California Vacation….Part 3

Sigh….Now where was I in our little travel log before I got caught up in the crazyness of summer and family and all sorts of wonderfully distracting things. Oh yes. Day 5 of our California vacation. What, you thought I was done with that day? Ohhhhhhhhh no! 😉

So, after we did the kid rides and the street parade, Dad and Linda said they’d watch the kids so Ammon and I could actually go on one of the real rides! We chose Indiana Jones and we pretty excited to go on a big kid ride, just the two of us. Well, we got right up to the front and were only about 20 people ahead of us when… guessed it! The ride broke! We were pretty bummed, but at least we had 10 min just us while we were waiting for the ride. =)

Onto Day 6….a break from Disney and theme-park harriness! We decided to hit the beach (Crystal Cove) on this sort of overcast, but still pleasant day. The kids were seriously in their glory! We stayed for two hours; frolicking in the water, running from the waves, collecting shells, playing in the sand and just generally enjoying the deserted beach. Annika thought it was pretty neat as well and apparently sand is pret-ty tasty! Who knew? I always thought it was a little on the gritty side, but I guess there’s something wrong with my taste-buds.


Making sandcastles…well, sandpiles is a more accurate description.


Beach baby


This is the life!


Working together, playing together


No Tasha, you’re not doing it right….let me help!


Beach bum we spotted….


Kevin, proudly presents….Mr. Worm!


Hmmmm, wonder what this tastes like?


Let’s find out!


That sand was yummy, let’s try some driftwood…


Happiness is….


Here comes a wave….JUMP!


Try this, Tasha….the sand feels great in your hair


Playing in the water with Daddy


Run, Kevin! The water’s gonna get you!


Daddy, barely missing the wave

Next was Day 7, our last of the theme-park fun.We did California Adventure this time. It was great for the kids. Annika had the chance to enjoy quite a few of these rides. It’s funny, as much as the kids enjoyed all the rides, I think they still favored the playground type areas and the water areas where they could just play and be their crazy selves.


We met Lightening McQueen. It’s a bummer that someone (I won’t say who) was being so grumpy at first because he loves this car. At least we have a picture, even if he does look like his dog just died.


Playing in Brother Bear land


Sleeping down the slide….that’s a new one!


No fun at all!


This was the jellyfish ride. Tasha and I are on the yellow one


I know, I look like a dork. I had been in so many pictures that day and my real smile was no longer. Kevin barely screeched onto these rides. You were supposed to be 40 inches tall for most of them and he was 38, but shoes and a hat do wonders!


Kevin and Mom on the swings


This might be hard to see ’cause it’s so small, but Tasha and I basically giggled the entire length of the ride.


Someone conked out from so much activity. This was on the ferris wheel


Enjoying her day of adventure!


It’s a bugs life….there were little spontaneous fountains of water shooting out of the ground. Kids paradise.


Splat! It got him!


Loving the water


Just a blast!


Roly-poly bumpers with Dad


There was a monster on the carousel


The kids gave California Adventure an A+ for sure!


The view from our condo. One of the clearest days.


Annika and Papa hanging out. Annika was surprised by the flash


Getting ready for bed. One last goodnight snuggle with Papa

Day 8-time to leave Newport Beach. We said our goodbyes to Papa and Linda. There really hadn’t been enough time to visit as we would have liked, but thus is life. We headed back to San Diego to spend one more day with Grandma B before we flew back to Denver.

We stayed at a much nicer hotel this time. The extra $20 was worth it! I took the oldest two to the pool, where Natasha swam by herself for the first time!!! Granted, she can only do it with her head in the water, but hey, it’s a start! After our swim, we found the most amazing pizza place to eat at. Twas called Oggi’s and WOW! Kevin had fallen asleep on the way to the restaurant and was a big ball of grumpiness during dinner, but that did not stop us from enjoying the food!

Day 8 was our last day. We spent the day split up between visiting with Grandma B, going to the park and visiting the San Diego Temple grounds. The kids thought it was so cool that they got to go in the Temple to use the bathroom and were nice and quiet going in and out.


Chasing the birds


The spires


So gorgeous! It has to be the most beautiful of all the temples. Most of the LDS temples are not this fancy.


It was pretty hard to get a good picture with the Temple in it because there was a wedding party having pics taken at the same time, so the prime spot was taken. Oh well. Still beautiful.


This pretty little girl posed for her picture 😉


Our family with Grandma B. So exciting to have her meet three of her great-grandchildren.

And folks, as they say, is a wrap….whew….I’m blogged out. Too bad I have about 50 more pics of the past two months to post.

California Vacation Part 2

Day 5 was another day at the “Happiest Place on Earth”. We got there as the park opened and only stayed for about 4 hours this time. We did toontown, the teacups and StorybookLand. Again, we walked right onto the teacups and many other rides. Toontown didn’t have a lot of rides, but the kids had a great ole time playing in Chip n Dale’s Treehouse and Goofy’s Playhouse. Doesn’t take much to keep them happy-just things to climb on. I guess that’s why we call them monkeys!!! =)


Anybody home? White Rabbit’s house (from Alice in Wonderland)


Waiting for the teacups to start spinning


Faster, faster!


This is us on the StoryBookLand ride. It’s a boat that runs on a canal through mini villages from fairy-tales.


Here’s Aladdin’s palace


Cinderella’s castle where she and Prince Charming are living happily ever after….Ah-ha! I thought it looked like my house.


I don’t remember who’s dump this is, but it’s pretty cute! The amazing thing about this ride was that the plants that are through the mini villages were planted by Walt Disney himself and are miniature versions of the real thing, over 100 years old. They are the only ones in the world like this. Pretty cool!


I bet you’re wondering who this pretty little girl is who is holding our Annika? Well her name is Anna. Up until California, Annika was pretty shy with people, even people she knew. She was herself with us of course and maybe one of my friends, but really didn’t interact much with strangers. While standing in line for StoryBookLand, Annika kept peeking over my shoulder and the giggling like crazy and burying her face in my shoulder. She kept doing it over and over, her little body wiggling with joy every time she did. Finally, I had to look. For some reason, Annika was completely enamored with this little girl. She even reached her arms out to her to be held once we sat down on the boat. So, although I’ll probably never see her again in this life, I had to have a picture of Annika and her first “friend”.


Riding King Arthur’s Carousel


Tasha riding the horsies


Poor girl, she tried sooooo hard to get the sword out of the stone, but just couldn’t do it!


Random picture in front of someone’s house


You can see that Annika really wanted to play Goofy’s piano. She was practically falling out of her stroller to get to it!

On the way out of the park, we happened to see Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse visiting with people. Donald only had a short line, so we decided (ok, I decided, Ammon groaned) to wait. We only waited 10 minutes and got our turn with the plucky ducky. Here we are:


I asked him if he could hold Annika for the picture, but he shook his head, so I had to be in it too. Notice Annika staring at him?


Apparently his beak looked kinda like a giant teether toy ’cause Annika just latched on. YUM! LOL

We took a Disney break and relaxed for a bit and then hit the pool. It was the first really sunny afternoon since we’d been there.


Ammon stalking Kevin in the kiddie pool


Got em!




Our Little Mermaid



After tearing the kids away from the pool, we headed back to Disney with Papa and Linda. We enjoyed a street dance party with performers and characters and lots of confetti and then hit some rides. Tasha was boogying to the music and thought it was “so cool”.


Annika and Mommy as we wait for the kids to ride Dumbo. Annika is in awe


I found some ducky friends while feeding Annika her bottle


Posing with Papa


Hiding in a stationary Dumbo after the ride


Linda and Tasha, ready to fly!


Just pretty lights on the water


The castle was breathtaking, all lit up at night


Soooooo pretty! Tasha was a little disappointed that Sleeping Beauty wasn’t actually in her castle! Poor girl!

More to come………

California Vacation-Part 1

It’s been a whirlwind month and finding time to post all 2 million pictures we took on vacation has been difficult and well, a little overwhelming. We’ve been trying to have a more kickback week this week, so here I am finally!

California was definately an adventure; one I’m sure we won’t forget. It was mostly highs, with just a few lows. I’ll try to summarize, but if you’re reading this blog you know me well enough to know, I’m not usual very brief! 😉

We arrived to the airport a little less than two hours ahead of our flight, thinking we had plenty of time. That was until we got to security and discovered that the agent didn’t print out my boarding pass and I had to go all the way back to the ticket counter again. The rest of the family went on through security without me and headed to the gate. After getting my pass, I found I had a 25 min wait to get through security, but luckily I found another secuirty check-point. Just as I was making a last min. trip to the bathroom, Ammon called to tell me our flight was boarding and well, I hadn’t even bought dinner yet or made it to the gate. I grabbed the first food I could, ran to the gate and got on the plane. The lady who was sitting with the family was kind enough to switch seats with me so I could sit with Ammon and the kids.

The kids were feeling pretty special that they had the chance to go into the cockpit and meet the Captain and sit in the “driver’s seat”. Here are the kids flying our plane:



The flight was surprisingly uneventful and the kids did way better than expected. Annika was a little fussy from being so tired and cooped up so long, but other than that, it was good.


Here’s Daddy and the kids upon our arrival in San Diego:


Aren’t they cute? I think so!


The girls waiting for our bags


Kevin being…Kevin

The next morning for breakfast, we went to a donut shop we found online called “Rose’s Donuts”. It was pretty close to Grandma B’s, which is why we picked it, but we found the food was AMAZING!!!! All the pastry’s, donuts, etc were made from scratch and it was soooooo good.

After breakfast, we went to visit Grandma B (Ammon’s maternal Grandmother) for a while. I was in awe of how limber and energetic she was, despite having hurt her back about a year ago. She was tickling the kids and chasing them around and teasing them. The kids gave her a big hug hello and seemed completely comfortable with her. It was so wonderful to see her and have her meet the kids.


Pretty spiffy for 95!


Kevin got sass right back from Grandma!

We hit Old Town San Diego after that and it was kind of a bust. The kids didn’t seem very fascinated with it and both Ammon and I had spinning heads and we were all exhausted. The Mormon Battalion Museum, which we were excited to see was also closed. We saw a few things, got some saltwater taffy and some pictures and left. The kids did make their own candles though and that was a cool experience.

Kevin eating his strawberry honey stick
Just posin
Mommy and kids hanging out in Old Town
Daddy helping Tasha dip her doggie candle
Almost done
Kevin’s turn (an elephant)
She really got into this little photoshoot
Nah Nah
You could actually get inside this wagon and play, which we did a little bit.
After a rest at the hotel, the kids and Daddy went to Belmont Park and indulged in some sweet treats and then chased the birds at the beach. No pics for that-darn!
On Day 2, we had planned to go to this cool park with an old train and carousel that the kids could ride, but apparently there are still seasons in California and it wasn’t “summer season” yet! Who knew? 😉 We ended up just playing at a playground nearby, but the kids couldn’t have been happier!
This was the coolest little contraption. You sit in it and kind of throw your legs around and the whole cup thing spins. Tasha got going so fast that she couldn’t walk straight when she got out!
Holding on for dear life, he kept shouting, “Look at me, Dad, look at me!!!!”
Riding the purple dinosaur
Apparently the dinosaur behind Tasha wasn’t very loved. She kept giving him hugs. =)
We thought, what a great place for a perfect kid picture to frame….didn’t turn out as “sweet” as we had hoped, but still a good one.
After playing at the park and having “In and Out Burgers” with Grandma B, we headed to Newport Beach where we would stay a week with my Dad and Linda.
Good Morning, Papa!!!
Day 3 was kind of a boring day. The weather wasn’t cooperating and we just kinda hung around. We did hit the pool though and the kids had a blast, despite their shivering.
Day 4 was Sunday and let’s just say that taking super-tired kids to an unfamiliar church wasn’t the funnest thing ever. Kevin ended up sleeping in the van out in the parking lot and I walked the halls with Annika trying unsuccessfully to get her to sleep. At least Tasha went to class and got spiritually fed for the day! We ended up taking a walk and going to play in the toy room of the activities center after church.
Giving bear some love.
New toys!
Day 4 was probably the best day of all. Our first day at Disneyland!!!!!! It really was magical as soon as you walked through the gates. The music, the smells, everything you could see was happy and pretty and fun. I could’ve not gone on any rides and just looked and listened for hours. But, of course we DID go on rides! The first was “Alice in Wonderland”. It was just Tasha and I b/c Kevin was feeling cranky and ran out of line at the last second. It was so fun to see Tasha’s little face as she experienced her first real ride. She wasn’t excited at all….See?
We did a ton of rides our first day. We arrived right after it opened and stayed for 7 hours straight. I don’t think we waited more than 30 min for any one right and practically walked on to a few. “It’s a Small World” was my favorite of all because we could all go on the ride and all of the kids were awestruck by all the moving dolls, etc. It was so happy! Even Annika was staring at everything with her mouth gaping open. Tasha kept saying, “Kevin, look at that! Look at that one!”
Tasha on “It’s a Small World”
Daddy and Annika waiting for Nemo
I thought Nemo was a little scary at times and was worried about Annika, but she loved it! She was fascinated by the bubbles that kept billowing by the submarine window. She kept trying to grab them!
Some of the underwater view from “Nemo”
Next to Nemo was Autotopia, a kind of go-kart for kids. Tasha and Kevin both said this was their favorite ride. They were thrilled to bits that they got to drive!
Kevin’s turn to drive
Tasha’s a crazy driver! Scary =)
So fun!
A Choo choo train!
Monkeys playin in the trees
Sugar-shock! Mmmmm Cotton Candy =)
I asked Ammon for a big piece….I got more than I bargained for
Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer’s Island
Climbing on the dead guys
If you push this wheel fast enough, it lifts treasure out of the water. Kevin got going so fast, his feet came off the ground.
Swinging bridge
Jumping for joy
Kevin making friends with the ducks
On the other side of this there is a dark cave with pirates voices talking and treasure and stuff and Tasha loved it! Kevin was scared, but Tasha wanted to walk through it over and over and over.
Near the end of our first day. We had to get a picture of us in front of the castle
Pluto and Goofy were hanging around near the exit and we thought we’d try and get a picture, but they weren’t very cooperative and wouldn’t hold still long enough to get a good shot. What’s up Pluto?

Another Sunday

I asked Ammon to take a pic of me and Annika today. No particular reason. I just feel like Annika is growing up with super-sonic speed and I wanted to make sure I have some shots of her and her Mommy while she’s still little and adores me! Kevin outgrew the “Mommy-is-the-best” phase at about 18 months, so I only have about 8 more months of that. I need to take advantage of it!


I like this one ’cause she’s smiling pretty


But I love her laugh in this one….so you got both!

Who we are today

It changes from day to day….


On this day, Kevin was superman. Flying here and there and showing off his…no, not muscles, actually just before I took this picture, he was showing off his dancing talents! Who knew that superman could dance?


This is Tasha cheering for Team Princess, I guess.

Open Season….Hiking

We did our first hike of the season on Saturday with some friends. It was about a 25 min drive up in the “wilderness” to our destination, which ended up being too wet and muddy in one spot and the alternative was wet, mucky snow. We did find a good spot and though it wasn’t a long hike (we had 5 kids between us), it was much enjoyed with beautiful scenery and even some wildflowers!


Here’s us!


Baby Lucas, James, Lauren & Cobin


Hi-hi, hi-ho, it’s off to hike we go….


Big stick!


This one’s smaller, but still really cool


Beaver dam and those are our cars off in the distance


One of our pack mules…..I was the other one! 😉 (I had Annika on my back)


This is how Tasha and Kevin get down the steep parts of our hikes. With a little help from the poles.

Our Proud Little Soccer Player

So, the story goes that we signed up Kevin for “Start Smart Soccer” through the local rec center. He loves to kick the ball around, so naturally I figured that he’d enjoy learning a little something about the game. It’s a parent-kids activity, so we’re hands-on together. (well feet on, in this case I guess!)

The first “lesson”, we went to the wrong place and by the time we got to the right place (5 min away), Kevin was zonked in his carseat. I woke him up and he seemed all excited, but once we got inside, refused to do anything that even resembled participating in any way! From then on, it became Tasha’s introduction to soccer.

Although, she’s still not as aggressive as she needs to be about kicking the ball and doesn’t think playing an actual game is fun because everyone shares the same ball and tries to take it away from other people (that’s not nice!), she learned a lot and really improved from start to finish.

She even got a medal for her accomplishment.

Here’s our proud little soccer girl:


(the sun was a little bit bright!)


I found the medal in her underwear/sock drawer yesterday. Safe-keeping I guess!

My Mother…by Natasha Manning (as narrated to her Sunday School teacher)

My Mother likes to….play with us.

When my Mom wakes up, she….eats.

My Mom’s favorite food is….she was so sad she couldn’t eat what we had because she had my baby sister…her favorite food is a cookie.

If I could give my Mom anything, I’d give her….flowers that I pick.

I wish my Mom wouldn’t….wash clothes (????)

The funniest thing I ever saw my Mom do was….make a funny face.

I like it when my Mom….plays with me and my brother.

I think my Mom would like to go….the store.

The thing I hear my Mom says the most is….Happy Valentines Day!

I love my Mom because…..she plays with me.

Mother’s Day!

What do a sparkling clean house, washed clothes, a fabulous dinner, a massage and bubble bath equal? The perfect Mother’s Day gift from the best husband and kids EVER!!!! =) Thanks guys for such a relaxing, wonderful day. I couldn’t have asked for more…


The three sweet little spirits that made me a Mother


How we look most of the time! =)