We LOVE our daddy!

Is it Father's Day? Nope. Is it Tyler's Birthday? Nope. So what is the occasion then and why on earth is Tyler wearing a Birthday hat?

Yesterday we had a daddy appreciation dinner and it was a hit with my kids. We prepared daddy's favorite meal (hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill) and bought him is favorite treats (chocolate) and even included a new tie (just because). They kids picked out the balloons (blue is his favorite color) and helped make a sign. We turned down the lights and turned on his favorite music and yelled and screamed when he walked in the door from work. Being grateful was the focus of our family night last night and I wanted the kids to understand that they have a lot to be grateful for. Sometimes I worry that they forget how hard their dad works to provide them with the things that they have. Don't worry - they made sure I knew they loved me too but it was great to celebrate their dad for no other reason than we think he is the best!

Happiest Place on Earth... literally!

I am pretty sure that Kylee summed up our trip to California pretty well when she said "Mom, for some reason I just can't stop smiling". That followed by Nick and Austin repeating the word "AWESOME" about 50 times a day. I love hearing the kids express their happiness as they experience new things. The loved every minute of our adventure this week...and so did Tyler and I. The driving got long and the days were hot and tiring but the kids were well behaved and we survived without any major mishaps. The baby was perfect and other than a few minor tantrums the kids were on their very best behavior which made the trip enjoyable! Below I have posted our adventures for any who care to see! I took lots of pictures in hopes that my kids will look back on this trip with great memories of our time spent together. I can't wait to visit the happiest place on earth again!

We made it so let's act silly and visit Downtown Disney!

We made it! Thank goodness we hit very little traffic getting to our hotel and had plenty of time to enjoy the evening before our first big day and the park! We had dinner at the hotel and headed off to visit Downtown Disney and do a little window shopping. It was just a few short blocks from our hotel so we made the trek and enjoyed the evening taking in the sites and sounds of Downtown Disney. It was a great start to the trip and got the kids excited for the adventures the next few days would bring. How lucky I am to have these 4 kids or 5 if you count Tyler!


Tyler made fun of me for reading websites that gave advice on how to get the most out of your trip to Disneyland. Every site I came across said get there when the park opens...or before it opens... and you will have minimal waiting time for the first few hours. Considering the fact it was Spring Break for a good portion of California, I figured we better apply this advice and so with Tyler's help we were up, fed, and at Disneyland at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Yep, you read the right! The advice was good advice because we had no wait for all the big rides and the kids walked on nearly everything before the "sleeping in" crowd arrived. After about 10:00 the lines were crazy and I was patting myself on the back for actually getting us all there! The kids loved Disneyland with Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Star Tours, and the Matterhorn being their favorites. Austin loved "the pirates" and cried through Winnie the Pooh - go figure! Austin and Summer were toppers and were content to hang out in the stroller but loved the kid friendly rides we took them on. Its A Small World was among the favorites for the younger two who both were amazed with the colors and loved the music. We took a break in the middle of the day at the hotel where we ordered pizza and relaxed and returned for more fun! The park closed at Midnight and we left just before then...a long day in the happiest place on earth but a day that was well worth it!

Temple/Beach Excursion...

The kids were determined to see the Hollywood sign which led us on a great driving adventure through California traffic. Who would have ever thought that at NOON on a WEDNESDAY there would be traffic. After spending a week in California I have learned that there is ALWAYS traffic! We waved hello and goodbye to the Hollywood sign and headed to see the LA temple before heading onward to the Santa Monica Beach. The drive was certainly a test of my patience (the kids did better than I did!) but it was worth it to see the temple. The grounds were beautiful and it was fun to drive through the surrounding neighborhoods and show the kids the very large homes there! We made it to the Santa Monica Beach and the kids had a blast playing in the water and the sand. Kylee and Nick enjoyed jumping the waves and getting soaked in their clothing...while Austin, Summer and I played in the sand and chased the birds. The Jonas Brothers are recording another season of their show and we saw the paparazzi and the tents where they were eating lunch...Kylee was in heaven! It was a great day (minus the traffic) and a place we would re-visit for sure.

California Adventure...

I had never been to California Adventure but had heard great things so we gave it a try. The kids LOVED it and for me it certainly was an adventure that included two blowouts (poor Summer) and a few tantrums from Austin who wanted to be big enough for the roller coasters! Poor kid! The lines were long and it was HOT but we succeeded in doing about everything the kids wanted to do including CALIFORNIA SCREAMING! (Tyler and I along with Kylee and Nick loved this ride) Thanks to my cousin Amanda and her darling girls we had a great day. We stayed until closing and saw the light parade and the kids thought it was "AWESOME". It was another long day filled with endless fun but so worth it!

Look what we got!

In an attempt to encourage good behavior on our trip the kids earned souvenier money. The started with an equal amount and if they misbehaved we deducted $5.00. I am pretty sure I am going to apply this at home with their allowance because it really worked! Other than a few minor melt downs (what do you expect?) the kids were on their best behavior. The morning we left we took them to Downtown Disney so they could spend their hard earned "good behavior" money. It was fun to watch them try and decided what to buy. Kylee chose to got the the Build-A-Bear workshop and built herself a bunny, with no heart because it was $5.00 extra dollars that she didn't want to give up. In exchange for the heart her bunny plays the Jonas Brothers and is decked out in the least expensive clothing it because she wanted to have enough to buy a Zu Zu pet. When she applied the $5.00 off coupon that she had saved from the bus ride on the first day she came in right under budget! She even had a few dollars left over and decided to reward herself with carmel kettle corn!

Nick was determined to hit the Lego store to buy Legos but was torn by the things he saw in the ESPN store. He did a great job splitting his dollars and ended up with a Star Wars Lego spaceship and had enough leftover to hit the ESPN store for a football. He was one happy camper and has spent the morning assembling his spaceship.

Austin had a hard time deciding what he wanted and the result was a fit about just about everything. He wanted everything in every store that we went in to! I am not quite sure he grasped the whole "good behavior" concept but he walked away with a bat and ball from the ESPN store and a $10 light up sword purchased at the parade the night before. Summer deserved the biggest prize for her great behavior but was content to sit in the stroller and watch the others have fun!