Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Trunk- or -Treat

Our ward put on a trunk-or-treat last weekend. The kids have been planning for months now for our family to be characters from Despicable Me 2.  Over the past several weeks we have been collecting pieces of our costumes. 

Dad as Gru
Mom as Lucy
My trench coat use to be tan but I dyed it teal using 3 bottles of RIT.

Madelyn as Margo
Emily as Edith
Kylie as Agnes 

Hunter as a minion
Brayden as a evil minion

Not wanting so spend a fortune on everyone's costumes we went to DI several times looking for our pieces. We don't match the character's exactly but we did the best we could with out spending a fortune. In the end the kids loved their costumes and everyone knew who we were trying to portray.

Kylie finally realized what she was collecting.

One family instead of handing out candy from the back of their car set up a "fishing" line. 

Another family was making cotton candy for everyone to enjoy. 

It was a great night getting to know the members of our new ward a little bit better in a more relaxed setting. And oh how we loved the weather! For the past 3 years the kids have been dressed up warm and sometimes have had their costume covered up with a heavy coat. This night Kory could hardly stand the heat of his mask and being in a long sleeve shirt. I ditched my trench coat and was thankful I was wearing a teal colored short sleeve shirt (made me look still in costume). Madelyn complained several times about how hot she was. Poor girl was wearing 3 top layers. It was still quite warm even though it was 8 p.m. My kids are always dressed up in Halloween shirts the whole month of October. This year they all wore them once and decided it was to hot to wear long sleeve shirts. I guess I'm going to have find some short sleeve shirts on clearance this year for next year. 

Fall Orchestra Concert

Last year Hunter was able to begin playing a string instrument at school. He really wanted to play the cello but there were none available at the time so he started out with a violin. The violin had a huge crack through the bridge and after a few months the bridge finally broke completely. He then spent a few day's on a broken but playable viola while waiting for the school's new shipment to arrive. He was delighted when he was told there was a cello for him! Although he only played half a school year he picked it up pretty quick. At the beginning of this school year, now at the Intermediate school,  he chose to sign up for orchestra and to play the cello. After playing in front of the teacher he was placed in Intermediate Orchestra. He was ecstatic. His teacher told both of us that he has to much knowledge and plays to well for the beginning class but he's not quite were he should be to be placed in Intermediate Orchestra. But she thought with a lot of work and practicing he would be able to "catch up" with the rest of them. He's done well. He loves this instrument and is always willing to practice. A few weeks into the school year and he has "caught up" with the class. 

We had our 1st Orchestra Fall Concert to attend this week. Hunter did very well.

The concert took on a spooky theme and so played some songs that matched the upcoming holiday.
They did a great job!

Madelyn is participating in a early morning Orchestra program put on by the school district since it is not offered during the school hour. She chose to play the Viola. Her concert followed Hunter's but these young kids were to dress up in their Halloween costumes.

Fearing that no one would recognize her as Margo from Despicable Me she chose to wear last year's clown costume.

Such a large group of 1st year elementary orchestra students. 

Madelyn is enjoying her time in the orchestra. However, she doesn't have the love for the strings like Hunter does. She doesn't want to quit orchestra but she's thinking maybe while in 6th grade she'll try her hand at a band instrument like the flute.

Both kids did a superb job! All that practicing at home really paid off. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lego Land Family Vacation

Our family just spent the most amazing 3 day/4 night stay in Carlsbad California. We spent 2 days at Lego Land and our last day at beach. In preparation of our big trip I made everyone matching t-shirts. Our shirts were a hit in more ways than one. We did get a lot and I mean a lot of compliments on them. I worked hard on these and all those compliments made me feel good. It doesn't hurt to have your ego boosted every once in a while. However, the best thing about them was how easy it was to keep track of our family. Although it is the off season for Lego Land there were still a lot people around. It was great to be able to scan quickly and be able to account for everyone while milling through a crowd.

Lego Land opens at 10 am. We were there waiting in line with everyone else. I was told by several people that to avoid the long lines at theme parks you should head to the very back first and then make your way to the front. We tried it and it worked! 

This was our first ride at Lego Land. It takes you up and then drops you. It takes you up again, drops you a little, takes you back up some more and then drops you again. The kids loved it. Madelyn thought she might be sick at first but that quickly went away and she too enjoyed it. Kylie was to short for this ride so her and I got to stand by and watch.

Several of the rides had these lego tables set up. The purpose is to give kids something to do while the parents wait in line. Being we were some of the first ones in line we didn't have much of a wait but the kids enjoyed the hands on play. 

Lego Land has something called a parent swap. Because Kylie was to short again (which really was a joke for this ride) her and I got to wait at the exit for the rest of the family to come out. When their car came out Kory got out to watch Kylie, the kids stayed in and then this time I got to do the ride with them. It's kind of nice for the kids because they only stand in line once but get to ride twice.  

This ride Brayden and Kylie were to short to ride on. Dad waited with the little ones while it was my turn to ride with the bigger kids. It spun us around and around and around. 

 This was a fun boat ride. Again Kylie was to short so her and I got to watch from the fence. 
Brayden rode with dad. 

Here's Hunter. This ride took you in a big circle. Periodically large spouts of water would shoot up and get the riders a little wet. 

Those spouts of water was caused by buttons that the onlookers could push. While waiting Kylie got quite a few of the rider's wet.

The girls were able to ride together and took turns at the wheel. 

All throughout Lego Land there are lego figurines. They are actually built out of regular sized lego's. The worker's are pretty knowledgeable and could tell us how many lego pieces it took for each life size figurine. 

We came across a Duplo Lego room. This room was perfect for Kylie and Brayden too. There are buckets and buckets full of lego's. The kids could build whatever they wanted. It was a great chance for mom and dad to sit and rest our legs while kids played. 

While the other kids were building with these larger sized lego's Hunter went around and collected all the car pieces. He built a train with them all. When other kids came in they oohed and aahed at his creation. It was kind of funny to see the other's reaction's of something so simple. 

Right next door we discovered another hands on play area. In this room kids built cars and then raced them on a track. We signed our name on a sheet of paper and was able to check out the base of the car that had 4 wheels. The kids then had many different tubs full of lego pieces that they could build with.

When your car was built you put it on the track and waited for someone to race against you. Or you just push the button and see how fast your car can go.

The track reminded me of the pine wood derby tracks only much better. The kids loved seeing how quickly there cars could move.

On the other side of the room they had these huge plastic/foam legos. Daddy and Kylie spent time there building things.

In the end it became an upside down pyramid. Dad wanted a picture of everyone's face in a hole but Kylie refused to cooperate. There's always one...

Here's lego batman.....

Madelyn wanted her picture taken too.

The kids really got into the roller coaster's. This is one that Brayden was too short to ride. So just the 3 older ones and Dad rode it.

But this one Brayden was able to ride. He loved it! 

Brayden thought it was pretty cool he could stick his head in the lion's mouth. 

Driving time.
Hunter and Madelyn passing each other on the road. 

 Miss Emily

Hunter again. 

While the older 3 were on one track Brayden was on another. He like everyone else thought it was pretty fun to be able to drive all by themselves.

Emily with the Friends line of lego's. 

I loved this sweet ride. It helped that Kylie was allowed on it to. Our family took up two boats as we floated down Fairy Tale River. We saw the 3 Little Pigs, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstock, Pinocchio and many more all made out of lego's.

 It was a great surprise to discover Lego Land has a huge splash pad. We knew they had a water park but that it was only opened on Saturday's. The kids wanted to do some more roller coasters before the park closed so dad took everyone and left me with Kylie. She loves going to the park at home and loves to swing. She was quite o.k with being left behind. 

They had a little water shooting out underneath the swing. She loved kicking at it. They have 2 splash pads. One in the shape of a ship for the older kids and then next to it a smaller one for the toddler's. 

Kylie loved the water fun.

By the time our dad and kids came back to get us she was soaked. Definitely planning on bringing swimsuits the next day.

The other kids seeing how much fun she was having jumped right in.
Madelyn purposely stood under the bucket to get drenched.

We had some very happy and soaking wet kids by the time we had to leave the park. 

Our 1st day at Lego Land was a success. We could hardly wait to come back the next day and have some more fun!

Day2- Marine Life and Lego Land

On our 2nd day we decided to use our park hopper pass. We began our morning at the Sea Life Marine which is a part of Lego Land. The Marine is a 2 story building full of all sorts of sea life. On the 2nd story there was this life sized shark that Brayden insisted I take his picture with. 

Brayden and the jelly fish. There were several tanks like this full of different species of jelly fish.You could almost see right through these guys.

This was one of Brayden's favorite fish. It looked like an eel to me.

Kylie liked the fish too.

On the main floor they had an open area that the kids could touch the sea life.

Star fish are rough. They reminded me of sand paper

In the center of this place were several windows looking into a huge aquarium. 
We saw reef sharks. 

We saw fish and more sharks. The kids were hoping that maybe they'd see a shark eat one of the fish but that never happened. They peacefully swam side by side. 

We saw several sting ray's. There was one sting ray that had a tail that was over 7 ft. long. It was huge!

This was my favorite looking fish. Brayden called it a lion.

Madelyn was really hoping she'd see some real sea horses. Her wish was granted. We saw them small, big and in different colors.

Throughout the marine they had these aquariums that had a big dome in the middle. If you were a kid you could stand up fully inside of them. We adults had to crouch a bit. It was kind of a neat feeling to be so close to the fish and have them all around you. 

When we were done at the Marine we headed back into Lego Land for our last day. I am so glad that we had the experience we had had the day before (Thursday). Friday was beyond busy. There were 8+ school buses in the parking lot. There were people everywhere. We had thought there were quite a few people the day before but it didn't even compare to what we had on Friday. I was so glad I had washed our shirts earlier in the morning so that we could use them again. It was so nice to easily spot our kids. Most of the lines this day had a 30+ minute wait. It was crazy! 
Kory and the big kids chose to go on a roller coaster that Brayden didn't meet the required height. So Kylie, Brayden and I went and found a different ride. 
Brayden riding a jousting horse. 

We came across this huge slide. 

The kids sat in something like a gunny sack to go down in. 

Waiting in line.

We ate lunch in the parking lot this day and when we were headed back in the school groups were leaving. All those long lines dwindled quite a bit. It was great! By this time Kylie and I were done standing on the side watching everyone else do the rides. So while Kory went with the big kids Kylie and I rode this airplane ride over and over again. Every time we got off she asked for more. The line for this ride was almost obsolete. Quite often we would get off and be able to get right back on with so few in line. By the time we had to leave I'm sure her and I had rode this ride 10 times. This ride was one of the 2 that Kylie could actually ride on. They made the little's sit on the inside of it making it difficult for Kory to get a picture of her. After riding it numerous times she wanted to sit in the front seat so I strapped her in and sat in the back. The attendant never said anything so I kept doing it. I wish Kory would have been around to capture her. She squealed and laughed and raised her arms high like she had seen the older kids do all day. It was so fun to see her excitement and joy over such a simple ride.  

This ride was a ship that turned 360 degrees and almost turned you completely upside down.

I loved the expressions I was barely able to capture with this picture. 

We made sure to hit the kids favorite ride before having to leave.  We brought our swim suits this time. They loved this ride the day before and went on it countless times. They loved getting wet!

This was the splash pad for the bigger kids. It's a pirate ship. In the afternoon when it was getting a little warm we headed here to let everyone cool down. They had slides to go down and ropes to climb up. They had small and big buckets that would fill up with water and dump. All along the ship they had constant little sprinkles of water shooting out all over the place. We made sure to pack our swimsuits this day so the kids could fully participate. 

Brayden going down one of the slides.

Madelyn just having fun.

Kylie didn't want to be at the big splash pad but at the toddler's. Particularly in the swings. We forgot to grab her swimsuit at lunch so daddy took her pants off and let her play. 

The clock finally struck 5 pm and it was time for us to say goodbye. On our way out we made one last detour. We had all the kids bring $20 to spend at Lego Land. The older kids decided not to spend their money but Brayden fell in love with these Chima lego's. I was afraid that their items would be ridiculously priced. I'm sure some things were. It's your typical theme park store. But I was pleasantly surprised with their lego prices. They weren't much more then what I have seen at local stores.  Brayden bought these Chima sets for $9.99 a piece. Saw these at Wal Mart this morning for $9.97. 

Emily spent $10 of her money on a puppy dog in a purse with her initial on it. 

One of the cool things that both Hunter and Madelyn enjoyed was the mini figure swap. Almost all the worker's wore lanyards around there neck. They each had several mini figure's clipped to them. The kids each brought a few mini figures from home to trade. The figures had to be intact with their body parts but you could trade one of your's with the worker's. During both day's the 2 older kids swapped their figures over and over. So even though they didn't buy any new lego's they both came home with something new. Madelyn said that her lego shirt could also be her souvenir because every time she wears it she won't be able to stop herself from remembering the good time she had. I am so glad everyone had such a great time. I wish Kylie could have done more of the rides but I think even she enjoyed herself. I'm glad our family had such a great experience at our 1st ever theme park. We will definitely being doing something like this again.