Friday, July 15, 2011

They're home!!!

So my parents got home from their mission last week. They came home Wednesday night about 9:30pm. It was so awesome to see them. We didn't spend much time at the airport (they'd been traveling for almost 24 hours). Mainly just a hug and that's it.

But it's so wonderful to know that we are all in the same state and can call each other and not have to worry about different time zones. It's great.

Don't they look so wonderful. Mom had just dropped her name tag and Dad was helping her put it back on.

Here are the grandkids the night before Mom and Dad left. They are all so cute and little.

And here they are the night Mom and Dad got home. The shirts say "All Finnished" (a little pun on them going to Finland). Two of these kids had never met them before in their lives and two more were less than a year old when they left (less than 6 months in fact). It's so fun to see them all interact with their grandparents.

Welcome home Mom and Dad. We love you and we've missed you. But we are so grateful for the sacrifices you have made these last three years.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

San Diego part 3

After spending most of the day at the beach, we drove back to the hotel to rest a little. This basically meant everyone headed for the pool. Joseph was a little wary of going to the pool so we took a bath in the tub where he could control the depth of the water. By the time everyone got back from the pool they decided they were hungry and wanted to go to dinner. They also wanted to go see the San Diego temple since we didn't have time to go on Sunday. I was so tired (and so red) from the beach, I volunteered to stay behind while they went. Joseph had fun seeing the temple. They took a lot of pictures. I almost wish I had gone with them. But it was all I could do to drag myself across the street to Taco Bell. I would have died on the temple grounds.
Here are my boys being silly at the temple.

The next day (Tuesday) we went back to Sea World. Kallie wanted to ride on the Atlantis ride. Because it had been so cold Saturday, that wasn't even an option. So she and Merna headed off to get soaked. Joseph and Jace wanted to ride the kiddie rides again. Joseph rode the Elmo ride three times in a row. Only to be followed by the Oscar ride twice.

After the rides, the Sesame Street gang came out and sang a couple songs and then they were available for photos. Joseph had fun with Grover (he played with Joseph's hat making Joseph laugh heartily)
Here he and Jace are with Cookie Monster, Elmo and Zoie. They were so excited to see them.

Here Joseph is waiting for a dolphin to swim by so he can pet it. Josh and Kallie were able to touch them, but the rest of us didn't.

After petting the dolphins, we (Joseph and I) went to find his souvenir. He had thrown a fit on Saturday about a shark, so I thought that's what he would want. But he decided he wanted a killer whale (or a death fish, as he called it for a while). I think it's funny he wanted a killer whale since he slept through the whole killer whale show. But that's what he wanted, and he loves it.

He loved holding the starfish. He would have stayed here all day. He can tell you all about the legs and eyes that starfish have on their arms. Just ask him.

After our short day (ha, ha, we didn't leave until almost 6:00) at Sea World, we went out to dinner and took two very tired little boys (Jace actually slept all through dinner) home to bed.

The next morning we got up and packed. After our goodbyes we headed north.

I'm so glad these two get along so well. They had so much fun together. Joseph keeps telling me he loves his cousins Jace and Kallie. We're so glad he had company on vacation. It made it so much nicer for him.

Here are the two brothers. I think the one on the right is the cutest. Sorry Jake.

We drove to Anaheim (both families did, but Jake and Merna went to Disneyland and California Adventure. We just spent a couple hours walking around Downtown Disney)

Here is Joseph and his favorite sheriff.

Me with my cute boys.

Once we got to Disney territory all I could think of was my family. We plan on going to Disneyland sometime next year. I thought of all the trips (all two) I've taken with my parents and can't wait to be here with them again. I can't wait to be anywhere with them again. (Just a few more days til they come home) So this was a fun jaunt to think of my family.

Here's Joseph's first (and only) glimpse of the happiest place on earth. He wasn't to excited at this time, we were in the middle of a fight (he thought we needed to buy him some toys that were way too expensive for a little boy) But I sure enjoyed seeing that iconic train station.

We passed the Rainforest Cafe on our way back to the car just as the bird show started (it was just this lady sharing the story of this bird, but Josh and Joseph liked it).

That night we drove to Barstow. We spent the night and (after cruising for a bit on Route 66, sorry, no pictures) we headed for St. George. Upon reaching St. George we got checked into our hotel and unpacked, then we went swimming. In Barstow, we had gone swimming, but it was late (7:00ish) and we were tired. Joseph didn't seem too excited, but we got to St. George around 2:30 so we wanted to swim some more.

At first, Joseph didn't seem to excited. Josh would take him into the deep end and try to help him float. He wanted to spend more time in the hot tub than the pool. Finally he learned that his feet would touch the bottom in the shallow end. (At first, he wouldn't put his feet down at all), it took over an hour to get him out of the pool. We then walked to Iceburg for dinner (so yummy) Joseph fell asleep on the way and slept through most of the meal.

When we got back to the hotel, he didn't want to sleep alone in his bed (I think he was getting tired of being alone in big beds). So I laid with him for a while. When he fell asleep it was so cute we had to get a picture.

Here is my cute little sleeper. He had such fun and he was so good in the car. I love this little man.

My little reader.

Hiding from the camera.

It was so fun to go with my boys and spend time away from the normal. Joseph keeps talking about the killer whales, dolphins, sharks, starfish, sea lions, beach and ocean (ocean water is yucky)

Looking forward to our next vacation.

San Diego part 2

So Friday June 10 we woke up and left for San Diego. It was nice to leave Vegas in the morning and not deal with the traffic we had been stuck in the night before. We got to San Diego without much delay and checked into our rental.

I had found a cheap and (seemingly) nice rental online that was big enough for the seven of us (we met up with Josh's brother and his family). When we got there is wasn't as nice as it had shown in the pictures and I was a little disappointed but we were only going to be there nights to sleep so I didn't think much of it.

Our initial plan was to go to the beach that night after we all got there and unpacked, but Jake and family got stuck in traffic around L.A. so they didn't get there until after 5:00. By the time we got unpacked and did some food shopping, it was after 7:00, so we decided to feed our tired and hungry children and put them to bed.

Once we got everything settled we realized we had another problem. From the minute we unpacked the food, the ants came out and tried to make themselves at home. All our food was in bags or boxes, but the ant were crawling everywhere. Jake did everything he could to kill them, but they kept coming back. We decided to make the most of it, so we went on our way.

Saturday we went to Sea World. It was so fun. It was cold most of the day, overcast all but a couple hours, but I think the adults felt it more than the children. We went to the new Sesame Street Bay of Play and the little ones had a blast, Kallie liked it, but Joseph and Jace could have been there all day.

Here's Joseph on Oscar's Eel ride. It rocks back and forth and spins around. He was in heaven.

Joseph is pretending to be a sea lion. Don't they look alike?

This is at the dolphin show. One of the big jumps. Joseph loved watching the acrobatics of these amazing animals. You can see Kallie right in front of him (he looks like he's going to eat her nose). Joseph loved that he got to experience all of this with his cousins.

I think they are looking at a walrus (it swam out before I took the shot). Joseph and Jace could have stood here all day. It's so nice that they get along.

Saturday night we came home and cleaned up ants again. Then Sunday we woke up and they were in the middle of a festival. I swear, they doubled overnight. So we cleaned them up, got ready and went to church. It was so weird because I got to go to Relief Society. I haven't been in RS for about 3 years. It was so nice to sit and listen and not have to worry about shushing children or teaching a song.

After church we came home and the ants had tripled. Jake went off to talk to the landlord (we were in their basement) and we decided to leave. So Merna and I got on the internet and found a great deal at a Holiday Inn from We quickly packed and moved to an ant free zone. After getting unpacked we decided to salvage what was left of our Sunday and went to the Mormon Battalion site (totally worth it).

They have a presentation that takes you from Winter Quarters to San Diego and talks about the experiences the battalion had. There are many artifacts from the march, and all the stories come from journals kept by those on the march.

After the presentation they have a little courtyard where you can pan for gold (fool's gold of course), wash in a pump, and make bricks in an adobe oven. Again, the kids had a ton of fun. I think everyone on our tour were also members of the church trying to find something free to do on a Sunday.

Here are some pics from that.

Joseph and Jace making bricks while Jake and Merna watch.

Me and my hot man. It was so nice to spent a whole week with him. I am one lucky woman.

Posing out in front. "Jake, turn around"

It's located in Old Town and you wouldn't really think it was an historic site. It fits right in with everything else. But there is an amazing spirit here. I'm so grateful for those who sacrificed to be on this. It helped bless the saints and their westward movement in so many ways.

After we finished we went back to the hotel and ate dinner (thanks to the inventor of the slow cooker). We had sweet and sour chicken. You can see Kallie as she waits for the ice cream maker to finish making our sweet and delicious dessert.

Joseph trying to be silly. He does a good job.

All tired out and ready for bed.

Monday we went to the beach. It's the first time I've ever been to the beach on Mainland USA. Ever. I've been to the beach in Hawai'i, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay (that was just a walk on the beach with my companion). But I've never played on the beach on the North American continent. When Josh and I came to San Diego in '06, we did go to the beach, but it was so cold, I think I dipped my feet in the water and then sat for a few minutes and that was it. My family came to So. Cal in '95, but we only came to the beach on Sunday and it was in December, so not much playing. So it took me until I was almost 36 to play on an American beach. But it was tons of fun. Kallie and I went out into the waves almost as far as she could go (I have about 1 1/2 feet on her). We played out there for about an hour. Josh stayed on the beach with Joseph (they both thought it was too cold). While we played in the waves, we saw a few dolphins go by. They were a little north of us and they were swimming south. They were about 50 feet away from us. It was really cool.
Here I am again with my sweet man. It was getting hot out and I knew I already had a sunburn.

Isn't he cute with his farmer tan? You should see it now that he's partially sunburned. He shoulders have hand prints on them.

My beach baby. He LOVED the beach. He loved digging and throwing and running. Here you can see him completely covered in sand. Reapplying sunscreen was interesting. Oddly, he's the one with the least sunburn.

When it was time to go, Joseph took off running, (see him in is cute red trunks). Josh had to go chase him down. He had a blast. He keeps telling me about going into the ocean and the beach. He spent maybe five minutes in the water.

I'm so glad we got to spent time at the beach. I'm not a big beach fan. I like playing in the water, but I don't like getting sandy and dirty. But Joseph got to have so much fun. So did the rest of us. Joseph and Jace played in the sand, Jake went surfing and boogie boarding, Kallie and I (and even Josh and Merna) played in the water.

We still have a few days left. I'll do another post tomorrow to finish up the trip.

Monday, June 27, 2011

San Diego Part 1

As I was looking at all my pics from vacation, I realized they are not going to fit in one post. So we'll do this in a couple (or more) posts.

Our vacation started on Thursday June 9. We left for San Diego around 5:00 in the morning. Here are some pics of my boys in their half awake stages.

Oddly Joseph didn't try to take a nap until around 7:30. Both he and Josh slept for a couple hours while I drove and then we stopped for a break and some breakfast.

When we passed this truck Joseph got so excited. He had never seen tires this big before.

A little after we stopped for breakfast, we found this awesome rest stop. So we stopped and let Joseph run around for a while. Josh even got him up in a tree.

He has so much fun running around. We played hide and seek for a while (it wasn't that intense. Most of the trees were too small to hide behind so his hiding places were pretty obvious. But he was having a blast.) He had spent the last few days before we left asking when we were leaving for "cation". So the whole way down he kept asking if we were at "cation" yet. He was a lot better in the car than I thought he would be. There were no melt downs, no temper tantrums (at least not in the car) it was great.

Josh went off looking for lizards, but instead of finding them he found a colony of prairie dogs. He got the camera for a minute so here I am in all my "I'm traveling so there" ness.

Joseph loved looking in the holes to look for the animals. We never saw them really close, we got about 10 feet away a few times, but they'd duck down every time we tried to get a picture.

After all this fun we got back on the road, stopping for lunch right outside St. George. Because it was so early (we were only going to Vegas that night) we decided to stop and do some site seeing in St. George. So we stopped at the temple and took some pics. Joseph wanted to stay here by the fountain forever. He loves water fountains/falls/any type of water.

We went for a walk around the temple and Joesph got to walk up the steps and touch the door. I think after the fountain, the steps were his favorite part.

We went into the visitors center and went to look at the statue of Jesus. He really liked that. I wish I could have gotten a pic of his face when he first saw the statue.

We then went on the lookout for Brigham Young's winter home. After getting all hot and sweaty, we stopped in the square by the tabernacle and let Joseph run around in the water there. He loved it, we could have stopped there and come home and he wouldn't have realized he'd missed anything.

We went and toured the winter home. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but it was nice and cool. And it's always fun to see a part of history.

After that we took off for Vegas. We made a stop so Josh could look for lizards, and he found one. He let Joseph hold it for a while and they both had fun with that.

We spent the night in Vegas. Didn't do anything exciting. We were all tired from having woken up so early that morning. So we went to bed early and got ready for the next day. I'll publish those soon. (if not tonight, tomorrow)

We really had a fun time. Joseph hasn't stopped talking about everything we saw and did. I'm glad we got to take this time and spent it away from our usual grind. It was a very good experience.