Tuesday, August 12, 2014

summer vacay: part 3

after arriving home from our relaxing beach vacation, we got up the next day and headed to the mountains for a little family vacation with my dad and stepmom. i sure am thankful for my family and that this is something i look forward to doing. the kids love playing with their cousins and i love hanging out with my crazy bro & sis.

the cabin was beautiful, a little tight in the sleeping department for the age of kids that we all had, but after a few trial nights, we figured out a system.

we went on family hikes,

cousin huddle in a tree. we were on a pretty long hike in search of ice cave, but unfortunately we never found it. such a bummer. the kids were super troopers though, especially the little ones.

R finally caught his first fish!!! it was so exciting! we had hiked to a pretty small pond. the big kids were pretty sure that there were only around 10 fish in there. once we caught them, we thru them back. they were preeeeety small. they would bite in like 1.5 seconds. not the brightest species.
R was pretty pumped anyway.

 his sister not so much.

look at the size of it!! dinner for all!

D didn't mind it at all. she was helping unhook & throw back. that girl can do anything.

my little lion man. my dad called him raggedy andy.

we drove to a stable but found out the boys weren't old enough to ride. they were nice enough to let the kids walk around, pet & even sit on a horse. that was pretty exciting.

 the next day we took the kids to a different stable that kids were permitted to ride. R liked his mighty steed. he looked a little questionable to me. one of the eyes looked somewhat infected i.m.o.

i just love my little handsome cowboy.

next up, i took the bigger girls on an hour ride while paul stayed with the little boys. i got a little nervous. i used to love horses, but now i guess i value my health and questioned the risk i was taking. what if i fell off and broke a leg? what if one of the horses took off with one of the kids? what if one of the kids got hurt? for heaven's sake my horse only had one eye. what was with the eye epidemic going on here? what if our eyes got infected?
i decided to just go with it since the kids were so excited. i did insist that two wranglers go with us though.

it was a beautiful ride. the man from snowy river soundtrack was playing in my head.

sure enough D's horse was a little testy. he took off several times. luckily not too fast. she didn't seem too traumatized by it.

we had s'mores galore.

i captured this photo from the loft. my dad has interesting thoughts on babysitting....

 the kids fire safety abilities were questionable. it got a little lord of the flies-ish a few times.

R was thrilled to shoot grandpas bb gun. his favorite part of the whole trip though, he says, was when grandpa showed him a real bullet. more than s'mores, more than shooting the bb gun, more than catching that friggin fish paully worked so hard to line up... his favorite was simply looking at a real bullet.

as much as we dreaded heading back to the heat, it was time to go back and get ready for school. and our summer vacations had come to an end.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

summer vacay part 2: well actually part uno

 pdubs has always wanted to surprise the kids with a trip.
he loves surprises. 
me, not so much.
i like small, easy, private surprises.
like... surprise! i got a sitter lined up for tonight and i'm taking you on a date.
or surprise! i got you this chocolate or whatever.
you catch my drift?
nothing that involves other people or expected responses.
like surprise parties, trips, plans with people, clothing, etc. etc.

he/we decided to surprise the kids by picking them up at school on the last day, with the car already packed, and drive straight to the beach.

apparently most of the kids are like him, but one wasn't so pumped.

when turned onto the freeway indicating that were indeed not heading home,
they chilren started asking where we were going.

he delivered the line he has always wanted to say...

we are going to the beach!

wahoo!!! yay!!!! 

5, well 4 'cause the baby doesn't cheer yet, cheers and fist pumps and squeals of delight
filled the car.
but sadly one of the little angels was not so happy with this sudden plan change.
she cried and cried an cried and pleaded to go home.
we felt bad but then started to feel mad.

we kept our cool and waited for the storm to pass... and it did.

getting thru the toddler temper tantrum phase is nothing people. nothing i tell you.
just wait.

when we finally arrived at our destination, we had 6 very excited and happy and thankful kids.

we were only there 2 nights and pdubs found a great deal on a hotel on the bay.

it's kinda tight for 8 people in 1 hotel room, but we made it work.
that's how family memories are made, right?

we spent one day on coronado beach. 

i swear they did this on their own... i couldn't believe it.
but then i did believe it when i saw the one on the right trying her hardest to pull the whole group over. then the one in the middle trying to compensate the sudden balance shift by yanking the hands on either side as hard as she could.
luckily they were quickly distracted by some crabs
before anything or anyone went down.

baby J loved his first toe dip in the ocean.

this was right outside our hotel door. it was perfect for families. the kids were able to spread out a little and not be trapped in the room the whole time.

they finally rode the rollercoaster on the last day.
they were 2 for 2. 
2 loved it
& 2 hated it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

coffee date

A Mama Collective

i'm linkin' on up for a coffee date....

highs this week: it was a big one. BACK TO SCHOOL! i absolutely can not believe it, but i have a highschooler, a 7th grader, a 4th grader & a 2nd grader.

all the kids were up and ready to go. their enthusiasm about waking up early dwindled as the week went on. L seems to be adjusting to her new school and jr, high beautifully. it also seems to be working out for the best having them at school together. S helps L with latin and feeling confident in a new situation and L seems to be a good example to S in the ways of being organized and using time efficiently. one week down.... let's see how next week goes.

my 2 sweet friends and i established a tradition 10 years ago, having coffee on the first day that our girls started kindergarten. i love this tradition and i love that we have kept it up! we joked about having mimosas, the first coffee, 10 years ago, turned into breakfast which turned into mimosas which turned into time pick up the kids ... it was half day kindergarten, so those hours just flew by. but as the kids got older, our lives became busier, and the day drinking became less possible... haha. we planned to be spontaneous and have mimosas on our coffee date in 4 years when the girls start college!! yikes!!!

love these ladies so much....

 we took a little evening bike ride to burn off steam from the first day of school...

and i think R is happy having the house back to himself. well and the baby too. we have been reading, building, coloring, playing hide & seek, having quiet nap times for the baby (praise the lord.) don't get me wrong, i love my big loud family full of life, making the walls shake with mostly usually happy sounds, but it is nice to have some peace & quiet too... for a few hours anyway.

and mr. R starts his preschool this week too. he has an hour of meet the teacher this morning. he is in the same class with his cousin and bff. it's gonna be a wild boy class this year.

lows this week: we have already been to the pediatrician this week for 2 kids. well 1 that i made an appt for, the other i just pleaded for a quick peek into his ears. D had an intense tummy ache & a rash covering her whole body. and J had been crying and not sleeping every night. i figured he had an ear infection, but his ears looked perfect. so bummed. i hate having them cry it out at night, but this no sleep thing can make us all crazy. so we started the whole sleep solution thing again last night. it really sucks. but after several nights up feeding him and holding and rocking and still having him cry... i know he really just needs sleep to feel better. i only had to go in 3 times before he finally went back to sleep. i waited 5 min, 7 min & 10 min, reassuring him & rubbing his back and low and behold he finally laid his head down and went to sleep.
D seemed to be fine, we figured that her body was fighting off a little virus & the heat and sun & sweat from her soccer practices that started this week were causing the rash to intensify. she's pushing thru :)

stressing about house stuff. it's ripped apart and i'm not sure how it's all going to come back together. when things are so chaotic, it's kind of hard to know where to even start. i'm sure once we start getting thru this sleep deprivation and get some rest under our belts, things will look a little clearer. we have someone coming today (i hope they show up) to fix the drywall.

stressing about money stuff. the beginning of the school year is always so expensive. fees coming out our ears. plus with the house repairs... man oh man is it expensive to live.

special prayer intentions this week:
my friend kellie,
friends with sick kids,
world peace,
anyone suffering be it mentally, physically or spiritually,
safety for my mom, she's on another crazy fun adventure,
& my grandpa's upcoming 90th birthday.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

oxnard vacay... so worth getting past the name

after waiting a year for international flight prices to go down,
we were pretty bummed that a european trip
wasn't going to work out this summer.
i know, wah for us.
first world problems.

we talked and talked about where to go. we were planning on traveling with
another family.
we wanted to make sure that wherever we went could accommodate the 4 adults and 10 children
that would be in the party.
we seemed to be ruling out every idea.
too far, too expensive, too much work...
finally another friend suggested oxnard, ca.

we have a friend that has lived near there for years and had been telling us how cool it is.
the more people we talked to about it, the more great things we were hearing.
it's north of LA, so not too bad of a drive. 
it's not crowded, which is a huge plus because that's one of the things
 i dislike about going to san diego.
it has plenty of day trips to take.
we decided to try it out.

and i would definitely go back.

we started our trip meeting friends in las vegas for 2 nights.
we got to visit some of paul's cousins and have a swim party & bbq.
we had a great time at the hoffbrau house and even won a stein.

as we were headed to cali, we went to whole foods for breakfast and ran into kenny loggins. he really liked baby J's amber beads. we were a little star struck when we got back in the car and finally figured out who he was. i mean, i know who he is, but he didn't look anything like the long haired jesus i remember.

once we got to oxnard, we found our rental house exactly as the previous renters had left it. the cleaning crew had not been there yet. the owners got a crew there and offered to buy us dinner while we waited... all 14 of us.

here is the view from the rooftop... not bad!

we got the kids together and walked down to a recommended restaurant.

 it was a fresh seafood restaurant so we all went to town with the ordering. S ordered shark, she said it was on her bucket list.

halibut or sea bass or something.... whatever it was it was delicious.

it was really amazing traveling with our friends. the kids all got along for the most part. there were some toddler sqeamishes and occasional mini melt downs... but overall everyone was very well behaved.


yep... that's even a hug from the tweens!!
we spent every day except one on the beach. and we tried to literally stay all day. 
i don't know what it is about the beach, but my kids can play forever there.
they body surfed and dug sand tunnels for hours. plus having friends there made it all even more fun.

we took a day trip to solvang, a cute little dutch town.
we ate dutch food, had dutch chocolate, dutch ice cream and a dutch pastry called aebleskivers.
it was a mini european vacation...   

we decided to spend the rest of the time having beach time. the days seemed to be going too fast. we wanted as much relaxing ocean time as possible.
this baby loved the beach! he's an angel :)

we cooked dinner all but two nights. the kids had fun watching movies together, putting on shows, magic mainly but a few talent shows as well. they even led rosary at night together. the perfect calming activity.

 R was really into his disappearing arm trick.
back to the beach....

 the whole gang.

we were visited by dolphins everyday.

 and seagulls too... a little too close.

i found this delicious doughnut shop one morning. i used them to bribe the kids on the drive home.

after the kids were asleep, we were able to have some nice adult time. if you happened to be the first to doze off, you were punished appropriately.

so thankful for our time together and for such wonderful family friends to travel with!