Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best most awesome/exhausting trip ever!

Wow. Where do I even begin...

I {heart} Californ-EYE-A.

And even more, I {BIG puffy red heart} my family.

We spent 6 days completely surrounded by some of my most favorite people in the world doing my favorite things.


Uncle Rick always showing some humor

Apple pies I made under the wings of my artistic Aunt Gwen

Relaxing and playing...

Story time with "Lolo" and Aunt Gwen

playing in the backyard


Kensie and her three aunt's walking down Main St. for the first time.

First rocket ride with Daddy!
(She didn't cry but didn't look like she loved it either...this was her face before and after.)

Kensie has been talking about Mickey Mouse ever since...

My favorite shot of the castle...it was stunning.

Disneyland during Christmas time = Uh-mazing.

Celebrating my Grandpa Woody turning 90...

Four Generations (minus Kensie)

The community he lives in decorated his golf cart and made a parade in honor of turning 90.
He's a kind of a big deal. :)

Terry and my Mama. Such a happy couple.

Aunt Gwen goes all out for parties. Over 80 people came to celebrate! Most of them being family.

Yes, there are 90 candles.

All FIVE of us siblings together again!! This pic means SO much to me.
From left to right--Katelyn. Lauren. Ryan. Me. Gretchen.


Meeting lots of "new" relatives and making friends left and right.

Grandma Bebe and Grandpa Woody. They just never seem to age! Love them.

My dear Aunt Gwen who I look up to so incredibly much. She's my aunt, my friend and my mentor.

The title of this post says it all. Never has a vacation been more fun and yet more exhausting than this one. 

And after squeezing all four of us into the tiny room pictured above, I've never been more thankful to be home.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Traveling with kids...

We are leaving on a plane tomorrow.

Excited? Umm yes.
Stressed? Umm yes.
Packed? Uh kinda.

I'm the kind of gal that starts making lists weeks before a trip and then wakes up in the middle of the night remembering to add "bibs" or "DVD player" or "zip lock baggies" to it.

I start making piles of neatly folded clothes all over the house and go back to weed out the items I don't think we need every day leading up to departure.

See the Mickey Mouse ears? *wink*

Yet, somehow with all this "planning ahead", I'm still looking at empty suitcases the night before we leave...

There's something about remembering everything we possibly need for a 6 day vacation that forces me to plan early. But, it's actually putting them all in suitcases that freaks me out. Once I hide everything behind those closed zippers I can't see it and simultaneously check it off my list! I know. I'm weird.

We have an afternoon flight tomorrow so I'm not too worried.

And we've been prepping a certain little girl about the sleeping arrangements we will have on our trip.
Some friends loaned us this blow-up toddler bed. We'll see how it goes. She has never slept in anything BUT her crib. Mason will have a pack n' play. Did I mention we will ALL four be in the same room?? Yeah. Pray for us.

Getting aquainted with the "new" bed in the living room while watching some VeggieTales.

Flying with a 2 year old and an 8 month old will be interesting. This will be Kensie's third plane trip and Mason's first. They have both proven to be good travelers...but they only last so long ya know? So, I will leave you with this cute idea I found via FB through a friend through a friend.

I took some leftover Halloween candy and put them in zip lock baggies.

Then you write this cute little rhyme on a card and stuff it in each baggie.

You give them to the strangers you end up sittting next to on the plane.

Because I remember that feeling before I had kids. You know...where you're quietly sitting in your assigned seat on the plane all comfortable with your purse in the open seat next to you....then you look up...and you see a clumsy Dad tripping down the narrow aisle holding a bulky carseat...and a Mom holding a wiggly baby in one arm and dragging a toddler with the other...making their way closer and closer....and the Dad looks up with eagerness that they have "finally" made it to their seats...and kindly pauses, "Excuse me Miss, I think we are right there next to you....

...and I vividly remember thinking in that moment, "Oh crap!"

Here's to vacation!! Whoop whoop!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday projects

I've decided to make my Saturdays more enjoyable by doing something different than my normal routine during the week. While I still take care of the kids and keep their routines the same, I try to switch up my routine. No computer. No TV. All my free time (aka naptime) is devoted to fun projects. It has really helped me look forward to Saturdays (seeing that Greg is gone for most of them). So, over the weekend I got a few projects done that I've been wanting to accomplish for a while.

I'm not the best at tutorials but here is a picture progression of an old window I turned into a fun and versatile chalkboard!

Idea via Pinterest

Now, onto the super easy supplies...



Grungy old window

Clean those nasty windows.

Tape everything but the glass.

Spray 2 coats of paint.

Peel off the tape annnnd....


And I couldn't resist setting up my Christmas village I scored for 6 bucks at a garage sale!


The next project (which I forgot to take a "before" pic cuz I'm smart like that)...anyway, the next one was supposed to be a chalkboard as well....

I painted the mirror black in hopes of writing "Welcome" and hanging it near our entryway.

 All was going well until,


Oh well, guess it will just be an empty frame for a while.

Ahhhh. It feels so good to accomplish things. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Being thankful and a little about me

I have been seeing a lot of "thankful" posts on FB lately and well...I'm just not feeling it this week. I had planned on doing the whole "30 days of Thankfulness" like so many others starting the first of November.

Well, November 1st came and went. Within two days, my children (as sweet as they are) took every ounce of my energy.  It's like everything happens at once with those kids sometimes. I love them so incredibly much but they take a ton of love, attention, discipline, and work at times. And as you may have read a few days ago the Mr. isn't around a whole lot these days.

So, here I sit reading everyone's posts and thinking to myself, "Wish I had THAT to be thankful for". Why do we do this to ourselves?? Pure punishment I tell ya. I pull out my mental comparison chart and start tallying how much I have to NOT be thankful for. And then I get bitter. And then I get sarcastic. And then my baby has a blow-out on the couch at the most inconvenient time and I start accepting the situation as "Well of course THIS would happen", and the cycle just continues.

When things start to get hard in my life I have an instant urge to respond with sarcasm and an attitude of bitter selfishness. A non-emotional attitude that pretends to let everything "roll of my back" but really just gets under my skin.  An attitude that reduces my world to just me and the small life I lead and all the problems that seem to take over it. I have seen the Lord work in this area of my life and how he can change my attitude when life "strikes" so to speak. But now and then I get caught up in how my flesh wants to react and this is definitely one of those times.

Our small group memorized this verse last week and it's been drifting in and out of my head all week...

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich". ~2 Corinthians 8:9

Now THAT is something to be thankful for Shannon. Right there.

I also just finished reading this 31 day series on "Determined Joy" for the past few weeks. Will you join me? Joy doesn't just happen...it takes work. And I need to be determined in finding it.