August, 2010 browsing by month


Family Rules

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

A Morning Hike

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Growing up in Lockwood, the lessons you learn are different than those who grew up in the city. During the warmer months we were always taught to look out for two things, black widows and rattle snakes. We we taught what a black widow web looked and felt like and the most likely places they would be hiding. During the day if we spotted a new web we would take note of it and come back after dark when the widow was home so we could kill it. The same was true for rattle snakes. We learned what they looked and felt like and what they sounded like. Every kid I knew had at least one rattle that was cut off a snake sitting on their dresser or a shelf. They were just like toys. I won’t even get into the old turkey foot I use to play with. Needless to say, we all knew what a rattle snake sounded like. We also new the types of places they liked to hide and for the most part we were pretty good at avoiding them. When we did come upon one, we knew how to take care of it.

The country also give kids a wonderful sense of adventure. During the summer, all the canyon kids would get together after the sun went down and just go exploring. There is no telling were we would end up. Of course we had to wait until the evening because our days were filled with swimming in the pond and riding our 4wheelers. Nothing was really off limits. No one ever minded if we hoped a fences or three and we would come home whenever we got tired. TV and video games were almost unheard of and this was before home computers and internet.

Since my kids are growing up in the city, I try and give them a little bit of what I learned as a kid. The most important thing I want them to learn is that it’s ok to learn new things and explore new places.

On Saturday, we took the kiddos out on a little adventure. We headed over to the Old Sweetwater Bridge in Rancho San Diego. Being me, I had to bring my camera and get a few updated photos of them before we did anything else. The mornings have been nice and overcast so we had perfect lighting. After we did some photos, we took the kiddos out on a little hike. This is a new area for us to hike in, so we weren’t really familiar with the trails. The plan was to let the kids walk for as long as they could, and then throwing in the off road stroller and let them ride the rest of the way. Well, one of the first things I noticed about the trail was that it was lined with poison oak. Not exactly kid friendly. The kids got a nice stroller ride the rest of the way. It was actually a really nice trail. Very well maintained. We saw a lot of different people too. There were other hikers, some bikers, and there was evidence of horses.

On the way back we heard some sirens that sounded like they were at the parking area. When we got up there we saw one of the bikers sitting on a gurney. Another guy on the trail that we were talking too wondered if the guy fell off his bike or was bit by a rattle snake. Well, turns out it was both. He fell on a rattler and was bit. It made me realize there was a ton of things I learned growing up that others didn’t. Now I get to teach my own kids about all the fun country stuff. I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open from now on when we are out on our hikes.

Since You can’t have a post without photos, here are some of the new photos of the kids that I took right before the hike.

The Kiddos Go To Disneyland

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. It’s been crazy around here with work and the kids. Also, there just hasn’t been anything exciting to share lately. The kids are doing great, but there’s not much new to report. They eat, they poop (and then rip their diapers off), they run around, and they don’t talk (I’m sure once they start we’ll regret ever asking them to start, but come on already guys). Well, last weekend we finally had something worth writing about: Ella and Jack’s first trip to Disneyland.

Back in June, Shae and I pawned the kids off on Shae’s parents and took an overnight trip up to Disneyland. It was definitely great to get a break from the kids for a couple of days and have some fun, but we also kind of wished they had been there too. Well, as luck would have it, our tickets were good for three days so we still had one day left to use with the twins. We decided that July 30th was the day our kids would get to meet Mickey (more on that later). We even lucked out and picked a weekend that Erica would be visiting San Diego that weekend, so we had someone to go with us and help us take care of the kids.

As we started to get close to the day of our trip, we started getting excited, especially Shae. That, of course, led to lots of Internet surfing to get advice on dealing with toddlers at Disneyland. There were all kinds of tips, but the “best” one was to get some luggage tags and attach them to the kids with names, parents, and phone numbers. So the morning of the trip each kid got a huge, orange luggage tag hooked to their belt loops to wear around all day. Of course, the first thing they did was chew on them. Good thing Shae got the chewable tags (they should really market them that way).

Once the kids were tagged, we loaded everyone up in the car (Erica rode between the car seats), and headed to Disneyland. Our drive was pretty uneventful, and we got parked and unloaded without incident. Our first “ride” was the tram from the parking garage to the park entrance. As would be the case on pretty much every ride, neither kid was very comfortable on the tram; Jack cried, and Ella was just kind of uneasy. After a few minutes of riding, we got to the entrance, rented our strollers, and introduced the kids to Disneyland.

First thing on the agenda once we got to Disneyland was to get Jack and Ella all pimped out in Disney gear. Erica got them some Mickey and Minnie shirts, and I picked up some “1st Visit” buttons from City Hall. Once the kiddos were properly dressed, it was time to get them on some rides. We decided their first ride should be Pirates of the Caribbean (and by “decided” I mean that was the first ride we came to that we thought would be OK for them), so we got everyone loaded up on a boat and began the fun. Everyone did OK for a while, but after a couple of minutes Jack was not sure about the dark. By the time we got to the canon shots, Jack was really not a fan of Pirates. He did OK, but was definitely scared. Ella did better, but she wasn’t exactly excited either. Oh well, at least I had a good time.

Since the kids put up with Pirates, we decided we should take them over to Fantasyland and take them on some rides they might enjoy a little more (after the adults took a couple of rides on Big Thunder Mountain of course, can’t let the kids have all the fun). The first ride we came across over in Fantasyland with a short line was the Snow White ride, so even though we thought Jack might be scared again we jumped right in line. Both kids actually did very well on the ride, and I think Ella even had a little fun.

We figured after two “scary” rides, the kids deserved something nice and calm. The carousel seemed like a perfect fit. Everything was going fine on the carousel up until the thing started to move. Ella and Jack both did OK at first, but once the horses started going up and down they were not happy. Ella calmed down pretty quick, but Jack could not wait for the ride to end. He was very brave and didn’t start crying/screaming, but he didn’t jump back in line to ride again.

Since the kids didn’t seem to be enjoying the rides, we decided it was a good time to head over to Toon Town to meet Mickey. Before heading over to visit Mickey we made a stop at Goofy’s house. The kids had a great time playing around at the house. They ran around in the front yard, played the piano, and Jack played with the cabinets inside for at least 10 minutes. It was great to watch them just have fun and play. As much fun as they were having, eventually it was time to go visit Mickey. I remember going to Disneyland and seeing Mickey and Minnie walking around. Now, you have to go over to their houses if you want to see them. After walking all over Mickey’s house and waiting in two separate staging areas, it was finally time for Ella and Jackson to meet the mouse.

I think things would have been a lot different (read: better) if we weren’t the first family in our little grouping, but of course we were. The way things are setup, you go through two staging areas, and then finally into the room where Mickey is. As you walk in, they line you up on the side and it’s very clear where you’re supposed to pose and stand to take a picture. Well, at least that’s the case if you aren’t first in your group. We walked into the room to see Mickey standing on one side, a photographer on the other, and a cast member instructing everyone else to line up. We had no idea what we were supposed to do, so Erica grabbed her camera and stood by the photographer while Shae and I took the kids and headed toward Mickey. You’d think that watching Mickey’s Playhouse every day would have prepared the kiddos for their meeting, but you’d be wrong. As we approached, both kids started screaming. Jack threw himself as far away from the mouse as he could get while still holding on to Shae, while Ella ripped free from me and ran screaming toward Erica. I couldn’t wait to see the picture, and I was not disappointed. I think my favorite part is Mickey’s huge grin and Shae yelling for Ella.

After deciding they weren’t big fans of rides or Mickey, the kids decided to get back to something they are good at: napping. About five minutes after we got them back in their strollers, both kids were passed out. Jack even fell asleep with his hand in his snack cup. While the little ones slept, Erica and I went over to the Haunted House. As we were standing in line, we saw a boy of about eight being carried by his mom and looking terrified. Up ahead, his sister was running off on her own and her dad had to pull her back by her ponytail. Erica and I joked that we were looking at the future of my kids: Jack terrified and clinging to mom and Ella off running ahead of dad. Of course, no sooner did we say something that I heard the dad call the boy “Jack”. A while later as we were getting off the ride we saw the family again. This time it was bright enough that we could read the name on the back of the boys ears-hat. Sure enough, it said “Jackson”. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure I looked into my future.

When Erica and I got back to Shae and the kiddos, Jack and Ella were just waking up so it seemed like a good time to go get them some mouse ears. We picked out the classic hats (pink for Ella, obviously) and Shae got their names embroidered while Erica and I watched the kiddos. Don’t worry, the kids looked very cute in their ears. Like there was any doubt.

We made another trip back to Toon Town to play on Donald’s boat (which the kids loved), grabbed some ice cream, and then it was time to call it a day. The kids did great, but they were pooped. It took about 10 minutes in the car before they were both out. They slept the entire way home and we had to force them to stay awake long enough to eat dinner when we got home.

That’s about it for our first trip to Disneyland. The kids were really good and the trip was a lot of fun. My favorite part of the trip was watching the kids have fun playing at Goofy and Donald’s houses. It was great watching them have so much fun. I’d have to say their meeting with Mickey was a close second. The kids get in free until they’re three, so I’m sure we’ll have another trip or two in the next year or so.