Our Family Pictures

We got our family pictures taken this year!! It's only been... two years... since we last had them taken. Whoops. I actually didn't think it would happen anytime soon either until I saw a friend's amazing family photos. I asked her about her photographer and she couldn't say enough good things about her. Then she told me her price... sold. This was actually our first session with her and I still need to schedule a second. How awesome and smart is that?! Here a few of my favorites... I'll try to limit it a little...
Oh, these boys... 
 I love the look of wonder on Jack's face with the setting he is in. Though we're pretty sure he was turning around to ask his favorite question... "What?"
 Gah, Gav! Too cute!!
I could have put so many more pictures on here, but I did say I would try to limit a little. We are such big fans of candid shots. There's nothing quite like capturing your kids and family in the way they are.
I'm so excited to for us to have another session. Eryne captured us so wonderfully and was so amazing with all of us. Now I need to go email her since I'm actually remembering to schedule the next shoot!


Happiest Place on Earth

I can't believe it's over and I cannot believe we did it... last week we went to DISNEYLAND! And it was a blast... even more than a blast. Story- this year is Disneyland's 60th Diamond Celebration. Both my parents celebrated their 60th birthday this year. My mom grew up literally 10ish minutes away from Disneyland and, of course, loves Disney. Seems like a good enough reason to go back this year, right?? It was a family reunion of sorts, though we greatly missed my little sister, Rach, and her husband, Thomas. School and work are keeping them busy. Next time, guys... next time for sure :) All in all, my parents, Sam and family, Craig and family, and I and family, were the goers. 

We divided our trip to save our sanity. First stop- grandparents house! We left on Friday so we could have all day Saturday to rest up before finishing the 6 hour trip on Sunday. Side note- though I have no real desire to ever live in California again, I do absolutely love my home state and love being from there. That being said, having driven almost the entire length of the state, it was sad and hard to see how much it has transformed from the drought. Keeping those prayers coming for rain, guys!
Getting ready for sleep so we can GO
Monday morning was THE morning- wahoo!! The boys were so pumped and so were we! The great thing about going in October is that the whole park is decorated for Halloween. I've always wanted to see it and am so glad I can check that off my bucket list.

my lucky duck parents got to take a picture in front of the Mickey pumpkin. aren't they just adorable...
The first ride was supposed to be Pirates of the Caribbean, but it was closed temporarily. So we just went down one ride to the Haunted Mansion, had no wait, and enjoyed it! Super awesome we did this because at Halloween time, the wait for that ride can be awful. Boom.

Alright... enough "chatting"... here are way too many pictures from our trip...
 The Haunted Mansion! October through December it transforms into The Nightmare Before Christmas... which we just happen to LOVE. seriously, the boys listen to the soundtrack constantly
 Surprise, surprise- Winnie the Pooh was one of Jack's favorite rides
 Cousin Darci!
 Jack meeting Jack! He was SO looking forward to meeting him, but actually having it happen was a little hard to handle. My dad had Jack when they met and he said that when Jack Skellington heard his name was Jack he said, "Jack? oh, I have so many questions." and got down to talk to him even more
I got to get a picture with Jack! Yes, I really was that excited. He's freaking awesome
 Snow White's ride/castle. Nope, we avoided this ride. But it sure looked pretty
Waiting in line for Peter Pan ride, James's hero
 Here we go! Off to Neverland!
And guess who came out right after we got off the ride? PETER FREAKING PAN!! We had to RUN him down to get him to stop and pay attention to him. No easy feat, let me tell ya! But we did and it was amazing. Little boys' dream come true!
Jack got to meet Thor... and totally froze meeting him.
Craig and Lucas on Dumbo, right behind us
We get in line for Dumbo, Jack throws a huge fit that he doesn't want to go on the ride. HUGE. I have my dad take him while we take the other two with their cousins. Lo and behold, he watches us ride it and what does he want to do? Make us wait in line another 20 minutes so he can have a turn. Disneyland with kids, man... a little rough at times. This also became one of his favorite rides
Ok, so not the best picture of me, but look at Jack's sweet face! Gah, love it!
"Aren't you a little short for a stromtrooper?" Yes, I made James say that to him (her?). He butchered it a bit, but he got the gist of it. The trooper ruffled James's hair, which was so cool to Jimmer. 
 Jedi Training Academy and the bright sun
 OUR BOYS GOT PICKED! Not everyone does, so we were BEYOND excited they got picked! James, Gavin and Lucas are now officially Padawans (it's legit. they've got a certificate and everything)
And special shout out to my brother and husband, who let the two boys wear their hat to shield them from the blinding sun. you guys rock
 That's right... Darth Vader AND Darth Maul!
 Gavin was the first to battle and he went up against Vader himself
 I took a video of James battling Darth Maul that I'll add in another post because it was just too awesome
 Oh, Gav
 Birthday boy got a treat!
Getting ready for Soarin' Over California! And these two cousins are just the cutest of best friends
 Right before the Aladdin show. I made Brad sit on the end with me because I kind of freak out if I'm too far in a row. Weird, yes. But true all the same. Yay for quirks!
 The family! Except Craig is blocking the other row of them. Geez, dude...
 Last day at Disneyland and Jack's birthday!
 Princess Tiana! Oddly enough, I think they were scared of her and her dress the most out of all the characters we met. Boys...
 Indiana Jones
 Getting ready for California Screamin'
 We had done Grizzly River Run and Gavin got soaked. But he dried pretty well due to it being late afternoon. We then did Splash a couple hours later and Gav got soaked again. This time he didn't dry as easily and the poor guy did not like it. What can ya do? You lay down in the small patch of warm sun you can find to feel better. Such a trooper
 After shopping, getting shepherded around by a huge crowd for an electric parade, wanting to actually physically hurt a Disney worker who was so not helpful or kind, and watching some fireworks in an odd area, what better way to end a birthday and the last day of Disneyland than with Micky Mouse cake pops?
 I then made the boys walk more by going to Downtown Disney to look at the World of Disney and the Lego store. By the time we were at the Lego store, they were all claiming they could walk no further...
 But then... LEGOS... a store FULL of LEGOS... I guess the legs do work after all
 They all worked hard at our garage sale this last June and saved their money just for this :)

I really can't just share a few pictures. This is too epic! Though it wasn't perfect and there was definitely some fits and whining and plenty of carrying, all in all the boys were fantastic. They walked so much and were generally pretty easy going. We are already talking about when we go down next and it's mind blowing to think how different it will be with their ages then. There were a few rides Jack couldn't go on which made things tricky. Even Gav couldn't do about two or three of them. Also, since James isn't 7 (two freaking months!), he couldn't go on rides by himself and apparently any child under 7 has to be accompanied by someone. But even more specifically, on single riders (like Splash and Matterhorn), you have to have a companion per child. Brad found that out the hard way trying to take Gav and James on Matterhorn by himself. Kind of annoying, but then they are looking out for the safety of our children so we really didn't care. Next time it'll be way different. I am so grateful we were able to experience the magic of Disney with our children, and at these ages. I don't really foresee Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo being on the priority list next time...
and a special thank you to my amazing parents for making this trip happen and be possible for all of us. Happy 60th to you guys and to Disneyland! Let's celebrate like this all the time? ;)