Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend

We had a nice Thanksgiving, we had dinner with Cody’s family. The boys tried a little bit of everything and of course really enjoyed the chocolate layer dessert. They played with their cousins and while we visited with everyone. Unfortunately the boys ended up being off schedule due to having an early nap. This meant they were overtired and super cranky at bedtime. Luckily it only takes about one day to get everyone back on schedule.
Friday I had planned on running errands while Cody was at work. Cody had planned on going to buy a new office chair and assemble his new desk. Instead he was met with this:

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He joked about someone getting a early Black Friday deal with a 100% off crowbar coupon. They left the crowbar, but took his computer and and monitor. So instead of going shopping for office items, he spent the morning filing a police report and dealing with the insurance. It’s nice that everything that was taken will be covered by the insurance, but still unsettling to have the office broken into.
Friday night we all went to the Apple store to replace the missing computer equipment. We stopped at Old Navy and managed to get a great deal on some new shirts for the boys. I think we now own almost every long sleeved shirt color they carry. As usual we did a lap around the mall stopping to enjoy the Christmas decorations.
Saturday with Cody’s office dealt with (as much as could be done) we headed for Ikea to get some a much needed office chair for the office and a few other small items. The boys as usual enjoyed some meatballs with lingonberry jam. After naptime the boys and I headed out to pick up our newest family member.
We adopted our Elf on the shelf, which after much debating the boys have named him Melvin. It’s a good elf name plus it’s adorable to hear the boys say Melvin. The boys don’t quite understand Santa and that the elf will be reporting back to him every night. The boys are enjoying heading down stairs every morning to find Melvin. So far our elf has chosen to position himself well out of their reach (smart elf).

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Parker normally just points him out and says “That’s an elf” now they are in the habit of calling him Melvin. Last night during dinner Cody said Andrew just kept saying Melvin and giggling as he hung from the light. This morning our elf was playing with the blinds.

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Every time Parker goes into the dining room he makes a point to tell Melvin to get back on the light. I can’t wait to see all of the fun places Melvin will surprise the boys in. Hopefully having an elf will help us all get into the holiday spirit, now we just need some snow.

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This week I’m hoping to get the tree up and we are planning on taking the boys downtown to see the lights.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monkey see, monkey do; in a good way

The other night Cody was comparing the ISO of his cameras while shooting video, of course the boys were interested in what he was doing and joining in. They definitely take after Cody in their interest in gadgets, they love everything with a screen and buttons.

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Of course after Nicholas had a turn taking pictures everyone else wanted one.

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I love just how hard Andrew is focusing on the screen.

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Parker was the only one to take picture of more than the ground, he even got a few decent shots of me.

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Looks like we’ll be getting the boys cameras in the near future, but they will be much more child friendly and much less fragile.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Enjoying the winter

It snowed last Friday, but it had all melted by Saturday. Luckily we already got the boys new coats for the season, I can’t believe how much they have grown. I bought last years coats thinking I had bought them big enough to fit for two years. If you saw the coats from last year you’d laugh. I was so excited to find each of the boys a coat in their color, in the same size at the same store.
On Sunday while I was at work Cody took the boys out for a pre-nap walk to burn off some energy. I can’t get over how adorable they are in the new coats and the hats we bought at Disney World. They love their Mickey hats.

They ran around the neighborhood for about an hour.

This is becoming such a fun age, the boys are talking so much more now and seem to only have one speed. They want to run everywhere all the time.

They sure look like they are having a great time though.

I can’t wait until we have some snow that stays one the ground for more than a day so we can let the boys play in it. Last year they didn’t really get into the snow, this year they have loved stomping around in what little snow we’ve had and trying to throw snowballs.

On a somewhat related note (you know cold weather, snow,) the holidays are coming up and my master address list was on my old hard drive. When we built new computers I didn’t get the file and I know some people have moved and I don’t have their current addresses. That being said, if I probably should have your address or I’ve sent you holiday cards in the past please email me, text me, send me a message on facebook or DM me on twitter so I have your current address.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Disneyland Monorail

While we were at Disneyland the boys noticed the monorail as soon as we walked towards the parks. Everyday when we saw the monorail they would happily tell us it was the monorail train and which color it was. Eventually we rode the red train and the boys loved it.
We had already planned on buying a toy monorail to put around our Christmas tree. I figured we would get the Disneyworld monorail, but we found a Disneyland monorail in red; the same one we rode with the boys. Last week Cody set it up to show the boys. I’m glad their love of trains extends to monorails too.

I don’t think we’ll be able to set it up around the tree this year, there is no way the boys would leave it alone with out being supervised. I love that Parker was tasting the styrofoam, when I asked Cody he said he wasn’t eating it and you can hear him tell us that it’s yucky.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicken dip dip

I’m always trying to add some variety to the dinners I make for the boys. We’ve learned that the boys will eat just about anything they can dip. Bread, chips, fries; you know all the healthy stuff. Tonight the plan was to just feed them chicken and mixed veggies. Vegetables are easy and the boys will normally eat them on their own, but chicken can be a tough sell.
Tonight I thought we’d try to take advantage of their love of dip. I cubed the chicken after it was cooked and broke out the toothpicks. It looked like I was serving a plate of h’orderves.  With cheese sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard and ketchup set out with on the table the boys inhaled their chicken and kept asking for more. In total they ate 1.5 breasts by themselves. When I had to tell the boys to eat their veggies if they wanted more chicken, I knew it was a hit. We will definitely be serving this again.

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The cheese dip won’t be repeated, the honey mustard was very popular as was the ketchup. I was impressed that after showing them once they put all of the used toothpicks on their plates. I was expecting toothpicks to end up everywhere and surprisingly not one even ended up on the table.
A little video from dinner, I’m loving how easy it is to take video with my camera and upload it.

It looks like it’s time for crib tents

Yesterday as naptime was ending I heard someone yelling “Nick’s crib” over and over again. I went into the room to find that Parker was in Nicholas’ crib and Nicholas was not happy about having a visitor. I asked Parker if that was his crib and ran out of the room to grab my camera to get a picture to show Cody. Instead I made it back in the room to get a video.

Today during naptime Parker was once again in Nicholas’ crib and they even opened the bedroom door. It’s only a matter of time before Parker switches to climbing to another crib to climbing down or teaching his brothers. Which means we’ll have crib tents up by the end of the week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So much energy before bed

Tonight after dinner I let the boys run off some energy. I wish I knew where all of their energy comes from so I could tap into it. After dinner pre-bedtime activities include running in circles, emptying toy bins, driving cars, going up and down the stairs a dozen times. Sure looks like they are having fun though. At the end it’s Andrew that falls down and of course I say Parker because it’s the first name that came to mind.

The running went on for about 20 minutes. Then they started to wind down enough to play with their trains and cars. The boys have a ton of wooden Thomas engines (Thank you ebay) and we always have purchased them in multiples of three letting the boys each pick one of the new engines. This is why you will hear them associate each engine with a sibling (or themselves). It makes a great game to keep them entertained when we are out to eat and waiting for our food. I’m always impressed by the fact that not only can they name all of the engines, but also remember whose is whose.

Eventually they wore themselves out a bit, we can tell when they are ready for bed or naptime because the find a way to keep playing while laying on the ground. 

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Then all I have to do is get them to come upstairs to change, the secret weapon is the iPad. Every night before they go to bed we run an app called Nighty Night where they get to turn off the lights for all of the animals on a farm and tell them goodnight. They more or less demand it.
The time it takes to get upstairs and changed into pajamas is enough to recharge their batteries. Look how tired Andrew and Parker seem.

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They were jumping up and down and doing something truly terrifying; climbing their crib rails. We’ve known for a long time the boys are more than tall enough to climb out of their cribs, but no one has actually climbed out or into a neighboring crib. I took one picture and put the camera down because I in no way want to encourage this activity.

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What you can’t see is his leg is actually over the rail. The boys have all been sitting the rails at some point waiting for a diaper change. I worry about someone getting hurt falling out, but I know given what good climbers they are they could pretty easily get in and out on their own. We are not ready for toddler beds. I have a feeling in the next week or two we’ll be purchasing crib tents, since no one is ready for the boys to have free access to everything in their room (and the whole house at night).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New books

Every week when I take the boys to Costco for our 8 (yes 8) gallons of milk and a few other staples. I always spend a good amount of time looking through all of the books to see if they have anything new. We’ve been lucky to find a fair number of Thomas, Cars, Mickey Mouse and Dr. Seuss books. The boys have all gotten into books lately and have stopped trying to eat them. We recently started to transitioned from board books to regular books.
Yesterday I picked up a 3-pack of Thomas books. What could be better than they’re favorite character and it comes in a 3-pack. The whole drive home they were asking for me to open the new Thomas books, I told them I would open the books after we were home and the groceries were put away. They asked non-stop for the books while I was bringing everything in.
I asked them to sit on the couch to read and handed out books.

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They spent a half hour reading to themselves, to each other and to me. Nicholas was being very talkative, if you listen closely Parker is trying to tell me about Thomas going up the road. Of course there is also a tiny tantrum over a book trade.

When I left the playroom to make lunch the boys followed me into the kitchen to continue telling me about the books.

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Andrew

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Parker

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Nicholas

I guess seeing me always with a book was bound to rub off on them eventually. We spend a lot of time each day reading, I can’t count how many times I hear “read more stories” from the boys. Now that they are talking more it’s fun to hear them read the story to me or try to interpret the pictures to tell me what is going on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last couple days of Disneyland

On Wednesday morning we were worn out and decided to take it easy. We headed for Disneyland to enjoy the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay at the Haunted Mansion, ride the Winnie the Pooh ride again and finally take the boys to Pirates Lair at Tom Sawyer’s Island.
It was another low photo taking day, but Cody did take a fair amount of video. The boys had a lot of fun running all over the island, climbing through caves and finding the pirate treasure.

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Turning this wheel raised and lowered a sunken treasure chest, the boys ran in a circle turning the wheel alternating between giggling about it and being very focused on keeping up with each other.
They also had a couple of bridges that we went back and forth over.

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We also made time to enjoy Jungle Cruise and a Cody and the boys shared a couple of Dole floats, a magical combination of pineapple soft serve in a cup of pineapple juice. This was the only day it was almost too warm, of course we were also chasing the boys around a sunny island.
With everyone being tired we headed back to the hotel for naps early. In the room Nicholas and Andrew showed just how much they are willing to share. They still are attached to their towels and have them at nap and bedtime. I had packed a dozen towels for the trip, at nap time the boys were only able to find two not in their beds. So Andrew happily handed the corner of his towel to Nicholas while waiting for us to change them before naps.

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Parker had a towel all to himself and was acting silly.

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We finished out the day at Disneyland spending more time in Tomorrowland. The goal was to make it an early night so that we could again make it to Disney California Adventure early for a fastpass for World of Color.
Thursday we were up and out so early we considered visiting Downtown Disney just to pass time. Instead we waited in line, took a few pictures and easily made it to collect our blue pass for the show.

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If you can’t read the shirts, Nicholas has Ctrl + C on it. Andrew and Parker have Ctrl + V. We are embracing our inner geek.

While at DCA we had a few attractions on the list to see. I wanted to visit the Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar in hopes of seeing a preview of what would be coming to Cars Land, sadly it was a display about the changes to entrance of the park. Tower of Terror and Disney Junior Live on Stage was also on the must do list. Tower is always fun, the line was almost non-existent so Cody and I were both able to ride before the Disney Junior show.
The Disney Junior show was cute, but like most shows at Disney the volume seems to be turned up as high as possible. Nicholas is more sensitive to the loudness. He started saying loud and crying so Cody had to take him out of the show halfway through. Andrew and Parker sat through the full show clapping along with everyone else.
The last stop before changing parks was just for the boys, meeting full sized Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. I thought their little heads were going to explode. They just kept saying ‘touch Lightning, touch Mater’ and couldn’t believe we let them touch the cars. It was really hard to get a picture of them because they wouldn’t look away from the cars for anything.

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We can’t wait for Cars Land to open next year, we plan to visit again next fall. I hope the boys are still interested in Cars next year. Given their obsession with everything with wheels I’m not worried.
We headed for Disneyland but stopped for a Mickey bar for Cody which of course he shared. This was the boys first Mickey bar.

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Note Andrew not so patiently waiting for another bite, can’t really blame him as chocolate was involved.

At Disneyland we headed for Fantasy and Tomorrowland for some Star Tours fast passes and for lunch. The lines were short for most rides so we decided to see how the boys would do on the Mad Tea Party.

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They are fans and kept requesting to spin more and faster. I’m going to take it as a sign that I’m getting older because I was not up to spinning more and certainly not faster. Teacups survived we took the boys to an attraction they had been eyeing all week, Autopia. A chance for the boys to drive their own cars (on a track, thank goodness).
I took Nicholas with me, he did all of the steering while I pushed the pedal. Cody took Andrew and Parker. I had read before hand that if you have two kids too young to ride alone you can ask a cast member to allow you to ride again with the other child steering. After our first time around the track Cody passed Andrew to me so he could give Parker a chance to drive.

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While I was waiting with the boys, Andrew tripped over his own feet, bit his lip and started bleeding. Along with the bleeding (it was a small cut) he also let out a scream. You know that scream that makes your eardrums feel like they are going to implode? It brought a few other guests and a cast member over to us. The cast member, Stephen, wanted to make sure he was okay and offered to let him drive again. I told him it wasn’t necessary, but as he asked Andrew directly if he wanted to drive I couldn’t exactly say no.
As soon as Andrew got behind the wheel the tears were gone.

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Nicholas spent much of the ride calling Andrew a crazy driver.

After lunch and naptime it was back to DCA for World of Color, but this time we arrived two hours before the start of the show to ensure we got a really good spot. In preparation for the long wait we had drinks, popcorn and other snacks plus a secret weapon. Lightning McQueen light up toys.

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Yes Parker is kissing his Lightning McQueen, the toys were a hit. They still fight to keep those toys in hand at all times.

We had a great viewing spot, we had earplugs for the boys and all enjoyed the show.

Friday morning we enjoyed early entry to Toontown in hopes of meeting some characters, riding Roger Rabbit and Gadget’s Go Coaster. Last year it was raining so all of the characters were in Mickey’s house and we were able to meet them all one after another. On our way to Toontown we ran into Henry Work of Touringplans he spotted us while riding the teacups. He has just about the coolest job ever.  We use the crowd calendar at Touringplans.com to pick our vacation dates to help ensure short wait times and it has never steered us wrong. We’ve met Henry a couple times on previous trips, he called out from the ride recognizing Cody. Then came to say hi briefly. As he was working he couldn’t visit for long. 
In Toontown the characters were not yet available so we rode Gadget’s Go Coaster a couple times and hoped that Rodger Rabbit would resolve the technical difficulties it was experiencing. After riding the coaster Cody discovered that it wasn’t meant for tall people. The coaster has some water jets meant to shoot over the riders, Cody took a direct shot to head from one of the jets.
Rodger Rabbit still wasn’t open so we joined the line to meet Mickey again.

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Rodger Rabbit had opened while we were waiting for Mickey, but by the time we made it out of Mickey’s house it had broken down again. Maybe we’ll get to ride it next year.
The boys had already seen Henry riding the tea cups and were asking to ride them again. We were the only ones in line to ride it.

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They still enjoyed it, with lots and lots of spinning.

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We went on a few more attractions before naptime and picked up some fastpasses for after naptime. Friday night there was a Halloween party in the park which meant it would be closing early without an additional ticket. We went back to Disneyland briefly to use our fastpasses, it was the most crowded we had seen all week. We knew the party had sold out, but didn’t expect for it to get so crowded so quickly.
As soon as the crowds started to get bad we said goodbye to Disneyland and headed to DCA. We spent sometime on the pier riding the carousel, the Golden Zepher and California Screamin’ on our way out we saw Turtle Talk again and checked out ElecTRONica.
After exiting the park we did some shopping. During the week we had already picked out the souvenirs for us, the boys and some friends. So it was more of a picking up the items then shopping. Sadly Disney still doesn’t have any tall sized clothing and all of their boys shirts only have 2 designs/colors in each style, so no one got a t-shirt. Saturday morning was more of the same, buying the last few things we wanted before loading back into the van for the 12 hour drive home.  The drive home was uneventful, we stopped in Saint George for a couple hours of sleep and made it home just after dawn.

I can’t wait to go back next year. The boys should be tall enough to ride almost every attraction in the parks and be better able to tell us what they want to do.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Disneyland Day 2

Like our last Disney trip to California we alternate the park we start the morning in, so day 2 was DCA. We knew we had to arrive at least 45 minutes before opening to get in line for World of Color fastpasses. We made it a bit early and just enjoyed people watching and the perfect weather. For our entire vacation it was sunny and in the 70s, much better than last years 5 days of rain.
They opened the turnstiles at 9:30 and like everyone else we headed for the fastpass line. After securing our blue section passes we decided to head for the new Little Mermaid ride. Unfortunately the ride was not yet open due to a technical difficulty. So we headed for Grizzly Peak to let the boys play at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

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It is a no stroller area so the boys had the time to run off a lot of energy in the suspension and rope bridges, go down some slide and run through a tunnel made from a fallen ‘tree.’

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They ran in and out and around for about a half hour. Once they started asking to be carried we headed back to the strollers to find out if Little Mermaid was open. Luckily it was. I thought it was a great attraction. The boys were not so sure until we got past the first two scenes and into the under the sea scene. We ended up riding Little Mermaid 4 more times on the trip. The animatronics were amazing, the level of detail was crazy. I wanted to keep riding it just so I could see everything.
We then headed for Paradise Pier to ride some adult rides. Mainly because we both wanted to ride California Screamin’ thanks to the single rider line we it was a walk on for both of us.

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Cody as he shot by us on the ‘fast train’

After walking around the pier the boys started requesting to see “Crush turtle talk” which when the boys are all saying ‘Crush please’ we can’t say no. So of course we went to see Turtle Talk again.

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This was the last picture we took for the day. We headed over to Disneyland to enjoy a couple of attractions before naptime. After naps we went back to DCA and saw Turtle Talk again then went to get in line for World of Color. We should have skipped Turtle Talk and joined the line much earlier.
The spot we found was partial obscured by a tree and right by a speaker. It was so loud it scared Nicholas and I had forgotten to throw the earplugs in the diaper bag. Cody spent most of the show trying to calm Nicholas down while I was holding Parker. After the show we decided we would see it again and arrive much earlier to get a good spot and have ear plugs with a new toy for the boys to pass the time while waiting.
I love World of Color, the music the movie clips, and just the thinking about all of the technology that goes into making the show work. By the time the show ended and we made our way out among the masses it was time for dinner and bedtime.