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A First Thanksgiving

This was Kinsley's first Thanksgiving and my first time hosting Thanksgiving.  I do have to say I'm glad it is over but at least now I can say I have done it.  There were a total of 17 people here and there was food galore but I think it turned out alright.  At least I have some idea of how to make the turkey better next time.  Here are some of our pictures.


(I'm missing some of the whole group ones.  Hopefully, I'll add those pictures when I get them.) 

Kinsley at 5 months!


Our Kinsley is 5 months old today!  She's so sweet and amazing and we love her to pieces.  Here's her update:

-She has rolled over from her back to her tummy.  She won't do it every time but when she is really determined, it will happen.  This was a full 4 months before Corbin and Cason rolled over.
-She's grabbing at toys and putting them in her mouth like crazy.  In fact, EVERYTHING goes into her mouth these days. 
-She knows that I am her mom.  Sometimes she doesn't easily go to other people, but will cry when she realizes I'm not holding her.  My mom was watching the kids the other day and I got home and my mom was holding Kinsley.  It was near her bedtime and she was tired but as soon as she saw me she gave me the biggest smile.  Another time, Connor went and got her one morning and brought her into me and she gave me another huge smile as soon as she saw me.  I have to say it melts my heart to be recognized and known to my kids.
-She still loves to watch TV and it will calm her down if she is a little fussy (but not if she is a lot fussy).
-She really wants to sit up by herself and loves it when I put her in a sitting position.  She can't really sit but she certainly tries.
-She still doesn't seem to mind being messed with by her brothers.  There are times where they are surrounding her and it makes me feel claustrophobic for her, but she doesn't cry unless one of them (ahem…Cason) is too rough with her.  But I have a feeling she will be a tough little girl.  
-She has never spit up much in her whole life and if she does, it's a tiny little bit.  But the last several days she has spit up a lot and there have been times where it seems it was everything I fed her.  It made me suspect she was sick.  –Even though Kinsley started out as the best nurser I have had, she is not as consistent as the boys were.  Some feedlings she wants to eat a lot and some she hardly wants to eat at all.  It changes day by day and hour by hour.  
-She has started this new thing where she screams and happy scream to get our attention.  It's been hard to explain to Cason that she is allowed to scream but he isn't.  
-She is really the best baby and I just love how easy going she is and she really will just go with the flow.  There are times she does seem to want more attention that I am happy to give her.

Her schedule has been a little off since the cruise and also I think she may be changing how many naps she has so that makes for a less of an actual schedule:

6am:  Wakes up talking and happy but I usually give her a binky and she will usually go back to sleep until around 7.
7am:  Gets up and eats.  I get her dressed for the day.
8:30am:  Takes a nap.
9:30am:  Wakes up (depending where she got to take the nap).
10am:  Eats and then has play time.
11am: Another nap depending on how long her previous nap was
11:45: Wakes up
1:00:  Eats and taks another nap also depending on previous naps
3:00-4:00:  Wakes up sometime and eats again
7:00:  Has a bath, eats and goes to bed
During the night:  She will wake up a few times needing a binky or her blankets adjusted.  Usually will go right back to sleep.

I still think of her as my newborn baby, but there are times I am looking at her and realizing that she is growing and that it is actually not going to be that long from now that she will be a toddler.  We love her so much!

Disney Cruise: Coming Home

We woke up early to get ready to go eat breakfast.  And we made it pretty well.  All of Connor’s family decided to carry all their luggage off the boat so they could be the first ones off since they had a really long drive ahead of them.  As much as I wanted to try and do that, we had too much stuff and not enough helpers so we had to get off when they called our section (Daisy)!  Well, while we were all still at breakfast they announced that anyone who was carrying their luggage could get off.  Then while we were walking back to the rooms to say goodbye, the first section was told they could get off.  Well, since we didn’t have much luggage we started heading to where you get off the boat and just before we got there, they announced our section.  So we ended up off the boat quicker than anticipated.  That was really nice.  We got through customs no problem and the guy who checked us through was the nicest government worker I had ever met.  He kept saying Kinsley was pretty cute.  We got to our car and I fed Kinsley and at 9am we headed got on the road.  Our last view of the boat as we were driving away.


 We drove until lunch time, when we stopped and ate and got gas.  While the boys were finishing up, I fed Kinsley and we got back on the road.  An hour or so into the second leg, I realized that it was possible we could make it home before I had to feed Kinsley again.  And we did.  We walked in the door at 3:15pm.  We made such good time coming home and all the kids were great!  It was sad to say goodbye to family and to not be on a wonderful vacation anymore, but it was also good to be home.  

Here are some of my random thoughts:

For some reason there were things I was really really concerned about before the cruise.  One was one of my kids falling overboard.  I would get these images of this happening and it would keep me up at night.  Once we got on the ship I was less worried with it happening while we were walking around because it seemed pretty unlikely that they would be able to find a way to climb overboard.  BUT then I saw the room they were going to sleep in (without us).  They shared a room with Connor’s parents and while I, of course, trust them, their situation kept me up at night a couple times while on the boat.  They had a balcony with 2 chairs and a table.  There were times when all of us were in there to do the devotional/prayer and some of the kids would climb on the chairs and table and lean over the edge.  It was giving me anxiety.  Luckily, our boys were very good at listening to why we did not want them to climb on the furniture but it didn’t necessarily keep me from worrying about it.  

Traveling with kids the ages ours are was okay but not the greatest.  I wish the 5 of us could do everything together but unfortunately we had to have some kids nap or eat or whatever at different times.  There were things I would have liked to see the boys experience.

On Disney:  The more Disney things I do, now that I have kids, I can appreciate all the thoughtfulness Disney puts into how they do things.  Their announcements were always made outside of the rooms so as not to wake any sleeping babies.  Other cruises I’ve been on were not like that.  Disney also just seemed to have a lot more to do on their cruise than other ships I've been on.  I also noticed something during the time we spent with the characters.  I think this is the same way at all of the parks not just the cruise.  The characters each are assigned a “manager” to guide them where they are supposed to be and to move along guests who may be taking too much time with them.  It struck me as I watched all the characters interact with my kids that the characters themselves never seemed to want to leave and would always stay a little bit longer interacting with the kids after their manager was telling them to move on.  And this happened with each character every time.  As I thought about it, I realized they must be trained to do this, so that the kids don’t feel the characters want to leave them but that they are being “forced” to leave.  It makes them feel special.  I just love that Disney thought through this enough to help each kid feel like each character was there just for them.  Disney is just so smart and that's why the love of all things Disney gets passed down from generation to generation.  While I do want my kids to have vacations that don't always revolve around Disney, I can definitely appreciated the effort that is made to make vacations that much easier with kids.  Conclusion:  I LOVE Disney even more now!  Look at that pure joy on my boys' faces.


Also, we wouldn't have had this wonderful amazing trip without Nana and Papa.  It was so much fun and just an amazing time.  Nana and Papa are the best grandparents to their grandkids.  You can tell all their grandkids feel loved and special even with 14 kids to divide attention with.  I think it is especially apparent with my kids since we live far away from them and don't get to see them on a regular basis.  My kids KNOW who their Nana and Papa are.  They get excited to spend time with them and they see them enough that they are comfortbale and loving with them during the times they have with them.  I want to be that kind of grandparent when the time comes.  Thanks for everything!  We love you!


Disney Cruise: Day 7

This was our last full day on the ship.  Unfortunately, it was cold so we didn’t really want to hang out by the pool or anything.  I was pretty sad not to see Corbin go down the big slide again.  For breakfast, we had our scheduled character breakfast.  We ate in a dining room and our normal servers were there to serve us and characters came to each table.  Corbin and Cason were just thrilled!  They would hug them and kiss them and just thought it was the greatest thing ever.  Chip and Dale were some of the characters that came and the only reason they were exited for them was because of the old cartoons that were being shown in our rooms.  


The next part of the morning, we hung out in our room trying to get things packed up.  Our bags needed to be out of our rooms by 10pm that night.  Connor then found out that there was a new ice cream flavor, his favorite, pina colada.  It was next to the mango so could be swirled and it was SO good.  Our favorite flavors of the whole trip.  I wonder why they waited until the last day to put it out.  We then decided to see if the boys would let us drop them off to the club.  They both were pretty apprehensive at first, but then Corbin said he would try it.  He said if he was scared or wanted to cry he would just sneeze and then clear his throat.  I have NO idea where he learned that from.  And he did let us drop him off with no trouble at all.  Cason said he would go after he had an ice cream.  The little stinker knew exactly what he was doing.  He ate the ice cream SO slowly.  He would stick out his tongue to get barely lick it.  I could tell he was stalling.  So we told him to hurry and eat it and we started walking over to the club.  We were standing out waiting for him to finish it and he said he was going to eat it so fast, but again he was just stalling.  By the time we got the ice cream away from him, he said he wasn’t going to go in the club.  The little stink pot.  We had to have a discussion with him about doing what you say you are going to do.  We told him it is okay to tell us he didn’t want to go but he can’t say one thing and do another.  I doubt a 2 year old really understands that concept though.  

Then the 4 of us went to eat lunch in the buffet.  It was seafood and pretty delicious.  After lunch we went to look at all the pictures that were taken of us while on board.  I would have liked to just get the cd of all of them, but $350 for 50 digitals just seems expensive.  Connor took the boys to a movie while I stayed in the room with Kinsley for her nap.  The boat was rocking so much that I was getting a little nervous.  I didn’t remember this much movement from the other cruises I had been on.  It was like turbulence in an airplane.  When Kinsley got up we went to find the boys and just hung out for a bit before we got ready for dinner.  We also found out that even though the club said they were going to feed the kids lunch, Corbin didn’t at any.  We don’t know exactly how that happened but when we asked him if he wanted ice cream, he said he didn’t and just wanted some food.  Oops.  After the boys got out of the move, we ran into a few characters.


We ate our last dinner and went back to our cabin to finish up all the packing.  After, Connor and I met up with two of his brothers and their wives to play Slap Uno.  We first started playing at this lounge with the most awful singer, but then we found a sports bar that hardly anyone was in.  It was the perfect place to play.  I was tired and a little sick from all the rocking but it was probably the hardest I’ve laughed in a long time.  As we were just finishing up the game, something pretty funny happened, but since it doesn’t involve my kids, it’s not really my story to tell.  I can just leave that memory to those that were there!!!  But take my word for it, it ended up being really funny.  

Disney Cruise: Day 6

This was the second day in Cabo but we were supposed to be back on the boat by 1pm so we all decided to just stay on the ship and hang out.  We went in the pool, ate ice cream, ate lots of food, played Slap Uno and hung out. 

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Kinsley started this loud and funny scream thing while on the cruise.  Maybe she was just trying to get attention.

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Disney Cruise: Day 5

This was another one of the big days.  It was our first day in Cabo San Lucas and it was Pirate night.  Lots of fun stuff to do that day.  Just the way things worked out, we got off the boat with Cole and Lacey and their family and Papa.  It was fun to spend time with them on the beach.  The only annoying thing was the people coming to sell stuff to us.  We would probably get asked every 10 seconds or so if we wanted to buy anything.  


Kinsley just hung out in her beach tent and slept and played.  I guess I didn't get any pictures of her.  There was one point where Corbin came up to eat a snack by the chairs and umbrella but he has touched the sand so I told him to go down to the water and rinse his hands off.  I watched him go down and start to come back up.  He had found us several times so I didn't watch him much farther than that.  I guess he got disoriented and took off down the beach super fast.  Luckily, Connor saw him and was able to run over to him to stop him.  Thank goodness!

On a funny note, Cason also wanted the snack and needed to rinse his hands.  So he would go rinse his hands in the water, then try and climb up the little sandy hill and fall back down.  Then go back to the water and then repeat the process several times before I rescued him.  It was pretty cute even though he was frustrated.

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Disney Cruise: Day 4

Papa’s birthday!  This was one of the main reasons we were going on this cruise in the first place, to celebrate Grandpa Jon’s 60th birthday.  This was also the first day we were in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta so a big day for us.  We all signed up for the same excursion, a pirate ship that would take us to a beach and give us breakfast and lunch and a pirate show along the way.  We got up and ate breakfast and were right off the cruise ship so that we could make it to our excursion.  There were pirates in full costume waiting for us along the way.  The boys thought they were pretty neat.  I was actually surprised they weren’t scared of them, because I thought they looked so real.  

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We got on the pirate ship and they showed us where to sit and then took us below deck for our continental breakfast.  We got to walk around the boat while we waited for all the people to get on.  There were probably about 200 or so on each ship with at total of 2 ships.  They had a pirate dance party.  Then they had some time where kids could sword fight some of the pirates.  Then they did the pirate show.  It was pretty elaborate with a whole skit, pirates walking the plank (into the ocean while we were still going) and canons.  This was where Corbin was getting scared.  I had to keep reminding him that it was just pretend.  He was very concerned that the good pirates were left in the ocean after they had to walk the plank.  But after I explained that everything wasn’t real, he started to get into the show and when the bad pirates then walked the plank, he thought it was pretty funny.  

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We then got to the beach and were able to just hang out for awhile.  The water was so incredibly warm that it didn’t even cool us off when we wanted to get out of the heat.  The boys LOVED playing in this water.  Cason especially was just cracking up the whole time.  He was getting pushed down by the waves and he thought it was hillarious.    Corbin played the age old game of trying not to let the waves catch him.  After playing in the water a little bit, the pirates led a treasure hunt.  I stayed with a sleeping Kinsley but the boys weren’t super interested in doing that so they participated for a little bit and then played more in the water.  I was surprised that soon after we were called to pack up and head back to the pirate ship. 


When we got back on the boat all the kids were tired and fammished.  They fed us lunch and Cason almost fell out of his seat he was so tired.  The pirates played some games and did another dance party and then we were back on shore.  We hurried back to the cruise ship so I could feed Kinsley.  


That night at dinner we all wore our new shirts for Papa’s birthday and were able to get some family pictures taken.  (Not by the best photographer as you can see.)  


The show that night was Toy Story Musical.  The boys really enjoyed it and it was really well done, but Connor and I thought there was too much of Sid (the not so nice character from the first movie).  But we had such a great day!  


Disney Cruise: Day 3

Kinsley woke Connor and I up early so we went and worked out before breakfast.  This was the only day I actually did.  They gym had a great view while you worked out.


It was so warm that morning that we ate breakfast outside!


I ate escargot at dinner that night.  It honestly wasn't that bad.  It tasted like really garlicy mushrooms.


I can't see the picture below without saying in my head "Uh oh baby".  


I think the show this night was the ventriloquist.  It wasn't that bad.  We left just before it ended since the boys weren't super in to it.

Disney Cruise: Day 2

Our first full day on the boat, we got up a little on the later side and had breakfast in the buffet and then had a devotional and prayer in Nana and Papa's room.  It may have been a little nuts fitting 24 people in one room, but amazingly it wasn't that bad.


Then we just hung out, went to the pool, ate, ate, oh and ate some more.


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This was the first character we saw and Cason was just so happy.  Minnie was blowing kisses to the kids and Cason was excitedly telling me about it.  It was so fun to watch them.

Our family went on a walk around the boat before dinner.

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It was formal night for dinner.  It was fun to get dressed up!


Then I was able to take the boys to the show that night.  It was the Golden Mickeys.  The boys loved it.


Disney Cruise: Day 1

All of us (except Kinsley) were up by 4am with Daylight Savings time.  Connor and I tried our best to get the boys to go back to sleep but that was not happening.  I also think we were a little too excited ourselves to get back to sleep.  We got up and ready for church and then had the breakfast downstairs.  It was packed and it took awhile to get a table plus food.  It’s impossible for us to get food at a buffet for all of us and our kids in one trip.  Our kids are just a little too young to be helpful.


We went to a ward in Downey and it was TINY.  But still we were able to feel the spirit there.  That was helpfulbefore we went on the boat and started our vacation.  

We had to dop off luggage and park and wait in a few lines before we made it the boat.  Our kids were so patient considering everything.  There was some room shuffeling when we got on and there was craziness with the room keys but it all worked out pretty well.


We got on the boat and had to do the lining up of where we would get on the life boat if we needed to.  Thank goodness we didn't need to.  But there is a lot of time when I'm on a cruise that reminds me a lot of Titanic.  


Then we hung around the ship the rest of the night and had dinner in our assigned resturaunt.

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The Mickey Boat

That is how we first explained what the Disney Cruise was to Corbin and Cason and it stuck.  For months the boys (and, let’s be honest, us as well) talked about this cruise.  We were all so excited to have time together, to get to see extended family, and to be able to do fun things and relax.  

Since our cruise ship was traveling to the Mexican Riviera and we left out of LA, we had half the drive as the rest of our extended family did.  But with a baby that eats every 3 hours, we weren’t there much earlier than everyone else.  

Our cruise was to leave on Sunday so we left Saturday morning and decided to stay the night in LA so we could go to church in the morning and then get on the ship.

Saturday 3rd:


Saturday we left around 8:30am and drove a couple hours before Kinsley needed to eat.  After that it was sort of just stop and go for lunches, bathroom breaks, and a baby that needed to eat.  Oh and we rigged up a way for Kinsley to watch Baby Einsteins.  This really made the trip so much better.  (I know I probably get the bad mom award for letting my child under two watch shows but so be it.)

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We also stopped at the most crowded mall ever so Connor could get a cover for his new iPad Mini.  We finally got to LA (Downey to be exact) and stayed at the Embassy Suites there.  It was actually pretty nice and they had a koi pond inside that the boys LOVED.  I should have taken pictures, but I didn’t.  I don’t know what it is about kids and hotels, but our kids always think it’s so fun to stay in a hotel.  


Soon after we got there, we met up with Cole and Lacey and Connor’s parents for dinner.  Our boys had been waking up around 5am every morning, so we were concerned with the time change moving back that it would be even earlier.  We were right, but there was nothing we could do but power through it. 

© The Duke Fam 2014