Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Living Out the TV Special

So, it is possible that we have watched the Disneyland special on Netflix a few too many times.  It is even possible that we occasionally YouTube Disneyland attractions.


Walker had to find the golden stake at the exact center of the park.
Disneyland Day 2

The long awaited submarine ride. Eli has wanted to ride this forever. It lived up to the expectations.
Disneyland Day 2

It's a small world, y'all.
Disneyland Day 2
With the line that waits outside and the train that runs over the top.

Walt Disney, Mickey, the Castle, pumpkins and Walker like an Egyptian.
Disneyland Day 4
Next time I think Samantha Brown should join us and we should make our own little special. "Disneyland as explored by busy little boys who always like transportation rides, who are sometimes afraid of characters, and sometimes like thrill rides, but sometimes just want an ice cream."

Omelets Made to Order

The character breakfast, it's kind of our thing.  It is expensive and time consuming, but it has always been worth it for us.  It went well last September, and in 2009 it was a pleasure. I mean, honestly, Walker and Eli have been enjoying this for years.

So the one reservation Jason and I made for this trip was for the character breakfast.  Easy, right?

You know how kids like to keep you guessing? No exception here.  Walker had decided to be in a bad mood.  Eli has decided he is terrified of characters and Colin refused to sit or eat anything.

See how sweet they look.
Disneyland Day 2

Well, the picture is not representative of the event.

Jason and I are sitting there trying to manage our three ring circus, while attempting to eat something of our pricey breakfast buffet, you know, since we were the only ones eating.

Anyway, we did get a couple of pictures. {very expensive pictures}
Disneyland Day 2 (picnik)

Jason {in a shining parenting moment} told Walker he couldn't ride the monorail if he didn't take a picture with Mickey. He hoped right in that line.
Disneyland Day 2

But wouldn't look at the camera. Aren't Mickey and I a cute couple?

I suppose it is good every now and again for these Disney pros to be humbled.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Disneyland Day 1

How else would the McCays say good-bye to California?  I mean the only appropriate way is with a visit to Disneyland, right? I mean we are here (well, plus the 7 1/2 hours in the car), and when will we have the chance again?

Disneyland Day 4

So, Disneyland is a whole lot smaller than Disney World.  I know. You're shocked right?

You can walk everywhere, which is fantastic.  Well, except for all the walking.

Day 1, Walker and Eli thought the stroller was an insult.  They refused any suggestion at taking a ride. Day 4, everyone insisted they have a seat for a ride across the walkway. Tired much? Also, Jason never once offered me a ride.

Disneyland Day 4

Since everything is so close, the monorail isn't for transportation. It's a ride. Weird.
Disneyland Day 2
They boys couldn't quite wrap the heads around that concept.

More to come...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coming Home

Summer Sunset*

Our time in California is coming to a close.  In just a couple of weeks we will be returning to the land of please and thank you and of freely given smiles. The land where there is a Chick-fil-a on every corner and (more importantly) a grandparent just around each corner.  We will tuck ourselves back into the same house. I will shop at the same grocery store and the kids will visit the same library.

But, we are not the same.  Four brief months have changed us all wildly.  This summer has been the most amazing, crazy and difficult thing I have ever experienced.

We moved cross country, with three weeks notice. {This would not have been possible without amazing parents helping out.}

And now we are getting ready to do it again. Move cross country, twice, in four months. {Oh, wow the boxes}

We moved into a (much) smaller house with only a fraction of our belongings. {Turns out we don't need the space or the stuff}

We moved in with another family (whom we love) and have shared all our space, meals and air.  {Which even when you love folks can get hard.}

We (okay mostly Jason and Ben) have built a company and secured partners to help them see their vision through. The guys have worked harder than I ever thought possible, which means the wives have worked harder than ever as well. {Building a company isn't for sissies}

We lost our child and will forever have a part of hearts here because of that. {Still miles to go}

My grandma broke her hip while I was so far away. {So thankful for the opportunity to make the emergency trip and that she is doing great.}

The Lord has refined and taught me so much in this compact time.  He has revealed his mercy and compassion.  He has shown me how he desires all of me; every little corner.  He has show me sin in my life and graciously removed so much ugliness from me. I have felt His pursuit in a new and fresh way. For this I will always be grateful.

We knew we were coming to California on mission.  We just didn't know that we were the mission.  We have been forever changed by this summer.  We are coming back with things that we know are different, things we know we want to change, and things I'm sure will change over time.

Even though we are returning to so much of the same. I somehow know it will feel very different. The same will be different and I am excited for it.

*Picture taken out of our front door in Alabama. The sunsets out of our front door are unparalleled.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Surfer Boy

Oh, how he loves the water. Loves.  I know I have written about it before, but I seriously cannot get enough of watching him jump into the ocean.

Contemplating the sting of the icy water.
Beach Day 9.18.2011

Cautiously inching in.
Beach Day 9.18.2011

Up to the ankles.
Beach Day 9.18.2011

Beach Day 9.18.2011

Beach Day 9.18.2011

Beach Day 9.18.2011

Convincing brother to join in.
Beach Day 9.18.2011

All in.
 Beach Day 9.18.2011

Beach Day 9.18.2011

Beach Day 9.18.2011

Worth it.
Beach Day 9.18.2011

One day I will love visiting him at his beach house.  And I'm sure all my blond tan grandchildren will know how to surf by the time they are 5.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our People Came

There is something to knowing that your family is here.  My people are here.  Jason's brother and sister-in-law made the trip to California for a conference with a visit on the side.

The kids were thrilled to see Uncle Matt and Aunt Ally. So were we.  We were so thrilled that we arranged for our first ever babysitter and made the daunting trip into the city on a Friday night.

Date night

See, it happened.
(sorry for the horrible picture with the creepy eyes. i can't fix it, but here's some photographic evidence.)

It was lovely.  We ate at Le Charm and everything was wonderful.  Between us all there were 10 kids with alternate childcare.  That is a pretty big victory.  A fancy grown up dinner in the city even with all our little blessings.  What a treat.

The boys and I took Aunt Ally to see the Pacific Ocean. We had the best weather we have had for any of our beach trips in California.  No fog, clear skies, and it was even almost warm.

We had our McDonald's picnic and had the place pretty much to ourselves for a long time.
Beach Day 9.18.2011
(this is one of my most favorite pictures, ever)

There was sandcastle building and smashing.
Beach Day 9.18.2011

And even though the water was still stingingly cold the older two eventually dove on in/fell on in, whatever.
Beach Day 9.18.2011

Walker said his favorite part of the beach was seeing Aunt Ally, since it had been so very long since he had seen her.

It was so good to have our people on the same side of the country as us, even if only for a few days.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Big E

Great America 9.3.2011

He is my tenderhearted peacemaker.

He is four, but often acts so. much. older.  Sometimes I forget he is only four, but he is only four and is great at it.

Yesterday he told me I was his favorite girl in the whole world.  I know one day all too soon that sentiment will change, but for now it is all mine.

He woke up and stumbled out of his bed with his prized cars that were honored to spend the night tucked right under the covers with him.  Only to find his baby brother is crying.  So, he joyfully hands him each car until the youngest is happy.

He can swing all by himself, but still really likes a starting push from mommy.

California has made him blonder and tanner.  He looks the perfect surfer boy part. {even with much sunscreen and hat wearing. it is obviously meant to be.}

Batman still reigns supreme, but he has become interested in all things super hero. Superman, spiderman, the green lantern, they all are part of the daily conversation.

He is super photogenic and needs a haircut.

Great America 9.3.2011

Monday, September 5, 2011


There is so much to say and remember from the last month.  I'm feeling my words return as autumn and change are coming upon us.  Here are some highlights to catch us up with more to come hopefully.

There was park play and more going down "the big slide."
San Mateo Coyote Pointe

Really, a big slide.
San Mateo Coyote Pointe
As many times as their little legs could carry them up the steps.

There were new bikes and new bike riding adventures.
Shoreline Park

Someone got a broken arm out of these adventures.
Eli's Arm

It was (of course) Eli who gathered another boy battle wound.  It has not slowed him down a bit, and he even got a fancy green arm for a while.
"Take a picture of my cast!"

There were more adventures in Santa Cruz, and we even sprung for some tickets this time.  You know, to ride the rides a bit.
Santa Cruz 8.26.2011

And icees, we sprung for icees.  Honestly, you have no idea how cute Colin is when he asks for an icee, but Colin knows how cute he is so mommy and daddy obliged.
Santa Cruz 8.26.2011

Grandma broke her hip, I simply had to be with her.  So, with the support of my amazing husband our housemates, the Wyrosdicks, off I flew to see with my own eyes that she was going to be just fine.
Tonight I got to fly from night to day, chasing the sun. It slipped away in Pheonix.
(and she is)

There was that time we took all the kids to the Chili's bar so we could watch the kick-off to college football.

(it actually went pretty well and everything here is smoke-free)

There were more thrill rides at the amusement park.
Great America 9.3.2011

Seriously, how did he get old enough for this?
Great America 9.3.2011

This summer is flying away, but I am doing my best to tuck it all deep inside.  I feel pretty strongly that this time and these experiences are going to be with us all for a long time.
Santa Cruz 8.26.2011