Saturday, March 1, 2014

Family trip

Our visit to LA
We went to LA the 2nd week in February to visit Uncle Joseph, Aunt Lorianne, Cousin Maeva and baby cousin Austin. My mom, Auntie Cheryl, Lisa, Jenna and Ryan all went too! It was a fun family trip, and especially fun to meet baby cousin Austin for the 1st time

 A little make shift dinner table with an excellent view of airplanes!
The kids did so much better than expected on the plane. They have both flown several times before, but at their ages you just never know what kind of "moods" they might be in. We took an evening flight and stayed in a hotel near LAX. This worked out good, so we did not have to stress about driving in LA traffic with 2 sleepy kiddos. The next morning we rented a car and drove to my brother's house.
 We took all the kids (except baby Austin) to Griffith park ( we love going there each time we visit). They got to ride the ponies, which Nathan and Amber love to do, Amber was not a fan!
 Amber cried the whole time she was on the pony. She has really been having separation anxiety when she is not around me or Dan (especially me) for the past few weeks. So I am not sure if she just didn't like riding a pony or if it was because some strange man took her away from me and put her on a pony. Poor baby, not such a great idea.
 After the pony ride, Amber was super clingy! But that worked out, because we went to ride the trains! Maeva sat with Gram-E, Nathan with Dan and Amber with me. During the train ride AMeva turned around to Nathan and said "Nathan, are you having a fun time" to which he replied "Oh yes I am"!  Listening to the 2 of them over the course of the trip was my favorite thing! The way they interact with each other is precious, especially since they don't see each other very often. I think they have a sense that they are family.
 The above picture was another adorable interaction. Maeva was pointing her finger and telling Nathan the plan at the park. Nathan the responds "That sounds like a great idea Maeva!". Melt my heart.
 My mom and I took the kids to ride the ponies 1 more time while Dan and Amber rode the train. I love the picture of the 2 of them!
 After nap time we went to another park to play. It was a fabulous park. It had a giant sand area, tons of playground equipment. The kids really enjoyed the teeter totter, with a little help from Gram-E.
 After the teeter-totter, Maeva and Gram-E went to swing. Maeva kept begging Nathan to swing with her, but he just wanted to play in the sand.
 That boy would live in the sand if I let him. He got a smidgen sandy, but had a blast.
On Saturday, we went to a birthday party for cousin Maeva and her friend, Ana, who were both turning 3. The party was at Ana's house and was complete with face painter's and a balloon artist! The balloon artist made the adorable hair balloon flowers for Amber and they matched her outfit exactly!
Side note about the party. My sister-in-law informed me that the new "in" thing in LA is to give your children no processed, refined foods or sugars. So, they had to order a cake that was gluten free, nut free, dairy free, and processed sugar free. I was kinda making fun of this quite a bit! Lorianne went on to say that there would be some kids at the party that had never had sugar before.....EVER. Wow. (don't worry my daughter ate enough of the sugary cake to make up for all those poor children who have to eat agave sweetened foods!!!!!) All of that to say, the cake was actually pretty good. I am not sure what it was made out of, but it was tasty. They also had a normal cake too!
My mom is always taking pictures of the kids and never gets any of her with them. This was the best I could do. Some one (hint: the boy not looking at the camera) was NOT very cooperative!

 Oh the balloon artist: Nathan has had a phobia about balloons popping for a while. Several months ago I gave him a balloon and it popped. He wailed like someone had died and every time we went outside to the scene of the accident he would cry and talk about how the balloon popped. We have had several other incidents too, so we try and keep balloons away from him. Then, on the day we were to fly out to LA he got a balloon at school (for valentines day) and it accidentally blew out of the car and way up into the clouds. IT was very traumatic for him and he sobbed for a long time and kept talking about how the balloon was gone. I even stopped at CVS and bought him another one (it was kinda my fault his blew away...oops) but he said it wasn't the same balloon and kept crying. He is a sensitive child I appreciate that characteristic of his personality, however when I heard there was going to be a balloon artist at the party I was nervous. When we first got to Cousin Maeva's house on Friday she had a big balloon in her room my brother had given her and we had to hide it in the closet because it upset Nathan so much. It was a huge helium balloon and it was up by her fan he was upset that the fan was going to pop the balloon (and the party was going to be all about balloons...yikes)

The minute we walked into the party and he saw the balloons he started crying so I took him outside and talked to him and he calmed down. He stayed outside for most of the party. However he did ask for a balloon from the "balloon man". I took him inside and he was very excited b/c the man was going to make him an airplane. He was smiling and all was going well until one of the balloons popped while the man was blowing it up. Bring on the tears. However,he did recover and got his balloon plane!
I am sure it is more the loud noise with balloons that bothers him so much. He has always been sensitive to loud noises (but i am too).

Auntie Cheryl holding baby Austin! Baby Austin got passed around by all of us and spoiled rotten with holding!

My daughter liked the birthday cake (the 1 with all the processed sugar!) ALOT. She definitely has her daddy's sweet tooth! The thing with her at the party was she would pick up random peoples cups and plates and just drink or eat whatever was on's a no wonder she is sick all the time.

Cousin Maeva took her face painting very seriously!

In the backyard of the party, there were some stairs in the corner. Nathan found a toy truck and played on the stairs for the longest time. He is so much like me...not as social, likes the quiet and calmness, gets stressed in chaos. I am glad he found a place to play that made him happy.

Baby Austin and Gram-E

The next day we drove out to the ocean and took whale watching tour. Being out on the ocean in the cool breeze felt heavenly! Amber fell asleep with the wind in her hair, up against my chest, with the smooth rocking of the's a good thing I stayed awake!
We got to see more dolphins than whales, but we had such a fun time. I enjoy boats and being on the water. It was pretty choppy going out and there were lots of people on the boat that had weak stomachs!
My siblings and mom

That evening we went out to eat dinner at a Mexican restaurant. MAeva and Nathan sat next to each other and entertained each other. The above picture is Nathan feeding Maeva a chip!
Love this picture! Oh how I wish they lived closer (notice I said they lived closer, not us living closer to them! I have zero interest in living in California!)
Nathan was giving Uncle Joseph a hug for his dinner. I am very proud of Nathan for doing so well with his manners.
They were looking and talking about something under the table, but I didn't quite understand what they were saying.
Baby Austin says don't forget about me
The girls riding home in the wagon
We had such a fun trip and the kids did great on the flight home. Amber and I took a nap (big surprise) but Nathan never fell asleep. He and Dan watched a few Veggie tales and read some books.
It was nice just ot get away for a few days and see my brother and sister again.