Monday, November 16, 2015


Another year, another Halloween for the books.  My kids are at such fun ages for the holiday.  They all get excited about dressing up, parties, trick-or-treating, and they are still young enough to want to stay with us all night.  I asked Chad, "How long do you think until Caden wants to go trick-or-treating with his friends instead?" Wah.

Bryce was Spiderman, Tessa wanted a puppy and Caden was Ultron.  He saw this costume at Costco in July and begged me for it.  I told him I wasn't paying 18.00 for a costume, and he had to earn $9 to pay for half.  He earned his money by baby-sitting Tessa, doing jobs in the yard and going around the neighborhood sweeping people's driveways.  He told me he loves the "details" of the costume.

We trick or treated with Jason and Deanna's kids before going to say hi to Chad's grandparents.  Then we decided to trick or treat around the neighborhood for a bit, but got stopped a few doors down.  Per our neighborhood's usual awesomeness, a family hosted bonfires, hot cocoa and live music for everyone to stay and hang out.  Bryce and his BFF Krue danced all night while Tessa and I drank about 8 cups of cocoa.  The only scary thing about this holiday is the amount of my kids' candy that I have consumed.

Also notable event that day was Chad's first solo stab at doing Tessa's hair.  He came up with this one all on his own.  Trust me, I had nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


We survived the Gourley Disney Vacation!!   It was on my mom's bucket list to take the entire family to Disneyland.  Her dreams (and ours!) finally came true with this family trip.  Disneyland is like crack.  You are on this great high while experiencing it and as soon as you come down you start devising ways to earn money to get more.  We had the best time and I already wish we were going back.

Stealing a play out of my sister-in-law's blogbook, I am going to recap our Disneyland adventure in "the good, the bad, the ugly" fashion.

The good:
  • The Big Reveal!!!  We were so excited to tell the kids about our trip.  My mom set it up for them to find out on her birthday.  It had all the workings of a great reveal and started the excitement for a great trip.     
  • A Schow day at Disneyland.  Chad was able to take one extra day off work so we took advantage and went one day early to the park.  It felt like the good old times while we marched around map-less, hopping onto our favorite rides.
  • Tessa at Little Mermaid (6 times).  She is still talking about the fishies.  Bryce and Caden tied this with 6 times on Radiator Racers.
  • Bryce being able to ride so many "big boy" rides, and Caden being able to ride every single one!  Caden owned Screamer, Indiana and the rest like it was no big deal for a 7 year old to be tossed upside down on a roller coaster.  He has Disney in his genes.
  • Every person from our group on the same boat riding Pirates. #gladwedidn'tsink
  • Cousin time!!!  Every kid was in heaven spending so much time with their favorite group of people.
  • Fast passes + stroller passes = a lot of kids going on a lot of rides.
  • Dole whip.  Because, yum.  I know they say you can buy it at Froyo or some food truck in PG, but it is not the same.  Trust me.
  • The hotel and the hotel breakfast buffet.  It was so nice to start each day with a wholesome breakfast, and a pile of doughnuts.
  • Beach day.  It was perfect. 

  • Bryce figuring out how to eat chips without getting sandy hands on them.  This picture is going on my wall:
  • The car trip.  Our kids were so great at traveling!  Call me crazy, but I totally miss being locked in a small space with my four favorite people for 10 hours.  We have so many great road trip memories and I was proud of how well my kids did to add to those memories.
  • Outrunning my sister down Hollywood Blvd.  Though she wasn't having it.  To save us both the embarrassment of her yelling, "I am following you! I still see you!!"  I finally slowed down to wait for her.
  • My mom tricking Caden into thinking it was the real Jack Sparrow on Pirates, and then taking him to a cast member to verify.  The cast member was so great and didn't skip a beat.  
  • The ticket lady asking me if I was bringing all of Utah when I went to register our tickets.  Also, proving her wrong by not losing a single ticket the entire trip!
  • Being right when my sister told me you don't need a ticket to get back into Disneyland.  OK, Kat.  Whatever you say.

The bad:
  • Cinderella.  Every character was awesome.  They made my kids feel like the only ones in the park.  Except Cinderella who looked around wistfully while we talked to her.  Maybe she was searching for Prince Charming?
  • Sitting behind my dad.  Just ask Chris after Splash Mountain, Caden after Star Tours or me after Fantasmic. "Martha, it's in your best interest that I don't eat beans tonight." --Tom G
  • Kat's vocals on Star Tours.  I told her she screamed more than I did when I gave birth.  Also, tricking my dad into going on that ride twice.  The hilarious thing is he didn't realize it until we were almost boarding to be seated on our "aircraft."
  • Soarin, Space Mountain, Jedi Training and Jungle Cruise were closed. Boo.
  • Our diet.  I cannot even stomach the thought of corn nuts or trail mix right now. Chad said he'd loved beef jerky his whole life, but that was destroyed by the amount he consumed during that week. But when corn dogs are 7.99 and a chicken plate is 18, you make do with what you packed from your Winco shopping trip.  I had our food all organized and labeled by day, but we never even opened our Thursday or Friday bag because it was just more snack stuff and we couldn't handle it.
  • Playing Tour Guide Barbie.  I am in my element to take people on tours around Disneyland, but after 72 hours of it, I was ready to turn in my badge.  My mom asked me how it felt to have 26 people following my every move and I told her I was afraid if I go into a stall to use the bathroom, I will turn around to see all of them have followed me in there.  No joke, one brother called me and asked, "I am lost somewhere in do I get to Indiana Jones?" It was these sort of questions that wore me out.

The ugly:
  • Gourley feet at the beach. Yuck.
  • Exhanger.  It's more than your typical "hanger"- it is exhausted hanger.  Almost every child (and most adults!) exhibited symptoms at some time, and it is not pretty.
  • Hotel construction noise during nap time when you've taken your worn out kids back to rest.  #areyoukiddingme  
  • Seeing our favorite families the Browns and the Douglas'.  Not to mention arriving to our awesome accommodations and our favorite meal Ranchera at Hotel Brown.  Some of the best people I know live in Rancho Cucamonga.
  • The Night Parade + Fireworks on mainstreet = Magic
  • Spending so much time with the people I love most.  It really was such a fun trip and we are lucky to have my parents who made it all happen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Day of School

It's always bittersweet, but mostly bitter this year for my kids to start school.  The summer went by so fast and we weren't ready to let this kid go.  Our summer was just so content.  It's the first time in years that we weren't moving, doing rotations, putting in a yard, etc.  We just played and swam and enjoyed being together.  It's not so much that I will miss Caden (though I will) I'll mostly just miss summer.  He was pretty stoked, though, to get back to his friends and the girls chasing him at recess.

With Caden gone my squad is down to these two goofs to hang out with during the day.  This morning I was canning peach jam and you can imagine how "helpful" they were:

A few random pictures from our summer:

Monday, September 21, 2015


Oh, Lehi Pool.  During the summer when I tell my kids it's time to go home from somewhere, they are confused if we don't drive to Lehi pool.  That's how much time we spend there each summer.

It makes me so happy to see my kids progress in swimming.  Bryce started out the summer giving my serious anxiety-- he wouldn't wear his floaties and thought he'd developed the skills of Michael Phelps over the winter.  I worked with him a lot and made tons of progress. He could swim a good distance, and he'd just come up, take a breath, and keep going to make it longer.  Even Tessa got pretty good at getting to where she wanted to go kicking around.

Labor Day was so sad and we're already counting down to next June.