March 31, 2020

holy moly

I was made for this.
I have been prepared for this.

I don’t always feel that way when challenges have come up in my life, but, with this pandemic, I am grateful that I do.
My prayers and thoughts are sincerely and consistently with all those who are fighting covid-19, caring for those who are affected, and mourning those who have passed on because of it. And for all those who have been affected economically by all of the shut downs and stay at home orders. This is a wild and stressful time and I know that.
Here at home, I am doing my part to keep my family healthy and learning. 
And that’s what I have been prepared for.
Homeschooling is my dream. 
Maybe not forever.
But I am loving every second of it right now.
I am also really good at minimizing trips to the grocery store and working with what I’ve got to make good meals (not fancy but good) for my family.
The last few months I feel like Heavenly Father has prepared me to simplify my life and the life of my family in so many ways.
That simplifying has been allowing me to heal and teaching me what is most needful in life.
So I feel prepared for this.
And I see this time as a wonderful gift to focus even more on what’s important.
My life is filled with all of these absolutely beautiful moments. 
I know we had them before.
But now they are truly plentiful. 
And we have the time to recognize and cherish them.

Last night, we enjoyed dinner at an Italian restaurant. Layla had created menus, including a special kids menu, during her writing time earlier in the day and had worked with me to plan out a meal. She set the table and acted as waitress for the evening. After all the restaurant fun, we leisurely sat around the dinner table together. The conversation turned to the bug collecting Brinna and Layla had done earlier in the day and how Brinna calls Rolly-Polly bugs Holy Moly bugs. Brinny loved the attention and repeated Holy Moly over and over. Kyler encouraged her to say “Holy Guacamole”. So she looked back at him and told him to say “Holy Moly Rockingchair.” She was laughing and we were all laughing and I was so grateful for the gift of time that allowed Layla to create a restaurant and all of us to be able to relax as we sat around the table—nowhere we had to be, nothing else demanding our time. 

March 30, 2020

Disney, the start and the finish


How lucky we felt to leave behind the cares of today and enjoy the magic of being together for a few days. We made memories that I will always cherish.

I like to be efficient and get to as much as possible in life. Sometimes my fast walking and crowd dodging and plans to rush from one attraction to the next, while fun for me, causes some stress to the slower movers of my family. So Eric reminded me many times that it isn't so much about how much we do in a day, but the quality time we are spending together. I was grateful for those reminders to just enjoy our family. We can have fun standing and waiting just as well as on the Toy Story ride. I still don't totally buy into that completely, but I did try to slow it down and just enjoy all the moments we had together.

If I had planned ahead, I would've downloaded these pictures from Eric's phone before I started all my Disneyland posts. But I didn't. So here are a few pictures from E's phone.

We always stop by the Lego store in Downtown Disney. That's usually the place that Perry spends his souvenir money.

Look at Brinn's muscles!

Perry built and raced a Lego car.

Eric captured a few moments over the next few days...

Sitting in the Millennium Falcoln...

It was Thursday, our last Disney day, when they announced the closure of the park due to the Coronavirus. I had most of the kids with me at the 4D theater at california adventures. When we stepped out, the Disney cast was all abuzz with whispers about the closure. It seems that they found out at the same time that we did. Eric sent me text messages about the news. We felt grateful that we had still been able to go on our vacation. And just slightly worried yet hopeful that we didn't catch COVID-19 while we were there.

It was another rainy day when we packed up on Friday to drive home to Arizona. Brinna insisted she could carry this bag and her suitcase from the hotel room to the car. That strong, determined girl did just that. What a spectacular little helper! 

What an amazing spring break we had at Disneyland!

March 28, 2020

Disneyland, day 4

Our last Disney day was at California Adventures. We tend to follow the same route every time we go--Cars Land then Pixar Pier. I think it's a pretty good plan, but I can't say for sure because I've never tried anything different. But it did serve us well because of the rain. Quite a few rides can't run in the rain--pretty much all of Cars Land shuts down. So it was good that we went there first.

Then while everyone else rode the Incredicoaster (in the rain, poor things), Brinna and I went around and around on the Inside Out ride.

The rain did not let up much. It only seemed to come down harder or less hard. We were able to see Minnie Mouse under some cover.

Minnie went for a high five with Brinna, but she was pretty terrified and clung to me.

Of course, since she's been home, she keeps talking about how Minnie wanted a high five. Haha

We found a little reprieve from the rain when we went indoors to Talk with Crush and take an art class at the Animation Studio. Most everyone else had this idea, too but we got in to be a part of each thing.

We learne dhow to draw Winnie the Pooh at this class.

Not every moment at Disneyland is full of smiles and fun. Sometimes there are frowns and crumpled up papers.

So Layla posed with my work instead.

We rode a few more rides but then decided to watch the Frozen play at the theater. We stood in that line without shelter over our heads as the rain came down and down. We were all drenched! Pretty miserable and cold actually.

But I think it was worth it, because the Frozen play is pretty spectacular. Afterwards, we went home to warm up and change clothes and have dinner.

The boys were going to be meeting some friends for a day at Magic Mountain on Friday to celebrate a birthday. And Perry and Brinna were pretty worn out anyways. So Eric took care of those four while Layla and I had an evening at California Adventures together. We changed into our pajamas and our dry coats and headed out for a night of fun.

We rode the swings at Pixar pier.

We went to two art classes at the animation studio. We marveled in the Beast's library.

We stood in the very front and ate ice cream and watched World of Color again.

We rode the incredicoaster again. But my favorite memory with her would have to be riding Guardians of the Galaxy three times in a row. We had already ridden that ride that day. And we had ridden it a couple of times on Monday. It scares me to no end every time. But it's a thrilling kind of scared (mostly). But we had six fast passes so we rode it again and again (by the third time I definitely started to feel the effects of it and I was ok that we ran out of passes). In total, after two days at California adventures, I had ridden Guardians of the Galaxy nine times. The proof:

March 26, 2020

Disneyland, day 3

Our second and last day at the Magic Kingdom.

We had a souvenir/treat money earning system for the trip. It served its purpose well. For the younger kids it helped to manage behavior and promote flexibility. The older kids was just to put them in control of what snacks or treats they wanted (mmm, churros. and dole whip. yum). The kids got $6 a day, but they lost dollars for fighting and earned dollars for extra kind things. Or for holding their hands up during entire rollercoasters. haha. Layla saved her money and worked hard to earn extra so that on day 3 she could buy the bubble wand she was eyeing since the minute we walked into the park. She was pleased with her pick. 

Brinny and I spent lots of time at Tarzan's tree house while everyone else rode Indiana Jones. Pretty view from up there!

Brinny liked Layla's souvenir choice, too.

Winnie the Pooh. It's difficult to get a family of seven of all different heights into one selfie..

Knocking on the White Rabbit's door before we rode Alice in Wonderland.

Mr. Toad's wild adventure. Arguably the best ride in Fantasyland.


Another Dumbo ride

We ended up in Toontown for lunch.

It's a Small World! I really do love this ride.

Oh, these teenagers.

We were so excited to get on Resistance again!

They asked if Perry could transfer out of his wheelchair right then. I told them sure and when they took the chair away Perry broke down and was very concerned that the First Order was going to keep his chair forever.

He was mad. Luckily, he listened to me when I reassured him and in the end the First Order did indeed return his chair to us.


One of Perry's favorite Star Wars characters. So glad he got to meet him.

Each night we rotated which of the four of us over the age of 14 took the two youngest back to the hotel to get some rest. It was my turn at the hotel on the night that the kids rode Splash Mountain over and over again. Layla insisted she was in the front every time so she was SOAKED by the end.

They found Minnie that evening, too.

More ride and Disney photographer pictures.

Layla told me her favorite character is Tinkerbelle (fits nicely with her nickname of Stinkerbelle) so she was excited about this picture.