Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tappana Times: Fall and Halloween Fun

With a super early ward Halloween party fast approaching, we went through our costume box to see what family costumes we could scrounge up.

The kids are starting to want to dress in their own costumes, but also still cling to the idea of a family theme. After perusing through our costume box, I had to let them know that if we wanted to stick with a family theme we would have to come up with something cheap, fast, and easy because our old costumes weren't going to cut it.

After a trip to Goodwill, we were suddenly a family of cops and robbers.

Kayleen usually joins us for our ward Halloween party so we had a deviled egg hop in our picture for a moment, as well.

Besides the ward Halloween party, we had an evening of pumpkin carving.

As a side note, every time we went to the grocery store -including when we bought the pumpkins - Kendrick pointed to this creepy guy in the Halloween display and would proudly and loudly announce, "Jesus!"  It turned heads many times. I'm not quite sure why he thought this creepy guy looked like Jesus (the flowing robes maybe?) but it was mind-boggling and hilarious at the same time.

Pumpkin carving was kept simple this year with only two pumpkins for us to share as a family.

We also invited Kayleen over, so she came with her pumpkin as well.

Lydia and Ammon each picked a design for a pumpkin and helped scrape and clean out the pumpkin guts, while Brigham and I completed our jobs of carving and cleaning.

I lined the kids up to get some pumpkin pictures. They turned out well this year!



And here are the pumpkins lit outside.

Besides Halloween fun, we enjoyed a couple sunny days to go play in the leaves outside.

 The colors are just gorgeous in the fall. We could have played outside for hours.

We stopped often on our walk to let the kids build piles of leaves and throw them, kick them, and play to their heart's content.

The best part was Kendrick finding the leaves HYSTERICAL. He just giggled and giggled and giggled.

It's a catch 22 around here because it's the rain that keeps the outdoors so beautiful, but also the rain that prevents us from going out and enjoying all the beauty. We were so grateful for a day of sun that let us breathe in some color and fresh air.

Kendrick loved October because I let him wear his pumpkin shirts at will. Every day he would wake up and ask to wear his pumpkin shirt. He also loved to wear this hat and the two combined had one stylin' little boy.

Kenrick's hair was also getting super long and the curls kept me from cutting it. Every time I cut it, the curls loosen a bit more. So as we spend our days reading books together, I run my fingers through this little boy's hair and love that he is mine.

Of course, it's not always fun. He is more stubborn and gets into more trouble every day.

We were playing a game for family night and not keeping a close enough eye on Kendrick as he puttered around. At one point, I noticed he was putting an empty jar in the garbage can that suspiciously looked like my maple syrup maple syrup jar that is normally FULL. I ran over and sure enough, it was the maple syrup and it was now empty. I called Brigham's name in a long, low warning tone indicating we might be in serious trouble. I had no idea where the syrup had been emptied. Luckily, it was on the kitchen floor and not carpet, but boy was it a mess to clean up and I swear the floor was sticky for days no matter how many times I cleaned it.

I was so mad at Kendrick for the mess and for wasting a large jar of super expensive maple syrup. He got in a whole lot of trouble, and it was one of the only times I've ever even seen him feel sorry for doing something wrong. I could hardly stay mad at him when he kept repeating to me in his quivering cry-voice, "Sawee, Mom. Sawee, Mom." But I did my best.

Halloween night I didn't take one picture, and it started out rough. I won't go into too many details, but it included terrible traffic, picking up Lydia from piano SUPER late, cafe rio spilled all over my car, lots of stress and a late start. But as soon as we were out trick or treating, it all calmed down and it was a great night.

Kendrick was the cutest little tricker treater, ever. He loved saying trick or treat, wanted to go to every house, would say thank you, and then "Bye, see ya!" People just thought he was the cutest and gave him handfuls of candy. My other two were too shy at this age, so it was truly a blast to see his little personality take over.

After an hour of trick or treating, Kendrick went to my parent's house to hand out candy while Brigham and I took the older kids out for longer. They got so much candy it's crazy, and they were ready to just keep going forever.

Brigham and I have thrown a Halloween party every year in the eleven years we've been together. This year I put it all in Brigham's hands for the first time. I just didn't have the energy or time to put it together and if it were up to me it wasn't going to happen. Brigham was very excited to take the reigns and though I thought some of his ideas were crazy and not going to work, he did an awesome job and it was a great night!

We had some great costumes this year. My favorites were Bob Ross and his happy little tree, and Paul Bunyan with Babe, his blue ox. Brigham and I stuck with our cop and robber costumes, though we didn't get our picture taken.

Brigham put on an elaborate murder mystery night with the games all created himself and we laughed and enjoyed the different challenges while we ate yummy Halloween treats.

I made some spider deviled eggs, and for prizes, I made brains in a jar. I was very happy with how they turned out. They looked super gross.

One of the games Brigham came up with was testing brute strength. He had contestants drag his limp body from the kitchen to inside the bathtub. I don't know if we've ever laughed so hard in our lives. Brigham was awesome at going limp, and it was a struggle for the men to get him from point A to point B.

Brigham took quite the beating by the end of this game with rug burns, welts, scratches, bruises, and more. The next day he whined about how sore he was, but we all know how much he loved it. We have this nice photo collage of the event courtesy of a friend. 

It was a great night with lots of kid-free, Halloween fun.

October was a busy, fun month and I'll end with my picture from my Bootcamp exercise class. We dress up as a group every year and then get our sweat on with prizes and healthy-ish treats at the end. This year I was a Newsie. I love these ladies. Hope you had your own Halloween fun!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

San Francisco

This year, it was as if I got to celebrate my thirtieth birthday twice. One of my birthday presents from my brother was to pay for the fun expenses if Brigham and I could get flights and lodging to meet Kyle and his wife somewhere for a weekend trip together. Of course Brigham and I were down, and we quickly chose San Francisco as a fun city to explore together that wouldn't take too long for both of us to travel to. The extra bonus was my mom agreeing to watch our kids so that we could have a kid-free weekend!

The same day that we were due to fly out, I received a birthday present from my other brother that took a really long time to ship.

Since I'm born on the fourth of July, this was a perfect, beautiful wooden art piece that I'm excited to display. My siblings sure surprised me this year for my birthday with all the wonderful, unexpected gifts I received. Thanks Scott!

Brigham and I headed to the airport a bit early so that my mom could try to avoid at least some of the rush hour traffic. We had some time to kill so we chilled at an airport lounge at Seatac.

We enjoyed some dinner, comfy chairs, and hot chocolate while we waited to board.

Our flight was short and quick and we were soon waiting for a VERY expensive Uber. It took almost as long getting to our hotel from the airport, as it took for our flight from Washington. That's how bad traffic is in San Francisco.

The first day in San Francisco we rented bikes and rode them around the area, also crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

The traffic coming across was louder than I expected, but the architecture of the bridge and the views more than made up for it.

The company was pretty great too. We used to hang out with Kyle and Katrina all the time when we lived closer together, and it felt great to be back at it again.

The weather was perfect: sunny and warm, but not too hot.

Once we crossed the bridge, we decided to ride our bikes through some of the famous parks in the area and the map made it seem as though they weren't very far or hard to get to. Unfortunately, it wasn't until we had gone a significant distance and up some significant hills that we realized the map was not drawn to scale and did not display elevation gain. Whew, there was no way we were going to make it!

By this point, we were pretty far out and had to ride quite a ways back to the bike rental shop to return the bikes. So we began the trek back and got to explore quite a few little fun streets of San Francisco along the way. We learned that San Francisco is full of lots of hills, there are some cute, quiet little neighborhoods, and that some of us aren't as in shape as we thought.

We ate a delicious lunch at a diner next to the bike shop and then made our way to Chinatown.

Playing tourists, we went through some of the shops, looked at the weird produce, and saw how fortune cookies are made.

Pretty interesting to see how the process is actually done.

Once we finished wandering around, we bought some Dim Sum for dinner and made our way on the bus back to our hotel.

Hanging out in the hotel, playing Slapjack, Poker, and talking with Kyle and Katrina was pretty much the best.

Day two in San Francisco included a ferry ride out to Alcatraz. This was my one request and we lucked out with tickets at the last minute. If you're ever planning a trip to San Fran and want to visit Alcatraz, just know you need to purchase tickets pretty far in advance.

View of San Francisco from Alcatraz Island

After a short ferry ride and brief instructions, guests are free to tour the whole island of Alcatraz at their leisure. You can tour the jail and leave, or spend as much time wandering the grounds as you like. I really enjoyed the freedom of the experience.

Inside, the tour is a self-guided sound tour with headphones. The voices on the recording are the actual voices of the wardens and prisoners that used to inhabit the prison. Pretty awesome to hear the voices of those that actually went through the stories that we listened to, and stayed in the places we were looking at. I loved it! I could go as fast or slow as I wanted and no lame tour guide dictated my experience.

When we planned our trip, we didn't realize we also planned it the same weekend as Fleet Week, which means the Navy airshows and activities were taking place at the same time. Although it was extra crowded, we also got to see a lot of extras we normally wouldn't have been able to. In fact, we ended up at Alcatraz right during the largest air shows, including the Blue Angels. They flew between San Francisco and the island and came so close to us they shook the ground and blasted our eardrums. It. Was. Awesome. To stand on Alcatraz island and watch spectacular flying feats, tricks, and visions, I felt so blessed and we couldn't help but clap and cheer.

After Alcatraz, we walked through the financial district of San Francisco (we did A LOT of walking) admiring the buildings and architecture and headed back to our hotel to get dinner at PF Changs, and spent another evening together relaxing.

Our final day, Monday, we said goodbye to the wonderful view from our hotel room, pictured below,

and headed back to the Piers to check out the shops and Fisherman's Wharf.

We walked through the shops, checked out the loud sea lions,

and went through an optical illusion maze of mirrors.

Though the maze gave Kyle a headache from the flashing lights that changed colors constantly, it was a blast. Trying to head down a hall, only to hit your head on glass because it actually was a mirror REFLECTING a passage had us all cracking up. The maze was pretty small and pretty fun.

For lunch, we stopped at Boudin Bakery and Cafe. Brigham chose the classic clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, and I had a sandwich and salad so delicious I still crave it. Brigham loved his lunch and couldn't even finish it - a rarity for him. If you're ever in San Fran, go get lunch there. So good!

After lunch, we walked through more shops in town and then to Ghiradelli Square for dessert. If there's one thing that Kyle and I and our spouses do, it's ice cream.

And boy did we eat our ice cream. I forgot to take a picture before we ate it, but you can see our cleared out dishes, and that Salted Carmel Brownie Sundae pictured on the menu is the deliciousness that Brigham and I enjoyed. 

We had to split ways after ice cream and catch our different flights, so we said goodbye to Kyle, Katrina, and Amelia.

We really had such a good time together that weekend and I was sad to say goodbye. I prefer to turn thirty every year if I get to have such fun! Thanks for spoiling us Kyle and Katrina! Really your company was our favorite part.

Brigham and I caught a streetcar to the BART which is the train that runs across San Francisco. We used A LOT of buses, trains, and streetcars to get around. We didn't realize how far away our hotel was from downtown San Francisco in time. In miles it wasn't too far, but it took us about an hour each day on a bus to get into the city and then add lots of walking and other buses to get to our different destinations. I liked crossing the Bay Bridge each day and didn't find the travel so bad, but it was pricey and time-consuming. 

Once off the train, we flew home to get my babies and it was good to see them again. A weekend away was rejuvenating and the freedom without kids was a super bonus, but it's always nice when we're together again. San Francisco was fun to explore and spending time with Kyle, Katrina, and Amelia was the best! Hopefully, this will be a tradition we can continue in the future.