Jun 14, 2017

An Open Letter to London for her 7th Birthday

June 16, 2017

Dear London,

You have truly blossomed this year. Your thirst for knowledge continues and a love of reading has emerged. You’re taking part in the online summer reading program through school where if you get 10,000 points you get an ice cream treat when school begins and if you reach 15,000 you get an ice  cream sundae. You’re over half way to the 10,000 point goal and you’ve only been on summer break for a week and a half! This is definitely a passion I hope you hold on to. I only discovered the joys of reading later in life and still wish I spent more time getting lost in the pages.

Over the last year you have declared that you want to be an artist, a teacher and a scientist. It will be interesting to see which direction(s) you head later in life.

You don’t seem like a little kid anymore. You still love to play and watch Disney Junior shows with your sister, but you’re showing more maturity and understanding than before. You’ve always been a caring older sister, but it shows more now. Just the other day you put your feelings aside and allowed Sydney to wear a dress of yours when initially, you didn’t want to share.

The two of you are getting along very well. So well in fact that you two share a bedroom now. Your old room is the official playroom. This came about after Oroville Dam evacuations displaced Grammi from her home for a few day in February. You gave up your bed and room to Grammi during this time, enjoying the “Sleep overs” with Sydney. By the time Grammi went home, both of you were used to being in the same room. And you get the best of both dogs in this arrangement as now both Tulley & Gibson sleep with the two of you in one room. Gibson tends to sleep on your bed.

And lately Jake has been sneaking in at night to snuggle with you. He’s really warmed up to you over the last year. I think weekend mornings are his favorite when he can snuggle up on your lap during morning cartoons. But he’s been known to take naps throughout the day on your bed too. You love that he has chosen you.

Speaking of animals, our goats Sunny  Roxie recently gave birth to kids. Roxie has a baby boy, who we named Pierce, on June 2 – your last day of school and your birthday party day. Sunny had to one-up Roxie, apparently, as she went and had twin girls on your actual birthday! They’ve gone unnamed as we’re not sure whether they will be staying with us or be sold off.
On the last day of school you were more than happy to participate in the annual Frog Jump contest. Your dad and you stayed out late trying to catch a frog near the neighbor’s pond. You had no luck there, but you did manage to catch two toads on our property that evening. And while you didn’t win, you took very good care of your toad, ensuring he came home (and holding him in the car!) where you released him into the garden. You’re turning into quite the Farm girl. When we were planting the garden you loved collecting the worms I dug up and feeding them to the chickens.

You had a blast at your birthday party this year, even when you went back and forth on where you wanted to have it (even after I had booked it). It was at Chuck E Cheese on a Friday night. More of your friends from school were able to come since it was still technically during the school year. You all had a blast running around and having the freedom to do what you wanted. And you were all good at coming to the table to eat pizza and cake. Since it was your party, you got to go into the Ticket Blaster to catch as many tickets as you could. You pulled up your dress like one might to hold apples and just let the tickets fall right in! Thankfully, you had shorts on.

But because we had your birthday party a week before your actual birthday, you kind of forgot you still had your actual birthday coming up. When I picked you up last Friday and asked if you knew what “tomorrow” was, you had no clue. And then when I mentioned it was your birthday, you were fairly nonchalant about it. That changes when you discovered your Christmas Elf, Snowie, had come down from the North Pole for a visit. And Grandma was able to be here so you had a few more gifts to open. And your dad and I couldn’t resist getting you your favorite cake – Carrot Cake.

You continue with 4H this year, participating in the Baking project again and new this year, was the Pygmy Goats project. I got to be your baking leader which was fun. I think we will continue this group next year and you now have a keen interest in showing a Pygmy Goat next year at fair – if only we could find one for you! One of these days. You’ve taken your responsibilities around the house more seriously with less and less prompting from your dad or myself. At the same time, you are only 7 and your attention can get diverted easily.

This year you expressed interest in playing T-ball. This became a family affair with your dad and I coaching the team your sister and you were on. You loved Dad coach pitching to you at the end-of-season games and you made contact almost every time, even sending the ball into the outfield a few times. I look forward to getting to be just a spectator next year when you move up to Coach Pitch.

I’m sorry to say we don’t have much fun planned for the summer or any travel this year. We are looking at sending you to Tucson to see your grandparents for a week and I know Grammi plans to take you somewhere this summer as well – I believe you chose the ocean as a destination. But we are already planning a trip to Disneyland later next year! You’re officially a Disney fan, to say the least, and can’t wait to go there again and even more so, you can’t wait to go to Disney World. We’ll plan that trip as soon as Sydney is tall enough to go on all the rides! Last year when we went, you went on California Screamin’ 6 times. It is definitely your favorite ride. You were brave though and went on Tower of Terror with Sydney, since she was tall enough for the ride. Sydney loved it, but you decided it wasn’t for you. We’ll see if your mind changes now that it is Guardians of Galaxy themed.

I can’t wait to see the person you become over the next year!



Dec 7, 2016

A Ride on the Polar Express

The first Saturday of December our Elves surprised the girls with new Christmas pajamas. Why? So they could wear them on the Polar Express ride that the girls were also surprised with that day!

These Polar Express rides in Old Sacramento sell out every year. We purposely get a membership to the California Railroad Museum the years we have purchased tickets for this holiday activity just so we can get early access to ticket sales and get our date and time preference.

This year we opted for a "matinee" ride which departed the train depot at 3:30 - and that it did, exactly on time. I have to say it wasn't as magical as the fist time we rode the Polar Express, back in 2014, mainly because it wasn't dark outside. Being able to see I-5 traffic rushing by the side of the tracks takes a bit of the magic out of it.

On the other, we did get to see a Pirate ship floating up the Sacramento River on the other side of the tracks. It even sounded its cannon as it headed to a flotilla light parade on the river that apparently happens each Saturday night of the holiday season. Unfortunately. I can't find any info about this kind of event. This would definitely be something I think the girls and myself would enjoy.

It was just the four of us. The magic was not lost on the girls either. They had a great time and seemed to not notice the lost magic with it being daylight. They loved their bells, the cookies and hot cocoa.

We brought our own Polar Express books to follow along during the ride. The books have been in my car ever since, which has worked to my advantage. London keeps asking to listen to the CD that came with the books, reading along as she hears it over the speakers. And Sydney can't stop talking about how Santa gave us the bells. I'm glad this year's experience brought them so much joy days later.

Nov 5, 2016

A Ride on the Spookamotive & Trick-or-Treating

One last post about Halloween. As a treat, the weekend of Halloween, Lynde and I took the girls on the California Railroad Museum's "Spookamotive" Witches & Wizards train ride. We even sprung for First Class tickets to ride in the Mad Scientist's car. 

McKenzie wasn't too sure about it all, but with the rode only an hour long, she survived. Cookies and Apple Juice helped put her at ease too. 

London & Sydney had a blast and loved all that was going on and getting to wear their costumes an extra time. A lot of the entertainment was probably over their heads (imagine a lot of bad, pun-fueled jokes), but that didn't stop them from laughing with every one else. 

And they couldn't wait to get their picture with the Mad Scientist himself!

The girls really got into Trick-or-treating this year, and for the most part, followed the rules. Sydney had to sit one house out due to walking on people's lawns and London missed two houses because she kept trying to step into them to get to the candy first. We were out for about an hour before we'd hit pretty much every house we could in Matt & Lynde's neighborhood. By this point it was bed time any how and that was when the rain started to come down. 

Oct 28, 2016

Hello Halloween!

It took us two weeks into the month of October (an 3 Halloween seasons) but we finally decorated for Halloween! This is the first time we have ever decorated this house for Halloween - I'd forgotten all the decorations that we had. 

We moved into this house at the end of September 2013 - we were so busy just settling in that October that decorating for Halloween just didn't make sense. And October 2014 and 2015 I decided to decorate for Fall since the we don't get trick-or-treaters.

But this year, with the girls older, it was time. They are thrilled that it is Halloween season. And the girls had a blast helping me out. London was quite impressed by our growing ghost, pumpkin head and Frankenstein. They were only about an inch tall when I had the girls fill the jars with water and plop them in. It wasn't until the next morning London discovered just how big they grew. I have a skeleton and vampire still in the packaging that we may need to get jars ready for next year. 

I'm sure I'll be getting rid of some of the items still sitting in the bins once I transfer these decorations for my Fall decor soon. It's beginning to look like the Holidays!

Oct 26, 2016

Bishop's Pumpkin Patch

No Halloween season is complete without a trip to Bishop's Pumpkin Patch in Wheatland. 

The last few years we have tried to go on a weeknight, and that had been the plan this year too - but a forecast of rain for that Friday had us running to Bishop's on a Sunday afternoon. 

We didn't last long, given the girls were tired and it was HOT - hard to believe 4 days later we would have 4 days of rain and cooler temperatures. 

London picked out a large round pumpkin - she wants to carve Jack Skellington into it. Shes obsessed with him these days, even saying she wishes she could marry him!

Sydney selected a small white pumpkin. The girl is after my own heart. She wants to color on it, but I think we will head to a craft store and get the Potato head pieces for her to stick into it instead. 

London has a fake pumpkin in her room with this kind of set up, so we can transfer the pieces to a Faux pumpkin for Sydney's room for next year. 

My own personal pumpkin crop did miserably this year - we got the seeds started late, Cameron destroyed the ground I wanted to plant them in by using Roundup on the weeds and the area we ended up planting in has horrible crab grass and then the weevils moved in. The second these insects moved in they killed most of my plants immediately. And they are hard to kill. We're doing what we can to prepare the garden for next year. 

Since my crop didn't do so well, I got one green pumpkin and another large white pumpkin while we were at Bishop's.