Monday, December 27, 2010

The best park ever!

After leaving sunny California we headed back towards home by way of Las Vegas. We have some great friends who live there that have been asking us to come visit for several years. We arrived Friday night just in time for pizza and games. Upstairs in their house they have a great game area with on old style arcade game and foosball table and wii. The boys were in heaven. They also have 3 girls just around Charley's age so she was thrilled!

Saturday morning after breakfast we headed downtown. We started at the lion exhibit in MGM and then made our way down to the M&M and Coke factory stores. We had fun making our own M&M mixes, and tasting Coke products from around the world. Ronny was so excited they had the drink he was familiar with on his mission in Paraguay. I only wish they would have sold those various drinks so we could bring some home with us. The kids all enjoyed their own flavors of floats, even before lunch!

After that we headed over to the Belagio for the water show. The kids were amazed at the shooting fountains. Then we headed back to the car and drove over to Wendy's for lunch. That particular Wendy's has to be the absolute slowest "fast food" place on the planet! There was nothing fast about it.

When we finished up our friends took us to the most amazing park we have ever seen. Its one of those parks that truly makes you want to be a kid again so you could run and play on all the structures! I took lots of pictures to submit them to our HOA in hopes that one of the future parks could be modeled after this one. It was awesome!

The next morning was Sunday and we attended Sacrament meeting at their ward. They were having a youth program similar to the annual primary program every ward has. It was sooooo good! First of all their youth filled the stand and then some. (I have never seen so many youth in one ward!) The songs that were chosen were great and the spirit was overflowing! I'm so glad we were there for that and would even consider heading down next year just for that program! One of the songs was about Book of Mormon prophets (its called "How Can I Be" and you can find it on U Tube, the best is the one with the three missionaries with the ukeles sitting on the couch.). Our Sam sat right up and said, "I know who they are!" and was attentive the entire rest of the program with a smile on his face. You could just see that he was touched.

More Fish!

Our last full day of our California Adventure we headed out to the coast to take the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Papa even took the day off and headed over with us. What a treat! We stopped at Costco on the way in for lunch. Papa was so surprised you could get lunch there, its one of our fav's!

While waiting for a presentation on sea otters we sat in the theater and guessed at trivia questions about the aquarium. The kids were so funny up front trying to out do each other. When the presentation started we soon found out it was more questions but just about the otters. Each one of the kids came away with a sea otter book mark after answering a question. They were so funny!

There favorite part was touching sting rays, sea anemones, star fish, hermit crabs, and other sea creatures. They also enjoyed looking out the telescopes and finding dolphins and otters out in the bay.

Of course you can't end the day on the coast without dinner at Anderson's Pea Soup. The kids even ordered the pea soup and liked it. I guess I should know better by now. If its a vegetable and its green, it will be a hit with these kids. Next time maybe we'll leave a bit earlier and hit Casa De Fruita as well. I love that place!

We had so much fun with Nana and Papa and the house to ourselves, not that we don't enjoy cousin time, we just needed some good Nana and Papa time. The warm weather was great! We have one more year with all the kids being on the year round schedule so I would wager a bet that we'll be headed to CA next December as well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Decorations, Sewing, Letters, and Movies

While the big kids were out shooting, Ben and Mom and Nana headed to find a Christmas tree! Wednesday was spent decorating the tree and all sorts of activities centered around the farm. Nana taught Charley the basics of sewing and she was able to help with the quilt top for her new bedspread. She loved working in Nana's office on her quilt!
"Ben what are you doing?" "Making Mud!" Of course!
"Helping" Nana get the garden ready for winter planting. At least they are working together!
Sam's comment was so funny! "Its winter and its not even cold!" It was in the 60's while we were there, we couldn't have asked for better weather.
Anytime they could con Papa and Mom and Dad into allowing them to play the Ipad this is what we would find for hours. Angry Birds!
Ben opted for his standby, letters! He was fortunate enough to have Nana and Aunt Jennifer willing to sit with him and make words starting with each letter of the alphabet. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to do this with him its fun. He makes up "rules" about what kind of words to spell and then after you suggest one he'll come up with something else. He really likes to string the words together to make funny sentences. And now you know why he was reading at 2.

We ended the day taking the kids to see the new Disney film "Tangled". We all loved it! Each night before bed we had scripture time. Our goal this year was to complete the Book of Mormon. We are almost there. Nana and Papa were kind enough to allow us to continue on our schedule to allow us to stay on course.

"But Dad, I can't see!"

On Tuesday of our December adventures Papa took half a day off to take the big kids to the shooting range. After loading up the car with kids, rifles, and ammo they headed off.

(I wish I had some still pictures of this but I wasn't there and Ronny only had his flip so we only have video.)
Ronny and Papa gave the kids the "talk" about gun safety before getting started and had Sam take his new glasses off. Ronny proceeded to help the boys line up their sights and begin. He lined the rifle's up on their right shoulders and had them tip their heads over to look down the sights. Both Joseph and Sam kept moving the butt of the gun onto their chins so they could look through the sight with their left eyes. He quickly became worried that if they continues to do this they would break their jaws when they switched to bigger rifles. After a few corrections he finally realized their "good eye" was their left one and finally switched the rifles over to their left shoulder to make things easier.

Papa had each child make their own targets and each made three. After the second targets were made Joseph hit a bullseye. Sam wanted to hit one as well and so he thought that if he just made the bullseye larger he would have a better chance of hitting it. So, the next time targets were made Sam's bullseye was the largest thing on the target and after shooting he proudly showed off that he hit it 5 times! (Smart kid!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Adventures

Bright and early last Saturday we packed the kids in the car and headed south. Our plan was to drive until the kids were done being in the car. Surprisingly we made it all the way to our destination in CA, a total of 13 hours in the car. They were even pleasant travelers. We made it just in time for dinner at Nana and Papa's ward Christmas party.

Monday: We had planned to ride the Bart into San Francisco and visit the Exploratorium. Unfortunately that was closed on Mondays. We discovered that the California Academy of Sciences was open so we headed in. On the way we got turned around a bit and discovered we were at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. The adults laughed and the kids were confused. They asked why that was so funny and we told them they would learn about it when they were older.

This place was great! They had an aquarium, living rain forest, planetarium, and lots of animals to see and things to read and watch. They even had a reindeer that Sam was able to pet. Charley was picked to do an impromptu game show type thing and answered all her questions correctly. She one some great prizes that she kindly shared with her brothers. While we were there a film crew was taping a commercial for the asthma drug Advair, we thought that was somewhat ironic knowing how hard we worked to get Joseph healthy enough to come on the trip. We had a great day.

Breathing Blues

When the kids started school this year they began on a new track. This changed all their off track times and we soon discovered that they would have the entire month of December at home. This poses problems with a mother who usually uses that month to get ready for the Christmas holidays. With so much time at home we knew we would need to find lots of activities and things to keep them busy. Ronny also had lots of vacation time left for the year so we decided to head to warmer weather and visit his parents in sunny California and to see some good friends in Las Vegas.

Two days before our scheduled departure Joseph came down with another nasty cold which we were concerned would delay us. I called the doctor to see if we couldn't get things under control to still allow the trip. Every time we go in Joseph has his pulse ox taken to see how his lungs are functioning. I forgot to tell the nurse about putting the monitor on his left hand as he is now missing his right index tip. I looked over and the stats were reading in the 70's. I then told her to change it and she looked at me as if I was nuts as the other hand wouldn't give a different number. I then told her about the missing tip and she was surprised when she went to examine it.

The monitor was moved to the other hand and the numbers came up. He was hovering around 89 which is low. I then told Joseph to hold really still to see if we couldn't get the numbers in the 90's. It finally came up but maxed out at 94. Joseph asked me what a good number was, I said 100. He asked if it was possible to go higher, I laughed. After seeing the 94 I knew we were headed for more steroids and breathing treatments. Three weeks before he had another bad cold that kept him out of school for a week and came with a full round of steroids that barely got him through it. (So far he is not starting this winter off well!) The doctor gave him the green light to travel in two days so we came home put Joseph to bed and started the packing process. (The green light came only after I told her we were visiting Ron's parents and that his dad happened to be a physician himself, gotta love having a doctor in the family!)