Thursday, November 27, 2014


What lucky girls! Paul reminded how I had promised Reina a trip to Disneyland when she turned five. It didn't happen because Paul literally just started at a new chiropractic office that week and we were planning to drive there to save money instead of flying. Reina really was not too disappointed. It's hard to know what you're missing out on when you've never experienced it, right? I think I felt so guilty which is why she had such a big, rainbow birthday party.
Paul suggested that just her and I should fly down. Just the two of us. What?!? Is this really possible? It was. I had a voucher through Southwest Airlines that was going to expire in a few months. Baelor is too young for Disneyland, and Paul didn't feel he could take time off work for some time anyway. I had a break in my work schedule and since we can stay at my sister, Tarja's house, there really wasn't any reason not too.
Our travels really couldn't have gone any better! No delays, no major traffic, just peachy really!
We had two full days to spend at Disneyland and be engulfed in all the magic that dwells therein. We saw many characters and princesses- some whom Reina has never even seen before. So guess who she wanted to see the most- Goofy. We didn't see him until the parade the last evening we were there, but at least I got a picture. The first princess she met was Cinderella. Reina kept telling me that it's just a person dressed up like Cinderella. I had to explain to her that they don't have "cartoons" at Disneyland, but rather they are the real princess. Not sure if she bought it. Either she expected them to look as exact cartoon images or there was a slight deviation in their actual features that discredited them.
We went on rides that even I haven't been on before since they are more "kid" friendly and I was ten the first time I went. Some of the new ones for me included: Peter Pan, Pinnocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, Storybook Land, Nemo's Submarine, and the carousel.
Aunt Tarja, who recently had surgery, came with us the first day. I had to push her around in the wheelchair all day which allowed us some special treatment including cutting in line. I kept joking with her about being crazy "Gerdy" (short for Gertrude), and pretending to push her down the stairs or pop wheelies or do some other elderly abuse to her. We I had fun with that! The second day we realized that her wheelchair access didn't really make our wait time any longer. The lines were so short we never had to wait for more than 15 minutes! Yep, we seriously waited for Pirates of the Caribbean for a mere 2 minutes!
I really enjoyed the Haunted Mansion because it was all decorated as Nightmare Before Christmas. It was a very appropriate theme for the holiday season. Even the decor inside was all in Nightmare theme.
The weather was excellent! Perfect for Splash Mountain! I really didn't think Reina would want to go on this steep roller-coaster. But our brave girl went on it three times in a row! P.S. Hardly anyone wanted to ride it in the dark so we just kept going :)
I thought for sure Space Mountain would be too scary for just a little five year old girl who was barely tall enough for the 46 inch height requirement for some of the bigger rides. Nope. The speed and dark were nothin' on her! We went on this a few times (had to get a FastPass for this ride if we didn't want to wait in stanby for 15 minutes).
Another top ride for Reina was Indian Jones with it's bumpy, jeep ride, and the close calls with "temple of doom" flair.
Somehow we managed to fill two whole days without getting to Toon Town. It's good for getting some cute pictures, but my memory seem to not remember the rides.
The second night we started to watch the parade. I was excited to watch it. Reina somehow got bored of it only minutes into it and wanted to instead go on rides. This was her trip so I followed suit and we finished up on the teacups with the parade happening right behind us.

We had a fun and easy time! Seriously, could not have gone any smoother. I hope that these pictures will remind Reina of the fun we shared at the magical kingdom.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Frozen Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! It is probably my second favorite holiday, just behind Christmas. I just love the whole dressing-up idea, creativity, scariness (although I detest scary movies), anything goes, and just the sheer fun that kids of all ages enjoy!
Unlike no other year, our family dressed in theme. Reina chose our theme this year- Frozen, of course. It was the #1 costume this year. Luckily I bought her costume straight from China a month or so ago to make sure it arrived on time. I researched which Elsa costume to buy. I really liked the original Disney Store dress but the cheapest I could find was $100! Not happening. The Target/Walmart/Party City ones were either sold out or through research learned that the glitter would fall all over the place and the sleeves were extremely itchy. Reina is VERY sensitive to texture (like her daddy) therefore I knew I had to do better. I was very pleased when the one that came directly from China had a nice, soft material for her arms, had the actual cape, and cost the same as the Walmart one! We already had the blonde wig from our costume box.
Baelor of course had to be Olaf. His turned out the cutest! Or maybe he just is the cutest. I found the idea on Pinterest to use a white hoodie. Guess what, you can't find plain white hoodies in stores. Another cheap online purchase. I had so much going on with school I knew I wouldn't get his costume done without some super late nights. With some felt and pipe cleaner and minor instructions to Grandma Guinn how I wanted it done, she of course, exceeded my expectations by making the nose JUST RIGHT and she even found some nice, big button eyes.
Paul and my costume took some creativity. I knew that buying Reina's costume and Baelor's hoodie was about as far as I go with costume budget so I had to get creative. I went to our local Value Village (haven't gone in years actually), and found a ladies thick fleece jacket that I knew could work for Kristoff's jacket, and the red scarf. An old leather jacket I've had hanging in the garage for years finally got the "cut" for it's fur. My amazing mom did all the crazy trimmings from my "creative" ideas. She sure knows how to make something out of scrap!

(Not the best picture, but hey, at least I got one!) 

My costume was probably the most hodge-podged. Since material can be expensive, I was on a mission to find the right color skirt and cloak. Okay, I happened to find a $2 ladies jumper dress in just the right color and a maroon sweater. With a little tugging, and trimming, and cutting and makeshifting, my mom saved me yet again. The "corset" was actually something I already had and just cut the leotard part out of it and added the lower gold trim.
Yes, I'm bragging. Not so much my buying skills, but for my moms. Seriously, they saved me this Halloween! The art of sewing is definitely a skill that my brain just doesn't comprehend. Maybe my patience is the culprit...
Halloween traditions include:
Pumpkin carving (only a day or so before since I like to cook it down and freeze), two trunk-or-treat nights (our wards and my parents), spaghetti for dinner, themed costumes
After trick-or-treating, Reina chose chocolate milk that a family in our neighborhood gives out every year while she warmed up by the heater. Baelor was out!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Aliisa in 2005

Aliisa in 2014. How is she even more beautiful now?!

Anybody who follows this blog knows that Aliisa puts a lot of her heart and soul into preserving a memory of our lives together. She is very good at pointing out all of the milestones and exciting things in our kids’ lives as well as mine, her husband. Now it is my turn to talk about her, maybe embarrass her a little, let you in on some inside secrets that she hasn’t shared here before, and tell the other side of the story of our family.

Little did you know but in many of these blog posts a big part is missing. Aliisa is more than often behind the camera snapping pictures of the things we do in our lives. What you don’t see is a mother who tries so hard to create a heritage for her family that she loses sleep just to put this blog together to preserve a record of our family. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t say how much we love Aliisa. She is the glue that keeps our family bond strong. She is the one who makes sure that our kids have hats on if the weather drops below 60 degrees (a slight exaggeration) so that they don’t get sick. She is the one making healthy lunches for Reina to take to school. She is the one encouraging me in my pursuits. She is our biggest cheerleader.

In case you didn’t know Aliisa is incredibly selfless. She is very giving of herself. There have been countless nights where we lie in bed and Aliisa talks about how she wants to find more ways to be of service. She is always trying to improve and be better, no matter what the situation.

Since we’ve been married I have fallen more and more in love with Aliisa. She is more beautiful today than she was eleven years ago. I know a lot of men say this, but in our case it is true. Aliisa has matured into a stunningly beautiful woman. She glows when performing her roles as a mother. A husband could not ask for a better spouse, companion and helpmeet than I have.

Aliisa, as you read this know that I love you. Your strength carries me through so many of life’s trials. I hope that you feel the same about me. Happy birthday.