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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vacation from Reality

We returned late last night from six days in sunny southern California.  The trip. Was. Wonderful.  It was a much-needed break from reality.  The weather ended up being absolutely perfect (70-80 degrees).  Our hotels (and their pools/water parks) were awesome and convenient.  The kids did really, really well with all the going, going, going.  To be honest, I didn’t want to come home. 
The trip did accomplish something – it was made very clear that I’ve missed my true calling in life.  I totally am/was meant to be Snow White at Disneyland.  I brought home a perfect coffee mug as a reminder.  There’s a picture of Snow White on one side (aka ME) and on the back it says, “Even in the morning I’m still the fairest one of all.”  True.
Zachary also has solidified his life plan.  In just my last post, I addressed Zach’s career plans.  Well, they’ve since changed.  He now has ambitions to be Peter Pan at Disneyland.  As his mother, I will do everything in my power to make sure his dream becomes a reality.  I mean how cool would it be to tell people that your son IS Peter Pan?!  (Plus, with my Snow White destiny, it’ll be a family business).
Zach got a jump on his competition.  Our last night at Disneyland (Wednesday), we camped out early on the curb for a great parade-viewing spot.  The crowds – as always – grew more and more massive as the start of the parade drew near.  I asked Zach if he would run some of our garbage across the street to the trash can.  By this point, they’d blocked off the road and very few people were walking down the street anymore.  Zach quickly ran across the mostly empty path, dropped our garbage in the bin and then made his way back to us.  However, instead of hurrying back to our spot, he did a robot walk down the middle of the street in front of tons of spectators.  It was VERY amusing and we could hear people chuckling around us.  When we told my uncle and aunt about it the next day, Uncle Phil said, “Well, I’m sure someone’s video of that has made it to YouTube by now.”  To which Zach responded, “I hope so.  I need to be famous.”  Project Peter Pan is off to a great start!
After our arrival to California last Sunday, we spent the afternoon visiting with Mike’s Dad Jim and stepmom Annelies.  They drove all the way over from the desert in Joshua Tree.  Our visit with Annelies had to be short because of her school schedule, but Jim allowed us to drag him all over the magic kingdom for two days.
Unfortunately, Disneyland wasn’t all magic.  It was wonderful, but we were VERY disappointed to discover that the ride that the kids and I were most looking forward to – Thunder Mountain Railroad – was closed…as was Splash Mountain AND It’s a Small World!!!  Are you kidding me?!!  The Indiana Jones ride broke down WHILE Matthew, Mike, and Jim were ON it.  Star Tours broke down right before we got on (after waiting in line for 30 minutes.  We did get to go back and do it later at least).  So, there were definitely some sucky let-downs, especially that first day.  BUT the night shows – Fantasmic, the fireworks, the parade and then the World of Color show at California Adventure were stinkin-spectacular.  I miss the magic already.  We’re already planning our (hopeful!) return visit in June 2015.  And those rides better be up and running or this Snow White may not be quite so cheery and pleasant.
On Thursday, we left Anaheim and went to the Santa Monica pier to meet up with my uncle Phil and aunt Helen.  Unfortunately, three days of amusement park magic had taken its toll and Kayliana was beyond cranky.  They definitely saw her at her most…spirited.  We rode the historic carousel, walked down the pier and ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp before parting ways.  We had a three hour drive (thanks to So-Cal traffic) down to Carlsbad where, on Friday, we visited Legoland.  The boys were SOOoooo excited to finally reach this destination.  Honestly, while it was fun, one day was definitely enough.  It’s small and there were quite a few rides that Kayliana wasn’t big/old enough to do yet.  Plus, one of the rides – again! – that we were most looking forward to (a smaller, imitation Splash Mountain-type) was CLOSED.  Annoying.  All in all though, it was a fun day!
Yesterday, we drove back towards LA, making a detour to visit Newport Beach.  The boys helped the “Bubble Man” make enormous bubbles.  Kayli danced along to the sounds of street musicians.  We ate Hawaiian shaved ice.  We got a good last dose of Vitamin D. We watched surfers and saw a seal swimming under and around the pier.  We bid adieu to the sunny Pacific Ocean.
Back to cold, gray Seattle and reality. Ahh, well. A vacation from it all was very nice while it lasted!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Valentine

Yesterday Zachary informed me that he had been thinking he’d be a scuba diver when he grows up.  However, upon reading an article about the recent rise in shark attacks, he’s rethinking that idea.  He also commented, “Um, and have you seen angler fish?! They’re just plain freaky.”
Last I’d heard he had his sights set on ninja-ing.  (A lucrative career, I’ve heard.  Or not).  So, this scuba profession was news to me.  But if his scuba plan doesn’t pan out, I think he may have a future in the massive, booming market of greeting card creation.
I gotta say, I was pretty touched when I saw this card he made for my mom and brother.  That kid is one heck of a Valentine.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Shoes are helpful!

Well, last night, we FINALLY, had our first ‘we-moved-up-to-the-top-of-a-big-ass-hill-slash-small-mountain-and-couldn’t-make-it-home’ snowy adventure!  We went to an Engaged Encounter dinner/meeting at some friends’ in Kirkland (about 25 minutes north of us).  We were startled when suddenly a rather large snowball hit the window.  Our boys and their ten year old, had looked out, discovered the snowfall (to which we were all completely oblivious) and made haste to get out there in their jeans and tennis shoes.

For some reason the first thing I said was, “Is it snowing?!”  Um, duh.  And just how much wine had Cathi poured for me?  She reassured me that it was “just a dusting.”

Right, but it might not be just a dusting at our house! Mike and I thought.  We’re definitely now (and have always been, I guess), the Seattlites who panic at the sight of a snowflake.  Agggh!  It’s Snowmageddon!

We quickly packed up and repeatedly told the kids we needed to leave.  Kayli had already changed into her footy pajamas.  (This is not surprising as she changes into footy pajamas about 12 times a day).  She started throwing a fit about having to leave, so I quickly picked her up and headed out to the car.  As I walked out the door with the yelling toddler, I called to Mike over my shoulder, “Don’t forget to pick up her shoes!” (In addition to all the food and stuff he was also carrying out). 

Well, that was dumb.

Mike drove carefully like the experienced snow-driver that he is.  However, there’s only so much awesome snow-driving one can do when you’re in a freakin-no traction minivan that spins out driving through the smallest puddle even.

We decided the only chance we had of making it up to our house was going the back way.  The ‘big’ neighborhood entrance hill is a HUGE, long, steep, freakin-big hill.  The ‘backside’ way to our house is a HUGE, long, not-quite as steep, freakin-big hill.  Um.  Yeeeah.  We didn’t even make it a ¼ of the way up.  We sat in the car for a few minutes debating our options.  Mike could walk/jog the 2 miles (up hill) home and get our all-wheel drive Honda CRV….however, we’ve been having brake problems (and desperately need to get those fixed!!), and that didn’t seem like the best idea.  He could walk/jog home and get the chains for the Honda, but we weren’t sure if they’d fit the minivan, and I really didn’t love the prospect of waiting in the car with the kids (Kayliana was already getting antsy just sitting there) only to have him get back, figure out the chains didn’t work and we’d have to walk home anyway. 

We concluded to just try the walk home with all of us.  The boys, of course, thought this was an adventure and were dying to get back out in the snow.  I reassured them that the walk wasn’t much longer than what we did trick-or-treating (lies).  It just happened to be two miles, up hill, in the snow, in their jeans and tennis shoes with coats but no hats or gloves.  What could possibly go wrong?

I put Kayli’s long sleeve shirt and jeans on over her pajamas to give her an extra layer.  I reached down to grab her tennis shoes…but they weren’t there.  They were still sitting back by the front door back at our friends’ house.  So, there we were with a shoeless three year old.  Mike carried her.  I loaded up with the bags of food our friends sent us home with.  (While it obviously would’ve stayed cold enough, I didn’t want to leave lasagna and garlic bread in the car for who-knows-how-long).  We locked the doors, bid adieu to our studly, manly, piece-a-poo minivan and began the steep trek.

 We’d probably walked three minutes.  I was already noticing that lasagna is kind of awkward and weirdly heavy to carry.  Mike had already switched Kayli from hip to hip a couple of times.  Maybe three or four all-wheel drive cars had easily sped by us up the hill on their way to cozy hominess.  Mike looked back to me and said, “Gee, it sure would be nice if someone offered us a ride.”  I kid you not, within seconds, an older couple in a swanky Lexus SUV pulled up and said, “Can we give you a ride?!”

For a silly reason (habit, I guess), I was automatically going to politely decline, “Oh, that’s OK.  Thank you though.”  However, for probably the first time in history, Mike – thankfully! – opened his mouth and beat me to speaking, “Yes, please! That’d be great!!”

These amazing people, who we’ve never met, drove us home.  We learned that they’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 15 years and have often ended up shuttling people (foolish people without a smart snow-car, like us) when a sudden snow hits.  They were wonderful.  Amazing.  Our heroes.

The snow’s let up.  It’s supposed to warm up today and turn into rain.  Mike’ll do a minivan rescue mission a little bit later.  And we’ve learned our lesson – get and keep chains in the van for future Snowmaggadons.  Oh, and also, make sure all three of our kids have shoes to cover their feet.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Seahawk Fever

I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but there’s this little football team called the Seattle Seahawks.  They’re kind of a big deal.  They sorta just won their first ever Superbowl.  Let me tell you, Seattle has Seahawk fever like CRAZY.  It’s bananas.  Today was the big parade in downtown.  700,000 diehard fans attended.  We did not.  But I did watch from the comfort of home. 
We are by no means diehard sports fans.  We enjoy them but certainly don’t live it, breathe it, like some do.  Really, the main reason I keep up (kinda-sorta) is because of my brother Chris.  He loves our Seattle teams.  He knows their stats.  He watches every game that he can.  Following the Seattle sports teams was definitely a bond that Chris and my dad shared.  I wanted the Seahawks to win the Superbowl…for Chris. 
And praise God, they did!  And extra thank God that it wasn’t a stressful game!  We just sat back and enjoyed like everyone else (minus the Bronco fans).  I figured becoming Superbowl champs meant it was time we become ‘legit’ and get some gear.  (Mike got a hat too but I didn’t subject him to the photo shoot).