Tuesday, March 26, 2013

{Budding Artists & Adyson turns 9}

My little ladies are becoming quite the artists.
They entered a school contest entitled 
"Trees are Terrific and need our Care."

We still haven't heard if they won,
but either way,
I am super impressed with their work.
Cute little artists!

Here's Adysons.  I adore her sunset!
And Roo's.
So pretty!
Oh Adyson.
My little blonde sweetheart went and turned 9!
How is this possible?!

We went shopping together to look for party ideas,
and she fell in love with all of this owl stuff.
I was a little nervous to throw an OWL party!
How do you come up with fun owl ideas?

But it turned out to be the easiest party I've ever thrown.
And it was fun!
The girls helped me make these adorable owl lanters.
They took 3 minutes start to finish!
My kind of art project!
We started by coloring owls with a FREE owl printable.
Always a good way to start the party while we wait for everyone to arrive.
Then they each got one of these adorable owl clothespins.
They were told they can't say the word "whoo", the whole party.
If they said it, whoever heard it could take their clip.
The girl with the most clips at the end of the party won a prize (an owl pen and stamp.)
I wasn't sure this would be easy enough for 14 little girls,
but they LOVED it!
It was so funny watching them attack the poor girl who said 'who'. 

Then we talked about how owls HUNT for their food...
and it's a stretch,
but we decided to go on an owl hunt.
It was cold..
but they managed!
We then played the "Whoo" game.
Super fun, when they aren't supposed to say who.
We gave them a sheet of paper with questions on it like:
Whoo has the bluest eyes?
Whoo has the best laugh?
Whoo has the shiniest hair?
They had fun getting to know each other and writing down their answers.
My poor, self conscious Sienna wrote "me" on almost every one.
So modest!
Then we had these 'awards' to hand out before they got their presents.
It was actually really fun.
I didn't get a picture but we also made adorable felt owls.
 Then it was cupcake time.
I found these on pinterest.
It was kind of a fail...
but let's move on.
Before they left they were given these adorable
owl notebooks (found at Michaels).
 And an owl sucker.
How cute are these?
My mom made them and they were even cuter in person.
She is amazing!

 It looked so cute all put together.
Adyson couldn't wait!

And frankly,
neither could Sienna!
(Aren't their owl shirts fun?)

(Here she is on her actual bday.)
I have no idea how 9 years could go by so fast.
This girl is so bright.
So funny.
So beautiful.
And makes our family full of love and light.
I am so blessed to be her mother.
Hope she has a wonderful year!
(Sidenote: The ladies are ready for the sun!  They basked in all 40 degrees of it 
after school yesterday...)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Ok, so much for updating often.
I'm not gonna even pretend to try now.
If it happens, it happens!

Let's catch up first...then we will get to the fun stuff.

We have enjoyed winter loads this year, but are completely ready
to say goodbye to it.
Love this shot of the grand kids attacking grandpa with snowballs.
 This one got her usual dose of croup and ear infections.
When will it end with her?
 She recovered.
 These girls.
Oh these girls.
There are times when I love them so much I could  burst.
They are amazing.
And smart.
And Travis and I know we are so blessed.
 And I couldn't leave this picture of Roo out.
It's my favorite ever.
She's headed into Chillis.
Not the Oscars.
Notice the snow?
Let's say goodbye to it for a moment and head to the sun!
I maybe should do a post of it's own for Disneyland,
but now that I've downloaded all the pics,
it's not gonna happen.

Everyone knows that when Trav's cancer came back,
we decided we would have one fabulous trip to Disneyland
every year to create memories as a family.

 Oh, last year.
It was hard.
The ladies had a wonderful time,
and we are so glad they didn't realize how bad the trip was.
But it was awful.
Travis hasn't ever been in so much pain,
and even taking two steps would make him cringe.
He couldn't eat,
couldn't sleep,
and it felt like a lot of work to pretend things were fun and happy.
If you remember, we were headed home for IL-2 right away after this trip.
Our frame of mind wasn't in a good place either.
It was rough.

When we came home, and all year long,
we've braced the girls that maybe Disney wouldn't happen this year.
They were fine with it...as long as we would take them to the JUMP ZONE.
(Not kidding.  They were completely ok with that, silly girls).
We weren't sure it would be worth our money,
because last year, it wasn't.
We weren't sure Trav could handle it,
and we just weren't sure if we could do it again.

That being said, 
The company T works for has a charity and they approached him 
about doing something special for our family.
Accepting charity isn't easy.
Nor is it fun.
And we weren't sure what we would even ask for.
But the more Trav thought about it, 
the more he knew he wanted something very special for the girls.

Last year on our annual trip, we took the ladies to the 
American Girl store.
It was really the best day of the trip and that day actually had a few good
memories from last year.  But we couldn't afford to buy the girls anything
and Travis decided that would be the funnest thing for the girls.
A day there to be spoiled!

And this amazing charity loved the idea.
And were so generous, and excited to do this for our family.

Once we knew we were able to go to California,
and fly there!  We knew we had to add Disney in and we crossed our
fingers that it would be worth our time, money, and it wouldn't be too taxing for Travis.

So that's how this trip began.
With a lot of gratitude and secrecy from the ladies.
And pure excitement.
It is VERY good for us to have something to look forward to.
It does a body good.

We wanted to keep it a total surprise,
but we caved and told the girls about 2 weeks before we left.
They flew on a plane the first time we went...
but since then we have driven.

And they were SO excited to fly!
And the drive home last year was so terrible,
that I was pretty darn excited myself.
Here they are on the shuttle.
        Those smiles.
 And after the longest lines ever at the security...really...
we made it.
Oh Roo.  Cheesy much?
 Adyson was thrilled to be sitting by Daddy.

 The charity set us up in Beverly Hills.
Aren't we swanky?
And we totally fit in.


Ok...maybe not.
But it was so nice.
We knew exactly where our first stop would be.
The LA farmers market.
It is our favorite spot in LA.
Because we love food.
And this place is just fun.

Trav couldn't wait to eat his real spanish tortilla.
He hadn't had one since last year,
and instead of ordering one...he ordered 2.
And shared a few bites.

have I mentioned these 2 came along?
They did.
And we were so grateful.
My parents are saints and helped in every way.
(Let's just not discuss the first part of the trip where I managed to ruin their car doors.)
Really, let's move on.

And it was really fun to have them there to share it all with us.
I adore my parents.
 The ladies still remembered their belguim waffles from last year,
and they ate them SO fast!
 By far,
the best part of the trip was getting some time all together 
as a family, and some time with my T.
(I look slightly cross eyed here.  It's the best we had!)
 The pastries.
I almost felt like we were in Spain again....
Next we thought we'd take the 9 mile trip to Santa Monica.
Last year we went on a weekday.
The drive was easy,
and no one was there...

Yeah...probably never will we go on a weekend again.
It took an hour.  AN HOUR! to do that 9 mile drive.
And parking.
Was a nightmare.
(Let's not talk about how we scraped the door to our rental van).
Really, let's not.
Let's just move on.
Don't tally the car issues.
It's still too fresh.
 But it was worth it all too see the ladies strip down and play in the
water.  You know why they could do that?
Because it's warm there.

 That night,
instead of going out-
we were tired, sick of driving,
and ready to relax.
We ordered take out and played games while the ladies
got a little crazy in the hotel.
The best part of a week together is that they realize how much
they like each other.
It's fabulous.
 The next morning was the American Girl shop.
We told them they could go in,
but they had no idea what was coming.
While we waiting for our personal shopper appointment...
(yes, you read that right, I'll explain below),
we checked out Dylan's candy shoppe.
Cute as can be.
 And then they browsed the store windows before going in.
 We, quite honestly,
had no idea exactly what was being done for them.
And we knew it was going to be special,
but had no idea how thoughtful, generous,
and amazing the whole day would be.

I don't even know how to thank these amazing 
people for doing this for them.

The past year especially has been extremely tough on them.
What a way to forget and just enjoy life!

First, we met our personal shopper.
She gave the girls bags first.
Inside they found gift cards.
With enough money to spoil themselves rotten!
And tokens to get their dolls hair done,
a magazine cover shoot,
and lunch for all of us.
It was so wonderful!

The personal shopper just took them around the store
and let them have at it.
It was a dream come true for those girls of ours.
 At the magazine shoot.
Aren't they lovely?
 I loved shopping with them and had a blast....
 The menfolk, well...they were a little out of their league.
That being said, what an awesome dad Travis is to do something
completely for them.
 The lunch at the AG store is an experience.
They sit your dolls down right next to you 
and bring them drinks and food.
It's hilarious and very 'fancy.'
The ladies loved it.
It was such a fun way to end our day there.

 This is their shopper.
She was so great with them and made them feel pretty special!
 Before I end this section up,
I wanted to say that we haven't told the girls 
why they were able to get that spoiled that day.
We debated on telling them,
but as soon as they realized someone did that because 
"Dad has cancer", 
then it kind of ruins the day for them.

We most definitely want them to realize how many people take care of us,
and how loved and blessed we are,
but this day needed to be all about them, and not one iota about cancer.
 Let them think their dad spoiled them for a day!
This day was something they wont soon forget.
Nor will I, or Travis.
It was very special, and just plain fun!

 That night we drove to Hollywood and took a tour of the surrounding area.
So very touristy and cheesy of us...
but it was really fun and we were able to see so much.
The ladies were beyond thrilled to see Katy Perry's house.
Oh boy.

Doesn't Adyson just look like she belongs here?

 The next morning we drove to DISNEY,
and didn't damage the car!

Here's Roo on the bus ride there.
The kid was beyond excited.
She made this face the entire ride.
 We were all just praying that things would go better this year then last,
and I'm so happy to say it was magical.
We were able to go on the front of every line,
due to Trav's sickness,
and on Day 1 we had already seen most of the rides they wanted to go on in Disneyland.

 So we headed to radiator springs.
It was adorable and perfectly done!
Here they get ice cream at the cozy cone motel.
 Oh...and of course,
we had T's favorite soup for lunch!

 And since we are speaking of food.
I ate too many of these.
My absolute favorite treat.
Only sold at Disney.
The peanut butter sandwich.
(Graham cracker, pb and chocolate.)

I will pay the next person to show up on my doorstep with one of 
these a million dollars.
(Ok, not really...but I might give you a ten?)
The next day was more of the same.
 Classic disney pic.
Best ride.

And last year we had to skip the World of Color.
Not this year!  (Thanks Grandma Lorraine for the
new blankets for the girls.  They stayed warm during the show.)
That show.
It's pure magic.
Our last day there was probably my favorite.
The sun was shining and it was gorgeous!

 We had to take this for Amy, who is a huge Mary Poppins fan.
We couldn't find her, but did find a picture of her.:)

 You have to look closely, but in the third car back 
there is a little Roo waving at you.
She is a brave little thing and made Grandpa take
her on this ride more then he would have liked!
 Splash Mountain!

 And the only time they met charachters.
Because there was no line.
They don't really care anymore.
Cuz they are big and old.
By far, the best part of Disneyland for me,
is just being with my girls and smiling all day long.
It is magic and happy, and I wanna go back!

 Thanks Mom and Dad for all your help and
for making it such a great trip.
Sorry I ruined your car.
I feel bad about that....

 The family.
Disneyland 2013
 (I can't find our castle trip from this year...)
Disneyland 2009
 Disneyland 2010

 Disneyland 2011
 Disneyland 2012
And we came home to this.
And Roo couldn't handle the 'jetlag' and fell asleep on my lap.
I'll take it!

 We are beyond grateful for the people who made this trip possible
and for the memories we made.  It helped to erase last years awfulness.
Thank you!