Wednesday, August 23, 2017

And just like that, they are back to school!


We had a pretty good summer.  Actually, all things considered, we had a great summer.

A few of the things we did:
go on a vacation
go to california
go on a hike
walk around silver lake
attend a rodeo
take swimming lessons
take tennis lessons
swim at great grandpa's
play in soccer tournaments
light fireworks
go to a REAL soccer game
movies in the theater
grandma camp
hang out with uncle willie
go to the zoo
watch a total eclipse
lunch at waffle love

See, not such a bad list.

The boys school is starting on a traditional schedule this year which meant we got 7 uninterrupted weeks of summer vacation.  The first four were great, the last three we struggled now and again.  I have however made a mental note that next year, we've got to have something to get us up and going every week (lessons, activities, etc.) because some of the dog days of August drug on pretty long.

But, the boys got along so well with each other.  I was just really happy.  There is such nostalgia in my mind for summer vacations - I really hope that when my kids are older, they cherish their summers like I did mine.

That being said, today was the first day of school.  Elliott started 5th grade, Wyatt 3rd grade and Quinn his third and final year of preschool.  It's nice to be sitting in a totally quiet house, but I already miss my 3 amigos.  Maybe that's a movie they are old enough to watch?  Ha!

The boys have each grown up so much, both literally taller and more mature since the beginning of the last school year.  It's hard for me to watch Elliott grow up, because he's the first and that kid and I just click these days.  I always hope that he is my buddy and my friend and my helper.  Wyatt?  I will worry about Wyatt until the day I die, and then worry in heaven some more.  But, like his dad says, Wyatt is a smooth kid, he's lucky and charismatic and makes good decisions.  Even if he has a life threatening allergy to peanuts.  And Quinn, he turns FIVE next week.  He has informed me that he is no longer my "little squish" and that he will commence growing up.

Where is Peter Pan, Never land and the lost boys when I need them in real life?  I need to freeze time a little bit.  Things are so fast-paced for us these days.  So many places to go and things to do, no wonder we all sleep so well at night.  Ross and I have talked at length about how, right now, we are in a sweet spot with our family and oh, is it sweet.  We have our disagreements and occasional tantrums (parents included), but life is good and we are happy.

I love these boys so much. I wish they'd slow down a bit, but they won't and I'd better just learn to keep up.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Total eclipse of the heart...I mean sun

For about an hour yesterday, I had all my boys at a park by the library staring up at the sun, watching it be eclipsed by the moon.

Did I play "Total eclipse of the heart" very loud and sing it to my children and husband?

Yes, yes I did.

From our location, it got darker.  We weren't in the "path of totality" and got about 90% shade, but we went from full sun and heat to dusk and 15 degrees cooler.  I totally wish that we would have been the family that drove to see the eclipse.  But, maybe we can do it in 2024.

The boys thought it was cool, when they weren't wrestling and crotch grabbing and rolling down the hill at the park.  Mostly, I think they paid attention only because I told them that we'd get lunch after.  So, thanks, In and Out!





Wednesday, August 09, 2017

We went to California, Part 3


Well, since the trip had included an event for Ross (soccer), for the big boys (Harry Potter) we figured we'd better do something just for Quinn.  That meant on our last full day of vacation, we would drive to San Diego (and get there faster than it took us to get to Universal) and take Quinn to Sea World.

We'd been watching Sea World commercials on TV for a while, and Quinn seemed pretty into it, but he was so excited once we got there.  He got a map, and we let him direct the day - wherever Quinn wanted to go we went.  We started with the dolphin show, then crossed the park to the penguins and arctic animals, then crossed the park again to the seals and sea lions.  He had us marching back and forth all day long.  We walked more at Sea World than the previous day at Universal Studios.  Phew!

There were some definite highlights of the day.  In no particular order:
Walrus are insanely huge and gigantic animals and it was fun to see one so close.


The boys fed sea lions - they touched dead fish and Elliott had a fish stolen out of his hand from a very daring bird.



We saw a sea lion, killer whale, dolphin and sea turtle poop in the water.  Always a highlight of any boy experience.

Quinn grinned ear to ear the entire Orca show.  Killer whales are amazing majestic animals.  They were my favorite.  I could have sat and watched them swim all day long.




Ross and the big boys rode the big rides - getting soaking wet on one of them and Quinn thought it was pretty funny that his dad looked like he'd pee'd his pants.


The boys touched horseshoe crabs, small sharks and other sea creatures.

The sea lion show was fun and the boys saw baby hammerhead sharks.

One thing that I thought was pretty cool at Sea World had nothing to do with aquatic creatures.  If you buy a souvenir cup at the park, you can refill it for free at any self-serve food kiosk for the entire day.  We bought two $12 souvenir cups (with lids and straws) and easily filled each of them 10 times.  That was a bargain!

San Diego is a great town.  The weather was a perfect 73 all day.  The park wasn't too crowded and the lines for attractions weren't too long.  Sea World is really a great way to spend a day.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

We went to California, Part 2

On the second full day of our vacation, Thursday I think, we headed to Universal Studios.  When we decided to take the trip for the soccer game, we figured that we might as well take a trip to Universal Studios so that Elliott and Wyatt's Harry Potter dreams could come true.  The night we told the boys about the trip, about a week before we left, Elliott looked like maybe he was going to stop breathing when he learned of the trip to HP land.

I'm pretty sure it didn't disappoint.

LA traffic is rotten, and it took us, no joke, 2 hours to travel I think 26 miles through the heart of LA and Hollywood to even get to the Universal Studios parking structure.  Man alive, LA traffic is bad.  We saw the Hollywood sign, the big planetarium on the hill, the Staples Center so it was a pretty interesting and scenic drive, especially looking at all the dejected and depressed single car drivers who have to sit in that traffic every single day of their lives.

But, as soon as we got out of the car and headed to Universal, it was worth it.  The boys were so excited.  A good friend of mine told us that we needed to head straight to Harry Potter, ride the ride and then get our wands.  Well, the main ride already had a 70 minute wait, so we skipped that, rode the smaller roller coaster and then headed to Olivander's wand shop's....line.  About 20 minutes later, we had the greatest experience of the day.

We were led into a small room and instructed that we would be entering another small room, and that it was imperative we listen to all instructions.  Once in that second room, we were met by a female wizard who talked to us about the importance of wand selection and that a wand chooses it's owner, not an owner choosing a wand.  As she spoke, she wandered the room, looking for a perfect young muggle/wizard to help select a wand.

She chose Elliott.  He didn't quite know what to do, and wanted to play it cool, but I know he was melting a little on the inside.  After three wands and three spells, Elliott found his wand and we were all released into the actual wand store which was very small and very crowded.  The other boys selected their wands, we paid for our wands and were on our way to cast magic spells throughout the park.  It was a pretty fun morning.




The rest of our day at Universal is a blur.  It was pretty crowded, very hot and sweaty, and very expensive.  It felt more expensive than Disneyland, but I'm not sure that it was - probably the same.  We rode all the rides the boys were big enough/old enough/mature enough to ride (no mummy and no walking dead).  We did the tram, saw some very strange people, listened to a lot of languages.

My "highlight" of the day was getting blasted in the face with a wall of water on the Jurassic Park ride.  My hair was drenched.  My make-up removed.  I was furious.  I might have cried a little and thought about marching to the front of the park and demanding my money back.  After I had to use a bathroom hand dryer to dry my hair a bit with a woman standing and staring and laughing at me the whole time, I finally calmed down a bit.  If the only person that throws a fit at a theme park is the mom, I guess you call it a good day?


We opened and closed the park, and the boys had fun so it was all worth it - even if I looked like a haggard old woman for the entire day.  I guess that means I'll do just about anything to see all my boys (Ross included) happy.



Thursday, August 03, 2017

We went to California, Part 1


Everything our little family does is done quickly and our vacations are no exception.  In the spring, Ross found out about a soccer game between Manchester City and Real Madrid being played in Los Angeles in the Summer and a trip was born.

We had three days, book ended by half days of travel, to get as much sight-seeing and fun in as we could.  Now, nearly a week later, I'm still tired.

We left on a Tuesday afternoon and I realized that we always leave for vacations, at least when we are flying, and it's really stressful so in the future, we need to leave in the morning or at least mid day, not 4 pm.

We arrived at the Long Beach airport.  We found the house we were renting and I had a mini panic attack that it was too hot and too musty and it wasn't going to work.  After dinner at Wahoo's I calmed down a bit.  It was a cute but very old house with bad wifi, no TV (even though it was promised and yes we complained), and one bathroom.  But, we survived.

Day two had us up bright and early in the morning to head along the Pacific Coast Highway to Crystal Cove State Park Beach.  It's my new favorite.  We had the beach to ourselves for a very long time and the boys had so much fun playing in the water, hunting for crabs and urchins in the tide pools and getting covered in sand.  We wrapped up the morning with a walk up a hundred or so stairs to Ruby's Diner Shake Shack and it wad delicious.  The beach is just so calming and great.





After that, we headed back to the house, got cleaned up and drove into Los Angeles to go to the LaBrea Tar Pits.  Pretty cool.  Smelled like asphalt.  Boys had fun.



We ate a quick snack at the Farmer's Market food place at the Grove shopping center, found a MUJI for me to buy notebooks to my hearts contentment and then headed to the soccer game at the LA Colosseum.

The Colosseum is incredibly old, outdated, unsafe, and gross.  The seats were rusty and had holes and were covered in spider webs.  Quinn wouldn't even sit in his and spent the first half of the game on my lap.  There were also no railings anywhere in the stadium.  When the stairs are THAT steep, and everyone is THAT drunk, you'd figure some railings would come in handy (get it, handy!) .   We however, persevered and watched the game.




We were directly across the aisle from a huge contingency of Man City fans, which made Ross pretty happy.  They were fairly calm the first half and we only endured a little rowdy behavoir.  That was however made up for in the second half.  People without seats in the section were filling the stairs (fire hazard), the 32 oz beers in souvenir cups were flowing and the borderline appropriate songs were being sung.  Once Man City was up 3-0, I convinced Ross that we could leave.  It was a pretty interesting experience and when I left to use the restroom in the middle of the second half, I ratted out all those crazy fans as a fire hazard to the first security person I could find.

Rule follower I am.

The great thing about going to a soccer match that doesn't start at 8:30 pm, when your kids brains thing it's 9:30 pm is that everyone falls asleep on the way back to the rental and minus the fact that the house was pretty warm, slept like babies for the whole night.

Day 1 was a victory!


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