Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Andrew, my sweet little 4-year old, is missing his preschool day today.  Not because he's sick.  But because he simply doesn't want to go.  And I'm not in the mood to fight him on it, yet again.  This will be week #4 and he still doesn't want to go.  It starts bright and early in the morning as soon as he wakes up.

"Do I have preschool today?" he asks.
"Yes!"  I say, "Won't that be fun?"
He scowls, "No! I don't wannnnnnna gooooooo....."

and I usually just ignore that comment and change the subject.  Then again at breakfast he says, "Mom, what time is preschool?"

"Right after lunch."  I say.
"Yes, Andrew.  Today is your preschool day.  You have fun when you're there, right?"

See, the truth is...once he's there, he does have fun, so he won't lie and tell me no. Whenever I pick him up after his 3 hour preschool session, he tells me about his day; who he played with, the things he did.  His teachers (who I know and trust)  tell me that he does wonderfully in the class and participates.  He only cries and screams and throws a fit, clinging to my leg and kicking at the closed door when I drop him off.  After all that, he's fine.

But no matter how much "fun" he is having, every single day he asks me if he HAS to go.  He tells me he'd rather stay home with me. 

Now, my mommy instinct asks me, why should I force him to go?  It's not like he needs preschool.  I only send my kids to preschool the year before they start Kindergarten, and my only reason for sending them is for them to have FUN.  Not because I think they *need* to go for academic or socialization reasons. 

And really, he's only four years old.  Soon he will be five, six, and then seven.  And from there, eight is right around the corner.  Then nine and ten! They grow up so quickly!  One more year at home full time with momma suits me just fine! 

My baby...((sniff, sniff ))
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Homecoming Dance 2010

When I was in high school, I can't remember Homecoming being THAT big of a deal.  Maybe it was and I just wasn't all that involved and so I missed all the excitement?  I don't know.  All I know is that for Afton, going to these events is a huge deal to her and her friends.  They are all super involved in the high school and never miss anything that goes on.  So this year's Homecoming Dance was a major deal for Afton -- new dress, new shoes, nails done. The whole 9 yards.

Here she is with a few of her friends.  Afton is in the white dress.

with her best friend Noelle

I really do like Afton's pink shoes -- I wish we wore the same size!

Afton with one of her friends.  I really, really love this picture of her.  Just the way she's looking off to the side and not at the camera....she looks especially pretty in this photo.  Notice her teeny-tiny nose stud?  Yep, it's the real thing.  I went with her to get it done.  What can I say?  I made a judgement call.  She's never given me an ounce of trouble, she's a straight A student who takes AP college prep classes, and she babysits to earn her money.  I figure if a nose stud changes her any, I'll just insist she take it out.  Somehow, I don't think that little teeny-tiny thing will change her much.  
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Hot Days

It has been so incredibly hot these last few days!  In the triple digits!  Enough, already...I'm looking forward to some fall weather!  But while it's hot, we are making the best of it.  We have plenty of pool days and waterpark days.  Our community has wonderful pools and waterparks -- we are so lucky to live where we do! 

Below are some photos of Aria, Andrew and Aislynn at one of our favorite neighborhood waterparks.  We call this one "The Dump Bucket" because there is this HUGE bucket that fills up, and when it gets really full, it tips over and dumps all the water out on everyone  below.  The water comes down with such force that it knocks everyone over.  The kids love standing right under it!  Even Andrew.  But Aria...not so much. She is "scarey" of it.  She says, "mommy...I scarey!"    I can't say I blame her.  Even I won't stand right under that enormous dump bucket!

It's so calm because they are on what is called a 10 minute "safety break" where no one is allowed in the water.  It happens every hour and no one really knows the true reason they do this.  Some say it's so the life guards can take a break.  Then others say it's so all the kids can use the restrooms (thus cutting down the risk that they will use the pool as a bathroom!)  and then others say it's so they can check the water for bacteria.  Who knows...maybe all of the above are true.  Anyway, in this photo with Andrew you can see the big red dump bucket - isn't it huge?  A lot of water can be filled in that thing!

The "dump bucket" is at the very top of this photo... when it is full of water, it then tips,  dumping all the water onto that red roofing...and then it falls down on everyone below.

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The Red Shoes

The other day, this is what I saw walking past me as I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes.  Believe me, I was as shocked as you are right now.  I mean, you just don't see this sort of thing everyday!

Do these shoes make my butt look big?

Apparently, Ari got into my closet, selected her favorite shoes, stripped down naked, and strutted her stuff when she thought no one was looking.  I said, "Aria! Where are your clothes?!!"  and she said, "Mommy, I take them off.  They no fit me no moi'....too tight!"  She makes me laugh!  I just don't have the words to describe how much I enjoy this little one.  She makes my day brighter as soon as she wakes up in the morning.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

School decisions, decisions....


Aislynn:  The teacher made an announement to the class on how to correctly say Aislynn's name.  Now all is well.  Everyone says her name correctly, no one calls her Face Lift anymore, and because of all of this, she has made a ton of new friends!!  I don't know if it was the special attention or what, but ever since that day she has come home from school very excited to tell me that "everyone" wants to play with her now.  Very cool.  She is happy!  That's all I want.  For her to be happy.

A.J.:   He is not happy.  He doesn't like school and is not making the adjustment.  Today, this morning, his teacher called me to tell me that he was very sad in class, and she called me so that he could talk to me.  So I get on the phone with him and say, "A.J....I thought we talked about this...what's up, Buddy?"  and he said, "I just miss you.  I want to be home. I want to home school again."  and he was crying.  I told him to get off the phone with me, have a fun day with friends, and that I promise I will talk to Daddy about taking him out of school and home schooling him again this year.  So we hung up, and I called Rich.  Rich didn't even hesitate.  He said, "Bring him home.  That boy wants to be home, so bring him home.  We'll have a great school year with him."   Can I just say that I love my husband?  I mean, he understands that A.J. is seven years old...and in a classroom with 32 other kids and ONE teacher.  He's not happy there.  And you know what?  He doesn't need to be there.  It's not like this is his senior year in high school.  This is SECOND GRADE!  I normally teach second grade here at home, anyway...and don't put my kids into regular school until 4th or 5th grade.  The only reason I sent him this year was so that he could go to school with Aislynn,Avery and Alex, in the same school with them. He really wanted to go! I thought it would be a fun year for him, so I sent him.  But he's not having fun.  So after talking with Rich,  I quickly called our home school facilitator (the one we have had for the past 4 years or so) and we enrolled A.J. in the program.  So that's that. Tomorrow he will start home schooling.  He's going to be so excited when he gets home today!  I really just want him to be happy.  If he's not happy in school, then what's the point?  He can learn here at home.  He's only seven!  Oh, I forgot to mention that on Saturday he wrote a FULL PAGE letter to me and Rich explaining why he doesn't want to go to school anymore.  He listed his reasons.  Then at the very bottom, he made a section that said VOTE with an error pointing to two boxes:  a  YES -I agree box and a  NO -you- have- to- stay- in -school  box.  That kid is too funny! 

Andrew:   He keeps telling me he doesn't want to go to preschool.  He has had 6 days in preschool so far.  The first 3 days were great.  Then from then it just went down hill - fast.  Rich brought him one day and he threw a complete crying fit and refused to go into the classroom.  Rich talked with him and he calmed down and went inside.  The next day I took him to school, and he refused to go into the classroom.  He clung to my leg and cried!  I felt so bad.  I am not one of the mothers who can deal well with that.  Some can just hand the kid off to the teacher and walk away even though the kid is crying, "Noooo Mommmy....don't leeeeave meeeee!"  but I am not one of those mommies.  I just tears at my heartstrings.  See, I believe that some moms really have to leave their preschoolers due to work situations.  And it's very true that eventually the kids get used to it and adjust.  But kids are just like that -- they adjust to almost any situation when they have to.  I don't want my kids to "have" to adjust.  If they don't like preschool....then why in the world would I send them?  Not only is it a waste of tuition money, but really...I don't need them to go.  I don't work.  I stay home with my kids.  The children ARE my job!  So here's the thing with Andrew:  I am giving it another try this week to see if he warms up to the idea.  If he doesn't, then we will put him into preschool next year when he is 5 years old.  Right now he is a very young 4 year old.  Some of the kids in his class are turning 5, where Andrew just turned 4.  Emotionally he might just not be ready.  Funny thing, though...once he's there he has a great time.  The teacher says he plays with the other children and participates in class.  And when I pick him up he's happy.  So that's why I'm giving it some more time.  He might just not like the separation part of it, the saying "good bye" and watchin mommy walk away.  Well, we will see how it goes this week.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Face Lift

Yesterday Aislynn came home from school in such a mood! She was very cranky.  She asked me very seriously if she could use her middle name as her first name.  She wanted to be known as "Sarah" in school instead of "Aislynn".  I asked her why, and that started the tears flowing.  She managed to choke out that no one in her class knows how to say her name correctly, and one of the girls said to her (in front of everyone)   "What is your name, anyway?  Face - lin ?  Like FACE LIFT?"  and all the kids started laughing ...and then for the rest of the school day they all called her Face Lift.  Aislynn was mortified.

What the heck?!! This is Kindergarten, People.  Kindergarten!

The little brats!  I just want to run right over there and push them down in the sandbox!  I mean, really....Face Lift?  What a bunch of meannies!  Meannies, I tell ya!  And only in south Orange County would 5 year olds even think of the word FACE LIFT as a rhyming word with "Aislynn."  Hmmmmm. 

So today when I walked Aislynn to school, I dropped her off in her line and went into the classroom to talk privately with the teacher.  She was very surprised to hear what had happened and assured me she would put a stop to it at once.  I asked her if she would please make an announcement to the class on how to correctly pronounce Aislynn's name; that I realize it's an unusual name and that kids might not be comfortable saying it if they can't say it correctly.  So she promised me she would.

So we will see how today goes.  I pick her up in just another few minutes.  I hope her day went better.

Here are a few photos of her on her first day of school.

Can you tell she was a little anxious on her first day? 
This photo pretty much captures her mood that morning.

Waiting in her Kindergarten class line. 
Still very anxious and always looking back to check if I'm still there.

In the classroom now....starting to get more excited!

See that?  It says AISLYNN, my little friends. 
  Not Face Lift
See it.
Say it.
Learn it.
Get it right!

Concentrating at one of the many "stations" set up around the classroom.

She loved this station the best.  And right after her first day was over, I took her straight  to our Lakeshore Learning store (I love, love, love that store!  almost as much as The Container Store)  and I bought this math game for her. Now we have it at home, too.  (If any of you with children have never been to Lakeshore Learning....you really need to go.  They have an online store, too.  Wonderful stuff there!)

On the first day of school, the parents stayed with their kids.  Aislynn enjoyed me being there with her.  The next day?  There were a few tears when she realized I wasn't going to be staying in the classroom with her.  She wasn't too bad, though.  Mixed in with the anxious feelings were feelings of excitement, so really she didn't put up too much of a fuss. 

I am proud of my little Kindergartener!  I hope she has a great year....and that soon everyone learns her name and says it correctly!

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First Day of School

Andrew on his first day of preschool.

Audriana (11th grade)  and Afton (10th grade)  on their first day of school.

And my four elementary kids:  Alex (5th)  A.J. (2nd)  Aislynn (K)  and Avery (3rd)
on the first day of school.

It has been a crazy time for me.  School started on the 8th and it's been nothing but chaos since then.  We decided not to homeschool this year, and let me tell you...it's MUCH easier when they are all homeschooling! 

Right now we are all adjusting to getting UP and OUT of bed at 6:30am  and having to be OUT the door by 7:30am. With homeschooling that was never an issue. We are all adjusting to the after school "homework" time and the "sign this paper" and "I need such and such item from Staples by tomorrow" time.  Again, with homeschooling these things simply do not come up.  And already a teacher is having a "birthday" and a "gift" from the class is needed, plus that child needs to make a card by tomorrow to give to the teacher.  I'm signing papers left and right, helping with homework, or trying to, ALL at the same time, answering questions and listening to each child's school day.  It's busy!  It's chaos! 

I have NO time to do anything around here.  Oh, you would think that when they all get out the door and off to school it would be nice and quiet in the house and that I'd have time to chill out.  But nope.  Remember, I now have Andrew (age 4) and Aria (age 2) who are used to having all their siblings around to keep them occupied, to play with, to entertain them...as siblings tend to do.  But now?  All they have is ME!  At first that sounded really fun for me.  But here's the thing:  they have the attention span of maybe 7 minutes.  I get down a certain toy or game and get them started with it...then I sneak out of the room to try to wash up the breakfast dishes...and before I know it, there they are in the kitchen with me.  They are "done" with that toy and want another.  So I go get them to clean up the first toy or game, then get them down another...then get them all set up.  Then I try to finish what I started in the kitchen (or making the beds, or folding a load of laundry, or even eating my own breakfast) and before I can even turn around, there they are again!  They want something else to do.  Again.  This goes on for hours.  That was how my first day of school went. 

The next day I got smart.  I took them out of the house right from the start.  We went for a long walk and ended up in one of our neighborhood parks.  Then from there we walked to the school and picked up Aislynn from Kindergarten.  That was a good day full of adventures outdoors.  But then...nothing (and I mean nothing!) got done in the house.  Before I knew it (after lunch and after taking Andrew to his afternoon preschool class)  the "big kids" came home from school and all the paper signing and homework helping and question answering and listening to their day at school started -- and I'm telling you, it's BUSY!  I'm not used to this.  I seriously get NO downtime at all. 

I will say this:  I am really, really enjoying the bedtime routine we have going now!  Everyone is in bed and sleeping by 8:00 or 8:30pm.  That is nice!  We are not used to that.  With homeschooling, we get up late and so we all go to bed late.  I'm enjoying the early bedtime.  The only problem is....I'm just as tired as they are now!  So instead of staying up and enjoying the calm house -- I'm usually asleep, too!  (which is why I haven't blogged in so long.  I usually write my posts at night.)

The kids are having a good time at school, though.  Avery and Alex both have great teachers and are seeing their friends at school, and they are enjoying everything so far.  A.J. is having a little bit of separation anxiety, however.  The first couple days were great -- he was excited and willing to go to school.  But this week?  A different story completely.  Yesterday he was teary-eyed when I dropped him off.  Then just about an hour later the school nurse calls me.  A.J. was in her office complaining of a stomach ache.  So I went and got him. Once he was home -- surprise, surprise! the stomach ache was gone!  After talking with him he admitted that he just missed me and wanted to be home.  So today I sent him to school with a picture of me that he kept in his back pocket. On the back I had written "I love you, A.J." and I told him that when he missed me he could take the photo out and look at it, or he can just touch his pocket and know it's there.  (this is what I did for him when he went to preschool, too.  It worked like a charm.)  Today he had a much better day.  He asked if he could still take the photo of me to school and I said sure, as long as he needs to.

Okay.  So there's a part of me that feels bad that my kids aren't home with me.  I miss them!  I miss teaching them.  I miss being with them all. day. long.  But then there is another part of me who is relieved to not have to be the one to teach them this year.  (is that bad to admit? does that make me sound as awful as I feel about admitting it?)  But it's true!  When I'm teaching them and it's entirely my responsibility, then that is a huge pressure.  So it's nice not to have to think about their curriculum choices this year.  And then there's another part of me that is curious to see how they do in "regular" school.  Expecially Avery and Alex, who have never gone to school before.  They are so eager and are having such a great time so far...and I'm excited for them and happy to see that they like it.  Now, if A.J. doesn't like it after about a month and is not adjusting, then I have no problem taking him out and homeschooling him.  The ONLY reason I put him in this year (in 2nd grade) is so that he can have the experience of going to school with Avery and Alex and Aislynn in the same school.  This is the only year that all four of them can ever be in the same school at the same time.  But normally I homeschool the kids from 1st grade to at least 4th or 5th grade and then I put them in school.  So for A.J., if he decided he really wants to be home this year, then I have no problem taking him out and homeschooling him.  But I want to give it a little more time. 

Next year I plan on homeschooling Aislynn for 1st grade and A.J. for 3rd.  So I'm looking at this year as my year OFF.  I have been homeschooling since 2001, and this is my year off.  Next year I will be back in business and I'm looking forward to it.  I think the break will be good for me.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I am the coffee bean.

Carrots, Eggs & Coffee

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee....You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardboiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Remember Jordache Jeans?

I can't believe I found this old commercial on YouTube.
I was IN this commercial!!
I was 19.  I lived fairly close to Hollywood, had a Hollywood agent, and I modeled.
Okay, stop shaking your head - it's the truth, people!  This isn't a fiction blog.  This is the real deal.
Before I was married, before I had children, before I became MommyNineTimes...I was a hottie:)

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Love Song


It's hard to be together
But I promise you that I'll be with you forever.
I can't stop thinking about you.
It's like you're the one that touches my heart. 

**It's just hard to be together.
   I'll be with you forever...
   and that's not gonna change anything.

This was written tonight by my seven year old son, A.J., who has a crush on a girl who was in his Kindergarten class two years ago.  (I got his permission to post this, but only under the condition that I wouldn't mention her name!)  I didn't even know he was writing this until he asked me how to spell the word FOREVER and I asked him why? and he showed me his song.  He says he's writing a song for her and these are the lyrics.  It's not finished yet, he says...but when it is, he's going to sing it to her.

He's going to sing it to her!
How sweet is that?!!
Yep, that's my boy. A romantic!

** lyrics he added after I took the photo!

A.J. holding up his rough draft, complete with my revisions for spelling!


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Friday, September 3, 2010

It's September

It's September already! 
The summer is ending and school will be starting up in less than a week for us.  We have exciting things coming up:
  • Avery and Alex will be going to "real" school for the first time, in 4th and 5th grades.
  • A.J. will be going into second grade.
  • Aislynn will be starting Kindergarten.
  • All four of them will be in the same school together!
  • Andrew will be starting afternoon preschool 3 days a week.
  • 3 days a week for an hour I will have just Aria in the house with me -- I can't even imagine that!
  • A.J will be starting fall baseball and quite possibly karate, too.
  • Avery and Aislynn will be starting dance class.
  • Alex and Afton will be busy with club soccer.
  • Audriana will be busy with her LAST year of Girl Scouts!  She's been with the same group of girls since the first grade, so this will be quite a year for their troop.
  • Afton will be getting her driver's permit in just a few more months - yikes!
  • Anthony is going to college fulltime this fall and working almost fulltime hours at Home Depot.
Exciting stuff -- busy days ahead!

It's September already!
  • by now I would have had my ultrasound.
  • we might have found out what we were having - boy or girl. 
  • my belly would be getting pretty big!
  • I would be feeling all kinds of kicks and movements.
The loss seems a bit more heavy today, as I realize this.

Today at the pool I saw a woman in a bikini with about a 6-month belly on her, and this is what triggered all these thoughts.  I suddenly remembered that I should look like that, too... and I stared at her for a good amount of time, hiding behind my sunglasses.  I just wanted to run up to that woman and ask, "Are you due on Christmas Day?"   I had an overwhelming urge to place my two hands on her belly in the hopes of feeling a kick or movement...because that's what my baby would be doing right now.  I wanted to feel that new life.  I just wanted to be a part of that.

I wanted.  I so wanted!

It made me sad.  I haven't been sad about this for a while, to tell the truth.  I'm so busy in my days, so happy in my days with all the kids and I don't think about it everyday anymore.  But today...today I was reminded of the loss by seeing another mother at the same stage that I should be at, and it made me sad.   I think I even felt jealous. I felt like all I wanted at the moment ....was to be her.

Some people might read this and think, Oh please...you have NINE!  Be thankful for what you have!  But if you think like that then you truly do not understand motherhood.  It's not about a number.  Each child is just as important as the next, just as loved and wanted, no matter how many you have.  And when one is lost...even in utero...it's a true loss, and on some level you always feel that loss.  Some days more than others.  And you always, always want that child back.  And that is how I felt today. 

I wanted my baby back.

It's September already!
and a few days ago we made a split decision to go away for a couple of days to celebrate the end of summer...and it was just 30 minutes from our house but I felt like we were days away.

The La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, CA

As soon as we got there, the kids jumped out of the car to check out the pool...because we all know that the pool is THE most important part of a hotel stay :)

This is what excited our kids the most!

and this is what excited Rich the most!

(that is our building in the background)

One day, Audriana and I wandered around the grounds by ourselves and took a few photos

I love this picture of her!

Yea...she wants one of these!

For the little ones who weren't tall enough to ride on the bigger slides, they had this little one for them to have fun on.  Aislynn and Andrew rode this one all day long.

Even Aria went down a few times!

But most of the time you could find her here...in one of the pools...floating around.

Or here...in the waterpark!

or here...snoozing...zzzzzzz

The kids were surprised that the hallways were "outside".

Group Shot!
(yes....two are missing!  Anthony had to work and had classes so he only came down at night, and Afton chose to stay with a friend because she didn't want to miss the high school football pre-game. They were missed!  It's never quite the same when all nine aren't with us.)

One of the other pools.  This one was separate from the water slides.

There is Aria in the "baby" pool.  This pool was only 3 feet deep and had a sandy beach on one end.

Andrew spent much of his time running around in the waterpark....
...and then he would come to the jacuzzi to relax!
Doesn't he look incredibly small in that big jacuzzi?
Seriously, we need a jacuzzi this size for our family!

My sweet Andrew :)

But definitely the best part of our hotel stay was the big slides.  Even I rode on them quite a few times.  I tried to get pictures of everyone coming down the slides...



Alex and Avery pose for a picture at the top!  Notice Alex's six-pack? Seriously, he's 10.  What's he doing with a six-pack already? Sheesh!

And when it was all said and done at the end of our day, once we were back in our hotel room for the night, this is what we did to entertain ourselves:


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