Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Happenings

Leland's first year of preschool ended at the end of May. She had such a wonderful year, made some great friends, and had an exceptional teacher. We have been so pleased with her preschool and I'm wondering if we will be able to find one as wonderful for next year whereever we live. (The expectations are getting higher and higher for our next town we live in.) The school year ended with a singing program and slide show of the school year.

Leland was the child that waves to her family throughout the entire program. Leland was also excited that my aunt Barbara was able to come to the program as well.

Lucy being ever so dramatic because I would not let her play on the stairs.
Leland and her teacher, Ms Julie.

We are officially a minivan family. We are the proud owners of a 2009 Honda Odyssey. We all LOVE our new van, especially the girls. Expecting our 3rd child to arrive in 4 weeks (or less) we needed a vehicle that could fit more than 4 people, so now we have room for 8!

I've written about how much we love our Honda Element, so for now we still have it. We have been a one car family for the last 4 years and we have loved only having one car. We will wait to see where we live and what our schedules will be before we decide if we will go back to only having one car.

If you are in the car buying market, talk to Chuck about his strategy getting the best price. He did an awesome job. He got internet and phone quotes from all the Honda dealerships within a 2 hour radius of us and then made them work for our business. I remember him doing this when we bought our Element, too. I have no doubt that we got the best deal. When I went in to sign the papers the Honda guy says, "Man, your husband has been working me to death."

We have really enjoyed the gorgeous weather outside. Our usual park visits are just to the park at the end of our street, but recently we have started going as a family to a different park that is HUGE. The girls love it and especially love having daddy at the park with us. I love this picture of Leland helping Lucy up the hill. They are such great sisters. Leland is very helpful and protective of her little sister and Lucy just adores Leland and wants to be just like her.

One evening we took a walk along the a section of a trail that runs along the creek that runs through town. It was a gorgeous walk and then we played at the park.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Orlando and Daytona Beach

After our week of fun at Disney World, we said goodbye to all the cousins, aunts, uncles, and Grammy and Papa. But, our family stayed in Florida for a few extra days to visit my grandmother who lives north of Orlando.

We decided to take a detour to visit Orlando Temple on our way to her house. We were so glad that we did. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, so it was very quiet and peaceful on the grounds. I'm glad that we were able to walk around the grounds with the girls.

That afternoon was the last time we enjoyed the sunshine of Florida. That evening, the rain started and it literally did not stop raining for the rest of our trip (and for several more days after that). Florida had record rainfall that week. In the 72 hours we were there it rained about 17 inches.

My grandmother has a nice home on the St. Johns River with a swimming pool. Because of all the rain we were not able to enjoy her pool or go for a boat ride. Luckily, we were able to find some other very enjoyable things to entertain us. Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures at her house. The girls enjoyed spending time with her and her cute little dog.

We went to a Children's Museum in Daytona Beach. There were all sorts of fun interactive exhibits. True to their nature - Leland loved the laser harp and Lucy loved the mini Harley Davidson. We also made pizzas in the pizza parlor, put together remote control cars, tested our strength with pulley systems, and much more.

Chuck spent an extremely long time trying to build the perfect roller coaster. We also watched a laser and planetarium show.

We had to return our rental car several hours before our flight, so we had lots of time to kill in the airport. Orlando airport is an okay one to be stuck in a for a while. Chuck found plenty of ways to keep the girls entertained.

Since there was so many rain clouds, we had quite a bit of turbulence on our way out. Luckily, Lucy fell asleep right away and slept the entire plane ride. I was able to read my book for the FIRST time on our vacation during the plane ride home.

I had to include this adorable picture of Lucy. We hung out at the McBride's house before driving home, where Lucy found this sombrero and thought it was pretty cool.

As exhausting as it was, we had such a wonderful trip. We had so much fun with cousins, aunts/uncles, and Grammy and Papa. It was a great way to celebrate finishing 3 years of law school. We can't wait to be able to do another big family trip again soon.

I'm finally done with our big vacation posts and it only took me a month to do it. Whew!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Disney World - Magic Kingdom (Day 2)

We spent our last day at Disney World by going back for a second day at the Magic Kingdom.

When we first entered the park, we ran into Snow White and took a couple quick pictures while the pregnant lady scoped out the nearest restroom. Our girls decided that they wanted to meet Ariel, so we waited for them to meet her. Then we headed to Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which is an interactive comedy show that is really amazing. An anamatronic Mike Wazowski hosts a comedy night where all of the different monster comedians actually interact with the audience. From there we rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (solid fun) and Stitch's Great Escape (not nearly as good as the old Alien Encounter).

We also saw Belle again at Storytime with Belle, a show where she recounts her story with audience participation. At the end, she invited everybody to line up to take pictures with her and pointed at us and said, "Line up right there." After a quick photo, we were off for more.

The highlight of the day was the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party. It is like a parade, but the floats come down and stop before doing a few songs and then inviting everybody to come into the street and dance. Lucy loved it! Leland was doing well, but it was so hot outside, that she just hit her wall and crashed in the stroller half way through. If you are wondering about the monkey backpack, it was the greatest thing for Lucy. She didn't always want to be in the stroller obviously, but she LOVED wearing the monkey. We could let her walk to her hearts content and not worry about her wandering off, which she would do if she wasn't leashed to someone or something.

Although we were exhausted, we had to take Lucy to see her favorite character - Peter Pan! After photos with Peter and Wendy, we headed back to the hotel for an early end to our day and a much deserved rest.

That night our family swam a little in the resort pool and walked around on the grounds while everyone else hit up another water park.

Other great pictures from the day:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Disney World - Blizzard Beach

We spent our Friday of Disney week at Blizzard Beach. We set up a base under a pavilion adjacent to the kids' area and had a fun day riding water slides. Although this was Chuck's favorite day and the girls' second favorite, it was difficult for my 8-month-pregnant wife. She was a trooper though and never complained.

We didn't take many pictures of the big rides because we couldn't carry our camera in the water. However, the PhotoPass photographers got some great ones of people coming down the rides.

Both Leland and Lucy loved the kids slides.There were various slides of different lengths, water pools and waterfalls, and even a kids' tube ride. The area was so well designed, that the kids were not at all afraid to go on the slides on their own. That resulted in some nervous parents when the kids would just run off to go play in the water. Luckily, everybody had brought life jackets and we all helped keep track of the kids.

All the kids had fun splashing around and playing with one another. Conner was playing around trying to float on his back and Lucy kept trying to "help" him up. She was being so funny.

Here are lots of pictures of the girls on the kids' slides. They seemed so big and grown up going down all by themselves.

At one point in the day Goofy strolled through the kids' area. He had a following of children then he stopped to take ONE picture and that was with our girls. The photo pass girl snapped it so quick the girls weren't looking and Lucy didn't get in her usual seated pose. A line quickly formed of other kids to take a pictures too, but he just walked away after their picture.

Leland really liked the big water slides where you rode on mats - Toboggan Racers and Snow Stormers. I cannot remember how, but early in the day Mitzi and I somehow ended up alone with the four oldest kids (Denim-5, Leland-4, Connor-4, and Tara-3) for what was the kids' first adult ride of the day. It was Toboggan Racers, where you have eight lanes for a "race" down on your mats, so naturally, you can't have one adult go ahead of the kids to catch them. I realized this conundrum while standing in line and began getting the kids really excited because "We get to ride on Aladdin's magic carpets in a race!" They bought it and Mitzi and I put one kid on each side of us and pushed them down before we started. Picture me, after having pushed Leland and Denim down the slide, then getting on my mat and pushing hard to slide down to catch up to them. Let's just say that my body mass generated enough speed to race past them before the first hump. The kids LOVED it and all jumped up screaming "AGAIN!" We did it and the other mat ride five times before we told them we needed to go rest.

Teamboat Springs, was a fun family tube ride for three of us. I convinced Ashley to come with us and she regretted letting me. The rest of us loved it. In our afternoon ride on Teamboat Springs, Leland and I joined the Hocks and I told them that we needed to lean into the curves and get going really fast. Well, Mike's leaning was not nearly as intense as mine, which resulted in us banging heads and my sunglasses splitting in half and flying into the air. Nobody was hurt, except for Lani busting her gut laughing at the two of us.

The waterpark closed at 5 PM, so we made the kids push through the day with no naps. They all handled it very well and we headed home at 4:30 PM wiped out after a fun day. That night, we enjoyed some takeout Pei Wei. One of the last times we ate food from Pei Wei was in CA and Ashley ended up in the ER to have her gall bladder removed. Luckily there were no visits to the ER this time.