Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth

We originally booked a week long vacation in Phoenix, then later realized Phoenix was just a 5-hour drive from Disneyland--too close to pass-up (plus my youngest sister, Rachel, lives in LA and good friends of ours just moved into a new house in Orange all the more reason to visit).

We spent an afternoon at the beach, a day at Disneyland, a day at Disney's California Adventure, and an unexpected evening in the Emergency Room. The ER was not on the original itinerary but we found ourselves there after Miss Morgan tripped up the hard cement steps as we were leaving the beach and tide pools. Her chin split right open and required 8 stitches. Thankfully we were in and out in about 2-1/2 hours which wasn't too bad for Sunday night at the ER. We were surrounded by kids with fevers and flu so I'm glad we didn't have to stick around any longer than we did. I made Morgan wash her hands about a jazillion times.

Morgan's stitches were tender on Monday morning so she decided to stay home from Disneyland to play with her friend, Brooke. It sounds awful that she missed out on a day at Disney, but truthfully she was thrilled to spend more time with her old friend (they've been friends since they were 1-year old). Ethan loved seeing Mickey Mouse and the Princesses. He really wanted to go in the castle and find the Princesses when we first arrived (his little girl friend next door just got back from Disney World, thus the facination with the princesses). Lines weren't bad even though it was a holiday, and the kids had a blast except for the part when Isaac was in tears after not being picked to participate in the Jedi Training. A tip for anyone young Star Wars fans who may be visiting Disneyland in the future, wear a Star Wars shirt or some type of Star Wars costume and you'll get picked. Sadly, I didn't know this ahead of time as Isaac and Ethan were Darth Vadar and Yoda for Halloween so we had the gear at home.

Angela, you'll appreciate this, at Disney we ran into Sue Gertsen and her husband Rob (can't remember his last name...also went to High School w/us, one year older than me). They were visiting from the Seattle area. Small world.

On Tuesday we headed to California Adventure where we met up with Aunt Rachel, Aunt Bekah, and cousin Jax. Thankfully Morgan's chin was feeling better and she was ready for the big rides. Our favorite rides were the Tower of Terror, California Screamin, and MaliBOOMer. Morgan's analysis of Disney, "At Six Flags it's fun when you are on the rides, but here [California Adventure] you have a smile on your face even when you are just walking around." So, I guess that's why they call it the happiest place on earth :-)

We loved visting the Tenny's in their awesome new house and playing our old favorite card game, Canasta, with them. Wish we lived closer! It was also great to catch-up with Rachel who we don't see enough of. Sad we didn't have more time with her.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Phabulous Phoenix

We just returned from a fabulous vacation to Phoenix and SoCal. I believe it should be mandated that all Chicagoans make a pilgrimage to a warm destination in mid-February. It was heavenly to waltz around town in capris and light fleece jackets for the week. A wonderful respite from the boots, snowpants, coats, gloves and hats that we doned again today upon our return to the tundra of the midwest.

While in Phoenix we visited the kid's favorite aunt and uncle, Bekah & Matt (sorry to the other aunts and uncles who may be reading this...if you lived by us for four years you could possibly de-throne Bekah & Matt, but it would be a tough competition). Their new house in Phoenix is beautiful, and the kids fell in love all over again with their cousin baby Jax.

Morgan had a gymnastics meet (thus the impetus for the Phoenix vacation) where she took 3rd place in vault. My dad surprised us by flying into Phoenix for the day to see Morgan compete.

True to form, Ethan couldn't stand to keep himself away from danger. While wading in Matt & Bekah's pool he got a little overconfident, stepped off the bottom step and required a rescue. He did a pretty good job of keeping his mouth above the water while I fished him out. Thankfully I was right there watching and he was fine, just a little scared.

Bekah was a wonderful tour guide around Phoenix. We visited the very cool Phoenix Zoo, a fun train park in Scottsdale, and did some hiking on the beautiful desert trails. I also got to go to breakfast and catch-up with my old friend, Janice, who I used to work with back in my Franklin Covey days.

What Time Is It? Party Time!

Morgan's 9th Birthday Party was a hit. She chose a High School Musical theme and said it was her favorite birthday ever (sorry Bekah, the Harry Potter party you planned has been relegated to 2nd place). This shouldn't have been a surprise, because Morgan planned the whole thing herself. She handed me her guest list and activities list a few weeks back and wah-la the planning was complete. All I had to do was take her shopping to buy the decorations and favors. Morgan even kept track of the time and told everyone when it was time to change activities. Morgan has a great group of friends. We are so lucky to be surrounded by great kids with wonderful parents and families.

Monday, February 4, 2008

9 Years Ago Today...

Today is Morgan's 9th birthday (and cousin Jax's 1st birthday too--Happy B-day Jax). I've been filled with emotion today realizing that today is not only Morgan's birthday, but the aniversary of the day I became a mom. I took this job nine years ago today, and while it is often exhausting, I'm so grateful to have such a rewarding and meaningful job (even though it's often hard to stay focused on the rewarding and meaningful part when the daily chores and errands demand so much attention). Just nine years ago Morgan was a tiny newborn infant in my arms. I had no clue what kind of kid she'd be--or even what she'd really look like. And now I look at her in amazement thinking, "how did I get so lucky to raise you?" At conferences her teachers give me so much credit for the wonderful kid she is, but the secret is that it's just how she came. She's intelligent, driven, self-motivated, goal-orriented, faithful, kind, athletic, responsible, respectful, creative, artistic, funny, energetic, happy, stylish, beautiful...and the list goes on. She's made motherhood so rewarding for me, and made me feel like I'm really good at it--even when I know so much of it is just her. She makes me look good. She makes being a mom the best job in the world.

I was ready to have a panic attack today when it occured to me that this 9-year old birthday represents the mid-point of the years Morgan will spend living at home. Nine years from now we'll be saying goodbye as she heads off to college. The last nine years sped by so quickly, I can only imagine how soon her 18th birthday will arrive--especially as her life gets busier and revolves less around me and more around friends and activites. I can't believe we are halfway "done" and that we only "get" her home with us for 9 more years. It is really starting to set in that kids grow up way to quickly. Everyone always says to enjoy it while it lasts, the meaning of that statement is really begining to sink in.

I love you Mor Mor. Happy Birthday!