Disney Vacation (pt5)

The conclusion of our Disney trip… from September, yes, I’m totally on top of it! 😉

The final Disney Day we didn’t have a Magic Morning, which was kinda nice actually cause we could take our time getting awake and at em. However, months of waking up early to milk goats often keeps me from sleeping in even when the opportunity arrises! And one of my children has maybe slept in 3 times in his entire life. 😉 So we had a mommy/son date at Starbucks in Downtown Disney while everyone else slept! It was fun!


Fun Fall themed decor at the front gates to Disney Land!



Taking selfies with my lads while we wait for the gates to open. You may, or may not, notice that I dress the kids alike when we’re at Disney. It’s so I can keep track of just one color. Of course, it kinda backfired because Ella wanted to wear her princess dress 2 days in a row, but at least with the boys I knew to keep my eyes peeled for the bright orange shirts. 🙂


Ella and her beloved rental stroller. 😉


I love Main Street! I could sit here and absorb the atmosphere and be totally happy for some time!


This day I made sure that Ella got to meet some of the princesses!! We weren’t about to stand in an hours long line for a ticket to see Ana and Elsa, but we did get to see some of the others and Ella was thrilled!! I confess that these were some of the moments I was most looking forward to from the moment we decided to take the kids to Disney this year!





The “courtiers” that escorted us in to see the princesses did a big flourishing bow to Ella and she responded by curtseying like her cousin Helen taught her! It was so fun!!

I liked the Merida princess best of all. She was outside under a little umbrella, but she took time to talk (with her lovely Irish brogue) to each girl who came to see her. It was very sweet!


Be brave my little, Ella! I love that you are such a sweet little princess!


We rode on top of a double decker street car down Main Street!


They were growing cabbage all over Disney!! Made me want to ask what they planned to do with them. 😉 Farmer girl here!


Small World! Everyone’s favorite ride. Ha! 🙂 It’s cool inside anyway!

My boat buddies.


Popeye had his photo taken in front of this whale when he was 9 months old!


Here we go!


Inside the whale (or through it actually) was all these little miniatures from different Disney stories. It was really cool! My first time to see any of that!



Goofy kid!


We visited ToonTown.

When my family went to Disney when I was 15 we walked into Toon Town and almost immediately left because it was just too surreal or something. I think the noise level is less now because it wasn’t as overwhelming and the kiddos liked it. 🙂

A fun mailbox that talks when you open it!


Toon cars! (you would not believe the squabble over who would get to “drive” the car)


My girl and me!


My man! I love him!!


Our kids were total monkeys inside some of the toon places! Who’s kids are they?!?


That’s it! Jail time for you!


Our Ella…


That night Stu and I left the kiddos with their grandparents for some pool time and we ate in Downtown Disney and stuffed ourselves on beignets!! Yum!!

The last morning of our trip I once again could not sleep in, so all three kids and I took one last jaunt to Downtown Disney and had some breakfast, and hot chocolate! Well, I had coffee. 😉


Till next time Mr. Disney! Bye for now Mickey! Thanks for a great time and lots of fun memories!!


This Old House

It’s pretty taboo to complain about a decent house when so many people live in substandard homes. Ours keeps us warm, has a lot of space, is so much more than what a lot of people have. And let me just say that I do have a thankful heart for the house that God has provided for us. It has allowed us to live debt free, and for that I will always be thankful!

But… It’s far from my dream house for sure. It’s been a “project” for the 8 years we’ve lived in it and it’s still a project. There is painting that needs to be done, unfinished walls and siding, floors that need a LOT of attention. Those are cosmetic issues that likely will change one day. I don’t know what day that will be but it’ll be one of them.

I’ve found it increasingly hard to function in this house. I become overwhelmed by the piles of junk that just end up everywhere. Granted we have 5 kids and clutter is going to happen. But it just seems to compound till I can barely breathe, never mind figure out how to deal with the problem.

Since there’s not much I can do about the constant state of project that the house is in I’ve decided to take drastic measures and work on the contents of the house. Some of the biggest issues is that stuff just doesn’t have a “place.” And you know the mantra “a place for everything and everything in it’s place.” That’s a good one. When stuff doesn’t have a good place then it means there’s too much stuff.

I ran across a blog post someone did about how to have a clutter free home in 8 weeks. I’m taking that challenge! The basic idea is that you spend 30 minutes a day (minus weekends) for 8 weeks. Focusing daily on different areas of your house and getting rid of 10 things a day. By the end of the 40 days there will be 400 fewer things cluttering your life! How’s that for awesome!?!

I’m excited about it. I’ve known for awhile that I needed to hunker down and just get things purged, but again the overwhelm of the enormity of the task just gets me down. Anyone can do 30 minutes a day!! So I’m jumping in on Monday with this 8 week challenge! I’m looking forward to a less stressful environment in this old house when I’m through.

Always before I’ve struggled when it comes to getting rid of things because my frugal side doesn’t want to just “toss” things that are still useful, or could be anyway. But this time I’m going to be ruthless. I’m going to list some things on craigslist, and I may make a Goodwill donation trip, but beyond that I’m just going to purge! It needs to go so it’s going to go!

Anyone want to do this with me?

Disney Vacation (pt4)

Okay I’m back! 🙂 I have to get these photos posted! 😉 Life doesn’t always like to give me time to keep up with all the blogs, and the fitness groups and the homeschooling all at the same time. Looking through these photos makes me homesick for more Disney though! It’s amazing how it gets in your blood, it really is a magical place! Ella’s still talking about it almost daily too!

So for our second day in the parks we went to Disney Land!! Finally after all of that. 🙂


We got in with the Magic Morning, but found that the extra hour wasn’t really all that amazing in this park. You couldn’t get to the popular rides for fast passes even though you were there early so… not sure about the best way to make that early morning more worth it. We certainly weren’t going to stand in line for an hour to get a ticket to come back and see Elsa and Ana, but a LOT of other people were. And then… when the park did open for everyone else, people were RUNNING to get in line for those princesses. I hadn’t seen anything like it as the Disney cast members were yelling for people to walk. Insane!

But we did get to get our princess’s picture in front of the castle before the hordes of people came through. 🙂


Trying to figure out where to have coffee… the most vital need of the grown ups on the trip. 😉


Ella’s grumpy again because she had to be out of her stroller. She was VERY possessive of that rented stroller. 😉



This is how a grandma in the midst of political campaigns and home remodels does Disney. 😉


We visited the Tiki Room, one of my all-time favorites!

And durring a lul while waiting for Popeye and Daddy to get through Indiana Jones, I got the kids Lolly-Pops! Myles had it in his head that they needed one of these at Disney and he talked about it a LOT! I don’t recall if they got one the last time we came, but they must have and it must have made an indelible impression on him because he NEEDED this to make his experience complete! 🙂 (Kinda like I needed a churro to make my trip complete!) Ha!




Me and my Repunzel. The Disney cast members would call Ella “Princess Repunzel” because of her dress, and she LOVED it! 😉


Waiting in line for Pirates of the Caribbean! We love this ride! Stu and I went to eat that evening in the Blue Bayou in the Pirates ride! It. Was. Amazing!!!


So my favorite of all time ride… have I said that before… is Splash Mountain! I just LOVE the photo at the end and always get a copy! I was NOT disappointed this time either! The faces on the kids are just priceless!


Riding the train to Tomorrow Land!


We discovered that the rental strollers actually do fold! Ha! Took two seasoned parents and a cast member to figure it out but it is possible!


Ella was my driver on the Autopia ride. I dislike this ride simply because of all the gas fumes! You have to smell it for forever in line and then all along the drive too, but the kids love to drive the cars so I guess it’s all worth it! 😉


This was our “short” day in Disney because of our dinner reservations for the Blue Bayou. Grandma Noggle and the kiddos vegged on Disney TV with room service and then after that amazing dinner we collected all of them and came back for the Mickey’s Imagination light show thingy… I forgot what it was called. Oh Fantasmic, that’s it. 🙂 And I have to tell you an amazing story. I didn’t get any still photos cause I was videoing most of it. We had front and center seats for the show and this was how it happened.

We actually got there a little too late as far as good seats go. We browsed around a little bit and Stuart eventually found us a place to park that wasn’t too bad. We’d only been there just a minute when this older man with a flashlight came and asked us and the people next to us how many we had. We told him, thinking he was a cast member and he said to come with him. He led us through the crowd, through a roped off area to a spot in the very front with some sheets spread out and said we could sit there!!! Turns out this fella is just a HUGE Disney fan! I couldn’t tell you how often he shows up at 5pm and saves space to share with people, but I will tell you that he has the program MEMORIZED!! He sat there in his little electric scooter and talked to us, clearly enjoying all the kids around him. It was very awesome and we had a great time!

Sadly the fireworks after the Fantasmic show was canceled only a few minutes in because of upper wind currents or something, but we got to see some of them, and Tinkerbell made her appearance flying around the Madderhorn mountain, so it was all good. 🙂 The kids slept like little lumps after this. 😉

Disney Vacation (pt 3)

We started our actual trips into the parks with a Magic Morning in California Adventure!! Here’s a tip, use the extra early hour to get fast passes for the really popular rides. 😉 While the guys were getting the passes, the rest of us had an extremely yummy cinnamon roll for breakfast at Starbucks! I absolutely LOVE the atmosphere in California Adventure!



I found MU!


We spent some time in Bug Land where we all shrink to the size of ants. 🙂


Ella’s grumpy face came out a lot while we were at Disney. I think she was insecure being out of her element and then of course she seemed to think she should just be able to sit in her stroller the whole time instead of stand in line.

We went on this spinning ride… I forgot how much I didn’t enjoy it the last time we were here. 😉

This caterpillar train ride is a favorite of the kids. Probably because he belches loud at the end.

We also did this spinning ride, but it wasn’t as bad for some reason.

You might notice the ink on Ella’s hand. I put my phone number on all the kids hands/arms and then covered it with liquid bandaid. In the even that they did get “lost” they’d have my number since none of them know it.

Cars land is just awesome!!




We rode Mater’s Junk Yard ride! Love it!


Walking with my buddy! We had a 1:1 ratio for adults to kids which was nice!

We ate lunch at the Paradise Pier! I love all the food options at Disney!! Stuart and I had a bread bowl with broccoli cheese soup! Nice to not have to eat burgers and fries!


Kids had turkey sandwiches in the shape of a fish! 🙂


Myles kept us on track with the map!

I love this man!

And we got to see Donald which THRILLED Ella’s heart! He was declared to be “so soft!” 😉

Everyone else went on the big ferris wheel while I sat on a bench and watched. After a carrousel ride and the Screamin’ California coaster I need a motion break. 😉



Ella met Jessie, and I just think this photo is so sweet!

More buddy walking time. 🙂

Ella crashed in the afternoon, but got in a really good nap, which always boggles my mind! How do they sleep with so much going on around them?

We spent the last part of our time in the park at the splash pad! The kids absolutely loved it!! Last time when we brought the boys they sat for FOREVER just watching before they would play, not so this time around! 🙂










That night we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. It was a first (and probably a last) for us, but fun! 🙂


Disney Vacation (pt 2)

Day two started out with a hotel breakfast, which I forgot to get photos of. And I have to say that for a hotel the breakfasts at Hampton Inn and Suites are pretty good! 🙂

All together again and ready for our drive through nothingness till you hit the everlasting city!

Kidos are happy to start with anyway…

The drive seemed really long the second day but I think it’s just because the last part was through all that city traffic! After the hotel coffee (not nearly as good as the breakfast part) I saw this and thought that it might be enough coffee for me! 😉

Ella konked out at one point and it was good because she needed a nap! You know what I mean. 😉

Eventually we made it to Huntington Beach and LUNCH was the first priority. We ate at a fun 50’s style burger place where they decorate your catchup bowl! 🙂

Ella was obviously impressed!

Finally we made it to the beach where we spent the afternoon! It was the first time our kids had been to the ocean, so it was super fun!


Ella and Popeye taking on the waves!


The boys enjoyed playing tag with the surf!


Grandma Noggle and I were there too! 🙂


I hadn’t intended to get wet much, but the boys insisted that I join them out in the waves!


Popeye buried Ella in the sand! She was the only one willing to go for it!


The wind kept trying to take my hat!

Sand castles!


Happy Vacationing!

We walked out on the pier and saw a dead fish! It was super exciting! 😉


After all the excitement of the day we finally made it to the Paradise Pier Hotel on Disney property, and were greeted by Mickey in our room!!


That night we ate in Downtown Disney and visited the super cool Lego Store there!





Next our day in California Adventure!!

Disney Vacation (pt1)

Yes, I’m into multi-parted posts these days!! I just couldn’t narrow down the fun photos of our trip to Disney to just a few that would fit in a single post. 🙂 So sit back and join us vicariously on our trip that we are already dying to repeat!

Day One: It’s quite a drive from here to Anaheim so we opted to split it into two days. I left early with the kids and Stu came with his parents and nephew after he got off work.

Starting out! SOOOOO ready for vacation!

The twins got to stay with Grandma “Punkin” my mom, while the big kids went to Disney. Gives us an excuse to go back in a couple of years so that the big kids can “show” Disney to the twins! At the hotel we went swimming to burn off energy and kill time till Daddy made it there!




I love those floaty vests that we borrowed for Myles and Ella!! They are awesome!


Qade specifically requested goggles this year so that he could see under water! He enjoyed putting them to use too! Just as long as he could hang on to the side as well. 😉


She makes me smile!


The hot tub was nice as well! I spent most of my water time in there! 😉


Then of course we went to bed and everyone slept like a top (with a little encouragement). 😉


Actually they kept wiggling around for a very long time whispering and laughing to each other and I believe someone fell off the bed in the night as I was awakened by a loud thud, but since it wasn’t followed up with any wailing I just went back to sleep. 😉

Stay tuned for day two….

Birthday Session (pt2)

Life does not slow down for blogging I’ve found. But better late than never! Here are some more shots of the twins cake smash birthday session. Enjoy!

I’m so happy God gave me one blue-eyed blondie in the bunch! 🙂 Not sure how she got all those genetics, but it keeps things fun!

This little mini-me is a favorite of mine too! 🙂

When the cake came out Claire promptly sat on hers before she realized it was edible. Gabby had no misconceptions about what they were for. 😉


Wait, yours looks tastier!

Oh frosting!!

Yep, frosting!

Sugar is starting to kick in.

Lil goob!

Stu actually coached her on how to do this! Hilarious!


Love this one!

Love this one too!!

And that’s it for birthday pics this time around! 🙂 Hopefully next year I’ll get them done closer to the actual birthday. 😉 No promises though! Coming up I plan to post about our trip to Disney with lots of photos to make you want to go too!! 🙂

Twin’s Birthday Session (pt.1)


It’s only taken me 3 months to get around to taking the twins birthday photos (oy!) and it took me 2 days to set up the “stuff” but it only took me about half and hour to get the shots. 😉 Of course this is only Part One. I decided early on I was going to try, by myself, to get individual shots of them, and then I would attempt to get a together shot. But there was NO WAY that cake OR bubbles were going to make an appearance today without back up! So I’m saving those parts of the session till Stu can be there to help corral slimy babies. 🙂 Anyway, even though I spent more time chasing them down and trying to bribe them with graham cracker bunnies and cheerios than actually snapping photos, I kinda like what I got.

I have almost no shots of Claire without her hand in front of her face… oh well, it’s still cute!


Quintessential Gabby!


Love those curls!


And these ones!


Quintessential Claire. She isn’t sure about things…


She’s got this one thing covered.


I’m not sure what was going on with this face, but I like it! 😉


Stay tuned for part 2. In a day or so… maybe. 😉

Family Fun

We decided to take the twins out to the trampoline for the first time last week. 🙂 It was pretty humorous. As predicted, Claire cried when we first put her on it, but she actually warmed up to it pretty quickly. 😉 Then she only cried when one of her siblings bounced too close to her and made her fall over.

I love trampoline hair! 🙂

Gabby thought the whole thing was great! She got the biggest kicks out of running as fast as her chubby legs would carry her till she lost her balance and feel down, rolling into the middle. She laughed the whole time too!


We instructed the bigger kids not to jump while the babies were on it, but they did get bouncy and some wrestling ensued as well. 😉

Notice the concentration and hands splayed for balance. She does not like to fall down!


Taking a break with Mommy… and to point out her nose apparently.


Gabby came over for a brief hug as well. She’s way too into action to stay long though.



I’m not sure what was getting Ella’s goat right here, but I couldn’t resist snapping the hair! 🙂


We’ve taken the twins out a time or two since and they both absolutely love it! Something about trying to walk on that bouncy surface is just too fun!


Trampolines make for fun family times. The End.


Tired and Worn

I’m feeling this way. I think we’ve just been going through life at a break neck speed for too long and it’s catching up to me. I have a zillion and one “to-do’s” and never enough time to get them all done. Plus the daily “must-do’s” and those aren’t always a lot of fun. I feel like I can’t find time in all this mess for my “want-to-do’s” and it’s getting old.

Partly it’s starting school again and getting used to that routine again. One little scholar in particular is not enthusiastic and it’s draining for the mom/teacher. Another factor is that our Claire-bear has been EXTREMELY clingy. For me only, of course. That’ll wear out any mom. Because if she wasn’t on me or touching me, she was screaming about it. There has been some improvement in this the past few days so that’s been a relief.

I’m attempting to make some sense out of our house, the closets and cabinets and pantry are all full and overflowing with stuff that needs to be organized and purged. But projects like that tend to take forever, and when you’ve got little feet and hands happy to get into anything “new” that can be messed with it’s hard.

And yes, I’m just whining. Whining because right now everything feels like a never ending project, and I’m tired, and I don’t feel like doing it every day all the time. Let the weeds take over the place, leave the holes in the walls, forget about growing food and raising animals, and training people and pets. Just let it all go wild, because I’m going to find a cave somewhere to hide away in!

Just kidding… I’m actually going to go on vacation soon, and I think that’ll be the best thing for my mentality.

Thanks for listening to the grumble. 😉