Welcome 2021: We spent New Year’s Eve taking a snowshoeing class with Dalton, and exploring around silver lake at Solitude. In the evening we ate Chinese food and played games (Mastermind, Boggle, Racko) with Grandma, and doing puzzles. When I tucked an overtired Arthur into bed around 9, he whispered “goodnight, happy new year, have a good sleep, have a good new year, goodnight mom” over and over. This morning when he woke up, he crawled into bed and snuggled me for half an hour and talked about how this year he will turn six and go to kindergarten.

Sprinkles and Perfume: Sienna and her friend wanted to make perfume during their play date. They needed another little container, so I emptied out a nearly empty sprinkles container into their cupped hands, and they gobbled them up, then went outside to collect flowers. They found lots of “beautiful smelling” flowers, including “lavender”, added a little water and, voila! Perfume!

Seeds of Feminist : Dalton and I went for a walk this morning. When he referred to a nongendered video character as “them” it opened a conversation about the male default. It’s something he has noticed already. I told him as a male, he has even more power to change that.

Aww, He Did Something!: When we first got Wally, Sienna and Arthur acknowledged every thing he did as ultra cute. Now we all do it. Aww, he shaked! Aww, he stretched! Aww, he itched! (Itching is when he rubs his head in a pile of clothes.

Dalton’s Dream: What Dalton claims happened: he had a dream he got out of bed and went up to our room to ask about health insurance.

What actually happened: he came up to our room in the middle of the night, and we were in such a deep sleep and he was talking so quietly that it took me forever to figure out what he was even saying. I think it was about helping with his Nintendo DS Pokémon game. I finally told him in was the middle of the night and he couldn’t play his game, and he needed to go back to bed. Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

I probably should have made sure he made it safely back to bed, but I was so tired it didn’t even occur to me.

Arthur’s Tics: Recently, Arthur started opening his mouth really wide all the time, so I investigated. He told me in a quiet voice that he had a little problem. His mouth, eyes, and nose are itchy. I told him to show me, and he opened his mouth really wide, rolled his eyes really hard one direction, and folded his lips in to stretch his nose.

Walrus: Arthur’s interpretation of Catching Fire
Someone died from the storm troopers. It was the person that girl was in love with. But then that person got back alive, that’s cool right?

Arthur is obsessed with Walruses. Wants to be a walrus for Halloween, calls everything a walrus and says the word Walrus allllll the time.

These are notes I made about Arthur four months ago. Still true. All walrus, all the time.

Glitter on the Highway: Sienna to Arthur: it’s not that I don’t like Gibson. I love him. I’m going to marry him unless something else comes up.
She then started singing Achy Breaky Heart, followed by Love Shack, songs she apparently learned through Go Noodle.

Except. Sienna has been working with a speech therapist to overcome her pronunciation of the “sh” sound - it comes out “s.” So she was singing “Love Sac” over and over and I couldn’t stop laughing. Honestly, I don’t even hear her mispronunciations, but that one was loud and clear.

Dalton Bikes: Lately, Dalton has been meeting up with friends after school and going for bike rides alll over town. This morning he and I biked over so he could show me a tree that he climbed - all the way to the top. It was pretty awesome. I gave him a lecture about stopping at stop signs and only crossing the street at crosswalks and we rode home. I love seeing my kids play outside.

Maggie Draws: Maggie is really getting into her artistic side. She spends a lot of her free time drawing. She enjoys the Wings of Fire and Warriors (cats) book series and draws and creates characters from them. She’s taken a few live online drawing classes through Outschool. She asked for a drawing tablet for Christmas and has started doing some digital art. I’m very impressed with her work.

Tajamas : Arthur is sorting his laundry and saying “socks, pants, tajamas, tajamas, shirts” and I just want to keep him forever.

Sea Glass Haiku:

I sat down alone
And sifted through sand and sea
Then rose with new wealth.

Not So Much: The Supreme Court ruled that churches in California candy in person. Dalton had his first in-person Young Men’s activity and was bored out of his mind. He does not enjoy sports and is two years younger than ll the other boys. And super tired, crying about going to bed while waiting for Maggie to finish. The highlight was seeing an barn owl sitting on a street sign on our way home. Super cool.

Universal Fun: Saturday we drove to Universal Citywalk. Half of it is still closed, but the important things (Butterbeer, candy store, Voodoo Doughnut, Mexican restaurant, Butterbeer) were open. The place was pretty empty, though we still had to wait in lines do to indoor capacity. This was our first time eating in an actual restaurant (outdoor dining of course). I don’t care about being waited on, but I miss not having to do take out and plastic containers everywhere. Most of the quick serve places we like and have been eating at normally serve on actual dishes. So that was great. Kids had fun and played in the car. Wally was happy to see us when we got back. And it occupied most of the day (John and I also went hiking in the morning).

Nature: Today we went with some (covid bubble) friends to a nearby park that has a stream running through it. The moms sat in the sun while the kids played on the playground, threw a frisbee back and forth over the stream, climbed, trees, played with ticks, be got muddy. For 3 1/2 hours. It was idyllic.

Dim Sum: For Christmas, John planned a monthly dinner date with a theme. Last month we got Thai takeout and ate it at home while the kids were all at a birthday party. Tonight we ate outdoors at Din Tai Fong and it was delicious.

Reading: Last year I made a goal to read 12 books. I made it to ten. This year I made a goal to read 12 books and I’ve already read 19. I’m such a binge reader.

Falling With Style:

Me: Did you do a flip?
Arthur: No, I did a roll with jumping.

New House?: The first night in our new house (back in September, when it was time for bed, Arthur started putting his shoes on, to go home for the night. (To the other house). For a long time he asked how long until we would move back to the other house. One too many Airbnbs perhaps.

Salad and Wolves: Walking to school yesterday, Sienna told me all about a game she was playing outside with a neighbor. They made tiny food out of leaves, flowers etc. it was bowls of salad because they were “cool kids.” And their scooters were motorcycles and they ran away whenever the police tried to stop them from going so fast.

Also on the way to school she said, “is that a wolf?” Luckily, it was a coyote. Unluckily, we had Wally with us, but soon enough some people on bikes came and verified it had run off.

“Baby” Teeth: Maggie just lost a tooth. She turns 14 this week, and just lost a tooth. We’re pretty sure it’s the last one. Hopefully.

To Swim or Not to Swim: Texts Rachel sent me when I was trying to decide if I wanted tk take Arthur swimming when it was 55° and possibly rainy.

Isn’t your pool heated? It will be very nice. I love swimming in the rain. I'm so jealous. I'd give quite a lot to be going swimming right now. I dream about it a lot. It will be worth it. Going swimming with your child will give you the mental health benefits of exercise which is the most important part.

Joshua Tree: This weekend we went on a long-awaited adventure to Joshua Tree National Park. We went for stargazing last May, and the kids immediately asked to go back. We went with our friends, and planned a couple short hikes, then a picnic dinner bd star gazing, but we only ended up doing one of the hikes. The kids just wanted to climb on every surface available. Which was awesome. So much climbing, and jumping, and scrambling. After the actual hike, we went to the same spot we went to last time. The kids did lots more rock climbing, went off exploring on their own. The dad’s supervised and the moms set up picnic dinner in a parking lot spot between our vans. Then we had treats and cookies and card games while waiting for the sky to get dark. We bundled up in winter cots and beanies and sleeping bags and watched the stars explode all over the sky. It was fantastic. We headed home about 8pm after a long and busy day. All in all, a day we’ll spent. Wally came with us and also had a blast running round, and snugging Maggie during star gazing.

As Woofy as an Elephant Tongue: Arthur is in a dog phrase, which it seems like every kid has. Unless they pretend to be a cat for two years. Anyway, everything he says is woof or dog. And he says words backwards. Like “full waff” instead of waffles. Or “sin bips” instead of Gibson. This is all incessant.

But occasionally he also throws in the elephant tongue. He must have learned at school that elephant tongues are big. Now he sometimes says things like “it’s as cold as an elephant tongue” or “I’m as tired as an elephant tongue.” So silly.

Little Swimmer: I’ve been taking Arthur to the pool at least once a week so he can learn to swim before swim team. Yesterday we crashed a friend’s swim lesson, because their pool has the hot tub turned on. It’s also very large. Arthur swam back and forth across the hot tub, under water, having finally figured out how to go under without water in his nose. He is excited and willing to swim under water now, the aim major breakthrough in learning how to swim.

Thank You, Williams: The cutest little town in Coconino County... Williams, Arizona was so great that Wally decided to stay a couple extra days, and Maggie and I decided to drive back. 😬 Wally ran off from the train station Friday night, and was missing for a few days. The Grand Canyon Railway staff were so great about helping us look, and when I went into the hotel to leave my info, the front desk woman posted on the local Facebook group for me. When I checked with the Williams police department, the dispatcher said she had been out looking the night before. Northern Arizona animal search and rescue volunteers organized efforts. Most importantly, a kind gentleman, spotted Wally, tried to catch him, and passed his location on to us and the police department, ultimately leading Maggie and I to the place where we miraculously found him, trapped in an excavator storage yard half a mile further down. We had to feed him a pile of stale French fries and dig a hole under the fence with our bare hands in the dark, and after an hour, he scooted under and hopped into the car. We then had hotel trouble because we had just checked into a place that didn’t allow pets. Bonus points to La Quinta for being pet friendly - even to our filthy double rescue.

Blurred Out: Everything Arthur says is blurred. Literally the word blurred. It started with the dog, I think because I took a picture of him and it looked blurry because his fur is so crazy. Now Arthur BLURRED everything. It’s all blurred out. It drives me nuts.

Mighty Ducks: We’ve been watching new episodes of Mighty Ducks: Game Changers as a family together, as they are released on Friday nights. Even Arthur will sit down and play on my phone and mostly be quiet. Wally sleep, with all of us herded.

Pluto: I had a dream we were visiting the (dwarf) planet Pluto. In some sort of clear building, but it was crusted over with ice, and you had to go to a special viewpoint to see out.

I also had a dream that some guy who worked for me came in and demanded I tell him about the church, so I took him in Dalton’s room and started talking about the Articles of Faith. Coincidentally, I’m supposed to be preparing a talk on the Articles of Faith...

A Cute Little Feller: Somewhere Arthur picked up the phrase “cute little feller” and uses it to describe everything from rocks to Wally. Arthur himself is indeed, a cute little feller.

As Big as an Elephant Tongue :

Arthur: There are dogs bigger than me.
Sienna: There are otters bigger than you.

Jealous?: Today at school, Sienna made a speech fan and her friends were embarrassed because they were hot too.

Things Must Be Looking Up: A couple days ago, I told someone to stop making me laugh so I could avoid bursting into tears. Yesterday I got on the wrong freeway, going in the wrong direction, and actually found it hilarious.

Cabin Floor: Arthur during our cabin stay last summer.

Dad to Arthur (who keeps getting off his bed to sleep on the floor: is the cabin floor comfy?
Arthur: Yes! It’s made of wood!

Mother’s Day of Rest: Yesterday John and I got our second vaccine shot, so we planned to be home and doing nothing for Mother’s Day. Luckily neither of us felt too bad, and ibuprofen definitely helped. John made donut French toast for breakfast, chicken and grilled veggies for lunch and McDonald’s for dinner. We binge-watched Wandavision with the older kids, while doing one of my new puzzles, and I sat around in my new fuzzy pajama pants all day. It was a lovely, lazy day.

Goodnight, My Someone: Dalton comes to say goodnight to both John and I every night before he goes to bed. It’s adorable. Somewhat less adorable at 1am last night when he asked me to snuggle him. But he got in my bed instead of making me get up and go downstairs, so win-win.

Bones: Today was the last of a lot of doctor visits I’ve had to make this month. Half a dozen of them were well visits, x rays, and then seeing an orthopedic, for both Maggie and Dalton.

Maggie’s x ray showed minor scoliosis, but the visible concern is postural. We will need to make physical therapy visits. And do yoga.

We noticed a while ago that all of Dalton’s fingers on one hand were the same length. The middle finger is now shorter than the other two. X ray confirmed that some of his metacarpals (hand bones) are growing more slowly. It’s nothing to worry about, and also can’t be fixed. It’s related to the same thing I have, with the short third joint on the thumb, but his hand bones are the ones affected. So eventually it will be even more obvious that he has a hand difference. But hopefully it won’t affect much and he doesn’t seem embarrassed about it.

Mayday: Arthur’s latest word is Mayday. He uses it often enough that sometimes it’s an accurate usage.

Cheetah Girl:
Sienna: I know you are, but what am I?
Arthur: A cheetah.
Sienna: Yeah!

Lightyears : Arthur: I think I’m only ten meteors faster than him.

I think he means meters, which is somewhat closer to being correct. Also, Arthur is pretty fast.

In Which Arthur Breaks His Arm: After school one day, I took Arthur to the playground to wait for Sienna to get out. He went flying off the monkey bars and landed on his left wrist. “I was there! I saw the whole thing” In fact, I was taking a video. He took him to the pediatrician later that afternoon, and then to get an x ray. Confirmed a buckle fracture in his radius, as well as a small fracture in the ulna. The next day, he got a waterproof cast put on for three weeks. I don’t know how much good the waterproof cast will do since he can barely swim as is and how he has a giant cast on his arm. But school is almost out and swim team will soon be upon us!

Arthur is handling it pretty well. Only complains of pain if he twists it, which he doesn’t do because he doesn’t move or us that arm. Which is kind of funny because he is left handed. But he went back to school once the cast was on, and has a good attitude about it. Now if only he’d sleep later, and in his own bed.

May is the Worst: Deleting piano, gym, tennis, and drawing class from my schedule. Feels good. May is always so full of end of the year events, it’s always such a relief when it’s done.

Sale: Anyone want a five year old who barely eats real food, plays video games all day, and wakes up at 5:30 even on the weekend? Comes with a broken arm.

More Waffles: Me: Arthur woke me up at 5:30 and I could t go back to sleep.

John: You always say that, but there are never waffles on the table.

Back to Disney: After 14 1/2 months, we made it back to Disneyland! We had a great time. When we got into the park half an hour early, the lines were all secretly open. The lines were all outdoors and spaced out, so we were able to take turns sitting on some of them. The weather was pretty nice. We were able to go on everything we had planned including the new Snow White (lame), Rise of the Resistance (still stressful to get a boarding pass, but finally Maggie got to go on the whole thing), and Arthur’s first time in Indiana Jones (obsessed) and Splash Mountain. We also got to enter the Haunted Mansion through the service entrance, which was fun, and also cut off most of the line.

The only downsides was the food options were very limited, including being entirely out of churros, and they closed some of the lines at 45 minutes, so it took us several tries to get on Splash Mountain.

: Dalton and Sienna’s sort of yearly well visits at 8.5 and 11.5 Dalton was 70 pounds, 58 inches. Sienna was 51 pounds, 52 inches.

Paint Party/Yoda Armor: Last night I dreamt I was at an enormous birthday party for a friend. I felt pretty specia that I was in the “friend” seating, where she threw paint all over us. Then we were supposed to dance at the party, including in a bounce house. But the area I was in got lame fast so I left to try to find some other friends. I was eating a Rice Krispie treat that had blue sprinkles and white frosting and ran into a ward member. I asked if she made it, and then someone handed her a metal storage box and it turned out to hold doll sized armor (except obviously it was for baby yoda, not a doll) and we realized we needed to get it off the planet. That is all.

Washington: Day 1.
Drove to Redding, CA. It was 109°. We were able to make a half hour pool reservation.

Day 2.
Drove to Lake Cushman, Washington, with a stop at Walmart for provisions. So glad to meet the Prestons, just minutes after we arrived. They are staying at a cabin down the road. We walked down to the lake and watched the summer solstice sun set at 9pm.

Day 3.
We slept until 8am and then headed down to Cushman Lake with the kayaks. We all took a turn, including Wally. On Dalton’s second turn, he went out into the main lake all by himself, he was so confident, and I was so proud. This is one of the reasons we take our kids to do stuff like this - so they’ll feel confident doing stuff!

Kids jumped off the dock, played at the playground and wore themselves out. In the afternoon, John and I hiked Upper Big Creek Loop, which was close to five miles, and exhausting. Then we went to the Prestons cabin for hamburgers and to play in their big open yard.

Day 4.
First, we drove to North Beach in Port Townsend to look for sea glass. I loved this part. All the kids had fun digging on the rocks and collected lots of glass. Then, we went to the Hurricane Ridge area of Olympic National Park in Port Angeles for a picnic and a short hike. The hike gave us a fantastic view of Olympic NP and even to Canada. We stopped in Hoodsport for ice cream on our way back. I had a delicious lemon cheesecake raspberry swirl.

Day 5
I spent most of this day sick at home with Arthur’s cold, and Jodi and the little kids. We did take them into town for ice cream, and down to the lake with floaties for an hour. Meanwhile, John and Franco took Maggie, Dalton, and Franco in a fishing excursion. They all got to catch salmon to bring home to eat, and had a great time on the boat with amazing views.

Day 6
Today we drove 4 hours to Hoh rainforest, where we took turns watching Wally/doing the Hall of Mosses hike. It was so green! Then we went to Ruby beach, which was covered in rocks and driftwood. Arthur and Sienna hopped in in their clothes and had a blast splashing with cousins. We also stacked a lot of rock piles.

Day 7
One of the coolest parts of our Washington trip was visiting High Steel Bridge. It was a 45 minute drive from our cabin, including a few miles of dirt road. The bridge is 365 feet above the gorge, beautiful view of the river and a waterfall, Franco took some fun pictures with his drone.

We had lunch together, then went down to the lake for some mega floatie, kayaking fun. The Saturday vibe at the lake was very different but we still had fun. Dalton and John kayaked all the way across the lake!

Day 8
Drove a million hours to Utah. Sigh. Ok, it was just 14.

Going Home: I told Arthur to charge his tablet for the long drive tomorrow and he asked how long it was. When I told him ten hours he said “ugh! Can’t we go to a different one?” A different what? Home? A new California?

We are going to the Lehi pool with family in the morning, before driving home.

Swimmers: So proud of the kids at their swim meet today. The meet was very early - we left the house at 6:45 - but they had great attitudes. They all obviously put in a big effort for each of their races. Each of them got at least one Heat Winner. (Arthur’s was for the relay in which theirs was the only team competing, but still). Our kids rock at Heat 2. And now I am looking at their times, and it looks like every single race was a time improvement. Pretty awesome kids!

Dessert Fridge: The other day, Arthur opened the freezer and said “let’s see what’s in the dessert fridge” and now Dessert Fridge is a thing. Yes, I buy a lot of popsicles.

Adult: We went to Mesquite on our honeymoon. Today, on the day our marriage turns 18, we drove straight on through, because $27 hotel rooms are no longer our priority.

Homesick Already: Last night, Arthur was asleep on the floor at the foot of our bed and he sat up and started crying for Maggie. When I patted his back, he spurred “n go back home” and then lay down and went back to sleep. He denies this, and John didn’t hear it, but it’s true; I saw the whole thing.

Back to School: The first few days of high school have gone well. Maggie said the first day was “better than expected.” They’ve been biking alone, handling assignments, being responsible.

Dalton crashed his bike on the way to school on th first day, but otherwise had a good day.

Sienna’s brand new backpack zipper got stuck and she couldn’t get her lunch box out. Luckily, all California students get free lunch this year!

Arthur walked into kindergarten like no big deal. He is perfectly happy to be back in school, and I am very glad it’s 3 1/2 hours this year. In fact, other than the kids have to wear masks indoors, there aren’t many changes from a regular school year.

Iceland: Tuesday: We arrived early at the hotel and had breakfast and took a 3 hour nap. Ate a world famous Hot dog from the stand right outside our hotel room window. Walked to chocolate factory. Iceland fly over - this was basically Soarin’ Around the World, but longer and more tipsy. It was pouring rain when we came out, and we narrowly avoided getting wildly splashed by passing cars.
In the evening we did a food tour. We were the youngest people. It was great to try lots of traditional Icelandic food and get a good introduction on our first night.

Wednesday: went on a tour to the Active volcano - Fagradalsfjall. We did not see lava spewing out, which was disappointing but it was still a great excursion. Lava fields were so cool. Fresh, smooth-ish black lava, still steaming. Fog drifted in an out, so we got some cool views, even being up in the clouds. People we met invited us to drinks after. It was fun to make friends.

Thursday inside the volcano tour of Thrihnukagigur. We descended 400 feet into the Extinct volcano bd got to climb around inside for half an hour. It poured rain for 20 minutes shortly after we got back out. But the best part was the 2 mile walk (each way) to the volcano, across 4000 year old lava fields covered in moss. It was like trolls from Frozen. We also got to climb down into some lava tubes. Friday: Blue Lagoon. We did a short hike at the Blue Lagoon, which confused people. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere (being literally a pile off waste water from a nearby geothermal energy plant, that was dumped into a lava field). We tried three face masks and explored the entire lagoon. Then we had lunch in the restaurant - John had celeriac, and I had steak and potatoes that might have been one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

Saturday: Landmannalauger hike in the colored hills. This place had so many different terrains. The hike itself was about what John and I would do on a typical weekend, but as a group, we went much slower. This time, John and I were by far the oldest people in our group. At the end of the hike, we got to swim in the hot spring, which was so cool. The perfect way to end a long hike.

President Chadwick: Sienna saw a thank you card for John, from the CalCPA admin and said “President? Dad isn’t president!” And then “Chapter?!?

Math Magician:
Me: if we spent $202 on groceries, and $44 was for Tressa, how much were our groceries?
Arthur: 158
Me: So close! It’s $168. …

Drama This Week: Maggie auditioned for the school musical (Matilda). They didn’t get a part, which was expected. We mostly had Maggie do it for practice. Maggie also expressed interest in the theater class’s reading of War At Home, followed by a screening of Come From Away, so John, Maggie and I went to that. I liked the musical even better than I remembered.

Maggie also finished physical therapy this week.

Saturday Plans: We spent Saturday morning at Soak City with friends. It was great to have so many adults and big kids that like doing stuff, and no little babies. Arthur can only do 3 sets of the water slides, but it worked out well between everyone.

Spiritual Experiences: A few weeks ago, I donated blood successfully for the first time. I lay there the whole time without my phone pondering my mortality (and that of my friend’s niece who recently had a blood transfusion, which is what inspired me). It’s been a long time since I had such a spiritual experience.

That same week I read The Book of Longings, which was fabulous. By the time I got it from the library I had seen it recommended from five or six different sources. Toward the end of the book, the main character (Jesus’ wife, whose main longing is to have a voice in this world) writes a hymn to Sophia, the Greek incarnation of the feminine divine. I was spellbound by the bits of poetry she sings. And then I read the author’s note and learned they were from an actual poem found buried, presumably written by a woman. So I looked up the poem and read the entire thing. Thunder, Perfect Mind. The resonating of the poem in my heart was shocking. It describes opposites in everything and So Much Power. The novel, and that poem, have imprinted on me.

Oh look, Basketball: Tonight John took Dalton to a YM pickle ball activity. Except the leaders didn’t plan ahead and the courts were all full so… they played basketball instead. Shocking, I know. Dalton was SO disappointed. We’ve already complained about the quality of the YM activities, so doing so again won’t do much. We’ve been trying to vote with our feet, but John is the deacon’s advisor and is trying to be supportive. Perhaps they should have asked him to be supportive by reserving a pickle ball court, or helping plan activities that aren’t dodgeball, volleyball, church cleaning, career night, repeat. Argh.

The YW learned an after school snack recipe and Dalton said he’d have much rather done that. I know, buddy.

Birthday Weekend: For my birthday, we took the whole family parasailing. We loved it! It was so gentle and fun. John and I tried a new Mediterranean place for dinner. Then on Sunday, we went for a hike, did my new puzzle, and had friends over for ice cream cake. A great birthday weekend.

Last week, I went out with a bunch of friends for tacos. It’s been a long time since I went to a birthday dinner friend group dessert party thing. It was nice to be doing that again. After tacos, we walked half a mile in the dark in search of a dessert place. I love that I have friends who are up for such things.

Sienna Talks: I had a zoom meeting this week, graduating Sienna from speech therapy (for sh, ch, and j sounds). The teacher asked me to stay on after and do her parent teacher conference really quick. Basically, she enthused about how Sienna always had something to contribute and that it was valuable, and was just so fun and the best, and she needs to work on subtraction facts, and then she detailed entire conversation about Sienna’s hair that had occurred one day after school when I had fixed it in pigtail braids.

Better Late Than Never: The phrase “better late than never” has replaced “meatloaf” as Arthur’s latest arbitrary phrase he says all the time. It’s more likely to be accidentally accurate.

Paddle On: Leonard and Rachel surprised me with paddle board for my birthday. Arthur and o tried it out for the first time today. We went to Newport Dunes. He climbed on the whale and played on the playground while I inflated it, and he happily sat on the nose with his life jacket while we explored around the lagoon. We didn’t go far, but we had a good time paddling around. It’s very comfortable to sit on cross-legged - more so than a kayak - though I don’t have the right kind of paddle for sitting. It was lots of fun. Can’t wait to take it out more.

Yesterday I took Sienna and Arthur to Downtown Disney to do a pumpkin scavenger hunt and get some treats. Sienna loved the scavenger hunt, but Arthur got bored and grumpy after an hour there. He was way more fun and cheerful at the beach today.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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



© 1999-2022 Susanna Chadwick.