Thursday, August 12, 2010

2010 Vacation, Part III- San Diego

After 5 nights in Anaheim and pretty much exclusively on Disney property, we drove down to San Diego for 2 more nights. These pictures are all out of order and it won't let me change them, so bear with me! We checked into our hotel and got a great deal at the Courtyard Marriott thanks to a good friend. It was in a great location and the room was really nice. That night we went to the downtown area of San Francisco because I really wanted to go to the Ghirardelli ice cream shop. So, we had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe and then ice cream.

The next morning we met my friend Amber and her 3 boys at the San Diego Zoo. We had a great morning playing with them, and after they left we stayed a little longer and did one of the bus tours. Lots and lots of thanks to Amber for saving us a ton on admission too! Joel loves zoos, and I was pretty enthralled by the pandas, since most zoos don't have them and they're so darn cute!

That afternoon we went to the Mormon Battalion Museum, which is really nicely done, and a lot of fun. It was also nice to go there because we got to see what they call "Old Town San Diego," which is a really charming part of town.

So, here are the randomly placed pictures from our first night and day in San Diego!

The Mormon Battalion Museum is very informative, and run by missionaries, so it's interesting to talk to them. I guess they mostly have Sister Missionaries who serve a portion of their mission there, kind of like Visitors Centers. But the day we were there was their P-Day, so there were just Senior Missionaries.
I thought the building was beautiful. I read and heard that it's been recently redone. The Sister who toured our group told me that it used to be more of just an open area and now it's an interactive, guided tour. Very fun.
Christopher and a seal at the zoo.
Christopher and Amber's boys climbing on one of the statues. I forgot how much boys like to climb around!
Oh look, more climbing! C1 was so sad when the boys left. He said he wanted to play with them forever! :)
Cute Panda!
Front entrance
The view from our hotel was gorgeous
Half of our hotel room
The San Diego Temple, which I had really wanted to see, but is barely visible right now!

2010 Vacation, Part II- Fun in the Parks

So, we spent 5 days playing in Disneyland and California Adventure. Mostly switching off every other day. We brought our baby-sitter Mady with us to have an extra set of hands and hopefully reward her for putting up with our boys and our crazy schedule so much! This turned out great, especially at night when we would have 2 conked out boys and a stroller to carry!

Christopher was tall enough for a lot of the rides this time, but as soon as we got to the parks, he informed us he didn't want to go on any rides that were "tall, dark, or fast".....which rules out a LOT of them. We did make him go on a couple, but for the most part we let him be. He did try Splash Mountain, which he said he liked but didn't want to go on again. He also did Big Thunder Mountain with Joel and HATED it. But he was a pretty good sport.

Here are some highlights (otherwise known as "the times I remembered to pull out my camera and therefore have record of" :) ) :
All of us and the required picture with Mickey. We visited Mickey at his house 3 times! We're regulars :)
Christopher dancing with one of the performers in the Celebrate! Street parade. His moves were...interesting. But he had a lot of fun, and that's what counts anyway!
All-Star Mickey. I really wish I could have gotten a pic of the Rockies one, but it was out in Irvine, so this will have to do. I have a miniature of the Rockies' at home.
Also required, pic of the castle.
Paradise Pier at California adventure at night.
World of Color is a new fountain and lights show at DCA. It had just debuted and is a pretty big deal right now. You have to get a fastpass just to reserve a spot to see it! It was a cute show, but our view wasn't the best even though we woke up early and raced to get those fastpasses!
Christopher and Mickey. They're old friends :)
Mady and the boys on a Dumbo. Christopher always thinks he wants to go on it until we get there and he remembers how high it goes. I never mind because the line is always huge too. This little picture opportunity next to the ride is perfect for him!
The boys playing around
Teacups, which Christopher LOVES. I have decided that it's not my favorite ride. When I was younger I got lost leaving this ride, a nice cast member helped me find my mom. It took a while.....Anyway, this time, we got off and Cameron promptly threw up on me. Yeah.....I think I'll pass in the future!

Christopher's favorite rides were Toy Story Midway Mania, It's a Small World, and Heimlich's Chew Chew train. All of which he made us go on at least 3 times each. A lot of rides seemed to breakdown this trip too. Mady and I had just gotten on Space Mountain when it broke down while we were pretty much at the very top and mostly on our backs. We had to climb out and all the way down the structure of the ride. Also, It's a Small World broke down and we were stuck in the white and blue room for about 20 minutes. If only the music wouldn't have been playing the whole time! And Christopher still wanted to go on it again!

We had a great time. Much better than when we were there in 2008. It was still crowded, and very hot, but we had plenty of time to do everything we wanted to do. There was something for everyone and it's always nice to see the original Disney theme park!

2010 Vacation, Part I- Disneyland Hotel

We had a really fun vacation in July and I'm excited that I finally have the time (well, kinda :)) and got the pictures uploaded to blog about it! The evening of July 13th, we started the drive to California. We did this hoping the boys would sleep most of the trip, and it worked for the most part. At least, it did on the way out there. Joel and I switched off driving and we drove straight through to Anaheim. Once there, we checked in for our 5-night stay at the Disneyland Hotel. A gentleman from Ault, CO checked us in and gave Christopher and I birthday balloons, which Christopher still says was his favorite part of the trip. Wow, I can get a balloon anywhere! He also gave us both birthday buttons to wear and Christopher a signed picture from Goofy. We then went up to our room on the 3rd floor of the main building. I believe it was room 2105.

DLH is a great home away from home. We ended up so glad that we had decided to stay there. It was really convenient with 2 small kids to have the option to take a break in the middle of the day and not have far to go "home" at night when we were exhausted. There were other benefits too, the whole "enhanced magical experience" and all of that. It was nice to really do Disneyland once and take the time to explore everything.

Here are some highlights from the hotel:
Cameron with my balloon. Christopher claimed the orange one, so I got purple, which was fine by me. It ended up pretty much being Cam's anyway! Doesn't he look so happy?
This is the hot tub. I'm not sure why we spent any time there, cuz it was HOT, but I seem to recall that was the only place we could find to put our stuff down one of the days. Anyway, notice Ariel in the backround :)
The main pool is Peter Pan themed. Well, more Hook themed, but it's all from that movie :)
I know it's kind of weird to put pictures of just waterfalls and stuff, but the grounds of the hotel were really pretty, and soon they're tearing it all down to expand the pool area, so I wanted to remember what it was like while we were there.
They also had koi ponds which will be sacrificed for the new pool, which I'm sure will be amazing. But so is what they're losing.

The TV cabinet. I took pictures of almost every square foot of this room. I am sparing you most of it :)
Mural in the front lobby. Love it!
Just before you walk into the lobby. There are a couple of my boys on their way in.
The very front of the hotel, which is pretty plain without the Mickey statue. It's interesting to note (for those who may not be as Disney-oriented as we are). That unlike WDW, this hotel was not built as a Disney resort. They had to buy it and "Disneyfi" it. Considering this, they did a great job. But it's definitely different than the Disney resorts we're used to.

They are currently renovating this hotel and making it awesome. I really wanted one of the new rooms, but since we only paid ONE arm and ONE leg, it was not to be. It's OK, still loved it! Goofy hangs around the lobby and the pool a lot, and it was fun to just randomly see him around. It's right next to Downtown Disney, and to get to the 2 parks you can either walk thru Downtown Disney to the main entrance they both share; or just walk thru a little bit to the monorail (which takes you into Tomorrowland), or across to the Grand Californian which has a private entrance in to DCA for the resort guests. Like I said, very convenient and helpful!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Grandpa Esposo

My mother's father passed away July 10th. Here is the official obituary:

Benjamin Esposo April 3, 1925-July 10, 2010 Resident of San Leandro A native of the Philippines and long time resident of Alameda. Ben met and married a widow with three young children in 1956. From 1957 to 1963 four more children joined the family. He joined the US Navy in 1945 in the Philippines and retired in 1964 from Alameda Naval Air Station. During his 19 years of service in the US Navy, he was on several different ships. Some of those ships included the USS Buckingham, the USS Hancock, the USS Lexington, the USS Whiteside, and the USS Hornet. Ben was very proud and passionate about his service in the US Navy. He went on to work at several different places including Alameda County at Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro, where he was the specialty chef and the head of the cafeteria. He retired in 1987. Ben was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and brother. He is survived by his brother, Sergio Esposo, and sister, Celsa Reyes. His three stepchildren, Candice Rutledge, Vickie Jones, and Rick Rutledge. His four children, Terri Marshall, Allen Esposo, Tanya Delagrange, and Ben Esposo, and their spouses. He has 25 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. Ben was a true family man who loved having all the kids and their families at his house where he would cook endlessly and spend a lot of true quality time, especially with his grandchildren. Ben spent his retired years involved with the Filipino American Veterans' League. He also had many friends he met with 6 days a week for the past 18 years at the 'University of McDonalds' in Alameda. He loved life and he loved his grandkids and being around them always made him happy. He was a much loved man and will be greatly missed by his family and his many, many friends. Friends and Family are invited to visitation on Fri. July 16 from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. and the Funeral Service on Sat., July 17 at 10:00 am at Chapel of the Chimes Funeral Home, 32992 Mission Blvd, Hayward, CA. Interment to follow. Chapel of the Chimes

While very nice, of course that doesn't say nearly the whole story for me. Some of my earliest memories are of time with my mom's family in and visiting my grandparents' home in Alameda, CA. Grandpa never spoke the best English, or talked a lot at all, but he had a great quiet strength and love that I always felt. I learned things about him fairly recently that make him an even better man in my eyes.

The last time I saw him was in March of 2008, when we took a trip there. I really wanted him to at least meet Christopher. We had a nice visit and a couple of really good talks I will always treasure. I didn't know until I was older that most of our extended family called him Papa. To me he'll always be Grandpa Esposo. Or, as my Dad always says "Espozo" : ) I knew that last visit that I was probably seeing him for the last time, as well as the home I'd always known them to live in. The kitchen that he cooked for everyone in. He was always concerned that everyone be fed : ) The front room we used to watch movies in. The bathroom that always smelled like Dove soap. I love that house. I love my memories there, and I loved my grandparents both very much.

Grandpa had been having heart problems for some time. They thought that was what would kill him a few months ago. But he was a fighter and held on, deciding he wasn't ready. At the end he was very weak, had a fractured spine, pneumonia, and other ailments that came and went. He had been in hospice for a while before he passed away. He went fairly peacefully and by that time I was mostly relieved to know he was out of pain and gets to move on. He didn't believe the same things we do, but I know that he's in a better place and we'll get to see him again. He will be very missed by our family, and it's kind of empty to have both him and Grandma gone now. But such is the cycle of life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 2010

This is mostly just an effort to keep updated. I wanted to post about both boys in case everyone thinks I forget about my firstborn. Rest assured, he's the type of kid who won't allow that to happen! Babies change so fast and I want to make sure that's all documented, I also realize that in the process C1 doesn't seem to be talked about as much. So here's a healthy dose of both boys. And all of us, really :)


Cam just turned 10 months recently. And I think I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I've never quite believed we get to keep him here, for some reason. I don't want to call it a lack of faith. I just tend to run on the anxious side, and if I'm worried about something sometimes I just don't ask Heavenly Father about it at all. I'd rather not know and deal with whatever comes if needed. Weird, I know. And for some other not-quite-known reason, 10 months has been the magic age in the back of my mind. Now he's a substantial size and I guess just been here long enough that I really believe it. I still stare at him every day in gratitude and thank Heavenly Father that he joined our family.

I also marvel at how different the boys are. Christopher was such an easy baby, and Cameron is both more curious and has had more complications. But of course, everyone comes with their own personalities, and just because C1 was an easy baby does not mean he's always been easy! More about that later.

C2 is at an interesting phase, with lots of stuff to keep up with. Teething, crawling all over, trying to eat anything he can get his hands on. And his eczema complicates things a bit. We still have to put socks on his hands often to keep him from scratching himself mercilessly. He still loves to be wherever his brother is, and involved in what everyone else is doing. Something I haven't mentioned before and that is kind of new is that he just LOVES his Papa (my dad). As soon as he sees him, he wants him and only him. He cries if he sees him leave. It's pretty darn cute, if a little annoying for me to deal with :).

Here's a cute recent pic of him with Joel at my office at Coors Field when they came for a game. I just love this picture.


And here's the big boy! I am astounded as he grows. I can't believe he is now just about school age and still find myself surprised that I'm a mom at all at times, let alone am about to have a child in kindergarten. Everyday I am aware of the responsibility we have as parents, and how complicated it is to worry- or not worry- about every little choice we make and whether it will affect or "damage" them in the long-run. This is a lot more prevalent with older kids than babies or toddlers, I am learning.

Christopher is a very strong personality, and we call him a control-freak daily. He tends to melt-down if thing don't go his way, or something is not what he thought it would be. I'm trying really hard to work with him on it and let him know that most of these things are not really a big deal. But I'm sure to him they seem that way. At the same time, I'm often pleasantly surprised by his reaction to things, and it seems sweeter in contrast to the fact that he has the other reactions. I guess it's that whole "you have to experience the bad to appreciate the good" concept.

He's very smart (aren't they all? :)) and keeps me on my toes. There are lots of times he'll work really hard to get my attention, to the point that I'm extremely annoyed and say "what?!" only to have him say "I love you, Mom" Usually this is in front of others so that I'm properly ashamed :). He's also very sweet and loving a lot of the time. And he does LOVE his baby brother, but he's also becoming more and more aware of the jealousy issues, and getting annoyed with Cam on a daily basis when he wants to play with him and just messes things up.

I think I have decided to go ahead and put him in kindergarten despite the fact that we will most likely move mid-semester and I know he'll have a hard time adjusting. I try to talk to him about it and prepare as much as possible, but I think the benefits of him interacting with other kids and learning new things out-weighs the negative aspects. And honestly, I'll have to deal with his issues with change either way!

Here are a couple of cute pictures my sister Denise took the last time she visited:

LOVE LOVE LOVE these boys. I am learning so much as a mother. It's amazing how much capacity we have to love, to think outside of ourselves and put someone else first. To care more about that little baby than getting sleep, or putting on makeup and looking decent :). I'm so grateful that we get to have our little family. If it grows, all the better! But I have realized lately that I feel really fulfilled and just want to raise my family in righteousness and so that they're happy and have a great life-experience.


Not too much is new with the adults around here. We've been dealing with lots of crazy stuff with friends and family, which has caused us to be very reflective and talk to each other more about things. But it has also made us really grateful for our lack of major hardships and each other, and I think has made it easier to overlook the little things. We're looking forward to the future and trying to deal as best we can with the present. We worry about all of the things everyone worries about in the present economy situation. Joel recently took the second pay-cut in 6 months, which makes things tight and complicates our plans for saving; but we're grateful to have our jobs at all and try to count our blessings.

We are enjoying the little things like watching our boys grow and appreciating the things we get to do, and this time we have to spend with my family and our local friends; and look forward to seeing old friends and Joel's family more, and doing new things in Orlando later this year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cameron at 9 months

At just over 9 months, Cameron weighs 17.9 lbs (10th percentile), is 27 1/2 inches "tall" (25th percentile) and his head circumference is 46.5 (75th percentile :)). He's still nursing a couple of times a day, and takes soy formula and snacks on french fries and Ritz crackers quite a bit. He just started crawling on the 8th-almost exactly 2 months after he first sat up unassisted- and all of the sudden he is all over the place and trying to eat everything on the floor! He also cut his first tooth-the left bottom front- on May 14th and the right one came just two days later. Today his pediatrician said the upper center 4 look like they could come any day as well. He is already way into using said teeth. He likes to try to bite us in the weirdest places! He got 2 shots today, one for regular flu and one for H1N1, and he only cried for a few seconds, when he realized she was going to poke him the second time. His eczema is still kind of bad, especially on the back of his knees and in his elbow bending-area. We still put socks on his hands quite a bit to keep him from scratching himself so much.

Other random things about Cam: he loves to play patty-cake and peek-a-boo; he's been sleeping through the night especially great the past couple of nights, he's really happy in the morning and attacks all of us- but especially Christopher :)- until we wake up. He says "da" often and uses it surprisingly appropriately to get Joel's attention. He says "ma" and "na" (this one seems related to eating), and "hi" and babbles other nonsense a lot. He also likes to dance to music and will do so on command.

Here are some pictures from today after his appointment:

Crawling around in the entryway area.
Sometimes when he's crawling he really doesn't like his knees to be on the ground
Playing with an empty bottle. That's my Dad sacked out behind him after doing some of his campaign walking. I like how he's holding his ipad like a lovey :P
Pretty tuckered out himself after the Doctor appointment. This was his longest nap the past couple of days.

He's growing up way too fast, and I sometimes I'm still surprised he's here. I like to just stare at him while he's sleeping and marvel. Anyway, onward to 1 year! It has flown by and I'm sure won't stop anytime soon. I'm really going to need another cute little baby, hopefully that's not too much to ask for!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Easter 2010

Easter was April 4th this year, so obviously I'm a little behind, but at least I'm doing it, right? Easter happened to be General Conference Sunday this year, so we really had no reason to dress the kids up, but you have to do Easter outfits! So, I woke up early and made everyone sausage and french toast, and we watched Conference, and then we dressed them up and went up to Arkansas Elementary to do a little Easter Egg Hunt (we've done that the past 2 or 3 years now). We had to use the front of the school this year instead of the back because other people stole our idea. So, here are some pics of the kids after they got their eggs:The Boys, The Boys
The Rice kids, JoJo and Lily
Cameron, and yes, his lips are blue from trying to eat the egg. So darn cute.
The best pic we could get of all of the kids. The only one where Cameron was looking! Those silly older boys.

Lots of fun, and of course, Christopher LOVES these holidays where candy is involved! Lorae actually took the kids shopping a few weeks early and let them pick out most of their stuff, and then the Easter Bunny added a little bit. This added up to a LOT of stuff for these lucky kids! Love all of them!