Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth!

On Tuesday, October 12th the day before we were actually scheduled to leave CA, we told the kids we were going back to WA, and left Berg with Poppie and Nonnie. (We told Eben and Kivi that Berg was going to spend a week by himself and Nonnie would bring him up to WA a week later.) So thinking we were going to the airport, we drove right by Disneyland and Eben says, "Hey, that's a really big theme park." They had no clue we were about to surprise them. We had no clue it would take so long, after seeing Disney paraphernalia, to get to the actual entrance to the park! We didn't say a word about where we were going. And even after parking and having the parking attendant tell the kids that the Toy Story shuttle would take them right to Disneyland, the kids were worried that Dada had no idea how to get to the airport. The whole shuttle ride, their faces looked perplexed, but strangely calm at the same time. We kept thinking they'd get the idea and yell - "We're at Disneyland!" - but no. They just waited and sat - in silence. Finally, we got off the shuttle and near the entrance of the park and we broke the news. Peter told them that because they were now old enough to ride on rides, we were in CA, and it was Eben's birthday -we were taking them to Disneyland. Then it actually hit them - or they finally allowed themselves to believe it - and they got huge smiles and their faces and stared open mouthed at us. Then we all held hands and ran toward the gates!

Dada had been secretly preparing the kids for this by renting all the old Disney movies and Nonnie had given them maps to Disneyland months ago. So they knew all the characters, plots, and rides by name, even Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - which by the way, is nothing like the movie. But we had told them that we wouldn't go to Disneyland until all the kids were able to ride all the rides - so they had thought they'd have to wait for this for a long time. I think they were still in shock until we actually got into the park.
Then there was a rush of excitement as we skipped down Main Street together; the music was blaring, all the workers had Mickey gloves on and waved at us. We danced in our own parade, adorned with first-time visitor buttons, maps and huge smiles.

The first place we tackled was Adventureland. We ran all the way there. Actually, we ran almost everywhere we went that day. Dada and Kivi did the Jungle Cruise while Eben and I rode Indiana Jones (Kivi was too little.) The first thing Eben says after getting off his very first ride at Disneyland: "I never want to do that again!" Hilarious! I forgot how scary that ride was. I also forgot how much those Tea Cups make you want to throw up!

Eben and Kivi on "it's a small world".
The park wasn't crowded at all, so we were able to do almost everything (even though, it closed that day at 6:00pm)! Eben's favorite ride was the Matterhorn and Kivi's was the Pirates of the Carribean. Dada's favorite was Space Mountain and Mama's favorite was a new ride: Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

Eben and Kivi with Mickey at his house in Toon Town.

Flying the Astro Orbitor.

This was my favorite. You get to control your own car, look at the cool ride and shoot these laser guns at targets to try to beat the person next to you. It was very cool!

We definitely got the most out of our day, this was our first "stop" between rides. We had packed lunch and eaten in the Finding Nemo line. But ice cream deserved full attention, and a seat. Because of our dedication we were able to go on 25 rides in our one little day at Disney!

Tom Sawyer's Island has been turned into Pirate's Lair, so Eben and Kivi stole some booty.

Here's Eben pretending to be Poppie, where he proposed to Nonnie at Snow White's wishing well.

Our big 7 year old birthday boy. He had an "Art Party" all planned, but he wasn't sad in the slightest that we surprised him with a totally different birthday theme. He picked Chinese for his birthday dinner at California Adventure, which we hopped over to at 5:00pm with our Hopper pass. We sang Eben "Happy Birthday" as he cracked open his fortune cookie.

We were able to go on 6 rides at California Adventure before they closed and then watched the World of Color show. The last ride we were able to do was the best, but definitely the scariest for the kids, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! They talked about it forever.

We had such a fun, memorable day with our oldest two! A wonderful birthday celebration and a monumental surprise. I can't wait to do it again for the rest of the kids!

And Eben, you are amazing! I can't believe you're seven! We love you so much and cherish these times we get to spend with you. You're growing up so fast, learning so much, and are continually surprising us with your inventions, helpfulness and love you show to others. God has blessed us so much by giving you to us. Happy Birthday - Surprise!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Week #2 in California

After and fun-filled week in CA by themselves, Peter, Berg and I joined Eben and Kivi. We had a blast seeing old friends and family that we've been far away from for 10 years now! We went to the zoo with Aunt Louise and Uncle Gene on Oct 8th.

That night we had a picnic dinner at the park with my extended family where Peter and I were married. It's in Dana Point, has a beautiful view of the ocean and lots of grass to run around on and it was very windy so Poppie got to fly his kite.

The next day Peter and I left for the main purpose we booked our trip - our college friend, B-Dog's, wedding. First we took a mini tour of our alma mater, Westmont - the cute little Christian college where Peter and I met. This is the bridge and exact position where Peter asked me on our first date - after I had followed clues all day on his scavenger hunt. He's still the most romantic man ever!

While we were in Santa Barbara, the kids got to go on a hot air balloon ride with Poppie, Nonnie, Mimi and Buggy!

The only picture I have of the most beautiful (and expensive) wedding I've ever seen!

The next day the kids got to go back to Dana Point, to a cool hands-on marine museum. They had so much fun looking through microscopes and even dissecting a squid!

On Monday, all the ladies of the family got to go to Glen Ivy Hot Springs - an amusement park type spa. It had mineral baths, Roman baths, natural hot springs, salt baths, hot and cold pools, a place where you slather on mud and let it bake, and a grotto where you rub lotion all over yourself and sit in a humid cave. My aunts and cousin even treated us to our own cabana! For a girl who doesn't like water - this was really fun!

Later that night, Peter and I got to spend time with my best friend from high school, Lindy, and her family for dinner. The kids had to sleep because they didn't know it - but the next day we were going to surprise them with the Happiest Place in California!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eben's California

Eben and Kivi flew down to CA with Poppie on Sept. 29th. They spent a week with Poppie, Nonnie and Buggy all by themselves - and loved it. Here's Eben's blog about it:

One day me and Kivi went to California. We went swimming in Poppie and Nonnie's pool. It was really fun. I always used a floaty until I reached the cave. We went to Legoland. It was really fun too. We went on a super fun robot arm. It swung you up and down and side ways and upside down. I went on it with Buggy and it was lots of fun. Our last ride was one where we got to go in animal cars and see lots of giant animals out of Legos. We bought lots of candy from the candy store. We went to a big beach and we climbed a gigantic cliff. And we played jumprope with the waves with Buggy. And that was really fun too. Then we went home a played with Buggy's chicks in the front yard without Cody. One time he got into the garage and he got into their pen and tried to eat them. I slept upstairs down a little short hall and in the mediumest bedroom - in the biggest bed. I also made a big crane with a bag and some string. It was very fun. It was there for 4 days. I don't know how it disappeared. It's a mystery. We played with Buggy's big doll house. It was super fun.

This is me and Kivi by the welcome sign Buggy made us.

I got to see the Lego R2D2,

and fight Darth Vader!

We went in a boat and saw Lego men building, but one wasn't so lucky.

We went to mini land and saw a mini farm. It was made out of Legos and nothing else.

In every fish tank, you could swim with the fish (but actually, it was a tunnel that had a bubble going up to the middle of the fish tank).

We found a walking Transformer, that's why we have this picture.

We got to be with the fish in a tube under water. It was really deep.

I got to drive my own Lego car on real streets! I got my own license. It's in my lock box right now.

Me and Kivi got our picture taken with Lego Harry Potter.

We got some candy to share with Jasper and Opal at the candy store.

We got into metal balls in a store's gardens. It looks like we're in jail.

Swimming in Nonnie and Poppie's pool was super fun!

This is the cliff we climbed.

A funny sign we saw at the beach. Isn't it funny to say that you can't land in the water after you jump in?

These are the cupcakes we made at a cupcake store. Mine is the funny wire one on the right.

Kivi's California

Kivi's own blog about her and Eben's first week alone with Poppie and Nonnie in California:

California is the best place that I know of. I stayed with Poppie and Nonnie. It was fun! I slept in the sewing room. I didn't have to bring so much stuff because Nonnie bought a bunch of clothes for me. I liked taking Cody on walks. Me and Eben took turns. Nonnie went with us. We took a plane with Poppie. It took three hours. I liked swimming in the pool too! I didn't bring a life jacket, but they had an inner tube and a boogie board. Every morning we had Lucky Charms! We went to Legoland. There I rode my first rollercoaster. I played with Polly Pockets. Buggy had a bunch.

This is me riding a horse on a ride in Legoland.

This is all of us building onto a castle at an aquarium at Legoland.

I drove a car!

This is the candy shop. We bought Bubba and Opal candy.

This is us at the beach.

Here we are playing tag with the waves.

We made cupcakes at the cupcake shop.

This is us with our cupcakes.

We played with Buggy's dollhouse.

We swam in the pool 2 or 3 times a day.

I played with Cody at the park.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fun Things

Other fun things happened on honey day (and the day after):

Grandma rode the jetski! Peter basically told her it was her turn to ride and she got right on and hung on like a champ. Grandpa gave her a lovely, not too fast ride around the lake.

The kids played outside all day, while we did our honey extraction. They'd come in and out for turns to crank the extractor and lick spilled honey off the table. Then at one point, Jasper and Kivi came in after jumping on the trampoline looking like this:

We were laughing so hard! They said they decided to switch suits while jumping on the trampoline!

The You Go Girl Run our small group ran was actually the day after Honey Day. But it still felt like we were in the middle of it, because stuff was everywhere, and we hadn't canned the honey yet. So... our crazy small group, while we were eating our progressive dinner, (I think Shari started the idea) decided that we should all do a 10K together. I, the girl who hates to run, was anti the idea. But peer pressure won. I got in 3 practice runs - a 1/2 mile, 1 mile, and 3 mile (which I believe is 1/2 of a 10K) with the small group girls before the race.

Some of the guys dressed in pink and ran along side us. Peter was so great, he had a pink headband that read, "In my dreams I'm a Kenyan" and a 100% Rough and Tough Cowgirl shirt. He went my slow little pace the whole way and was super supportive, so were all our kids who came with Poppie in the bus and Grandma and Grandpa too! They were all there at the 3 1/2 mile point waving flags and cheering us on - they were so cute!

Here's our little group! And our great guys! So I did it - a 10K and I ran the whole thing. I never have to do that again! Did I mention that it was freezing cold and raining? I was blind the whole first mile while the mascara ran into my eyeballs and all down my face - I'm sure by the end I looked like a bruised pinata.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Honey Day!

Sept. 25th was Honey Day! We had to wait for a warm, non-windy day to go in and take out the honey frames from our hive. It was a perfect day, plus my Pops, Grandma and Grandpa and the Schocks were able to come over and witness the whole process.

Peter and I worked together to take the frames out, I shook the bees off and then Peter brushed off the rest with the bee brush. Then I ran each frame over to my Pops who guarded the box of honey filled frames with towel so the bees wouldn't fly back in.

Our bee hive totaled 4 boxes, the top two are the honey boxes (supers), which is honey for us, the 3rd one down is honey for the bees food supply in winter and some brood (baby bees), and the bottom box is mostly brood.

Then we brought the 2 boxes of honey frames into the kitchen and frame by frame cut off the top layer of wax that seals in the honey.

We hand spun the frames, 2 at a time, in the extractor for 5 minutes per side. Here are the Grandpas extracting honey. Most of the time we had the kids sit on the lid of the extractor so it wouldn't shake so much. It was like a ride. The kids also took turns spinning it so it was a pretty long process. After that the honey went through a series of strainers and into the big valve bucket.

Beautiful honey!
A couple of days later we filled the honey jars.
Our little bees made us around 50 pounds of honey! Our bees have definitely been way more of a success than our chickens (who have still laid zero eggs), less messy (except for this very sticky honey day) and way more tasty!