I need a break from spring break

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Ahhhhh, where do I begin? I have an extremely messy house, a disgruntled, febrile toddler, and two older kids that are dressed in Halloween costumes for reasons unknown. I will now attempt to piece together a record of our trip to Washington for Easter. It promises to be scattered and rely heavily on pictures. This will be like the CliffsNotes of the post I would like to write.

Huns has moved to Bellevue Washington, which is right next to Seattle. Going to her house is like stepping into a fairytale because Washington is a land of lush vegetation. Apparently Washington has something called “rain” which is water that falls from the sky. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes – water does indeed fall from the sky there. Wouldn’t it be cool if “rain” happened in southern California?

Before I go further, shout out to Liz, the happiest airport shuttle operator I have ever met in my life. She single-handedly made my entire day of travel seem like a happy memory.

The first afternoon was spent walking through beautiful trails surrounding a blueberry farm nestled up against Huns’s new neighborhood. The next day we went to a cute little farm so the kids could point at chickens and pigs and climb around on rusty old farm equipment. I found a cabin that was called Fraser Cabin and my obsession with all things Outlander forced me to take several pictures of it. Yes, it has nothing at all to do with the fictional Frasers in my beloved books, but in attempting to take a reflection selfie in the window I discovered I have started resembling an old man. Have you ever come across a picture of yourself and thought, “Sweet Jesus, I should burn that outfit immediately!”? I have. Several times. This was one of those times.

 

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I clearly need to rethink my hat choices.

Friday morning I packed up the rental car and headed to Olympia to see my step-mom, Omi. She is an energetic adventurer that hates to sit still. We couldn’t make it hiking or to Mount St. Helen this time around, but she took us to a beach, and to a children’s museum that was exponentially more awesome than the Discovery Cube. We all had a blast! (We also froze our southern Californian butts off! At the farmer’s market we hopped from space heater to space heater to huddle for warmth.)

 

 photo easter 1_zpspcehfftf.jpgBrecken asking about anchors. There were jellyfish in the water we could see from the dock.

 

Omi doesn’t take kindly to age discrimination, and we saw no reason we couldn’t also climb up the kid passage to the second floor (We were very careful of the littles surrounding us).

 

 photo easter 2_zpsle5o0xdz.jpgUp in the eagle nest. To get up there required contorting our bodies through tunnels in ways a hamster could only dream about.

 photo easter 4_zps6dx2jtnx.jpgBoat race!

 

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 photo easter 3_zpsyuxeekbj.jpgGiant Lite Brite wall!

 

 photo easter 6_zpsefkjl6fh.jpgGiant I-don’t-know-what-it’s-called wall!

After the museum we went to sushi. Omi’s beau, Greg, is a sushi loving gent, and the restaurant treated us like family because of Greg’s rock star status. Everything tasted delicious. Even Seren enjoyed miso in her bottle.

Back at Omi’s, the kids got to hang out with my brother, Tanner. They thought he was the coolest person to have ever lived. He has cool video games which he is very good at playing, he has elaborate Lego creations and trophies on shelves in his room, he has a waterbed – the whole waterbed thing totally blew their minds – and he gets to stay up as late as he wants.

 

 photo easter 7_zpscmttio9y.jpgI love that you can see Jesse in the background being a work-a-holic.

Omi has a pet pig. I’ve mentioned Baby before. Seren was NOT a fan. When Baby walked near, Seren would climb up Jesse’s leg and cower against his chest saying, “Nooooo piggy.” I can’t blame her. Baby can be rather intimidating with his tusks and red eyes. (I’m kidding – despite never getting a picture of Baby without red eye glare, he doesn’t have glowing, evil eyes. Still, imagine this coming at you when you’re only thirty-three inches tall.)

 

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Jesse, Seren and I slept in Omi’s room, and Omi camped out in the living room with the kids.

The next morning we met my dad and sister for a pancake breakfast. It was my dad’s birthday, and he nearly had a heart attack when the staff started singing to him. (Note to self: nix the singing next time.)

A work emergency required us to leave early, so we headed back to Huns’s place. (I realize I STILL haven’t told you guys about Jesse’s new company. It’s all I can do to keep up with this blog in my half-assed way right now, and I want to devote plenty of time to telling you about it. I promise to make it a priority, right after I rant about a onesie I saw today…)

 Easter morning we dressed the baby girls in matching pajamas because, come on, how cute are they?

 photo easter 8_zpsjwml335g.jpgSeren giving Chloe an egg.

 photo easter 9_zpscy0nz7jn.jpgJesse surrounded by pretty girls – as usual.

Seren was possessive of Jesse, and every time he held Chloe she would demand he hold her as well.

The egg hunt was your standard finding of eggs.

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 Afterward Mugga, Dani, Huns, Jesse, myself and the kids minus Nathan (he was napping) went to Kirkland and had lunch at a bar, because why not bring two strollers into a bar and block the door to the bathroom?

Bellies full of good food, we wandered to the shore of Lake Washington and let the kids run around. I snapped a few pics of Seren wearing my latest creation. I adore this little dress. I used a pattern this time, instead of just eyeballing it, and the result is a beautifully finished dress both inside and out. I love it! Seren loves it too.

 

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The next morning at the crack of before dawn, we headed back to the airport. We got bumped to first-class which has officially ruined Karis for coach forever. Brecken and Karis sat two rows ahead of us and were polite, well behaved little air travelers. I was so proud of them. We were home by lunch and had plenty of time to put out the work emergency fire.

 

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That was Monday. This is Thursday night (I started this post HOURS ago, and got waylaid by a baby with a 103º temp among other things) and I wont publish this until tomorrow morning (happy Friday, Internet!) I am freakin’ exhausted. I got acupuncture yesterday because apparently my liver and kidney chi is blocked? *shrug* I dunno, I just know I got to relax in a quiet, dark room for a half hour with no one bugging me. The needles were worth it!

Okay, now you’re caught up on our spring break adventures. School starts again on Monday. I’m looking forward to the return of schedules. I love hearing the kids playing and giggling together all day long, but we can all benefit from a little structure around here.

I’m going to bed now. Who am I kidding? It’s 10:13PM right now, and I wont be hitting the pillow for at least another two hours. That’s how I roll.

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Weekend Warriors

Last weekend was action packed, and I write this in a desperate attempt to catch up on this blog before going out and doing it all over again. Saturday is soccer game day for us. Jesse volunteered (at gunpoint) to coach Brecken’s soccer team, despite the fact that he will be traveling for work during many of the practices. After a moment of awkward silence, a mother stepped up and offered to coach the practices. Now we have two co-coaches, one of whom knows nothing about soccer and only agreed to continue being a co-coach after the other stepped in because of the joyful light in his son’s eye. The mom coach is a bit of a – well, let’s just say she is very dedicated to coaching this team and why the hell didn’t she step up sooner if she felt so damn passionately about it?

Frankly, she’s rude. I’m all for powerful women, but this woman claws for attention and control as if she personally represents all of womankind that has been held back by The Man, andshe’snotgoingtotakeitanymore. Jesse says shes an “Alpha”. Yeah, that may be so, but she’s also rude. I too am an Alpha, but that doesn’t mean I’ll come late to a game, immediately interrupt the drill you have set up, and take over the coaching duties as if you don’t exist. (I would let you finish your little drill, then I would say, “Great job!”, and then I would take over the coaching duties as if you didn’t exist. See? Less rude.)

Anyway, cutting to the chase – Brecken’s team won last week! (We somehow manage to land on the Bad News Bears of every soccer team we join – I’m sure there’s some sort of black list we have become a part of – so a win for us is a very exciting, and rare treat.)

 

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It was also 412º and there was an ice cream vendor ringing his bell for all he was worth. Karis became obsessed with getting ice cream. (When they asked for ice cream again today I was sooooo tempted to say, “Ice cream is for closers!” but I didn’t, because I am a nice mom that loves her child, even if he insists on continuing to play soccer despite clearly hating it.)

 

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Sunday started out delightful. Seren and I went on our morning walk, and Seren proudly held Tesla’s leash. It spawned in her a new love for dog-walking, and her future career is pretty much on lock.

Sunday afternoon we took the kids to Discovery Cube. It was your standard kids’ learn-through-play type place. Brecken lasted four minutes before he was bored. I can’t blame him – it was pretty lame. Karis enjoyed grocery shopping in the fake grocery store and learning how to read food labels. My heart broke at the thought of all the millions of Americans that don’t know how, or don’t bother to read labels. Then I decided to be happy that the Discovery Cube was at least making an effort to educate the future generation on how gross packaged food really is. Then I rolled my eyes because Discovery Cube is 100% sponsored by Taco Bell. Aaaand we have come full circle. America, we’re fucked.

 

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One area of Discovery Cube is dedicated to dinosaurs. We noticed some kids waving wands around and learned that you can go on missions to earn coins. The wands beam a light at sensors inside the bone displays and keep track of how many things you found. We set Karis and Brecken up with wands and maps and turned them loose to enrich their minds! Two minutes later they were back and whining that it was too hard. Dude. It WAS too hard. Most bones look alike, you guys. By this time Seren was getting high-maintenance so Jesse wrangled her while I walked around with the older kids waving a wand at everything like an asshole. The wands were stupid sensitive. Before it got finished congratulating you on your find it would interrupt itself to say, “You have already been here!” in a scolding tone.

 

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After approximately seventy-hundred hours, we found all the bones on our maps. We were rewarded with wooden coins! (Brecken lost his before we even made it back to the car. That seems about right.)

I am definitely old now, Internet, because that little trip took it out of me. I could barely walk when we got home. I sprawled across the couch and fantasized about marrying a man with a foot massaging fetish.

And now for a run-on paragraph recap:

So that was last weekend. Today is Saturday. The kids have been out of school since Wednesday. Yesterday Seren had surgery on her jaw – she had a pilomatricoma just like both Karis and Brecken. They say they are rare and non-genetic. One of those statements is wrong. Either pilomatricoma are NOT rare, or they ARE genetic, because we are three for three now. (Seren did great at being operated on. Seren’s mother did great at holding Seren while they gassed her down. Neither of them would like to repeat the experience.) Karis attended a birthday party, then ballet class. Brecken had a soccer game this morning. And now the baby is sleeping, the husband and kids are swimming laps, then plan to go to the dollar theater. My house looks like we were robbed and the robbers purposefully spilled dog food all over the living room (because Seren likes to feed the dog, and by “feed the dog” I mean she likes to throw dog food all over the damn living room) and my back is aching because I secretly turned eighty-two this last birthday instead of thirty-six. (I totally had to stop and count my age just now because I honestly couldn’t remember if I was thirty-five or thirty-six.)

I don’t remember the last time a weekend was relaxing. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Or, It’s challenging, but SOOO worth it! Or just fill in any fitting cliché that tired moms say about being busy but grateful.

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Spring; love is a monster, & so is the Chevy Volt

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Friday night I put on a big girl dress and went to a movie premiere for Spring to see Vanessa play a drug addict or something. That’s the short version of this story. The long version involves Jesse’s stupid, awful, evil Chevy Volt. That car has it in for me.

Electric things tend to break around me. No, it is *not* operator error thankyouverymuch. Let’s just say I have a magnetic personality! Computers, cellphones, copy machines… Pretty much anything electronic. They will work perfectly for one person, then I’ll do EXACTLY the same thing with the electronic device as that person, and the device won’t phucking work. It’s infuriating.

Considering my history with electric things you would think I’d avoid driving ELECTRIC cars. I didn’t like Jesse’s car even before it started mocking me. I don’t like being a passenger in it. It feels crowded and janky. The seats require you to crank them to adjust how squished you want to be. The console is confusing and not intuitive. The first time I drove it I got about ten miles into a fifty-five mile trip before it freaked out and refused to play my iPod. (My iPod that works in EVERY other car or device I plug it into.) (Hey – my iPod is ELECTRONIC! So there’s ONE thing that consistently works for me – unless it’s plugged into another electric thing?) All of Jesse’s stations are set to Howard Stern or Kidz stations, so driving that car without my iPod was akin to torture.

I wasn’t planning to take that stupid Volt to the movie premiere, but Jesse needed the Space Shuttle to transport the kids, so I prayed to the iPod gods and hoped for the best. I gave myself two and a half hours to drive fifty miles because I didn’t want to be late, and I know how much LA traffic sucks.

My trip was doomed before it even started. Instead of using my archaic navigator from the Space Shuttle, I typed my destination into the Volt. It offered me two Sunset options. I chose wrong.

I didn’t realize I chose wrong until I was almost there and I was in Santa Monica instead of Hollywood. I know my way around LA. I knew I was probably phucked, but I called Vanessa just to check if the theater was in Santa Monica for some reason. Nope. Hollywood.

Dammit.

Just before arriving at the incorrect destination the Volt decided it was time to kill the lights on the dash and navigation system. I frantically tried to figure out how to turn them back on. No dice. When I pulled over to call Vanessa and tell her I was probably going to be late, the lights came back on! I entered the new, correct destination, and the navigator told me I would be there by 7:15. It was lying. No self-respecting navigator tells you it will only take fifteen minutes to go from Santa Monica to Hollywood on a Friday night.

But I’m an optimist, so I chose to believe it. I psyched myself up, trying to get back into a happy frame of mind. Vanessa’s scene was in the first ten minutes of the film. If they had previews, I just might make it!

Then the lights went off again.

FML

I eventually made it to the theater. The movie started at 7:30. It was 7:45. I rushed through the parking garage, up to the theater, into the doors, and frantically babbled my name at will call. They gave me my ticket and I rushed to the screening room, stopping briefly in the restroom because my bladder was bursting after spending three hours in the Volt. I knew the gist of the story – a guy gets in a bar fight and runs away to Italy and meets a girl who may or may not be a monster… The screen showed a car full of dudes driving through the Italian countryside. Dammit. I had missed Vanessa’s scene. Stupid Chevy Volt in stupid LA traffic and stupid me for choosing the wrong Sunset on the navigator and stupid navigator for telling me to make three left turns instead of one right turn.

I found Vanessa and George and stepped on two nice people – ending up briefly in a sweet woman’s lap – to get to my seat. Vanessa plied us with popcorn and fancy water and cookies and chocolate. AND GUESS WHAT? Even though I  missed the beginning, the movie was pretty damn good. (It’s available everywhere – On Demand, iTunes, Amazon etc – I recommend it. It’s listed as horror (which I don’t enjoy AT ALL) but I wouldn’t classify it as a horror film. It’s more a mystery/romance/coming of age adventure.)

 

 photo spring_zpslmobkbjc.jpg(From the neck up I’m lookin’ like a taxidermied grandma, but from the neck down, vavavavoom!)

 

After the movie ended we enjoyed a Q&A with the filmmakers, then everyone went down the street to a bar. It was one of those neat, quirky places tucked into the winding Sunset strip. There was a rock-walled garden area that had lights strung up. It was pretty, so we tried to take a selfie. I failed. Apparently I am a sixty-seven year old woman when it comes to new technology now. I upgraded my phone’s operating system and now I can’t figure out how to use the damn thing. Vanessa saved the day and took this selfie of herself, me and George. Or more accurately, herself, me, George, and our boobs.

 

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It was a wonderful night out despite having to drive home with no dashboard lights. I probably sped, but I guess we’ll never know. Of course, the stupid car works perfectly for Jesse. Not so much as a blip on that damn navigation screen when he checked it out. I hope I never have to drive that infuriating vehicle again. I’d rather drive ugly, Space Shuttle minivans long past the time my kids have left the nest, than drive that stupid Chevy Volt.

 

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I’m in – urine – we’re all in for laundry. (I know that doesn’t rhyme.)

Every mother has experienced the inexplicable joy of waking up in a warm puddle of pee, be it from a leaky diaper, a newly potty trained toddler, or even an embarrassed older child. This morning around 5AM I found myself in just such a puddle.

There were no kids in the bed.

Yes, Internet, I totally peed the bed last night. It’s funny, because it only happened once, but if this becomes a regular thing it will immediately cease to be amusing.

The silver lining of peeing your bed is knowing you were in a deep sleep, and getting to feel refreshed the next morning despite smelling like a urinal.

I vaguely remember getting that feeling of having to go, and clenching when I thought I felt a renegade drop. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the renegade drop was the tail end of a good old fashioned bed soaking. When I woke up enough to register that I had peed the bed, I tried to push Jesse away from the compromised area. He’s used to me pushing him and kicking him, so he just rolled over. I ran to get a towel and tried to rush back before Jesse could accidentally roll into the pee puddle, but the dog started whining to go out and I didn’t want her to poop on the carpet, so I rushed downstairs, hurried her through her business, then sprinted back upstairs to cover my spill with the towel. Jesse was none the wiser.

I spent the remainder of the morning sleeping atop the pee towel in a heroic effort to spare Jesse the indignity of wallowing in my bed-toilet.

When he eventually woke up and I told him I had peed the bed, he looked at me warily and said, “So, what, you’re incontinent now?”

I’m not even offended that he didn’t seem all that surprised to hear I had started pissing myself. I told him in an exasperated tone that no, I was *not* incontinent, and that I had merely enjoyed a very deep sleep.

His answer? “Let’s hope this isn’t the first of many.”

From his lips to God’s ears, you guys.

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Playdough business

Karis has a school project that requires her to produce a product for sale in a third-grade business. (That means that *I* am required to produce a product for sale in a third-grade business.)

We decided on viking magnets. They require us to make little round discs out of Sculpty, bake them, decorate them with felt and googlie eyes, and glue a magnet to the back. We need to make thirty of them to start.

We set up our workstation in the backyard and began kneading Sculpty. Seren was fascinated. She ever-so-gently demanded we give her some clay.

 

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Sculpty is not recommended for toddlers – no matter how deliciously cute they are, or how messy their faces – so I gave her some Play-doh. I said to her in a sober tone, “We do not eat this.”

She seemed to understand the responsibility that came with the privilege. She took her sculpting very seriously.

 

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She only attempted to taste it once, in a slow motion fake-out move that I think was more about checking to see if we were watching than any actual desire to put it in her mouth.

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Earning her keep

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Toddler with yam

This child.

Seren makes every day a little bit magical.

She is so fun and social. She loves to count things and put like things with like things. Every morning she excitedly runs to my closet and gets my shoes like a loyal retriever. The older kids and I watch her as she bustles around, doing her busy work. We share smiles and giggles at her antics.

Today she got her hands on a mop, so now she can earn her keep!

The fact that she knows how to mop speaks to how often she sees me cleaning and keeping my house in perfect order. (No it doesn’t. I really have no idea how she figured out how to work a mop because she has probably never seen me mop the floor. The rare times I do it she is usually napping.)

Next week I’ll give her a bottle of Windex and a rag and hope for the best.

 

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Thug life

The space shuttle got scratched up in a parking lot a few weeks ago and had to get repainted, so Geico was setting me up with a rental car.

 

Geico: “So, we’ll put you in a sedan comparable to a Toyota Corolla.”

Me: “Um, I love Corollas. Had one in college even, but that’s way too small. I have to fit three car seats in it.”

Geico: *keyboard clacking sound* “Okay, I can bump you up to a mid-size Nissan Altima.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s what I drove before turning it in for a minivan because it was too small.

Geico: “Is there any type of sedan that would work for you?”

Me: “If there was, I would be driving it instead of a giant space shuttle.”

Geico: “So you want a minivan?”

Me: “I don’t think anybody wants a minivan, but yes, I require the space of a minivan.”

 

I did eventually get clearance for a minivan. It was a Chrysler Town & Country and handled about as smoothly as a horse drawn buggy, only with less torque. By the time I got the space shuttle back I realized how lucky I was to have it. Now I understand why Jesse keeps calling it a luxury minivan. Before driving that Chrysler I thought “luxury minivan” was an oxymoron. I love my space shuttle with its smooth handling and all its bells and whistles – I’m even willing to forgive the completely asinine design of the front center console. (That’s one thing the Chrysler had on my space shuttle – its center console was perfection.)

I’m glad to have you home, space shuttle. You look good as new with your new paint touch ups.

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Geocache dash

Okay, I promised a quick post about my Dad and Gloria’s visit. As you know, Thursday was spent at the happiest place on earth, and we came home late and fell into our beds.

The next morning, my dad burned his hand while making us a delicious breakfast. I then proceeded to drag him on a million errands. He was in more pain than I realized, diligently filling his melted icepack up with cold water from whatever drinking fountain we happened by in our rushing around. We eventually ended up buying him some frozen corn to hold. It’s hard to look cool whilst holding a bag of frozen corn, but my dad somehow pulled it off.

Our errands were successful! We bought several tiles from Lowes to use as counters for photographing Jesse’s latest business venture, (more on that later) as well as several small dishes and cute containers – also for photo props.

After picking the kids up from school we decided to go geocaching. Gloria recently started geocaching and we had five listed on our walking trail. The first three were a bust. I was surprised by how difficult geocaching was turning out to be. At one point we were convinced we had found the hiding spot – the location matched the clue to a tee – but no dice.

THEN

We found the fourth one! It was up in a tree, and required some effort to retrieve. Dad, injured hand and all, climbed the tree like a squirrel and lowered the cache down to us.

 

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I wish I had gotten a pic of him up in that tree.

 

Inside the cache was all of the other caches that we had been looking for. Someone had collected them and stuffed them inside this big cache. We immediately felt better about our perceived hunting ineptitude.

So that was our experience with geocaching. The kids loved it. I think they’re hooked. I myself would like to get them into letterboxing – who doesn’t love a good hand-carved stamp?

 

And now I will do something that bothers me to no end when I see other bloggers do it: I will make an excuse for my lack of regular posting lately. Usually when I see a blog do this I just write them off. I hope I don’t suffer the same fate from you, dear readers. I have been blogging consistently for several years, and I promise I’m not going anywhere. I’m just momentarily overwhelmed with non-blogging related work.

In addition to teaching myself how to format so I can release to you my latest steamy novel, I am also helping Jesse launch his new company. I will be dedicating a full post to that soon so you guys can get all excited about it.

Thanks for your patience, and please keep checking in with me. You can always subscribe to my RSS feed so you get an email when I post something. At least, I think that’s how that works? Anyway, at the very least I will continue to post once a week until I can resume my thrice weekly schedule. If any fellow bloggers or aspiring bloggers out there want to do a guest post during this dry spell, shoot me an email.

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Throwin’ it back to 2010

Today I am doing a throw back Thursday inspired by a picture a friend of mine sent me of her son (2 yrs) dressed in his sister’s dress and hair bow. I am posting this video with Brecken’s permission. (He was so grown-up and sweet about my posting it. He thinks it’s adorable – AND IT IS!!)

This video footage was taken just after Brecken’s second birthday. He had major sister-worship at that age, and had dressed himself. The video needs no more introduction.

 

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Disneyland really *is* the happiest place on earth. Sometimes.

I have been overwhelmingly busy lately, but I absolutely wanted to document Seren’s first trip to Disneyland.

Dad took my niece/sister on a road trip – which is awesome – and they ended up in our neighborhood. We decided to play hooky from school on Thursday and use the last day of our Disney passes. Seren would have to come with us, and she had a head cold so I wasn’t sure how long she would last at the happiest place on earth. We made a contingency plan that I would take her home if she became too much to handle, then come back later to pick everyone up. I expected her to last maybe four hours.

Girlfriend likes Disney, you guys. She made it TWELVE hours. Yes, twelve hours. From 8:30AM to 8:30PM.

She rode every ride nearby with no height limit – including a few that really shouldn’t let babies on – Francis the Ladybug ride, I’m looking at you! She NAPPED in her stroller. She was happy and chipper and only complained a total of twenty seconds toward the end of the night. I was blown away.

All of the kids were delightfully behaved.

As a fun twist of fate my dad’s brother and his wife were in town at the same time from Washington. We realized it when they posted a pic of Disneyland to Facebook, so we called them and met up. Kismet!

It was exhausting, but oh-so-much-fun.

If I manage to catch my breath some time this week I’ll try to post about the rest of my Dad and Gloria’s visit. Until then, enjoy these snapshots of Seren livin’ it up at D-Land. The last one of all the kids crashed in the back of the space shuttle is my favorite. I wish we had managed to get Seren’s sleeping face in the mirror reflection. You’ll just have to trust me that she was in a coma.

 

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Also, here is a crappy video of Seren learning what it must be like to trip on acid. I mean, here is a crappy video of Seren riding Small World. (Same thing.)

 

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