Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home at Last!

We arrived home around 7:30 last night.

As usual, the last 2 hours of the drive were miserable with kids melting down left and right.

At one point, I almost pulled out the video camera because the chaos would have been comical to observers, not so much for those of us experiencing it.

I just didn't think we would make it.

We unloaded and got a really amazing night's sleep. It felt good to be in our own beds.

Laila was hilarious. When Rick put her in her bed, she just rolled around like a pig in mud. She was so glad to be back in her bed.

Lauren's 10th bday is tomorrow. That is a big one around here.

We are working today to get ready for the big spa sleepover that we have planned!

Today we have been shopping and decorating and putting all the final details together.

I can't wait to celebrate this girl.

If you hear some partying going on tomorrow, it is probably coming from the Clapp house!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sweet Deal

We are at the hotel.

Pizza has been eaten.

We decided against swimming.

Rick and I just couldn't do another thing.

Rick and the boys are in one room, the girls and I are in the other.

Laila is asleep. Lauren and Abby are fading.

Cake Boss is on TV.

I have wifi.

I am not sure what is going on in the boys room, but I am guessing it is not as calm over there as it is here.

I think I just might have gotten the better end of this deal. :)


We are in Flagstaff, AZ, and we are exhausted.

Rick has gone to pick up pizza. We even found a place that does gluten free for Cody.

The thought of going to a restaurant with this crew tonight just might send Rick and me over the edge.

I have some catching up to do on my vaca posts.

I am waiting on pics from Rick.

Don't you worry. Once I get those pictures, I will share all about the rest of our adventures.

I have a few posts about traveling with the kids and some things I learned about me on this trip that I am mulling around in my mind.

We saw the Grand Canyon today. Impressive to Rick and me, not so much for the kids. I will share more about that when I don't feel like I am going to collapse any second!!

This vacation stuff is wearing me out!

Another long day of driving tomorrow. Not looking forward to that!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Laila's 2nd Birthday

Laila turned 2 on Thursday!! We had some fun on her special day. It started with lots of hugs and kisses when she woke up. She has lots of adoring fans in this family.
Laila loves her daddy!
Since we all love the beach so much, we decided there couldn't be a better way to celebrate her Birthday since we have that option available. We chose to go back to Laguna Beach since there is a playground on the beach.
Laila and Daddy packing lunches for the trip.
I just love this picture of my big boys.
Sam and some other boys his age began a heated game of volleyball. It was so cute because none of them were even as tall as the net. We sat behind them watching them play. It cracked me up.
Sam, who learned to serve earlier in the day, was now teaching one of the other boys.
Laila spent the day playing in the sand, as usual.Here she is trying to bury Abby in the sand.
Her first Gogurt eaten the "big girl" way.
When walking to and from the beach, she must help push the wagon.
A little nap in the truck between celebrations.
That reminds me, this chick is addicted to her "noni"(binky). I don't know how we are going to break her of it without much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Usually, at 2 years old, we restrict the "noni" to the bed. Since we are on a trip, I plan to wait until we return home. I am probably as addicted to it as she is because it makes my life a lot easier, too!

We came back to the condo for a dinner of homemade pizza and brownies.
Laila loves pizza!
Celebrating is exhausting!!
Blowing out our "makeshift" Birthday Candles.
"Let me just lick this first and make sure it is okay."
I love this little girl. She is so loving and tenderhearted. She gives out so many hugs and kisses. At bedtime, when I tuck her in, she will always say to me, "Big hugs, Mommy." She also is quite the little singer. Her repertoire ranges from "All the Single Ladies," to "Jesus Loves Me," to "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and so many more. Even if you can't understand the words she is saying, you can tell what song it is because she sings right on tune.

She also thanks me each time I change her diaper. When we have come back each night from the beach the kids are all so dirty and need baths. Every step of the process, she is thanking me. I wash her, she thanks me. I dry her off, she thanks me. I put lotion on her, she thanks me. It is so precious. She HATES it when I have to comb through her hair. She gets these huge crocodile tears that are so sad looking. When it is over, we always end with a kiss to make sure she knows that I love her.

She has definitely entered the independent stage of being 2. Her new phrase that we hear regularly is "I do it." She wants to walk all the time instead of being carried. She doesn't want help with anything. She has to have a turn at fixing her hair and putting on lotion. She loves to blow her nose. She prays out loud at night before bed. Her prayer usually consists of naming each member of the family along with the word "sleep," ex. Daddy sleep, Mommy sleep. etc. followed by a passionate "amen!"

She has blossomed in so many ways over the last year in our family. I don't even recognize her as the little girl that I met in March '09. She has gone from being a emotionless little baby to an energetic, beautiful, active, and loving little girl.
We love you, Laila! You bring so much joy, love, and happiness to our family! Happy Birthday!


On Wed., we headed to Hollywood. With the amount of drama that goes on in our family, I knew we would fit in nicely in that environment!! We got to experience lovely, LA traffic. That is something we wouldn't want to have to deal with every day.
The crew
Welcome to Hollywood
We walked up and down Hollywood Blvd. to take a look at some of the stars. We found a few that the kids were excited to see. I like being outside Grauman's Chinese Theater and seeing the handprints and footprints of many stars. I remember watching an episode of "I Love Lucy" as a kid and seeing them in that location.
Shrek and Sam and Isaiah had a little altercation.
The boardwalk at Santa Monica
We found this too late in the day to get out and walk it, but it brought back some memories for Rick of when he lived in CA as a senior in high school.
We drove to Venice Beach and Malibu as well. We didn't get to fully take the beaches all in, but we can say that we have been to them.
Rodeo Drive was just like it looked in the movies. It was worth seeing, but not somewhere I would want to add to my shopping trips. It felt uncomfortable and a bit stuffy to me.
We drove around Beverly Hills for awhile as well. It was pretty.
The day wouldn't be complete without a picture of my favorite type of palm tree. I just love these trees!!
We ended the day with some In N Out Burger, a staple to the CA diet. It was delicious. We arrived home late into the night and all collapsed into our beds!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sailing with the Dolphins

On Tuesday, we had an opportunity that we could never have imagined we would have. Our friends here in Dana Point, Jesse, Elyse, Craig, Dan, and Captain Bill(as we call him) took us sailing in the ocean. None of us have ever done anything like this before nor did we expect we ever would be able to. Isaiah had been asking all week, "Mommy, I go on a big boat?" My usual answer to him to get him to stop asking me the same question over and over again is, "sometime, Isaiah, sometime." Well, on Tuesday, he got his wish.
This is the boat that we went out on.
The weather was beautiful, sunny but also windy so that we could put up the sails and let it go. The kids were so excited to see the bedrooms, kitchen and bathrooms below the deck. One of their favorite things was going to the bathroom down below while we were sailing. It is the little things, people, that really thrill my children.

The kids were a little fearful and hesitant at first, not sure what to expect, but as we headed out, they became more comfortable and settled in. Then, the really cool part was to go to the front and watch as we sailed.

I loved watching as the guys raised the sails and talked in their sailing language. It is a whole new thing to me. Having extra sets of hands to help out with the kids was also such a blessing. It allowed both Rick and me to experience everything fully as well.
Rick, Sam, and Isaiah at the front of the boat.
Abby has not wanted her picture taken lately. Oh, well, then I will take it like this.
Lauren chilling in her seat.
Family sailing picture
Captain Isaiah steering the boat. (By the way, this kid talked non stop the whole time.)
Laila was our little "marshmallow girl" in her life jacket.
The most amazing part of the whole ride was the dolphins. We found a pod of dolphins. There were hundreds of them swimming alongside us, jumping out the water, and coming so close we could almost touch them. It was incredible to see. We felt very blessed that we had the opportunity to see them. That is something we will never forget.
I found myself feeling a tad bit seasick. Nothing horrible, just a little nausea with a bit of a headache. I went below deck to take Isaiah to the bathroom and that really made me feel sick. I couldn't stay down there very long. Once we found the dolphins, I forgot all about any sick feelings.

At one point, Cody was at the front of the boat and got soaked by the water splashing up. He didn't go back to that spot again!!

Sam was quite the sailor. He connected with sailing more than any of the other kids.
At one point, he came to me and said, "Mom, I have decided I want to be a sailor when I grow up." Before today he was deciding between policeman and football player.
These pictures do not do the experience of seeing the dolphins justice.
Some seals hanging out.
More dolphin viewing
We just can't thank our "sailing crew" enough for giving us this adventure. It was fun to spend the day with you. I think our whole family agrees that sailing is awesome!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blizzard Beach

Monday, we spent the day at the beach in Oceanside. We affectionately like to call this beach "Blizzard Beach" because there is a Dairy Queen right there!! If you have read this blog for any length of time, you already know my deep affection for Blizzards, especially French Silk Pie Blizzards. Add a Blizzard to my beach experience, and I just might think I am truly in heaven.

Laila was wiped out this day and spent much of her beach experience resting.
Here she is laying on the blanket next to her daddy.
Here we are cuddling together.
The wind was strong this day, and I felt a bit chilled. I spent most of the time covered in towels. There was a playground on the beach so I took the 4 younger kids there to play for a while. It was much warmer.

This beach had lots of black sand mixed in with the white and brown. I didn't care for that, but loved everything else about it. We also really loved the town. It was a cozy beach town.
Isaiah and Abby can usually be found playing in the sand!!
The time was made complete by our trip to Dairy Queen. Blizzards anyone?
At one point on the way home, I realized it was unusually quiet in our truck. I asked Rick to look back and see how many were out. The kids were so exhausted that everyone but Abby fell asleep on the way home. Here are some pics of what we saw when we turned around to look:

Another great day at the beach!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Until Isaiah and Laila joined our family, Sam had been the baby for over 5 years. He was really good at that role. He is charming, really cute, and...
always knows how to get a laugh.
He struggled with being jolted out of that role. He and Isaiah are a lot alike. That created some competition for his attention. There were some times during those first days home where he would say, "I think I want to be the baby of the family again." It also didn't help that Isaiah was hitting, biting and pinching a lot when he came home. Nobody wants to be beat up all the time!!
Isaiah began to work his charm into Sam's heart. About 4 months into them being home, Sam's heart warmed towards Isaiah.
Now, they are partners in crime!!
I love these boys so much. They bring some much joy and laughter and even a little mischief into my life!!