And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Trunk-or-Treat

I recently got a call in our ward as the primary secretary.  Initially I was excited to use my organization skills and then I realized that primary presidency was in charge of the primary program and the Halloween party...both of which fall within 10 days of each other.  My enthusiasm for my new calling quirkily dissapated and I went full in anxiety and panic mode.  However, as I learn time and time again in Mormon culture...many hands make light work...and many hands there were!!  The program went off without a hitch (Dominik did amazing!!) and the trunk or treat was fantastic!!
 

 
Our family did a Harry Potter Quidditch theme with a m interactive trunk for the kids to play.  Tj and I were Gryffindor Quidditch spectators, Dominik was Harry Potter - Gryffindor Seeker - and Parker was Hedwig.  For our trunk we made the Quidditch hoops and quaffles that the kids had the throw through the rings.  If they could throw the quaffle through the middle and smallest ring Han they got a butter beer (cream soda).  The kids loved it and our line was super long all night; not that it's a competition or anything...but if it was we would have totally won ;)
 

 

 
The ward party was a huge success too!  We did a chili cook off with root beer and hot dogs and then followed it up with some family fun Minite-to-win-it games.  Everyone seemed to have a good time and it was so different than the typical carnival type fall festival parties that are so frequent this time of year!!  
 

 

I'm so grateful for the wonderful ward that we moved into and for my new calling that pushes me to my limits and makes me work hard!!  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Weekend

In an attempt to be a good mom and get the most out of our first Halloween back in the states I decided it was time to carve the pumpkins that we bought a while back.  Dominik has been asking to carve his own this year and I figured I had put it off long enough.  We were fortunate enough that Chick-fil-A was having a Halloween special where if you came dressed as a superhero you got a free kids meal.  So we dressed up as our favorite super hero, joined up with the Latytons and headed out for a fantastic evening.

Chick-fil-A turned out to be a great idea.  The kids were super excited to be super heros and the food was delicious and mess free; as always!  The kids live playing in the playplace there so is adults were able to sit and visit while they burned off lots of energy.  
 

 

 

 
After dinner we headed back to the Laytons to carve pumpkins.  This is one of those events that plays magically I. My head with lots of smiles, laughter, and memories.  When in actuality the kids are whiny, don't participate, and Tj and I do all the work.  The Laytons have a pretty awesome backyard though and the kids entertained themselves pretty well while dictating what they wanted the parents to carve for their pumpkins.  I guess it was as magical as can be expected from our little ones at 7:30 in the evening.  
 

 

 

 

All around a good evening was had.  Definitely the perfect way to start off our Halloween weekend!!
 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Parker and Mama

Sometimes I feel guilty for exploring new things without Dominik that I know he would enjoy doing too.  Then I remember that I had 4 years of one on one dates with my sweet little Dominik prior to Parker joining the family and my alone time with Parker is so rare.  I need to make sure I have fun outings with Parker where I can learn who he is as an individual and not just a little brother.  I'm amazed at how different his personality is when Dominik is around.  I love my little guy and I love our little outings with each other!!

Today we were invited to go to the zoo with Taryn, Rowan, and Boden.  We were so excited to be back in an American Zoo where the habitats were large and spacious and the animals are well cared for.  The San Diego zoo has always been on the top of our to-do list and will definitely be a go back with the whole family activity, but today was about Parker and Mama...and hanging out with friends.  
 
I opted to not take the stroller and I was a bit worried that my tired and pregnant self would be carrying my not so little boy all over the zoo.  He did amazing though and walked nearly the entire afternoon.  We saw all sorts of animals, ate lunch, and swung on nearly every railing in every exhibit.  He did associate animals with tv shows that him and Dominik watch; mom fail!  "Lion guard" animals were the hippos, birds, cheetahs, and lions; "Kung Fu Panda" were the pandas.  I realized how much I need to work on learning with Parker!!  The kids got street smarts and good looks, but not much else.  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Overall a great day!!  Sure love my little man and I love our little outings where I learn new things about him.  I can't wait to have many more fun outings just like this one!!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Oceanside Fun

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the beach.  However, my family loves it so I'm trying to be a good sport and plan beach days that we all can enjoy.  Lucky for me I have great friends that know all the great beach spots and that makes everything that much better.  We chose to go to Oceanside this past Saturday because TJ and Grant were working at Camp Pendleton .  The thought was to pick a beach close to them so they could join us for some fun.  We started the day off driving through Carlsbad and checked out a fun pumpkin patch.  Since the kids were asleep we didn't dare get them out.  We continied our drive up to Oceanside and lucky for us all the kids woke up just in time to help unpack and head to the beach.  

The beach weather could not have been more perfect.  Mid 70s and a nice breeze.  The tide was low so the kids had some fun shallow water to kick around in without getting too near the big waves.  We built sand castles, dug lots of holes, played with the rocks, ate snacks, and then to top of all off the dad's got off earlier than expected and came to join in on the fun!  Beach days like this might just convince me to like the beach!!
 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the sun started to set we went over to the harbor to enjoy some delicious Mexican seafood.  The restaurant just happened to be the same on that Tj and I went to on our honeymoon!  It was so fun to be back!!  The food was amazing, the view incredible, and the company was the best part.  What a fantastic day!

 

 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pumpkin"ish" Patch

Fall is by far my most favorite time of year.  I love the colder weather, the smells, the festivities, and most of all pumpkins everythibg!!  Living in OKI for the last three years I have had to live with no fall, little fall festivities, and worst of all...no pumpkins :( it was devastating!!  Needless to say, this year I was more than a little excited to celebrate a fall in the states!!  Luckily Trader Joe's has more than accommodated my pumpkin needs, however I was still on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin patch.  Something with lots of pumpkins, corn maze, tractor rides, apple cider, and fun fall activities for the kids.  Is that too much to ask?

 

I have been asking around and the consensus from friends was that Bates Nut Farm was the place to go.  We went last Saturday very optimistic for our first San Diego pumpkin patch.  I was a little let down by the 90 degree weather, but was too excited to party with the pumpkins to let that little hiccup get me down.  When we arrived there were a million cars in the parking lot and it was $5 to just park your car.  I get that this is a family business, but when you have fields and fields of open space for parking it seems like you would want patrons to spend their money having fun in your facilities and not have to spend it simply parking their car.  Still...I was optimistic at the fun to be had!!  

Once we parked and got into the farm I realized that this "pumpkin patch" was merely a fall festival and was going to cost a ton of money.  Every attraction (rock climbing, face painting, pony rides, petting zoo) cost at least $2.50 and had lengthy lines.  Few of the venues were even fall themed and aside from a small pumpkin patch in the back and some hay bails strewn about I'm not sure that I would even have known it was a pumpkin patch at all.  Pumpkins were $7 or $.50 a pound which ever was more.  It was hard to keep the kids content and of course they wanted to do all the really expensive activities.  At this point I was hot and frustrated that we drove 45 minutes for a carnival and even more mad that there wasn't anything to do for free.   Not that I'm a freeloader, but it would be nice if there were some attractions that could appease the kids and we didn't spend a bunch of money to do.  I mean we already paid to park!!

We spent a total of 30 minutes at the Nut Farm, I got my annual pumpkin picture of the kids and their pumpkins and then we headed out.  We picked up some pumpkins at the grocery store in the way home that were way cheaper and honestly were probably from the same pumpkin farm that Bates ordered theirs from.  This post seems very pessimistic and for that I apologize.  I just love fall son much and was so excited for Parker to get his first taste of a true fall.  Of which Bates Nut Farm was a huge let down.  Just one more reason to believe that the PAC NW is best!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Old Poway Park

Moving to new places with friends always takes the sting out of moving.  We are so lucky to have moved here to San Diego with the Laytons!  Despite their choice to move 15 minutes away from us (maybe 6 houses down was too close for comfort in OKI) we still love spending as much time as we can with them.  Taryn told me of a fun train park with a farmers markets near their house that they go to on Saturdays and it sounded like so much fun that we decided to invite ourselves and tag along!

Little did we know there was an 19th century reenactments happening the Saturday we decided to go so the farmers market had a whole other element to it that made the day that much more fun!  Part of our train ride was even a train robbery done by some of the 19th century characters.  They pretend got shot and the two marshalls on our train jumped to our rescue and protected us.  The boys loved it!!
 

 

 

 

After the train ride we explored the farmers market.  I love going to these things and sampling the local flavors and recipes.  We bought some homemade chips and salsa and sampled pretty much everythibg we could.  Dominiks favorite was the croutons...funny kid!! Overall a great day with some great friends!!  Can't wait for many more like it!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Family; isn't it about Time

One of the perks of living in San Diego - the main reason we wanted to move here - was so we could be close to the Finlayson clan.  Aside from our year living in Vegas for TJs undergrad (and before we had kids) we haven't ever lived near enough for a quick visit and never had much money for multiple long visits.  Well now we find ourselves a quick drive away and plenty of long holiday weekends to soak up as much family time as possible!

This year for Labor Day we decided that a trip was in order.  Technically the drive is only supposed to be about 5 1/2 hours, but once you factor in kids, stops, and traffic, the drive there took us about 9 hours.  We almost ran out of gas, Parker and potty training made for some fun roadside stops of peeing on bushes (resulting in him still thinking the world is his bathroom and needs to be peed on), and I forgot all the snacks on our kitchen counter; all made for a fun, fun, did I say fun? Trip!  

 

Once we were with family everything was great!  Brian and Latoya along with Kamilla and new sweet baby Xavier also stayed the weekend with us which made the Darcy extra special!  I got lots of snuggles with Xavier in and it was most fantastic!  He is such an angel!!  Dominik as Parker were in cloud 9 as they ran around shoeless, played with cousins, and swam in the muddy river to their hearts content.  I tried to relax as I could slowly feel my anxiety rise over all the boyish stuff happening with my very helicoptered children...and I think I did quite well!!  

 

 

 

 

Linda worked so hard to make the weekend special and we even got to do a shabu-Shabu dinner with everyone and share with the family some of our Okinawan culture.  

I sure love my family and feel so blessed to have married into such an amazing one!!!  I can't wait for many more long weekends that will surely be as fabulous as this one!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Worst Part of Parenting

I'm just going to start off by saying how much I detest potty training.  It's a month long nightmare full of bodily fluids all over, devoting all your time and energy to one specific thing, and trying to stay optimistic despite wanting to put your fist through a wall.  Dominik was a stubborn and lazy child when it came to potty training and I'm sad to say that my hopes weren't much higher for how things would go with Parker.  We knew we wanted to potty train before baby comes and once Dominik was in school and I only had one kid at home during the days seemed like a good time to start.  Parker had been showing interest in the toilet and has always been motivated by "gumby," or candy as it is known to the rest of the world. 

To start off this adventure we all went to the store and Parker picked out his favorite potty candies and poo-poo candies (sweet arts and fun sized MnMs) and some Disney undies.  He seemed pretty stoked and Tj and I were praying fervently that it would last!!  Well 2 days later and no accidents!!!  Full disclosure he hadn't pooped at all, but he had no problem going potty in the toilet...and even all by himself!!! We could not have been prouder!!  At times he would get off the toilet and scream "I so excited!!!" So stinking cute!!!  

 

 

A week and a half later and only a handful of potty accidents but he still had yet to poop in the toilet.  I was getting tired of cleaning poop out of underwater!!  So I bought a big candy bar and took his binkie away and lromised he could have both if he would poop on the toilet.  It worked!!!  What a champ!!!  Now we are a month later and this kid is completely potty trained (with the exception of nighttime).  We are so so so happy at how hard Parker has worked and couldn't be more excited to have this part of parenting behind us!!!