Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sanctuary's Snow Day

A few families from our church met up at Donner Snow Park for a snow day.  It was a beautiful and sunny day, and the kids had SO much fun sledding down the hill.  And when they started getting tired, the host family set up a fabulous tail gate party with hot chocolate, popcorn, chips... the works!

And here's a little video clip of Steve and Paige heading down the hill together! It gives you a little insight to how much fun they had!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Disney on Ice

This year as a Valentine's present, we took the kids to go see the latest edition of "Disney on Ice".  We didn't tell the kids where we were going until about an hour before we left.  Needless to say they were SO excited, and insisted on digging out their personalized Mickey/Minnie ears from Disneyland to wear for the show.

As for the show, it probably doesn't need to be mentioned that is was UNREAL.  I mean, let's get real here... Disney doesn't do anything halfway.  Even us adults were amazed!

All in all... it was a highly successful Valentine's gift.  Unfortunately, it was a school night for all three kids.  So I was left dealing with the aftermath the next day.  But it was worth it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Four Year Portraits

I finally got out to snap a few photos of Garrett and Paige for their fourth birthday.  A photography forum I belong to had a creative challenge this month to shoot something "red" and we could interpret that however we wanted to.  So I went to the store and bought a giant 36-inch wide balloon for our session.  We didn't shoot for long because I didn't have an extra set of hands to help me, but I got a few pictures I like!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Garrett and Paige turn FOUR

It's really hard for me to believe that Garrett and Paige turned four today.  I know people tell you that time will fly by quickly, but that truly is the case.  They decided together that they wanted to have a "camping themed" birthday party, which we thought was a brilliant idea.  We decorated with Parks signs... some that we bought and some that Steve custom designed.

Garrett and Paige were very specific about what their cake should look like.  It had to have two tents on it with their heads poking out of them.  Thankfully I was able to make something that fit that bill!

Of course every good camp out has to have camp food.  So we made hot dogs and had fruit & veggie platters.  And of course we had to have smores.  However I decided open flames and roasting marshmallows was not going to work with preschoolers, so I made "smore pops" instead by dipping marshmallows in chocolate and rolling them in graham cracker crumbs.

Steve set up two tents in the house for the kids to play in.  He had a smaller tent shelter up in the TV room and our larger 12-person tent set-up just outside on the patio.  The larger tent acted as an additional play room for the kids to enjoy.  Here's the birthday twins roasting some fake marshmallows in the indoor tent.

Steve spent a ton of time engineering a fake fire by nailing together firewood around a heating fan and making tissue paper "flames" that moved about with the fan.  It was pretty darn brilliant and the kids had a blast with it.  Here's the cousins enjoying the "fire".

The highlight of the party was the biologist we hired from Nature's Critters who came and showed the kids a variety of animals and let them touch them.  She brought a tortoise, a bearded dragon lizard, a tree frog, some hissing cockroaches and a rather large python named Monty.  I was proud of how fearless my kids were to touch the animals.

Then it we got to sing "Happy Birthday" to the birthday twins.  Molly helped them blow out the candles.  Each tent was made out of cake, so Garrett and Paige each got to eat their own tent.

Then it was time to open presents.  That got a little chaotic and I had to call Steve in to manage Garrett so I could help Paige.  Garrett wanted to rip through every gift as fast as he could, whereas Paige just sat there patiently until I was able to read each card to her.  She really cared who gave her every single gift.

All in all, it was a very successful party and I believe everyone had a fabulous time.  And the most important part was that Garrett and Paige felt loved and celebrated when it was all said and done. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Daughter of my Heart Dance

Every year Molly's school puts on a dance for fathers and their daughters (or father figures).  Although we had a TON to do to get ready for Garrett and Paige's birthday party the proceeding day, both Steve and I felt it was important that he took Molly to the dance and spent some quality time with her.  She was SO excited to spend some time with her Dad and was very specific that they both get dressed up.  Apparently they had a fabulous time together and the evening was a huge success.  I love looking at this photo of the two of them because it is so abundantly obvious where she gets her good looks from!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mommy and Daddy get away

As an early anniversary present, Steve and I took a little trip to San Francisco WITHOUT kids.  This is only the second time we've done an over-nighter away from the kids since Molly was born and we were quickly reminded how fabulous it was to spend some time together without them!  Special thanks to my friend Christy who took my three kids for over 24 hours WITH her own two.  We owe her one.

We stayed in kind of a divey hotel on the border between China Town and North Beach (the Italian District).  But the price was right and it included free parking, which is valuable in San Francisco.  The best part was that it just happened to be (unbeknownst to us beforehand) the same weekend as the Chinese New Year celebration in China Town.  The place was hopping and we loved being able to wander around and check out all the amazing street vendors and performers.

We wandered through a traditional herbalist shop saw all kinds of interesting things for sale.  Here are some containers of shark fins.  No matter your opinion on the ethics of how these are typically harvested, it gives some insight into WHY they harvest them when you see they go for $339 a fin!  WOW!

One of the trip highlights was seeing these AMAZING performers from a local kung fu club do a lion dance. The acrobats they performed were simply unreal, including jumping around on metal supports.  They made that lion look alive.  It was amazing!

That evening we went out for dinner at an Italian seafood restaurant and shared a giant steaming bowl of cioppino.  Then it was off to Beach Blanket Babylon.  This show is the longest running musical revue in theatre history, and is a hilarious show about Snow White searching for her prince in modern day.  It's always changing and pokes fun at whatever is happening in popular culture at the time.  I highly recommend it!  The only photo I have is from the outside of the theater because they are VERY serious about not allowing photography inside.

The next day we spent the whole morning walking around San Francisco's waterfront.  There's so much to see and do down there, and it was fun just to be a tourist!

It was such a fabulous trip, but definitely not long enough.  Next anniversary we'll definitely have to figure out a way to go for longer!