29 May 2012

Seriously?! 11 hours...

Our home was awake by 5:25 am. I slept in a bit more since packing the van took longer than planned. Justin helped me strap in the kids, kiss us all goodbye, and say a prayer. I was dead dog tired. We drove without incident to Cheyenne. I pulled over on some obscure off ramp and took a literal 5 minute nap sitting in the drivers seat. I felt quite refreshed after my cat nap. The kids were starving an hour later so we stopped for breakfast. Right after breakfast the wind started. Cue the rain! Cue the SNOW?! Cue the barf...Amelia squeaked from the back that her tummy hurt. I barely pulled over in time to pull her out of the van as she littered the freeway with breakfast. Poor kid was still in her PJs so her legs were freezing as we stood out in the sleeting rain. She laid down and took a nap. Her tummy made a miraculous recovery after that. The snow finally petered out. Between lunch, potty stops, another barf stop, a poopy diaper stop, and a stop for a time out. We made poor time. Sheesh.

We are enjoying our time with the James family. We visited Charity right away. She perked up seeing the kiddos racing about her room. Charity had back surgery on the 8th of May. Her recovery was not progressing as planned. She was in constant terrible pain and her left leg was not functioning correctly. She was moved to a care facility about a week later. She developed a bladder infection around Wednesday. The care center did not treat her until Saturday because they did not believe her. She had to constantly ask for her pain meds since care centers can only deliver meds by request. Plus being so close to home but ever so far away made her care center stay a nightmare. I am ever so grateful Charity and Kenny asked me to come help out on the home front.

The kids are in school for the rest of this week. After that we get to celebrate the first 2-3 weeks of summer with Libby, Mason, and Reagan. We need ideas for cheap, fun summer activities. Guess where I am headed? Pinterest!!! Amelia is in heaven with Reagan. She is relishing one on one time with her favorite cousin. I let them sleep together on non-school nights. They were up giggling and telling stories over the weekend until 10:30 pm. Mason and Libby love to play with baby Everett and Phillip. Mason is a baby charmer! Both boys are in awe of Mr Mason.

PS: Amelia asked me when I took the photo of Reagan reading books to Amelia. The girls were so engrossed they never noticed me snapping away! Reagan is one smart gal! She is reading on a 6th-7th grade level, she is finishing up 1st grade.

27 May 2012

The Real Beach


Saturday we enjoyed a relaxing day sleeping in a bit, eating breakfast, feeding the birds, and packing up a bit. The Lances checked out of the hotel. We all met at Rodondo Beach Pier. James wanted to visit a Kite and Yo-yo shop. The shop also had cheap buckets and sand toys. We picked up two sets and then walked to the beach. It was a perfectly clear and sunny day, could not have picked a better day. The water of course was cold, only Amelia got more than her feet wet. We played with the cousins for a while. Jacob looked spectacular in his undies with his long legs. Everett tasted quite a bit of sand. Yum. Amelia froze her tooshie off. She whined for 20 minutes straight. Grrrr. James, Miekka, and crew left for a long drive home. I think they arrived home around 2-3 am. We stayed at the beach and played until I could not stand the whining. Amelia perked up once we started collecting shells. Phillip loved the waves chasing him up and down the beach. He also tried to befriend several seagulls. I really miss the beach. We walked back to the pier for some fattening wharf food. The kids dribbled ice cream down their chests while we walked back to the car. All the kids...and I...passed out as Justin took a long circuitous route back to the hotel along the sea board.  

The kids and I enjoyed some pool swimming while Justin napped back at the hotel. We walked to Downtown Disney for the heck of it. Prom night high schoolers had the area jammed packed. The Lego store was pretty awesome. Amelia and Phillip loved the outdoor area set up with tables and legos to play with. All the restaurants had an hour wait for dinner so we walked back out and ate at McDonalds. Amelia got a fancy Happy Meal toy that played a song from Victorious. The end of the song says "Freak the freak out! Hey!" Amelia heard it as "Fleackt, the fleackt out, hey!" The mispronunciation seemed a funny ending to our trip. We watched the fireworks show from our hotel balcony before turning in for the night. As we drove to the airport both Amelia and Phillip had their hands in the air and screaming like they would on a roller coaster. Silly geese. On our drive home we ran into a storm cell in between Sterling, CO and Sidney. Hail, wind, rain, and a rainbow followed us for a good 20 minutes. Welcome to Nebraska! We stopped at 7:30 beside the road to get a glimpse of the lunar eclispe. We used a piece of cardboard with a pin hole reflected onto one of my crochet patterns. That was fun!

It was absolute heaven to be home. The kids had post trip melt downs an hour after being home. They went to sleep and slept in until after 9:30 the next day. Heaven. I did the laundry and packed and repacked our bags for the next adventure; this time in Bountiful, Utah. Tuesday my friend Kelly took Everett's year photos. By the end of Tuesday the van was packed and ready to make the trek across Wyoming. So glad we could be home a couple days. So glad we can now help out our family. 

26 May 2012

Everett is ONE!!!!


Happy Birthday to our happy-go-lucky Everett Lynn Call. I cannot believe an entire year passed by so quickly. It seems like yesterday we were sitting in the side yard with our new little bundle, wrapped up tight. He is one funny, silly, determined, out-spoken, little soul. We love to call him angry squirrel because he chitters at you when he is upset.

This month he really made leaps and bounds in development. He can move in a circle while sitting, scoots backwards, and scoots sideways. Everett rolls over and over to new destinations. The day we got home from our trip he showed off how he can push up on his arms and legs. He could be a yoga master with a degree in the plank position. Now he is rocking on his knees and diving forwards.

Everett has many new words too. He can say:  hi, bye, dad-da, uh-oh, no-no, all done, num-num, night-night, and several others words I cannot recall. He babbles and forms new sounds everyday. I love to hear him talking in his crib, with his siblings, and in the car. Just today he made a hard "c" sound.

Everett weighs 21 pounds 15 oz, putting him in the 50th percentile for weight. He measures 33 inches long, which lands him in the 75th percentile for height. Dr Shaw said he met all his one year milestones and markers. Good job little dude.

My favorite part of this age is how excited my babies get when they see me after a short separation. Makes me feel so loved to have those chubby arms thrown wide and chubby cheeks pressed against my neck. He is working on getting a second top tooth this week. Today he flapped his arms and chattered on when we sang Happy Birthday (several times just for his reactions).

We celebrated his special day with Justin before leaving. My friend Kelly took some photos of him outside and inside. Another lady made the fun cake for his cake smash. He hammed it up so well that his session was done in less than 10 minutes. He flung frosting all over the studio set. We polished off part of the cake before leaving. He played with his new toy, a hippo ball popper, for a few minutes. Today we had frozen custard up at the care center with Charity and Justin (via Skype). Kenny and I took the kids up to Hill AFB for the air show. It started drizzling as soon as we left the vehicles. By the time we saw a couple planes it full out started raining, then pouring, add in some cold wind for a miserable time. Everett and Phillip were crying from cold and exposure. Once tucked into the van with the heater blasting we waited 90 minutes to exit the parking lot and drive 100 meters. It was supposed to be fun!!! LOL!  


Driving south on Highway 5 is like driving through a slice of heaven. Bright green vegetation flourishes on each side of the highway and for as far as you can see. We stopped for a potty break near an orange grove. The smell was so enticing. I've always wanted to photograph my kids in an orchard. The kids obliged! Next to the grove was a fruit stand. Soon we had cherry juice, strawberry juice, and freshly roasted pistachio between out teeth. Justin pulled into our hotel around 8:30 pm. The Lance kids were busy swimming...so we joined the fun for a nice post drive swim.

All the kids wore the Mickey/Minnie Mouse outfits I made on our first day to the park. I got so many compliments. One lady about fainted when she learned I embroidered the names by hand. The girls skipped and held hands for the first part of the morning. We visited Fantasyland first. Uncle Scott told Amelia that the teacup ride was the best. Alice's teacups earned the honor of first ride. Phillip's eyes were pretty big as he took in all the commotion. When I let him out of the stroller he broke free and made a run for it. We rode Peter Pan next. Jacob and Mia played a game to see who could spot the wicked Queen from Snow White peeking through the castle curtains while we waited. Lunch time quickly snuck up on us. We went out of the park to McDonald's for the kids and Mimi's Cafe for the big peoples. That not so smart. Geeze, thanks Jenni for the awful decision. We waited for an hour from arriving to getting our food. The kids were tired and bored, the adults cranky from no food. Miekka and Justin quickly established the rule to find food at 11:30 am and make it happen. Miekka's sister, Amy and her daughter, Annika also came along for the fun trip. Amy took Everett and Annika back to the hotel for naps. Amelia rode Splash Mountain with me and Justin! She is one brave gal. Phillip loved the Winnie the Pooh ride. Amelia and Phillip found fun Mickey Mouse ear hats. Phillip looked so cute wearing his R2D2 ears and Mia adorable in her Cinderella ears. While I walked back to get Everett before the parade Justin and Miekka got dinner for the group. We ended the night watching a parade in Disneyland followed by a short swim. Miekka and I enjoyed a late night Walmart trip. We were pretty loopy! Reminded me of our college days in Provo.

Amelia earned a time out when she ignored me while swimming. She had to sit in front of Disneyland for 10 minutes before going in. Torture! The second day we went to Disneyland before the Lances were ready. Amelia got to visit with the fairy Vidia and then Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell asked how the kids made their fancy shoes. Phillip heard the word shoes and showed off his Spiderman kicks. He loved the visit more than Amelia. I could hear him muttering about Tinkerbell for the next few minutes. We rode the Nemo ride with the kids. Amelia was pretty edgy when the sub went into the tunnel. Afterwards we walked over to meet up with Miekka, Amy, and kids in California Adventure. Seth and Jacob showed up soaked after their fun ride on the rapids. Miekka got us tickets for the water show, World of Color later that evening. Lia was so excited to introduce Amelia to the Ariel ride. It was amazing. The girls ended up riding it about 8-9 times over the next two days. Right on schedule we went in search for food. On the way we passed Phineas and Ferb dancing in the street. Amelia danced along with the Fireside Girls. She followed their dance moves pretty well for her age. Dance lessons are paying off! One of the cast members took Phillip's tail off his lion backpack. He was so disturbed that he spent the first half looking for his leash/tail. Once he realized I had it he intently followed Ferb, eventually scoring knuckles and high fives. We had a yummy lunch from the cafe area in California Adventure. We took Lia to explore Bug's Life land. Our kids ended up totally falling apart so we went back to the hotel for a nice long break. The boys napped for 3 hours and the girls enjoyed some pool time. Amelia started to look like Ariel, I swear she was about to turn into a mermaid. The cousins soon joined us at the pool. Miekka and Amy went to Costco for pizza and really awesome floatation devices for the kids (puddle jumpers). Amelia sat next to a Hispanic lady in the hot tub. I could see her chatting with the lady in Amelia's version of Spanish. The lady had to get out she was laughing so hard.

We celebrated Annika's second birthday with pizza for dinner. Annika blew out two candles stuck in a cute cupcake. Happy birthday little lady! Our kids were obsessed with the little birds that flock whenever food is present. The little chaps are very forward, almost tame! After dinner we headed back to the park to finish our explorations of Bug's Life, another ride on Ariel, and to find seats for the water show. The show was amazing! Miekka said we scored the best view ever. Our family Disneyland veteran would surely know! The show was awesome! Almost everyone got wet, water jets are placed all over the viewing area and not just in the pools. My favorite part was the blast of fire towards the end. It warmed me up for a second.

Thursday Amelia and Lia woke up psyched for lunch with the Disney Princesses. Our reservation was at 2:30 pm. The kids rode the auto ride with Justin. We rode on Buzz Lightyear once...or twice. Phillip was anxious to wander about, Toon Town was the perfect location to let him loose. First we took Everett and the kids on Small World. I LOVE that ride. Phillip rode the Chip and Dale roller coaster with me. He seemed to really enjoy it. After that we got some snacks for the kids: pickles, grapes, and juice. Yum. I followed Amelia and Phillip around for a good 40 minutes. Lunch with the Princesses. Ahhh. It was so fun. Lunch was served at Ariel's Grotto. Amelia wore an Ariel costume and Lia wore an Aurora dress. The girls looked fantastic. Little princesses pranced all over the premises. While we waited for our table I noticed that Everett's top left tooth broke through! Good job little buddy! Teething at Disneyland is no easy feat. First we met with Ariel. She had her human legs on just like Amelia. We ate a yummy (and expensive) meal while the Princesses met with all the tables. The girls hugged Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, and Belle. Phillip got some lip action from Snow White. She landed a kisser on his cheek leaving lip stick tracks. He was just as excited as the girls! Everett loved eating all the food, decorating the floor with food, and making silly faces.

Phillip got to meet Handy Manny. Manny even knew how to give exploding knuckles. Their thumbs up looked oddly similar to. We watched a cute Disney Jr show. Phillip was very excited about the show. Amelia finally joined the fun when gold debluns (pirate money) fell from the ceiling. Granted the debluns were paper, but still very exciting. Amelia was super brave and rode the Tower of Terror with me. The movie was a bit freaky but she enjoyed the actual ride. Amelia was quite excited that she rode it before her cousin Seth (8 yrs old). She loved the silly butterflies going crazy in her tummy. She has not ridden in an elevator since she rode the Tower of Terror. The hotel elevator is amazing, as are the airport elevators. Guess it freaked her out more than she let on. We rode Ariel three times in a row then walked back to the hotel through Downtown Disney. The kids spent their birthday money on fun toys. Miekka and kids left after the Disney Jr show to pick up James from the airport. They brought back yummy Middle Eastern food for dinner. We turned in for an early night.

Our last day in the park we started out pretty early at 8:30 am. Fantasyland was almost deserted! Amelia wanted her face painted so she got a pretty butterfly on her face. It looked like she ate a butterfly...according to Seth and Jacob. We quickly rode on Dumbo, Casey Jr, and Storybook. On the Storybook ride you enter the miniature land through the whale from Pinocchio, entering his mouth. Oddly, he has no tail. The boat guide told us that the whale lost his tail once when he sneezed. Later on Amelia asked to ride the Ariel ride, "not the one where the dolphin sneezed off his tail, but the one with the beautiful shells!" That made us all laugh! We rode on Mona Monorail. Tried to wait in line to see Rapunzel, the wait was horrendous so we gave up. Miekka suggested we watch the Princess Show. Amelia was very excited to watch the show, she spent the time waiting down in the pit dancing and curtsying like a Princess. Once the show started she clammed up and would not come down. All the kids are invited to come dance with the princesses and learn princess manners. Instead Phillip and Lia danced, curtsied, and even danced around a May pole. Pretty darn cute!! Amelia is still singing the Tikki Room song. We took the kids out for pizza then naps, swimming, and dinner. Justin found a delicious Thai restaurant for us to try out. The waitresses were funny, playing with the kids and enticing them to eat with promises of getting a toy. Amelia scored a cute pair of Minnie ears, the boys fun finger lights, Lia a necklace, and Annika a silly ball toy. We meandered back into the park in time to find spots for the fireworks show. Gotta love Disneyland fireworks. Pretty amazing. I love how the fireworks are perfectly timed to the music. Dumbo made an appearance this time, flying through the air.

Our time in Disneyland was magical. It was even more fun with family and friends. We cannot wait until the next time...in four years.

**I am having issues getting my photos from home to upload...no more photos until later

22 May 2012

California Trip: Gilroy


We enjoyed an amazing family vacation in California. I am so grateful for all the fun memories and bonds forged on our trip. Making family memories is one of the best parts of living!

We left Sidney Friday afternoon around 4:00 pm. Justin drove us to Denver under a cold rainy storm front. It was almost surreal to think we would be wearing shorts in a few hours. We stayed the night at a hotel near the airport that offered parking and shuttle services. It was actually cheaper to stay in a hotel and park (for our vacation) then to use the airport parking facilities! Hooray. Phillip was so wound up with all the excitement that he was awake and keeping Amelia, Everett, Justin and I all awake. I took him down to the lobby for a fun 2 hours wandering the area. He finally fell asleep with me holding him in a bear hug in front of the lobby TV watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We ate breakfast and gathered our mountain of car seats, carry on luggage, and bags for the shuttle ride. Our flight to San Jose was very uneventful. An older couple behind us asked if Everett was going to squeal the entire time and if Phillip was going to be a nuisance. Well, I offered no guarantees! Turns out the kids were complete angels. Thank goodness for ipods and iphones! Once in San Jose we picked up a rental car (Chevy Equinox...really, a terrible car) and drove to Gilroy. Justin let me off at Walmart first for diapers, wipes, and sunscreen. I was in heaven walking out of Walmart and smelling the pungent scent of garlic. Heaven! I am always hungry for spaghetti and garlic bread when in Gilroy.

Grandma Jean and Grandpa Lynn treated us all like royalty! Grandma showed the kids toys in the patio room and let them play. Amelia and Phillip LOVED the band instruments. Phillip latched onto Grandpa Lynn, following him around patting his knee saying "pa-pa, cracker?" or something cute. Grandpa cannot see or hear well so he mostly just ignored Phillip and his insistence. Grandma made a delicious lasagna for dinner. Amelia ate two servings and ate two rolls (unheard of). After our hotel experience I slept in the living room with Phillip trapped in a pack-in-play. He got several spankings before he fell asleep. Grandma and I had fun learning about Picasa and talking about books.

Amelia made me a super cute card in preschool for Mother's Day. She was very excited to surprise me. Two ladies spoke in church on Sunday. The last speaker made a comment about how most women are super women even if they don't make cookies everyday. Amelia was sitting on my lap. She turned to me and whispered, "Mom you are NOT super woman, you DON'T make enough cookies!" I laughed and felt grateful that she was listening. Stinker. Grandma got out the rice bucket for the kids to play in. She also introduced the kids to the movie "Totoro" a Lance favorite.  Jonathon and Jan invited the local family over for a dinner. He roasted up a yummy beef brisket. The kids had a blast playing with Sadie and Charlotte. I enjoyed chatting with Jessica about crafty stuff. My uncle Jon just purchased a Canon 7D. We talked about cameras and lenses for a good while. I really want a 35 mm lens, the equivalent of a 50mm lens on my 7D. Jonathon let me play around with his neat lenses.

Monday we visited with Jess, Sadie, and Charlotte for the morning. Jess is so amazing. She runs the crafty blog, "Craftiness is not optional." I am in awe at all she accomplishes with two kids...and one on the way. Jess gave me a couple patterns to try out! Hooray!

We had some lunch with Grandma and Grandpa then took off for Los Angeles. I got some photos of Amelia standing in front of the school where I went to kindergarten. That was tender for me. Just being at the Lance home is like coming back to my childhood. We never really had a homestead growing up so Gilroy became our home away from wherever we were stationed. I have many fond memories picking snails out of the garden for a penny a pop, swinging from the rafters in the garage, the boys getting haircuts from Grandpa, my head injury incident, Aunt Sally raiding her drawers for little tokens for us, my Strawberry Shortcake doll hidden in the Christmas tree boughs, and my dad surprising us on Christmas morning. Just remembering makes me tear up. I am very grateful my kids met their Great Grandparents. Amelia Jean Lance and Amelia Jean Call; Lynn Terry Lance meeting Everett Lynn Call. The visit, while short, made me feel complete. Grandma's garden is like a haven for my heart.

10 May 2012

Itching for Change


Friday morning I woke up wanting a hair cut. I was finished with my longer hair. It was getting frizzy and damaged from being pulled back so much. Everett loves to pull my hair. I was finished fixing it and still feeling frumpy. No one had any openings on Friday, Saturday, or even Monday. I had to wait until Tuesday morning. I even had a hair cut scheduled for this afternoon, but I could not wait. I had a babysitter arranged for Tuesday morning for 9 am. The anticipation was almost more than I could bear. Twenty minutes before my appt my babysitter called to say she could not make it. Darn all the luck. I took the kids with me to the salon for a stressful yet successful hair appointment. Everett sat in my lap, Phillip jumped around the chair I was sitting in, and Amelia calmly watched me struggling to keep Phillip from burning his paws on the curling irons. The hair dresser cut my hair in record time. You should have seen the pile of hair that came off my head. It was impressive! Once at home I looked at my new cut noticed the left side appeared to be an inch longer than the right. My hair is funky. After lunch I went back and she quickly gave me a lopsided trim. My left is shorter but when dry and fixed it now looks even with the right. Ahhhh! Bliss. Much better.

Yesterday was glorious outside. The kids and I enjoyed a lovely picnic at the park of chocolate sandwiches, cold watermelon, and cheese sticks washed down with lemonade. While we ate a gaggle of mothers sat behind us gossiping about all the fat ladies who work out at the gym and making other snide remarks. I felt so uncomfortable hearing their gossip and knowing my kids were listening that we had to move tables. Geepers! The kids wanted to ride bikes around the pond so I packed Everett in the backpack while wandering behind the kids. We saw Zane fishing with his mom and dad towards the end of our ride. The kids were so excited to watch Zane reel in fish after fish. Brother Landers kindly let Amelia reel in two fish and Phillip one fish. He is quite the expert at hooking fish! Zane helped us feed bread to the fish. All the bread wandered close to the shore so hooking and reeling fish in was as easy as casting the line.

Amelia was convinced that Zane, Ella, and Will were coming over for a tea party. She went into total diva mode when I told her no, maybe tomorrow. She was so rude that she had to clean out the van and sit in time out for 30 minutes. She asked very politely after that. Zane came over for a short tea party. Amelia got all gussied up in a dress, belt, coordinating shoes, and hair bow. Zane protected the tea party from an alien invasion while Amelia planned their wedding. After they played for a good hour outside they watched Barbie Mermaid Tale. Zane, you are a good boy!

Justin was kind enough to corral the kiddos while my friend Kelly came over for a sewing lesson Tuesday evening. I taught her how to make a skirt. That lesson lasted from 8-10:30 pm. She walked out with a really cute skirt for her niece sewn by herself. Last night I helped her applique a shirt to match the skirt. She is so proud of her accomplishment.

09 May 2012

Bucket of Water and a Little Boy

**for some reason this photo reminds me of the movie, "The First Knight" *smile/wink*
I saw an idea on Pinterest a long while back using a wooden pallet as a mini self-contained garden. Last week I saw a small pallet discarded next to the shop our neighbor owns. He let me have it! Yesterday the weather was gorgeous, yet on the cool side. I stapled landscaping fabric to the pallet, stuffed dirt inside the pallet, planted herb seeds, and watered the ensemble. The kids had a blast playing with a bucket of water and sand. Amelia was whining on the swing about how cold it was and she did not want to be outside. While she sang her sad song, Phillip happily started to plop fistfuls of sand into a stagnant bucket of water. I used the water last week (Saturday) to clean the strollers. Amelia watched him pile dirt into his dump truck and taxi it over to the bucket. I watched her eyes narrow as she assessed the fun level in Phillip's activity. Her eyes relaxed and she yelled: "Hey Phillip, wanna play sand and water dump truck?" Brilliant! The kids made a royal mess with the water, sand, and some rogue soap. It was heaven for all of us. The kids played and played until they were stiff with sand and cold water. Before long Phillip had stripped and sunned himself in the warm(er) sunshine. Amelia followed suit. Amelia was pleased to discover that wet sand can make snow balls, but out of sand, of course. My mother heart was so happy to see them playing together having a blast. I hope we can let our kids make happy messes once in a while and enjoy the moment.

Today while Amelia was at preschool Phillip and I cleaned up the now dry sand. The patio is back in order and that memory tucked away for future enjoyment.