Sunday, July 16, 2017

kid update: pooh bear

age: 3 1/2

what porter can do: he is becoming quite the big boy! he gets dressed by himself [often backwards but hey, he does it himself!], he's learned how to buckle his own seatbelt. he is potty trained but still has pee accidents often because he gets lazy. he doesn't nap but will fall asleep in the car sometimes. he can count to 15 no problem which is better then landon did at this age. he can recognize some letters and is really excited to learn. too bad his mom is so lazy. he is also starting to write his name which is fun. he loves to sing and can sing a lot of songs, although he is very shy about it. porter is usually the first one to tell us that "accidents happen" or "no more yelling". which is ironic because he fights quite often with his brothers. he is pretty good at patterns and plays really well independently. his new thing is, "mom, i have a question to tell you" and then he tells us a statement. sometimes he'll tell me, "don't forget your favorite pooh bear!".

what porter loves: he likes counting and can do it pretty well for a three year old. he loves puzzles, reading, and playing outside. some of his favorite shows are dino trucks, animal mechanical, and nexo knights. poor kid doesn't have much that's his own interests because his brother is pretty dominant. he likes his teddy bear and beanie bag puppy. he loves his treats and snacks, not so much his meals. he loves his brothers [as soon as we pull away from dropping landon off at school, he says "i miss landon"] but his daddy and mommy are #1. daddy is his favorite but only because he indulges porter. porter and justin are quite similar. he loves to ask me questions and most of the time they're nonsense or don't make sense. usually when we're driving. i'm glad he is inquizitive but it sure takes a toll on you. he loves snuggles and is a very affectionate little guy. he knows his age and will usually only give me 3 kisses because he's 3 years old. he's recently acquired his own friends. granted, they are his brother's friend's brothers. he tells me his best friend is ryan and kellan. he only likes me to sing ONE song at bed time but lots of snuggles. he has a sensitive soul and doesn't like it when people say mean things to him or exclude him.

what porter hates: waiting turns or sharing, like most kids. he doesn't like when i force him to eat things. he RARELY eats dinner because of this. he hates getting his teeth brushed but he's getting better. he doesn't like it when i have to help him with things. he is as slow as molassess and is always the last one with his shoes on, out the door, or buckled in his carseat. that being said, he sometimes tells me when he's taking too long buckeling his seatbelt,  "am i wasting your time mom?" that just breaks me heart. i keep telling him, "you're the reason i have time! you're not wasting it" but he doesn't quite understand what he's saying or what i'm saying back. i don't know where he heard that because i for sure never have told him he's wasting my time but still, the things kids pick up.

what we're working on: not being the last one ready, eating food, especially fruits and vegetables. i seriously have to force him to eat one piece of fruit a day [that isn't applesaue]. learning letter names and sounds. writing his name. not chewing on his nails. sleeping through the night without a diaper [i have to sneak it on him once he's asleep]. pedaling a bike and learning how to swim.

what we're looking forward to: preschool with mommy in the fall, summer vacations, and lots of 'nuggles and treats.
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

here comes summer camp!

flat grandma came with me on my first day of school.
she's been very supportive.
man it's been a while since i've written on here. what can i say? i finally have a life. i've had my lessons planned out for several weeks and even have two months of my preschool planned out. my room is all set up and is fantastic. i have a lot of support from my family and  *some of my friends. i didn't get first day jitters until i went to bed the night before. to preface this, i hadn't filled up my class and i had been praying to the lord for *just one more kid* to make me feel like i'm really being productive/profitable/on the right track with my life. then the night before i got one more. heavenly father is truly amazing and i have no doubt he hears my prayers.

anywho so i have 4 kids wednesday (3 girls and 1 boy) then thursday i have 5 boys (2 of them are mine and 2 are our best buddies). not too shabby for my first forray into teaching! [and my preschool is happily filled as well]. each week we have a fun theme to explore and learn about. it's amazing the change i've seen in myself since deciding i wanted to pursure this. as i make my lesson plans and figuring out logistics, it's all just fallen into place. we still want to have one more kid which would throw a wrench in teaching but i'm just taking one week at a time.

now i am for sure one to toot her own horn so i have to say, TOOT! TOOT! i am a pretty fun summer camp teacher. i did it a couples times for friends before and i have a lot of experience teaching kids so it comes quite naturally to me. i don't know how preschool will go but summer camp will be fun. i've only got one week in my pocket but i think i'll enjoy it. surprisingly, i was/am not a kid person. i don't love snuggling kids that aren't my own but when it comes to teaching and managing kids in a controlled setting [like school or soccer], i can do it pretty well. i'm also super glad i'm doing this camp because it's helped me 'test run' my room and how i teach. hopefully once school starts in august i'll have a lot of the kinks worked out. hopefully i can say at the end of the summer i enjoyed it and can't wait to do it again. only time will tell!

*not all of them sadly.
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

harrisons on holiday: californi-yay! part III

day #6
by this day we were all beyond pooped! we had to take a slower day but not snail speed. dave and kristi wanted to go see the USS midway so we went to downtown san diego. we ended up getting there a little later then i had hoped. parking was a nightmare but the actual ship was very cool. i think bigger kids might have enjoyed it more. it was GINORMOUS! so many planes inside! it was amazing how they construct and do everything in those ships. we stayed there about 2-3 hours and could have stayed longer but the food choices were sparse and the kids were starving.

we left there and went to cafe coyoto, a harrison family favorite since aunt lynsey went to school there. it's in old town san diego so after lunch [and a very horrible pooping incident with my two big boys], we visited the mormon battalion. i haven't been here in years and was expecting to just stop by and look outside for a bit. the sister missionaries convinced us they could do an abbreviated tour for us so we decided to give it a shot. we were not disappointed! they've completely rehauled the tour to make it very kid friendly and fun. you moved room to room with some characters that appear in picture frames [reminds me a lot of the haunted mansion at disneyland] and get to dress like a solider, play music at the camp site, see a lighted fire, and even take a glamorous family picture. outside you can pan for gold in water, build bricks, and climb up the tower for a gorgeous view. it was a highlight of our trip.
that night we visited belmont park again and spent too much money on our kids. seriously, that place is a parent trap.

day #7
our last day we were on the hunt for landon's prize. he had saved his money up for months and still couldn't find something he wanted to buy. kristi had gone to a SWAP meet a few days before with her friend so she suggested we go there. it was actually pretty cool. it was my first time at a SWAP meet and it did not disappoint. i wish we lived there because there were several things i wanted to take home. sadly, all we did were some fidget spinners and seashells. so naturally our next stop was target where landon got a giant pokemon box set. we grabbed some supplies and headed for home.

our neighbors happened to be in the san diego area at the same time as us met us at the beach after lunch for some fun in the sun. they also have 3 boys who are almost the same ages as ours. we collected so many seashells and even clams! i had high hopes of killing those suckers a la the walrus in 'alice in wonderland' but kris has a bigger heart then me and threw them back in the ocean. we BBQed together after hours of playing at the beach then spent our last night at belmont park riding rides.

day #8
we happily said sayonara to san diego and headed home towards las vegas. we stopped at the san diego temple RIGHT as griffin had fallen asleep. but luckily he woke up right as soon as we were leaving. we got stuck in a HORRIBLE accident that made our 6 hour trip into a 9 hour one. i seriously thought we were going to die of old age on that highway. then we got lost in victorville and it was terribly hot and everyone had to pee. it was the worst. every single time we go to CA, we say we'll never go back because the traffic is insane. yet we go back, every single time. we are insane.

in all we had a blast and i'm so glad we got so much grandpa and kristi time. they were so generous and helpful; we couldn't have asked for a better family vacation after the terrible 6 months that is the legislative session.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

harrisons on holiday: californi-yay! part II

day #4
this day was a LEGOLAND day! our beach house was about an hour away from the park so we left early to gas up. last time we went to legoland we stayed at the hotel so parking and entering was a little bit different. we got there pretty soon after it opened and we expected it to be a whole lot less busy! for a tuesday, it was pretty hopping! i should have known though. the rooms at the hotel go for $300-500/night during the summer. can you imagine?! that's insane.

now a lot of people have asked me how it compares to disneyland and it's just different. at disneyland you can: go on rides, eat delicious treats, watch amazing shows, or go shopping. at legoland, you can: go on rides, eat mediocre treats, watch 4D movies, go shopping, but best of all, go to interactive stations. that's what really sets legoland apart from disneyland. there's stations to build and race cars, build and race boats, make and trade figurines, tons of play areas, and splash/water pad. and i love how in the long rides, theres usually a toddler play area where the kids can play while their grown ups wait in line. pretty amazing. now the downside: food is not as good but they have good deals for kids after 5pm.

tuesday we spent a few hours at the park, had lunch and then went to the water park. this section was closed when we came in january so we really wanted to check it out. it is super fun and would be awesome to do it you.

day #5
this was a FULL ON legoland day. the parks opens at 10am to the public and 9am for hotel guests. we showed up at 9:30am and got in the park early- score! of course we rode ninjago back to back with the rider swap. then we hit up the main rides we knew the kids loved the best. we had lunch at the pizza buffet then grandpa dave and kristi joined us at the park for half the day. we raced our lego cars, visited miniland USA, and went on coastersaurus as many times as we could! grandpa and daddy worked hard to win landon and porter some awful and giant pokemon prizes which was all that landon really wanted there.

for the medieval jousting horse ride, legoland has a crazy rule that the kids have to reach a certain height AND be 4 years old. well that didn't stop us! we told landon and porter they needed to fib and tell the attendant that porter is 4 [i know, great parents we are]. when we were in line, the attendant kept eyeing us and even made a point to go up to the front and announce the age rule again [very pointedly, might i add]. when porter got in line, he asked him how old he was. porter relied, "uh...uh...i'm..." and i thought i was toast. thankfully landon piped up and said "he's 4! he's 4!" a little too enthusiastically. then porter started saying he was 4 and they let him on. seriously, i feel bad encouraging my kids to ride but that's just a crazy rule. once we got back to vegas, porter and landon would bring that up to each other and tell each other to tell others porter was 4. what did i start?!

we decided to just completely go all out on legoland this day and exhaust ourselves and the kids there. we stayed for dinner because there was a great coupon available and did some of our favorite rides again. all of us were EXHAUSTED but it's better then sitting in CA rush hour traffic. we didn't leave the park until 6:30pm that day. that's right, 9 hours at legoland. we were pooped but we had a blast.

legoland tips
- bring in snacks- lots of them. on their website it tells you not to bring in outside food but they don't care and you'll need lots of snacks.
- eat at the pizza and pasta buffet. kids under 3 eat free. adults are $20, kids $10 but you can take a small soda for everyone when you leave. and fill up your reusable souvenir cup [which is only $1 refills]
- eat a delicious crepe in the legoland friends heart city [girl area]. i think the apple fries are not worth the hype.
- take advantage of the rider swap [much like disneyland]. you can take the two kids with one adult then switch adults and let the kids go twice in a row [entering in the exit and skipping the line]. we did this on ninjago, a ride griffin could go on, just so the boys could go twice and not have to wait in the lines.
- the park opens at 9am for hotel guests. we showed up at 9:30 and got in no problem. worth coming early.
- at the first of the morning, the rides in the back are less crowded so go there first.
- collect rides buttons at some of the rides. just ask the ride attendant. they're free souvenirs.
- download the legoland app. there are offers on there that save you money and it is helpful to find out wait times/location. it's not as awesome as disneyland's but still pretty functional.
- legoland is always taking your picture and trying to charge you for it. when in line for the characters, just ask them to take pictures with your own camera for free.
- we don't buy a ton of souvrniors at the big shop or at the park. you can buy things before hand and give it to your kids for half the price. the smashed pennies are fun and cheap prizes. building your own mini-figurines is fun and worth the $10.
- speaking of mini-figurines, you can bring in your old, ugly, and hand missing ones and trade any of the workers for the ones they wear/have at their station. pretty fun!
- be on the lookout for the golden figurine. if you find it at the park, you'll win a free season pass.
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harrisons on holiday: californi-yay! part I

remember how we got legoland season passes from grandpa dave at christmas? since justin was gone from january-june, we knew he'd get a week of vacation after session ended and we wanted to go to legoland again. justin thought it would be fun to invite grandpa and kristi to come with us. that turned into a week's long vacation at a family friend's beach house they rent out on mission beach [san diego, ca]. we decided to go father's day weekend and invite kristi's parents to go with. lynsey & skyler couldn't make it because she's round and pregnant and with her new job in washington and an impending maternity leave, time off is precious.

day #0
the night before we left for our vacation, dave, kristi, justin, and i went out for some grown up time. to prepare for the storm, in a way. we all got pedicures [hallelujah!] and the girls got manicures. such a wonderful treat! they put this mystery chemical on justin's feet that basically made his calluses just melt off. afterwords we went to a delicious mexican restaurant and planned out our adventure.

day #1
kristi's birthday! we left bright and early. justin and i woke up at 4am and packed up the car. we got the kids in and of course, they didn't fall back asleep until hours later. porter didn't go back to sleep at all [and he's the one who needs the most sleep]. we stopped for donuts and to change our clothes in victorville [hello pokemon donuts! you know my son so well] then kept on trucking to san diego. we made it to the beach house well before noon. after unpacking, we walked to the boardwalk [not even 2 blocks away] and went to lunch. i've been to mission beach several times before [my sisters even tried to get me to get a tattoo there!]. it's not my favorite beach but it's definitely fun with the carnival games/rides. justin and i took the kids to the beach later in the afternoon and if you follow me on instagram, you know it was terrible.

when justin and i went to florida, we brought back landon a treasure box filled with some seashells [still the best vacation ever. because we were in florida, but mainly because we didn't have kids with us] and porter has been jealous of it ever since. so that's what porter mainly did while landon splashed in the ocean and built sandcastles. griffin was not a fan of the chilly pacific water [another reason why florida is the] so he did a little bit of everything but mainly liked playing with balls and other people's toys. that night, dave made a trip to costco so we enjoyed the best pizza in the world that night and went to bed early.

y am sick of those perfectly posed pictures of families on beaches; looking gorgeous, tan, with happy smiling kids that look like they belong in GAP ads. maybe i'm doing parenting wrong but it was nothing like that for us. you pack so many things and plan to stay for a while and the kids just go crazy! granted, they got better after a little bit more exposure, but it's still pretty stressful. especially when you've got anxious parents and cranky kids.

day #2
the next morning was father's day and we dedicated it to taking it easy. it was also the sabbath day and while we couldn't make it to a church, we tried to play games as a family, read scriptures, and listen to church songs and hang out. after lunch and naps, we headed down to the beach with dave and kristi. that day was much better. the kids knew what to expect and so did justin and i. justin and dave played catch on the beach and it was a picture, perfect, hallmark moment. we buried dave in sand and just enjoyed ourselves. after a few hours there we came back to the house and dave grilled some food for us. after a bath, we headed down to belmont park [where all the carnival rides are] for dessert and rides. the weather was so perfect too. vegas had a huge heatwave, hitting 117 degrees [an all-time record high] while san diego was a cool 75. the kids didn't go to bed until close to 10pm but it was worth it.

day #3
monday we knew we wanted to go visit the san diego zoo. kristi has a friend who lives here and she suggested that would be a good day to visit. the zoo is not too far away from the beach house and we got there right at opening. you always hear how amazing and big the san diego zoo is and it did not disappoint. it was giant and very well maintained. justin and i are the world's best parents and we've taken our kids to several zoos in the past [sacramento, santa barbara, miami, phoenix, salt lake, and now san diego]. this was by far the nicest in the most ways. you easily could spend several days there but we crammed a lot in in one day. my fitbit clocked in almost 17k steps that day! there were lots of hills but thankfully a lot of pushers for the double stroller. my favorite animals were the koalas [seriously, they sleep 20 hours and then eat for 4. that is the life]. the giraffes were amazing as well. they had a pretty cool tour bus that gave you a good overview of the zoo and then a bus that would help cut down on the walking. the kids and grown ups were just DRAGGING by hour 7. the heat plus all the walking and sugar just wore us all down. once we were in the car, all three were out. that night we had some down time and brought some mexican in and have a nice chill night.

to be continued...
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

this week: summer edition

this week

i started my summer camp.

i stopped taking [daily] naps. for the good...ish

i'm going off my crazy pills and i'm feeling a little crazy

justin and i are getting pedicures together

we're loading up 3 kiddos, 6 grown ups, and 2 dogs and hitting the road

we'll be celebrating two of the greatest guys i know in sunny california

i'll be mere feet away from the sandy beach

animals will run in fear from the harrison hoard

legos will be constructed on land and water

i'll become a california raisin after all the vitamin d i'll get

i cannot wait
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

sedona: park city with cacti

well it finally happened - my best friend got married!

kayla and i have been friends since the dawn of time. we met playing peewee soccer and played on the same team for years. she moved to my school in the 4th grade and the rest is history! we have always been very similar - and thus fought A LOT! we compete over everything and did almost everything together. we shared boyfriends, played on the same lacrosse and soccer teams, were in the same choirs, in the same classes at school; there is almost nothing we did without the other [except that time she played basketball like weirdo]. most of my childhood school memories involve kayla. we had always said that we would be each other's maid of honors and now it was my turn.
just like old times

i threw her her bachelorette and bridal shower at the end of last year and the wedding weekend finally came. we weren't sure if we would have to bring the kids with us or not but thankfully it all worked out in the end that justin and i could go solo. thank goodness because fancy weddings are no places for kids! especially when the mom is MIA most of the weekend.

we drove out to sedona thursday afternoon and barely got in town in time for the rehearsal dinner. we had to drive through flagstaff and hit a snowstorm. as i was driving in my flip flops and sandals, i was very worried that i hadn't properly packed for this trip. thankfully once we got in sedona it was lightly raining and cleared up in time for the wedding. dinner that night was at a yummy mexican restaurant with some delicious churros. justin and i were able to have a great night together hot tubbing and staying up late watching HGTV.

friday morning i slept in until 9am [the luxery!]. that whole day i spent at kayla's room with the other bridesmaids. this being my first [and last] time as a legit bridesmaid, i wasn't fully prepared for what i was supposed to do but it was fun. we spent a lot of time getting ready, taking pictures, and helping kayla. justin spent the whole day in a hotel bed chilling out which he desperately needed. once we were all ready, i helped kayla and zack take their bridals up in the hills. gorgeous! but i was not prepared for a hike. i don't know how kayla did it in a wedding dress! then we went back, got the bridal party and then did another little hike to take pictures all together.

i should mention that i had the hardest time finding a bridesmaids dress. the ones at david's bridal were not modest at all. thankfully justin's old coworker is a fantastic seamstress and makes her own clothes all the time. she made me my dress which i love!

the actual ceremony was gorgeous. it was perfect weather and kayla looked stunning. the reception was so much fun too. she had an awesome smores bar, dancing, and the best trail mix i've ever had. and like all the best parties i've ever been to, we left before 10pm*. success!
didn't miss us at all at chuckee cheese

the next day was not quite as wonderful since we had to leave town. we decided that we'd try to squeeze in a hike and left later that morning. well if you know hiking, you don't leave later in the morning. we got incredibly lost trying to find the spot and once we found it, all of the parking spots were no where in sight. like we would have had to park two miles away on an inaccessible. i don't HIKE before my HIKE, ya know what i mean?? honestly though we couldn't have even done that because they didn't allow pedestrians on that road. bummer center. either way, we enjoyed most of a saturday kids free!

once we got home, the kids smothered us with love. we spent our day playing outside and enjoying some prime family time. i don't really have a desire to go back there ever again. it was gorgeous and all but vacations aren't vacations unless they involve a beach and a slurpee.

*her dad's truck had broken down and needed a ride that day
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Friday, April 7, 2017

kid update: landon can read!

age: 5 1/2

poundage: too heavy to go on my piggy back rides but light enough for horsey rides...barely

at STEAM club
what landon can do: read! and he reads pretty well. we've soared through a few BOB book sets and he can even read some normal, longer books from the library. i was so proud when he read "go dog go" all by himself in one sitting. that book is long! he really loves books and his favorite day is library day- when i bring home books i picked out for him from the library [sadly his school doesn't have one but we go enough that that was not a big deal for me]. he loves going to STEAM club at the library weekly and is my future engineer. he can brush his teeth and wipe his booty...but not enough that it can go unsupervised. he can now use a tablet and remote basically by himself. he's still not very proficient and i'm very proud of that!  he is pretty amazing at soccer and i can accurately tell you that he is our best player. he's aggressive, fast, and does well on offense and defense. he's also doing very well at school. behaviorally, he's always doing great. his work is usually done accurately and quickly. i've got zero school complaints. and he likes writing letters to people...but only if they promise to send him a $1 back. he has got a memory like an elephant! for reals, he'll wake up and instantly remind me what we were talking about before. he'll remind me of promises made eons ago or ideas mentioned. that's turned out to be pretty terrible because sometimes adults around him make empty promises or plant ideas that they never plan on fulfilling. he's a persistent little dude.

he thought i wouldn't recognize him
with his "hair done"
what landon loves: he loves loves loves legos and usually will choose to do that over anything else. except when he wants to play nerf guns. he is so helpful and a wonderful big brother...except when he teases them. his new obsession is nexo knight legos and also ninjago legos. he's got the entrepreneurial spirit in him and is always looking for ways to earn money. he doesn't always do a good job at chores but he tries. he loves crepes and he likes treats well enough but never overindulgence and often leaves some leftover. he loves playing with his boy friends and playing make believe, although the costumes have fallen a bit by the wayside. he loves playing games or doing activities one on one with me or justin [i'm still his favorite]. he loves sundays because he gets to play on daddy's tablet for an hour. landon loves being read to and just talking one on one. he's not the best singer but he loves music.

what landon hates: eggs [like me] so i don't force it. he is pretty much a wonderful eater and will eat even the worst meals [to him] enough to get a treat/be done. he doesn't enjoy being at home too long or doing laundry. he hates the dentist and acts like a baby there. so much so it surprises me. landon is really a terrific kid who is obedient, helpful, and funny. so on those rare occasions when he throws a fit or does something so uncharacteristic [or fitting for a 5 year old] i am flabbergasted. he really is an awesome first child.

what we're working on: taking off his training wheels, learning how to tie his shoes, wiping unassisted, handwriting [although he is above the curve in his classroom], reading, and not teasing his brothers. but let's face it; that's justin's favorite past time so it's inevitable that it gets passed on.

what we're looking forward to: spring break in arizona, visiting legoland water park with daddy once carson is done, summer swim lessons, his nexo knight birthday party, summer camp with mommy, and not going to school all day.
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

a new purpose

dear blog,

i'm sorrry i've neglected you. it's been a month - over a month actually. how in the world have i let my most prized possession go to the wayside? well, a combination of things really.

my husband is gone. all the time. and when he is home, it's harder in different ways. this time, session has been harder on him [whereas last session i was the one hobbling along] and porter especially. he is such a daddy's boy and justin is such a porter's boy. still though, a missing husband means i've taken up more duties while justin has to work more hours. it's not fair on either one of us but it's how it is. you know how when you lie in bed at night, you can just talk to your spouse about any and everything that crosses your mind and you feel 100% connected? we have the opposite of that. facetiming a few minutes at the end of long, stressful days for both of us has taken a toll on our relationship and our family. only a few more months to go! you'd think after years of being together and so much time spent apart, we'd know how to do a long distance relationship but sadly, no. it's still the worst thing in the world.

and then there's my depression. i've had good days, better days, and then some terrible no good days. i'm on some new drugs that help me in some ways and i'm grateful for that. thankfully i've had more and more good days lately. that's another reason why i've been MIA - a good reason.

i have found a purpose. i know, how crazy does that sound? i love being a mother. it is MY purpose. it's why i wake up and when i'm not doing it, i am missing it all. still though, i need more. i've wanted more but had no idea what. i've thought of things, pondered and prayed, searched and researched; still nothing. then in a moment of need, an idea came to me.

that seed was planted and it grew. then i got excited and started looking into it. and then i found myself excited and planning. i talked to some people and they encouraged me. i made plans. i talked to my husband. i made up a flyer and it was done.

i'm running a summer camp. and then i'm teaching preschool. well... i hope to at least.

i recently started coaching landon's soccer team. i've coached several times in the past and i realized that is when i am the happiest. i love coaching! that's why i chose to study exercise science in college. i have always wanted to coach and now i was doing it. and i'll get a whopping $40 for the whole 4 months. yipee! i couldn't figure out how i could make money coaching and stay at home with my kids. then my favorite summer preschool teacher got pregnant and couldn't teach the summer. i thought of doing a co-op with friends but honestly, i don't trust people to do it at the caliber i'd do it at [snotty much??]. that's when it hit me. i could do a summer camp. i could make money doing it. i could teach preschool. i could do it for several years and still be there for my kids.

i've always loved teaching my kids. it's something i've got a natural talent for. i've never been a huge fan of kids though. honestly the thought of babysitting for people makes me anxious and very depressed. but i constantly offer to do it for my friends and once i get through it, i realize it's not as bad as i thought. but i love my kids. so so much. and coaching kids? i love that! teaching kids in primary? so much fun! babysitting? no way jose! i honestly can't see the difference between it all but that's how it is.

i'm terrified. not that i can't do it. i KNOW i can do it. and i KNOW i can do it well. but i don't have a teaching degree. i don't have a license. i don't have grass. how am i going to do this? thankfully i have an amazing kindergarten teacher who is a wonderful resource and huge help. i have a mother who taught for years and is the greatest teacher i know. i've been given things and bought educational tools for years. i KNOW how to talk and teach kids. i KNOW how to do this. but what i don't have is confidence. what if people don't sign up? what if they don't think i'm worth the money? what if they are disappointed in how i teach? what if they want someone with actual teaching experience? what if i really can't cut it? and what in the world do i do with griffin?

answers are coming. answers will keep coming. i trust in heavenly father and i feel like this is what i should be doing right now. so i guess only time will tell. either i'll be successful or a major disappointment. either way, things will be learned and i'll be better for it.

but please, don't ask me to babysit. i'll say yes but secretly hate it.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

baby update: go go griffin-dor

poundage: 28ish... i really should weigh my kids and make this more accurate but i'm much too lazy.

teethage: 12 but he has some budding through, poor booger boy.

what the baby can say: mama, dada, ball, show [i know right? face palm], book, shoes, milk, water.

what griffin loves: his mama! he's not quite as attached to me as he has been but i'm still #1 in his book. he loves milk, raisins/craisins, books, balls, little legos [even though he's not supposed to play with these, he is CONSTANTLY trying to get at them]. climbing onto high structures [esp tables], being outside, treats. he loves to steal our PVC pipe sliding door jam. like constantly trying to grab at it. he loves froggy [our gym grandma] and mema. he loves playing with his brothers and mimicking what they're doing. he LOVES the bath and loves laying on his tummy. his blankies- he'll carry around ALL or none of them. and he has like 5 in his bed right now.

what griffin hates: brushing his teeth, missing out on the fun, waiting his turn, not seeing up high, not sitting at the counter, not getting picked up.

what griffin can do: climb, play with other kids, clean up, starting to hold a crayon and color on things. he can feed himself pretty well. he can run and climb on the playground by himself [with a hovering mom]. he goes to nursery [a perk of having a mom in the presidency who knows when there's a change of regime who wouldn't notice a 16 month old...] and does awesome at it. i think going to the kids gym since he was 2 1/2 months old helped a lot. poor griffin. he can play duck duck goose, go grab his shoes, or other things. he's starting to identify and respond to instruction which is fun.

what we're working on: listening, playing well with his brothers, words. he's not too interested in baby sign or maybe i just wasn't as diligent in teaching it as i was before.

what we're looking forward to: i guess it should be nursery but that one is covered... grandma shell coming into town. going to arizona and meeting our new niece.

he recently had a bad bout of ditherer which was so disgusting. one night he pooped in the bathtub. twice. i even got it on camera. although he can be quite a stinker, he is totally my favorite right now. he loves to mimic his brother [chasing them, growling/screaming like they do, wrestling]. he is so cute and funny. it makes me so sad because i missed this time in porter's life because i was 9 months pregnant and then had a newborn. explains a lot about how porter is. either way, i love griffin and i'm loving this stage in his life right now. griffi-bear, you are my sweet little baby bear! go go griffindor!

*and for some reason he thinks undies go on heads. i can't figure out why but i completely support it.
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

what i want out of life

it's been a while since i've written just to write. believe me, i've had ideas. usually after 10:30pm when i'm laying in bed, i'll be thinking over my day and map out a post that i think people would like to read and i would like to write. and then i drift off into neverland until my middle child [who chronically smells like pee] climbs into bed and makes my right arm go numb from snuggling. #momproblems

a few days ago i celebrated galentine's day with my girlfriends. ladies celebrating ladies over [dessert] breakfast. we were tasked to share the story of one lady from history that did something amazing. a fashion designer, queen, prophet's wife, YW president, and first lady were discussed. during these conversations, one friend brought up the idea of writing one's own eulogy to figure out what you want to accomplish in life. to help you map out your goals and figure out what's the most important. she felt haunted by her lack of formal education until she realized that's not what she wanted to be known for. living a life of service was more important and needful for her situation. and let me tell you, she is doing that.

the next day, that same friend [who despite her lack of a degree is one of the most fascinating people to talk to. she thoroughly enjoys listening to TED talks or reading non-fiction. esp cleaning books but that part is annoying] sent me a talk she had seen floating around on facebook a while back ago. it's called 'keeping life's demands in balance' by m. russell ballard. in it, he talks about doing the important things and offers up some suggestions. he mentions the story of alma the younger. after having seen thousands of lamanites killed in battle, without knowing the gospel, he laments that he cannot be angel and speak the word of God like a trumpet [aka missionary work but in ultra high def]. he longed to be more then what he was. he wanted to go and do one thing but that wasn't in the plan. he says 'why should i desire more than to perform the work to which i have been called?" [alma 29:6]

like most women, i am constantly asking myself "am i enough?". i worry that i'm not doing this right and i'm never going to be like so-and-so. growing up i wanted to sing. and ride in the rodeo. and be a soccer star. and own 7-11s [some dreams never change]. i never quite figured out what i wanted to do professionally but i knew i wanted to be a mom. and here i am, a mom, and i still feel unsettled. but why? i'm living my dream, i'm doing what i'm meant to be doing but why am i questioning my worth? i'm not saying i'm done dreaming or accomplishing. one day i WILL figure out what i want to do and i do want to work again. but my #1 job right now is mom. some famous dead person i don't care about said that the worst thing you can do is get what you want. or something like that.

so here's my eugoogaly.

melissa michelle harrison [zobrist] died tragically saturday afternoon when a slurpee machine fell on top of her. heroically, she pushed little kids out of the way of the fall [while others reported she had cut in line]*. melissa was 82 years old and is survived by her four sons; landon of new york city, porter of his mother's basement, griffin of california, and jack of all trades. she is now happily reunited with her sweetheart of over a million years, justin, who tragically died at the age of 45 from an antelope stamped in the african safari with the love of his life, steven**. melissa lived a full life and accomplished much in her years on this earth. known for her love of music, she successfully taught her sons to sing and play the piano mediocrely. she loved reading young adult fiction, even though she was an old grandma; she still kicked it. she actively participated in her local YMCA fitness classes, even leading a group of widows on a mountain hike. melissa served in many positions during her membership of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. she was basically happy whenever she could boss people around and make her ideas the best ideas. tragically, melissa never did get grass in her front yard and will now be haunting her place of residence for the many years to come. in leiu of flowers, melissa requested that everyone mourn her for seven days while wearing all pink, taking long baths, and drinking a coke slurpee.

*other way i can conceivably see myself dying
1- diabetes from slurpees
2- baking accident from using too much baking powder
3- a monster lurking under my bed at night

**other ways that i can conceivably see justin dying
1- diabetes from fruit snacks
2- car accident while driving home from church on a fast sunday
3- heart attack from screaming at the kids to stop climbing on his couches

ok that was hilarious, am i right?? honestly, the article my friend mentioned to me didn't say to specifically write down a eulogy but just imagine what you'd want people to say/remember about you if you died today.

things i'd want people to say
- wow, that melissa sure knew how to party
- where's the slurpee machine? i heard there would be a slurpee machine here
- melissa was so pretty. and had the best rack.
- remember when melissa saved all those cats from the kitty pound? she was the mother teresa of felines
- how did she manage to dye her temple clothes pink? and where did all this glitter come from?

things i don't want people to say
- remember that time melissa peed in the bathroom sink? [i was a little kid!]
- wow, she was kind of selfish wasn't she?
- i knew one person couldn't eat that much sugar without consequences
- melissa was one gossipy gossiper. and have i told you her boobs weren't even real?
- even at melissa's last party, she didn't have enough forks. get it together or don't even try.

ok ok, i'm done. let's get serious. i want people to say i was kind. thoughtful. that i only had nice things to say about people [this one is seriously going to the biggest hurdle for me]. i want to be known for teaching my boys church songs. i want to have taught them the scriptures, how to love the temple, and to send them off to be honorable missionaries and come home to be loving and hardworking fathers. i want to serve in the temple and really, really understand it. i want to write and to be read. i want to laugh and be active and healthy. i want to eat and not be fat. i want to love justin better then anyone has ever loved someone before. i want to be well-read in church literature. i want to have a job and make money. i want to create things and throw parties for my friends. i want to have many friends and be surrounded by so many people. i want to travel- not super far or anywhere exotic. must speak english and have french fries. i want to be someone people come to for advice, someone people trust. i want to be the person who sends cards and gifts spontaneously. i want to live by the spirit and help people in need. i want to babysit my grandkids and spoil them rotten. i want to skinny dip at night and see all the beauty the world has to offer. i want to pray as long as my granddad hurst did and really mean it. i want to freely give hugs out as often as i give out cookies. and i want to go to hawaii. i want to live by my sisters and get old and cantankerous together. i want to learn how to forgive and forget. i want to be someone that gives and helps. i want to serve a mission and finally learn how to really do family history. i want to grow old with justin and still see that handsome sailor when i look at his wrinkly old face.

is that too much? well, considering i'm considered middle age by now, i better get to crack-a-lacking.
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

lego my eggo

i've had several people ask me about legoland- what i'd recommend and what worked for us. not that i needed some incentive to blog about our trip but i sure feel like a celebrity with some inside knowledge. having been to legoland for two whole days, i'm basically an expert.

we've wanted to go to legoland for a while but wanted to wait until our boys were older. since justin was going to carson city, we knew we wanted to go on a family vacation somewhere and had planted a bug in our father in law's ear that we were saving up to go. well, my father in law is quite generous and loves to surprise us and he sure did! he found season passes at costco for $100! what a steal. as luck would have it, legoland's slow time is the first of january so we planned a trip, complete with a lowest-price of the year stay at the legoland hotel. note, in the summer it averages $450/night. we paid $150 + $30 resort fee/taxes. kind of steep for a hotel but it was a once in a year splurge and it ended up being so worth it.

the legoland hotel is so close to the theme park's entrance; like ridiculously close. the park itself is weirdly located in a residential area and not close off the freeway. i didn't really see any hotels nearby so staying so nearby the park was nice, considering the weather was predicted to be raining cats and dogs the days we were there. during the off-season, legoland is closed tuesday-thursday. we decided to stay sunday-tuesday; go to the park two days and the seaquarium/swim tuesday before we left. that helped keep our hotel cost lost. the park is about 5 hours away so we left sunday morning about 5am while it was pouring. i was quite anxious driving [well, sitting shot gun] through all the rain and sometimes snow. thankfully the kids slept until barstow; where griffin threw up milk before we stopped for breakfast. after cleaning up the kids and enduring several hours of screaming fits of who gets to hold the ipad, we finally made it.

the hotel held our luggage and actually had a room available several hours before check in. the legoland hotel itself is quite kid friendly. in the lobby there's a lego pit for the kids to play in while parent's check in. then there's a huge indoor pirate ship and legos near the cafe for kids to play inside. that's also where they host several night activities like lego building competition, storytimes, etc. they offer two restaurants; BRICKS, a buffet style restaurant [where they host a free breakfast each morning. super delicious and a wide variety] and skyline restaurant which was actually super yummy and had some cool lego sculptures/figurines. we chose a pirate themed room. the boys had a bunk bed in their own room and we set up griffin's pack and play in there. not only did they have their own TV but our room also had a treasure chest. after doing a hotel scavenger hunt for the combination, they opened the chest to find their own lego mixel packets and some chocolate coins. every night we were there. they also had a box of legos to play with in our rooms, plus free juice boxes/waterbottles for us. honestly, i felt like $180 a night for all these amenities was a steal. $450/night? not so much. oh- i didn't mention the best part of the hotel. the elevator turns into a disco party once the door closes. that was so fun! we briefly swam in the pool which was nice and heated. since the park closes at 5pm, it would be nice to go for a dip before dinner [assuming it's not pouring rain like it was for us].

legoland itself is not disneyland so don't expect it to. they don't move people through the rides as quickly, things are not as coordinated as well, and the desserts are severely subpar. still, it was better then disneyland in some ways. landon is 5 and could ride every single ride. that says a lot right there. the rides aren't made for adults and there aren't adults walking around there without kids. that by itself makes it less populated. porter, at 3, could only do half the rides [with an adult] and griffin couldn't do as many rides as he could have at disneyland. another great thing about legoland is that they have alternative activities near the big kid rides for the younger kids to do while they wait. like a sandpit, enclosed ball area or jungle gym. they also have waiting areas with legos in the lines for kids themselves- all enclosed. that was genius right there. there are a ton of lego figurines to look at but we didn't spend much time on that, or the several carnival games. my boy's favorite areas were ninjago ride [griffin could go on] and costersaurus roller coaster [porter could go on with an adult]. other favorites include: the 4D movies [lego movie spin-off and nexo-knights. they also have a friends one but sadly my boys weren't interested in that], the characters [not as plentiful as disneyland but a good amount], and the race car track [where landon won 1st place!].

our time there was seriously so much fun. because of the predicted storms, the crowds were away. it would sprinkle off and on but it was pretty clear. there were just two times we had to head inside to avoid the rain but even then, it wasn't that bad. legoland has a surprisingly amount of inside activities, more so then disneyland. probably because it focuses more on construction. movies, race car building, game stations, lego factory tour, build your own figurine, etc. that worked out for us but i think in the summertime when it's more crowded, it would be hard to get into those places. with the crowd level almost non-existent, we rode every single ride several times. in fact, on the coastersaurus we rode it 10 times in a row. without stopping. can't get better then that! plus no line for characters. the souvenirs are crazy expensive of course. i bought a legoman flashlight at christmastime for $10; $15 at the park. i bought some sets on clearance at target beforehand and got some shirts from walmart for $1. so definitely prepare.

i wish we could have checked out the water feature rides or the water park but it's the price we paid for going when we go was worth it. we'll definitely be going back in the warmer months so let me know whose going with me!

we went to the aquarium the last day at the last few hours of the day. it didn't take longer then an hour. it's small but nice. there's a fun passport activity that allows kids to get a fun headband at the end. there's a touching pool that my kids were too scared to do.

a couple of tips: 

legoland doesn't allow for outside food. not that disneyland does but i felt more comfortable sneaking in food there. there's just not empty tables in secluded places to eat at. i still brought in several snacks and lunchables. that held us over until dinner + snacks inside the park. [apple fries = not worth the hype. same with nutella rice krispies. i do wish i would have tried the chocolate dip and churros]. that being said, they didn't scour my bags when they did security checks so you really can.

although under 3 get in free, i wouldn't go until at least two of your kids are over 3. that plus the height requirement is needed for some rides. babies going to disneyland for free which is a score because they can still go on a lot but not so much at legoland.

you really need two adults if you have little or more then one kids. i don't think i could take landon and porter by myself, just because of the logistics of rides. landon couldn't go on many without an adult.

bring some figurines to trade with park employees. they have way better ones with cool accessories. you can trade it as many times as you want!

ask for badges on rides/attractions. they're free and fun souvenirs! we got some at the aquarium, ninjago, and carousel, to name a few.

legoland does rider swap just like disneyland does for parents with small children.

download the legoland app for deals on merchandise and food when you're within the park.

at disneyland, the professional photographers will scan your card and save all your character/ride pictures in one place that you can look at online after. legoland has wristbands that you can't access after you leave the park so make sure you look before you leave. i kind of regret not doing this.

go with extremely low expectations and just do as much as you can! then you can be pleasantly surprised.
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