Thursday, June 30, 2011

custom blog designs

Custom Blog Designs

Check out my awesome new header
from Custom Blog Designs!

I have changed around the blog just
a bit since starting it in January.
I have changed around the background and the fonts and the layout and have everything pretty much the way I like it
(for now)
but I was never happy with the plain header. I tried to figure out how to do it myself and did one for the Firedragons blog that I think came out cute, but I couldn't get one right for this one.

Some people have such cute ones on their blog, but I knew I wanted something not too busy for mine. I know that having the color I have instead of plain white makes it seem a little busy already --

Then I came across Life To The Full... and really liked the look of her site. The picture she has as her header is so pretty ~

So I contacted Diana and she put one together for me in just a day!

Love it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Legacy: The Beloved Novel of Elizabeth, England's Most Passionate Queen -- and the Three Men Who Loved Her I am so glad to be finished reading
Legacy: The Beloved Novel of Elizabeth, England's Most Passionate Queen -- and the Three Men Who Loved Her
It was good, but I just had a hard time going back to it after reading it for a while and then putting it down. There wasn't really anything new to the familiar story and it jumped ahead in an odd way. It would talk about one thing and just jump to another subject without any sort of flow.
I don't know why my opinion is so different from all the reviews I read. Everyone seems to think this is the "best book ever" about Elizabeth.
It was good. I liked it.

I did put it down to read the newest Sookie Stackhouse book.

Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11)My friend
Sandra got me hooked on these.
Now this one I flew through and it didn't seem nearly long enough!

Not sure what I will end up reading next. I keep going back to books about the Tudors -- but a lot of the time it seems that all I am doing is trying to waste time until the next Diana Gabaldon book comes out!

Friday, June 24, 2011

{live every moment}

I am not too sure that I am doing very well
with these photo challenges, but it is pretty fun, so I am going to keep at it ~

This week's challenge is  ~ Farm
So here is my little farmer!
(all four kids wore these overalls)

{this moment}

A Friday Ritual.

a single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week

a simple, special, extraordinary moment

a moment I want to pause, savor and remember

I'd love for you to
leave me your link in the comments
 and then join in
where it all started

Soule Mama

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the hotel resort

When we went down to San Diego last December, during the biggest storm in 80 years, we did not use our Legoland tickets.
It was pouring rain.
We had bought the tickets at Costco -- one of those 3 month memberships for an incredible price, like the price of one days admission, but I can't remember exactly.
I do remember it was a deal, because we like to find deals!

In the summer, we have a very small window between when the kids get out of school and when they start their summer programs. We have about a week and a half, and now we have these tickets we want to use before they expire -- so we really want to make this work.

And maybe it won't rain.

Well, we have been on the time share wait list for months and nothing has come up, so we figure that it is time to start looking on our own.
But now I can't find any deals. Even when I could find a place that would accommodate all six of us, it ended up being pretty pricey without having much to offer other than a bed. Mike and I were getting kinda bummed thinking that we'd end up having to stay in one of these places.

Then Ingrid called me.

You know when you have a friend who has a business, but it never occurs to you that they actually have a business?
(you know that you know what I mean)

Well, Ingrid and her husband Michael Pagliocca own Elite Travel Planners and we ended up calling them about our little trip. Remember, we only have this small time to plan anything and we want something near Legoland since we are not planning to hit the other San Diego parks this time.
(so glad about that decision!)

Michael told us about Grand Pacific Palisades and the best part about it (for us) is that you can WALK to Legoland from there, it's that close.
And no joke, Michael found us the best deal!
-- It was not much more to stay there than it would have cost us to stay in one of those motel places.

The rooms were spacious, full kitchen, kids pool, playground and WALKING distance to Legoland.

Mikey sure liked it!

Oh, and, we had an ocean view!
(nice surprise) 

Having never used a travel agent before, and now having had such a great experience, I would recommend at least contacting one and letting them know what type of trip you are looking for.
Of course, personally I think you should contact Elite Travel Planners because even though we weren't taking a cruise or a trip to Europe, they made us feel that our trip to Legoland was just as important.

Now, I am on a mission to convince The Dad that The Mama NEEDS to go back to Hawaii!

Wish me luck ~

Monday, June 20, 2011

love the zoo

I just love having a membership to the zoo.

We just up and go when ever we have time. And leave if/when someone is tired/hungry/cranky.

The fun thing about going last Friday is that Mikey was RUNNING everywhere. He is now used to being out of the stroller from our trip to Legoland, so there was no stopping him! Yes, he fell and skinned his knees once or twice, but thankfully, no major face-plant this time.

We all really loved seeing the new sea lion exhibit. Mike remembers feeding them as a kid and even though they don't do it anymore, the new sea lions are over near where the old ones used to be. Kinda cool. But I forgot to take a picture of it...
(or I was chasing Mikey)

DJ and Kelly had fun too -- Paige already started Summerbridge and had to miss out.
These two really ADORE each other!

I have my fingers crossed that it will stay that way!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

{live every moment}

This weeks Live Every Moment photo challenge is ~ Smile

I had to hunt a bit, but I found the one of DJ at Halloween in 2007, when he was all gappy and toothless. (well, even more gappy)
I think this is my favorite Halloween costume ever!

pre brace face

I am sure this will not be the last time I'll have something to say about Paige getting braces.
I never had braces, so this is all new to me too.
Paige has always been skittish when it comes to her teeth. Genetically, she has soft teeth (not from me) and even though she has always been really good about brushing, she had to have a root canal when she was in Kindergarten. She had an abscessed tooth and it was very traumatic for both of us when the dentist took care of it.
The main thing I learned from that experience, is that even if someone tells you that it would be better for you to be out of the room, if you know your kid better -- and know that she is not the "brave" kid without you, stay in the room. I don't think she would have been as scared if they didn't insist that I waited in another room.
And having more experience being a mother.

The whole thing was so awful, that her new dentist ended up scheduling an actual put her under surgery to fix her up. I hate even thinking about how stressed I was during the thing. Yeah, I know it was her teeth, but it still had me worried.

Thankfully, she has never had any major problems since.
Except she never works her baby teeth when they are loose.
Now, I know the dentist has said that it isn't her fault that she has both her baby tooth and her adult tooth in the same spot, but I think that if she EVER worked to loosen her baby teeth, she might not have FOUR of them doing this.
But that is my opinion.

Now she needs braces. Which is sort of funny, because when she was little, she really wanted them because she thought they were pretty.

She is scheduled to have them put on this next Friday. She had spacers put in yesterday afternoon. (yes, I was in the room with her) I am told that they are to make room for the brackets she needs for her head-gear (oh, haha -- can't wait for that) They put in four spacers and asked me to check them every day and give them a call if they come out.

Paige was not in the car 5 minutes and she was complaining about how much they hurt/bothered her.
I gave her ibuprofen when we got home, and she stopped complaining.

She woke up this morning and (of course) one of the spacers are out. Awesome. The dentist office isn't open on the weekend. Does this mean they  will postpone putting the brackets on? I have no idea.

I just don't know if Paige can deal with waiting. She is already so anxious she is about to  poof  into a million pieces if you talk too loudly around her.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

on our way

I like to have everything planned and organized before a trip. I start early. I get everyone's clothes together and make lists and pack bags in my head days (weeks...) ahead of time. I give myself time to have all the laundry done and straighten up before we leave. Some things came up before this trip, so I was extra glad I didn't have to stress what we were taking or try to find things last minute. Except that we couldn't find this one huge green duffel bag that I like to use.
Still can't find it!
Mike does all the boy things. Gets the van ready mostly. Brakes, oil, washing.
Packing the cooler.
(finding the bags for me)

This year we got one of those cases that go on top of the car. We looked at a bunch online and read reviews. We ended up getting a Thule 867 Tahoe Rooftop Cargo Bag It seemed better than a hard case and the one other we considered had poles in it to hold it's shape, but we decided against it thinking it might tear. The one complaint about the Thule one was that it was only water resistant, not water proof, but since we weren't driving across country or through snow, that shouldn't matter to us.
We live in California anyway.
And will be using it in the summer.
So, right before we leave, there is this huge storm coming our way.
In June.
Our last trip to San Diego was in the pouring rain.

Mike packed up the van the night before including the big cargo bag thing. He put a tarp over it in case it started raining overnight. (we live in the city, our garage is small and the van doesn't fit )

The kids sleep in their sweats/traveling clothes and every pillow pet is in the van along with a blanket for each kid.
(yeah, I warned you I plan ahead)

We got them up at 4am and it was POURING rain. It didn't faze the kids, but Mike was stressed thinking everything was getting soaked and that the bag might fly off any second -- since this was our first time using it and we were driving through a STORM.

I ban all iPod use, thinking that if they are a bit bored, they will fall asleep. Um. Not MY kids. They are on an adventure and want to chat! Most of them fell asleep for a little bit a couple hours in.

It was still raining.

We (well Mike) drove through the rain for four hours. It finally stopped raining when were reached the Grapevine.

We gave ourselves a 12 hour window to get down to San Diego. It took us that long each way on our trip to Disneyland and the last time we went to San Diego and when we came back from there too. We always stop whenever someone wants/needs to and I hate to listen to my baby cry. So we take extra time.
But none of them were crying or asking to stop.
Other than the eventual traffic in Los Angeles, we had easy sailing the rest of the way and made it down  in almost 9 hours.

Of course that made us way too early for check in at the Grand Pacific Palisades that Michael Pagliocca at Elite Travel Planners hooked us up with.

BUT the "rain resistant" bag thing ended up being closer to rain proof
-- since only one thing in the bag got a little wet and even then it was just damp!

{to be continued}

Monday, June 13, 2011

the last bump

 I am linking up to show off my last bump ~ I have pics of me of the first three, but that was {cough} pre-digital and I'd have to (find them) scan them. And if you know me, even a little, you know that I take a ton of pictures -- and have very few with me in them.
So here is my Mikey Bump at 38 weeks.
He was 9 lbs and 20 inches when he was born, but he was not my largest baby.

Kelly was 9.14 1/2 and 22 inches!
DJ was 6.8 lbs and 21 inches
Paige was 7.14 and 21 inches

and here is the crew right before the baby brother showed up

Sunday, June 12, 2011

we're back

I thought I'd be able to blog while we were in our trip, but that sure didn't happen! We all had a blast -- and I just never had the time. We went to Legoland every day except one, and that one was spent at the pool.
 (well, Mikey and I went to the room to nap too)

I will blog all about the trip when I get a chance, but I did get the pictures up if you want to check them out. I had to put them into a few different albums just to keep them organized, and I haven't captioned them yet...
but here is the link for the first album:

Legoland! day one

But we are back.

And Paige starts Summerbridge on Tuesday
and gets braces next week!
DJ has Breakthrough next week
and Kelly's Kindergarten class is having a
Before School Playdate that she is thrilled about.

So, we're back.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Last December we went down to San Diego from the 18th to the 24th. We had everything set up and ready for Christmas before we left, so all we would have to do is put out cookies, make reindeer food and read T'was the Night Before Christmas when we got home.
Our intentions were to take the kids to Legoland. The big kids had been there a few times when they were smaller, but Kelly was only there once as a baby and was super excited to go. On the way there we stopped in Los Angeles because DJ wanted to see the Hollywood sign. Well, it was so cloudy (or smoggy) we couldn't see it or even find the road up there to maybe see it close up. We gave up.
We get to the place we are to be staying at after about 12 hours in the car --
We drive around and check it out since there are 7 swimming pools and 2 with water slides. The kids are very excited, but tired, and since it looks like it might rain, we decide to wait until the next day to go out for a swim. I for one, am very excited about sitting in the cabana and having drinks brought to me while I watch the kids play.

But the next day, it was pouring rain! Like POURING.

It ended up that San Diego was having the biggest storm in 80 years. The Biggest Storm in 80 Years.
Haha on us.
Well, we skipped Legoland. Kelly was very upset, but what could we do?
We ended up renting movies and taking the kids to the hot tub when the rain let up -- which was almost never. The most adventurous thing we did was when we had to take DJ and Mikey to the ER. (they were fine) I didn't even take very many pictures. I did take some on the last day. Because on the last day, it stopped raining.

It was still kinda cold, but the kids didn't care -- the water was warm, and I got to sit with Mike and the baby in the cabana ~

Since we never used our Legoland tickets, we are going to try again. San Diego trip take II. Am I worried about rain? Why should I? It's June.
Only it's raining here and we are leaving in the morning.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I am not the type of person that thrives on drama. I don't create it and I try to avoid it. It makes my stomach hurt. There has been a bit of drama thrown our way this last week. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who understands me and puts himself out there to deflect the worst of it.
So if you've missed me the last couple of days, yes -- I have been hiding.

And PACKING for Legoland!
DJ has one more day as a 5th grader, and then we will start putting our things in the new car top bag thing we got for the trip. It will allow the kids much more room in the minivan. We really enjoy road trips with the kids -- yes, really :)
I know it's still a few days away, but I like to have everything ready before hand. I am trying to sneak in a pedicure before we go too!

I will try to keep everyone updated!
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