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Christmas and holiday fun for the family

Christmas time can always be so crazy with lots of presents to buy and family to visit. Brock and I have been working on minimizing the chaos, but lets be honest no matter what there will always be a little. The last couple of year we have limited the amount of gifts we give so that we obviously spend less and have realized that our girls really do not need too much and probably have too many things already. We like having family experiences instead of gifts so that the kids hopefully remember a fun childhood and not necessarily one filled with things. But of course we can’t forget to include in this the fun we have decorating our house for the Holidays.

Our first event to start off the holiday season was the Mayor tree lighting in Burbank. this is a really cute event that they put on each year and my parents and sisters family normally come with us and we walk to it as there is not much parking and they block off the streets for this. They have a few local children groups perform and they normally have Minnie and Mickey mouse help turn on the tree plus Santa always makes an appearance.

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We also try to make it to Disneyland during the holiday season for the fabulous lights and huge tree that they always have displayed and well you all know we love us some Disney.

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How cute are my parents infront of the Christmas tree at Disneyland

A new thing we did this year was a Candy Cane Hunt in Pasadena. This was a very cute event and the girls had a great time making reindeer food, writing letters to santa and of course hunting for candy canes. We came home with so many candy canes (can’t complain i used them to make peppermint bark) Hopefully they do this again next year.

We also do the cookie decorating at Discovery Cube in Los Angeles. This is a really cute childrens museum that changes out their theme depending on the time of year.IMG_20181125_115821182_HDR

The next event we went to was the Zoo Lights at the LA Zoo. This we have done the last couple of years and we love it. This time it was actually pretty cold and we were bundled up and I brought hot cocoa and cookies. Our zoo pass does not get us into this event for free, but we do get discounted tickets and we went with Brock’s family which was nice (a little chaotic with so many people) If you have not been to this I think it is worth the cost and it takes a couple of hours to walk thru all of the different light sections (they only decorate sections of the zoo and the entire zoo is not open to wonder thru) Another thing is they add and change the light displays each year so it is not exactly the same (not that any of us could remember the differences lol) IMG_20181123_122900229

We also go to the Toluca Lake Stroll each year which is another free event that is pretty fun. This is simply walking up and down Riverside Dr and visiting all the shops and restaurants that have food samples and drinks. There are so many samples it is enough to be dinner and of course there is a lot of hot cocoa. We also got to take pictures with Santa (we used this as there time to visit Santa as i did not take them another time) and the Grinch this year. IMG_0073

Another Christmas tradition I have started with the girls is having a few of their friends over for cookie baking and decorating. The girls love this and the other kids too. Yes my house is a mess after but that is ok they are making memories and having fun and as I always say anything can be cleaned (thank goodness I do this the day before the house cleaner comes) I usually make the cookie dough and have it rolled out so that the kids can cut them out. Then while the cookies are baking because it can take a awhile with all of the cookies they all go play and I set up the table to frost and decorate the cookies then once they are done I give them hot cocoa and they eat a few cookies and take the rest home with them. This really is a lot of fun and some how I squeeze in the extra kids around the table and in our small house.

We also spend a lot of time at the zoo during december because it is actually not a thousand degrees out and we go when it is not raining. The zoo is only about 10 minutes from our house which makes it a wonderful outing for the family or to meet up with friends.

This year we went to a new event at Santa Anita Park. They setup a Winterfest with bounce houses/slides and train rides and ice skating with lots of food vendors. This actually turned out to be better than I thought it would be. We bought the all inclusive pass for the girls so that they had unlimited slide time and Brock took them ice skating. Obviously I just took pictures since I was pregnant, but the girls were so excited to finally go ice skating. IMG_0189They are still pretty wobbly but maybe by next winter they will figure it out. When entering this event they gave out cookies and hot cocoa to everyone plus we ate a few items from the food vendors as well. The girls also got to do the petting zoo section because someone was leaving the park and had not used their ticket so it ended up being a fun surprise for the girls. IMG_0179If they have this event again I am sure we will be back. https://theoddmarket.com/winterfest/

A family tradition with my family is going to a neighborhood in Santa Clarita that is known for their spectacular lights and every house on the street decorates over the top. This year we had dinner at my sisters house and then headed over to walk the light filled street of Wakefield. Again we took hot cocoa and cookies (can you tell we love this treat in the cold)IMG_0267IMG_0245IMG_0250

Another thing we have done the last few years is the Holiday light train at Griffith park which we have done with Brock’s family. http://www.griffithparktrainrides.com/content/holiday-light-festival-train-ride This is another thing that is totally worth the price. The girls love going on this train ride during the day and especially love when it is decorated for the holidays and we get to see all the lights at night.

My parents each year do a cookie baking and decorating day with the grandkids at their house they have been doing this for years and even though several of the grandkids have moved out of state they still host this each year for the three that still live here. The girls always have a great time getting to bake, we love our desserts. This is also a great thing to do with the kids that does not cost much but is hours of entertainment (and hours of clean up)

Well for Christmas Eve this year we were at Brock’s brothers and sister-in-laws house. They have a caroling truck that drives right past their house and this year it came early enough that we stayed for the fun. We usually try to get home at a decent hour on Christmas eve so that we get enough rest for the full day of Christmas.IMG_0339

Well Christmas morning at our house I like to make cinnamon rolls from scratch and we open gifts. The girls get a gift or two from Santa and then we only give them a couple of gifts and stockings that way they do not get overwhelmed with so many things they can’t remember what they got. After gifts and breakfast we get ready for the day and head over to Brock’s family first where we eat brunch and open gifts. Then we head over to my parents house for gifts and dinner. This year we spent the night there since we left the next day for our road trip (which will be my next blog)IMG_0335IMG_0392IMG_0366IMG_0379IMG_0408IMG_0395IMG_0541IMG_0562

 

blogging · family · halloween · mom life · momblog · parenthood · personal blog · school · Uncategorized

Halloween

This year for Halloween we did not do a family group costume, instead I let the girls pick whatever they wanted. This is what happens when you are pregnant and not feeling great, I pick my battles and what I have the energy for. Costumes this year was not one of them, lol. So Brock told me not to worry and he would handle it all. He ordered Violet a Ariel costume and she wanted one with a tail this time and Emerald wanted a Jasmine costume and she wanted one that showed her belly like how Jasmine wears it. He bought  both costumes online (I think from China which took a month to get) when the costumes arrived neither of them fit, but thank goodness my mom and Brock sewed them and they ended up working out great. (I was very skeptical of the entire thing)img_20181030_100104325_hdrimg_20181031_082040645

We started the morning off with spider pancakes (I usually try to have something fun and festive for breakfast it just adds to the excitement of the day) And yes I started them off with a super sweet breakfast, well the spiders were made out of blackberries.img_20181031_075736716

Violet had a party at her Tiny Tot class and she was so excited to wear her costume and show her friends. It was really cute the class got to go trick-or-treating with the other staff offices in the building and the gym was decorated with a bunch of fun halloween decor.img_20181030_100414825

Emerald had a costume parade at her school (same as last year)  Emerald had to wear a shirt to cover her tummy for school so that the costume was appropriate for class. Brock came left work to come to this and so did the girls uncle and grandma, Em had a big crowd watching her in the parade.img_20181031_120013563

After all the school activities we headed to Brock’s brothers house for dinner and trick-or-treating, this year the girls had a another kiddo, their cousin to go with them even if Tenley did not walk it was so much fun all of them together. I made a spider trifle all organic from a couple of boxed cake mixes and I was not a big fan, I have yet to find an organic mix that turns out well and taste good, if you know of one please drop me a comment. I also used an organic pudding mix again not so great its like there is not enough sweetness to them. img_20181031_175259819Anyway, the trifle looked pretty lol. There was plenty to eat and I girls loved trick-or-treating and all of the candy they got. (I still have a bag of candy from halloween in the pantry that i should probably throw out)img_20181031_181223382

This year I felt like most things I have been pretty low key about especially since I have just not had a bunch of energy growing a tiny human and all. Maybe next year we will go back to a family themed costume, you will just have to stick around and see.img_20181031_210547_829

blogging · family · mom life · momblog · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized

Emerald’s Birthday at Scooters Jungle

It happened we finally gave in to Emerald’s request to have a party at Scooters Jungle. She has been asking for years and we somehow have gotten her to agree to do something else instead. (if you have had your child’s party at Scooter Jungle or Chuckecheese or hosted a child’s party or anything along those lines you are an amazing parent) We invited family, friends and Emerald’s kindergarten class. Emerald wanted a Wall-E themed party andI was able to talk her out of that since I had no idea where to even begin with this. So finally she decided a unicorn party would be fine. I picked the date and booked it with Scooters Jungle, which by the way we had such a wonderful experience with everything to do with Scooters Jungle(not being paid for this just giving you our experience) IMG_20180921_212726_869I ordered invites for the party from https://www.vistaprint.com/studio.aspx?project_id=a758c628-71da-4e9a-b221-69851fe6bc4a and her birthday party outfit is from Target (leggings) https://www.target.com/p/girls-unicorn-print-leggings-cat-jack-153-heather-gray/-/A-53438447?preselect=53380087#lnk=sametab and her shirt https://www.target.com/p/girls-short-sleeve-party-time-birthday-t-shirt-cat-jack-153-heather-gray/-/A-53063835?preselect=52895590#lnk=sametab

We tried to keep everything simple. I ordered most the other goodie bag items from oriental trading and the rest of the items we found at the 99cent store where we also got her table clothes and candles and a few table decorations. As far as the cake Emerald wanted this specific one from Costco that had nothing to do with Unicorns but she liked it so I said ok (that saved me big bucks not having to order a custom cake) We signed up for the party package at Scooters Jungle that has a set amount of kids and adults then anyone above that you pay per the person. We felt that this best covered the type of party we were having and we booked the room set-up for the younger kids since most of the kids were six and under. We also did the pizza package which covered the food for the most part however Brock made a fruit platter and a veggie platter to bring and I baked some cookies. We brought everything with us the day of the party and pulled up to the loading zone, one of the employees came out unloaded our car and took it to our room and setup everything for us we literally had to do nothing once we were there. The money for this party was very well spent. IMG_20180921_174335195When the kids all started to arrive we were placed in a “holding area” where they explained the rules of the room to the kiddos and then we were all escorted to the party room. IMG_20180921_193707990We had a lot of little kiddos running around and they all were having such a wonderful time (as well as the parents got in on the fun) and Emerald could not have been happier about finally getting to have her party at Scooters Jungle. Our host for the party did such an amazing job with the kids and keeping the party going, like I said before Brock and I literally did not have to lift a finger once we were there and we were able to watch the kids have a wonderful time and mingle with all of the parents.IMG_20180921_184011510IMG_20180921_183955741After the kids had been playing for awhile the host gave out pizza and drinks then followed by Emerald’s Costco cake. At the end of the party she also helped Emerald hand out her goodie bags to all of the kids before they left. Lastly we did not ever have to clean a thing they packed it all up for us and asked us to pull our car around to the loading zone and packed it all back in our car(if only they came home with me and put is all away lol) We gave the host a tip for such an amazing job and Brock and I could not have been more thrilled with how the party turned out and really how little we had to do. If you are ever thinking about having your child’s birthday here I completely recommend it, it was worth every penny. Emerald asked if she could have her next party here too . . . I’m pretty sure once is enough.

blogging · family · mom life · momblog · parenthood · personal blog

Brock’s Birthday

We of course love celebrating Brock! This man is such an amazing husband and daddy. This year for his birthday we had a weekend trip to Huntington Beach. The first day we spent at the OC Fair. It was a hot day but we had a great time with Brock’s entire family.

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The girls love taking pictures at all of the signs.

IMG_20180810_154838958Violet’s favorite thing was playing in the kiddy area, especially the corn boxes. This area was surprisingly pretty empty, although it was a little hidden towards the back of the fair. Emerald got to sign up for the kids cooking demonstration which she could not have been happier about. She was so proud of the cookies that she made.IMG_20180810_175303382

Not only did Em get to do this she was also picked to be the main cheerleader for our section in the pig race. The was hilarious to watch, the cute little pigs run their little hearts out. IMG_20180810_162038356

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We were so in love with all the baby goats!

We of course had to end the day with a lot of time in the petting zoo section where an animal tried to eat my dress and I was soaked in disgusting drool. (I know Brock has not been in any of these pictures, what can I say he or I are usually taking the pictures of the girls) Anyway after a long day at the fair was went to the condo in Huntington Beach. The next morning Brock’s mom had a fishing adventure planned at the pier. Poor Brock spent most of the time helping the girls who were always loosing their bate or getting caught on something. They were all having a great time I on the other hand was not feeling great and it did not help being in the scorching sun on the pier. Thank goodness for shakes from Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier, they were a life saver for me and Violet who of course was over the fishing thing pretty quickly (I mean she is only three) IMG_20180811_091130105IMG_20180811_110858203

The fishing was of course followed by swimming in the ocean to cool off and might I add we did not catch anything . . . we got a lot of nibbles but nothing reeled in. IMG_20180811_115928391IMG_20180811_120241371Brock and Emerald went out into the waves while Violet and I hung out in the very shallow water where she could dig for sand crabs and could run away from the waves. IMG_20180812_182501909Some how ever year we end up at BJ’s for Brock’s birthday, he absolutely loves the chocolate chip pizookie and I think could care less about what other food he eats. It was a very full weekend celebrating this man and we are so lucky that we get to spend so much amazing time with him. We love you Brocky!

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School started for both the girls

Well I know I am beyond late getting this post up but I’ll share later why I have not been posting for the last few months. Anyway Emerald started Kindergarten in August and Violet started TinyTots in September (and she is already on winter break)

Emerald was so excited to start school. I think she really missed it during the summer. Well the first two weeks she was an early bird which meant she had to be at school by 830am which was so not fun after having the summer of no early mornings. During those first two weeks they assessed the kids to group them for early bird and late bird (which gives the teacher one hour in the morning with only 10 kids and one hour in the afternoon with only 10 kids) well she ended up as a late bird since she can read a little. The late mornings is nice but after two weeks of early mornings we were all used to getting  but we made it work. IMG_20180813_095637_579She likes her teacher a lot which helps and says everyone in her class is pretty nice except one kid who seems to be a handful in general and not nice to anyone. Well we already had her first report card and she did wonderful and the teacher said she is such a joy to have in class. Awe my sweet Emerald we love her so much.

After Emerald was in school for a few weeks I started watching my nephew a couple times a week which added in another aspect of changing times and schedules around. But as moms we know how to adjust and make things work.

Next was Violet she started Tinytots which is thru the city and she absolutely loved it. She was so excited that she was finally big enough to go to school like Emerald. She went to school only two days a week and each class is only one and a half hours which I thought would be good since this is the first thing she has done totally on her own. IMG_20180911_122927_282It look her a week to remember her teachers names a ver a month to learn the kids names in her class which one she kept calling “Salami” and I later found out her actual name is Lelani. When you are three some names get mixed up. Well the class was only eight weeks long and then the get a winter break and don’t start up again until January. I’m hoping she likes it just as much when she goes back.

Well I’m working on the next few posts since I am so far behind!

blogging · family · mom life · momblog · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized

getting bunkbeds for the girls

Well it has finally come to the time to acknowledge that my baby is no longer a baby and needed to move to a big girl bed. So many feelings and this has been hard for me . . . no longer having a crib in the house is a strange thing since we have had one for the last almost six years.

LRM_EXPORT_20180713_144845We have had the bunk beds stored for a little while since they used to be mine that I shared with my sister when we were little. Yes they are old but my parents were getting rid of them when they moved out of my childhood home and Brock and I decided to keep them for the girls. They had been stored for a couple of years so when Brock brought them home we gave them a good cleaning and you would never guess that they were mine as a kid. Well Brock tried to put them together with my help and that did not go so great considering they are solid wood and I am not the strongest person and I am on the shorter side so not the best for holding up the wood to be screwed together. After much frustration Brock had his bother come over to help and thank goodness I was off the hook with that. The guys got the beds together and we had Violet sleep on her big girl mattress all by herself on the floor the first night to get her used to the size. I know this seems weird but I had realized that she had never slept in a big bed by herself she has always shared a big bed whenever we have stayed somewhere for the night.

The first night in the bunk beds and Emerald was thrilled she loved sleeping on the top bunk and called it her castle. Violet was not a huge fan and kept saying the bed was too big and too high up. So I put pillows all around the edge and put her in the middle of the bed so that when she looked down at her feet there was not as much bed. This seemed to work the next night and it got a little easier and she stopped complaining about the bed being too big. We also went looking for new sheets and comforters which I was hoping would get her excited about the new bed, but nope she still wanted to use the blankets from her toddler bed/crib that my mom had made when Emerald was a baby. (Sad to say but it has been a month in the bunkbeds and I still have not been able to have her sleep without the baby blanket) Well we still have not found comforters that we all agree on but I am not stressing about it since it is summer and hot so we settled on fluffy blankets and white sheets for now.

IMG_20180713_085256254At the beginning Violet was scared to climb up to the top bunk (which is not a bad thing I was worried she might fall) but now that we have had the beds in their room for a little while both girls hang all over the bed like little monkeys. Yes they have fallen off the latter a few times but never really hurt and has made them realize not to be so wild (well sometimes) Jazz, our cat now climbs up the latter too! The girls think it is so fun that the cat goes up and down the latter and it is pretty funny to watch, Brock has still not seen this happen, he was convinced Emerald was putting the cat in her bed for awhile but I assured him I saw the cat climb the latter all on her own. Plus it is the funniest thing Emerald calls the cat up to her bed and Jazz comes running to join her.

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Jazz napping with Violet

It has been a hard transition and crazy to think these girls are growing up so quickly, but I love seeing them grow and love getting to spend each day with them and help guide them on their journey of life. I love my big girls.

 

blogging · momblog · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized · vacation

Family vacation to Florida!

This summer our big vacation with the girls was going to Orlando Florida. We left the week after Emerald got out of school, it gave her something to look forward to since she was a little sad school was over (she is five I am sure this will change when she is older). Brock flew out with the girls and I and we got all of our belongings into two carry-ons and three backpacks! IMG_20180602_091741045Brock hates that you have to pay for luggage so this mama crammed it all in just a couple of bags. We also brought both of the girls car seats, but no stroller this time, my babies are all grown up. When we dropped off Violet’s carseat she thought the man was throwing it out because he put it in a large bag 😂 She was so worried about her carseat and did not want to leave it. IMG_20180602_093236134Loading with the girls was a breeze and it was so nice to have everything you could possibly need in the couple of bags we brought. Both the girls each had a backpack with a few toys they had picked to bring, their blankies, tablets and some coloring books and crayons/markers. I also put a baggie in each of their backpacks with snacks and lollipops for when they could not handle the plane ride anymore. I was amazed the girls had such a great time on the plane ride, I was next to both of them and Brock was just across the aisle from us.  I somehow forgot the headsets so we could watch movies and listen to music so we had to buy them on the flight (what can I say I feel like every trip something is forgotten . . . at least this was the only thing and it was an easy fix. The girls loved looking out the window at all the pretty clouds and the beautiful blue skies and imagined what the clouds looked like.IMG_20180602_155146745_HDR

When we finally made it to Florida that evening my brother came and picked us up and we did drive through on the way to the hotel because you know the kiddos were so starving, not really they are a little on the dramatic side. The girls were so excited to finally see all their cousins and could not wait to get to the hotel. We stayed at the Star Island Resort in Orlando and had a three bedroom suite. Almost all my family stayed in one condo together, Brock and I with the girls shared one room that had two beds although we had the rest of the cousins sleeping on our floor most of the nights. The kids all wanted to spend as much time together as possible, it was so sweet. IMG_20180603_114824600We spent the days there swimming, playing video games and board games and everybody was having such a wonderful time. When we would go swimming I kept both are girls and puddle jumpers which made me feel way more safe about them running around the pool area especially with all the kids playing together. Since it’s so hot and humid in Florida we did stay inside a little bit playing video games and we got everybody in on doing some dance games it was hilarious. IMG_20180603_143607251There was also a miniature golf course at the resort and we had a great time everyone played not necessarily well but everybody tried even the little ones. Since my entire family, siblings and parents and kids were there we all got together for family photos. A nice man walking by took the family pictures of the entire group. There was 19 of us all together in the picture so it was very sweet of the person to help out and take a group picture of all of us. IMG_20180604_122601445_HDRThis Resort also had playgrounds, that was great to let the kids get out their energy when we were not swimming there was also pingpong and outdoor jenga. It also had swans that you could ride around on a pond and bikes, but for some reason they did not have this available the entire time we were there, such a bummer. They also played outdoor movies each night but we never went to go see these so we did miss out on a few things.

Well after two full days of fun my younger brother and his family left so we packed each day with lots of fun things mostly swimming and after each time the kids would go swimming they would come back to the hotel room and sit inside the big jacuzzi tub to all rinse off together. We also did night swimming which the girls have never done before and they thought was so much fun. IMG_20180605_152631074_HDRBrock ended up leaving the day after my brother so that he could head back to work, but the girls and I stayed with the rest of the family. We left only a couple days later, on our last day there my brother drove home to Jacksonville and the rest of us headed to the Crayola Experience which was close to the airport.

This was such a great place so worth the money we got to make our own crayons and watch how they make batches of crayons. We also melted crayons into cool arts and crafts the girls had the best time. I would highly recommend this for anybody in the Orlando area I wish they had one of these out near us. I even wish we got more time at this place but unfortunately we had to leave to head out on our flight. We booked the same flight as my parents and my sisters family, we got the seats across the aisle from my parents. Well, on the way home our flight ended up having a two-hour delay which is terrible when you have two tired kids.

We ate dinner at the airport and then waited around . . . I end up getting ice cream and cookies and trying to find things to entertain the girls while waiting. Luckily on the flight home the girls were exhausted and fell asleep which was very nice for me I got to watch a movie, although I had to watch it from Violet’s screen since my sound did not work for my seat and my mom also had this problem. When we landed Brock was there to pick up the girls and I plus my parents and our trip was over. Overall it was a wonderful trip and it was so fun getting to see all of my siblings and their kids but we were definitely happy to be home and sleeping in our own beds. Although you know me always ready to plan the next vacation.