Thursday, July 28, 2011

Time Together

So, I'm trying to find ways to spend time with the kids this summer without doing all the same things over and over again. Maybe more for my sake than theirs, right? It's just that they are getting too old for some of the activities we used to do, and so now I'm exploring the ways to have fun with them, and still keep their interest. Not easy with a five and a half year old, and 3 and a half year old... but I'm trying!
One recent development in the little life of Bella, is that she has developed a love for reading. This totally brings me back to my childhood, because I seriously l-o-v-e-d reading. I would beg for new books whenever we went shopping, and I just gobbled them up in the same day. And with as active as kids are these days, I love that Bella has found some rest and happiness in going int her room and reading on her own. I often hear her reading out loud (or sounding our difficult words) all by herself in there, and it just warms my heart. So now that she loves to read- what better than a mother-daughter reading date at the library!

I used to take the kids there for toddler story-time or music class, but now I get to enjoy perusing the shelves for books with Bella, and then we find our own little corner somewhere, and snuggle up together as we read our piles of books. There is something about the smell of a library, and sitting in the cold air conditioning, all snuggled up with her and reading, that I just adore.

And maybe we treat ourselves to Dunkin Donuts afterwards =)
Perfect summer day =)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Anderson Adventure #2

Oh my heavens- I think I found a little piece of paradise tucked away in the desert.

I heard about it from a friend of mine, and immediately starting bugging John about taking a day trip there. Luckily, he didn't need much convincing because he was just as excited to try it out- so off we went in search of an adventure!
Our kids are still too young to actually "hike" for a while, and they are too heavy to carry, so we found a little piece of the creek that was accessible without having to do a major hike. The water was unbelievably clear and auqa-tinted, and you could see hundreds of little trout swimming around near your feet. The kids used our granola snack to feed the fish, and they would swim right up to us! Note to self: next time, bring a net!
We brought a picnic lunch, and we explored all sorts of nooks and crannies of the creek in all areas. There were these awesome flat rocks that you could sit on.. almost like you were sitting on a bench in the pool! The water was perfectly refreshing- even a little warmer than I expected. There were areas that were only about a foot deep, so the kids were able to walk around, swim and chase fish by themselves. There are definitely areas of fast rapids in the creek, but we stayed in a pretty mellow area. But next time- we are going to search for the waterfalls! I can't wait to go back again, it was such a fun day of cool memories for us and the kiddos.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You can call us D-Land experts.

We got season-passes for Christmas, and I think we have used and abused those bad boys! We have been to Disneyland at least 5 times already this year, and each time we go, we are there for at least 2 days. It's so darn expensive there, that we are so proud of how much we have gotten our money's worth!! Our kids have graduated from "tiny toddlers going for the first time" to experienced "run-as-fast-as-you-can experts" at Disneyland. We know exactly which rides to hit first- when to get fast passes, and the perfect hour to eat lunch before you get inundated with crowds. John and I always marvel at how clueless some tourists seem to be at DLand... walking around all slow and overwhelmed, and then wait in lines for over 40 minutes for a ride... don't they know how to use fast-passes?? Don't they have some sort of a plan when they get to the park? Even Bella knows the routine! I get in line with the kids, and John sprints to get a fast-pass somewhere else. So as soon as our first ride is over, we can jet to the front of the next ride, and so on and so on... simple!
This was the first time that we could convince Ty to ride Splash Mountain... and by convince, I mean trick. We've taken him on Space Mountain and even the Tower of Terror at California Adventure, so he is now wise to our tricks when we say "oh its not scary, just try it!". ;)
So we told him it was a boat ride... and it worked. He was happy and having fun-
I took a picture of the picture with my phone, so it's a little blurry. But you can still manage to make out the look of sheer terror on his face. Oh my poor boy!
Bella, on the other hand, is a bonafide thrill seeker. She loves roller coasters, and has even grown immune to many of them... so John is just counting the days until she is old enough to go to Magic Mountain with him, and he can take her on real roller coasters.

(about to get on Space Mountain here)
This picture of her and I on Space Mountain cracks me up. She was trying to raise her hands on the fast part, but her arms didn't get up very high, and check our her closed eyes! Hee hee :)

Ty's favorite ride are Thunder Mountain Railroad (which he pronounces "Funter Mountain") and Pirates of the Caribbean, and Astro Blasters with Buzz Lightyear. He only likes to ride sitting next to dad though... I think it makes him feel safe :)

Can't wait to do it all again in a few weeks. Yep- we're going yet again. See what I mean? We are experts! :))

Beach Bunnies

Oh how I love the beach.
I was born in San Louis Obispo, and then spent many of my childhood years living in Huntington beach, and grew up with constant sand in my pants. Literally. I was baptized in the waters of Oceanside, and spent my older years going to the beaches of Carlsbad, Oceanside and San Diego. I wish you could go back to the days where it didn't bother you to have sand in every crevice of your body, and your hair was all sticky from the salt water, and there was this tiny crunch of sand in your mouth when you would eat the sandwiches and food that you brought. Those were the carefree days, and that is the beach lifestyle.
As a mom, I now realize the work that goes into a family beach day, and the planning and organizing of towels and toys... and now I realize how hard it is to keep the kids from getting sand all over me and the clean towels... but I guess that's all part of the charm. My poor husband, who cringes at the sand fiasco in the car when we leave the beach, would argue otherwise ;).
But nothing gives me greater joy than seeing my kids enjoy the things in life that I enjoyed when I was their age.
I have a feeling that San Diego will always be our second home, and I am so grateful that my parents still live there so that we can have our little escape there anytime we need it!
* please excuse the quality of pics here- I tried zooming with my iPhone, but it turned out kinda grainy. And don't even think that I would bring my 10 pound Nikon baby to the beach... makes me squirm just thinking about it! *

Ty, in typical boy form, just like the dig mud. And then dig some more. And who knows why...

We brought the boogie boards, so John decided he was going to teach Bella how to catch her own waves and boogie board to shore.

We also built a pretty epic sand castle... and this is John celebrating when the wave washed up and filled the moat he built. I'm not sure who is more excited... him or the kids. I think him.

And Ty put his shovel to good use by digging up sand crabs. I couldn't get him to touch it with his hands though ;)

Bella takes after her mom, and enjoys relaxing on the towels and soaking up some sunshine :) I just love my girl.

Next up - a few funny pictures from Disneyland! ...

Motorhome travelers..

The first day we spent in San Diego, we kept it pretty low-key, playing around the Mission Bay motorhome park. Yes... the motorhome park. Don't judge. ;)
We had brought our bikes along with us, and we are a family that looves our bike rides, so we rode around for a while, even stopping at the pool to swim and play in the hot tub. We brought park games like croquet and bocci ball to play, and we even flew a kite for a little while when the wind picked up.
Yep- just an all-Amercan day at the motorhome park.
Stay classy San Diego ;)

Kids playing together in the Bay-

Hugging on our bike ride... OK, maybe I told them to hug, and then this is what I got- a choke-hold of poor Ty.
And John thought it would be funny to bury Tyler and make him into a mermaid-
Which, then of course Bella wanted to be something, so John made her into a muscle-man. Lovely.
More soon! ....

Anderson Adventure #1

OK, so I'm finally catching up with blogging... seems to be the line I always use.
But there isn't much time to blog when you are having as much fun as our family is having this summer =). We have had all sorts of little adventures, and I've been keeping pretty busy with the kiddos, in my attempts to keep them engaged and active this summer... plus cool in this darn heat.
I've started to come to terms with the idea that once kids are in school, the only true quality time you have with them is on weekends and in the summers. The school nights are filled with too much activity... sports, errands, homework, dinner, and if we are lucky- a little bit of time before bed when were can read with the kids, play in the pool or play in the playroom. But then, its off to bed, and the day starts all over again with the rush to get out the door to school. And that is just not ok with me! God has given me this teeny tiny window of opportunity with my kids while they are this young, and while they are forming and shaping who they are... and I just feel like I need more time with them to make a true imprint. And this mutual desire to be with our kids is what has made me fall even more in love, and appreciate even more, about John. He's not the kind of guy who wants to sit around and allow our kids to interact more with the tv than with us.... he wants to get out there and make fun memories, and have quality time as a family. Gosh I love that about him!!
So thus begins my posts on our family adventures... beginning with the first (and biggest!)... our very first family motor home trip!!

The kids were having so much fun with the idea that you could get up and use the bathroom and walk around on the trip out to San Diego, but the trip was definitely not without its hiccups! Both kids enjoyed lounging on the couches and watching movies while we drove.. and I guess Bella felt like this was the perfect opportunity to travel in her underwear =)

Here was our fearless captain in his chair. And no, we weren't in California yet, so its perfectly fine for him to use the phone ;)

Ty liked sitting with me in the co-captain chair =)

And sometimes he was able to be daddy's co-captain all by himself.

I will spare you the details but basically, here is a rundown of our funny mishaps:

* the motorhome overheated on the mountains just before San Diego, and we had to turn off all the AC and sit in a hot motorhome on the side of the road while it cooled down enough to continue. Not fun.
* Ty was walking around with a blanket on his head (I have no idea why...) and ran into the counter, producing a small gash above his eye. And lots of tears.
* The refrigerator was doing something funky.. and started to smell like the worst gas every time you opened it. We started a routine of spraying Febreeze before and right after anyone opened the fridge. Ugh.
* We failed in trying to start our BBQ. I still don't understand why. But nevertheless, we sat there with cold, raw, hamburger patties until John had to practically light them on fire to cook.

But those were all funny memories made... and we have laughed about it since then. It just wasn't too funny at the time! ;) Once we got there, we enjoyed family bike rides around the bay, trips to Sea World, the beach, and of course- Grandma's house. Bella even made homemade cookies and lemonade with Grandma, and they had a cute little lemonade stand in their neighborhood (which by the way- thank goodness for their neighbors in the cul-de-sac, because you wouldn't believe how many people would just drive by and wave instead of stop! I mean, c'mon people- you don't have 50 cents to make a little girls' day?! Sheesh!)

At the end of the trip, we hit up Disneyland in our good ol' motorhome :) And actually, it was quite convenient to park in the parking lot and be able to go back during the day for snacks and a nap! I'll be posting pictures in different installments, so stay tuned! But let me warn you... I took a "fancy camera hiatus" during the vacation, so pretty much everything was taken with my iPhone! Yippee for Apple technology ;)