Monday, November 26, 2007

Birthday Girls

One of the best things about my birthday is sharing it with my mom. I was born on her birthday 32 years ago today. Can you believe it, 32 years old - you too will get lovely little fine lines when you hit 30-ish. Oh how time flies when your having a life. Anyway, I've been tagged a few times to share interesting pointless facts about myself... so here goes. Curl up in your favorite sweats with your bowl of homemade popcarn, because this might take awhile.

My mom was 24 years old back in November of 1975 - having her 4th child (brave woman)... Here is a little known fact about her. Molly (my beautiful momma) only wanted 4 children so I was in the clear (thank goodness), how she ended up with ten was pure divine intervention and a very "healthy" relationship (oh the stories I could tell, but this is neither the time nor the place - I will save it for another time). Anyway, it was the day before Thanksgiving, a Wednesday to be exact. (Side note: I never understood the day of the week child poem - How did I end up being the child that is "full of woe" and what the hell does that mean anyway?)

Okay so back to the story because I love, love, love the story of how it all happened. So picture my older sister Kelly at just a couple weeks past her 1 year old birthday.

She was in my parents room (we lived in a trailer - supposedly Jason's mom & brother Chris lived a few trailers over a couple years before this all took place - let's hear it for the "WT" aka white trash roots) So Kelly was in my parents room and was messing with my dad's alarm clock. My dad was a construction worker and had 3 active toddlers. Allison 3 years, Jared 2 years, and Kelly 1 year old. Just thinking about it tires me out...Needless to say my dad was a really heavy sleeper. When he fell asleep that was it. The house could fall in and he would probably snore right through it (that's where I get my Olympic snoring abilities from). So my mom starts going into labor. It is the middle of the night and she can't get my dad to rouse from his Rip Van Winkle Slumber. She starts to get herself up and ready (I think she probably would have driven herself to the hospital, if it came to that) - but just then my dad's alarm clock went off and my dad jumps up from a dead sleep and realizes what is happening. Needless to say I was born a few hours later at 3:05am in the Provo Regional Medical Center, and SURPRISE! I was a girl - despite the fact my doctor told my parents he was sure I was a boy and they had picked out the "loverly" name - Marvin Terrell Byrnes. Thus, I was christened "the baby" for the next 4 days until they could come up with something suitable to call me. (My namesake Maren Annette Christensen - is another good old timer story I'll save for the next useless-facts-from-Maren's-life-day). Anyway, thanks to my "twinner" Kelly, I always felt that fate stepped in and helped a toddler play with an unusual toy, that brought her a BFF for life. So Happy Birthday to my momma & me. There is your story for the day and I hope you enjoyed it (and if you didn't - I don't really care, go stalk someone else's blog).


Maren (age 1 year) and Kelly (2 years) - we looked like we could be twins and were often mistaken for them growing up, and the fact that my mom dressed up exactly the same helped a lot. This picture was taken in Spokane, WA at the Chinese Gardens. I always thought it was cool my parents took us neat places when we were kids, but now that I think of it - they must have been taking really good drugs in the 70's or completely loco - that is a minimum 12 hour drive with 4 kids under under the age of 4 - and no portable DVD player. Good times. We can barely go 2 miles without Paige & James pulling hair or swatting at each other.




I had short hair a lot as a kid. I think maybe my parents secretly hoped I was a boy to balance out all the estrogen? Kelly is to my right and Sunny & Joey are behind us on Santa's lap.

So here is the last one of Kelly & me. I think we are both approaching 20 years old here. This was actually taken at Sunny's graduation (1995), before Girbaud jeans went out of fashion (Megan!) You can tell Kelly got the looks and charming personality. I just turned into a smart ass with a potty mouth. I guess that is just the luck of the draw. I think I got in the wrong line when they were handing out "nice" or "well behaved" in heaven - it's not like my parents didn't try... but then again they did have 10 of us to chase around.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Jason from "Gappy" & Paige

Jason turned the big 31 today. Now for an entire week he can not call me "old lady" - "elderly" or anything in that nature. We are exactly the same age for 7 days and you better believe I will enjoy every last one of them... and also that it starts the countdown till my big day. Do I love birthdays you ask? of course, it's the one day my inbox is full of emails (not just forwards) and my phone rings with more then just solicitors at the other end. Usually is it the people I love most in this world wishing me well. I love birthdays - just because you get remembered.

This is an extreme closeup of how siblings play. James was trying to bite Paige so she smacked him or something to the effect that his already loose tooth (from a different incident all together) was pushed forward to the point of no return. We rushed him to the dentist and within a minute the dentist had yanked it out. Now our son "Gappy" will have a hole in his mouth until about 6 years old when his permanents will begin to grow in. I would call him a "dorse" (he made up that word) but the gap actually looks kind of cute on his rogue-ish face. My little Willoughby (rogue-ish hunk from Jane Austen novel).

Yes. We do have the house decorated & ready for Christmas. So it will be all nice & cozy when we get back from Utah on Sunday. Paige picked out these singing bells to go around her window. After Jason had hung them and turned the music on - we sat in the front room and could hear her singing along. It was too cute. I love this time of year!

Monday, November 12, 2007

My favorite Video of All TIme

I know many of us will be heading out for the holidays & blogging traffic will get really slow. Here is a great laugh for you to think over those long hours where your moaning from too much turkey but still shoveling in the pie. Good times brought to you by the Buchanan's...

Getting Down in Halloweentown

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Halloween in the Big D

We left on Tuesday and came home on Sunday. It was 6 days of blissful fun in our favorite place. The only thing missing was Jason. We REALLY missed him. I know he was going with with drawls by the volume of calls I got daily asking which ride we'd gone on, what we'd eaten, etc. Luckily Jason's parents went with us, because I was not cut out to be a single mom. Anyway, below are a few pictures of our fun times from this past week.


The ride out there was great. Jason's mom has a new Nissan Pathfinder so we had lots of room to stretch out with a third row seat & god bless the person who invented DVD players for cars. That saved us. The kids had no idea we were traveling - only when it was time to pop in the next movie.


The decorations are amazing. I have been for Christmas but never gone during the Halloween season. Disney does not do anything half-way. I took a lot of pictures just of shops & decor - I love it! Everything was so festive and fun. The giant Mickey is at the end of main street and a photo must have.

James was not quite 40" but before we left Jason bought him the biggest soled hiking boots he could find. With the addition of soles from his other shoes & me wrenching his neck & legs straight - we passed him off for a 40" kids & he got to ride 3 new rides. Soaring over California was a blast, but when I leaned over the side and saw how really high up we were I gave James the Vulcan Death grip. I could just see him trying to jump into the river - not getting the whole movie simulation thing. He liked it all except the fireworks at the end. Then he covered his ears. Splash Mountain was also a new ride for him. He loved it and would say "I need to go on the boat" just as the ride was ending. His only quirk was that he didn't care for the ride - if he wasn't completely soaked after it was over. And for some stupid reason we only rode the ride at dusk when it started to get chilly out. The third ride was Tower of Terror. You should have seen the looks I was getting. i knew he would love it and he did. People thought I was crazy for taking him and I'm sure CPS got a few anonymous phone calls that night - but James had a blast. He is my thrill seeker child.


Paige was tall enough for Indiana Jones and rode on it once. Thinking it would be fun for her to understand the premise of the ride I told her she couldn't look at the eyes of the idol or she would chase us the rest of the ride. Paige kept huddled over in her seat with her eyes clenched tight the entire time - I would try to get her to look and see what was going on, but she would have none of it.


This was us trick or treating on Halloween night in California Adventure. It was a blast. The park was closed to the public, only those who purchased tickets for the advent were let in. They loaded us down with candy at each trick or treat spot. Paige would go through the line twice each time which added to our huge load. The costumes that people came in were amazing. One lady dressed as a witch cackled at me as I walked past her and said, "Stay away from apples, deary" - it was hilarious. I was amazed at the creativity and talent put into peoples costumes. I think my favorite was a Storm Trooper & mini storm trooper. The detail was incredible. I would highly recommend this to anyone. It was a great time. The park was open so you could ride all the ides. they had a couple of bands, & Fisherman's wharf was transformed into a Pirate Cove where kids could play games and win tattoos.


Jason's parents are some of my favorite people to go on trips with. They LOVE Disneyland and my kids. They make us laugh and we have the best times with them. My kids love spending time with them and especially the fact that they never say "no".


Woody's Halloween Roundup was great! There were a lot of animals to pet. The cabin was decorated for the season and you could pose for pictures with pumpkin people. They had a "Woody's episode" from his TV show & then entertainers that would sing & dance with the audience. It was fun to watch. The kids got to decorate Halloween sugar cookies & the characters would come around and visit. Jesse told Paige she needed to get a hat like hers. I hadn't brought their Disney dollars for them to spend. We usually save that for the last day, but she was determined. So we forked over the cash & she couldn't wait to find Jesse again and show off her hat.


Paige & James got along really well for the most part. I felt I got more after James then anything. James please don't lick the hand railing. James please don't touch the toilet. James please don't spit. Okay so maybe I didn't use the word please, but that's my son. He is all boy!


This is my favorite picture of the whole trip. James, he is special... They have the cars on permanent display right across from Soarin' I thought it was awesome. Last time we were there they only made appearances. You end up pushing people aside so you can squeeze into a picture with 30 other kids you don't know.


My kids & their favorite ride. Can you tell what James was saying to Grandpa Ron? To infinity & beyond!!

The park wasn't crowded which was nice. I like going when it's off season. It might not be the most convenient of times - but it sure is nice weather and we were able to walk onto most rides (Nemo excluded) with 15 minutes wait (on Indiana & Haunted Mansion & Splash) - It was awesome! I love Disneyland. Everybody has a laughing place and I have mine - mostly because it means I'm having a blast with my family.