Saturday, June 30, 2012

Presidential

Matt got the day of his life while we were in California.
Our friend's Dad works at the Reagan Presidential Library.
He very generously set up a behind the scenes tour for us.
We went undergournd to areas not allowed to the public and saw vaults full of files, pictures, and videos.
We saw Mrs. Reagan's Oscar de la Renta gowns stored in a basement file room and President Reagan's favorite saddles.
Then we spent hours exploring the library itself with two little guys who hadn't napped...let me tell you about memorable.
We spent much of the tour, including Reagan's Air Force One, stuffing the boys with goldfish crackers to momentarily silence the fussing.
Matt was having the time of his life so I was determined to get the boys distracted and into the things they were seeing. It wasn't difficult once Harrison saw this case.
But it was a little hard to explain to him why we couldn't buy the sword and sheath in the display to take home with us. He was pretty disappointed.
Overall it was an incredible day as we grew in respect for the amazing leader President Reagan was and got the opportunity to share it with our boys.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Laguna Beach

Sometimes there something you really want to do.
A lot of those times you have it so built up in your head you've made it better than it really is.
So much so that if you ever do get to experience it, you are left disappointed and let down.
But this was so far from that. This was everything I had imagined and dreamed.
This was beautiful Laguna Beach tucked into rocky coves and blanketed with seaside mansions.
Harrison and Jefferson were more than thrilled to catch seaweed tangled in the surf and eat handfuls of sand.
We drank in every beautiful bounce of pink and orange off the waves as the sun sank behind the horizon.
There's just something magical about a sunset over the sea.
Living on the East Coast had given us many mornings to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic water.
But now we all sat side by side watching the day end over the Pacific Ocean and it was perfect.
A lot of people have asked what the best part of the trip was.
For me it was this moment, the four of us, drinking in the sunset, while wrapped in a cove of Laguna Beach.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Santa Monica

On Friday night we loaded up all 8 kids, four adults, three strollers, two diaper bags, several cameras, and headed to Santa Monica.
Santa Monica Pier was one of our favorite spots to explore. It's over 100 years old and not only provides breathtaking Pacific coast views, but it comes complete with roller coasters and funnel cake!
It was lined with entertainers drumming beats on 5 gallon buckets and others preforming magic tricks. Of course Harrison was immediately impressed with Captain Jack Sparrow and his talking parrot.
We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant at the very end of the pier to celebrate Matt's birthday. The boys were ecstatic to not only munch down tortilla chips, but that Daddy was sung "Happy Birthday" to by a mariachi band.
Unfortunately, somewhere between the salsa and the singing, or maybe it was the half a dozen bathroom trips with a 3 year old and an overtired toddler, we completely forgot to grab Jeff's favorite cup when we we left dinner.
 We also completely did not even know we forgot it until the next day. Oh well, thank goodness for Target. They had a 2 story Target and I got way too excited over that fact as Matt had to remind me that is not what we came to California to spend all day in. Anyway, I digress...
Once the sun went down the lights of the pier exploded. The music, crowds, flashing displays, and technicolor dance on the Ferris-wheel kept the boys mesmerized, until Harrison spotted the arcade. We had a little meltdown.
So pardon the pleasant expression on his face as he was dealing with the injustices of life and know that he really did have a good time, just like the rest of us. Anything that combines an amusement park with the ocean is probably a really good idea :)
(Linking up with PaperMama for Wordless(ish) Wednesday)

Monday, June 25, 2012

West Coast

I guess everyone has their own thing that thrills them and gets them over the top excited...thankfully, all four of us share the same thrill.
That would be the beach, ocean, sand, salty spray, all the above. We love everything about it. From the smell of sunscreen, to the wind blown hair, it's all perfect.
Being land locked here in Tennessee has made us even more coast crazy so open water in general is breathtaking. But seeing an ocean we've never seen was incredible.
That may not thrill some people like it does us, but like I said, it's something all four of us get excited about so the gray skies and chilly winds did not keep us from rolling up our jeans and splashing in the surf.
The boys chased massive gulls, climbed the rocky beach, and stared mesmerized at wetsuit clad surfers riding the waves.
Matt and I sat hand in hand with saltwater soaked pant legs, completely contented by the sound of pounding surf and our laughing boys.
As we tore ourselves away from the beach and wiped sand from our hair and toes one verse kept coming to my mind as we looked back over the largest body of water on our planet.
"Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Arrivals and Departures

Two kids, 3 carry-ons, 5 checked bags, a mom, a dad, and a car seat make for an interesting caravan through an airport.
While we had our ill-conceived ideas about how it would go, we were pleasantly...wrong.
The Nashville airport was surprisingly empty on take-off day. We were whisked through check-in and practically run through security. I don't think TSA and toddlers really mix well so they just walk them through as quickly as possible.
Nashville airport is pretty kid clever as they have an indoor playground to burn kids' energy up before boarding. It's close to the gates and far enough from the line of business men typing on their iPads.
Air time both way was four hours non-stop. This means 2 Disney movies, 1 coloring book, 1 Lego miniature, 2 bags of goldfish crackers, 2 cat naps, 1 thrown sippy cup, and an endless supply of chocolate chip cookies from the patient stewardess.
We got to see the Mississippi River, crop circles, rugged mountains, and about 2 hours of dessert. Harrison kept asking where California and Virginia were.
Air travel really isn't bad at all with our little men. They are glued to the windows watching arrivals and take-offs, baggage carts loading and un-loading, and air traffic controllers.
Harrison even got a chance to explore the cock-pit with the pilot. After surveying the countless buttons, toggles, and switches he declared he wanted to be a pilot one day. Both of the boys were awarded their "wings" and we counted our blessings of having such great travelers.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sea to Shining Sea

There is something about the ocean that just captivates me with God's awesomeness. Being blessed to spend last week beside the Pacific Ocean only magnified that feeling. The four of us spent a day meandering the Pacific Coast Highway, climbing boulders on the beach, and dipping our toes in the chilly waves.  
It may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but seeing the Pacific Ocean is something we've always wanted to do. We feel so blessed to be able to say all four of us got that opportunity. While we are East Coasters to the heart, it is amazing to be able to say we've seen sea to shining sea. 
More of our LA adventures coming soon!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Can I Touch?

Huge trucks...
A gazillion buttons and levers...
Horns, pedals, gears, and no one saying "No, don't touch that."
Policemen, Firemen, hats, and shaved ice...
Sirens, horses, ladders, and hoses...
It's a little boy's Disney World and has me asking, why aren't touch-a-trucks every week?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Creatively Confident

It's officially begun, Harrison is at that stage, there's no going back now.
He's into choosing his own outfits, shoes, and accessories. So it is no uncommon for him to be seen around town in a Superman cape, cowboy boots, a baseball shirt, and neon shades.
While we give greater direction in clothing choices for certain events we aren't opposed to seeing his little personality explode through his wardrobe.
And it certainly provides a smile of amusement watching the confident little stud check himself out in any reflection possible...even the hubcap of a semi.