Tuesday, July 27, 2010

San Diego

Our trip to San Diego was a great trip. Not only did we have lots of fun together, but it was very much a learning experience for Ryan and I. This was the first 'real' vacation we've ever been on as a family. We take trips to the cabin all the time, and Ryan and I have gone places together, but this was the first time we loaded up the Tahoe and took the kids somewhere. Here's a few things I learned. 1. Never book a hotel through Hotels.com , what a nightmare. When I booked us a hotel way back in April, I called hotels.com to see if I could get a better rate over the phone than online. I had picked out the 'Days' hotel in hotel circle (right in the middle of San Diego) and when I called, I got a pretty smokin deal- $70 a night. It's not the greatest hotel, but it looked nice online, and we've stayed in economy hotels before and it was fine. Well come to find out after I had payed the money in advance, that they actually booked me in the 'Days Inn' hotel in south San Diego. At the time I was pissed, but on the map it didn't look too far away, and I thought it couldn't be that big of a difference.
When we got to San Diego last Wednesday I was appalled at this hotel. Not only was it in the 'hood' of south San Diego, but it was right off the freeway and it was disgusting. The walls and the roof had water stains, the tile in bathroom had separated from the walls and it was just dirty. I apologized profusely to Ryan for booking us in such a dump. We just did not feel safe there and wanted out. So we hooked Ryan's laptop up to the Wi-Fi and started looking for other hotels. It just happened to be this HUGE comic convention in San Diego that weekend, so all the Embassy Suites and such were sold out. We got on priceline.com and decided to try their "name your price" deal. We asked for a 4 star hotel, and picked a few areas of town we were more comfortable with and gave them an offer of $175 a night. You might think that's expensive, but for San Diego, the economy hotels go for more than that a night. Anyways, much to our surprise, they accepted our offer and we ended up staying at the Paradise Point Golf Resort on Mission Bay. What a difference. It was a really nice resort, and it was right across the street from Sea World! So lesson learned, use priceline.com, not hotels.com.
Lesson 2. While the resort was an awesome place to stay, there was no continental breakfast. For just Ryan and I, it would've been fine, but when you have hungry mouths at 7am, the last thing you want to do is drive around to find somewhere to eat besides McDonald's. So next time, we will be staying somewhere that serves breakfast for free. Paying $30 for breakfast everyday adds up fast.
Lesson 3. You always spend more than you think you will. Since we had to add on breakfast everyday, plus a $25 parking fee every night, the bill added up much faster than we anticipated. (Not to mention having to pay for a crappy hotel and then a nice one too) Then just little things here and there, food at Sea World, one night Ryan and I ordered a movie to our room ($15) and of course the souvenirs at Sea World.
Lesson 4. You should 'google' places to eat, near your hotel, before you leave. We wasted a lot of time trying to find restaurants and such. I'd also look up where the closest Wal-Mart and Target are, just in case you forget something.
So lessons learned. I'll just have to remember all these things when we go on vacation again, which Ryan informed me won't be for at least 5 more years! We actually did have a great time. Ryan was against the whole thing from the beginning, saying we don't need to take 3 yr olds on vacation. I grew up in a family where we did some kind of family vacation every year and I loved it. Some of my favorite memories are from our family vacations, so I have a different perspective than he does. He went on one family vacation as a teenager and that's it. So we are learning to compromise. Ryan did admit that it was better than he thought it'd be and the kids weren't as bad as he thought. The only hard thing for him was at night. We had to come home and put the kids to bed, pretend we were asleep for 15 minutes, just so we could turn the TV back on! It is definitely not a vacation for the parents!
Anyways- here's some pictures from our trip!

Yes, we paid the $6 a person to feed the dolphins at Sea World. And yes, it was worth every penny. I think Ryan and I loved it just as much if not more than the kids.

Here's just one picture I took from the many shows we went to. I don't know what it is about seeing dolphins and whales jump out of the water that just makes me happy. If I were an animal, it would definitely be a dolphin.

Here's Kate and Clark with their 3D glasses for the Elmo 3D movie. It was really cute to see them reach their hands out in the movie to try to touch stuff!

I have such well trained kids- this was a photo -op place where they had Sea World photographers taking pictures of the kids with Elmo and Grover, and my kids looked at me for the picture and not the photographer!

Friday we spent the day at Ocean Beach. It was not the best beach day for me, but Ryan loved it. It was cloudy and cold the whole day. We got to the beach about 10am and stayed until almost 4. I was hoping the sun would break through the clouds by about 1pm, but nope- it was 5pm before you could see the sun. So much for getting a nice tan on the beach. I had my hoodie on all day. It was probably better that Ryan had a good day at the beach- maybe he'll be more likely to go back!

Even though the it was about 65 degrees outside and the water was about 61 degrees, the kids still got in and played. They didn't like the taste of the water so much, but stayed in the water for about 15 minutes at a time. Ryan was the good parent who got in the water with them- I just stood knee deep and took pictures!

Kate and Clark had a great time playing in the sand. They were even more excited that we got to take the new toys home and put them in our sand box!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pumpkin Pie in July

Yes, these pumpkins are from my garden and no, I have no idea what I'm going to do with them all! The last time I had pumpkin in my garden, I planted them a little late so that the pumpkins would be ready for Halloween, although it didn't work as planned. It was too hot for the plant to flower until September, and then only one actually turned into the pumpkin. So we didn't have a pumpkin until November. So this year I decided to plant 2 pumpkin plants and start them a little earlier. So that's why I have 8 pumpkins! If you would like to have one to cook up and save the pumpkin for later- let me know! I'd be happy to share!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July

We hadn't planned on doing much of anything over the 4th of July weekend because Ryan was going to have to work on Saturday. But much to my surprise on Friday morning he called me and told me he didn't have to work Saturday, so we could go to the cabin. So Friday I frantically ran all my errands, so we could get out the door at a reasonable time. We got up to the cabin Friday late afternoon and enjoyed our weekend out of the heat! Ryan and I love to sleep downstairs, with the window open and freeze ourselves out. It was in the 50's at night and we LOVED it. Haven't slept that good in months! Saturday my brother Dave brought his family up and Kate and Clark loved having all those cousins around, but mostly just Jacob and Ella. Here's what we did all day Saturday.

Ryan went into town and got worms so the kids could really fish in the pond. Here's Clark catching a fish from the pond.

I get the Mom/ Aunt of the weekend award for all of the 4th of July crafts I did for the kids. Kate and Clark helped me make sugar cookies and then all the kids got to frost and decorate them.

Then I found this really cute idea off the Better Homes and Gardens website. I bought these chinese take-out boxes from Michaels, then use stickers, ribbon and such for the kids to decorate them with. Then I made some carmel popcorn to put inside. We took them to the fireworks show and the kids ate their popcorn while we waited for the fireworks.

Saturday evening we drove up to Heber for the best fireworks show in Arizona. I hesitate to tell people about it, because I want it to stay the best kept secret! They do the fireworks show at the high school, and there are alot of people that go, but you don't fight crowds like you do in the valley. This year we camped out on the softball field. It was perfect. The kids had a place to run and play while we waited, but we were still close enough that the fireworks are right over you.

Here's Jacob trying to teach Clark how to play football. Poor Clark. We are not sports people- so his cousins and uncles have to pick up the slack.

Here's Kate and Ella. They were buddies all weekend. Kate mostly just bossed Ella around and made her play the baby while she was the mommy. This picture reminds me of a picture of my sister Bridgett and I when we were about their age. (I'll have to find that)

My oldest sister Aimee, Ryan and my Dad

Jacob and Ella eating their popcorn.

After our great weekend at the cabin, we actually came home early to go to our ward. (we haven't been to our ward much the passed month, and Ryan and I needed to fulfill our callings!)
I had a really neat experience at church Sunday. Of course it was 4th of July so alot of the comments were about the founding of our country. For the closing hymn we sang 'The Star Spangled Banner' and I was so overcome that I couldn't sing the last verse. If you haven't, you need to read all 3 verses of that song. It is powerful. I am just so grateful to live in this great country. I'm grateful for the freedoms that I enjoy and for those who have, and continue to sacrifice their lives for our liberty. I am proud to be an American! God Bless America!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Thanks Nancy! You did an awesome job!

Swim Lessons

This summer was the first time Kate and Clark did swim lessons with someone other than me! They were getting to the point where they just wanted to play with me and not listen to what I was instructing them to do- so this year they did lessons with my sister Nancy. It worked out really well, since I taught lessons at Nancy's house too. Kate and Clark were in Nancy's last class of the morning and then I started right after their lesson. The best part was that they were in a class with their friends Ide and Jackson and I got to sit on the pool deck and talk to my friends Erin and Keisha! Kate and Ide

Jackson, Ide and Clark


A year after Ryan and I got married I bought Ryan scuba lessons for his birthday. He has always wanted to get scuba certified and I thought buying him lessons would do the trick. Well not too long after we bought the lessons, I got pregnant with the twins and that was put on hold. We tried to do the certification after the twins were born, before our cruise, but it just didn't work out. So 4 years later we finally finished!
We had to do 2 nights of classroom and then a whole day at the pool practicing our techniques. Then this passed Saturday and Sunday we went to Lake Pleasant to do our 4 open water dives to complete the certification. Even though it was a nasty, dirty lake, we still enjoyed it. Being able to breathe underwater is just cool. We did see a few fish and Ryan even found a golf ball. We're just excited that we found something that we both enjoy that we can do together. We're kinda polar opposites in that regard. He likes to work on cars , watch movies and play video games and I like to swim in the pool, sit on the beach, go shopping and get pedicures! I think I got the better end of the deal because now Ryan will willingly go to the beach! It's just too bad that we picked the most expensive sport around!
So do we have a scuba trip planned? No, not yet. But we are saving our pennies so we can!

Father's Day

I know this post is late, but I have not had the brain power to do anything with swim lessons- and now that swim lessons are done, I can get back to life!
Even though Ryan had to work this Father's Day, I still did my best to make it special for him. He went to work about 5am to open up the job site, then came back home about 8am. While he was gone we wrapped his presents and made him Blintzes for breakfast.
Here's Ryan's presents. We made the little tape measure that has a little paper you pull out that says" We love you this much!" He also got a new mag lite and I put together a picture collage poster, all pictures of him with Kate and Clark.
I was really surprised how much he liked the picture collage. I thought he'd say "thanks for the centimental, non useful gift" but he looked at it all day long and even took it to work to put up in his office.
I made a special dinner with all the things that Ryan loves, lasagna and homemade rolls. For dessert I made this raspberry trifle that turned out awesome. I combined a few different recipies to make this one.
Despite Ryan's face, the trifle was very tasty! Happy Fathers Day!