When I was a child a family tradition was to go "help" my dad at his office scrapping aluminium off of old automatic doors. When we finished "helping", my dad would reward us with a small treat from the 7-11 next door as well as a hot dog and drink. Each week my sister and I would spend what felt like hours studying the candy isle trying to make the best choice - it was so hard to choose! Well my inability to choose when there is a large and great selection has not improved - point in case - the Shutterfly Holiday Greeting Cards - there are so many to choose from. See for yourself.
Okay - so I narrowed down my selection to these five which would you choose - seriously - I need your advice!
12345Did you notice a theme in my selection of cards - they all have the option of featuring multiple family pictures. That is good news! I will only need to narrow down my picture choice to 4 or 6 pictures instead of choosing just one - ;)
Thank you Shutterfly - and thank you to Shutterfly for storing all of my pictures - so my computer does not become overloaded. Thank you for helping me create a fun Christmas present for someone special (can't say who - wink wink). Thank you for all of the great deals and give aways. I love it when that orange box comes in the mail!!! :)
Speaking of great deals - you can get 50 free greeting cards from Shutterfly with a post on your blog - that is a great deal!!! :)
My mom bought Thomas and James costumes last year for Brandon and Grant. Fortunately for me Dana kept the train box that I made for Brandon's birthday last year so I was able to use it for Grants costume - the result was three super cute trains with little effort. When grandma, mom, Natalie and chandler came up they came trick-or-treating looking like this - pretty funny! We went to the Homestead to see the scarecrows and took the boys in their costumes it was a fun afternoon.Halloween night was cold and rainy so Grant only went to our house to trick-or-treat and Brandon only visited five homes for treats. But they did not seem to mind - besides with all the trick-or-treaters staying in we had lots of left overs.Do they come any cuter? I don't think so!Brandon went trick-or-treating with McKell and Nicole - how cute are they. :) Thus far I have not had to spend a penny on costumes - I wonder how long that will last?
I adore autumn, hands down it is my favorite season. The Friday just before Halloween my grandma, mom, sister, and Chandler came up for a visit. We had a great time playing in the leaves and taking fall pictures. I think it is pretty funny that Natalie and I both bought the same matching shirts for our boys without realizing it. They sure do look cute! I just love this picture of Brandon and Grant I could stare at it for hours - Love these boys!Grandma was a good sport and let us cover her with leaves and the boys enjoyed finding her and pulling her out. What a fun Grandma!!The fall colors mixed with a beautiful sunset make the season that much more enjoyable. This was taken in my very own front yard. I love my home!It is pictures like this that make grateful for where I live!
I have always found it amusing that the Happiest Place on Earth is where you experience some of the biggest melt downs and disappointments. This trip was no exception. I knew that taking two VERY little children on this trip was going to be difficult - I was prepared for crazy, but my goodness I underestimated the level of difficulty. I could go on and on about all of the not so wonderful moments of the trip, but I wont. This is why I am so grateful for photos. When the trip is done and you have had time to adjust to normal life you can look at the pictures and all you see are the happy moments, and suddenly the trip was worth it and it truly was wonderful. See for yourself. :)I loved Brandon's reaction to Tigger. He jumped right on over to meet him and then the two of them spent some quality time jumping together - Super fun!The wait to meet Mickey Mouse was long and I began to wonder if it was worth it - it definitely was! - Yeah Mickey!Did you know that Disney Land has a petting zoo? I didn't but they do and it was decorated so cute for Halloween. We loved watching them carve pumpkins into Disney Characters. While we were watching the carving we wandered into a nearby barn. Guess who was inside - Woodey - Brandon was ecstatic - however when it came time for him to meet him he was shy again, go figure. But when Jessie came around the corner he was ready and thrilled. YeahEven Grant enjoyed a few of the rides.I was so grateful to have my Mother-in-law with me - She loves the crazy rides as much as I do and Hooray for a Father-in-law to take care of my kids while I went on the rides with either Jared or Dee Ann. So fun.We loved the Pixar Play Parade - Finally a parade that was great for kids. Brandon and Grant had a front row seat to all the action. All of the great characters were in the parade, and they even got to meet Mr. Potato Head and Nemo. SO MUCH FUN!!!Brandon probably had the most fun at the Children's forest near Grizzly Rapids. Finally here was a place without lines, or crowds where he could just run free and climb, slide and explore. Jared and I also loved it for this same reason. It didn't hurt that we were also able to meet both Coda and Keeni from Brother Bear.Brandon had no fear on the rides he loved the hills on the roller coasters and going fast. he however was not a big fan of the monster on the Matterhorn - can't say that I blame him. :)And then there was Radiator Springs where we met Lightening McQueen and Mater - WOW!!! What more can I say about this but that Brandon was THRILLED! Unfortunately he is shy with his emotions so when he was so excited and happy he did his best to keep it in - thus the pictures were not what I was hoping for. Then when we watched the Pixar Parade and Mater and Lightening were at the tail end and they were actually driving - WOW WOW WOW was Brandon happy - so happy that Jared agreed to chase them down and follow then to the end of the parade. Boy oh Boy was Brandon a happy camper!Look at him squishing his cheeks in to hide his smile - so silly.This is probably the way I felt most of the trip. He and Grant were such troopers!!The Dumbo ride was also wonderful although the wait was ridiculously long.Monstro the whale - Brandon is still talking about this and playing with his Monstro the whale - every day! This was so fun!My super cute little boy!
Highlights of Disney Land (according to Brandon):
Meeting Lightening McQueen, Mater, Woodey, Jessie, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse.
The Pirates Ride, Dumbo Ride, Monstro Ride, Autotopia, Finding Nemo Ride, the two Buzz Lightyear Rides, The Jungle Cruise, Gadgets Go Coaster, the Peter Pan Ride and the two train rides.
The Pixar Play Parade
Playing on Pirates Island and in the Grizzly Forest
Other memorable moments:
The second night in Disney Land (Sunday) I forced my family to stay late in hopes of watching the World of Color show despite our fatigue, Grants fussing due to lost bottles, blankets, and nursing cover up and the crazy long line and wait to see the show and the rain. Finally I accepted that it was not going to happen so we took off for the hotel. Grants fussing turned into screams, Brandon's protests increased, I was near tears and we were wet and tired. As we raced down the street to our hotel we passed a mother who just understood and shouted out to me "Your doing good Mom" - Yes, I cried. Sometimes we just need someone to champion us on. So to all you mom's "Your doing good!!!"
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Blue Bayou Restaurant. Yummy Monte Cristo Sandwiches are a must when we go to Disney Land. While we were there Jared taught Brandon manners, it was so cute watching them use their napkins, hold the utensils just right and so on.
Grant devouring the broth of Wyns' French Onion Soup
All in all it was a great trip with many wonderful memories and many lessons learned. We look forward to our next visit.
One of our favorite things to do when we visit another city is to do a session at the local temple, time and time again it proves to be the peace amid a crazy and busy vacation, as well as a highlight of the trip. The San Diego temple did not let us down - it is magnificent!! It ranks high on my favorite list!!! The entire week we were in California Jared's family was trying their hardest to get us to move to Cali. This temple would definitely be a big perk. I love going to the temple!!! Oh how I wish I could put into words how much I love being in the temple, I only wish I could go much more often!
We never miss the zoo when we go on any vacation - so of course we could not miss the world famous San Diego Zoo. We went to the zoo with a good portion of Jared's family; Jill and Dave, Rebecca, Neveah, and his Parents. We had a great time! Brandon was finally able to see on e of his favorite animals - the hippos, and they were swimming right in front of the window. We were also able to enjoy the rare treat of watching a mother Panda play with her cub. We were lucky enough to see the koalas when they were active and awake. We loved all of the animals! Brandon really enjoyed having a friend to play with for the day, and we were fortunate enough to get some great weather - despite the forecast. :)I absolutely adore this picture of Rebecca and Grant - Oh SO cute!!!!Yucky hippos that Brandon loves - he was even able to see the hippo open his large mouth. :)