Private Pony Rides and Petting Zoo

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During spring break a friend of Kim’s, Debra Hardman, offered to let the kids have a private tour of her little ranch. Debra teaches riding and does pony parties that have petting zoos too. So the kids got their own special pony ride and got to play with all the petting zoo animals. Andrew and the girls fell in love with their ponies and loved riding around. Miles thought they were cool too and we gave him a short ride. Kim and Tara and I got to lead the ponies all around.

Let me point out that I am walking around in manure-covered dirt with flip flops on. Californians wear flip flops all the time, but really it was pretty gross. I had brought real shoes, but they were my kinda nice tennis shoes, so I didn’t want to get those dirty either. In the end I decided my feet would wash off more easily than than my tennies.

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Miles was sooo funny to watch with all the animals. He gets so excited and runs around after them. The kids got to hold every color of chick they could imagine, plus we saw alpacas, sheep, rabbits, piglets (my favorite), and goats. It was a really fun day for them.


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I was reflecting on the kids’ understanding of the resurrection, and I just remembered a new funny gospel discussion we had the other night.

Me: What did Jesus do for us?

Andrew: He died for us? And was resurrected.

Me: Why?

Andrew: So we can live again.

Me: Yes. Okay so, Jesus saves us from death, and there’s another thing Jesus saves us from. Do you know what that is?

Kids: (puzzled glances and silence for a few seconds)

Zana: Drowning in the ocean, ‘cuz he can walk on water.

Elira: Also, life guards.

It was so cute and innocent and correct, assuming the Savior was in the vicinity of you drowning in the ocean. The kids all are learning so much about Jesus and they try so hard to be good.

The week before Easter we had Kim and Tara come visit (We went shopping…at a mall…for clothes for me. It was awesome, since most of my clothes are literally falling apart, and I don’t spend the time to go shopping.), and then my mom came the next day (We had a great day at the Orange County Great Park, and she took us out to lunch. We are so spoiled.). The day after that we had a ward Easter egg hunt. The next day we went to an Easter egg hunt at Albertson’s (a grocery store for those who don’t know, also it gave out really good candy).

Easter was nice, but it didn’t really turn out as planned. Although, I didn’t really have a plan, it just was kind of a weird day. Having church at 11am makes things hard. We had a fun family Easter egg hunt in the morning. Miles was feeling sick with a sore throat and cough that lasted a week and ended up getting all the kids sick later. So I put Miles down for nap early and was going to go to church late when he woke up. The kids were supposed to sing during sacrament meeting with the primary, but Elira revolted at the last second, refusing to go up, and the other two followed suit. I finally made it to church for the final hour (trust me, Miles was waaaay to grouchy to wake him up any earlier), so I could help Scott teach Andrew’s Sunday school class. I think we all left church feeling slightly frazzled.

After church we just went home and ate the ham that had been cooking in the crock pot (which turned out to be a highly successful way to cook ham by the way). We browned it a bit in the oven and got ready for an early dinner…which the kids refused to eat. Whatever, so we sent them off to play, and Scott and I ate a nice meal together.

All in all it wasn’t a bad day, but it didn’t really feel like a celebration. And I really like Easter. Partly for all that it stands for religiously. I want to really celebrate and remember and enjoy the atonement and resurrection. And partly because growing up it was always a calm, relaxed holiday that we spent with family that also involved a few gifts. What kid wouldn’t like that?

So anyway, I think next year I’ll come up with something simple and spiritual to do.

Oh, and by the way there are a ton more pictures and video posted here. I have some more posts planned to talk about some of the other things we did during spring break.


Andrew’s Farm Report

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Andrew Kindergarten Farm Report

March was farm month in Andrew’s kindergarten class. All the kids do an oral report on their favorite farm animal. Andrew chose a horse. He talked really quietly, but did a great job remembering what to say. I think one of the kids who went before Andrew must have put in a joke, because Andrew insisted on putting a joke in at the end. It went like this: What do you call a horse in the summer? A milk shake.

Awesome right? I know the joke derived from the previous kid’s joke, and he must have been doing his report on a cow. How the joke really went though I’m not sure. It’s like on Back to the Future when Biff is always saying things like “make like a tree and split.”

You can watch the video here.

Orange County Great Park

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Great Park with Grandma Wilkie

This post can be filed under things to do in Orange County. Let me introduce you to the Orange County Great Park. The park is kind of the subject of an ongoing political debate about whether money spent on the Great Park is money well spent. It is built on the land once occupied by a marine base, and the city of Irvine has spent a lot of money to turn it into an attraction. Currently, the main attraction is the balloon ride. It’s a giant orange (like orange county, get it?) balloon filled with helium that is tethered to the ground, and it takes you up I don’t know how high. You can see for miles. Other fun stuff at the park include a lawn with balls to play with and trees to climb, and kinda boring playground that’s supposed to look like some sort of  asian rock garden, and a carousel. Oh, actually there’s a pretty cool garden area that demonstrates some interesting gardening techniques.

Up until two weeks ago all this was free. Then they changed the price to $5 for the balloon, which seems reasonable, but with six of us, $30 for a ten-minute ride seems a bit much. Anywho, enough of the promo. We’ve been to the Great Park a few times now, but only succeeded in riding the balloon once. We tried to take my mom, but all the flights were booked up for the day. The kids love the carousel though, and if there’s no one waiting in line, you can just ride and ride a bunch of times (except now it’s also not free). And the kids played with my mom on the lawn kicking around soccer balls and stuff. And despite all the hype, there’s really not many people who go there. Which does make it kind of a nice place to take the kids for a few hours. Kind of like going to Curtis Orchard in Champaign.  If only everything was still free…there’s not much free in Orange County.

I have to say though that all the pictures in this post are adorable. Just look at little Miles riding a carousel. And Andrew hanging out with Grandma and climbing trees. And of course a really cute picture of me with the kids. So fun.

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One of Those Everyday Occurrences – Part 2

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I was going to put all this in with the previous post, but it was shaping up into such a cute story I couldn’t tarnish it. This is the epilogue or something.

All the kids needed baths since they were covered in sunscreen, and after bathing Miles, I figured it would be better to bathe everyone before dinner so I just went for it. The girls were easy and fast, but Andrew’s hair had been getting all sweaty lately, so I really wanted to cut it. So dinner was getting pushed back and back.

While still cutting Andrew’s hair, Miles started feeling really hungry and so was crying outside the bathroom door. Zana kept asking me to find her pink pajama pants, so I was shouting out possible places the pants might be. Elira kept asking me to button her pajama shirt button. I kept saying not right now, but I think she asked 50 times in 10 minutes. Zana was becoming more and more distraught about the pants, and Miles just kept crying at the door.

Finally I finished cutting and set Andrew up to take his own shower (it’s so nice that he is able to shower on his own, but I can’t always trust him to not make a mess). I grabbed Miles and pinned him into his high chair, since he was resisting, and set him up with a bowl of dry Kix. We needed food going and fast, so I start heating water for pasta. Miles was calming down, so I checked the garage for the pajama pants. I informed Zana that I had no idea where they were and we checked all the usual places, so she should choose some other pajamas. She had a meltdown.

I was nice and helped her though it and helped her to choose other pajamas. Things were calming down a bit, so I put the pasta in the pot and stood there watching it. Then I noticed Elira outside in the dirt. I walked out to inform her that we had just had baths, so could she please come inside and not get dirty, and the pasta boiled over.

The kids were happy with dinner. I ate pasta with some leftover goulash; they ate pasta. We had some leftover fruit salad and cantaloupe, and I made everyone really happy with frozen blueberries. In the end everyone was filled with healthy food and happy.