Disney 2013/Claire turns 5!

its been a while, and with good reasons.
I don't know what those are.
however, this ginormous Disneyland post ought to make up for some of it!
Disney gives the military a sweet discount for Disneyland/CA Adventure, and Grammy (and GRANDPA!!!!!) wanted to give Claire the surprise of her life for her fifth birthday. (THANK YOU!!!)
So I never told the kids where we were going. Claire really didn't know what Disneyland was, and I wanted to keep that magical-ness of it, and then her Primary teacher went and told her all about it a few weeks before. Still not totally comprehending it, we stuffed the kids in the car, and told the kids we were going on a boring trip for Daddy's work, and staying at a hotel. If they were good, we would go swimming! Little did they know....
Grammy had filled our hotel room with Disney surprises, and they were THRILLLED with that! and that we were going to DISNEYLAND? They were tired, and I don't think everything was really understood. We woke early the next day (Saturday), got right in, and got busy finding and doing everything we could get in before the kids crashed that day.
(Joe and I went to the Newport Beach Temple for a session that night. Its been a while, and we needed it! THANKYOU GRAMMY!!!!!! So we had to get in as much that first day as possible.)
They loved every last second of it.
Well, sorta. Bubba and Claire, Thrilled. Evie baby, not so much. Hated basically every second of it, hated her stroller, hated walking around, hated most of the character meet and greets, HATED the tram to go from the parking garage to the parks, and screamed to get her point across. Oh well. (glad we didn't pay for a ticket for her!!!!!) She did love meeting the princesses though- LOVED them. and the shows- she was dancing away for those!
The next day we did a little reminiscing in the city of Orange. I spent the bulk of my childhood there, and we did a little "this is where mommy lived! and where mommy went to school!" and the kids didn't care. Sunday was claire's actual birthday, and we went to our old church building and went to Sacrament Meeting in our old ward. (the kids were a bit out of sorts, which is a way of saying they were rather crazy- they were quite tired still!) and went to the park I grew up playing in. Played at the park, mom and Joe went and got cafĂ© rio for lunch (shhhh don't tell) and we opened presents. It was rather surreal being in this place where so birthday parties, ward parties, summer camps, and a million afternoons of playing went down, and now my kids got to enjoy it. the weather was completely glorious, and I soaked that up. Claire got spoiled even further by parents, grandparents and her Yaya and Papa, and then we had to say bye to daddy.
Monday- my mom and I hit the ground running- we had to get it all in! we got in the shows, the princesses, and got Grammy and Claire on Grammy's favorite rides that Bubba and Evie were too little for. We stayed as long as those kids could handle, and crashed at the hotel.
Tuesday- we packed up the car and headed out for one more day at Disney- we did a few of the kid's favorites again, found the last couple things we missed, and called it good. it was the hottest day by far, and the kids. were. done.
and now, in no order whatsoever, Disneyland, CA Adventure, A sunday in the park.


a million thank yous to my parents!
it was one of the best trips ever!

One miracle: Bluebell- the Explorer that's been in the family over 10 years- barely, and I mean barely, made it home. The dash lights were flashing and not going away the last 2-3 hours of the drive home, with kids screaming and me white-knuckled (the transmission was slipping and whining). She was driven a total of 3 more miles before heading to the car doc 3 days later to see what could be done, and (not surprisingly.], but sadly) she needed a lot more work than we can afford, and more importantly, more work than was worth to keep around. It all happened in a whirlwind of rapid-fire decisions, (while trying to keep kids happy, take some family pictures, figure out dinner, and pack up my husband for a month-long out of country assignment) and while the right decision was made, we were all in a bit of shock when all the sudden we were car-less.
my blessed mother (she is a SAINT) was here, and lent us her car, rented her own to drive back to Utah, while we figure out what to get. we had been planning on a new car next year and researching already, but are still making final decisions. looks like a mini-van mom I will become....... still not sold yet, but warming up to it. sigh.


a special weekend

Shoot. This never got posted? I put this together, like forever ago! 
Mom and Lindsay came out for a weekend in April.
Because Evie turned one!
It was rather gloomy most of the time, but we did have fun.
Miss them so much.

back in april (!!!) we had a couple special visitors for miss Evie's big 1st birthday. 
we kept it low-key, just how we like it. 
cupcakes, a few simple presents, and called it good. 
my mom and sister being there made it extra special. we hit the beach... as much as you can do at the beach here in Monterey. 

When you wake up in the morning

And you feel like this?

I tried to convince myself, that the foggy gray mornings of Monterey are enchanting, mysterious, or fun. That I would miss it when we move next year.
Not so much.
I am convinced I have S.A.D. And waking up to fog every day this summer really was a doozy.
And then! A glorious couple weeks of some bright September sunshine, only to have hopes dashed.
And then! It started to rain! Ha no, just kidding. 20 minutes of sprinkles was plenty.
I feel like I live in a version of Groundhog's Day.
Sometimes we get a break, some sunshine, a high of 75-80 degrees, then it's right back to the fog.
I'm over it.

Sorry for the complaining......

Here's a happy thought:
I went to the grocery store this morning
And actually filled the cart up, and got the correct groceries
AND used coupons!
PLUS all that stuff fits a 3 week meal plan. (Because the grocery store we go to is controlled by the gov, and might close...... week......)


and we're back

so behind. whatever. 
figured out how to make this a littttttle bit easier. so maybe more posting. maybe.
first, we'll start with a bunch of random shots, taken from the ipad, ipones, etc.
sorry for the instagram repeats, but, you know. cant get enough or something.

 fell asleep playing superheroes.
all in a day's work  ya know. 

trying to get a shot of the littles all together is rather fun!

this boy turned 3! but he thinks he is four. or five.

joe really missed this while i was gone with the kiddos in utah. 
he really did. (not).

hey susan. come back in visit. i don't think i got enough of mr. atticus's sweet cheeks.
i want to squeeeeeeze him!

hey claire.
still a pistol. and we started preschool. trying to anyways....
thats another post for another time.

and hey, six years with this guy!
i sure love him.
no mushy gushy post about it this year. we kept it low-key.
except, i will post about the gift i made him this year.
oh man guys, it was good. 
you know it was good, because it made him cry. thats the true test right there!

this is the daily. always monkeying around with these boogers.

they think they are cute or something. 
i guess.

she really is adorable. this one is old but i love it so.

i feel like i am always taking sleeping pictures. 
but they are just so stinking sweet!!!!!!! 
and look! his lips still do that thing! 

this guy in uniform, it never gets old.

i finally took claire to get her hair cut in a real salon, for the first time ever,
and lets just say, she would go there every day if she could.
growing up to fast, that one. oh i love her.
she wanted to go to school so, so badly this year, and formal preschool was just not an option this year. i really feel so badly about it, but there was just no way around it.
so we are doing home preschool, and she is doing awesome. most days :) that little firecracker. 

so there is that. next up- more pictures!