The next day we decided to go to the beach again. We went to the Oceanside Harbor beach. This is a great beach for playing in sand, boogie boarding, and collecting shells.

After our day at the beach, we bathed the kids, sent them to bed, and then Dallas and I played Qwirkle with my parents. Me showing off my high score and my slightly burnt face:Finally we made it to Friday! We had been looking forward to Friday because this was the one day that my parents had no plans and so they were set to spend the entire day with us.

That is, until they got a call from Salt Lake telling them the Black Plague was running rampant in Madagascar so they were evacuating the missionaries from there, so could my dad please go pick up a missionary from the airport and welcome him into his mission right in the middle of the day on Friday ruining all our plans?

We were disappointed that it looked like we wouldn’t be able to spend the day with them after all, until they got another call saying the missionary that was supposed to be there at noon was now lost, so they didn’t need to pick him up yet, but just stay tuned for updates.

A lost missionary was a little disconcerting, but hey! It meant I got my parents back, so we went back to Plan A.

Plan A began with Grandpa…

…transforming into Super Grandpa! Dallas had gotten my dad this shirt one of the times he went to Walmart to get shirts for Spencer, and he also got himself and Spencer a superhero shirt. Typical of how our trip was going regarding Spencer’s shirts, when it was time to wear his superhero shirt…we couldn’t find it.

My mom had told us about a trail she and my dad found. She said there were millions of bunnies on the trail. Bunnies! I couldn’t even imagine! Wild bunnies? That you can just see? Hopping around in nature? This seemed like the funnest thing ever. I told her she had to take us there. If there’s something I need more of in my life other than organizational skills regarding my son’s clothes, it’s bunnies.

We went to the trail:

We walked and walked and walked. We saw cool trees, poison oak, ducks, and geese. Guess what we DIDN’T see. That’s right. Bunnies. Not a one. I’m still crying about it.

Other than the disappointment of not seeing any bunnies, the hike was really enjoyable. We sat on the bench watching the ducks and geese for a long time.
If you ask Madison, we stayed a little too long. She got a present on her leg from a bird and wasn’t too happy about it:After our hike we got ready for the day. We still hadn’t heard anything about where the missing missionary was, so we decided to go to the Birch Aquarium with my parents as we had planned to do all along:
This was another kids get in free museum. Hooray!

We started off at the tide pools:Then moved inside:Some of us needed a nap to make it through all of the aquarium:They had kinetic sand that you could mold and shape and a computer above would scan it and make the topographical lines on the mounds you created. That was a fun display:

They had turned trash into fun Halloween decorations: Madison was about ready to leave at this point and let us all know it by going crazy:However, we hadn’t visited the seahorse exhibit. We went there before leaving and I’m so glad we did because seahorses are really amazing to look at. They had so many varieties.They also had a video showing a seahorse giving birth. Caroline had some strong reactions to that video:
We finally learned that the missing missionary had been found and now instead of receiving just him, my parents were going to be getting a second missionary and to expect them in two days. We were glad to hear the missionary was safe and sound and that we could continue our day of fun without interruption.

We ended the day at this buffet:

Madison was thrilled to get a bowl of sprinkles:The chocolate covered strawberries are always a hit with my kids: We ended the evening with more Qwirkle. My mom was the champion this night. 

The next day of our trip was a beach day. We went to Treasure Island Beach. We got there and had the entire beach to ourselves.

We soon found out why. The waves on this beach were huge!I had expected to be able to relax and watch the kids play from a dry distance, but the waves were so big that I had to hang on to Madison the entire time.

Brooke found some tiny crabs: After a few hours of getting hammered by waves at this beach we remembered the beautifully tranquil baby beach at Dana’s Cove that we had visited the day before. We decided to go back there to play some more.

On the way, Spencer surprised us by saying he lost his first tooth! I didn’t realize it was that loose! I also am shocked at how bloody his mouth got during the tooth extraction:
Showing off his new smile. (Not much different from his old smile!)
Madison loved playing in the sand at the baby beach. She and Dallas were making cupcakes and cakes for a party:
The big kids tried out the boogie boards that my parents bought: The kids were excited to get back to the house early enough to take a bubble bath in Grandma’s big jetted tub and have popcorn and watch a movie with Grandpa.

Spencer showed off his tooth:
And then the popcorn party commenced!The next day we went to the New Children’s Museum in San Diego. We learned last year when we went to California that in October many of the museums and theme parks allow children to get in free with an adult. Yay! This museum was one of the participating museums, so we decided to give it a try.

It was different from other children’s museums I’ve been to in that it didn’t have a lot of little toys per se, but it had other things to keep the kids busy.

There was an area with cardboard boxes, rope, and wooden structures that the kids played in:
They had an art area. The kids got lumps of clay and made creations:There was a covered wagon structure. The color of the day was yellow. The kids could grab an apron and a brush and go to town slathering yellow paint wherever they wanted adding to the many, many, many other layers of paint:There were tracing activities:There was a big car track that Madison and Spencer enjoyed:This was a really tall house that you could explore and climb all the way up:There was a fun aquarium room. One huge wall was a projection of an underwater scene. You could choose a fish or a shark or a jellyfish outline. You used crayons to decorate your fish. Then you scanned your fish into a computer and your fish would immediately show up on the screen swimming around. The kids loved decorating their fish and watching them swim:We made block towers:We selfied: Madison liked playing with this air tunnel:They had a big play area with stairs and tunnels that you could explore. It had really unique things to find such as a room that had a million spoons hanging from the ceiling:It also had an area full of ropes to climb up:It was a really fun museum. We were glad we went there.

The girls decided ending the day with another bubble bath was a good idea:
And then to bed:

There’s nothing like going on a family vacation to make me want to resurrect the blog and share some pictures! We decided to visit my parents in California over our fall break. We did this last year and loved it so much that we knew we must do it again!

We were set to leave early Saturday morning, so all day on Friday I was busy doing laundry and getting things organized and packed. Madison was busy sneaking into the big girls’ room, climbing up on their hanging shelf organizer, and causing the entire closet to come crashing down:

Seriously, child! She knew she was in big trouble, so she ran to the living room and acted completely innocent.

Nothing suspicious to see here! Just your typical three-year-old reading a chapter book. Totally normal.

We ignored the mess in the girls’ room and left town the next morning. We just got a new minivan complete with a DVD player. We told the kids we couldn’t watch any movies on it until this trip. They couldn’t wait to begin their movie marathon:

We made a stop in Las Vegas to have lunch with Dallas’s grandma (which I forgot to take a picture of) and were surprised to see his sister and her family were also there for a visit.

We arrived in California just in time to meet up with my parents at Golden Corral for dinner before they had to head off to a baptism.

We drove the rest of the way to my parents’ house and got the kids to bed:

The next morning we got up and ready for church.

We still needed to take family pictures for this year. I had the brilliant idea to take the pictures in sunny California where the weather is still nice and beautiful and there is greenery everywhere. Unfortunately the kids didn’t cooperate the greatest, so we didn’t get the shot I was hoping for.

I guess we could use this shot for our Christmas cards:
We did get a cute shot of the kids with my parents:After church we took more pictures and got a semi-decent one: Then we went back home and busted open the cheese balls that Grandpa likes to get for the grandchildren: My parents had something else to do that night (a baptism?), so we went down to the Mormon Battalion Museum to pan for gold, make bricks, and pump water:

Hmmm, maybe this will be our Christmas card this year:

We also drove around and found a spot with some trails that we explored: Monday morning was P-day! The day we get to theoretically spend entirely with my parents! We started off with Grandpa’s delicious French toast:Then we went on a hike at Annie’s Canyon:Highlights included seeing many lizards:And a dead bird that the park rangers hauled away:But the best part was hiking through the slot canyon: We made it out safe and sound…and the kids ran around to immediately do it again. 
My parents took us to a harbor near them where they had noticed sea lions. Then our “day” with my parents got cut short as they had planned to have the senior missionaries over for dinner and FHE that night. We were banished from the house.

Our first item of business was to address the problem of appropriately clothing Spencer. You see, in the chaos of having the kids “help” me pack, I failed to notice that none of Spencer’s shirts actually made it into any suitcase…thus the reason he’s been sporting his green snake shirt in every picture so far.

Okay, that’s not completely true. He’s also been pictured wearing his white Sunday shirt, but that’s only because I remembered I forgot to pack his Sunday shirt and so we had already gone to Walmart once to get that shirt for him.

Dallas went back to Walmart for a second time and bought three shirts for Spencer. When he came home, he only had two shirts. Curses! We are incompetent and should not be trusted around children or heavy machinery.

We went back to Walmart and Dallas sweet-talked his way into getting the third shirt again without having to pay for it a second time. Hallelujah!

Madison documenting our Walmart experience:
We figured we should head to a beach before dinner. We went to Dana Point. They had a little baby beach there which was so fun. The rocks in the distance broke up the waves, so the water by us was calm and shallow. The kids had a great time wading in. We ended our day at Chili’s for dinner and then got back to my parents’ house just as their FHE was ending. Stay tuned for part two!

We roller bladed to Bridal Veil Falls:

Brooke did her favorite thing which is gather algae balls:

We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and celebrated Brooke’s birthday:

I’m loving Madison’s camera poses lately:

We invited Brooke’s best friend from Orem to the roller rink to further celebrate her birthday:

Madison was not a fan of the lights-out-sirens-blaring-fog-machine skate time:

Brooke’s Lego watch:

Every day when Madison hears the garage door open she runs to the top of the stairs with open arms to greet Dallas with a big hug:

This is Madison’s fake angry face:

Dallas was asked to go on our stake’s trek to be a videographer/photographer. Let us all give thanks that I was not asked to camp with them.

Madison has been loving Rapunzel lately. Often I will find her gathering weeds from our backyard that she insists I put in her hair to be like Rapunzel:

We went to Seussical: The Musical at the Scera:

Well, what do we have here? Two girls on the last day of school:

Here’s Caroline loving her new cousin, Jonah:

Dallas bought these glasses one year when he was dressing up as George McFly for Halloween. The kids have found the glasses and wear them everywhere now:

Madison: “Why does that baby have a roly poly nose?”

Someone has mastered the art of dressing for the job you want:

I made the cover of People magazine this year for Mother’s Day:

This was inside the magazine. Brooke nailed the vignette look:

We watched Moana a million times and Spencer turned himself into (a thankfully non-tattooed) Maui:

We were lucky(?) enough to be able to watch Brooke’s class pet, a bearded dragon named Mr. Sir:

Mr. Sir got a lot of attention from the kids:

Errr….and from Dallas:

We took Mr. Sir out to the backyard to enjoy the great outdoors. Please appreciate Madison’s attempt to give Dallas bunny ears:

We went to the Clark Planetarium. They have improved it since the last time we went and it was so fun! The kids happily played there for hours:

After the planetarium we hit the outdoor water area:

Then we visited the escalators and the kids were once again happy for hours:

Apparently escalators bring out the weirdness in my kids: