can create. In our family we are also fortunate that her creativity translates into cooking. I used to fancy myself a decent cook because there are a few things that I make really well. Adrienne on the other hand is not content with what she knows, she looks for new things. I am sometimes skeptical of her plans, but they usually turn out. Who would have thought that squash soup would taste yummy?

The cooking is nice but I think that it is really indicative of the effort that Adrienne makes to improving herself, and cultivate new skills. She is always trying to be better and do better. Sometimes this desire manifests itself in the way she approaches a new project, and sometimes in her efforts to be more patient. I think she is aware of the areas in which she struggles and she makes a conscious effort to improve when she falls short.

My favorite thing about Adrienne is the time that we spend together. When I spend time with her I know the conversation will be easy and interesting, and the laughs will be frequent. I am really grateful that she is my wife, and that Max and Emily have her for a mother. There is more that I wish I could say about Adrienne, but unfortunately I have hit the limit of my writing talent. So, I will end this post by saying to Adrienne, I love you and Happy Birthday.