Sunday, March 29, 2015

Haircuts and Cinderella Turned Alien

I cut the boys hair.  Basically, put on a #3 on the clippers and go to town.  It's not hard. I cut Emily's too and thank goodness her hair is curly and is forgiving.  

David decided a few months ago that he wanted to grow his hair out again.  Um, but I don't know how to cut that.  He let me give it a go today, and it turned out pretty good.  I'll make a few adjustments next time, but at least we didn't have to go to Plan B, which was put on #3 on the clippers and go to town.  

So, somewhere when I was using the scissors on top he asked me how I knew what to do.  I told him not to worry, I watch a you tube video.  ;)  Luckily, he trusts me and likes how it turns out.  He says I'm a woman of many talents.  Thank God for you tube!

Em has a Cinderella clock which she claims she is much too old for.

So, I turned it into a bee.

But then Ben brought home this alien from the treasure box at school and I knew exactly where it was going.

But, Emily is a little freaked out by it. It kind of looks like it's birthing an alien too. I could just spend the $10 and get her a new clock at Walmart, but this is so much more fun.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hiking Constellation Trail

Our friends invited us on a hike today. It's beautiful here, and we couldn't say no.

The trailhead is right next to a museum and when you are in the wild west, you dress your mailboxes to look like a horse.

You had to cross under the road, which the kids thought was pretty cool.

The men folk trailing behind.

This trail is the site of a 1959 Navy plane crash that killed several military men. This is some of the wreckage. It was a little strange to be standing where a plane had crashed almost 60 years ago.

The kids quickly found walking sticks.

Noah was literally not happy with every stick he had. I think he went through 5 of them. The trail was super pretty through the trees and brush.

Em and her BFF, Alanah.

The only pic I was in was a selfie from my cell phone, so I put that here so you know I was there too.

Ben was obessed with rock climbing. I think it took us 45 minutes to go about 1/2 mile. He had to stop and climb everything.

Noah with walking stick #4.


Ben climbing and jumping. It's a miracle he didn't fall.

My hot husband.

And if I thought he was hot then, he's even hotter with our babies. He's such a good man and a good father.

We were only out about an hour and it was getting warm. Next time, I'll pack some snacks and we'll hit the trail a little earlier. David had to duck in the tunnel on the way out.


It was fun to do something different and we all had a great time. Now that Noah is a older and it's not such a process, we will do more of this.

Friday, March 27, 2015


We are already into the fourth quarter of school. I think it's about 40ish days left. I can't believe it. The years just fly by. As they say, the days are long, the years are short. I don't know how it happens.

Emily got Honor Roll. She got all A's and one B. She missed all A's by 2%. She also got Cool Coyote award which is an award giving by her teacher for being awesome.

Ben got all A's, so he was on Principals List.  He's also on target to make the 1,000,000 words read for their school.  Very few kids get this, but he's already at 880,000 and he's into his fifth Harry Potter book which will put him well over a million words.  He loves to read.  This picture of him makes me laugh.  He tries so hard not to blink when the camera flashes.

And I don't have a picture of sweet Noah because they don't do assemblies with ribbons and certificates for Kindergarten.  But, he got all O's, which as good as he could possibly get.  It's all Outstanding grades.  

I'm so proud of them.  We are celebrating tonight with pizza and ice cream at Culvers!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A New Level of Cheap (but fabulous)

A new Goodwill store opened in our town a few months back. I went in once and got overwhelmed and left. I couldn't handle the endless racks of stuff. Our other Goodwill that closed before this one opened, I couldn't even walk in there. I couldn't take the smell. This one doesn't smell. Not yet anyway.

Before vacation, I decided to try to find some cute capri pants and ventured in again. I was shocked. They had so much nice stuff. Racks and racks, very well organized and for about 10-20% of what I'd pay new. I found a super cute pair of capris by Apt. 9, which is a Kohl's brand. Normally, those run $30-$40, and I paid $8. Sweet! I also went online the other day to buy my annual summer stash of 5 t-shirts from Target and it was so boring. I think I own every t-shirt Target makes. Boring, boring, boring!

See, the thing with our town is we don't have a whole lot of choices in clothing. We have a Target, Walmart, Kohls and a few odd and end stores in the mall. What I loved about Goodwill is you go to your size and there are about 100 pairs of jeans. Everything from Old Navy to Ann Taylor to Kohl's stuff to stores I've never heard of. But, you really have to have the time and energy to look through stuff. Also, all the jeans are $8. But, every other Saturday is half priced Saturday. $4 sounds better than $8 to me. So, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to rope my friend Dakri into going with me.

Today was the day and boy did we score. I said we hit a new level of cheap. We are not only shopping at Goodwill, but we are going on half priced Saturday! But, you know, if I can look good, spruce up my wardrobe and pay pennies, then yea for me!

We walked in and right in front is the "higher end" items. I'm glad Dakri was with me because I would have skipped over a few things. It's nice our daughters aren't the same size and her and I aren't the same size, so we aren't fighting over stuff. Not that we would, but you know.

First up is Miss Emily. I would say she really isn't into clothes, but boy when I brought her all this home, she was super excited. I was so skeptical of buying her stuff, but I could return it if need be.

I wasn't sure about this pink dress, but after seeing it on Emily, I'm so glad I got it. It's a little big, but fits well now. She can wear it to her spring piano concert or music concert at school or for Easter. And at $3.50, the price was right!

This dress is great for Christmas, again a little big, but she isn't shrinking at this point. I like that it's not over the top ruffle, more classy. Again, $3.50.

This super cute blue shirt is by Justice and was like $2.50 I think. One Justice shirt is like $20-$40 new. It's ridiculous, who would pay that? I think it's good for when she needs to dress up a little, but not a full on dress. Our Goodwill gets clothes from their stores in Phoenix which explains some of this stuff.

I think she really liked it....

All of these shirts were like $1 - $3. This one is her favorite. You can take out the little brown belt if you want, but why would you? I looked at this, debated and kept going. Then, Dak pulled it out and I was like it's $1.50 Gina, just get it. I'm glad I did.

Emily has a green and gray shirt kind of like this that she is almost outgrowing, so when I saw this, I couldn't pass it up.

So, cute! Again, Justice brand.

Justice again and a size too big, but that's okay.

This one is more basic, but it's still nice.

Hello, ski pants! I think they are boys, but at $3.50, who cares! They're big too and will be great for the next time we see snow.

Cute shirt and for this outfit $2.50.

Some cute pink capri pants for chillin.

Lastly, a black pair of capris with a cute little decal on the pants. She was getting silly by this point.

She got 7 shirts, 2 dresses and 4 pairs of bottoms for $30.

Now for me. I typically buy jeans at Costco and I'm okay with that, but they don't do anything for me. When I saw my backside in the background of one of Dakri's vacation photos, I knew I could do better. So, that was my mission today.

Ok, first, I don't take selfies, so the first few are really bad. But, here are the best jeans that I love. The Flirt from Old Navy with a cute new top. You can't see it very well. Sorry, I'm learning, I get better as I go.

I was on the fence about this shirt, but I was determined to not get what I would normally get. It's light and pretty and screams spring.

I don't normally get shirts that say Calvin Klein Jeans in sparkles on them, but I liked it. Paired with some cute Vera Wang capris.

Ann Taylor top with Chico capris. Hello $6.50 for the outfit! I also learned to look up when you take a selfie. I looked up Chico brand when I got home. Their capris are close to $100.

A pair of Old Navy capris and I was really torn on this shirt, but in the end I loved the bright airy look. I thought I looked like Maria Von Trapp took down the curtains and made me a shirt. I don't care, I like it and I'll sing Edelweiss whenever I put it on.

Ok, now I'm a selfie master. Hip to the side, smile, hand on the waist. I got this. Ann Taylor Loft shirt and skirt. This stuff would typically be $100, again $6.50.

God, my bathroom is a mess.

All in all, it was a blast. My total came to $33, so I spent $63 total! AH-mazing. Emily was so excited she did a little video.

I didn't even look at the Men's stuff. And the boys clothes looked really worn out. Next time though, I will look for something for David. A couple new work shirts would be good.

Emily wants to go back next Saturday. I had to tell her that we have to wait for 1/2 price Saturday and we can go the following week. Although, I don't think we will take kids with us. Dak and I spent 3 hours in the store. I broke out my ponytail elastic in about 20 minutes. That's when I got serious. We learned next time bring water, a protein snack, like almonds, hand sanitizer and patience. All in all, a great morning!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Apparently, when looking at my blog on an ipad or iphone, the pictures don't show up most of the time. I've been researching and think it may be the way I'm copying photos over from flickr to my blog, so I'm experimenting. This picture is from over a year ago, but it was cute.


OMG, Noah on Cowboy day at preschool. I'm cute.

Oh, look at my cute short hair. I love it! I want to cut it again, but it was so much work to tame my frizzy curls like this. Ugh.

This is only a test. A cute test.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Old Man / Harry Potter

Costumes in this house are never just for Halloween. I walked in the bathroom tonight and saw Noah like this. And I knew exactly what he'd look like as an old man. 
I told Noah he looked like an old man an he said....
Harry Potter...
Old man....
Apparently he thinks when he is an old man, his cheeks will need glasses. 

He makes me laugh.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Vacation, Day 7

It's always so sad on the last day of vacation. I know, I know, don't be sad because it's over, smile because it happened. Blah, blah, blah.

So, we headed to the same beach we've gone to this week, but today it had bugs everywhere. Not just any bugs, but ladybugs. Ugh, I hate those things. There were some nats too. Who knows why? But, they were everywhere. I was completely grossed out and Noah was thrilled.

Look at him touching it. He can't possibly have my blood in him.

Emily went swimming.

And here's Noah.

In addition to the bugs, the waves were huge! That's my husband out there on the boogie board getting ready to get swallowed up by a wave.

We learned really quick that the bugs weren't bad closer to the water, so can you guess where we went?

Oh my G-O-S-H, he's obsessed with the. That's what Noah says instead of OMG.

We made the kids sandwiches for the beach and we went to get yummy food every day for lunch. We are right by Main Street and there are so many good restaurants. We had this amazing deli sandwich one day, a yummy burrito the next, a bbq chicken salad, and pad thai today. Well, David wanted Greek today, so when he brought back his food, Noah was interested in the fries.

Ben was interested in making a volcano.

When I turned back around, Noah was VERY serious about those fries and pulled up a chair and had a little corner of the box for ketchup.

The girls made this cute shell heart.

Then, we went for a walk.

Noah found pinecones. So random since there isn't a pine tree around.

Then, Noah was complaining about sand in his bottoms, so Daddy had to take him out to the ocean and wash him off.

Oh my G-O-S-H, are they taking a selfie?????

By noon, most of the bugs were gone, so we moved back up to our original spots. But, Noah found one that he played with for about an hour. Her name is Sophie. I asked how he new it was a girl, and he said because she has a bagina. Yes, bagina. He doesn't say V's or J's well.

Ryan's brother Aaron come to visit. He lives in San Diego. He met us on the beach. We were finally ready to go, and I was sad. I don't like leaving the beach. We packed up and came home to the hot tub. While we were getting dinner ready, Noah found a new BFF with Uncle Aaron.

We had a yummy dinner of ribs, asparagus and baked potatoes. YUM!

We ended our night with a trip to Coldstone. My kids have never been, so that was a treat!

Now, it's a little time in the hot tub before we turn in. It was such a great vacation. Now, I'll work on planning the next one!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Vacation, Day 6, Part 2 (Sunsets, Selfies and Photobombs)

So, I did the last post thinking we were done for the day. But, not quite...

Our friends met some friends for dinner. Don't they look nice...

We've been here for almost a week and haven't seen a sunset. We are about 8 houses from the sand, but there are several two stories blocking our view. Tonight, since it was just our family, I said, let's see the sunset and off we ran. Literally, ran. There wasn't much time left.

I tried to give my kids a quick lesson on finding the light (which I learned from America's Next Top Model). Emily gets it.

Ben....not so much...

Heck, Ben just needs to find the camera.

Noah, um, he found the light, but he looks like a howler monkey.

Candid is good.

Not bad of the three of them.

I tried to take a mini photo session of Noah. He has 1,000 expressions.

Then, he decided to swim for me...

Then, it was Ben's turn. The key with Ben is to take 100 photos and one will be good.

And my pretty girl. The ocean air does wonders for her hair.

Ok, on to selfies. If I had $1 for every selfie we've seen taken on the beach, we could pay for this vacation. No lie. I liked this guy. He tries the straight on, no smile first.

Then, decides he looks angry and has two chins. So, he moves the phone up, goes for the two hand steady approach and a smile. Well done selfie man.

And this girl...I'm at the beach rockin' my side pony.

As for us, we prefer to kick it old school with some good old fashioned photo bombs.

This is the teenager bomb.

This is the 40ish Dad acting like a teenager.

The unintentional sister doing a cartwheel bomb.

And the "this picture would be perfect if your brother wasn't running around behind you" bomb.

Tomorrow is our last full day of fun in the sun. We are going to pack it with all the best that the beach has to offer!

Vacation, Day 6

I meant to put this picture on here yesterday, but it was late and I was tired and it got lost somewhere.

When we were leaving Universal, we went by Hard Rock cafe on the way through City Walk. It had a huge Eddie Van Halen guitar out front and I knew my sister would have loved that. I wish she could've come here as an adult and seen the Marilyn Monroe impersonator they had and that big guitar.

We headed to the beach this morning and even though everyone was headed for the water, my husband had to instigate a splashing fight. He's a big kid.

The cute pair of dolphins were back. How lucky was this guy? They literally followed him for 10 minutes.

Ben started rolling down the hill in the sand towards the water.

He just kept going.

When he got to the water, he got up and ran in.

The waves were great today and even Ryan couldn't resist.

Or me...

Dakri and Noah flew a kite.

Oh my gosh, those curls. She could be on Downton Abbey.


Noah tried to feed the birds again, but couldn't resist 3 year old stale Kix.

Oh my g o s h. That's what Noah says.

I tried to get a pic of the three kids....

Ben is sensitive to light, so I told him to look up.

Not quite what I meant Ben.

We have one more beach day tomorrow and then a travel day home. We really had the best time this week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Vacation, Day 5, Universal Studios

Today, we headed to Universal Studios in Hollywood. We had a treat of catching a glimpse of the Hollywood sign on the way there. David had never been and neither had my kids. They've been to Universal in Orlando, but this one is different.

To get there, after you park, you have to walk through about 200 eateries and shops. It would be annoying but King Kong was cool and the smell of Cinnabon makes anybody happy.

Here they are with some Apollo 13 actors.

I was totally bummed that the Jurassic Park ride was closed. My kids love that movie. But, there was plenty else to keep them happy. They loved the new Transformer ride.

And there were characters everywhere. Nobody wanted to pose with them, so I just took pics when I could.

Ben in the directors chair.

This was the animal show and the lady had the real owl used in the Harry Potter movies. Em was loving that! She loves owls.

We had to get the cotton candy.

We had no idea, but they are building Harry Potter rides here. They have them in Orlando already, so I was excited to see that they are getting them here, especially since Ben is reading the books right now and was Harry for Halloween.

We took the tram tour and everybody loved it. The Jaws was awesome.

The set of The Grinch.

The Bates motel.

A real 747 that they crashed and use for movies.

This Simpson ride was Emily's favorite. We rode it twice.

The Simpson ride had this carnival mirror and it made Noah look about a foot tall.

We got to see and do everything we wanted, and it was a super fun day. The crowds weren't bad at all. The last time I went to Universal in Hollywood was probably 15 years ago and they have updated so much since then. We could've rode every single thing again if we had more time. Instead, the park closed, and we ended the day with Noah as a banana.

Our vacation is winding down, but we still have 2 beach days left. It's going to be warm and sunny and we can't wait!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Vacation, Day 4

We started the morning by making a nice breakfast of waffles, bacon, eggs and sausage. We also set the smoke alarm off. Dak fanned it to try to make it be quiet. We did not start a fire. The bacon was just smoking.

I love these boys. They are so cute. I wish I could hear what they were saying.

We brought a shovel from the house to dig a big hole. We didn't get very far.

I was trying to catch a good candid photo of Ben. He's letting his hair grow out.

I cleaned out the pantry a few months ago and found some cereal that expired over a year ago. Obviously, no one is eating it. So, I put it aside for the birds. Noah loved feeding the birds last time. Him and Alanah started feeding them. I put the Kix cereal in the chip bag so he could feed them easier.

Then, Noah decided it tasted good. Oh vay.

He's so cute.

His hair is getting longer too and OMG, those curls. I didn't even know he had curls.

Ben just wanders around the beach. He never goes too far, but he's here, there and everywhere.

We're all out in the water catching waves. There was hardly anybody there today.

I wish I could be in his brain.

And his brain.

And this is a beautiful site. My husband coming back with lunch! The adults are getting lunch out while we are at the beach. There are so many good restaurants around here.

I hit the waves in the afternoon.

Dak and I are professional boogie boards now.

It was a super fun day! Tomorrow is Universal Studios.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vacation, Day 3, Knott's Berry Farm

Today, we spent the day at Knott's Berry Farm.  I haven't been there in about 30 years, and my kids and David have never been.

As soon as we got there, we saw Charlie Brown.  My kids are huge Charlie Brown fans, but Noah was afraid of him.  But, Ben jumped in for a photo.

Then, Emily headed off with our friends since they have two older kids who wanted to ride the big roller coasters.  David and I took the kids to Camp Snoopy.

We thought it would be all kiddy rides.  We hope on this roller coaster first.  It was like teacups on a roller coaster.  Seriously, you were on a roller coaster and the carts spinned around and around.  In hindsight, it was a 4 out of 5 on the scary scale.  We didn't see that until after the ride.  David was done for the day after 5 minutes in Camp Snoopy!

Then, Ben and Noah rode some little airplanes and David and I took some photos while they waited.  

This one went up and down and Ben thought it was going to be a wussy wide.  Not so!

This was David's second ride.

Ben was really kind of at an in between age.  He didn't want to go on the crazy roller coasters, but he didn't want to spend all day going in circles on airplanes.  He still had fun though which doesn't surprise me in the least.  Ben can have fun anywhere.

This ride was totally fun.  They lay down like Superman.

Then, we texted with our friends who said Em was done like dinner.  There was no wait all day, so they road crazy coaster after crazy coaster.  So I went to get her.  This was the ride she chose to sit out on.   I don't blame her.

She liked some of the little rides in Camp Snoopy.

This was Noah's favorite ride.  The cars bounced up and down.

Then, we went on the ferris wheel.  They look exactly alike in this photo.

David's third and final ride.  

Then, we met up with our friends for lunch.

After, Dakri took Ben and Emily and Alanah on this roller coaster.  That's a good friend that rides the roller coaster with your kids after lunch because your stomach can't do it.

Ben found this awesome sign!  He'll have to make one in shop class one day.

Dak and I with some ladies.

Then, we went on the two water rides.  The husbands didn't want to go.  We were soaked at the end. Then Ryan and Dakri took our kids to another ride called the Pony Express.  Oh vay, this looks painful.  

Noah was bored at that point and wanted to ride something, so we went on the bumper cars.

It was the sweetest thing.  Noah was too small for one of the water rides.  Dak and I took the other kids.  We got off and Noah had picked some pretty red flowers for me.  He is the sweetest.

Then, Dak and Ryan took the kids on this old wooden roller coaster that pretty much did them all in.  It was time to go.  But, only after one last photo.  We let Noah get a souvenir and he picked this Linus.  Oh my, he's so cute.

Then, the boys got thrown in jail.

It was such a great day.  The weather was perfect.  The park was virtually empty.  The lines were about 2% of what you find at Disney.  We walked right on to almost everything.  It was great.  Knott's lacks in the ambiance that you find at Disney, but at $35 vs. $100 for a ticket, it was a great option and we'd definitely go back.  Emily asked, "Is there any indoor rides?"  Nope, this isn't Disney.  The rides don't have a theme and a story.  It's just straight up rides.  But, boy, it was fun.

We came home, threw some burgers on the grill and got in the hot tub!  Tomorrow is a beach day, and there is nothing I'd like to do more.