Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] Disney with Friends: Maggie had a five day weekend, and spent Friday at DCA with the Langstons. Then we all spent Saturday together at Disneyland. We had a fantastic time. It was so nice to just wait in line for Rise and not deal with virtual queue. We had lots of treats, including cookie butter beignets and blue milk.

[No comments] Beach by Day, Pool by Night: This afternoon the kids and I met my cousin Michelle and her family at our sea glass beach. There was lots to see in the tide pools, and the weather was lovely. Michelle shared her knowledge of the moon cycles and i shared my knowledge of the tide cycles, and i think that about sums us up.

After dinner, we met the Adams at the hot tub. The kids of course swam, but the adults stuck to the hot tub. I love night swims. California Living.

Pop the Science: Dalton participated individually in the science fair, answering the question “how do different heat sources affect the percentage of popcorn jet as that pop?” He did all the experimenting before Christmas, then spent the week after making a google site, video presentation, and google slides about his process and results. He learned a lot about presenting, and it was a lot of work. We are proud of how hard he worked, and he is wrest looking forward to next year.

Last First: Arthur lost his first tooth last night. He quietly came into my room around midnight to show me. It fell out two days after we noticed the shark tooth, and less than a week after we noticed it was loose, with no drama whatsoever.

Pacific : Sienna says “pacific” instead of specific. “A pacific amount of time.”

Highlights: Just a few of our top moments from our Disney world/ Caribbean Cruise trip.

Making up for a bad start to the trip by managing Epcot like the Disney pros we are.
Talking in bed with Maggie and dalton about our fun day at Animal Kingdom
Crush mishearing Arthur’s name as Marshall
Running to the water slide after dinner and riding over and over again in the dark. We got to our room at 7:25 after dinner, changed, and some of us managed to ride 7 times before it closed at 8. It was a fantastically fun family experience and everyone loved it.
Our first family bike ride, on Castaway Cay. After the bike ride, the place had basically cleared out even though there was an hour until e had to be back on board. We closed the place out, and got a golf cart ride back to the ship.

Disney World, Disney Cruise: A little travelogue from our trip to Florida/Bahamas.

12/17: left an hour late from LaX, missed our connection. Stayed in a seedy hotel the airline paid for, after a two hour line, be a vending machine dinner.

12/18 flew to Tampa and drove to Orlando. Not in the plan, but we made it work. Had a great time at Epcot, even though we only had four hours. We did the four rides we wanted to hit, plus two others, and had yummy food for dinner. Got the trip back on track. It feels very Chadwick to have made that evening happen.

12/19: Animal Kingdom. Waited 3 hours for Pandora. Then really enjoyed using fast passes to other rides. Everyone loved Expedition Everest.

In bed this night, pillow talk with the big kids about favorite things of the day, and things Maggie remembered from our last visit.

12/20: so happy to get on the Disney Dream! Everyone vaccinated, tested immediately before boarding. Masks required and limited capacity, enforced social distancing. It was so nice to feel so safe and do something so fun. We enjoyed the water slide in the rain and several ice cream cones, before everyone was on board.

12/21 Bahamas - Atlantis, lazy River we kept getting stuck in. John and the older 3 kids swam in the ocean. Arthur had to wear a cast cover at the beach, so he preferred the pool. The area was reserved for just our excursion, so keep cruise people from mixing with others. Dinner with Crush the turtle, who called Arthur Marshall.

12/22 bonus sea day. Supposed to go to castaway cay. Instead we ate brunch at Remy (yummy food, fun water menu), watched Encanto, and after dinner, went on the water slide a bunch of times in a row with no line. It was only cold the first time. I love my fun family. Dalton won a hat in a Smash Bros tournament in the tween club.

12/23 finally made it to castaway cay and we did all the things. John and Dalton ran the 5k, then John took Dalton and Maggie swimming and did the water slide. Meanwhile, I floated on inner tubes with the littles, and took them to the splash pad. Arthur whined about his cast cover and just wanted to hide on my lap on the floatie. After lunch, we snorkeled with sting rays. Sienna was terrified of the fish in the water and Arthur wasn’t able to reach deep enough to pet any, which was a bummer. But everyone else had a blast. John then took the older kids out snorkeling in the open water, while the rest of us did more tubing. Finally, we got a bike rental and went for our first ever family bike ride, with Arthur in the baby seat on the back of John’s bike. It was so fun! 12/24: Kennedy Space Center. Tried freeze dried ice cream and a launch simulator. Fun play place, saw real space shuttles, touched a moon rock, learned a lot. And finally made it home! Direct flight is the way to go.

No Snoopy For You: Tonight we tried to go see the Christmas Snoopy on Ice show at Knott’s. It was SO crowded. People were lined for for the NEXT showing, three hours away. No thanks. We got in the shortest line we saw, which was for boysenberry soft serve. Then we left and got Stonefire for dinner instead. Oh well. There’s always next year.

Maggie’s Chalk Art: I signed Maggie up to participate in Laguna Niguel stake’s Chalk Walk. They gave us a 4x8 black painted plywood, and a box of pastels and a couple weeks. Maggie did a scattering of white trees, with a big, rainbow colored star on top of the center one. I thought it was lovely. Last night we went down and drove through the parking lot to look at the chalk drawings. Some of them were incredible. We are already looking forward to next year.

Holiday Recital: This weekend, Sienna and Arthur got their 2nd dose of Covid vaccine, and John and I got boosters, so we expected to be laid up. It wasn’t as bad as we thought though. We took it easy on Saturday, and took a nap, and then even made an appearance at a friend’s 40th birthday.

Sunday afternoon was the kids Christmas piano recital. They took turns practicing all day and it was so fun to hear. They all did great in the recital. Maggie played Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire and Do You Hear What I Hear. Dalton played Where Are You Christmas? Sienna played Silent Night and Deck the Halls. She had gotten excited memorizing Deck the Halls and playing it too fast and then her fingers wouldn’t do it at regular speed. But other than that, it was all great. We know nearly all the other students, so it’s always fun to see them play as well.

Popsicle Party: For his birthday, Arthur requested popsicles instead of cake. So even though it was quite cold today, we met lots of kinder friends at the park right after school and handed out popsicles. Unfortunately, Arthur couldn’t play with his friends because of his cast, but he still had fun. One friend brought him a balloon, which flew away, but he carried the Pet String around for hours afterward.

Double Disney: For Arthur’s birthday, we finally took him to go on Indiana Jones at Disneyland, Which he’s been asking to do since he first went on it six months ago. John, Arthur and I bought day tickets, and we went and rode it twice, and then went on a bunch of other stuff. We also hung out with my cousins Jill, Brynn, and Deirdre. John and I brought Arthur home and worked for a couple hours, then went back for dinner, date night, and more cousin fun. It was a long day, but tons of fun. We made the most of it.

Baseball: Arthur started an adorable baseball class today with a few friends. It’s called sandlot, and they just learn skills and scrimmage rather than play on a league. The coach was so fun, the kids all got to pick a nickname (“Shark”), learned moved to cheer on the other players after each maneuver, danced, ran, and cheered. It was so adorable and uplifting. And it wore him out. They also handed out baseball cards every time the kids were good at cheering, or doing the “salutes” or being good listeners, and at the end, Arthur got an award for bravery for playing with one arm.

Another Broken Arm: Sunday night, we had friends over to celebrate Arthur’s birthday. The kids were running around inside and Arthur was jumping on the ottoman when it tipped over. He overextended his elbow and broke it. Now we get another four weeks in a cast, just in time for our cruise. Kids are the worst! Meanwhile, a yucky tummy- sore throat bug was brought home from Utah. Long day of doctors yesterday.

Thanksgiving Time: This Thanksgiving, we divided and conquered. John took Maggie, Dalton and Wally to Utah for Wally’s first airplane trip. He did great! They got to visit grandma for her birthday, attend John’s cousin’s funeral, and have a big family thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, Maggie came home sick, but other than that, they had a nice relaxing time with family.

I spent Thanksgiving with Arthur and Sienna. Our main project was switching their room with Maggie’s. I also put together an IKEA desk for Maggie’s room. We also went to the beach for a sunset sea glass hunt, and celebrating Arthur’s birthday with some fun at the Spectrum.

For actual Thanksgiving, I drove out to stay with my cousin Shannon. We had pizza on Wednesday, and thanksgiving food Thursday. We did an early morning sea glass hunt at Scooner’s Cove, and took a long walk after the meal. Sienna and Arthur had a great time with their cousin Jack. The kids and I stopped at Ostrichland on the way up, and Pea Soup Andersen’s and the Natural History Museum on the way down. But mainly, Sienna and Arthur played with Shannon’s dogs. Obsessed.

John got home in time to celebrate Arthur’s birthday today, and we’re ready for a relaxing Sunday of Christmas decorating and birthday toy playing, before Monday.

Arthur is 6: Arthur’s 6th birthday! We got him a little lefthanders baseball glove and ball, and a volcano science kit. He also got Mario stickers and a dinosaur nightlight from his aunties. Dalton and I secretly put together one of our old Ninjago Lego sets for him, and he spent almost the whole day playing with it. He doesn’t play much - just wants to do screens - so that was really great. I also took him and Sienna to wetzels pretzels and Yogurtland. Then for dinner he requested beef stroganoff, and store bought lemon cake.

Arthur is a ball of silliness. He wakes up way too early and complains that he’s bored a lot, and is a terrible eater, but he also loves to read stories (non fiction animal books are his favorite), is a great snuggler, and enjoys walking to school every morning. He loves school and his friends.

Golden Plate Bridge: This morning as we walked to school, Arthur was naming each section of grass as we passed. “Hill forest” and “grassy snowman” etc. He called the pedestrian bridge “Golden Plate Bridge”. “That’s a real place, isn’t it?”

This afternoon, he was thinking of an activity to do and asked to play with butter. “You know, you make food with it, and it’s really soft”. Turns out he meant flour, and spent a happy hour playing with tsum tsum toys, dominoes, and a half cup of flour.

Turtle: My kids have invented a game where they throw something, and if it hits someone else, they yell “turtle” and get a point. I imagine this came from Arthur’s random exclamations.

Rage: I turned on some holiday music today, but in the middle of the first song, Sienna asked me why all the good people (Santa, Jesus) are men. So I had to turn it off to rage against the patriarchy. I went with “God is not male” and “men wrote history and left out the important women” and told her about a couple important women in history.

Church Costume: Arthur asked me if it was a church day. No. “Why are you wearing a church costume?” I put on a nice shirt because I’m going to lunch with John, with jeans and Birkenstock’s - a far cry from my “church costume.”

Skating Gift: Tonight, Maggie and I took a friend roller skating as a birthday gift. We dressed up a bit 80s, and I put tinsel in everyone’s hair (it was crazy hair day at school and I had ordered it for Sienna). It was super fun, and I loved seeing Mags put themselves out there and trying hard. They even wanted to try the backwards skate, which was all fun and games until they bonked their head. Ouch. We left a bit early, but it was a fun night.

Alert!: Arthur’s latest word craze is “alert!” everything. If he needs me he will say “mom alert!” Or “veggie sticks alert!” or “applesauce alert!” So far, it’s cute.

Halloween Party: Arthur got invited to a Halloween party after school. It’s been a while since I’ve hung out with more than one of my friends at a time - obviously I am missing stuff, I’ll pretend it’s during the time my kids are all in school. Haha. Arthur refused to participate in any of the activities, but he had fun playing with all his friends. And I had fun talking to all my friends. It’s so much effort to hang out with people when park day isn’t a given.

Homecoming : Maggie went to the high school homecoming dance on Saturday. It was casual, wear black, hang around outside and eat snacks type of event. But they had fun.

Like Maggie, Like Dog: When Maggie was 8 or so, they cried so hard over the flu mist, that the doctor ended up having to do a shot - Maggie’s nose was running too much for the mist. Wally shot himself in the foot like that today. He was so nervous at the doctor that his temperature was up. So what should have been a 15 minute visit was an hour longer while we waiting for him to calm down.

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