Friday, October 20, 2017

party in the 202 - WASHINGTON DC

*this post isn't loaded with pics because i seriously overgrammed it*

if you follow my instagram, you know i went on a vacation of a lifetime lately to washington dc with my handsome sailor. it seriously was amazeballs so i just wanted to share a few highlights. justin's work goes to DC every year and this was my time to go. Not pregnant, not nursing, no babies- it was on! this year proved to be their biggest flyout ever and they even offered a spouses package. we left early friday morning so we could have some time together before justin had to work.

his work had us staying at the marriott marquis which was right next to the DC convention center. this hotel was ginormous. easily the largest hotel i've ever seen. it had two restaurants, two bars, a breakfast diner, their own fedex and starbucks. we started our vacation with a night bus tour to help me get a baring on the city. also, i knew i didn't want to spend too much time on the monuments and i wanted to keep my taxi rides to a minimum. i'm so glad we did it this way. our bus was pretty small, the monuments weren't crowded, and they were so beautiful lit up at night.

my favorite exhibit: at the newseum, they featured all of the pictures that have won the pulitzer prize since it was started in the 1940s. this exhibit affected me more then anything else. the pictures were amazing and the stories that accompanied them were so profound. Here's a link with some pictures.

my favorite moment: monday night we attended an opening gala and i was pretty worried about what to wear. i couldn't find an affordable, modest, and beautiful gown anywhere! especially when you don't look that hard... i went out on a limb and ordered one off a chinese website where i usually get my party/school supplies [aliexpress]. i was getting a bit worried about the arrival date [i had cut it close and only ordered it 6 weeks out] but thankfully it got here on time. the dress fit and while it's not my perfect cinderella dress, it was beautiful, modest, and affordable. i fussed over my shoes, makeup, handbag and took a lot of advice from friends on how to look the part. thankfully it all paid off. that's not my favorite moment. my favorite part was justin surprised me and arranged for the company photographer to come with us to the lincoln memorial [along with other work colleagues] and take nice photos. so sweet and very unlike justin. he hates work events, photos, and even more so, stuffy suits. he's a keeper. i still haven't gotten the fancy pictures back yet but i'll prob. post them on instragram or facebook when i do.

my favorite place: there's so much history and beauty in washington dc and you can't throw a stone without hitting some historical marker. all of the buildings were gorgeous and no doubt, millions have been spent on keeping them that way. i loved seeing all of them but the one building i was in awe of, the one that i was taken back physically, was the capitol building. it was so ginormous! and gorgeous! and that was before i even went inside. i had heard about the tunnels and those were very important to me. i convinced my intern from the state of UT to take me down and it did not disappoint. i know there are even more cool tunnels but these ones did the job. more importantly, the tunnels had a cafeteria and in that cafeteria was a DUNKIN DONUTS! and a BASKIN ROBBINS! can you imagine? it was amazing. i feel a bit crazy town being so excited for that but it was pretty cool. the other parts of the building were pretty amazing too. it was here that i met...

the most famous person i met: vice president mike pence. i was touring the dome when crowds started flocking to the roped off walkway. i'm not big into politics so honestly i didn't even know who that old white guy was until my intern told me. he took his time shaking people's hands, posing for pictures, and saying hi. that was pretty cool of him. he crossed to the other side of the rope when he got near me but thankfully, a soldier was right next to me and drew his attention. it was pretty cool. i also met anthony scaramucci who was the white house communications director for only 10 days. he spoke at the gala and was pretty honest, open, and entertaining. even cooler, he spoke to them for free which is pretty legit for political figures. i also met some state senators but that's not nearly as cool.

the coolest way i travelled: i took my first solo taxi ride and solo uber ride but the best way to travel was the metro. let me tell you, that thing terrifies me and i don't think i would have braved that alone. it was so confusing and crowded but also very downtown and cool. there was a street performer, the old and young, wealthy and poor. i loved it. also terrified me because no doubt, so. many. germs.

the most somber place: so many places featured those who scarified for this country. arlington was pretty cool and massive. so much history and made me feel very patriotic. visiting the holocaust museum was very impactful. people were very respectful and quiet throughout the museum. the pictures were so horrific and stories were heart breaking. i can't wrap my head around how many people were murdered. in so many hateful ways. what breaks my heart the most is the people that have gotten lost in the massacre and the children harmed. i couldn't handle seeing the children harmed. my favorite part of this museum was a wall that featured so many names of people who helped others. it had short stories about their impact and efforts. in almost every case, people said that they didn't think twice about what they were doing, it just seemed like the right thing to do, and that they would do it again without hesitation. i spent the most time here and it was time well spent.

the worst part of the trip: missing my babies came close but i've got to be honest, the bug bites were the worst! i seriously cannot stand them. i hate the itching, the raised and enlarged bumps, the discomfort. i just cannot deal. one night we went on a bike ride and i ate so many bugs and got so many in my eyes. so gross. i love pretty green places but i can't handle bugs. i just can't. also, i didn't have a bathtub so yeah... life was rough. oh, and losing $50 worth of cupcakes. we waited an hour for the georgetown cupcakes only to have to bike back to the hotel in the afternoon heat [DC was hotter then vegas this week. of course]. i think the heat and bike ride was just too much for those fancy cupcakes. i still ate them but they weren't quite as pretty.

coolest artifacts: i loved seeing church history in our nation's capital. brigham young has a statue in the capitol from the state of utah. there's a painting of joseph smith and brigham young at the national portrait gallery. an original book of mormon at the smithsonian of american history. when i was at the holocaust museum, i kept thinking how these poor people were not lost to our Heavenly Father. He loves us all so much and knows us. He's with us through everything and was with these people during their struggles and in the last moments of their lives. that was the biggest comfort to me and i hope they felt that love when they were at their darkest.

we seriously had a blast in DC and i'm so glad justin and i were able to go alone. more then that, i'm grateful my mom was so fantastic to come and watch my kids for a week. they absolutely adored having so much for her attention. i truly am #blessed.
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Monday, October 16, 2017

living the dream

*why oh why do i get my best blog post ideas while i'm laying in bed at night? i know it's because my body is settling down and can process my thoughts/feelings from the day but still. i like to go to bed early. stop giving me inspiration at 11pm!

what do you want to be when you grow up? it's a common question we ask young kids all the way through adulthood. i wanted to be a rodeo singing cowgirl whose horse played soccer, all while managing my 7-11s via a headset. justin wanted to a beach bum in hawaii. landon wants to be an army man and porter told me he wants to be a police. it's funny how when you're younger, you think you'll just be that ONE thing for the rest of your life. i guess some people are. some people have a dream early on, pursue it, achieve it, and maintain it, but i don't think that's the norm.

i never thought of myself becoming a mom. i guess i knew i would be one but i never liked kids, only my nieces/nephews [for the record, i still don't love kids. well, i don't love ON kids. i love teaching and interacting with them, but i wouldn't say i'm a kid person]. my new calling at church is to work with the oldest young women, so juniors and seniors in high school. these girls are on the precipice of life, looking ahead to their future and planning on how they're going to achieve it. some of them have ideas, most don't have a clue where they'll end up.

when i started college, i didn't have a clue. i knew i loved writing, the human anatomy [insert penis joke here], and coaching- i love coaching. when i transferred to SUU, i was set on what i wanted to pursue. a coaching degree. not the most solid plan in the history of education but definitely not the worst. i was a super star student. i got things done on time and got them right. i studied and i excelled, but somehow i didn't logically think it out. while i love my degree in exercise science, it's worthless. i thought about going to physical therapy school but i wasn't really interested in that. justin was coming home from his mission- i wanted to get my MRS degree. and that i did.

at this point in my life, i knew i needed to do something else to fall back on so i toyed with getting my teaching license [still am]. then the babies started coming and the mortgages and  what i wanted to be and who i became were different. my dream was no longer to be a rodeo star or coach lacrosse, i wanted to be a mom. a GREAT mom. and i did.

i guess what i'm trying to get at is 'the dream' we all talk about and pursue, we never really talk about how it changes and evolves into different things. and i do think i'm living the dream. i love my life and i wouldn't change anything [ok, maybe a few things]. so who did i grow up to be? a mom of 3. a preschool teacher. a wife. a soccer coach. a youth leader. a party planner. a short order [and terrible] cook. it wasn't what i dream of but it really is THE DREAM.

i wonder what i'll grow up to be in 10-15-20 years. right now i would say i want to be exactly what i am now but that most likely won't be the case. i want to be with my family and friends. i want to be happy and make other people happy. and that's enough.

although i am still eyeing a 7-11 franchise ownership, in case you were wondering.
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Friday, October 13, 2017

kid update: landon is 6!

landon loo
poundage: 54

grade: 1st

what landon loves: legos, nerd guns and other weapons, star wars, playing outside, soccer and other sports, playing on the ipad, pokemon and power rangers [even though i have since banned that show],     creating spaces [like building forts or making workspaces. he loves having a special place of his own], taking charge and leading the way. he loves friends [tanner and riley are his best friends] and always wants to be on the go. he loves getting the mail but doesn't really cherish the letters he gets. he loves face timing his cousins in arizona. cheese pizza and maple donuts. costumes and dressing up, although he doesn't do it as much as he used to.

what landon hates: homework, especially writing, not hitting his brothers [he loves being the authoritarian around the house and punishing his brothers when they don't follow the rules]. he doesn't like doing chores but he always does them. smiling for pictures with his teeth.

what landon can do: ride a bike without training wheels, reads pretty well, soccer superstar, helps me around the house, starting to do "tricks" on his bike and scooter [ie. closing his eyes or lifting up one hand], get ready by himself 100%. swim and dive to the bottom of the pool.

what we're working on: letting us be the bosses and not himself, controlling his temper, especially his violence. better attitude about homework. tying his shoes. math and reading chapter books. handwriting.

landon is seriously the sweetest kid. he is a great first child and loves to help me out. he can usually follow instructions pretty well and is pretty independent. he's sweet enough to hold my hand and give me lip kisses in public still. when he sees me sad or crying, he'll give me a hug. he's sensitive to the spirit and will often talk about heavenly father and will be the first one to tell us we need to pray for help [usually when something is lost]. he is so full of energy and life. my friend noted that landon must be my favorite child because i usually throw him the better of the parties [so true]. he is my favorite in that regard. he is the most fun to shop for and talk to. he is so interesting and notices a lot around him. he has a tender heart and is a good friend and brother [except when he pummels them to the ground, which is often]. this is such a great age for landon. i hope he always stays this sweet and kind. don't grow up baby bear. but if you have to, promise you'll always love on me this much.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

landon's birthday interview: 6

age: 6
weight: i dont KNOW!
favorite color: red and green
favorite movie: the lego ninjago movie [which he saw last night]
favorite food: crepes and ravilois
best friend: tanner and riley
favorite tv show: lego ninjago and pokemon
favorite book: pokemon
favorite toy: star wars legos
favorite place to visit: legoland
favorite thing to do with daddy: go watch a movie [which is what they did last night]
favorite thing to do with mommy: go swimming
favorite animal: solgaleo [a ground type pokemon]
favorite sport: soccer
when i grow up, i'm going to be: a security guard
favorite person: riley
favorite song: we will rock you [by queen]
favorite drink: sprite
what are you really good at: soccer and building legos
where do you want to go on vacation: florida
what would you do if you had $1,000: buy lego sets
favorite flavor of ice cream: chocolate and vanilla
favorite treat: sour stuff
who is your hero: daddy
favorite scripture story: the strippling warriors 
what do you want to do before your next birthday: go to gravady [we've been promising him that we'll go but it hasn't worked out yet. sadly this is what he said last year too. i promise we've taken him this year but we don't go as often as we used to]. 

5th birthday
4th birthday
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

life lately: where in the world is the harrison family?

man, it's been forever hasn't it? i think i've somewhat ignored my blog and started to write a lot more on my instagram. i've just been so busy, especially this summer. after the kids are in bed and i've taken a bath, i usually have an hour to kill before i need to go to bed. and that's when i'm planning my lessons. or facebook stalking. you know, the important things in life. so here's a quick life update before i do life lately.

justin, our resident hero, has been hard at work and enjoying the summer hours his work has [they get off early friday afternoons]. that plus several vacations this summer have really let us hang out with our favorite guy a lot more. it won't stay like this but we're sure enjoying it while it lasts. my preschool is in full swing and i love it! more so then i did summer camp. i compare it to corralling kittens. they're just so excited and sweet but also mischievous and crazy. we have a fun 5 hours together each week. the biggest challenge is teaching porter but hopefully he catches on quickly. i got released from my primary position over cub scouts and got called to young womens. let me tell you, i almost said no. teenage girls frighten me and i get a strong urge to ditch the third hour every week but i don't. hopefully i'll catch on soon. landon started first grade and has told me it's too hard. he is a sweet kid who works hard so i know he'll continue to excel. he's reading like a champ but is also quite aggressive and wild. he's starting soccer and music classes pretty soon. porter is starting his first season of soccer too and i'm already weeping for his coach [me]. he is a little better with landon gone all day. that kid still tries me but also makes me laugh. he is so funny and so snugly. my baby griff is talking so much and is my sunshine. he has developed a lot of his brother's habits [mostly bad] and is just as wild, crazy, and loud as them. he most recently has stopped having me snuggle him before he goes to sleep and i am heartbroken. why do kids grow up so fast. right now we are preparing for a lot of house projects so keep your eyes and ears posted!
 life lately has been full of celebrations for this boy. i seriously feel so sad that my baby is so big! and it's weird that i don't have another baby in his place! i've never had a 2 year old without a baby or a baby on the way. it's oddly nice.
 lately the boys are either best friends [10% of the day] and then worst enemies [90% of the day]. they love to wrestle each other but i don't understand why because it always ends up in tears and fighting. i'm so glad school is back in session.
 i seriously love being a boy mom. i don't like a girl could love me the same way my boys do. they are not snuggly all the time and they'll often wipe their boogers on me or call me fart face, but the love they have for me is so sweet and pure. they'll often fight over whose mommy i am and who gets to love on me. unless i want to be loved on, then they run away from me.
 august and september are huge birthday months for our family. for tanner's birthday [landon's best friend since birth] had his party at the adventurdome this year and we had a blast. it was so fun being with just the big boys and going on all the rides.
 i don't want to write a full blog post on our trip to washington because it was kind of the worst but i am really glad we went because we got to be there when lynsey, justin's sister, was endowed and sealed to her husband and baby blakely who passed away last year. she's due with my first nephew on the harrison side in september [of course] and his name is harrison!
lastly, our life lately has been soaking up the last bits of summer while we can. this is the time of year i love. it's hot but not too hot. we can go to school then swim after [and i don't have to deal with fighting all day]. we can actually go outside at night and still eat popsicles. it's divine. spring and fall in vegas is a dream. until next time!
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

toddler update: griffy goo is turning 2!

griffy goo bear
age: 2

poundage: 30lbs

teethage: all there but wonky as all heck. his teeth are going to cost me justin a fortune! no 2 year old molars yet but i bet those are on their way

what griffin loves: mama! he's not as snuggly as porter but he is very territorial of me and doesn't like to share. whenever he can't find me, he'll wander the house calling for me. he loves daddy but he's a far second. he loves landon and will often tattle on porter. he's very much like landon. he's talking so much which is funny because at his first birthday, he hardly talked at all. he's a very vocal kid. he loves bread and yogurt. for breakfast, he usually begs me for 'roll' and then asks for butter on it. he loves lucky charms, even though he only had it once but still asks for it daily. he loves smoothies/slurpees. he loves his blankies and stuffed animals [esp the fox] and HAS to go to bed with a million of them. never enough. and the thing he loves second only to mommy, BALLS! he LOVES balls. specifically basketball but he loves all balls. he's got a pretty good shot too. that's why he's getting a sport's themed party. he is constantly throwing and catching. it's adorable. he loves 'goodnight moon' but sadly i lost my copy so i'm getting him another for his birthday. like most boys, he loves being outside and riding his big brother's bikes.

what griffin hates: brushing his teeth. it is a HUGE fight every single night [yeah you read that right. i don't brush his teeth in the morning. i just can't handle that battle two times a day]. he's a big scardy cat and is scared of a lot of things [daddy, dogs, cats, landon sometimes]. poopy diaper changes. he cries out "gross! oww" the whole time. he has had diarrhea since the day he was born. seriously, he always has the poops. i've had him tested for allergies and nothing. so he always has a tushy rash. and poops like 4x a day. it's rough. he doesn't like to be scared or held unless it's his idea to be held. he really is scared of a lot of things.

what griffin can do & 
say: he can climb and is really into jumping off things these days. couches or particularly in the pool. he likes to help me unload the dishwasher. he can say most animal names and sounds, except he insists that flamingos are really peacocks and cannot be swayed from that decision. he can find his own shoes which is a lot more helpful then you'd think.
say: roll [bread], stop it! daddy scary [justin loves to tease and scare him. and now landon loves to as well]. fishy. 'pedo [torpedo toy for the pool]. baby lyla [he LOVES baby lyla]. he loves saying names and knows a lot of them pretty well. he just recently started saying his name but only says "griff". i guess i need to start calling him his whole name. he mimics super well and will usually repeat whatever i asked him to. of course his favorite words are "NO!" and "STOP IT!". he loves "we will rock you" by QUEEN and "popcorn popping" but he won't sing the songs by himself, he wants people to join in.

what he's working on: sentences, putting on his shoes now that he can retrieve them. not making as many messes. no biting brothers and mommy [i am 3/3 in the biting department]. potty training- when i ask him if he wants to pee on the potty, he adamantly tells me no. not screaming. following instruction. moving into a big boy bed but i'm in no hurry.

what we're looking forward to: school beginning and fun times. fall and sweater weather. santa!
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

kid update: pooh bear

mini-justin
porter
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 bomb.com] 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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