Can we go to Chima now: the 2nd Day of Legoland

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We have now been back from vacation for three days. I suppose one would expect us to be fully unpacked and ready to go back to school tomorrow.

Alas, that isn’t exactly the case. We have made great strides in that direction; however, Daniel and J.D.’s suitcases remain stuffed. Plus, there is one great complicating factor. The neighborhood kids are STILL on Spring Break. They get TWO weeks. I can’t do that! Then the boys would be in school until June. I want to get this year over and finished with.  So I have to teach these boys this week without the neighborhood kids beckoning my home schooled children out of their books. *groan*

But that’s not what we’re here to discuss is it? Let’s talk about Legoland!

Day 2 of Legoland was even more successful than day one.

1. We didn’t lose any children.

2. We did rides, the water park, this giant playground thing, and Seascape (Legoland aquarium).

3. Water rides are the way to children’s hearts; I have decided. For men, you need good cooking. For children, you need water. ;)

Brief Recap of Day One:

Miniland

Miniland

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Coastal Cruise

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Dan entertained us with his monkey impersonation.

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Two more pics from Day One. I found them on Alan’s camera, and thought they were perfect:

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Lego shopping. They did even more of this on day 2.

Day Two

We headed straight for the back of the park. We were hoping to hit the rides that we’d missed on day one. The first thing we did was send Daniel to “driving school.” It’s just a ride where kids ages 3-5 drive Lego cars that are just their size.

Bizarreness!

We ran into our neighbors. Our actual neighbors! As in, they live across the street, two houses over! How weird is that!!??  We ran into them THREE times that day. I have been meaning to get to know them better, so this was a good first step.

Even more bizarre: they have a one year old boy, a three-year old boy, and a seven-year old boy. You can’t make this stuff up!

No, I failed as a blogger. I did not get a picture of us, with them. tututut

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Day Two!!! Daniel is holding his driver’s license, which he earned at “driving school.”

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Bigger kid driving school

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my favorite picture of the year!!!

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The big boys and Alan rode this fire truck thing while JD and I listened to the Lego Mariachi band over and over and over and over. JD loved it.

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lego mariachi

Do you see the Lego mariachi band in the background? You just never know what the children will take a liking to.

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my dancing boys. Yes, I do realize how super NOT cute my outfit was. I was going for comfort, ya’ll. *shake my head*

Lego policeman

“Is it strange that I find that Lego policeman attractive?”

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heading into our Egyptian Lego adventure

After we showed the boys the sign to prove that the water park wasn’t open until 12pm, we took a little pyramid mystery adventure.

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That’s Joshua. Or Caleb. Okay. This is a hard one.

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Airplane ride!

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This Medieval style playground was incredible. The boys played in it for 20 minutes, until we pulled them out for lunch.

My favorite thing about that playground was watching the boys play together so sweetly. They stuck together the whole time.

We grabbed lunch, and then it was……… WATER PARK TIME!

First, there is a free splash park area, so we did that.

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Caleb seems oblivious to freezing cold water.

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JD was not so easily convinced. He decided to stay dry.

This is very indicative of his personality. Ya’ll, this boy! He doesn’t like change. He doesn’t like to try new things. He is skeptical of new ideas. He’s very practical for a 21-month-old. “Splash park in 70 degree weather? No, thanks.”

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He walked up close to the sprinklers, but he still managed to stay dry.

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Happy, fun-loving Daniel: not a dry speck on him.

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Can we go?

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Before long, Joshua got out of the Splash castle and informed us that the water was way too cold. He was ready to move on too. We put them in the dryer.

Pretty cool dryer, huh? We didn’t want to lug around a bag full of towels, so this was our answer. Don’t worry. At the end of the day, Alan did purchase a gigantic Legoland beach towel to wipe the kids dry.

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The Lego Land water park has multiple pools. We were very happy with it. This is kiddie pool #1. There are two very similar to this: this one in the front, and then the “Swamp” in the Chima portion of the park.

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Daniel did the little water slide.

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Daniel got a little nervous about this bigger water slide.

This was really sweet. The lifeguard went down the slide with Dan. Then he walked him through the deeper water back to Alan. Where are this kid’s parents anyway, geesh! ;)

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Yep. I got in too.

The Lazy River was WONDERFUL. Of course, there was nothing lazy about the way we ran past everyone in our floats. Those floats were just decorations for us. Boys. They are who they are.

Joshua was so cute. He and Caleb did this by themselves first. Then Joshua came out of the first round, and he told me, “Mom! Go put on your swimsuit while we are going around it again. When you are done, you can go around it again WITH us! It’s great! The water is WARM!”

Sold.

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Meanwhile, at the kiddie pool…..

Daniel was so cold. Alan had him take off his swim shirt and lay down on the hot concrete to warm up. Poor little darling.

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And JD just wanted to do this.

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It took a WHOLE LOT of convincing, but I finally got JD to sit on the very edge of the Swamp.

Yes, my swimsuit has a skirt. Laugh all you want, but I get to walk around freely, not worried at all about jiggling bits, uncovered areas, or cellulite, and that makes me really happy. :) Besides, I like to tell myself that it’s a “cool” LL Bean skirt, not like the ruffled kind. Yeah, I know. I’m reaching.

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Only the big boys were tall enough to play in the Chima wave pool.

Activities that only included part of the family just don’t last long for us. It’s not fun to have to split up the group. By this time, I had JD soundly asleep, under the LegoLand beach towel, in the stroller.

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Caleb and his boat creation.

Outside the wave pool, they had this area where you could race Chima speeders and another area where you could race boats down this little pool. The boys played with that for about 20 minutes.

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all smiles from a successful Chima water park day!

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Our white, blue-eyed tribe has a little trouble with the sun.

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We left the water park area. I found coffee, and they found another Lego store. I found myself a nice bench inside the store while they shopped. After a good, loooong while I noticed that I didn’t hear their voices or see them.

I hopped up and looked around. They were gone!!!!

*moment of realization!* Huuuuuh?? I am the lost one! They lost me??? That’s not…how is that possible??

No worries. I found them rather quickly. They were all standing around, in the middle of the road together, looking confused. “Where is Mom????”

All was forgiven, as I tried to explain to a group full of males that Lego stores are actually not interesting at all to me..

One last ride through Storybook Land before we leave….

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Goofing around:

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We headed over to Legoland’s Seascapes, which is their aquarium.

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Caleb was excited to see the sharks.

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See the shark made of Lego blocks?

There really wasn’t much to the aquarium. Onto dinner! We didn’t stay at Legoland Hotel, but we did eat supper there that night:

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If every kid were as easy to please as Caleb….oh how great life would be!

As we headed out of our 2nd day in Lego land, Caleb ACTUALLY said, “Oh, look, a man made out of Legos!”

I guess some things never get old.

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So we said good-bye to Legoland. On to the San Diego Zoo for Day 4 of our Spring Break adventure! Come back tomorrow to see one of the world’s most famous zoos!

 

Click and done! Thank you!

San Diego Day 2: LEGOLAND!!! Whooyeah!!!

Several of these Lego men welcome you into the LegoLand theme park.

Several of these Lego men welcome you into the Legoland theme park.

On day 2, Alan woke me up at 6am to tell me he was going to eat at the hotel and then head to the grocery store to buy breakfast. Did the hotel have free breakfast? Why yes, it did. Is there any way that our whole family of 6 will be dressed and ready before the thing closes at 9am?

No, not really.

Getting myself and the children ready for a day of major fun and adventure takes me a couple of hours, especially since I was determined to shower, look decent, wear make-up, and fix my hair every day.  I never once made it to that breakfast room. Don’t worry,though. Alan raided it for free milks, bowls, and cereals every morning.

And coffee. April runs on coffee.

By the time we got to Lego Land on Day One it was 10:45ish. The theme park was 40 minutes from our hotel, but our boys were on nine clouds of joy and excitement, so no one complained a bit.

Also, we have DVDs in our minivan. This is a very important part of our road trip success. For this trip, they watched Penguins of Madagascar, Monsters University, Elf, and hours upon hours of Paw Patrol. The big boys complained about the Paw Patrol, but if you could hear sweet little JD say, “Ruff Ruff!  Go! Go!” well, it’s awfully hard to say no for too long.

I wore my glasses for most of this trip because I am very allergic to hotel rooms. Does anyone else have this problem??? When I say allergic, I mean that my eyes itch uncontrollably, and my nose burns.  Benadryl and zyrtec fix this, but they also sort of take away my personality. Ha! April tranquilizers.

Our Legoland day was very successful. We were all excited to see these Lego men as we drove through the gates:

Lego hiker

Lego hiker

This was all like a little taste of Heaven for Daniel.

This was all like a little taste of Heaven for Daniel.

Lego Dad photographing his Lego family. :)

Lego Dad photographing his Lego family. :)

We didn't stay at the Lego Land hotel. However, we did eat there. They have a pretty decent buffet.

We didn’t stay at the Lego Land hotel. However, we did eat there one night. They have a pretty decent buffet.

Lego land

Yep, it's made out of Legos.

Yep, it’s made of Legos.

The boys are looking over the Lego version of the city that we miss.

The boys are looking over the Lego version of the city that we miss.

We started out Day One in “Mini Land.” That’s the part of Lego Land that has all of these incredible Lego versions of cities, Star Wars, and even a Lego Walk of Fame. While that’s all extremely impressive, this is NOT where you want to START your Lego Land experience, especially if you are traveling with a nine-year-old.

Lego Land caters to a very specific audience. This theme park appeals most to kids that are at least 34 inches tall (so that they can ride most rides) and are not at all entering the puberty-attitude phase of life.

One of our children spent his entire time in Mini Land saying, “Where are the rides? Why aren’t there any rides here? Can we go now? Can we go to another part now please? I just want to get out of this section. Can we hurry up?”

So lesson 1: Don’t START in Mini Land. Save that for after they have a few rides under their belts.

Meanwhile, the rest of us found Mini Land very impressive. JD even loved it. Here are my favorite photos from Day One. Alan took a ton too. I may share those on a future post.

Lego Lincoln Memorial

Lego Lincoln Memorial

Lego White House

Lego White House

Lego Capitol

Lego Capitol

Lego Smithsonian Castle

Lego Smithsonian Castle

Caleb LOVES Lincoln.

Caleb LOVES Lincoln.

When I say that Caleb loves Lincoln, I mean that Caleb LOVES Lincoln. He is his favorite president. He has given me many reasons for this:

1. He wore a cool hat.

2. He had a beard.

3. He freed the slaves.

4. He lived in a log cabin in Springfield, Illinois. If we ever manage to take Caleb to Springfield, Illinois, he will be SO EXCITED.

Lego Queen Elizabeth II

Lego Queen Elizabeth II

going into the map

going into the map

Lego C3-PO  or is he R2 D2? I'm sorry. I only saw the movie once.

Lego C3-PO or is he R2 D2? I’m sorry. I only saw the movie once.

Daniel really studied this Lego Star Wars character hard.

Daniel really studied this Lego Star Wars character hard.

You could play Legos all day at Lego Land, if that's what you are looking for.

You could play Legos all day at Lego Land, if that’s what you are looking for.

We joke that Daniel talks like Yoda, so we couldn't pass up this photo op.

We joke that Daniel talks like Yoda, so we couldn’t pass up this photo op.

I don't even know. I should really go watch Star Wars again.

I don’t even know. I should really go watch Star Wars again.

Chewbacca

Chewbacca

Fair games! Alan and the boys spent $10 trying win "Kevin" the Minion. Alas, it was not to be.

Fair games! Alan and the boys spent $10 trying to win Kevin the Minion. Alas, it was not to be.

Peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo

the day the toddler figures out how to do stroller peek-a-boo, all by himself

the day the toddler figures out how to do stroller peek-a-boo, all by himself

We spent the week stuffing ourselves with bad food.

We spent the week stuffing ourselves with bad food.

Fascinating Lego Italian man

Fascinating Lego Italian man

We had lunch at a pizza place, and this Lego man often spoke up, inviting passer-by to come eat his Italian food. Boys kept crowding around him, trying to figure out how he talked.

Duplo Center!!!  A big hit with the under 4 crowd.

Duplo Center!!! A big hit with the under 4 crowd.

JD, mixing it up.

JD, mixing it up.

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They were a little lost without their big brothers, and Daniel was so tired he just kept laying down on everything.

They were a little lost without their big brothers, and Daniel was so tired he just kept laying down on everything.

For 20 minutes or so, we split big boys and little boys up into two groups so that they could do age appropriate activities. JD LOVED the Duplo play area. Daniel, on the other hand, missed his brothers and kept laying down. I think he really needed a nap.

JD was hilarious, and JD is truly a toddler than I am proud to take out in public. (I’m proud of all the boys, but for a toddler, I just think JD is really great. I’m his mother, after all.) He is so friendly. He kept checking out creations that bigger kids had made, taking people blocks, putting together a few blocks himself, and just having fun.

creating together

creating together

Just hanging on to the rails was even fun.

Just hanging on to the rails was even fun.

I love rides that the whole family can do.

I love rides that the whole family can do.

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There were very few rides that JD was allowed to ride. Not being 34 inches tall really held him back.

Look! Look!

Look! Look!

Don't fall!

Don’t fall!

Lego Mount Rushmore

Lego Mount Rushmore

movie set

movie set

We were all impressed to get to go in and see the ACTUAL Lego Movie set! This is the only place that you can see it.

actual movie set

actual movie set

helicopters!

helicopters!

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There were a few terrible moments when we lost Caleb in the crowds. We all agreed to head towards the boat ride, but the rest of us got distracted by the Splash Park. Caleb zoned in on heading to the boats and didn’t notice our sudden detour.

Nothing like a little emotional scarring on vacation. Poor Caleb was shaken up for sure, but we did find him  fairly quickly, and then he did get to do the boat ride.

Daniel took me by surprise on that boat ride. JD was napping in his stroller, and I was taking it easy on a bench. Suddenly, my phone rang. It was Alan. “April, can you come get Daniel? We’re still in line, but he has to go to the bathroom right away.”  This was a forever long line. Groan. Poor Daniel. I took him to the bathroom, and he arrived back to the line just as Alan, Joshua, and Caleb were climbing into boats. Daniel melted down. He so badly wanted to ride those boats! It was called “Skipper school.”

So I waited for them to finish the ride. Then Daniel and I waited in the slow, long line, again, and whoa! That boy can DRIVE! He passed not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR other drivers! I was in the boat with him, but he insisted on doing the driving.  Three of the other drivers were adults! One said, as we sailed past them, “This is nothing like driving a car.”

I laughed. Who knew? Go, Daniel!

Meanwhile, Alan and the boys were shopping at the “Big Store”. We were happy to join them. Shopping in the Lego Store was exciting the FIRST day, not so much the second day. I’ll tell ya more about that tomorrow. Let’s just say that I now know what men in shopping malls must feel like.

our loot, and my purse, which is so dirty after this trip that I need a new one.

Here’s our loot, and my purse, which is so dirty after this trip that I need a new one.

Exhausted but happy children

Exhausted

our whole family, with Emmett.

our whole family, with Emmett.

Come back tomorrow, and I’ll tell you about Day 3: Lego Land Water Park! No one complained on Day 3. The water park was a huge hit, and John David didn’t even get wet. Ha! He is one funny little man. He was most excited about the just-his-size lawn chairs! :)

“Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Everything is awesome!!!”

 

Destination: San Diego, Day 1. Bringing Happy Back.

another sighting we can check off our bucket list...which doesn't exist. We have no list.

Here’s another sighting we can check off our bucket list…which doesn’t exist. We have no list.

I have never been so badly in need of a vacation as I was this Spring Break. Actually, I’ve lived in need of a vacation since June 2013. I promise I wasn’t always this tired and whiny.

There were actually lots of years where I felt relaxed and happy. Here’s a photo from one of my happy/relaxed phases. I was busy, but it was a healthy level of busy:

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2012. Alan had just returned home from Afghanistan. The boys were happy at their school, and I was in the process of whipping my body back into shape again. Life felt GOOD.

I want to get back to that healthy level of busy, but happy again!!!  Forget this overwhelmed, stressed, and slightly homesick version of April. I am busting out of this. I know I can do it. This vacation felt like the first step.

Actually, I take that back. When Jennings visited, that felt like the first step. Jennings said something that reminded me that some changes have been for the better. She said, “You are so different now than back when you had two kids, just a few years ago. You’re so much calmer now.” (or something like that)

That’s true. I am calmer. Our whole act runs a little smoother, which is kind of bizarre because there are even more boys now. A lot of that is just experience. Toddlers get a lot of forgiveness, and when in public, that’s what strollers are for.

Alan has also been asking me what we could do to get that “happy, outgoing” April back.

Mostly: Finish my first year of teaching. I didn’t enjoy teaching when I tried it in the public school, and I haven’t LOVED it this time either. I DO love being with my boys all day. I adore my boys; however, I’m not so sure I will be a home school mom forever. We all have different callings in life. What’s important is that I fulfill my God-given purpose. How long that will include home-schooling, I’m just not sure yet.

 

I have a few goals for this last 9 weeks for getting “happy, outgoing April” back:

1. Exercise every single day. I saw pictures of myself from the rear on this vacation. It wasn’t pretty. I tend to put on inches when I’m bummed, and that’s been happening.

2. Finish lesson plans!!! If I can get this done, I will feel so much happier.

3. Alan wants me to start “entertaining friends” and “hosting” again. We’ll take a stab at being more social.

and 4. Plan summer and fall vacations, because man, are they important!!!

OKay. I know. That’s not what you came here to read about. You wanted to see San Diego, right? Well, Day One was really just a road trip. It was 10pm when we rolled into San Diego. However, I DO have Los Angeles photos, so aren’t you glad you stopped by? ;)

Day One:

Sunday

We started out by letting Daniel open one last birthday present:

Dan was not as excited about his Big Hero 6 gift as we'd hoped. "Thank you," he said politely.

Dan was not as excited about his Big Hero 6 gift as we’d hoped. “Thank you,” he said politely.

 

all four brothers

all four brothers

Alan had this trip planned out military style. He printed out papers, in a binder, of a detailed agenda for every single day of the trip! He even researched restaurant options and routes through LegoLand and the San Diego Zoo, to optimize our vacation experience.

Caleb was fascinated with the "humongous" leaves on whatever this plant is. DaddyO? Can you name this plant?

Caleb was fascinated with the “humongous” leaves on whatever this plant is, in Los Angeles. DaddyO? Can you name this plant?

Can you see the forms of the people, standing on the hill to get a look at the Hollywood sign? There were THOUSANDS of people at this observatory. It was insane.

Can you see the forms of the people, standing on the hill to get a look at the Hollywood sign? There were THOUSANDS of people at this observatory. It was insane.

Alan planned for us to stop at an Observatory in Los Angeles, from which you can see the Hollywood sign. What we didn’t realize was that this is apparently “the place” to be at sunset, so the crowds and parking were INSANE.

Not only did I have to drive in LA, against my better judgement, but I had to drive up the hills to this observatory thing and find parking. Ugh. We did a quick driver switcher-oo for the parallel parking portion. I am so bad at parallel parking!

Oh, and as I was anxiously driving the 8 lane highway through LA, Daniel suddenly let out a “WHOOO-YEAHHHH!”

“Daniel! What in the world are you yelling for?”

Daniel grinned sheepishly, “LegoLand. Me excited ’bout LegoLand.”

Ah.

LA skyline, smog and all

LA skyline, smog and all

The Observatory, from which you can see the actual stars, as well as the Hollywood sign.

The Observatory, from which you can see the actual stars, as well as the Hollywood sign.

sunset over Los Angelos

sunset over Los Angeles

lots of palm trees throughout Los Angelos. I think this photo was taken on Melrose Avenue.

lots of palm trees throughout Los Angeles. I think this photo was taken on Melrose Avenue.

all tucked in for bed I think they lasted in one bed for 10 minutes. Then Joshua moved onto the couch fold-out bed.

all tucked in for bed
I think they lasted in one bed for 10 minutes. Then Joshua moved onto the couch fold-out bed.

One great thing about having four children is that it forces you to get nice hotel rooms. We stayed at a suite that could comfortably sleep six. We experimented with bunking Joshua and Daniel together, so we wouldn’t have to unfold the sofa bed. That lasted all of ten minutes.

This road trip was an amazing success. All children were well behaved, quiet, and excited. There were no traffic jams, car problems, or accidents. We even pulled into a “full service” gas station where they pumped our gas and washed our windshield for us, old school style. We never even got out of the car.

Come back tomorrow, and I’ll actually tell you about the vacation! ;)

Today I’ve been cycling mountains of laundry, uploading photos, studying the book of Luke, and WORKING OUT. That’s right. I did 30 minutes of P90x, because “ain’t nobody” got time to exercise for 90 minutes. ;) Meanwhile, I’m sure my arms will be killing me tomorrow.

We are bringing happy April back!

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“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Genesis 4:6-7

Daniel thinks that I am April O’Neil.

I have got to order this mini-chef his own apron!

I have got to order this mini-chef his own apron!

Today Daniel turned four. I asked him what kind of cake he’d like for his birthday. In the very early years of parenting, I always bought the boys grocery store cakes with characters on them. There were a couple of years I even tried to make super pretty cakes–Caleb had a really impressive train cake two years in a row.

But decorating cakes is a giant weakness for me. I’m just not good at it, so I resorted to buying grocery store cakes again and just sticking some toys on top of it.

This past year the boys became disillusioned with the grocery store cakes and started asking me to make their cakes. I make cakes all the time, but they are very simple and undecorated. I make the little round cakes. That’s what we like.

So I was expecting Daniel to ask for that too. Wrong.

“Me make my cake myself!”

“Oh! OKay, sure, Daniel.”

Alan took him to the store to pick the ingredients. St. Patrick’s Day stuff lurked everywhere, so Daniel gleefully chose GREEN cake, white icing. Pretty fun, huh?

He really likes to pour all the ingredients into the bowl and stir, so I let him do all of that. He normally helps crack eggs, but this recipe called for egg whites only, so I had to just let him watch that part.

He seemed very happy with it, so we were too. It actually turned out to be quite delicious!

The birthday boy was so happy tonight that it took him forever to go to sleep. Do you know what Daniel said to me tonight, as I tucked him into bed for the second time?

“Mom, what’s your name?”

“April.”

“Like on the Ninja Turtles. You’re April. You know the Ninja Turtles,” he giggled, “Donnie. Ralph! You know Ralph, Mom! What’s he say, Mom? All the Ninja Turtles…”

He was so sleepy he was practically delirious, so I only understood every other word or so, but he was quite happy and excited to discover that his mother is none other than the famous April O’Neil.  I just smiled and told him good-night, as he went on and on and on about April and the turtles.

He had a great day. We all did. This morning I woke up to the sorts of sounds that send mothers straight into euphoria:

Caleb asked me, while I was still in bed, “Mom, would you like some coffee?”

“I would.”

Then I heard him asking Alan, down the hall, “Dad, can you show me how to make coffee? Mom wants some.”

I heard Joshua shout out, “I started a load of blacks!” (Laundry. I’ve told him they’re called darks and lights, but for some reason he says blacks. It’s sort of like when I tell him to say his times tables. Instead of saying “4 times 8″, he says “4 ‘x’ 8″. Try explaining it. I’ve given up.)

“Did you use laundry detergent?” Alan shouted back.

“What? Oops! Oh yeah!” he said as he ran back down. Hey, that’s okay. The boy is doing laundry.

It was not so hard to get out of bed this morning, thanks to these wonderful sounds.

Here are a few photos from our day:

 

Who wouldn't love a giant stuffed sea otter?

Who wouldn’t love a giant stuffed sea otter?

Caleb reading to JD make me so happy I just can't even begin to express it!

Watching Caleb read to JD makes me so happy I just can’t even begin to express it!

more because I'm obsessed

more because I’m obsessed

This is as good as it gets here. Dan was very happy.

This is as good as it gets here. Dan was very happy.

Alan found these number gummies to decorate Dan’s cake. Daniel is obsessed with writing numbers and letters everywhere right now, so he was delighted.

I have got to remember to take a picture of all of his little writings. He does really well with the letters we’ve worked on. A lot of the others look sort of like Hebrew or Arabic. It’s so adorable.

a brotherly birthday party

a brotherly birthday party

Something was exciting. I don’t remember what.

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I love it when he has this look!

I love it when he has this look!

 

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Success.

Success.

I’d better go. Donatello needs me to help him fight the Krang.

Yep. That’s me all right. ;)

The Broken Phone, The Aquarium, and the Cat

Good-bye, Phone.

Good-bye, Phone.

As you can see in this picture, when it comes to my husband, I have no room for complaints. The man is clearly dressed to work. Meanwhile, he’s also wearing a kitchen towel on his shoulder. He’s trim and fit, helpful, kind, funny, and a wonderful Christian example for all.

My grandfather gave me only one piece of advice my whole life: “April, never marry a man who doesn’t work.” Good advice.

Alan does work hard. I wouldn’t even mention this at all. O wait. I mentioned it on both of my last blog posts.

The Mommy Reality Challenge this week is “What’s broken?” I’m co-hosting this week, so I can’t just not participate, and there is ONE thing around here that is very much broken.

Not Caleb’s teeth anymore! Those were fixed up quite nicely. So that just leaves my smart phone. :(

Alan broke my phone. Was it his fault? Not really. He borrowed it, and it stopped working. Now I’m sad.

Do you know what else is broken?

Joshua. His face became so swollen by poison oak today that we had to take him BACK to the doctor. She gave us a fresh, 15 day supply of steroids. Hopefully, we can still enjoy our upcoming vacation!

But do you know what is not broken?

Everything else. We have a great life. I feel guilty even complaining about the phone thing. So what if I don’t have good internet access on my phone right now? So what if I am not very good at working this old phone from the Stone Ages. ;) (2012. It’s from 2012. It’s important to play up the drama so that Alan will help me get a new phone.) Does anyone have a recent phone they’d like to sell me that’s more like from 2014?

I can’t say all of my kids are exactly healthy right now, but I will say that they are all happy. Praise the Lord.

Here are a few more photos of the great time we had at the aquarium last week…..before Alan broke my phone and before Joshua rolled in the poison oak:

Joshua asked, “Excuse me. May I touch this?” I was so proud I wanted to hug him, but 9 year olds prefer that you not do that in public, so I refrained.

 

Daniel petted the sting ray. (Petted will never sound like a word to me, but apparently it is.) Yay, Daniel!

Leopard sharks!

This computer gives you a stingray’s view of the aquarium. Pretty nifty!

I’m horribly ashamed to admit that I was so busy tracking JD, I did not find out what kind of fish this is. Anyone?

Daniel is checking out another fish that I do not know the name of. Oh, the shame.

Everyone that visits the Monterey Aquarium should eat there and enjoy this view. It was worth the extra dollar I had to run out and put in the meter.

blurry otter

JD was super excited about these fish. He said it over and over again. Fiss! Fiss! Fiss!

And one last funny……Only in California, will you run into CVS and be greeted by this:

cat on the Easter aisle…play it cool? No way. I’m taking a picture of this.

Apparently this cat also has his own Facebook page. Sorry, I don’t know the name of it.

Gotta love California. ;)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you;

Never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

 

Come enter the challenge……

 

Click and done! Thanks!

 

April is Co-Hosting This Mommy Reality Challenge!

Welcome Pee Wee

…Hmm?! Oh -erm.. sorry, don’t mind us! We were just making good use of our time while waiting for you to open the latest Mommy Reality post!

But now that you’re here, welcome to the latest edition of Mommy Reality hosted by:

Jen from JENerally Informed and Celeste from Leapfrog and Lipgloss!!!

ombre mommy reality 5

If this is your first time hearing about the Mommy Reality Challenge we are so glad you are joining this great community of moms who participate in our bi-weekly challenges that showcase all the fun, crazy, and sometimes overwhelming moments that are in every mom’s life!

Please don’t just read. This is an INTERACTIVE post! Come join in all the fun!

The Rules are Simple!

  1. We will announce the theme.
  2. You will write a post or take a pic, post it to the social media account of your choice with the hashtag #mommyreality and then link it up to this blog post!
  3. Then in two weeks, we will announce our favorites and award a meme to the winner. The winner can then co-host the next challenge with us!

Just a little background on how our challenges are selected- Jen and Celeste take turns writing the post and creating the winning meme from the last challenge.

This week it’s Celeste’s turn! So, let’s get down!!

Pee wee dance

Last week, Jen asked us all to look out our windows and snap a photo of our view! We saw some gorgeous backyards in all kinds of weather, but there can be only one winner!

The winner of Mommy Reality Challenge 31: A Room with a View is…

Jennifer of The Deliberate Mom!

Last week… a beautiful thing happened. A Target shopping cart happened to roll along the walkway outside Jennifer’s townhouse when she looked outside the window to snap a pic, and I was so jealous because I love Target, that I had to declare her the winner!

So, Congratulations, Jennifer! Here is your meme, and we hope you join us in two weeks to co-host with us!

one direction gif

Deliberate Mom Meme

I know you are

Our runner-up position goes to Patty from A Mother’s Random Thoughts because- well- this was her view outside:

motherrandomthoughts‘Nuff said.

Thank you to all of the participants of this challenge (we had some really great ones!) and special thanks to our fabulous co-host Gingi from Domestic Geek Girl!

You can check out all of the other Mommy Reality memes on on our tumblr page.

Now It’s time for a NEW Mommy Reality Challenge and Co-host!

Meet the Mommy Reality Team!

jen button

Jen from JENerally Informed:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest

 

Leapfrog and  Lipgloss

Celeste from Leapfrog and Lipgloss:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest

Welcome to our Co-Host!

April From Stories of Our Boys!

AprilBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | Pinterest

April is no newbie to participating in Mommy Reality challenges. She won ‘Dat Look Mommy Reality Challenge and we’re excited to have her co-hosting with us!

A little about April: She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and is is a stay-at-home mom to her 4 sons. Impressively, her blog is the #1 ranked homeschooling blog on Top Mommy Blogs! You’ll want to make sure to swing by Stories of our Boys to say hello!

Now it’s time for a NEW Challenge!

Mommy Reality Topic Logo

Hey Kids… Mommy Reality 32’s theme is:

Pee Wee Herman Word of the Day

Whenever you see the theme around the house, scream real loud!

C’mon! Let’s try it!

Broken Cartoon

Broken Faucet

AhhhPeeWee Ahhh


Now It’s your turn to share!

[Tweet “Come share what’s broken with @QueenmomJen @FrogandGloss @AprilandAlan #mommyreality“]

For this challenge we want to see something that’s broken around your home! Maybe posting about it will motivate you to fix it, yeah?

You have 2 weeks to complete this challenge!

You can share the pic in a post or on your favorite social media outlet.

Don’t forget to grab our super-nifty button!

Mommy Reality Ombre Button

✔ *By submitting your pic, you are giving the Mommy Reality Team permission to use your photo to create a special silly meme for you if you win! :). If you win and you’re a blogger, you also have the opportunity to be our co-host!

✔ **The Mommy Reality team and our special co-host are VERY diligent in pinning, posting, and sharing the link-up participation every week, so make sure to follow us on our social media channels so you won’t miss out!

We encourage you to visit a couple other Mommy Reality participants in the link-up and leave meaningful comments! The best part of this link-up is that we’re a community of real moms with a sense of humor about ourselves!


How in the world are you going to home school?

We have so much more fun when company comes!!! This was the train ride through the redwood forrest.

This past week had the potential to be a total nightmare. This is “Finals Week” of the 3rd quarter for Alan, and I’m the kind of person that can only handle all four of my own children, by myself, for so long.

Enter the in-laws. Their timing was perfect. Well, for me it was anyway. They probably would have liked to have spent more time with their son, sure, but I really just needed someone to take my mind off of the nights that Alan had to work late and the cabin fever.

Caleb, soaking in the sights and smells of the forests– and searching for banana slugs. We love banana slugs.

Big shout out to DaddyO and Nonna for helping out this week and for allowing us to drag you around northern California. We had a great time.

Oh! And best of all, Caleb has two whole front teeth again!!! That’s right! Alan and I both got to be there for the oral surgery. DaddyO and Nonna kept the preschoolers and the home schooler. Caleb handled it all really well, and as of today, he can’t even remember it. It’s amazing what good drugs can do.

As I mentioned before, my phone bit the dust, so I have no beautiful Caleb photo to share. :(

I don’t think Nonna and DaddyO were quite aware of just how stressed out Alan and I were when they arrived, just 8 days ago, but I think that by the time they left, they were thankful they never had to home school their children.

Bahahahahaha

Okay, so really I’M the one that lives seriously stressed out. I think Alan is fine.

DaddyO and Nonna

Nonna gave me some great organizing tips for home schooling. She was a teacher for 20 years, so I’m always happy to get ideas from her. She also maintains an AWESOME Pinterest board for me, full of teaching tips and home schooling ideas. It’s called “Donna Recommends.” Check it out here:

https://www.pinterest.com/aprilmomoffour/donna-recommends/

Thank you, Donna! :)

We only have ONE QUARTER of our first year of home schooling left to get through. I remember when I first decided to home school. I didn’t want to tell any of my friends in Virginia. Why? Because I knew that as the people who see me everyday, they knew me well enough to know that it didn’t make much sense. I’m a social person with social children. I have four boys who like to wiggle about and have fun. I have a toddler in the mix that needs a lot of attention, so I was practically attempting the impossible.

And I knew my friends would let me know it, so I tried to keep my home schooling ambitions a secret.

You should have heard my friends at supper club.

“Are you SERIOUSLY going to home school? How in the world are you going to do that?”

*Insert feeling of sheepish embarrassment.* I knew they were right. They knew they were right. This would be hard. This would be a little crazy. This would be way out of my comfort zone.

Several people lately have asked me, “Why do you homeschool?”

I throw out this reason or that, mostly stuff about my children’s education and being a control freak. (Ha!) I wanted to help Caleb with reading and Joshua with math. I didn’t want my children to constantly change schools, creating insecurity. I wanted them to have a Christian education rather than a secular one. I wanted to pull them away from so much materialism and worldliness. I just wanted to try it, and Alan was in agreement with me about all of this.

But really there was one big reason. I prayed about it, and God said, “Home school your kids.”

I prayed that four years ago, when Joshua started Kindergarten, and God said, “Send them to school.” Different season, different circumstances. God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, which he has given to all who have accepted Him. He lives in our hearts.

“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant which I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

Hebrews 10:15-17

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”             John 16:12-15

So sweet! Alan still found plenty of time to have fun with us. :)

Home schoolers do take the coolest field trips.

I’m just following where the Lord leads. Yes, He gave me more than I can handle. From that, I have learned to rely on Him more and to talk to Him more. I may not always home school, but I hope that I will always simply follow where the Lord leads our family.

 

 

Thank you!