Disneyland Day 1

Standard

Our second day of our 3 day pass we headed to Disneyland. Our goal was to ride the rides we wanted and see the parades, figuring the next visit we’d try to meet characters.
We headed to autopia first since there wasn’t much of a line and we wanted a fast pass for Star tours, which was in that direction. We were hungry almost immediately after, so we went over to the Mexican restaurant next to Big Thunder Railroad. They did amazing with the gluten free food for me!
We convinced S to ride with me on Big Thunder​ after, even though she was scared. I told her that the worst case was that she hated it and it only lasted one minute of awful. That helped her a bit. But she still hated the ride.

I took a break with D while my husband and S ride star tours. I could NOT get him to sleep for anything. There was screaming, crying, kicking, protesting. I’d found a great spot next to the Matterhorn and submarine. I say there for about an hour and D would not sleep. So I got up and walked around; he fell asleep in about 15 minutes. Next time, no sitting: walking!
We watched the parade, which was my highlight of the day – the kids had so much fun seeing some of their favorite characters, and my daughter taught my son to wave at them. Both kids were having and yelling hello to everyone who passed by. It was a fun parade.

We rode the teacups, which we all loved, got dinner, wandered some more, and enjoyed the electric parade before heading home with some very very tired kids.

Easter – Part 1

Standard

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I always think Christmas is, but I’ve been working to try to bring Easter up to the importance of Christmas since I believe (theologically) Easter is far more important. One of the ways we’re incorporated that importance at our house is to create several Easter traditions that we enjoy repeating each year. 

The two that are the most important for us that are a bit different (besides the egg dying and hunting and whatnot) are coloring a basket and making a resurrection garden. This post is for the more “traditional” Easter stuff – next time I’ll post on the garden.

Easter EggsFirst, for the basket. Each year, my daughter gets several baskets from different family members – some are plastic, some are branch, some are wood. They all vary in quality. I wanted my daughter to have one basket that was hers to use each year that was special and meant something to her, so I found a good sized basket for her when she was nearly 1 (her first Easter) and then sewed a liner for the basket and let her smear paint all over the inside. That became her special basket that she painted.

The next year, she’d gotten bigger, and her baby basket was too small, so we used another basket. Only it didn’t have her name. So again, I thought it’d be nice for her to get to paint her basket liner. I sewed a liner out of some white fabric I had lying around, and let her paint. And thus after the 2nd year, a tradition was born. The next two years, she’s used permanent markers since she’s wanted to draw rather than paint (and we needed them to dry faster!), but the results are the same: fantastic, one-of-a-kind baskets that she made herself for that specific year that are growing with her in creativity and in personalization. And for me? The only difficulty is finding the time to sew the liner.

Another thing I did last year for decoration around the house was make Easter egg garlands – oh, how I loved pulling these out this year now that they were already done! I took a needle and thread and just sewed through the holes that are already in the eggs, and voila! Garland. Fantastic!

Obligatory egg coloring picture to the right. We hard boiled 18 eggs. I got to dye 3, my husband did 2, and my daughter hogged 13. But at least she was happy!

Egg Hunt at the Stub Hub Center

And finally, the egg hunts. We did 4(!) this year. First, a city-wide one at the Stub-Hub center (where the LA Galaxy plays), second, one at our church (eggs in the sanctuary, chaos!), third, family (cousins!) and finally our daughter alone at home. I missed my grandfather’s egg hunt this year. I think 2 years ago was his final year, which is tremendously sad. Easter was his favorite holiday (and he’s not a believer) – he’s still around, but too tired for the egg hunts he once did. He used to make false backs of drawers, safety pin shirt sleeves, unzip pillows on couch cushions, and pick up plants and put the egg under the plant in the pot. He’d also go to costco and buy packs of tissues and then open one, remove the tissues, put an egg in, put tissues back, tape it up and put the box with the other boxes. He’d put the egg in a bag ina  bucket of birdseed in the garage, in a box in a pile of boxes, in a half water bottle in a case of open water bottles, in a container in a toolbox, etc. He was dedicated to the hunt and had a map of where all the locations were, though we still usually couldn’t find one. Best of all, there was an egg trophy he’d made from an egg that stayed hidden for 3 years – each year, whoever found the golden egg got to keep the trophy. (I was the last winner of the trophy.) No one has experienced an egg hunt like my grandfather hosted. He’s one of a kind.

 

A Christmas Nativity Story

Standard

nativity toysMy daughter loves Legos, imitation or otherwise. She also loves her Nativity that comes out once a year. As she is not allowed to touch my nativity, I am also not allowed to touch hers (we have an understanding). For your enjoyment, I would like to share the story she told me about her church and her nativity:

All the adults are having a meeting (at Church, you will note). And Jesus isn’t invited. (Again, please note that Jesus isn’t invited to Church!) Apparently Jesus isn’t invited because He’s a baby and babies cannot come to the adult meetings – He needs to hang out in a different room for the kids. Once Jesus is an adult he is okay to come. But for now He will need to be babysat by the Disney Princesses and my 4 year old (not pictured). In case you were curious, her church’s name? Kitty Church.

 

Kaleigh

Standard

I just finished going through photos I took for a memorial service for a 16 year old, and I am a total mess.

IMG_4966I didn’t know Kaleigh very well, but I did know her, and I did know her parents; and, belonging to the same church, we are family (no matter how distantly “related”). One of my ‘jobs’ at church is to help out with events – usually I bring food, help set up or take down or whatever else is needed. This time I was asked to take photos of the service and graveside service so that they could be given to the family later and no one close to the family would need to worry about it. I’m glad I had that privilege, but it was tough.

My husband knew Dave (Kaleigh’s Dad) through men’s events, so we went over to their home for the Super Bowl this year. My daughter played with their son for a while, and I chatted with the family. I distinctly remember Kaleigh coming out and feeling awful, but bringing out one of her care kits that she got from the hospital for my daughter. Despite how awful she was feeling, she was concerned about my daughter being bored and feeling left out since she was younger than the other kids who were over. Kaleigh sat down with my daughter and colored with her quietly (coloring pages Kaleigh had taken the time to look for and print out before we got there so she could be prepared for my daughter). When we left, Kaleigh let her pick out a “prize”/present from her hospital box. My daughter grabbed a little cell phone lipstick thing, which she still has, carries around, and loves. From the moment Kaleigh sat down, my daughter was more calm than I have ever seen her with just about anyone. It didn’t last long, but it was undeniably peaceful, and it was all Kaleigh.

IMG_5237But that was who Kaleigh was. She was simply amazing, and I really didn’t know that until I went to her memorial. I was amazed to see so many people speak of her and hear the recurring phrase “she never complained about anything, even normal teenager stuff,” which is quite amazing, considering she suffered from a rare form of cancer for more than 6 years. She was a cheerleader, girlscout, sang in the choir, was an honor student, and still made time to attend church, and raise money for the kids at the hospital she was frequently hospitalized at. There were stories of how she got her girl scout troupe to knit hats for the cancer unit, how she sold cards to raise money for new movies for the pediatric unit, and on and on. She was a remarkable person who truly accomplished everything she needed to while she was here and now has a chance to rest with Jesus. One of the most touching parts of the service for me was the graveside service was at the conclusion – people were given the chance to take a flower from one of the bouquets and lay it on top of her casket. There was a ten minute line to do so. The flowers were stacked tall. She deserved it.

I spend the time remembering people like Kaleigh (and Jessica a few months ago) because their memories deserve to be honored, and their lives deserve to be celebrated. Kaleigh’s family asked everyone to wear bright colors to the memorial because that is what Kaleigh would have wanted, so that is what everyone did – pastels, Hawaiian shirts – anything but black. As much as we might miss them, we know where they are, and that is something to celebrate.