Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vacation * Time

We love us short vacations....we don't take long vacations, but take short ones often. And living in California, can you blame us? We have everything close! Last week, we extended our Veterans Day break by an extra day so we enjoyed a short trip to Southern California. We did Disneyland for the first time as a family of FIVE.

It was such a blast! Kendall had no idea what to expect, but she loved it!

She was a great age, too! I know people like to wait until their kids are older, and yes, maybe she won't remember much of it, but that's what pictures are for...and the look on her face and the smiles were priceless. She was in love! The boys of course, had a blast!

We found out about an hour before we left that one of Spencer's best friends, Nathan, was heading there as well! We met up with them around 10:30 and then spent the rest of the day with their family.

Nathan's Grandma happens to be a fellow teacher (actually my master teacher when I student taught) and a good friend of mine, so we really enjoyed spending time with them! Lines were short, weather was great, Disneyland was decked out for Christmas...a perfect day!

The next day we headed down to San Diego and spent Veterans Day in one of the most beautiful places in San Diego-Cabrillo National Monument. You must check it out. I guess it used to be a navy base (I am not clear on the history) because there is a big naval cemetery and old buildings, but there is a little museum on the history of Cabrillo finding San Diego and an old lighthouse that was used years ago. You can see all of San Diego, all the way down to Mexico.

There are tide pools to explore, a hiking trail that I really want to try, and old bunkers that American soldiers hid in during World War 2.

Plus, we got to be with my sister and her family!

I really wish we lived closer and especially now that she has Lily, I am so sad that I don't get to see Lily as much as I'd like! She is a sweet baby-she adores her cousins and they adore her!

Can't wait for Christmas!
Now we are on break again for Thanksgiving...a whole week off...and I am actually glad to be home...and no plans....we have been so busy this fall...but I am planning our next short trip-either SF without kids (or maybe with...) and then Santa Barbara/LA in February to start the college tour...yes, we are going to start taking Spencer on the college tours. He will have to get a scholarship to go to school (at the rate of college tuition going up and up....ugh), so might as well get him excited, right? Can't wait to show him UCSB (my college) and UCLA!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Club: Children's Names

Today's post is inspired by Expecting Adam by Martha Beck. As a member of the Left to Write Book Club, I received a copy of the book to read and write a post inspired by the book. Being pregnant while in graduate school is no piece of cake and even more stressful to learn your unborn child had Down syndrome. In her memoir *Expecting Adam *, Martha Beck battled almost everyone over her decision to continue her pregnancy. Join From Left to
Writeon November 10 as we discuss Expecting Adam. I found this book very interesting-especially the the magical coincidences that occurred to Martha while pregnant with Adam and after he was born. I would love to meet him!

I have always been fascinated by baby names. I used to buy baby name books as a teenager and pore over them, listing my favorites (top contenders over the years-Autumn, Jordan (girl), Connor). I love love learning the reasons behind people's names and how they got them (and once I read the page about where Martha got the name Adam for her son, I knew what i would write about!). So, when I was pregnant with my own children, I happily purchased several more books and set about picking the perfect names! Strangely enough, none came from a baby name book!

My first son is Spencer. My husband's mom wanted to name him Spencer when he was born, but his Dad said no, and so Joe he became. Joe had always loved the name Spencer, so I knew from the moment we started dating that if I married him, we would have a son named Spencer. I didn't have much say on that name. Luckily, I loved the name! It's unique-at least in our section of the country. There are actually 1 or 2 other Spencers in town, but we don't cross paths with them very often. Most people, if they hear "Spencer", think of our son. I like that-especially since I grew up as one of the many, many Amy's in my class. I was always Amy B., or Little Amy, or Brownie.

When I was pregnant with Cooper, we had a list of names we were debating (I don't even remember the other names anymore), but I heard the name Cooper mentioned and I loved it immediately. Joe worked on a TV show at the time where Anderson Cooper was the host, and he thought he was a very cool guy, so Joe liked the name Cooper, as well. We agreed easily, and Cooper he became. We didn't know any other Coopers...but as soon as he was born, so many people said that they knew other Coopers...oh well...he is one of 2 Coopers in 1st grade at his school, but he is his own self, very independent. After we had Spencer and Cooper, we were asked a few times if we were big movie buffs-Spencer Tracy and Gary Cooper!

With Kendall, we already had that name in mind. We had planned for years that we would name our daughter Katie. However, I had a student one year (pre-kids) named Kendall, though she spelled it differently. She was adorable-feisty, fun, and full of spunk. The name fit her to a t-and we fell in love with the name! So, when I was pregnant with Kendall, and she was doing major gymnastics in my belly, it felt right. She is truly a Kendall-very spirited, feisty, and spunky. I can't imagine her a Katie (though I am sure if she was a Katie, I would say the same thing!). Her name has become more popular as well, but I think she can hold her own with the other Kendalls-my girl is no wallflower! Interestingly enough, Spencer has a friend in his 3rd grade class named Kendall and her brother is...Cooper! I guess great minds think alike! Hahaha!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Another Halloween it me or is time fah-lying?????
We celebrated by BOO-ing several families-one of our fav traditions! We buy cupcakes and candy, leave the treats at their door with a BOO sign, and doorbell ditch! We laughed so hard on some of them-it's the thrill of almost being caught!
Stephanie threw a big shindig-complete with a Haunted backyard-a whole maze to wind through.

We had a blast! The kids went through it over and over!

She knows how to throw a party! Thanks, Steph!
Then, Halloween night we trick-or-treated with the Adrian Family-another tradition-on our neighborhood.

We were joined by other friends, as well. The weather was great, the candy was yummy, and the lights were on! Even for a Monday night, it was happening out there! We had an alien, a gangster (Eminem) and a cowgirl this year. Mostly thrown together, frugal costumes...that's the best kind. The kids are already planning on what they'll be next year!