Shhhh...I'm not sure I'm back.

But I've been really sad about not having my blog. And it was all made even more sad to me when I realized that for the past nearly 4 years all I have to document my life and kids growing up has all been in the form of facebook posts and terrible iphone photos.

I want to get back to it. But grad school is coming up in the fall and I have so much going on that it is difficult to fit this in.

Firs of all I had to go back to December to find recent pics of my kids on my computer at all, and all of them are from my phone syncs. Which just sucks.
It flies by and I hate that I'm not doing more to document this part of life.

In December, Evan got to adopt Peanut. When we first brought him home, he was really obnoxious at night and poor Ev was just exhausted from it. He fell fast asleep anywhere he could for that first week.

 Kira is in middle school now. And here we are half way through and I am barely talking about it. That's rough. I think it's so much fun to have these amazing kids growing up!
Here she is posing after her band concert. Little miss sass.
 There she is! Getting ready to perform. (She plays cornet.)
 And I just love this picture. She is incredible and is turning into such an incredible young woman! I'm so proud of her. :)

Summer School came a bit faster than planned...

and threw my blogging into a tailspin. :)

I actually have a ton of pictures to share, and stuff to talk about, but right now, I just wanted to repost this before I lost it.

10 things I plan to tell my daughter...

I loved this list, and I didn't want to lose it.

So that's the link, plus I'm putting the full text here, just in case that link goes bad for some reason.

Here are the ten things I know I need to tell a modern girl about sex once she matures enough to roll her eyes throughout the conversation.

10. That sex is beautiful and fun as hell, but so is driving a car and a bunch of other things that come with responsibilities. You need to ask yourself if you can handle those. I knew I couldn't be trusted with a car at 16, so I didn't ask for one. Same with sex. I waited until I knew I was with someone that wouldn't use me wrong and knew what they were doing. You shouldn't be afraid of it, but you should respect its possible consequences, such a pregnancy, disease, and just the general mess that sometimes come from sleeping with someone you shouldn't have.

9. That someone that feels the need to lie, trick, or force you into sex is never going to be the slightest bit interested in your enjoyment of it. You might as well be a gym sock as far as they're concerned. Don't be a trophy.

8. That you should never do anything that will make you hate yourself to gain another person's approval. You are not defined by the approval of others, and anyone who says you are wants to control you. You are your own person with your own unique value to yourself.

7. Your body belongs to you. Anyone that doesn't respect that is an enemy. Run if you can, fight if you can't, and never let someone convince you asked for or deserved it if all else fails. If a person makes you feel that they can fire you or fail you in a class or something if you don't return their affections then they are just a rapist that doesn't like to go out. Leave and tell someone immediately, because if it wasn't you it will be someone else.

 6. You cannot be "ruined," by an act. You can only be ruined if you let shame and self-loathing consume you, and even then there is always a path back into the light. This goes double for someone trying to convince you sex is evil. That person was either hurt badly or seriously misled.

5. There is no such thing as "the mood" or "killing the moment." Anyone that thinks taking a second to put on a condom ruins the experience is probably very bad at sex anyway, and you should just leave until they grow-up.

4. You are far more than just your decorative worth or status as a sex partner. Never let someone convince you that they are doing you a favor by sleeping with you because no one else would want you. That's just a guilt trip used by creeps.

3. Treat sex like gymnastics. Wait till you're ready, go slow, and remember that no one can do a back flip on the first try. Also, porn is acting, not a how-to guide. If you want a how-to guide, ask and I will buy you one. I took a class and everything. There is nothing that can't be improved by approaching it honestly, openly, and with a willingness to learn.

2. Don't let someone take pictures of you naked unless you are absolutely fine with everyone you know seeing them... or before you're 18 because that shit's illegal. That goes for taking pictures of yourself as well. People get arrested for that.

1. In direct connection to the last statement, there is nothing you will ever do that will shock me, disappoint me, or most of all make me stop loving you. Whatever happens, I am your dad, and I'll stand by you. So talk to me.

Thursday the down day...and the grand finale: Legoland. In two parts.

Thursday we decided to take a down day. It was super lazy. We read books, watched TV, the kids played the wii. Ridiculously lazy until about noon. We then drug ourselves out of the house for lunch and a quick shopping trip. (I needed jeans).

Then that evening Ed and his wife Cheryl invited us to dinner at their home. It was pretty far north of where we were, so we picked up Jen on our way out of town and arrived around 6:30. They have a beautiful home and outdoor kitchen. And a bocce court that was amazing. I didn't take any pictures, but Shawn got a few on his phone, so I will add them in later if I can get them.

We played a quick game of girls against boys and Jeff and Shawn wandered off and so we won. Evan was not impressed with his team needing another beer. 

They also have a small orchard of orange trees on their property, and we went orange picking, and the kids loved that. Matt was there and he taught them how to find the ripe oranges by taste test and how to pick them.

Ed grilled tri tip for dinner and Cheryl set out rolls and salads, and made brownies and cookies for dessert. It was a great night, great company and a nice end to our relaxing day.

Friday kicked off day one of two to lego land. This was what Evan had been waiting for. We arrived really early and so the park let us in, but nothing was open except the cafe and the two stores. We got muffins and coffee and juice and sat around waiting. We wandered a little and a woman near by told us about Mind Storms, a robotics adventure that you have to sign up for. We headed that way and got the last spot for the day. Crazy.

After that we walked over to see the giant x-wing display. I think Shawn told me it weighs 4500lbs. It was incredible. It is made entirely out of Legos.

Then it was finally time for the rides!
Evan was very excited, even waiting in line. 

I loved this King Tut. 
 The kids waiting for another ride.

Some of the rides were a little young for these two, but they did them anyway. 
 Cool lego spider!

This is not made out of lego, but it's a pig, and in minecraft apparently someone told Evan they are called "Jeffreys" so now that's what he calls pigs. So here he is posing with a Jeffrey.

 This was in some corny maze/find the key thing we did. But I thought the wolves were cool.

 These are archaeologists.
 We had lunch after this and then it was time to go to the Mind Storm activity. Lunch was a really tasty pizza, I was really happy they had decent food, since we had to be there for two full days.

We saw these guys on our way and I had to make the kids stop and take a picture with the Mariachis!

Mind Storm was pretty cool, the kids had to program a robot to perform tasks. They were given a series of missions and then they were pretty much left to their own devices to figure out how to make it happen.
Getting directions: 
 Studying the map:
 Getting ready to try it out:
 watching to see if they did it right:

 It was a successful mission! And look how cute this little robot is!
 After that we went on a little boat tour. It started off a little rough when I saw the sign that said "No drinks on ride" and put the kids rootbeer in my bag. Can you see where this is going? Yeah. The lid was not sealed, and it dumped all over my lap and the floor and all of my stuff. I was scrambling to grab all electronic devices out of it and lucky for me I caught it in time! But I was soaked. Probably a cup of liquid spilled into my bag and soaked through. Yuck. And so sticky! I still managed to snap some pics on our ride, and we got a plastic bag from one of the stores to put my wet drippy bag in for the rest of the day. So no big deal, but I was a little cranky about it for a few minutes. I got over it pretty fast.

Lego turtles!
 This elephant shot water out of it's trunk. Kind of fun.
 mini replicas were kind of neat too see.

 New York city skyline took over 2 million lego pieces. Fun little fact.
Lucky we took this fun pic of Evan with Darth Maul on day one, because on day two there was a huge line to take a pic with him! 

I will put day two in a new post. Have to get some stuff done today, that does not involve sitting here at my desk blogging!

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Wednesday we headed north to the Safari Park. This place was beautiful and the mission of conservation and care of the earth and the animals was clear. We had a wonderful time. I loved everything about it but the food. It was awful!

Shawn thought that the kids would love to do an extra "safari", so he paid for one and surprised the kids with it later in the day.
The African loop was my favorite park to walk through. It was really quiet and peaceful and we were essentially alone on the path. We passed only a couple of people.
The flamingos are always fun to see.

Here is a mama with her egg in a nest. So cool! 
 The African Tram tour was really great. I loved our guide, he was really interesting and knowledgeable, but also a lot of fun.
 Sadly, this Northern white rhino and the one below are two of only three left. The remaining four wild northern white rhinos are believed to have gone extinct in 2008. The tour guide said there are 8 remaining, in total. They will go extinct in just a few years, and that is really sad.

I didn't get a picture of the zebras, but they are not allowed to live on the slopes with all the other animals, apparently they are very territorial and mean and hurt others. Everyone else lives in harmony, so the zebras have to live by themselves off to the side in a smaller fenced area.

So the surprise? A Cheetah safari! We got to wait in a special area, we were in the shade, with chairs, water, and the perfect unobstructed view of the cheetah run. Anyone can watch the run, but it's hard to see and very crowded! Then we got to meet the cheetah up close and personal. We also got a surprise visit from another ambassador at the park. Bubba the warthog!

 Kira taking pictures of me taking pictures of her!

 BUBBA~so cute! ;-)

Best seats in the house! Such a great view of the track! 
 Kira waiting! She was so excited.
I took one shot of her jumping out of the truck to chase her lure, and then just watched. They recommend that, because it happens in under 6 seconds and you will miss it if you try to just take pics. :)

Shawn got it on video though! So cool! It's kind of long, but it's full of really cool information about Cheetah's and their dogs! Watch to find out what I'm talking about!

After the run, they brought Amara into our seating area. It was so cool to be that close to a Cheetah. Amara is the diva though, and no one pets her, even trainers are not allowed. So she was rather standoffish and annoyed. Just like a cat. When aren't they annoyed by humans? It was a little unnerving to see this pic later and realize she was licking her lips when she walked in the gate!
She was gorgeous.


Lucky for us, she had trainers with snacks. 

 See? Annoyed.

  But beautiful!

 I didn't take a ton of photo's this day. I woke up with a raging headache and it just wouldn't quit. So I just enjoyed the quiet mostly and the beauty of the park.
Here are a couple of random pics. If you look close in this one, there is a baby rhino. He was covered in mud and heard our tram go by. 
 Cute kids waiting to meet Amara the Cheetah.
 This tree was gorgeous! Look at those enormous yellow blooms!