Disneyland

For the past three years, we have made an annual pilgrimage to Disneyland, and–I kid you not–I probably spend at least five minutes a day for the other 364 days of the year daydreaming about Disneyland. Having kids has totally transformed my attitude about that magical, wonderful place. I am addicted to the expression of slack-jawed wonder that constantly shows up on my kids’ faces while we are there. I love it.

On Friday before we left, Abe worked a full day and I had a play date with Chelsea. It was a great way to take my mind off of the trip–otherwise I would have spent the whole day ticking down the minutes until we left.

Before the play date, we had breakfast at Barnes and Nobles. It was our anniversary, and I always pick out an audio book for Abe on our anniversary. This year I gave him "The Color of Water."

Before the play date, we had breakfast at Barnes and Nobles. It was our anniversary, and I always pick out an audio book for Abe on our anniversary. This year I gave him “The Color of Water.”

We had a picnic with Chelsea and her kids.

We had a picnic with Chelsea and her kids.

Can you believe all those cherry stains came out? I love Oxyclean.

Can you believe all those cherry stains came out? I love Oxiclean.

Grandma, they love their bug suitcases!

Grandma, they love their bug suitcases!

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At the airport!

At the airport!

Mary was so excited about the shuttle that we half wondered why we were going to Disneyland. When we got off, we turned around to see her waving enthusiastically at the shuttle and shouting, "Fank-you, shuttle! (Thank-you, shuttle!) Goodbye!!" Then she turned to us and exclaimed, "This is so much fun!!!" She was excited for our entire trip, and even though the hour long wait at the rental car place meant we didn't get into our hotel until almost 2 am, she stayed awake and excited the whole time. Abe and I were charmed.

Mary was so excited about the shuttle that we half wondered why we were going to Disneyland. When we got off, we turned around to see her waving enthusiastically at the shuttle and shouting, “Fank-you, shuttle! (Thank-you, shuttle!) Goodbye!!” Then she turned to us and exclaimed, “This is so much fun!!!” She was excited for our entire trip, and even though the hour long wait at the rental car place meant we didn’t get into our hotel until almost 2 am, she stayed awake and excited the whole time. Abe and I were charmed.

Karin was so sweet to let us stay in her time share right by Disneyland. That meant that even though we got in late, we could leave after 9 am and still be in the park almost as it was opening.

We ate breakfast in Downtown Disney.

We ate breakfast in Downtown Disney.

 Mary was a little sleepy from all of the travel excitement of the day before.

Mary was a little sleepy from all of the travel excitement of the day before.

The girls were pretty subdued for the morning. We wondered if we should keep them up until 2am every time we go to Disneyland.  It's so easy to keep track of tired children!

The girls were pretty subdued for the morning. We wondered if we should keep them up until 2am every time we go to Disneyland. It’s so easy to keep track of tired children!

On the carousel.

On the carousel. I’m pretty sure last year Abe and I had a conversation where we wondered why you would go to Disneyland and ride the carousel when there are so many other amazing things competing for your time, but this year we succumbed. The girls actually loved it as much as any other ride.

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As you can see, the girls were tired.

As you can see, the girls were tired.

Dumbo.

Dumbo.

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Teacups

Teacups.

I have a video of the teacups ride here.  I expect that the girls will rewatch this video many times and relive their teacup experience over and over this year.

We took the girls on the carousel, rode Dumbo, met Ariel (since the line was less than a minute and she was right next to Dumbo), did the Pinnochio ride for the first time, went on the teacups (well, Abe and the girls did…my stomach can’t handle those!), and enjoyed my favorite ride, “It’s a Small World.” It’s dark in there so we couldn’t take a picture of Mary’s expression, but it was exactly what I love about Disneyland: Open-mouth awe. Lydia contains her joy more discreetly and expresses it after the fact by talking non-stop about the experiences that excited her. We never know which ones made the deepest impressions until the day after.

This is a video of our pretzel break right before “It’s a Small World.” Nothing exciting happens in it except that the girls eat pretzels, but Abe took a video because he loves the children and thinks everything they do is cute.

Abe took a picture of his salad because he loved it so much. Last year we went to the French Market while the girls napped in their strollers and split a mint julep and Mickey Mouse beignets. We did the same thing this year but this time ate our lunch there too. I loved the food so much I went back and ordered the same thing for dinner.

Abe took a picture of his salad because he loved it so much. Last year we went to the French Market while the girls napped in their strollers and split a mint julep and Mickey Mouse beignets. We did the same thing this year but this time ate our lunch there too. I loved the food so much I went back and ordered the same thing for dinner.

We let the girls nap in their strollers while we ate lunch and strolled around, and then we fed them cotton candy to get them going for the parade.

We let the girls nap in their strollers while we ate lunch and strolled around, and then we fed them cotton candy to get them going for the parade. Here’s a video of Mary eating hers. 

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I took a short video of the parade. 

After the parade, we did the jungle cruise. Then Abe took the girls to Tarzan’s tree house and they played there for a while. I sat in the shade and studied the map. I tried to people watch, but there were so many people there that people watching was slightly over stimulating.

Then we rode the train, returned to the French Market for dinner, and then watched the Paint the Night parade. We weren’t intending on watching it, but one of the park workers told me that it was even better than the day time parade, and, well, the day time parade is one of our favorite things at Disneyland. Abe hunted down a great spot for us, and we were appropriately awed by the nighttime parade.

The Paint the Night parade was incredible. This parade debuted a week ago, and there are huge floats that are each more stunning than the next. Of course, Mary and Lydia were especially enthused about Elsa's ice palace.

The Paint the Night parade was incredible. This parade debuted a week ago, and there are huge floats that are each more stunning than the next. Of course, Mary and Lydia were especially enthused about Elsa’s ice palace.

After the parade, we headed over toward “It’s a Small World” for the fireworks. They coordinate the fireworks with a Disney song medley, and during Frozen’s “Let it Go,” it actually started snowing. As in, Disney somehow blew real snow over all of the spectators. Abe and looked at each other in amazement. Disney pulls all the stops. And that wasn’t even the finale!

After the fireworks, we let Lydia pick out a toy. She was really happy about her day.

After the fireworks, we let Lydia pick out a toy. She was really happy about her day.

Even our walk to the car gave me fodder for my coming 364 days of Disneyland daydreams. Abe carried our sleeping Mary on his shoulder while Lydia followed us and munched on a chocolate covered Mickey Mouse rice crispy treat. I had some fudge, and it felt so peaceful and happy to be walking together through downtown Disney back to our car.

I love being with my family at Disneyland. I know this is cliche, but it is actually one of my “happiest places on earth.”

Dinner with the Harmons

I was too tired to blog last night, but we had a great dinner party with our friends, the Harmons.

I have some pictures I am going to throw up on here before Abe grabs his laptop and heads to work:

Mary loves nectarines! They are her summer clementines.

Mary loves nectarines! They are her summer clementines.

The day before yesterday, Abe and the girls had a "sleepover" in their new closets. (The sleepover ended after fifteen minutes, but it was a fun fifteen.)

The day before yesterday, Abe and the girls had a “sleepover” in their new closets. (The sleepover ended after fifteen minutes, but it was a fun fifteen.)

But I think they still look pretty. We have Chelsea to thank for bringing this recipe to my attention.

But I think they still look pretty. We have Chelsea to thank for bringing this recipe to my attention.

Dinner for the Harmons. These are in their ungarnished state. We forgot to take pictures after the dishes were completely done.

Dinner for the Harmons. These are in their ungarnished state. We forgot to take pictures after the dishes were completely done.

 

Recovery day

Today it rained again (this has been a wonderfully rainy Spring in Utah), so I seized another opportunity to stay home all day. Aside from taking care of the girls, I took a couple hours for the piano and another couple hours to nap. We’ll just call this day a recovery day. I had never heard of recovery days until I met Abe, but now I can’t live without (lots of) them.*

Here are some pictures from FHE. We finished our little helping hands project, but then the link explaining where we send the hands disappeared from the church website. I guess we’ll just post the girls’ hands on the fridge.

The girls shared paper with tape on it for sharing time. Our children have educated us to be excited about things we had no idea were even mildly interesting before.

The girls shared paper with tape on it for sharing time. Our children have educated us to be excited about things we had no idea were even mildly interesting before.

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The girls had their hands traced and then we wrote on the hands what acts of service they performed this week. Lydia's says that she wrote a thank-you note to her teacher, and Mary's says that she shared a toy with Lydia.

The girls had their hands traced and then we wrote on the hands what acts of service they performed this week. Lydia’s says that she wrote a thank-you note to her teacher, and Mary’s says that she shared a toy with Lydia.

*Upon rereading this post, I realized it might sound like I never took a recovery day before meeting Abe. Actually, I have had entire segments of my past life that looked a lot like scores of “recovery days” strung together, but I just didn’t know what to call my laziness. I have Abe to thank for my current terminology.

Doll closets

Abe finished the doll closets today! I have been day dreaming about this day ever since I was a girl myself. I always wanted to see my own daughters play with my dolls, and today my dream came true! Of course, I only gave them items that weren’t breakable or too easily lost, but it was enough that Lydia is now lying in bed grinning because she can’t stop thinking that she’s next to her new dolls (in their closets).

We also did a ton of work on the basement. I didn’t take pictures of that, but it’s coming along. Abe and I are so, so happy to have made so much progress on the house this weekend.

Here’s a video of Abe eating some cookies I baked for my dolls when I was probably eight years old. The cookies are twenty-three years old. After he ate one, we threw the rest out. He is a brave soul.

Here’s a video of Lydia and Mary being introduced to their new closets.

Also, Grandma, I should mention how we marveled at all of the doll clothes you made for my dolls. The quality of your work is incredible. You are such an artist. I love you. Thank-you for all the work you did to make my magical world of dolls so beautiful.

And here are the pictures.

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Dinner with the Blosils

Today after church we had the Blosils over for dinner. They are a wonderful family with eight kids and an exchange student, although tonight they only had three kids and the exchange student with them. We so enjoy visiting with them. The only thing is, Carolyn brought the best gluten-free chocolate chip cookies over, and they left the remaining cookies with us. Since chocolate chip cookies are my #1 favorite food, I am now in a food coma and have nothing left to write.

Thank goodness I already captioned the pictures.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Lydia was one of the reverent children today. That meant she stood in front of the chapel while people filed in and she demonstrated how to be reverent by quietly folding her arms. We were proud of her.

Lydia was one of the reverent children today. That meant she stood in front of the chapel while people filed in and she demonstrated how to be reverent by quietly folding her arms. We were proud of her.

Lydia working our salad spinner.

Lydia working our salad spinner.

This is the playroom-to-be, but we inaugurated it by playing with paper dolls. I almost threw the dolls out yesterday in my purge, but good thing I saved them! Lydia played with them for hours during our dinner party.

This is the playroom-to-be, but we inaugurated it by playing with paper dolls. I almost threw the dolls out yesterday in my purge, but good thing I saved them! Lydia played with them for hours during our dinner party.

It’s a…boy!

When we dropped off the Subaru in American Fork for an oil change this afternoon, it occurred to me that Fetal Fotos was only five minutes away. I had a dream last night that I birthed a sweet baby boy, and I was really curious to know if this baby is indeed a boy. So Abe and I took the girls over to Fetal Fotos, and fifteen minutes later we found out…it’s a boy!

At first he was sleeping with his legs crossed over his bottom, so the ultrasound technician couldn’t see anything. She suggested I move around and poke my belly to wake the baby up. I poked and prodded (and prayed) that the baby would wake up, and a minute later she came back. He was awake! And he let us know he’s a he. We are so excited. I have pictures of him, but they are in the car. I will post them tomorrow.

That is the really big news of the day, but in terms of time spent, Abe and I both spent the entire day working on the house. Abe is finishing the play closets in the girls room, and David came over tonight to help him wallpaper one of them. They did an amazing job.

Here’s a video of the girls painting the ceiling of their closet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9JmgjLVGcQ

Abe let the girls help paint the ceiling of one of the closets this morning. They had a blast.

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Afterward they were messy and took a looooong bath while I cleaned and organized the bathroom cupboards.

Afterward they were messy and took a looooong bath while I cleaned and organized the bathroom cupboards.

I like this picture because it looks like Lydia is doing a catwalk...while holding her daddy's hand.

I like this picture because it looks like Lydia is doing a catwalk…while holding her daddy’s hand.

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Our DI run! We have even more stuff that we are getting rid of, but getting rid of this stuff felt very liberating.

Our DI run! We have even more stuff that we are getting rid of, but getting rid of this Stuff Round One felt very liberating.

Abe and David in front of their labors. They finished after 10pm--they worked so hard and long!

Abe and David in front of their labors. They finished after 10pm–they worked so hard and long! We are so grateful to David for driving down just to help Abe. It would have been so much harder for Abe to do this all alone. 

On Monday, Abe is going to put in the flooring. We can't wait.

On Monday, Abe is going to put in the flooring. We can’t wait.

 

Konmarie: Variations on a Theme

After my chiropractic adjustment this morning, I felt terrific. I was scared that the feeling would go away, so I feverishly went through the rooms and drawers of my house searching for items to throw away. We’re doing a loose interpretation of the Konmarie method over here these days. Forget categories–I am now just aiming for volume. I.e., how many trash bags can I fill today???

And the other labors of the day:

Last night before bed we read Curious George Makes Pancakes. I made "Curious George" pancakes for breakfast, and Lydia seemed excited.

Last night before bed we read Curious George Makes Pancakes. I made “Curious George” pancakes for breakfast, and Lydia seemed excited.

We picked flowers for Lydia's teacher. These yellow roses were so thorny I ended up having to throw the flowers out. So sad.

We picked flowers for Lydia’s teacher. These yellow roses were so thorny I ended up having to throw the flowers out. So sad.

But these flowers turned out alright. Lydia wistfully talked about how many flowers we used to have at the old house, but as we hunted around this morning, we discovered that we had more rose bushes here than we realized.

But these flowers turned out alright. Lydia wistfully talked about how many flowers we used to have at the old house, but as we hunted around this morning, we discovered that we had more rose bushes here than we realized.

Lydia wrote a thank-you note to her teacher and insisted on glueing the beads from her broken bracelet to it for decoration. I thought it looked really pretty.

Lydia wrote a thank-you note to her teacher and insisted on glueing the beads from her broken bracelet to it for decoration. I thought it looked really pretty.

The chiropractor's office gave the girls balloons, and after we came home Mary was so excited she danced around it.

The chiropractor’s office gave the girls balloons, and after we came home Mary was so excited she danced around it.

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Making messy pizza.

Making messy pizza.

Twinning. Abe woke Mary up at 6 pm, at which point she sleepily told him: "I'm still sweeping (sleeping)!" She's still tired here.

Twinning. Abe woke Mary up at 6 pm, at which point she sleepily told him: “I’m still sweeping (sleeping)!” She’s still tired here.

But everyone woke up right before dinner. Abe and the girls had a dance party.

But everyone woke up right before dinner. Abe and the girls had a dance party.

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If you can’t change the world, change a diaper

Since I can’t think of anything interesting about today, I will just record my favorite phrase of Mary’s lately: “Yessirreee!” She says it with decisive enthusiasm all the time, and every time it pops out of her mouth, I wish I could have caught it on video.

Another thing that happened today: Lydia started doing spontaneous addition and subtraction correctly. I was so thrilled! While she was eating her snack, she just started referencing her fingers and saying, “One plus one is…two. Two plus one is…three.Three plus one is…four.” Etc. And then she did the same thing with subtraction, only she didn’t use her fingers.

I felt like maybe some neuron pathways developed while she was sleeping last night because this was the first time she’s done addition or subtraction without help AND appeared to understand what she was saying. Maybe it’s a fluke pathway and tomorrow she’ll have no idea how to add or subtract, but I was so encouraged to see her at least start the path towards numeracy.

Also, I feel the need to record the song Abe made up: “If you can’t change the world, chaaaaange a diaper! It will make you feel better, one bottom at a time.”

The girls played princess in their princess tent this morning. There were mild hysterics when I announced we were going to the gym so I could swim. They would have preferred to stay in the tent for hours.

The girls played princess in their princess tent this morning. There were mild hysterics when I announced we were going to the gym so I could swim. They would have preferred to stay in the tent for hours.

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Lydia and I made an apple sharlotka together.

Lydia and I made an apple sharlotka together.

I made latkes for dinner.

I made latkes for dinner. These were some of the better ones. The first couple batches I made absurdly thick.

Pre-dinner horsey ride.

Pre-dinner horsey ride.

Post dinner pack-horsey ride.

Post dinner pack-horsey ride.