This summer has been pretty boring. We really havent done much and the summer is almost over. I felt kinda bad for the kids because we werent planning on taking any sort of vacation this summer, so on a spur of the moment, we decided to go up to Utah...minus Bill. Poor guy had to stay here to work and study. I didnt really have a return date, we would just play it by ear. So off we headed to escape this blasted heat!!

Thanks goodness for having family in Utah. It makes for a fun and cheap vacation!! We stayed with Scott and Andrea and the kids loved every second of it. The only damper was that their little kitty, Mario, went missing and poor Claire was so upset about it. Scott spent most of his time driving around looking, but no kitty.

We didnt really have any plans, and that is just the way I like it. I just wanted to soak in every ounce of that perfect weather and just let the kids play with their cousins that we dont get to see so much. And that is just what we did. My mother in law jumped in and came with us but im not sure she enjoyed the "no plans" idea as much as me =)

There were a few things that the kids wanted to do while we were there so of course we hit up the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point. We picked the perfect day to go because they were having a birthday celebration and had a lot of fun things for the kids to do.
Avery was having a lovely day, as you can tell.

Lia, Claire, Mason, Tyson, Avery and Caleb

The kids making masks

They had some high school girls painting faces and the kids LOVED that. (high school girls who apparantly slept through art class)

Noah was really happy about it all. He is really happy about alot of things these days =) Poor guy-not really into the "kiddie" things anymore

There is a cool new part that wasnt there when we lived there. Its a science-y type exhibit. All these cool hands on things.
This was a wall that took pictures of your shadow-I didnt quite get the shadows in my picture

Tyson loved all the "hands on" stuff

These 2 got sucked in to the computer trap. Mason knew exactly how to work that thing. Its amazing how early these kids learn how to manuver computers so well. I still cant figure it out-does that make me old??

Their favorite part is the sand tables. Big fun...Big mess. I hate the sand tables!!

Ending the trip with the big sandbox looking for dino bones!!
If you close your eyes and put your feet in the sand, it almost feels like your at the beach. I guess thats as close as im gonna get. Boo.

Tysons two front teeth had been loose for a month and he refused to pull them out. Scott was telling us how Claire wants the tooth out the second it gets wiggily and she wanted him to tie a string to the door to yank it out. Tyson figured since Claire could do it, he could.
I was freaking out the whole time. I didnt even think that really worked. Scott tied a string to his massive, heavy door and I held Tysons head. Scott slammed the door and out it flew. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen.
He still had the other front tooth to pull, but he decided to let his daddy pull it out when we got home

The kids still cant believe that it actually worked

He is one lucky dude-he got money from grandma and the the tooth fairy!!

We went to the Mayan for dinner one night. We had gone there while we lived there and the kids loved it. Too bad it totally sucks now. I think it was sold and the new managment is horrible. The prices were double, the food was nasty and the show was lame. I dont think we will be visiting again any time soon.
At least I got a super cute picture of Avery out of it!!

We all just crashed downstairs in their basement. Our schedules were all messed up and we didnt go to bed til like midnight every night and we slept in til like 9 or later...it was awesome!!
One morning I walked out and this is how Tyson was sleeping. Crazy boy!

Scott and Andrea have a Mac computer and my kids were glued to it the whole time. Those things are so fun!!
I have a new item on my wish list!!

It was so cute how they all played together and made these funny videos of themselves and made the funniest songs on garage band. Im sure Andrea loved all the little videos left for them. Sorry guys!!

I loved that these 2 girls were such buds the whole time. And Avery loved having someone to play with. They played kitchen and house and had a picnic in the kitchen with Doritos.
Avery misses her live-in friend.

This is usually what every morning looked like, and every afternoon, and every night. These kids love those things. But those games are annoying-they are so small. We lost 2 of our favorite games while we were there.

On one of our last nights, we had a cousin sleepover. Bills other brother, Ben, also lives up in Utah, but he was camping with his wifes family for the first part of the week while we were there. Eli, their oldest son, is Tyson and Calebs favorite. They are the wildest pair of boys when they get together. Ben and Michelle just had a baby and he is the sweetest thing. Im so mad that I didnt get a picture of him but I dont think I put him down long enough to take a picture-he is so dang sweet..oh I miss him already.
This picture was like at 11pm. They all got their matching pjs and had a dance party on the trampoline. I couldnt resist snapping a few pictures

Tyson, Eli and Claire are only 6 months apart. Its so fun having cousins so close. Its too bad we dont live by eachother. Bummer!!

We really had a fun time. We also went to a new waterpark called Cowabunga Bay. It was really fun and the kids loved it. We got hit by this crazy wind storm and the sky got really dark and it started lightning. Luckily, it happend towards the end of the day so we were ready to go home anyway. Swimming in Utah just isnt the same as swimming here...its too cold!!
We also saw Despicable Me...soooo cute. if you havent seen it, go see it!!
Scott watched all the kids one night so Andrea and I could have a girls night. We went and saw Eclipse(for the second time)and it was just as awesome as the first time!!
One of the funniest things happened on the first night we were there. My boys are huge sleep pee-ers. They get kindof disoriented and cant find the bathroom. Luckily, Caleb woke up while I was still awake. He started peeing in the corner of the room and I grabbed him and ran to the bathroom. He never holds his junk-he just lets it go wherever. I told him to hold it and he was kind of pinching it and making it go all over so I tried to move his hand and he let go at that exact moment and he pee'd all over my face...and I had to stand there and hold it down for him until he was done peeing. I literally had pee dripping off my face and hair. Awesome. I looove mom moments like that.
Fun trip..good weather and even better company. Thanks Scott and Andrea for letting us intrude for a week!!!


So this is what I get for trying new things! I have seriously wasted like 7 hours, im not even kidding, trying to widen my blog and make my pictures bigger. Im not so computer savvy and im making it harder than it has to be. Im not sure why some of my pictures got cut off, but I have redone this post like 3 times and im done. I will try to fix it later, but for now, half cut off pictures will have to do. Sorry. Just bear with me while I try to figure out this blog
If anyone knows what they are doing when it comes to blog pages and uploading pictures to photbucket and setting the pixel width and all that, I would LOVE some help.



All the way back in January (yes, I am that far behind), we took our kids to Disneyland. Im so mad that I didnt get any pictures of how we told the kids we were going-it was awesome!

When they got home from school, Bill was waiting for them outside. He told them that Bob the Elf (our secret Christmas elf...long story) came back from the North Pole because he forgot to give them one more gift. There was a wrapped box and inside was a poem that Bill had written. I wish I remembered that poem word for word, but I dont, so here is the jist of it. "something, something surprise is grand...something something, we are going to Disneyland (it really was a super clever poem..im not doing it a bit of justice). Then on the next page it read "RIGHT NOW!!! The car was packed and ready to go, so they dropped their backpacks and ran to the car. I have never seen the kids freak out so much in my life. So funny!

Noah and Lani are the only 2 kids who had been, but they were only 5 and 3 so they didnt remember much. I was so excited because it was like the first time for all of them. I had all these grand ideas of how fun it would be and how magical it was gonna be and how much they would just LOVE it! I really am just a dreamer.

It started off with our grand hotel. From the pictures and reviews (from Hotels.com) it looked like a winner. We got a great deal on it and it was directly across the street from the Disney entrance. You cant beat that! Right?

It was seriously the smallest hotel room I have ever seen. And craming seven people into that small room was going to be a challange...but we did it. The air mattress was jam packed into the only space big enough for it to fit...it was also the only walkway. But the kids hardly noticed the lack of space, they were so dang excited for the next day!

When we woke up the next morning, it was raining. Awesome.

But apparantly thats a good thing.

We were the first ones there and it was totally dead.


While we were waiting, we saw these 2 winners. They were dressed in full Jack Sparrow gear. Oh, and they were by themselves.

We couldnt help but follow them into the park. They booked it to the front of the line, in front of all the excited kids.

As soon as the bell rang, we headed straight to Thunder Mountain. I couldnt wait for the kids to experience the super funness of Disneyland. I just knew they would love it as much as I did when I was a kid.
Pure terror.
Avery was screaming and holding on to me for dear life. Caleb was crying, Tyson hated every second and Lani was scared out of her mind. They had obviously never ridden rollercoasters before. Dangit. And we had 3 full day to look foward to.
So off we dragged 4 crying kids to Splash Mountain. Bad idea. We literally had to pull them on and force them to sit. Lani was frozen on the platform, Avery was trying to jump out of the log and Caleb was hysterically screaming. I sware the workers were ready to call CPS about a crazed Mom who just spent all this money for 3 "fun" filled days and she is screaming at her kids to have fun and like it, dangit!! Not my best parenting moment. Its a good thing that we were the only ones on that ride at the time.
Off the ride goes, and what do you know...we get soaked. I mean SOAKED! All 4 kids get off crying and shivering(it was cold) and they were ready to go home.
We had to save this trip fast!
We decided to try a nice, slow ride. Winnie the Pooh was just across the way and that was perfect. Although, Avery still wasnt convinced. Pure terror.

But it did the trick. It made them happy enough to try some more rides. Noah was the only tough kid so we had him convince the other kids to try some fun rides. We headed to Pirates and they loved it. We rode that ride about 15 times, at least, during our 3 day trip.

Finally, some smiles!

Avery still not loving Diseny. Not even the jungle cruise. Who doesnt love the jungle cruise?

The cliche' photo in front of the castle.
Man, that castle isnt is big as I remember.

Lani was the only child who would go near any sort of character. Avery was terrified and the boys were just too cool. So this is the only picture I was able to get. Thanks Lani!

Theboys really thought they could pull out the sword. They tried so hard, for like 15 minutes. Sorry boys...no kings in this family!

Such a sweet little guy


Toon Town

Yes, that is my 11 year olds feet sticking out of that window. Im pretty sure I just looked the other way.

After lots and lots of rides, we decided to do this Jedi training thing. All the boys got picked to participate, but only Tyson and Noah would go up there.

Getting the proper attire to become a Jedi

This is no joke. Do you see those storm troopers? Pretty big stuff!

Tyson got to have real lightsaber fight with this ugly, red faced guy (not sure what his name is) Fighting evil and what not!
Way to go Tybo!

Last ride of the night

The next day we went to California Adventure. It was a bit more crowded this time, but still no big deal.
We got a little bored waiting for the park to open, so I took some pictures on the big letters

"N" for Noah

"A" for Avery

The first ride we headed to was Tower of Terror. Bill took Lani and Noah first while I waited with the little kids. Since there was no line, they were done in about 10 minutes and when they walked out, Lani had tears coming down her face. She was terrified! That made Tyson and Caleb run as fast as they could. There was no convincing them at all. So Noah went with me. I love that ride! I think it ranks up there on my Favs list for sure!
Anyway, we just decided to stick with some kid rides to start the day, and who doesnt love some bumper car action

They had these cool little random shows all over the park. We stopped to watch this cool one with the toy soilders from Toy Story. When this was over we headed over to the super, big, totally scary California Screamin!
Only one problem...

Where the heck was Avery???
I thought Bill had her in the stroller and Bill thought she had jumped out to walk with me. Holy crap! I just lost my child at Disneyland.
It took us about 10 minutes, but we found her wandering around where we watched the soldiers. A worker had just found her. Halelujah!!
After we buckled her in...tight, we headed back to California Screamin. Bill went on it with Noah first and when they got off, Noah was freaking out about how fun it was. I knew that Tyson would love it if he would just try it, but he was not having it. SO, I did what any parent would do...I bribed him with a sword. I know, I know.
And what do you know, he loved it! So Caleb wanted to go on it and even Lani who hates all things fast and high. They all loved it and we kept riding it over and over and over again-the line was so short that we could. It was awesome. I wish I had pictures of them coming off the ride.

We just couldnt pass any carousel without getting sucked in somehow. Those darn things!

We stopped to eat some snacks and rest a bit and Noah decided that he wanted to go on the river raft ride. We were sitting by the exit and people were coming off soaking wet. It was a bit chilly so we had noooo interest in one ounce of that ride, but Noah was still bent on doing it. He is old enough, so I told him to have at it and we would wait for him.
Here is what he looked like when he came off the ride...
Drenched from head to toe. He love it!!

We stopped to watch the High School Musical parade and had ice cream. I think we should have stuck with vanilla for all

After the parade, we headed back to Disneyland for some more rides before the park closed. This little monkey was pooped!

And just like we promised, Tyson got his sword...and so did Caleb and Noah. Just what we needed in that crammed hotel room, 3 fighting Jedi's!!

We were so sad to be down to our last day. Our plans were to check out of the hotel and head home when the park closed that night. We got everything packed and ready to load the car. Bill went out to start loading the car, and wouldnt you know it, the car was dead. We had recently replaced the battery, so we werent too worried. We figured it would be an easy jump. But we had things to do and rides to ride, so we decided not to let this little thing ruin our last day-we would worry about it when we got back.
First stop...the Haunted Mansion. It had been closed the first 2 days, so we wanted to make sure we hit that first before it got too crowded. And it was crowded, probably because it was Friday. But even with the crowds, it still wasnt really that crowded-just annoying because we had had 2 awesome days with no crowds. (im kind of a baby)
Of course, Avery wasnt loving the dark rooms. She held on to Bill for dear life.

We did Haunted Mansion a few times over

We figured it would be best if we hit all our favorites before the afternoon crowds hit. The kids loved Thunder Mountain. Who would have guessed after our first experience with it.

While Bill took the boys on some more rides, I took the girls to see the princesses (mostly for Avery, but Lani was a good sport about it)
All she could talk about the whole trip was the princesses and how she couldnt wait to see them...

Yea...not so sure.
She was so scared.
I was a bit scared to by their super high pitched voices and blank stares
She got a little more comfortable as we moved on, but those darn Disney people know how to get ya every time. they stick those cute little princess dresses and everything princess in your nose as you walk out.
But lucky for me, im not a sucker.
Doesnt she look so cute???
Ok, maybe just a little sucker!

Our favorite ride had to have been Space Mountain.
All the kids (except Noah) hated this ride at first, but we made them go again anyway
They freaking loved it!!!
Even Avery. She asked to go on it over and over.
SO we did!

We did this Buzz Lightyear ride like 100 times

The kids also love the smart house exhibit. They could have spent hours in there. It was pretty cool.

One of my best friends, that I have known since I was born, lives in Cali. She and her kids met us there for a night of fun!! We did tons of rides and lived it up, enjoying our last night in Cali. I was also happy to spend some time with Brooke.

Its a shame that we didnt even know that "Downtown Disney" existed. Brooke took is there and we went straight to the Lego store. My boys had just started getting into legos, so they were in heaven.

With such a fun day, we almost forgot about our little car problem waiting for us back at the hotel. Brooke was able to come back to our hotel with her car to jump start us. Our battery wasnt very cooperative and it just wouldnt take the jump. Brooke drove me around, everywhere, looking for a darn auto shop that was open. the only thing we could find was walmart. I ran in back to the battery part and typed in the car type and all that info that told me which battery to get. It didnt look like the right battery, so I bought another one that looked like the right one, just in case. After an hour or so, we finally made it back to the hotel, and both batteried didnt fit. Crap...are you serious?!?!
Brooke ended up taking a couple of my kids home with her to sleep over and Bill and I booked another night and we went to bed. In the morning, sweet Brooke came back with my kids and some donughts for breakfast. Bill played around with the battery and some fuses and wouldnt you know it...the dang car fired right up. Seriously??
I was so very thankful that we werent stuck in Cali and tha Brooke didnt have to waste her Saturday driving us around trying to fix the dang car. After talking about it later, we realized that maybe we werent supposed to drive home that night. Who knows why the car didnt start, and who knows what would have happened, but we were are thankful it all turned out ok and we are especially thankful for Brooke!
We had ups and downs and highs and lows and happy times and total meltdowns, we came home with lots of crap that broke within the week. We ate at IHOP both nights for dinner because kids ate free and it was next to our hotel. We talked and laughed and shred our favorite things of the day each night as we went to bed. I loved the memories we made and I know it will be a trip they will remember for a long time. I will never, ever again go to Disneyland any other time except in January. It was awesome weather, no crowds. Just perfect!
Such a fun trip and I cant wait to do it again!!