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. 

Oct 24, 2016

Happy 4th Birthday Sydney!

Dear Sydney,

I'll admit this has been a challenging year with you. Then again, your dad and I have to keep reminding ourselves that you are only just now turning 4 years old. You can come across more like a 5 year old ready for kindergarten at times. And boy would you love it if you could go to kindergarten. The only way in which I don't think you are ready is knowing your letters, numbers, and days of the week. 

For this we blame you're old Daycare, as when you were supposed to be in a structured pre-school setting, you ended up being in a more glorified babysitting situation. We only realized the issue this last summer when we tested you on your letters and numbers and saw you didn't know them much at all. We also discovered you didn't know how to use scissors. We should have know - you had about 6 different teachers throughout the year. 

That's why we made the choice to move you to an in-home daycare closer to home with a mom we know from London's school and has a daughter close to your age. The trade-off with the in-home daycare is that you don't necessarily get the instruction I would like you to be getting, especially when I feel you may be already a bit behind. We are making our best effort to help you out at home, but we are considering getting you into another preschool around Christmas. This mainly depends on whether or not we decide to try and get you into TK or just wait for the year you can go into Kindergarten.  

On the flip side, you are o have a desire to learn. You love having "homework" just like your big sister. You do still get jealous of the time she commands when we work wit her on homework. And you have quickly learned how to use scissors at home. 

You're quite into art these days. Last time Grandma and Grandpa visited you insisted on 1:1 with Grandma to do art. The two of  you spent a good hour or two painting away.  

You're definitely a strong willed little person, though we could do without the tears every time you don't get your way. And we have resorted to some strong tactics and bribery to get you to clean your room. If you don't clean your room when we ask, you usually find many of your toys disappear into a black garbage bag in our room and then have to earn them back one at a time for doing other various tasks we request. We're slowly getting there. Of course, you love to help around the house when it doesn't involve cleaning your room.

On occasion you still sneak into our bed at night, but you have gotten much better. It has helped that you now sleep with Tulley most nights. Sometimes that's the only way I know you have crawled into bed with us - Tulley usually wakes me up jumping up and laying down on my feet. 

Your favorite color these days wavers between pink and purple. You love anything Disney, especially Princess and you are going to be Sleeping Beauty for Halloween this year. You chose this way back in June since the Disney Store was having their semi-annual sale and Princess dresses were 1/2 off. We needed to get the dress in time for your visit to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique at Disneyland this year. You had a blast and loved getting that special attention. 

Your relationship with London these days is either hot or cold. And this can change from minute to minute. One moment you two will be getting along just perfectly and the next I'm breaking up some sort of squabble. Yet, when I try to separate you two, you're back together within minutes. 

You are very good at playing on your own. I love when I can hear you in your room making up little stories with your dolls and stuffed animals. You've definitely got a great imagination. And these days you love to make up stories about what you did "when you were a little baby." 

I'm very curious to see how this year goes for you, especially as we make decisions about your education. You didn't take the last daycare transition all that well - then again, we moved you away from the only daycare you'd ever really known since you were 11 months when you started there. At the same time I could see you liking going back into a more structured setting and possibly getting the 1:1 daddy time in the car you got all last year. Only time will tell. 

We love you!

Oct 22, 2016

Sydney's 4th Birthday Party

We had Sydney's 4th Birthday Party nine days before her actual birthday. Cameron is going to be gone hunting during the actual event and we wanted to make sure he was able to be part of some of the celebrations.  

This year I wanted to keep it simple. And when Sydney said she wanted a Bounce House, I knew exactly where the party would be: Bounce U. We knew if we tried to schedule one to be delivered to our house, it would end up raining. 

Plus, the girls have attended a couple of parties here. The parties seemed pretty easy on the parents and kids have a blast. And after seeing a great offer on their web site, I immediately picked up the phone and booked it.  

All I had to do was submit the number of guests, make cupcake choices and decide if any additions to the package needed to be made. Bounce U took care of everything else - including taking most of the pictures! 

The guest list was small, which worked out well. And since it was so low stress, all the adults in attendance also got to partake in the bouncing and sliding fun! Oh, and that prediction of rain? We were right, as the party landed on the second of four straight days of rain! I'm all for doing this again next year for both girls.