Month: April 2013

Legoland, California!

On Monday, we had the opportunity to go to Legoland.  Many places, we have learned, give discounts on particular days to homeschool groups.  So, we gathered 12 people and headed to Legoland for a 1/4 of the cost that it normally is!  (No, really though, we got in for only $21 per person when it is normally  $78 for an adult ticket.  Crazy!)

Anyway, I have to say that Legoland is THE BEST amusement park for our aged kids.  They could ride EVERY single ride, and didn’t get too scared on any of them.  It was great!!!!  Plus, there must be something said about the fact that visiting an amusement park where you don’t just drip sweat the entire time, is lovely!  Love SoCal weather!  Have I said that before!  LOL!

Here are some pics of our trip.

The welcome sign made completely of Legos!
Starting the day with the Lego Pirate!
Bionicle!  
Pharoah out of Legos. 
Fun ride with our friends.
Everyone loved this slide!
This spider was so cool!  
Lock ’em up!
Coolest dragon ever!
Grace was hilarious on this ride.  It was for little kids, but she made the most of it!
Our crew was getting tired at this point.  Can you tell?  This was where there were no rides, but you could walk around and look at all of the amazing things made out of Legos!  Check some of it out!
Grace driving her car.  She’s already a multi-tasker…having a lollipop while driving!
Go Ben and Noah!
Grace and Ashley made it up like four times!
When the kids jumped on the circles, the instruments played.  Fun!
Okay, can we say impressive!
Cute girl at the end of our day!
Lego elephant that squirted water!
Mount Legomore!
All made of Legos!
Such a fun day, and so impressive how many things can be made from Legos! 

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So Much Has Happened!

Oh my goodness!  Has it really been 3 weeks since I posted anything?!  Wow!  Where did I go, what did I do?!  So much has happened in three weeks!

Let me start with…MY MOM and DAD came for a visit!!!!!  I was so excited to see them and get to spend 7 whole days with them!!!!!!  It was a really great visit.  We pretty much just hung out here on the mountain.  One day we went to the Palomar Observatory for a quick tour, one day we went to the AMAZING San Diego Zoo, and one day we went to church and then down the coast to view the ocean and see more of San Diego.  This was all fun, but more than anything I just loved my parents being here with us.  We miss our families like crazy, even though we love our new home.  Micah and I are so thankful for the families we have and how much love they show us!  Here are some pictures from the time we got to spend with my parents.

In front of the Palomar Observatory.  (This telescope has been used every clear night since the 1940’s and is about 7 miles from my house!  Look it up, it’s a big piece of science history.)
The meerkats!  Love these little guys.
One of several camels.
Cute kids by a cool sculpture.
Grace loves the elephants so she HAD to take a picture on this sculpture.
And then Ben HAD to climb the sloth.  
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED the Polar Bear exhibit.  My pictures do no justice, but I cannot even explain how cool it was to watch these massive animals swim so gracefully!  
The only picture I got to come out clearly.
I did not zoom at all on this picture.  This is how close we really were.
So…the pandas are quite popular at the zoo.  I could not get a good picture because there are so many people in this exhibit that they just kind of shove you through.  Here is the sign though.
We rode the double-decker tour bus through the zoo, and loved it.  Dad said we should have started with this and then we wouldn’t have had to walk all over creation!  (It’s a HUGE zoo!)
Love this picture!
And…Ben was done!  Can you tell?!  (Grace was being super cute though!)
On our tour down the coast from Oceanside, CA to San Diego, CA, we made a stop in La Jolla at “The Children’s Pool.”  This is where the seals come on shore and there were tons of them.  Ha, Ha, literally!!!!  Get it?!
It is soon (or maybe has begun) pupping season!  These seals were stinky too!
Love these people!
This one is just so you know I still exist!  (I take all the pictures and don’t make it into very many of them.)
So cool to see the seals just hanging out on the rocks!

Fun times with the fam!

On another note, please pray for my mom and dad.  My mom’s car was stolen from their garage yesterday, while my mom was home.  This is extra scary because they live in a small town where the neighbors were outside in the yard at the time the car was stolen.  We are so thankful that mom was okay!  I am so glad she did not step outside while this was happening!  It just blows my mind that anyone would drive down a dead end street, past other homes where people were obviously home, and choose my parents’ house.  Thank you Lord, for your hand of protection yesterday!

I love you mom and dad, and thank you so much for driving across the country to love on us for a little while!

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World Autism Awareness Day

It was July 2, 2008 that the word Autism came into our lives in a very real way.  Oh, I mean we had our suspicions before that date, but on this day it was official.  You know, paperwork, doctor sitting across from you saying the words that were a muddled mess as we heard them kind of official.  I will never forget it.  The sounds in the office, the smells, what I was wearing, what I was feeling.  It was real and it hurt.   God took that hurt and turned it into the biggest blessing that I could ever imagine!  Our Ben changed (and still changes) our lives for the better most days.  We don’t worry so much about things that don’t really matter any more, and we celebrate things that we never would have even considered before!  My mom sent me this story shortly after we received Ben’s official diagnosis.  I could never explain things better myself, so I wanted to share it with you.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.


I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.  But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

So, today is World Autism Awareness Day!  Don’t be sad for anyone or anything like that, but stop and say a special prayer for someone that you know who is dealing with autism daily.  If you don’t have anyone who is close to you, you can pray for my Ben or our friend’s sweet daughter, Ellie.  These two have changed my life forever, and will continue to do so because God has amazing plans for them!  Micah and I are choosing to enjoy Holland even though we really planned to go to Italy.  It’s okay!  Holland is beautiful, and in fact, I LOVE tulips!  They are my favorite flower!  Some days we get stung by a bee while smelling the lovely tulips, but the sting goes away and we continue to focus on the beauty of the tulips!  Pray, my friends, for families of children with autism who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus! 


I leave you with the most current facts from Autism Speaks:

Did you know …
  • Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
  • Autism prevalence figures are growing
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism
                                 

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Happy Easter!

We had some Easter fun at our house!  Hope you did too!

We started our day with a hike.  We went to a new trail in the state park, and this was our view!  Amazing!
My little hikers!
Then we came back and started making all sorts of springtime goodies!  First, we made Jolly Rancher lollipops!  These are sooooo good, easy, and super fun to make.
Don’t they look so fun and colorful?  You can get the directions at www.familyfun.com
They were super tasty!
Thomas and Ashley liked them too!
Then we made Peep sticks!   (I need a better name, but that is indeed what they were.)  These are my peeps!  LOL!  (I can’t help but to make stupid jokes when it comes to Peeps!)
We handed these fun treats out to our staff!  I’m not a Peep fan really, but they are just so darn cute!
Okay, then we made Trix Krispie treats, and these things were AMAZING!
Not only do they look super festive, but they are so easy and so tasty!!!!!!
Of course we dyed some eggs!
I don’t know what happened to my good pictures but here is some evidence that we did actually dye the eggs!
On Sunday, the kids got their Easter baskets.
Smiled for some really early Easter pictures because their mom is crazy!  (It was 7:00 am here people!)
Yes, Ben has a blue mouth because he had already eaten a ring pop by 7:00 am.  It’s Easter, cut me some slack! 
Then, when we got home from church I took the kids down for a few more quick pictures.  Unfortunately, my picture spot was occupied by a group that was at camp.  (I didn’t think it would be a good idea for the director’s wife to make them move so I could have some Easter pics.  LOL!) You can see a few of the daffodils though.  We don’t have bluebonnets here in SoCal, but we have the most beautiful daffodils here on the mountain.  Love them!
We hunted for some Easter eggs.  By this time, the temperature outside had dropped to about 47 degrees and it was windy.  We had a quick egg hunt!  (Love the rubber boots!)
They were still smiling even though we were all freezing!  Ben is quite happy with his eggs, can you tell?!

Our sweet friends, the Harris’ came and had and Easter meal with us.  So special to get to spend Bennett’s first Easter with him!  We love this precious baby!

We had a really great Easter remember what our Savior has done for us!  I hope that you had a very blessed Easter too.

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