San Diego Zoo January 31, 2012

Can one picture show the
different personalities of 4 kids?
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
Keaton ate right when we went to sleep and then again in the middle of the night.  When I went to get Keaton's bottle, I must have said "milk" aloud and this alone woke Campbell up.  Robby was able to get her back to sleep pretty quickly.  I am pretty certain that Graham was in our bed then as well.  When we woke up this morning, Anderson was in the bed as well-this bed was not large enough for 4 but we had made it work.
We are only about 4 miles from the zoo so we didn't have to hurry too much.  We had a leisurely breakfast-Anderson, Graham and Campbell went to breakfast with Grannymom and Grandpa.  Then Reagan, Keaton and us came and met them.  They were all sitting eating fairly quietly and before too long we were back upstairs regrouping to leave for the day.  
We were one of the first few cars parked at the zoo.  We had a few minutes before they opened to take some pictures.  And then we headed in.  The zoo is huge with lots of trails to walk.  They are windy and up and down hills so to me it was impossible to tell where we had been and where we were going.  I feel like we covered most of it but who knows.  
We first walked down the monkey path and through a couple of aviarys.  Then we rode up a escalator type thing which of course involves folding the strollers, carrying 2 bags, holding Keaton and clutching Campbell's hand.  What would we do if we didn't have Grannymom and Grandpa on the trip with us.  
When we were walking around the monkeys, I told Campbell to hand me her pacifier so the monkeys wouldn't get it.  And she did for awhile and took it back from me and at the next cage, when she walked up to peer in she put her hand to her mouth so that monkey wouldn't get her paci.  When we get home, poor Campbell will have to say goodbye to that paci.  She is super addicted to it and wants it all day long.  As soon we get on a ride, she will give it to us so the ride can go.  And then when we get off, she asks for it back.  My plan is to have one good restful night at home and then get rid of that paci-oh, but the poor other kids sleeping in her room.  They may have to sleep somewhere else for the night (hopefully just one night!).
The kids weren't too impressed with the sleeping Panda bears.  But were very happy to have so many sculptures to climb on, in and around.  And then we had a quick snack before moving on to see more things.  I remember at least 5 elephants but there might have been more.  The elephant area was at least 10 times the size of ours at the Little Rock zoo.  Reagan was happy to hear that they had an elephant there named Mary-like the Mary elephant that was at the Little Rock zoo.  
We eventually rode the Skyfari ride-the gondola type thing across the entire zoo.  This was a highlight for the kids and at the other side of the zoo, we saw the polar bears.  I was disappointed that they were not playing in the water like they had 10 years ago when we were at the zoo.  But the kids were fine with it since there were lots of other things to do and look at in that area.  Sometime during the day, Anderson looked at some animal and said "that is the cutest animal I have ever seen."  I don't remember what animal he was looking at, but it was some big, ugly, filthy animal-nothing about it was cute at all!  But to him, it was the "cutest thing."  He won't have a hard time finding a wife.
We then rode back over to the other side and caught the bus.  The bus took us around the entire zoo with a narrator.  It lasted about 35 minutes and the kids did really good listening-probably helped that they were sitting on the top deck of the double decker bus.  It was a nice day outside so it was comfortable on the bus despite the sun.  
We give the zoo 3.5 out of 5 stars.  Of course, we are coming down off of a Disney high and that could skew our rating.  We would recommend the zoo but the layout seemed confusing and we could never get a good plan of which way to go.  The animals were out and visible but we never felt like we saw tons-probably due to our lack of a plan.  Next time, if we have a choice again (as we did this time due to our citypass), we will pick the San Diego Safari Park.  The kids did have alot of fun though and enjoyed seeing all of the animals so that made it worth while.
By then it was time to leave the zoo, the animals with us were getting restless.  So we stopped at Old Town to walk around a bit and eat supper.  We ate supper at the same restaurant we ate at before-they were making tortillas right there in the window.  I should have just asked for tortillas for supper and oh, if they would have had some honey, I would have been in heaven.  Robby did get a really good cheese dip (pretty meaty though) and my enchilada was very good as well.  Though I have almost decided that I am not a mexican food fan anymore-don't get me wrong, I love some chips and salsa or our chicken enchiladas, but real mexican food just doesn't do it for me.  
We devoured every tortilla that they gave to us and the kids were pretty hungry since they pretty much cleaned their plates.  I guess that the 1/4th of a churro that we fed them for lunch didn't quite do the trick.  After eating, we walked around a bit more and let Anderson relieved himself in the middle of Old Town before loading up.  Actually, we were by the van and he was pretty well hidden-so nice to have boys that can do that (now just hoping he never does that at church on the playground!)
I packed a brand new can of formula for Keaton and that child has almost finished it off.  I do have some back up in the diaper bag and probably would have had enough to get home but it would have been very, very close and pretty risky so we stopped and bought some on the way home tonight.  Drug store prices do no compare to Walmart prices at all-though I would pay a very large sum of money to not have a screaming, hungry baby on a plane tomorrow.  I would also pay a large sum on money not to be on a crazy turbulent flight like on our way here.  
Back at the hotel, Keaton was exhausted and fussed for a bit before we could get her to take her milk and go to sleep.  And the big kids sat and watched a movie while Robby worked up enough nerve to take them swimming.  Yep, it was probably in the 60s and they went swimming!  It was pretty cool out there for me in my short sleeve shirt and I wrapped up with a towel.  I sat by the pool and watched it-mainly Anderson was in the pool.  He doesn't like any thing hot and sure wasn't setting foot in that hot tub.  Him and Reagan did do a few races in the pool.  Graham would come and was barely tall enough to touch but I did think I was going to have to jump in once for him.  And when Campbell came to play on the steps, I considered taking off my shoes so they wouldn't be wet tomorrow if I had to jump in after her.  Thankfully, I didn't have to rescue her (or anyone else) and all was well.  Robby stayed in the hot tub with the hot tub swimmers.  The kids didn't complain too much about being cold but I know they were freezing-I was.  
A few years ago, we swam in our hotel in New Orleans and we were near the airport.  A plane flew over and it was low and loud.  It was low and loud enough that it send our kids diving into the pool and screaming.  Tonight, we are right near the airport but it wasn't a plane that caused the commotion.  It was a train-it's whistle blew and then that train flew by barely 20 feet away from the hot tub.  Everyone screamed and jumped and Campbell and Graham had their hands to their ears.  
We then came back in and everyone had baths before laying in the floor to watch a few more movies.  They did have a snack-cookies, milk, sips of my coke, an apple, cheerios, cinnamon toast crunch.  I guess swimming in the freezing cold  makes you hungry.  
Keaton snoozed on since her earlier bottle as is her pattern lately-the days are so busy that she sleeps all evening long. Graham was the first to fall asleep and then we finally had to make Campbell go to bed (she had busied herself this evening with pulling a suitcase around, typing on my computer and drinking/spilling my coke).  And after one last movie, Reagan and Anderson went to sleep-they decided that they wanted to sleep in different spots so Anderson is by the front door and Reagan is under the table.  Graham has woken up with a yucky tummy, done his bathroom business a few times now and is now taking a bath.  Here's to a restful hotel night!

Legoland January 30, 2012

Lots & lots of Legos!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
Campbell ended up sleeping the night with us in bed and coughed a bit but not too much.  Keaton ate in the middle of the night and then again at 5 or 6.  Around this time, Graham woke up and climbed in our bed and he ended up waking up Campbell who ended up waking up Anderson.  I eventually kicked Graham out of my bed and made him stay in his sleeping bag, Anderson climbed in bed with me and Campbell and Robby ended up back on Campbell's sleeping bag for a few more minutes.  Soon we realized that none of that was going to work, so we sent Campbell, Anderson and Graham out the door holding their clothes.  Thankfully, Grannymom was up and dressed everyone and then they went to breakfast.
Robby went back to sleep and Keaton, only wearing her diaper, stretched out on the bed and also went back to sleep.  Of course when I had a few minutes to catch up on my sleep could not go back to sleep and had my shower.  Reagan was snoozing during all of this ever so peacefully under the desk (the most coveted spot to sleep on our trips!).
We were almost ready when the others came back and Robby, Reagan and I headed down to breakfast.  This was a good breakfast-usually I have a hard time finding things at hotel breakfasts that I really want to eat but not today.  There were waffles with chocolate chips, yogurt with granola and something else that looked really good at the time (but I can not remember at all what it was).  Soon we were loaded up (luggage and all-new hotel tonight) and ready to go to Legoland....
And the van didn't start.  We have rented a 15 passenger van for this trip that way Grannymom and Grandpa don't have to have their own car and we can all be together.  These big vans can get expensive to rent but Robby did find a deal with a local rental place.  And the deal is probably because the van is quite a few years old and is showing its age.   However, it does get us where we need to go, saved a little bit of money and usually starts!  But not this time.  Robby went in to ask the front desk and before he made it back to us someone had already come and another man was on the way with the jumper.  We were on our way in no time at all-just a bit relieved that the battery didn't die on airport day.  Though Robby will probably be worried about that happening.
Legoland was just a few blocks away and it didn't take us any time to get there.  The kids were so excited to see that we were there so soon.  We were there before opening at 10.  Oh, Mondays during the school year at Legoland are homeschool Mondays and you get a big discount for registering as a homeschooler.  Crazy discount-we paid 21 instead of the 75 per person.  So homeschooling does pay off!  Anyway, we were very impressed with Legoland.
It wasn't crowded today and we never really waited more than 5 minutes for anything all day long.  We rode more rides than I can remember.  People have always said that Legoland is for smaller kids and that is true.  Reagan probably only has 3 or 4 more years and then she won't enjoy it like she did today.  A lot of the rides are kiddie rides so Campbell was able to do most everything.  Only 2 rides that we did Graham could not do and Reagan and Anderson could do most everything else.  
Anderson is now laying in bed and said to Graham "remember driving the boats?"  I said I didn't remember the boats but  then I remembered he was talking about steering the boats in Miniland.  It was a huge area where they had cities constructed-D.C., NYC, Vegas, San Francisco-it was very impressive.  But steering the boats was the favorite of the boys.  
My favorite event happened as we were on a roller coaster.  The first hill was a steep drop (Graham wasn't tall enough for this coaster).  Reagan must have been pretty nervous because she smashed the lap bar so tight on her.  As our car was climbing the hill, she shouted "I can't do this!"  I didn't know what she was talking about thinking maybe she was talking about her tight lap bar but she said "go down this hill, I can't go down this hill."  I said "yes, you can and here we go."  She did enjoy it after it was over and later in the day when Robby let everyone pick one last thing, she picked this coaster again.
There was a little log ride that we rode on (very little compared to Magic Springs) but after the first drop, Campbell started to stand up and said "out"-after yesterday, that girl did not want to get wet at all.  Of course, they had 3 sprayers that would drench you as you floated by.  I took off my coat and held it up so we wouldn't get too wet and Robby mostly stopped the water from hitting his passengers with his hand but we all managed to get a bit damp.  And after yesterday, we had tried to avoid anything dealing with water.
Another neat ride/attraction was a fire truck that you had to steer, pump to make go and then hop out and spray water and then finally jump back in and pump back to the start.  It was tough work-I was with Reagan and Campbell and everyone smoked us.  The kids loved it and wanted us to do it again-not a chance I was too out of breath.  Same thing with the ride that you set and pull yourself up the rope.  Man, we did get a bit of exercise today-there was even one ride that we had to peddle to make it go.  
Graham really enjoyed a shooting game that had a Pharaoh theme.  It was nothing like Disney's Buzz ride but it was still neat.  Graham picked this again as his last thing to do.  Another neat thing was a boat ride around some of the lego creations.  I guess this was the only ride that Keaton was able to do-it didn't really impress her that much.  She was a great baby today except that she tried her hardest to kick her socks off all day long.  Finally, we just took them off of her!
They had slides that Campbell was not going to go down.  They were the slides with hills and I took her back up to help her down-those are my favorite and I didn't want her to not do it.  But after I sent her down, I saw that baby fly down the slide and realized that her fear of the slide was legitimate.  She made it down in one piece but didn't want to go back and do it again.  Another fear she had was on a roller coaster-the height requirement was 36 inches and she is exactly that so we put her on it.  We were in the back and as we went around the curve, that baby was slammed right into my side.  She was pressed there for the rest of the ride.  All of these rides take those pictures of you during the ride and I would have loved to buy each and every one of them-on most of them at least one kid has a look of pure terror on their face. 
They had lost of play areas and spots that the kids could play with legos.  The kids could have stayed forever in the play areas-if we would have let them they would have built with leogs all day long.  We had pizza for lunch and then rested a bit while they played in one of those areas.  This area had a train ride in it and Anderson ended up being in the engine.  As he went around the track, I heard him saying "this is the tree area. look at the fruit"-he was giving a tour.  What a good tour guide he was.  
Another exciting thing for the kids was a driving school.  Reagan was able to go to the driving school for 6-14 year olds.  It was real go carts (moving slowly of course) on city like streets.  They were told to obey traffic rules and what did my girl do-a u turn the first second she was behind the wheel.  She must watch her Daddy drive!  She finally did figure it out.  On the other side of the building, there was a track for 3-5 year olds and Anderson and Graham had a field day over there.  Anderson understood the concept but Graham only caught on towards the end.  When they left, they were all passed a driver's license.    
We made another day of it and around 4 headed out of the park.  We did a bit of window shopping before we left and then fought the traffic as we headed back into San Diego.  Our hotel tonight is right near Little Italy and looks like there are tons of restaurants nearby.  But this hotel has supper so after a long day of theme parking, supper in was nice.  They had salad, rolls and cheese manicotti (or something like it).  The kids were thirsty and ate quite a bit-mostly croutons, cheese and rolls.  Before supper, Keaton had a bath-that girls gets oh so smelly with all of her spitting up and drooling that she is doing right now.
Back in the room, everyone had baths and then they all laid in the floor watching a movie and eating popcorn-the life of a Dennie kid!  Robby laid down with Campbell and she fell asleep and is sleeping well so far and now the others are laying out in the living area in their sleeping bags.  I doubt they will get to stay there much longer as they are already on their second "be quiet" warning.  And Graham won't last out there anyways and will probably end up in our bed.  But maybe I will be wrong and we will all sleep all night!

Sea World January 29, 2012

"Is that whale coming through
the glass MOMMA!??!?!"
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
With only 2 in our room last night, we slept pretty well (Grannymom and Grandpa had the others).  Campbell did have a pretty good cough but she slept until she heard us stirring around 6 feeding Keaton.  Keaton had also woken up around 1:30.  But man, I tell you the walls on a cruise ship are very thin-we could hear people and music-probably didn't help that our porthole was open (how fun).  Despite the noise, Robby and I could barely stay awake for finish the blog last night-traveling is tough stuff.
We were up and getting ready when we got a note saying that the others were going on a walk.  By the time they came back, we had packed up and were ready to go.  Grannymom said that everyone slept well but Graham and Reagan were in pretty foul moods first thing this morning.  Reagan's first words to me were "can I change pants?"-seriously, I am going to have some major issues when she is a teenager.  And I don't even remember what Graham was fussing about.  He didn't wake up with fever but is still a bit not himself.  I am attributing this to his cold and not that he is in a phase!
So we left the Queen Mary and headed back down the coast to return to San Diego.  Sea World opened at 10 and that is where we were headed.  We did have 2 stops on the way there-donuts and gas/potty.  We were about 2 hours away so we needed both.  The donuts were from a local place and excellent and this kept the kids busy for at least 30 miles.  
We haven't ever been to a Sea World and didn't really know what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised.  The first area that we stopped at was an Elmo ride section.  We rode 2 of the 3 rides there-similar to the tea cups and a dumbo ride.  Then the kids climbed on a net area, bounced on some jumpys and crawled through a tunnel.  They would have loved to come back to this area during the day but we didn't have time (the park closed at 5).  
We went to the Sea Lion show and it was neat but I think that some of the sea lions weren't behaving today and following their trainers.  The show was only about 15 minutes and no one in the "soak zone" got soaked or even wet.  We had set the big 3 in the soak zone and we were a few rows behind them-they didn't get a bit wet and Reagan was a tad disappointed.  The weather was probably in the low to mid 70s.  We had left most jackets in the car but didn't really need them in sun.
Next up, we saw some other animals (sorry, I don't remember what kind-everything kind of runs together) and then went to the top of the sky tower.  It was a slowly rotating tower that went pretty high.  The kids were in awe of the view.
Next up was Dining with Shamu.  Robby had planned a special treat for the kids and we had a late lunch with Shamu.  It was pretty neat.  First we went through the buffet line-lots of good food and then the trainer talked while we ate.  She had the whale do a few things, she explained things, we watched him jump a few times-pretty neat stuff.  Then when the trainer talk/show was over, we went back and finished eating and got dessert.  They had great desserts but the favorite at our table were the huge shortbread cookies with chocolate icing shaped like a whale.  Yummy!
The highlight of the show was when the trainer told the two tables next to ours that the whale was going to jump up on the ledge beside their tables and that the water might come through the cracks in the glass.  I thought, well goodness just missed it by a table and we could have seen the show.  Robby told Anderson that he might want to scoot back but it all happened so fast.  The trainer gave the signal and that 9 thousand pound whale jumped up and landed right in front of our table.  It could not have been any more perfect.  Anderson jumped, Graham jumped, I jumped, Keaton even jumped.  Water poured through the cracks in the glass-Anderson was soaked!  We were so close to that whale-PRICELESS.
Then we went a touched a few star fish and walked through a few more areas seeing lots more sea life.  Then we started toward the Shamu show (as if we hadn't already seen him).  Well, we thought that since the kids didn't get wet at the Sea Lion show in the soak zone that maybe we could sit in a soak zone for this show.  So we sat in that area-not near the front but more towards the back.  We knew that we were living on the edge but thought that we could just duck and avoid the sprinkles of water when they fell on our heads.  So the show was great-Campbell loved the shows.  She would clap, raise her hands.  She was more fun to watch than the actual show.  At the end, the whales started splashing and we thought, hmm aren't we lucky to not get splashed.  Reagan even asked to go down closer so she could get wet and we sent her on down.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Grandpa and Anderson decided that they didn't want to get wet and they moved higher up before the show started (probably very wise).  
And then, the next thing we knew we were getting splashed over and over and over again.  Keaton screams, Campbell screams, Graham screams-of course anyone would scream when a bucket or two of icy cold salt water is thrown at your  face.  Grannymom jumps up and gets Keaton out of there and Robby and I just sat there with a stunned look on our face.    Reagan came back from a few seats down lower and she wasn't nearly as soaked as us-we were in an unlucky spot.  Graham shouted to Robby that he did not want to come back there again.
I can not tell you how wet we were-Campbell's hair was soaked, my jeans were drenched, the baby had to be changed.  And even walking around the park for the rest of the day in coolish weather and wet jeans it was still worth every penny.  So, so much fun.
The next thing was a trip across the water in their gondola.  We had to divide up into three cars-Grannymom, Grandpa and Anderson, Campbell, Robby and Graham and Reagan, Keaton and me.  I think this was Anderson's favorite ride of the day.  Next up was saw the penguins, polar bears and more whales.  Anderson, Reagan and Robby rode a helicopter simulator through the arctic and then caught up with us after we had toured the arctic.  It was nearing 4:30 so we headed back to the kiddie area to ride the one last ride-a spinning pirate ship type ride.  Reagan had found herself a dollar in her pants pocket and remembered that she didn't get anything at Ikea on our Dallas trip so she thought she needed to go shopping.  We hurried and looked in 2 stores and she picked a shamu mood necklace.  It is cute and she knew she only had 6 dollars to spend and was cost conscience.  
The others had already gone to the van so we had to run to catch up with them.  Then we had about 30 minutes to go to get to tonight's hotel.  Along the way the scenery was beautiful but it wasn't so pretty in the van. Campbell had coughed and coughed and coughed until she upchucked twice!  Yuck, thankfully it wasn't...oh, I will spare you the details.  I eventually just took her out of her car seat  and stripped her down to her diaper (that is when she decided that she disparately needed her shoes on).  Hopefully I was able to clean the car seat enough that we can manage in the car tomorrow-at least it isn't crazy hot outside.  Anyway, after her episodes, she would start coughing again and I would grab a bag and bring it towards her and she would shove it away, say no and immediately stop coughing.  
This all didn't slow her down any because she was soon running down the hotel hallway wearing only her diaper and tennis shoes.  We are in a Residence Inn tonight so we have two rooms and a living area which means as Robby unloaded and started laundry (3 whole loads) we were able to give all 5 baths in 2 different tubs-that makes things so nice.  Grannymom washed the boys and I washed the girls.  Keaton fussed during her bath but fell asleep as soon as I lotioned up her little body and has yet to move.  
The kids then sat in the floor playing and coloring until Robby bought them a light supper to eat.  Then more playtime until it was bedtime.  They all laid down quietly and after a bit we had to get Campbell up since she was coughing.  We gave her medicine, she did Anderson's breather and got a handful of vapor rub on her tummy (seriously, I feel like I travel with a drug store with me but sometimes it is worth it).  Then she saw Robby's game phone and sat and played it for a few minutes.  
Big day tomorrow-Legoland!

Queen Mary January 28, 2012

Staying overnight on
the Queen Mary
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

So last night, I was reading the blog from last years Disneyland trip and guess what-I lost a kid in the hotel then too.  Exact same hotel too.  Graham had buried himself in the bottom of his sleeping bag and I couldn't find him for the longest time.  I think I am going to have to start putting bells on the kids when they go to sleep.
Campbell again woke me up last night saying "craying, crying, Keaton crying" and indeed she was.  So Campbell and I fed Keaton and then we managed to go back to sleep for a few hours.  Keaton has reverted back to a 3 hour schedule on this trip and that is fine (assuming I have packed enough formula).  Around 5:30, she woke up again and this time I wasn't in a big enough hurry to get Keaton up so Campbell went and opened the closet door (yes, she was sleeping in the closet) and started talking to her.  I finally drug myself out of bed to get her bottle and finished feeding her just as the alarm clock went off.
I woke Robby up to tell him that the alarm had gone off and he uncovered his head and was completely under the covers.  When he pulled back the covers, there was Graham laying across Robby's two pillows.  And yes, since there were two double beds we were taking full advantage of it-spreading out.  Though not much spreading out was done since we both had someone else in bed with us throughout the night.
Today was magic morning day at Disneyland so our plans were to be there when the park opened at 7. My, my, at home we can barely make it to school at 8:20 but we did somehow manage to get to the park before the gates opened.  The kids were in a pretty decent mood this morning and were willing to get dressed without much fuss.  Graham did wake up warm again but he was able to go to Grannymom's room first if he drank his medicine.  So that spurred him on.  Reagan was again not happy with the clothing choice that I made for her-listen you can't please all of the people all of the time.  
While we got ready, Robby walked to McDonalds to bring back breakfast.  After everyone got ready, they went to Grannymom's room to have their breakfast, while I got ready and Robby started loading up the van.  We quickly walked across the street and were there in plenty of time.
The gates opened and we beelined to Dumbo.  We were in the second Dumbo ride and everyone enjoyed it.  Then we rode Peter Pan, Alice and the Tea Cups (not my favorite but I guess I am the one with the strongest stomach so I was elected to do that).  After the Tea Cups, it was nearing 8 and Robby went to get some fast passes.  So we rode the carousel again and headed towards Pirates of the Caribbean.  We did that-Campbell was sitting by Robby and his arm was around her.  Whenever he would move his arm, she would grab it and move it right back around her.  Then we circled the park on the train with Robby getting off at Toontown to get more fastpasses.  We all met back up and rode the Pooh ride.  Then the big 3, Robby and I went on Big Thunder Mountain and we ended up going two times.  Keaton and Campbell were busy counting ducks with Grannymom and Grandpa.  
Graham is so funny on the rides-he is just so tiny-barely the required 40 inches but he has this terrified yet thrilled look on his face that radiates "bring it on!"  Next up was Pooh which is Campbell's type of ride.  And then we decided we would go on Splash Mountain with the big 3.  Campbell got to re ride Pooh with Grannymom, Grandpa and Keaton so she was very content.  We rode it and Robby who was in the front got soaked!  Graham was very concerned about me holding on to him and was fine as long as I didn't move my hands.  Robby had another set of fast passes so I took them again on it.  Anderson was in the back and after we had all sat down they told me that he was too small for the back and I needed to switch or set with him.  So I switched with Anderson leaving Graham up front without me to hold on to him.  I hollered to him that he was fine and not too worry. Reagan then started asking me "will he fall out?  who will hold on to him?  look, I don't have anywhere to put my hands? will I fall out?"  She can just work herself up into a tizzy but will ride Space Mountain all by herself.  
Anyway, after that ride, we boarded the train strollers and all to go to Toontown to ride Roger Rabbit.  Then we happened to see Minnie again-we really just wanted to walk through her house since that it was Reagan really wanted to do but since Minnie was standing in the doorway, we had to get in line to see her.  Then we split up with Grannymom and Grandpa taking Keaton and Campbell for one last carousel ride and the rest of us going to ride Space Mountain.  I rode with Graham this time and held on to his leg, Reagan rode in front of us and Anderson and Robby in the front.  
When we finished, Robby offered for us to do it again and Graham had had enough of the riding and was done.  He didn't want to go so Reagan, Anderson and I headed to ride again.  We were almost to the line when the person said that Space Mountain was temporarily closet.  And just after we finished with Splash Mountain earlier, it had closed down.  Hmm, what does that say about us? Are we just lucky or are we breaking the rides?
Then it was time to say goodbye to Disneyland.  We walked down Main Street and loaded up into the van.  It was only about 20 minutes to Long Beach and that is where we are staying tonight.  We are aboard the Queen Mary.  
I don't really know much about the Queen Mary except that it does look like the Titanic.  And I have yet to see a life jacket.  Can you guess how well I will be sleeping tonight?  Ha, I guess since there are no ice burgs around here, I should sleep just fine-especially since the big 3 are sleeping in Grannymom's room tonight.  Though Campbell is coughing pretty good tonight and Keaton has been asleep since 5.
Anyway, back to the day...we boarded the boat, unloaded out stuff and checked out our rooms.  We are in a large room with a king sized bed and then it has another room with a twin size bed.  Robby believe that this would have been a room for a wealthy sailing family and then their servants quarters as well.  It still looks like a cruise ship and if I think about it, I can even feel us rocking despite being firmly secured to the dock.  
We walked around the decks and you could just imagine this ship sailing across the Atlantic during its hayday.  I don't know if they served gelato back then but they do today and it was a great snack for the kids.  We had our ice cream and cookies and then went to the room to rest.  Grannymom and Grandpa were taking a tour of the ship-we didn't think that our crew could make it through a tour.  
Back in the room, Reagan played tic tac toe on a game phone, Anderson watched tv, Graham slept, Keaton laid with me and Campbell spent most of her time talking to Keaton.  After our rest time, it was again time to load up and go and eat supper.  Robby found this place called Linda's and we ate there.  They are apparently known for their potato tacos-so we had some and they weren't that great.  But all of our other food was very good and it was neat stop-just a local dive with yummy food.  
Back to the boat we went, the kids had some milk and then went to bed and we are working on our computers with the little girls sleeping on each side of us.  And the portholes are open (since the air isn't working!) Kind of a nice evening. 

Disneyland January 27, 2012

Mickey & Friends!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

Well, last night on the blog I had joked about Campbell leaving the hotel room and going down to Grannymom's room in the middle of the night-probably shouldn't have done that.  Around 1:30, Graham climbed into my bed and said "where's Campbell?"  I said "in her spot" and he looked down and said "where's Campbell?"  So I looked down and she was not on her sleeping bag so I got out of bed to see if she had moved closer to where Anderson, Reagan and Graham were sleeping.  Nope, didn't see her there.  Then I looked up and saw light coming through the door crack-looked like the door had been opened.  I rushed over there to check but it was still locked (and she couldn't have reached the lock but it was in the middle of the night mind you).  Another glance around the room and still can't see her.  So then, I get on my hands and knees frantically trying to find that girl.  I was groping around without my glasses searching like a mad woman when Reagan sets up and pleasantly asks for a sip of water.  I barked back "not until I find your sister!"  I was about to come unglued when I finally reached crazy far under the bed and there she was snoozing soundly.  I jerked her little self out from under that bed-probably giving her carpet burn on her face-laid her on her pillow, covered her up, gave Reagan her water and then glared at Robby for sleeping so soundly while I was having a crisis.
Graham was laying in my bed oblivious to all of my hysteria but was sure ready to talk when I climbed back into bed.  He thought it was morning time.  I must have dozed back to sleep when Campbell climbed in bed with Robby and Graham saw this and wanted to go over there.  Nope that couldn't happen or no one would get any sleep so I wouldn't let him-which caused him to have a mini fit.  Once he calmed and went to sleep, Keaton woke up and as I fed her, Campbell decided that she was going to get in bed with us.  So Robby and I switched so Graham could continue sleeping and Campbell could be near Keaton.  After the baby ate, she went back to sleep and we all must have slept for a few more hours because the next thing I knew, it was 6 and I was laying on something lumpy-Anderson.  I don't know when he got in my bed.
We sent the kids over to Grannymom and Grandpa's room to get dressed and we were out the door to breakfast in a decent amount of time.  Breakfast is at a restaurant next door.  It is pretty light but it is ample and afterwards we brushed our teeth and headed to Disneyland.
We were there at rope drop (which if you are going to Disney-you must be there at rope drop) and went off to ride the submarine and then everyone rode in the Autotopia cars.  I stayed with Keaton but I heard that my Dennie kids aren't the greatest of drivers.  Grannymom thinks that she is suffering from whiplash thanks to Graham and Campbell's driving abilities.  
We then rode the Storybook Land boats and then they rode the circus train while I walked to get a fast pass for tonight.  After the train, we walked across the street for the opening of California Adventure.  Robby was able to snag Soaring fast passes and then we headed to the Toy Story ride.  We did that (full disclosure-Robby did beat my by 4,000 points but I did help Reagan and show her how to play so my score would have been greater than his therefore I am declaring myself champion.)  
Then we rode on the swinging ferris wheel.  I think this is my favorite ride here.  We did the swinging part and Grannymom and Grandpa did the non swinging part.  I could see the boys during the ride and there eyes would get so big each time we would swing.  Next up, we rode the Little Mermaid ride which was Campbell's speed-she liked this ride and was smiling and waving through the whole thing.
She still does not like Mickey Mouse-we saw him today and she grabbed a hold of me again and was even skittish as I was trying to put her in the stroller near where Mickey was standing.  We also went on the short little bakery tour-mainly because they give you a sample of sourdough bread.  Then we had mexican for lunch.  Graham and Reagan liked the oranges, Campbell and Graham ate the rice, Reagan had a tortilla and everyone had juice boxes.  
And then Robby bought them cinnamon chips as an encouragement to stay still and eat while we went to go and ride the big roller coaster here.  They must have enjoyed the cinnamon chips here since they liked their plates clean.  Meanwhile, i was fearing for my life.  I do enjoy roller coasters and this was good and I the upside down part doesn't bother me because it is so brief but I do not like the taking off part.  It is one of those where you go 0-60 in 2 seconds or something like that.  During those brief few seconds until we slowed a bit down, I probably looked hysterical grabbing around trying to find something to hold on to.  I made it fine and no one saw the return of our Mexican food that we had just eaten for lunch so that was a good thing.
Oh, let me mention Anderson.  He is quite the little leader-just like his Dad.  He doesn't need a map and always knows where we are going.  Anderson wants to be the first person in line every time.  He will even walk far ahead of us (too far). And when I call him back, he looks at me with a "hey, I know where I am going" expression.  
Next up, we went to the Bugs Life area and we rode on the caterpillar train followed by bumper cars.  The kids loved both of those but by this time, Graham was getting very, very tired.  He was acting like a sick little boy all due to his exhaustion.    I let everyone run threw the water a few times and then they all headed to Soaring.  I stayed out with Campbell and Keaton.  We walked back to our lunch spot and I snagged a few cups of water.  By the time we had made it back to Soaring to wait on everyone, Campbell was sound asleep and Keaton was wide awake.
Robby said that Graham really enjoyed Soaring-this was his first time to be able to do it.  Next it was time to head back to the hotel for a quick rest.  When we made it to the room, Graham crumpled on the floor and I had to encourage him to go to his bed and as soon as I gave him his foxy, he fell asleep.  I was able to move Campbell from the stroller to the bed without waking her up so that was a good thing.  Reagan and Anderson hung out at Grannymom's room-I hope quietly.  And Keaton watched me reload our bags for tonight, had a bottle and then went to sleep herself.  
After our naps, we pulled out the plates and made our sandwiches.  The kids weren't as hungry tonight and Graham didn't eat a thing.  When he climbed in my lap, I could tell that he was pretty warm.  We bribed him with some lemonheads to take some tylenol and he soon cooled off.  I felt okay for the rest of the evening but just wasn't his bubbly self.  
The Santa Ana winds had kicked up tonight (heard that on the news) and it was pretty windy at times.  We had read the park closed at midnight but had heard a few people say that it closed at 8 so we weren't sure.  Either way, it was crazy crowded tonight and the lines were all long.  We did wait for the Haunted Mansion ride and the line wasn't too long.  I don't think the kids were really scared-Reagan might have been the most afraid.  On the ride, Reagan did ask if Keaton would be scared and I told her that she didn't know to be scared yet and as soon as I said that Keaton started crying.
We had a fast pass for the Roger Rabbit ride but Toontown was closed for the fireworks so we got a few churros to snack on.   While we were eating them, the loudspeaker came on and said due to the winds the fireworks would be cancelled.  Graham heard the word "fireworks" and his hands went to his ears and he shut his eyes.  I then told him what the man had said and he just kept saying "he said fireworks."  I wished they enjoyed fireworks more than they do-maybe in a few more years.  Reagan sure loves them now.
Well, since it was so crazy, the only thing left to do in the park was to use our fast passes for Space Mountain.  I guess that everyone else had saved their fast passes like us for the last ride of the day because the fast pass line was long, long, long.  It was about a 20 minute wait which wasn't that horrible.  Reagan wanted to ride all by herself again and Graham just wanted Robby to hold on to him again.  Space Mountain is different here than at Disney World.  Here the riders sit beside each other and not in front of each other.  It is a pretty fast coaster and Robby said that when it was over Graham said tonight "that was fun!"  
Campbell hung out with Keaton, Grannymom and Grandpa while we rode.  It did help that Robby let her finish off his drink.  We came back and did just what everyone else in the park was doing-exiting.  It was near 8 and had been a good evening even though we only did two rides.  Oh, we did walk through Sleeping Beauty's castle.  It was a pretty neat little experience.  Makes me want to watch Sleeping Beauty again.  
By the time we made it back to the room, the winds were really blowing.  The girls and Graham had a bath and then Graham laid down and was the first to go to sleep.  Next, Campbell got out of the tub and we put her in her sleeping bag and that little thing never got up again.  I can't believe she can lay down and go right to sleep like that-maybe she is big enough to sleep in a bed (nah, no reason to push it).  Reagan finished her bath and then Keaton had a shower with Robby.  Then Keaton finished her milk while Anderson had his bath.  That boy could have stayed in the tub all evening long playing with one car.  Then he laid down and was asleep in about 2 minutes and is now snoring like his Daddy.  
It was another good day.  Tomorrow the plan is to finish Disney in the morning and then head to the Queen Mary for the night.  And I had just told Robby that I wasn't going to get on a cruise ship anytime soon-though I think this one is docked...isn't it?

Disneyland January 26, 2012

La Jolla (sea lions!)
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

I went to bed before Robby last night as he was catching up on his work.  And a few minutes before Robby got into bed, Graham joined us.  I was too tired to have him move and since it was a king size bed, Robby didn't make him move either.  And before too long, Campbell joined us in the bed.  She must really be a light sleeper because she woke me up saying "crying, crying" when Keaton woke in the middle of the night to eat.  I fed Keaton and then got back into bed and after a bit, I felt Campbell crawling down off the bed.  I thought that I really needed to watch her to make sure she didn't wake Keaton, help herself to cookies or walk down the hall to Grannymom's room (all of these things were possible-well, except for walking to Grannymom's room since we did have the door locked).  Anyway, I thought about watching her but I was back to sleep in a second and have no idea what she did while she was up.  Hopefully, it was just to get her taggie but soon (I guess it was soon-she could have watched a few movies) she climbed back into our bed.  Around 5, Anderson joined the party and we were then using every square inch of the bed.  We tried to all lay there quietly but that was not going to happen.  Rather than fight it, we turned on a movie for the crew and they watched some of a movie until we put their clothes in their hands and sent them down the hall to Grannymom's room.  When I came back from taking them, Reagan was up and she walked down there as well.
That just left us and Keaton so we got ready and packed everything up.  I do pack pretty light and manage to leave stuff in the car but moving in and out of a hotel is just that-moving.  At our lightest, we carry-1 bouncy, 1 ice chest, 1 food box, 2 suitcases, 1 backpack full of toys, 4 sleeping bags, Robby's backpack, 1 diaper bag, my bag (that has my magazines-why do I carry magazines across the country knowing full well that I will never get the chance to read them?  I will catch up on my magazine reading in a few years-like 18) and finally 1 extra bag.  So we do have to have a luggage cart to check in or out of a hotel.  All that for 1 night-truly we should just probably sleep in the car.  
Back to the day, Grannymom and Grandpa dressed the big 4 and they headed down to breakfast.  Our hotel was a Hyatt House-mostly business traveler there and few (no) families with children.  The breakfast was pretty swanky with a sushi station.  Well, I guess it was a sushi station-remember I don't read magazines so I am not sure.  Grannymom did get a complement about how well behaved the kids were during breakfast.  That was good to hear.  We saw them leaving breakfast when Robby and I walked down with Keaton to eat.  After our breakfast, everyone brushed their teeth, pottied and we hit the road.  All before 8, helps that we are still on central time.
Our first stop this morning was the Children's Pool at La Jolla.  Apparently the pool area was originally built for kids but sea lions took it over and then contaminated it so that kids could no longer swim there.  This was years ago but sea lions are still present and there were quite a few of them out there this morning.  The kids really loved watching them...until Graham made his loudest sea lion impression...and then half of the sea lions dived into the ocean and starting barking back at him.  It was a pretty impressive sight.  We walked out on the rocks looking at the beautiful view. 
Next was the Soledad Cross also in La Jolla.  It was a big cross up on a hill in a city park which the ACLU was/is very unhappy about.  The view from there was spectacular-you could see San Diego.  The kids enjoyed walking around the cross before loading back up.
Then it was nearly lunch time when we stopped at Laguna Beach.  We stumbled upon a playground/picnic spot on the beach and we were all happy.  The kids were happy that they had a playground and we were pleased to have a picnic table.  Of course, the playground was in the sand but they didn't end up being too sandy.  There were lots of shovels and sand trucks out there, so for the most part the kids just sat in the sand a played.  During lunch, Anderson swallowed his sandwich whole so he could get back to playing quicker.  We let them use up alot of energy and then we were on our way to Disneyland.
The drive wasn't too long-well, I napped so I don't know how long it was-but I don't think it was long.  I was napping because I have a cold/sore throat and don't feel 100%.  I am now losing my voice-people probably think I have lost it yelling at the kids but that is not the case-this time.  Our hotel is right across the street from Disneyland.  Seriously, right across the street.  And you wouldn't believe how little Robby paid for it either.  Clean, good size room, fridge-what more could you want.  And really it is right across the street-love that.
We unloaded and got everything ready for tonight.  The kids played and then found our ipods and phones and all laid around playing games.  They probably needed the down time since no one had had a nap earlier in the day.  Not even Campbell-I am surprised she made it through the day as well as she did.  After awhile, we were heading across the street to Disneyland.  The kids were so excited and there is just something about Disney.  Just makes you happy!  This is Reagan, Anderson and Graham's third trip to Disneyland, Campbell's second trip and Keaton's first trip to Disneyland.  Pitiful isn't it?
We walked through the castle while Robby ran to get a few fast passes and then we met up at the Snow White ride and then quickly followed it with the Pinocchio and Mr Toad rides.  I had Keaton in the front carrier which makes things oh so much easier-why do I have 5 kids and have never had my own of these?  Campbell would clap at the end of the ride but during the ride, she would have her hands over her ears.  I would ask her if she liked it and she would nod yes but would not take her hands off of her ears.  She did point to the carousel and we all rode it one time.  Campbell really wanted to ride Dumbo but the lines were too long tonight so we didn't do this.  Dumbo is much more her speed...
Since the next ride we did was the roller coaster in Toontown and now that Campbell is tall enough, she rode it as well.  Poor thing didn't know what she was getting herself into.  She had this look of horror mixed with a smile through the ride.  But when she saw Robby in the car in front of her waving at something, she stuck her hand out and started waving too.  When we got off, I asked if she wanted to do it again and her reply was an adamant no!  
Next this kids went through Chip and Dale's treehouse, Goofy's house, Mickey's house and Donald's boat.  Keaton did good during all of this and was awake most of the time.  She enjoyed walking around looking at everything.  We managed to have our pictures taken with Minnie and Pluto tonight.  Campbell wasn't too thrilled and hung on to me during the whole thing.  Reagan and the boys have all talked about their being a person in the costumes which makes me sad that they are growing up.  But when Minnie was nearby, Reagan's eyes still light up.  Even though there is a person in those costumes it is still magical.  We then left Toontown and headed to Space Mountain.
Now Graham is tall enough to ride Space Mountain-just barely they had to remeasure him at 2 of the 3 measuring spots.  He truly just barely made it.  Reagan and Anderson are quite a bit taller and didn't have to be measured.  But I still worried about Reagan flying out of the coaster since no one was beside her.  I was by Anderson and Robby was with Graham with Reagan in the car between us.  She had a blast and was ready to do it again.  Anderson wasn't too sure but later said it was his favorite and Graham told Robby right when they got off that it was too fast.  But later, he was talking about doing it again.  
Then we rode the Buzz Lightyear ride and headed back to the hotel.  On our way out of Disneyland, Anderson and Reagan were singing It's a Small World.  Kind of funny since the Small World ride is closed.   Robby got us to the room and went downstairs with the laundry.  He put that in and walked to McDonalds to get our supper.  By the time he made it back, the kids were in their pajamas and the beds were laid out.  We had supper in Grandpa's room and they ate quite a bit and then came back to our room for some milk, cookies and medicine before bed.  Zyrtec because Anderson is a little itchy, hydrocortisone for Anderson and Campbell since they are both itchy.  Probably should have given Campbell Zyrtec too-one day last week, I had poured Anderson's medicine and came back in the room and the cup was empty but Campbell was standing there holding his medicine cup.   She had herself a little shot of medicine!
Back in the room, everyone laid down without a fuss and I called my mom.  By the time we were finished talking all 5 were snoozing soundly-traveling is tough on little feet!

San Diego January 25, 2012-Is this a school?

Aboard the USS Midway
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

I went in to check on the kids around 11 last night as I was going to bed.  As I opened the door, Anderson sat up and started crawling down the ladder and as I turned around, Reagan was standing groggily in the floor.  They thought it was time to wake up and they were getting up to get ready-oh, so excited.  This made us a bit worried that they would not wake up as easily in just a few hours when we had to wake them up for real.
Thankfully, at 4:30 when we went in their rooms, they all woke up and started getting ready.  Teeth were brushed, socks put on, people were helping each other-I am going to tell them that we are going on a trip every morning.  Reagan kept trying to explain to Campbell that we were going on a trip but would get frustrated saying "I just don't think she understands. How do I explain "trip" to her?"  I think that Campbell knew we were going on a trip because she did not want her backpack or anyone out of her sight-she didn't want to leave a thing.
We were fortunate in that it wasn't raining when we parked at the airport.  Shoving 5 car seats into car seat bags is not an easy task and it would have been much worse in the rain.  Though, I did have to put my coat on Keaton after I put her in the stroller since it was chilly-then I became cold and was trying to work while shivering.  We then crossed the street, checked in and headed to security.
The kids were doing well in the security line.  They know to put their shoes off, bags on the table, all was going great until I told Anderson to go through the metal detector.  He walked through and then Graham thought he could go-so he sprinted around it.  The TSA lady barked at him and scared the dickens out of the poor child.  We barely were able to get him to walk back through the metal detector.  He had already been a bit of an antagonist this morning but this just set him off and he continued to be a bit difficult during the day (though he was great on the planes).
After security, we walked to the gate and they were already boarding.  I like to get to the airport early enough that we have time to potty but that didn't happen.  Since it is Southwest and you have to jockey for your seats-though we were in boarding group a-we didn't have time to potty.  The plane was pretty empty when we got on and not full since there was an empty seat between Grannymom and Grandpa.  Grannymom had Keaton, I was with Reagan and Campbell and Robby was beside Anderson and Graham.
The pilot said that it would be a bit turbulent and he was correct.  It was the bumpiest flight I have ever been on.  I can understand why people try to open airplane doors and get off midair.  Seriously, I tightened the kids seatbelts so much that Reagan said she couldn't breathe.  Grannymom even said that she had a hard time holding on to Keaton.  Crazy, crazy bumpy.  And it wasn't just for a few minutes-it was nutty turbulent for all but 30 minutes of our flight to Phoenix.  Once when the bumps calmed some Robby went to potty and as soon as the pilot turned off the seat belt sign, I jumped up with Reagan to potty.  By the time we got back, the pilot was telling the flight attendants to sit down again.  They couldn't even be up to serve us-we did finally get out drinks and pretzels the last 20 minutes of the flight.  I get a slight panic attack just thinking about all of the bumps-and it probably didn't help that the whole time I kept trying to peer at Anderson to make sure that he wasn't going to hurl on anyone since he has gotten airsick before.  He did fine though.
The kids handled the bumps fine.  I guess even though they have flown lots, they don't really know that that is not normal nor do they know to be scared to death!  The boys played playdoh and colored, the girls colored and ate and Keaton did spectacular on her first plane trip.   She had a few bottles, dozed and played with a toy.  
The turbulence did help us out in one aspect-we would have only had a 30 minute layover (again, not enough time to potty) but we got there super early and had plenty of time.  The kids found a table and had their donuts, ran around some, pottied and we were all ready for the next flight.  The flight from Pheonix to San Diego to about 45 minutes and was perfectly smooth so it was easy peasy.
As we were getting on the San Diego flight, the flight attendant saw the kids matching shirts and welcomed "Team Dennie" over the intercom.  They were wearing the shirts they wore to announce that baby 5 was coming.  They have "team Dennie" on the front and their names and numbers on the back.  I know it is Duggarish to wear matching shirts, but it sure makes it easy to spot my brood.  Anyway, back to the story.  So as we all paraded down the aisle-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and me holding Keaton-a lady asked "are you all a team?" and then another asked "is this a school?"  Seriously, a school?  There are just 5 of them and what kind of school takes their toddlers on an airplane?  And I know the shirts say "team" but I could tell that lady was mentally trying to figure out what kind of team we were.  Robby said I should have told her that they were on a peewee basketball team.  I chuckled about all of this the whole trip to San Diego.
And this flight was smooth sailing or smooth flying as I should say.  It was so short, my girls didn't even get anything out. We just ate and drank and then it was time to land.  Everyone did a have a bit of a nap on the first flight but no naps on the second one-it was too short.  The terminal in San Diego was quite small-we got off the plane, walked a bit and there was our luggage.  Robby then went to find the van and was back by the time we had unzipped everyone's car seats.  
Our first stop in San Diego was the USS Midway.  The boys were pretty impressed about how large the ship was and that Grandpa was on a ship like that.  They had headsets for us but I knew that I shouldn't have even bothered with getting mine since we wouldn't be able to listen any (and really, that was fine with me because if you have seen one ship, you have really seen them all).  A guide had given us a brochure with questions for the kids and told us that if we finished it, they would all get their pilot's wings.  So this made things a bit more interesting to the kids and what we didn't get around to completing, Robby did!  
Anderson was in his element on the ship.  There were little green arrows marking the way down the zig zagging corridors of the ship.  They showed you were to continue to tour and he was leading the pack.  Just like Robby, directions are his forte and he was quite proud of himself being the leader.  They saw the brig, the kitchen and the flight deck.  The highlight was climbing in and out of airplanes.  The boys would sit in there and immediately start talking "this is pilot Anderson, cleared for take off, yada, yada, yada."  So much imagination-maybe we need an airplane in the yard to play in-wouldn't that be awesome.
We did have our first back picture there-our first as a family of 7.  The kids are usually pretty good about taking pictures for us but we often get eye rolls or a picture of them running away (we just don't show them to you).  I guess if you have had pictures made of you every single day of your life then I could see how you might want to roll your eyes or run away from the camera.
Back to San Diego...after we left the Midway.  We ended up at Cabrillo National Monument.  This is where I bought my National Park passport book and that started it all.  We now go out of our way to go to National Park sites to get stamps for our book and each of the kids have a book as well.  So this was Keaton's first stamp in her new book-stamping 6 books-aren't you glad you weren't waiting in line behind me?
We walked along the beautiful grounds which overlook San Diego and man, this city is gorgeous.  The highlight for the kids was going up into the light house.  It was a nice uphill walk and then they were really interested in the lighthouse-sometime it would be neat to spend the night in a lighthouse.  Back down the hill, we left Cabrillo and went to Coronado.
We drove over to the Hotel Del Coronado and walked around.  Oh, and we might have stopped by the ice cream place and we might have ordered some ice cream by the name of the Crown Jewel.  10 scoops of ice cream, whip cream, cherries, nuts and 5 toppings.  Crazy big!  Financially, it did work out better this way because each of the kids had their own scoop (would have been 5.50 each) and we also had some scoops.  10 scoops of ice cream really isn't that much when you split it between 9 people (even though Keaton didn't eat that much of it!)
We then had to walk on the beach to walk the ice cream off.  Right beside the big airplane in the yard, I need to put in a sand pit.  They looked at the ocean and then they just wanted to play in the sand.  Reagan did hunt and find many sea shells but she also was so interested in the sand.  Keaton got her toes in the Pacific ocean and has become quite the traveler so far-almost 4 months old and has been to 4 states (AR, TX, MO, CA).  
They all played in the sand until we drug them back to their shoes.  And as we were walking down the sidewalk, a lady approached Campbell and tried to give her a sand dollar.  Campbell was oblivious and just kept walking.  I said that I had another one that would love it though and called Reagan over.  She gave the sand dollar to Reagan and we thanked her and parted ways....and not 10 feet later, Reagan dropped that thing.  Of course, it shattered but she wasn't too devastated and we did keep all of the pieces to bring us even more luck.  
By now, we were getting tired-traveling days are hard on everyone-so we headed to the hotel.  It was probably around 5 when we checked in.  We didn't even unload and went right to the store to buy our precious milk, picnic supplies and pizza for supper.  Our room had a convection oven tonight so we had pizza and cookies before bed.  I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off packing and repacking and then it was bathtime for everyone. 
Keaton was just exhausted and whimpered all through her bath and then fell sound asleep about a bit of crying.  When I laid her in her bouncy, she turned her head and then you could just see her body relax.  She must have thought she was home.  After a short movie, everyone laid down and we never heard a peep from them-probably because they had been up for over 17 hours with just a few short cat naps.  Soon I am going to lay down and no one will hear a peep out of me either!  We better sleep well, tomorrow is a big day-Point Lloma, some driving and then Disneyland at nighttime.  

California 2012

Day 1:  San Diego January 25, 2012

Day 2: Disneyland January 26, 2012

Day 3: Disneyland January 27, 2012

Day 4: Queen Mary January 28, 2012

Day 5: Sea World January 29, 2012

Day 6: Legoland January 30, 2012

Day 7: San Diego Zoo January 31, 2012

Day 8: Traveling Home February 1, 2012









January 24, 2012

"It is okay if we pop these, right?"
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
  • Graham getting in our bed in the middle of the night has just become a habit lately.  When Keaton ate at 5, Robby was surprised to see him in bed with us and I was too (much later when I woke up).  Our old comforter is just an extra blanket now in a trunk in the living room and it is Robby's favorite to get in the middle of the night if he is feeding Keaton or has gotten kicked out of bed by Graham or checking into our flights online (as he did this morning).
  • No one balked too much about getting ready today.  Anderson was snack helper today and this didn't sit too well with Graham.  Ms. Wendolyn said that he REALLY wants to be snack helper next month (we weren't able to this month because the only 2 spots left were when we will be out of town).  And then when I got in the car and asked him if he had a great day, he said "No, I wasn't the fish feeder."  Poor guy, just missing out on everything.  
  • The girls spent the morning with Pops because Nonna had to go in for jury duty.  She didn't get picked but did end up staying all day long.  She rode up the elevator with a news station and was sure dreading getting on a news worthy case.  The girls and Pops managed fine.  Keaton did have 3 bottles and Pops said that he held her all morning long except for 30 minutes when she was sleeping.  She is still perfectly happy and one of the best Dennie babies but she is not as content as she used to be.  I think it is because she has a little tooth that is about to pop out soon
  • This afternoon was spent with a fit by Anderson, a fit by Graham and then a fit by Reagan.  I could tell everyone was tired and thought about letting/making them take a nap but since we have to wake up a bit early (4ish) I thought an early bedtime was more important.  We muddled through school-Reagan got mad at Graham and then was pretty ugly so she ended up getting a spanking.  Don't feel too bad, that spoon barely touched her-she gets pretty hysterical if you just look at the spanking spoon much less use it.  
  • The boys did finish their school work and went to play upstairs but they just can't stay away too long so soon they were back downstairs.  Reagan had about 20 more minutes when the neighbor rang the doorbell and asked for them to come and play.  I said they could in 20 minutes and that encouraged Reagan to get it done.  I had a grid for her to write her numbers (1-100) and told her to just write to 20 today so she could finish faster and she wanted to write them all.  Finally, I made it clear to her that she could do it another school day and this would help her finish and get to go outside.
  • After about 30 minutes outside, Reagan and Anderson came in and I went out to work on loading the car.  Graham and Campbell helped me.  Then I had to call everyone back outside because much dog food had been spilled by someone (probably Anderson but he vehemently denies it).  So I made them pick it all up-well, they did pick up most of it.  I tried to make the dog eat the spilled food but she didn't even want it.  So I had to shovel it up and throw it away from the house.  Robby doesn't need another shed visitor.
  • Nonna and Pops came over and helped pick up the toy room, give Keaton a bottle, give baths and ate supper with the kids.  The kids were hungry because they pretty much devoured their suppers.  Then they did a little popping on some packaging from Keaton's many cans of formula that arrived in the mail today.
  • After that, it was bedtime.  I have 4 sets of clothes laying out upstairs hoping that we wake in enough time to change everyone without a big ordeal (Plan B is to load the kids in their pjs and lug around another bag of clothes from plane to plane).  I will have enough lugging as is...5 car seats, 4 kid backpacks, 1 diaper bag, 2 other backpacks, 2 suitcases, 2 strollers and 5 kids.