Saturday, March 26, 2016

Around Our House

So, this is happening....

Emily has wanted to learn the violin for the past year or two. I told her she would get the chance in Jr. High. But, when we went to the open house last week, we found out they only had a band, no strings. Boo. She's been playing piano for almost 4 years and wants to continue with that, but she had her heart set on learning the violin too. I played for 3 years from 4th to 6th grade, but gave it up in Jr. High when I had to choose between violin and cheer since they were both after school activities. I chose cheer. Do I regret it? No. But, I wish I would've found a way to stick with violin.

In any case, my friend Dakri, mentioned the other day that a friend of hers might teach Alanah violin. What? I didn't know there was a violin teacher in a 25 mile radius from here. I knew this lady taught her girls, but didn't think she taught lessons for anything other than piano. It never dawned on me to ask. So, I got in touch with her and Emily's first lesson is Thursday. For now, she is having fun playing with it.

We found a place in downtown Prescott that rents violins, The Fiddle Doctor. The guy was super nice and we figure we'll rent the violin for 2 months and decide if she likes it before we spend a few hundred dollars on a new violin. But, I have to say, that I love it! Although, I squeak a lot, I remember a lot.  Much to my surprise since I haven't held a violin in over 30 years.

While we were downtown, we were came by a few homeless men.  Emily asked three times if we could give them money.  They weren't asking for money, but were clearly homeless.  Even if the one guy sat next to a box charging his wheelchair and cell phone.

So, we circled around and pulled out some money and Ben and Noah went over to give it to the 2 men.  Then, the guy asked if we had some time and wanted to make Ben something out of pipe cleaners. Sure....

He made these very cool spiders.  Ben was wearing s Spiderman shirt.  

Then, we headed to Olive Garden for dinner for the kids good grades.  Ben and Emily both got Principal's List again...all A's.  Noah got almost all O's on his report card, which is outstanding.  So, we used a gift card Gwynne and Enrique gave us.  Thanks!  The boys played with their spiders the whole time. got a little spider on your shoulder.

Then, we went to Costco.  I'm in love with this $500 swing.  Sigh.

Then, we got the kids ice cream for their good grades.  I'm happy that they are happy and easy to please.

Then, today the clubhouse had their annual egg hunt.  They do it by age.  Here's Noah before he took off to gather up as many eggs as he could.

I told him to run straight for the bush, and he did.  Good job, little dude.

Here's Em and her friends.  

Here is the 10 and up group.  Ben was ready to go.

David took Ben and Noah to see the Batman vs. Superman movie this afternoon.  

Then, we dyed eggs.

We were supposed to go to my Dad and Suzy's tomorrow for Easter, but they both got sick.  Suzy got the worst of it.  So, we are going down to Phoenix next weekend instead.  Since we don't have plans tomorrow, we are going to head to church and probably have tacos for dinner.  :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sharlot Hall and Smoki Museums

I went on a field trip yesterday with Ben's class.  It was to the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott which is full of Prescott history.  Then, we went to the Smoki Museum which is Native American history.  I almost wasn't able to go. Noah walked out of school Monday and said he didn't feel good.  Tuesday came, the day of the field trip, Noah has a slight fever and he was coughing all night.  Luckily, David was able to work from home, so I could still go.  I'm thankful as I would've hated leaving his teacher high and dry.  My group had 10 kids, not easy to just come up with a replacement in a moments notice.

So, we started at the Sharlot Hall museum.  She was a lady from Prescott who collected lots of items pertaining to the history around here.  This is a replica of her with a real Model T.  It still works too and they use it in parades sometimes.

The stagecoach was pretty cool.  100 years ago, they would journey from Indiana to Arizona and it would take 6 months.  They'd walk 10-20 miles a day, even the kids.  How crazy is that?  We'd never survive in Pioneer days.  They need to do a reality show on that.

Here's Ben in a chair in the Govenor's Mansion.  It looked like a old shack, but I guess compared to others in the 1800's, it was prime living.  

This punch set was amazing!

This was the school house.  The kids thought it was neat that it was so small and all the grades were together.  They also liked the fireplace in the corner and the bowl used as a water fountain.

Then, we headed off to the Smoki Museum about a mile down the street.  This had lots of Indian art and the kids got to grind corn.

They also got to do the beading like the women did for jewelry, moccasins, and other items.

It was a super cool field trip.  I didn't go when Emily went a few years ago, so I'm glad I got to go with Ben.

I left at 9:45 and Noah was tired and fell asleep.  I got home at 2:15 and he woke up a few minutes after I walked in the door.  I guess he was tired if he slept for 4 1/2 hours!

Emily took a field trip today with the 6th grade gifted kids at her school down to Phoenix.  They went to the Challenger Space Center and she got to go on a journey to Mars!  I don't have pictures of that as I wasn't there, but she said it was a blast!  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wet n Wild

It had been a long time since we got Wet n Wild season passes. It's in Phoenix, but only a 75 minute drive. The last time we got passes was 2012. You can see that post here. Look how tiny my babies are.

We decided to get them this year.  With the cost of gas being so cheap, it just makes it that much easier to go.  We usually go down once in March, April and May and that's it.  We got our $50 a ticket worth at that point.  Once it gets too hot and too crowded, we are done.  We may go again in September, but who knows.

In any case, my phone is in the locker the whole day, but we took it out for just a few minutes when we got some lunch.

These two just make me laugh...and cry...and yell.

But, they can be so cute.

And silly...

This is the only pic I got of Ben.  He wouldn't hold still.

Aunt Pam also got a season pass.  She lives about a mile from the waterpark, and meets us there.  It's so nice to have her join us and we get to visit.  

The kids love Aunt Pam!

Here's Emily being silly and Noah picking his nose.  

It was a really great day.  It wasn't very crowded.  It wasn't hot.  It was really fun.  I'm so glad we got passes and went.  I thought that we shouldn't go and we should do chores and get caught up on stuff around the house, since we just got home 6 days ago.  But, you know what, life is short.  My house will still be a mess next weekend.  Who cares?

We came home, had a yummy pasta dinner and made popcorn!  Ben has gotten into the Walking Dead, so we are watching the whole thing over with him.  We are on Season Two.  

It was a great day!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Travel Day Home ~ Wah, Wah, Wah....

We had to wake up at 5, which was really 4. But now when everyone is tired, I just remind them how tired they were after that red eye flight and then it doesn't seem so bad.

I wanted to post a few pics from my phone from the first day before we went to dinner, but I didn't download phone pics until later, so you are getting them now.  My girl took this of herself.  I'm sure she put it on instagram, but I don't know.  I think she's cute.  She needed a little pair of sandals and I was able to buy her a women's 5/6 size.  She's growing up.

And I took this one of myself for my Mom who gave me this orange dress to take on the trip.  Well, her friend gave it to her and she gave it to me, but whatever.  Thanks Mom!  I love it!

This was Em and I on the flight home.  She was sad, I was happy.  

And this little guy slept the whole way, just laid back, put his feet on me and he was out.  Ben played with his Spiderman figure from Universal for the entire 5 hours.  I'm not even kidding.  I kept asking if he wanted a book or paper and pen, but nope, he was just playing with this little figurine.  Em slept too and then we had a doodling contest.  I lost!

It was truly one of our best vacations.  We didn't have any major issues.  Nobody lost anything.  The weather was perfect.  And it didn't fly by.  It seemed like we were gone for a month, which is always great.  

I was worried the kids wouldn't be that into cruising, but they really loved it.  I had heard about when you port, that people are on you trying to buy stuff, but nobody really bothered us.  We just said "no thank you" and moved on.  The only one who even tried to push was Big Sandra who wanted to braid my hair for half price on our way back to the ship.  She was funny though and not rude or anything.  

Oh, and my boys did get a schooling in female anatomy on the ship.  With lots of college girls on spring break, some bathing suits were rather skimpy.  I asked Ben what he thought of that.  He just raised his shoulders.  I said, "Don't you think they should cover up their butts a little and leave something to the imagination?"  To which he said, "Ew, why would you want to imagine that!"  :)  I guess at 10, his imagination is still filled with superheros, which is where it should be.

Thanks to my Mom for holding down the fort for us and taking care of our sweet Rocko.  And to Gwynne and Enrique for being so sweet and treating us to dinner and having all of our favorite snacks waiting on us.  Florida ~ we will be back and it won't be 5 years until our next visit!

Universal, Day 3

This is the view out of hotel window.  Not too shabby.

We checked out of the hotel before we headed to the park.  Why spend more to stay at this hotel on our last night when we can get a cheap hotel by the airport.  So, that's what we did.  We got everything packed up and loaded in the car and they still let you use all the facilities and we still had our Express Passes.  We were headed to Island of Adventures to redo our favorites and catch a few that we missed on Thursday.

David took Noah on all the Dr. Seuss rides while I took Em and Ben to Harry Potter.  The one ride they love there, I think we rode it 4 times, I do think may have made David sick, so he skipped it.

After that, we rode Jurassic Park again.  Then, there are these dinosaur flyer cars that are really cool.  But, it's for kids 56 inches and under.  So, Ben can ride with someone and so can Noah.  That leaves one of us to sit.  So, I sat out this time and they rode.  But, it's okay, I made a friend.  Literally, he practically jumped in my backpack.

We were all a little wet from Jurassic Park, but decided to brave the Popeye water ride.  It's one where 8 people sit in a big circle raft and float down.  Thank God, they had a little compartment in the middle that we covered.  We put our backpack, socks and shoes in there.  

And we got soaked.  Not a little wet, like we all jumped in a pool and got out wet.  David got it the worst.  Literally, he had not a dry inch on him.  His underwear were dripping wet.  Em was acting cold, but this is Olrando, it wasn't cold.  But, being that wet was annoying.  David went in the bathroom and rang out his underwear.  He put Noah under a hand dryer.  It was funny, but I wouldn't go on that ride again unless I was leaving the park right after.

We ended the day taking the Harry Potter train from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios.  I thought it was just a train ride, like the monorail at Disneyland.  But, it was almost like a ride too.  Instead of a window, they made it look like a movie outside as you were passing by.  It was cool.  We collected the kids souvenirs that they wanted and went on the Mummy ride one last time.  I snapped one last photo of the kids on the way out.

We took the water taxi back to the hotel and headed to David's parents house.  This is Emily on the grounds of the resort.  It is really pretty there.

We went to Carrabba's for a yummy dinner and visited with Gwynne and Enrique.  Then, we headed to a hotel just a few miles from the airport.  

And Daily Savings Time started this night, so instead of going to bed at 10, we went to bed at 11.  Ugh, I hate that and am so glad we don't do it here in Arizona.  

Next up...traveling home.  :(

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Universal, Day 2

We headed out early to hit Universal Studios during the hour that we got in before the park opened.

Em stopped for a picture.  Isn't her shirt adorbs?  Dad and Suzy got her a Justice gift card at Christmas and we stopped by Justice the day before while eating Chick fil A since we don't have one here.  She got some super cute stuff.  Thanks grandparents!  :)

I was going to wait for the "Universal" to spin back around, but whatever.  They were too excited to wait.

We  headed straight for Harry Potter Daigon Alley and wow...just wow.  Ben was in awe.  There first thing you see is this big dragon on the building in front of you.

The ride was done up so well.  I think I need to read the books now.

I don't know who this guy is, but he was moving and totally creepy.

The ride was awesome.  Then, outside is some bus from Harry Potter and talking head.  He asked what Ben's name was.  Then, the head said, "How've been Ben?" and laughed.  It was creepy.  Ben thought it was great.

Ben with the Back to the Future Delorean.  He likes that movie.

We went on the twirl and hurl for Noah.  And it was pretty close to that.  I wore seasick bands the whole time at the park and David put on his seasick patch and the bands and neither one of us had any trouble with rides.  I mean, I could ride the twirl and hurl 10 times over, but I wouldn't want to anyway.  We knew our limits.  But, he's usually ill after one ride.  So, this was so nice to be able to have fun with our kids and not be having them ride stuff alone.

Posing with the Simpsons cop.

As it turned out, one of Em's favorite rides at Universal was Men in Black.  You shoot aliens.  It was pretty cool and we rode it several times.

Noah with a minion banana on his head.

Ben acting like he's in the chair and getting his brain fried.

The great thing with express passes is that you get to ride on so much so fast.  We took the hot afternoon off.  We left around 1 and went to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch.  Noah and Ben were super happy they had soft serve ice cream, like on the boat.

Then, we went swimming for an hour.  It was nice to cool off and refuel during the hottest part of the day.  Then, we headed back to redo all of our favorite  rides and to watch the 100 years of movies celebration that they had at night.  We so rarely stick around at night since we are usually wiped out, but it was great to take a break and come back.  I highly recommend it.

Up next...our last fun day of vacation...