31 October 2010

Trick or Treat Times Three

I have a disease. Remember how I went on and on about how I was keeping Halloween super simple this year? Well, I just don't think it is in my blood to pass up opportunities for creativity. At the last minute I had this idea and since I had all the supplies necessary, I just couldn't resist. 

It wasn't the most practical costume to wear trick-or-treating, so it came on and off, but Blake loved the actual flashing fire truck light.

We had three trick or treating outings within two days. Talk about a sugar overload.

1. Work-or-Treat
Troy has successfully dressed up as the same thing for three years running. A Red Sox player. I keep trying to tell him that a jersey is not a costume. Oh well, we still always love to visit him and his co-workers at the office.

This was the quickest and driest way to go about obtaining candy. Huge bucket loads of variety in every aisle of desks.

2. Trunk-or-Treat
My brother met up with us at our house in between work and church parties, and threw all of my Halloween decorations into our trunk within a half hour. In typical Jorden fashion, he rigged up orange and white mini-lights and spotlights as well.

I thought it turned out phenomenal, especially in the amount of time he had! He won the "Cutest Trunk" award, which is funny because as we were putting it together, I commented, "I just don't want it to look too cutesy." I'm thinking that avoiding cute decor is also not in my blood.

The sky above the rows of trunks was breathtaking.

This was the busiest trunk-or-treat we have ever been to. They combined two congregations together this year, and I'm pretty sure that our entire neighborhood plus the next one over showed up for the celebration. There was a lot of panicking when more than 300 people entered the gymnasium afterwards for dinner. Last minute tables and chairs were thrown into every corner. It was crazy - and in all the commotion and rushing I forgot to grab the big salad I made for the event. I didn't get a chance to eat anyway, so I figured that it all worked out. Plus, more people equaled more candy.

Blake won an award at the trunk-or-treat party for his fire truck costume (we paid off the judges so that we could sweep the awards). It wasn't the most glorious winning moment ever though. He was having a meltdown about who-knows-what in that overcrowded and overwhelming gym when they announced his name over the microphone. Being the understanding mom that I am, I ignored his tantrum and shoved that fire truck back on him so that he could go redeem his prize. He cheered up slightly once he found out that a prize was involved.

Another perk of having my brother around was that he pulled out his video camera again and surprised me with a compilation of clips of our trunk-or-treating boys (in exchange for using our laundry facilities).

3. Trick-or-Treat
Lastly, there was good ol' regular trick-or-treating. It was raining for a majority of the evening so I opted to leave the cute dalmatian at home. Blake's costume ended up working out perfectly considering he was already wearing a rain coat and boots. He loved ringing the doorbells and getting even more candy (which we have since hid or redistributed). After every house, he begged to go to another one (unless they had a big scary barking dog, then he decided that "no one was home" before even making his way up to the front door).

The best part about trick-or-treating was getting to visit with neighbors. Blake lit up when he found some of his favorite friends from church in costumes.

I think that just about wraps up Halloween 2010. Here's to keeping it year.

30 October 2010

The Snow Came Over

We were greeted home from our vacation with a whole slew of snow. I forgot how exciting it is in a child's eyes to receive the first snowfall of the year. When I saw that cold white stuff on the ground, all I wanted to do was curl up by the fireplace and stay homebound for three days. But I couldn't deny Blake of his excitement to bundle up in warm gear and touch and taste the icy snow. So, out we went to discover the perfect packing snow to build a snowman. Blake was elated that "the snow came over." 

28 October 2010

This is LA

We filled our days (as much as possible around naps) with other activities besides Disneyland while we were in California. Our sister Tricia and her husband Jacob have just gotten settled into their apartment in LA. We spent a few days visiting with them before our friends came into town. Tricia made us an incredible five-course meal after church on Sunday. I mean outstanding. Jacob said that his favorite part of every day in his newlywed life is coming home to one of Tricia's meals. I feel bad that Troy got jipped in the cooking wife department - that sentiment isn't quite the same in our home.

Tricia and Jacob live just down the road from the LA temple. We braved the wind, rain, and cold to take a brief walk on the temple grounds. We also visited the beautiful newly remodeled Visitor's Center.

On our "day off" from Disneyland, we spent the evening at Downtown Disney. The LEGO Store was a favorite!

I l-o-v-e these girls. I love how Kristen, Steph and I never skip a beat when we are reunited after long periods of time. We can skip right past all of those shooting the breeze and filling in missing pieces conversations. Our husbands fear our gatherings because they usually contain our special accented language, uncontrolled laughter, late night giddiness and scheming for future rendezvous.

These two also made a pretty sweet combination.

Blake and Skyler read scriptures together before we put them to bed. It made our hearts melt.

Kristen made them Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes to gear up for our Disneyland adventure.

The babies adored each other as well. Gracie was very tolerant of Nash crawling all over her. They were both pretty elated to clobber each other's hands and faces.

The part we looked forward to the most (besides Disneyland) was putting all of our little ones to bed and reliving our college days by playing rousing games. We were definitely a little delirious some nights from shear exhaustion, but that made the competition even better. We played several rounds of the card game Golf and when Kristen left to pick up her husband from the airport, Steph and I smoked the guys in a game of Euchre. It was so fun to play Euchre with our fellow Michiganders - no one has heard of that game out here!

I can't believe it is all over already. Now I am buried up to my elbows in laundry and hoping our schemes for a gathering next fall work out. I have a maximum threshold for the amount of time that can pass without seeing my best friends. We may have crammed nine people into one hotel room, dealt with the uncommon rain and cold in So Cal, and gotten very few hours of sleep, but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

26 October 2010


Well folks, in about three days...
...we had just about as much fun and excitement as we could take!

We walked and walked and covered every square inch of Disneyland Resort.

The characters were so sweet and playful with the children.

Even Nashy was enthralled by their fluffiness and huge features.

Blake loved getting the autographs of the various characters.

Where's Blake?

There he is!

Blake cozied right up to his heroine, Jessie. We were in line to see Woody too, but he was switched out with another character before we could get to him, gosh darn it.

There were the classic rides...

And the more "manly" rides like Buzz Astro Blasters. This is where Blake inevitably learned how to "shoot things." We still avoided the term "gun" but I have a feeling we won't be able to avoid that one much longer. He is a boy, after all.

Aunt Tricia was so sweet to watch the boys on one of the nights so Troy and I could go back in the park and relive the glory days of kid-free Disneyland. 

It was short lived as we were both too tired from kid-full Disneyland.

The best part of our date was watching Troy get super duper excited about seeing Captain EO in 3D. Michael Jackson's moon walk was simply impossible for him to pass up. In fact, the anticipation was so great that while waiting for the doors to open, Troy was the only audience member to eagerly stand right behind that yellow line. Everyone else dawdled on the stairs behind, but Troy was determined to acquire the best seat in the house. Michael Jackson didn't disappoint in his quest to change the world. What a blast from the past!

We also got into a hefty rootin' tootin' shootin' gaming competition on the Toy Story Mania ride. Troy beat me by a long shot. 

But the BEST part of our Disneyland adventure was that we got to meet up with our best friends that we haven't seen for a year and a half! Steph and I have been planning and anticipating this trip for months. We have each had a baby since we last saw each other and were dying to meet the new additions to our families. Since she wanted to visit her sister (and another one of my besties), Kristen, in California, and it was easier for us to drive to California than to Michigan, we made a plan to meet at Disneyland. Not a bad plan, huh?

Blake and Skyler were pretty much joined at the hip. Skyler told us when getting dressed up like a princess that she was Blake's Cinderella.

It was fun to see them play together because every other time Steph and I have seen each other since we've had children, Skyler was always so much older and Blake was just a baby. Their affinity towards each other sure made those long lines pass by a little faster.

Skyler and Blake loved Minnie and Mickey's houses in Toontown. I mean LOVED. They would've moved in if we'd let them.

Blake got pretty whiny and overwhelmed on our last day at the park (a result of no naps for three days in a row). It was nothing that a train ride couldn't fix!

We spent a fair amount of time at California Adventure as well.

The Monsters, Inc. ride was just like the movie.

Blake had this dumbfounded dear-in-the-headlights look on his face for a majority of the rides we went on. I think he enjoyed the rides but they were a lot to process. 

Blake's greatest triumph was overcoming his fear to ride Mickey's Fun Wheel. He was really scared to get on the ride because of the frightening experience he had on a rickety Ferris wheel back at home. I gave him a major pep talk about how sometimes I get scared to do things too but when I do them, they end up being really fun. I convinced him enough to step into the Ferris wheel cart without a major meltdown. I'm so glad because he ended up loving it! He exclaimed over and over, "I'm brave! This isn't scary, it's fun!" 

I love that he overcame a fear and had a positive experience because the ride ended up being his favorite part of the whole trip. So much that when we were dead tired on our last night and about to walk out of the park for good, he cried and begged to go on the Ferris wheel one more time. We obliged because as Troy put it, "This trip is for the boys." Blake still mentions the Mickey Mouse Ferris wheel and describes his experience of going up high in detail every day.

We enjoyed the Playhouse Disney show featuring characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, and Little Einsteins.

The live interactive show had Blake dancing, clapping, and cheering as he joined in on the special effects like the bubbles that came out of the sky!

Nash appreciated a break from being contained in his baby Bjorn and man alive my shoulders appreciated a break from toting him around!

I love how we all traded off kids, especially when some children insisted on walking like slow pokes instead of riding in their strollers. Mitch saved us a lot of time with this idea.

We held our turf to get ready for...

...the Pixar Play Parade! We loved it.

Nemo came right up to Blake, which he ate right up of course.

Then he spotted his favorites...

Yep - truly magical in a little boy's eyes!

One of our last stops was "It's a Small World." It was super annoying to hear that song over and over, but the kiddos loved it.

We were all pretty worn out by then...

...but we were on a quest to find the only Bullseye (the horse in Toy Story) that we knew of in the park. You see, somehow Blake got it in his head that we were going to find the live character Bullseye. When we got to Disneyland, we realized that though there were a lot of other characters, there was no live Bullseye. Blake really built up the idea in his head, to the point of mentioning in all of his prayers that he didn't see Bullseye yet. When we asked him what his favorite part about Disneyland was each day (aside from Mickey's Fun Wheel) he exclaimed, "Oh NO, I forgot to see Bullseye!" We really didn't want him to come home crushed that he didn't see the one character he sought after.

He saw this wooden makeshift version of Bullseye alright, but it didn't fool him into thinking it was the genuine article. We couldn't even find a stuffed animal Bullseye in any of the stores to allow Blake to get his fix.

But at the very last minute, Dad the superhero saved the day! While we were waiting in line to ride the Ferris wheel one more time (per Blake's request), Troy saw a carnival game where the prize was a gigantic stuffed Bullseye. Knowing that his son's experience of Disneyland rested on the satisfaction of seeing Bullseye, Troy kicked it into intense focus gear. He competed against seven other contenders for the Bullseye prize and came out victorious! That's my man! The prize was the best two bucks we ever spent, and Blake was thoroughly satisfied that he could have his very own Bullseye to tote around. 

We did a million other things but I won't bore you to death with them (as if I haven't already). Suffice it to say - even with two boys (much harder than just one), acquiring very little sleep throughout the trip, and continuous cold and rainy weather (hence why I am always wearing the one jacket I brought), we had a blast and wish we could have stayed longer.