Sunday, November 30, 2014

Eat Some Turkey and a trip on the Polar Express

Thanksgiving was a slow affair this year. We hosted Brandon's grandpa and his new wife Marie. We have them over for dinner often but it was fun to dress up the table and make it special, even with only a few guests. It was a record 85 degrees outside so we spent the day watching football and playing soccer outside.

The next day we headed up to the Grand Canyon Railway for the Polar Express. Christian is obsessed with trains and loved looking at all the trains around the town. He kept yelling at them in this cute little voice, "Choo Choo, Choo Choo!" We got there right before the train left the station so we headed from the hotel straight to the train with our jammies on. It was a magical experience. I read that we should bring some plastic baggies for left over cookies and ribbon to string the bells around our necks. The hot chocolate was delicious and the kids just loved being on a real train. When we arrived to the North Pole the kids were so excited they couldn't contain themselves. Dancing in the isles and whispering to all the other kids how wonderful it is to see Santa and the Elf's houses. Elizabeth and Jackson swear they saw Chippy's (our own personal Elf on the Shelf) house. Then we sang Christmas carols, Elizabeth's favorite part, and finally Santa gave everyone their very own bell. The kids loved the trip. I wish I would have brought the book on the train for when they read the story but I'll know better for next time. We ended the night at the hotel for dinner and bed.

Then we came home the next day in the Christmas spirit and decorated the house. Mainly I decorated the house and the kids ran around looking at all the decorations. They helped trim the tree and posed for me at the end with all their Christmas hats and glasses. I love how excited they get about Christmas and decorating the house. It is truly a magical time.

October Happenings-Disneyland, Pumpkin Farm, and Halloween

After the wedding was finally over and Christian's birthday we decided to take advantage of October break and our Disney passes and headed back to Disneyland for a few days. It was so crowded this time! And still really hot. I was glad we had just gone in September because our October trip gave us the opportunity to do some activities that we didn't have time for before and activities that the crowds were uninterested in like exploring Pirate Island, The Wilderness Explorers Camp and watching some of the great shows. The kids really loved Pirate Island and exploring all the caves. I on the other hand found bending down and squeezing through the tight caves a little challenging in my 7 months pregnant state. But we still had a great time and it was well worth the trip.

We also spent October break at Vertuccio Farms, our favorite pumpkin patch in AZ. It is not a traditional pumpkin patch but there are a lot of pumpkins, and many other fall activities including: a bounce house, giant air pillow, two slides, petting zoo, trains, and a corn maze. Lizzy loved the slides and Christian loved petting the animals. We saw the fatest, oldest, most dominant turkey of my life. He walked around the farm like he owned the place, ruffling his feathers at people and the other turkeys. He was awesome. Jackson loved the corn maze. He likes a challenge and exploring, especially if it has a goal like checking off all the points on our maps. It didn't fell like fall since it was still 90 degrees outside but that is about as fall festive as we are going to get in Arizona.

Halloween was amazing this year. The kids helped me clean out the pumpkins and then they drew faces on the pumpkins themselves. I cut out the faces but the creations were all their ideas and own drawings. It was AWESOME! We went to our Ward Halloween party in the retention basin and had a blast as always. But afterward we went over to our friends the Welch's. Then we hopped a ride on the Graveyard Train for trick-or-treating. Another family we love the Fillmore's attach a flat trailer to a small tractor and put folding chairs up. Then he strung Halloween lights and a large speaker in the back to play Halloween music. All of the neighborhood kids hopped on the trailer (with some parents, about 20 kids all together) and Brother Fillmore drove them around the neighborhoods stopping in each area for the kids to climb out and trick-or-treat. After 2 hours our sacks were full of candy and goodies and we headed home.

One sad moment from our October, we had to say goodbye to our beloved dogs Twix and Snickers. Twix contracted an infection in his teeth that was not fixable without surgery. Snickers was old, blind, deaf, and had a painful rash on his stomach. They were 14 years old and lived great lives. We miss them dearly (especially me with the crumb clean up, my little doggy vacuums). They were great pets and loved by these 3 kids forever.