We stopped at the Children's Discovery Museum on our trip down south. The kids love this place! You've been by it if you've driven down the I-5 to Orange County. It's the museum with the enormous black cube and dinosaur that you can see from the freeway.
We spent several hours there enjoying the bat display, the science rooms upstairs and down, and the outside dinosaur digging area. Matt & Aimee, Maree & Robert and all our kids were there. Here's a little slideshow from our fun day.
Today is one of the days we look forward to most each year - you may call us crazy, but that's OK by us.
If you do not brave the crowds on Black Friday then you don't have a clue what you are missing... the the crisp chill of the early morning, the building anticipation, the awesome adrenaline rush and the opportunity to SAVE boatloads of $$$ on super sale items!
We were up at 3:45 AM. Our earliest ever. We hit Walmart at 5. Then ToysRUs. Then Target. We're finally home at 9:30AM. Whew!
At the end of our Disneyland fun we asked the kids what their most favorite rides were. Here's what they came up with:
Trevor: "Indiana Jones. It wasn't really my favorite, but I'll say that. My real favorite it the Matterhorn."
Logan: "Thunder Mountain Railroad."
Lizzie: "Corpse Bride - no, no, Haunted Mansion."
Jackson: (We decided for him...) Buzz Light Year
Daddy: Buzz Light Year
Mommy: Haunted Mansion
These 2 pictures perfectly capture the fun we had. Jackson was stunned into thrilled silence on every ride - just what we wanted. And the Christmas decor felt so festive and magical - it was the perfect prelude to holiday anticipation.
The border on this slideshow is a little tribute to the new cool ride at California Adventure. Toy Story Mania. It was a long 45 minute wait, but so very fun. Anyone else been on it yet?
Laura & Melody both tagged me with this same tag within the space of a few days. This one must be flying through our little blogosphere like wildfire. I'm to give 7 random facts about myself. I don't know if there are 7, but I'll sure try! Here goes...
Factoid #1: Most people might find this first claim strange, but here it is and it's the truth! I LOVED JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. It was a great 2 years. I had a great group of friends, mostly members of our church, and I loved feeling more independent. I don't know where that confidence came from... maybe from my Grandma DeeDee always calling me her "Miss America."
Factoid #2: I've NEVER dyed my hair. EVER. While in my teen years there were the occasional lemon juice or peroxide attempts to get some natural looking blond highlights, but who knows if that ever actually worked. Besides that my hair has never been any other color. My reasons: I like my natural color just fine thank you very much, I'm afraid of choosing a bad color and making a mistake, and I'm cheap!
Factoid #3: Coloring with a brand new box of Crayola markers is one of my most favorite things to do.
Factoid #4: I've never mowed the yard. Although, I did use the edger. That was one of my jobs growing up, but never the mower.
Factoid #5: I must be thinking a lot about my past because here's another one... When I was in high school or maybe it was junior high - can't remember - I got my brother Thomas in big trouble! He got home from school just a few minutes before me and thought it'd be fun to lock me out of the house. I was not amused and started banging on the window so he'd let me in already. I must have been pretty worked up because low and behold I hit the window a little to hard, my hand went right through it and shattered the glass into the kitchen sink and all over the porch! Mom and Dad came home, got the full story (my version of course) and Thomas was busted. He had to pay for the window and everything.
Factoid #6: I can roll my tongue like a taco and a shamrock. (Oh yes I can Jeremy!)
Factoid #7: I pop my knuckles, back, neck, shoulders, knees, toes, ankles, elbows, and wrists all the time. It's such a bad nervous habit, but I'm addicted! If I've been sitting or laying down too long all I have to do is move 2 inches and my back will pop all on it's own.
So our TV died and I did a post about that unfortunate event leaving us with only 1 TV in the entire house. Click here to read the post and all the comments (14 comments! That was a record for us!).
Our now loaner tv only plays DVDs, but hey, that counts right?. My dad heard about our yard sale and was sad he didn't get a chance to put out his old TVs that have been living in his garage. Logan, Lizzie and Trevor got wind of "extra tvs" and immediately asked if they could have them. Jeremy and I exchanged a knowing glance about how we feel about TV in kids' bedrooms. Michelle was sitting next to us at the time and said that her boys have a TV in their room and that sealed the deal for Jeremy. If the "Jones's" are doing it then so must we!
Now here's an update on our TV count in the house. 1. Jeremy and Jennifer's bedroom - DVDs only 2. Trevor and Logan's room - local channels only 3. Lizzie's room - black and white, change channels by hand crank 4. The downstairs plasma TV - a.k.a. 5th child
We've never had this many TVs in our lives! But do not fear, all this madness will change come February when TV programming goes digital.
Ingredients: 1 Spice Cake Mix 15 oz. can 100% pumpkin puree 1 cup chocolate chips 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients. Drop cookie dough by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Smooth over the dough with a wet finger to even out the cookie surface. Bake 15 - 16 minutes.
You will LOVE these cookies. I stole the recipe and picture off my friend Khristie's blog. They are delicious, quick and easy - all my favorite things. I also love that you do not add oil or eggs. The first time I made them I didn't have any nuts so there were only THREE INGREDIENTS to mix together!
Let me know if you try this recipe - I want to know how they turn out!
All I wanted was a new picture for our blog banner, and this is what we got. (Thank you Matt for putting up with our unruly crew!) There were about 30 photos to choose from - all the same pose so it wouldn't be difficult moving so many bodies around. Do not be surprised when I tell you.... these were the GOOD pictures!
Does anyone else have this much trouble taking a family picture???
Favorite Person (outside of family)?I must live life in a bubble because I really had to think about this one! I guess I'd have to say... right now my favorite person is my friend Heather from the ol' high school days. We're mostly blog friends right now, but I sure think about her a lot.
Favorite Food? anything I don't cook!
Quirks about you?I usually get the "jimmy legs" at night. I have to jiggle them until I get all the jiggles out and then I can go to sleep. Jeremy loves it.
Any regrets in life?YES! I regret not inviting my sister-in-laws Kari and Aimee to be my bridesmaids. I was young and thought it was notok to invite married ladies to be part of a wedding party. SHAME ON ME! I've regretted it ever since.
Favorite Charity/Cause?My Church! Our tithes and fast offerings help people all over the world. I love it!
Favorite Blog recently?My friend Susie's. She is hilarious! I love all her long narratives - it sounds just like her when she talks. Something you can't get enough of?Costco churros!, Pride and Prejudice A&E version, and computer time.
Worst Job you've ever had?file clerk
What job would you pay not to have? stunt person - i'm totally afraid of heights, injury and pain.
Guilty Pleasure?I am addicted to facebook, checking email and blogging. These things all take time away from my family (and housework) and I need to get it under control! Got any confessions?I don't dust upstairs. Now you're going to check when you come over. Oh great. If you had $1000 dollars to spend on yourself how would you spend it?Um... first a new outfit complete with a pair of jeans that actually fit and a cute pair of Dansko shoes. The rest I'd just spend on house stuff - new curtains for the living room, kitchen island countertop and another chair for the family room. Favorite thing about your house?My new blue room and matching powder room.
Least favorite thing about your house?Need more storage! One thing you are bad at?Remembering details.
One thing you are good at? Getting dinner on the table with all the food dishes hot at the same time.
If you could change one thing about your circumstances, what would it be? To have the house paid off. Do you know how much extra money that would put in our pockets every month???
Who would you like to meet someday? Oprah, but only on her "My Favorite Things" show.
What makes you feel sexy?Hello?! Sexy? Who made these questions? I'm going to say... getting dressed up to go on a date with my hubby - it's the only time of the week I get to primp for him.
Who is your real life hero? My husband.
What is the hardest part of your job?Finding enough motivation to get everything done that needs to be done. No part of my job is hard. Just tedious, repetitive and boring at times. It's hard to WANT to fold laundry and do the stinkin' dishes that never seem to end.
When are you most relaxed?When there is no school or work the next day.
What can you not live without?Can I say my husband again? I'm going first - we've already discussed this. I would not survive without him!
Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? Um. No. I know I keep a blog because it's like a journal for our family. I can permanently record special, fun and even mundane events that occurred in our lives.
This handsome young man is my cousin, Andres. He came home from his mission last week. He served 2 years in Nicaragua and had some good stories to tell.
His family hosted an open house at their restaurant. It was great to see him again and to visit with all the family that came to welcome him home. All I know is I've never seen his mama so happy. She was so thrilled to have her baby home.
He was very near the coast in one of the areas he served in. He had some beautiful pictures of the bay and of his rustic apartment. The gas stove was literally hooked up to a propane tank that sat right next to it. And some of the wildlife he encountered was nothing we've ever experienced here - even at the zoo!
And we all know that he worked hard. We could tell by the condition of his Dr. Marten's shoes. They were worn completely down through the sole! How does anyone wear out a pair of those most sturdily made shoes?!
Good job, Andres. You helped touch so many peoples' lives and helped to change them for the better. We are so proud of you! You set a great example to your own siblings and to the rest of the family.
"Grant Grove houses the General Grant Tree, which is the Nation's Christmas Tree and our only living national shrine, commemorating those Americans who lost their lives in war." - Grant Grove Visitor Center
Veteran's Day is always one of our favorite holidays to celebrate. #1 because we enjoy remembering those who have served and continue to serve our country and #2 (shamelessly) we love having a day off in the middle of the week!
So for our day off we decided to take the kids up to Grant Grove and enjoy the natural splendor of the largest sequoia grove in the world. The weather has been nice so we didn't prepare for the chill that awaited us at the higher elevation. The high for the day before was a mere 36 degrees! 4 of us were in shorts - hello?! What were we thinking? It rained here last weekend so obviously (we should have realized this small fact, but sadly did not) it would have snowed up there as well. Needless to say we were surprised to find snow on the ground where we planned on seeing dirt and wildflowers.
Other sightseers gawked at our truck full of bicycles and surely thought we were loony-bins for bringing them up to the snow. That did not deter our efforts - no, no. After our little "hike" and picnic we busted out the helmets, trikes, bicycle trailers and mountain bikes for a lovely ride in the parking lot!
Here's a short slideshow of our fun outing. My favorites are of Lizzie's many faces. Enjoy!
What did you and your family do to celebrate Veteran's Day?
Someone had the bright idea a couple of months ago to do a couples date night with the one limitation that the cost could not exceed $10.00 per couple. Cheap couples date night was born. The Christopherson's agreed to host the first couples date night this past weekend with a "iron chef" theme. For our version they decided to pit the girls versus the guys- the guys in our house and the girls next door at the Stoph's.
Like the show, we had a limited time element to create and cook our master piece using a couple of randomly chosen ingredients.
Both guys and girls had to use chicken and cinnamon as the unique ingredient to craft their masterpiece. The guys made this exquisite hot crab dip with pecan crusted chicken, fresh cheese biscuits, cauliflower casserole (southern style) and creme broule. Impressive I know. Robb was truly in his element- bossing everyone around like he was the head chef. Greg's contribution was the Country Time Lemonade.
The girls made these oily sandwiches, gravy soup with some funky dip and some day old lookin cake.
I know your thinking that cake below looks pretty good. Sometimes presentation isn't everything, it's the only thing- literally.
Mom and Dad agreed to be the "impartial" judges. After a long period of deliberation they came back with the verdict.
Like always, the guys never get a fair break. Yep, that's right- they voted for the girls version of "food".
Oh well. Great time and a good way to spend $10.00.
The kids had a little fun with the camera on the trampoline. Jackson was in rare form as he performed his "tricks" for everyone. Trevor and Logan thought he was hilarious and could not stop laughing. I love Trevor's hysterical laugh there at the end - it makes me so happy! Later that afternoon Jackson watched this video about 15 times in a row and laughed at his own antics every time.
Our upstairs TV broke last week. (We bought that thing just after we got married - 10 YEARS AGO - with all the gift cards we got for our wedding. When it's your time to go, it's your time to go...) That means we are down to ONE TV in our entire house! We are feeling incredibly TV deprived. The kids keep hogging all the TV time - imagine that. How many TV's do you have in your house?
Jackson was taking a bath. I was standing there in the bathroom at the sink doing Lizzie's hair. I was focusing very hard on getting her pigtails just right when all of a sudden in the quiet we hear, "plop" into the bathtub water. Jackson's head whipped around to look at what had fallen into the water. Can you even guess what it was??? Jackson made a perfect poop into the bathtub still full of water and he didn't even realize what he'd done till he saw it! EW! I quickly let go of Lizzie's hair and pulled Mr. Jackson out of the water so he wouldn't touch the yuckies. I whisked him away and got him dressed. When we got back to the bathroom Lizzie was still sitting quiet just staring at Jackson's mess. Jackson leaned into the tub and said, "Mommy. Clean. Messes." Yep, that's just what I did. Bleach. Bleach. Bleach.
Logan is an excellent student. He loves to please the teacher. He tries so hard to be obedient and follow all rules and instructions. It seems that his teacher notices all his efforts as well. We are so proud of our Logie Man for always trying his best. Way to go Logan! We love you.
Sunday night we celebrated the October Birthdays in our family. Mine, Amy's and Timmy's. We dined on some fabulous food: Black Bean and Sausage Soup, Pear and Greens Salad, Focaccia Bread, Cheesecake with chocolate sauce and/or strawberries, Jello Cake, and Caralee brought a homemade Apple Pie! Yum. We all left stuffed and happy.
(The kids love to blow out my candles. This time was no different - there they go again!)