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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Family Pictures 2011

Greg and I have been married for 6 years. In that time, we’ve welcomed 3 children. Things moved very fast for us in those first few years; several job changes, two college degrees for Greg, buying a house, the babies…it’s a lot to shove in such a short amount of time. What we’ve never shoved in is family pictures.

Now, I love photography. I love how photos forever capture the moments your mind doesn’t have room to keep.  What I don’t like is how much it costs. So, I’ve been putting off professional pictures for years (and by professional, I mean a REAL photographer, not JCPenneys or the like) knowing that we would just be adding more kids. Looking back, I really should have done it. I should have done it every single year, because they bring me such joy to look at. I will forever have these moments frozen in time, with Brooklyn’s shining blue eyes and dimples hiding in her fluffy cheeks, London’s wide eyes and wild hair, and Jackson’s absolute rebellion in smiling for the camera. When I look at them, I’ll remember how sweet they all were, and maybe 15 years from now I’ll be able to recall the sweet smell of Brooklyn’s hair and the sword fights between Greg and Jackson. I’ll hear London’s fairy voice chiming in my ear…the sweet sounds of memories.

Worth every penny, don’t you think?


Chicken Noodle Soup

I love soup.

I love the time it takes to simmer. I love the steam coming off the pot, filling the room with the aroma of herbs. I love the heat on a cold evening (yes, it does get cold here in the desert). I love how it fills your tummy, and there is rarely a need for seconds. I love how they freeze well and you can enjoy them again and again without dishes.

I love soup.

If you love soup as much as I do, you should try this one. And read her blog…it’s fantastic. She lost 135 pounds just being NORMAL. She’s witty and funny and skinny. All my favorite things.

I made this tonight and it was a HUGE HIT. Even my husband declared his love for my creation, even after he noticed that onions (*gasp! how dare i put onions in something!*) were in it.  I told him to be patient, go away, and let me cook. (Are you reading this, honey? Almost everything I make has onions in it. And you

A few things I did differently:
1. I only did 1 teaspoon of salt. I don’t like salty soup. I don’t like feeling like I have to drink 4 cups of water after I’ve eaten because I’ve pickled myself. 2 may be just fine, but I stopped at one and it was still delicious.
2. I am lazy and used a rotisserie chicken instead of roasting my own. I have three children. Sue me.
3. I added 2 cups of water. The broth was just too strong for me, so I cut it down. Taste your soup before you add the water; you may like the bold flavor of straight up broth…me, not so much. I knew the clan wouldn’t, either.
4. I left out the peas. Peas and my family don’t mix. Peas and me? Please. Peas and them? Uhhh…nope. (I can’t rhyme).

So, go forth and soup it up. You won’t regret this one.

Disneyland Vacation

London loved Pluto!

In October, we took our much anticipated trip to Disneyland!!! This was our second time going with the children; London was 11 months old and Jackson was almost 4 the last time we went. Brooklyn actually stayed at home with Grandma; I’ve taken a baby who wasn’t walking to Disneyland before, and let me tell you, it isn’t fun for them or you. I knew she’d just sit in the car for a day, sit in the stroller for 2 days, and then sit in the car for another day. No. Thank. You. We will go again in a few years and she’ll come then; but she had a blast getting some one on one time with BOTH of her grandmothers while we were away.

I think her vacation was much more relaxing than ours.

Our awesome suite!


Bedtime stories!


We went back and forth over where to stay. While I really like the idea of staying on location in one of the Disney hotels, I simply could NOT wrap my brain around paying $3000 just for our hotel rooms. Could. Not. Do. It. When we travel and vacation, I like to do it comfortably, which means we get two rooms. We don’t share a family bed and pretend like that gets you well rested children. Plus, we took a nanny, which means we needed more room.

A nanny, you say? Yep. Note above where I mention the word “comfortable”. We wanted to be able to go back into the park at night and do adult rides, plus we wanted someone to stay with London while we took Jackson on some of the rides she was too small for,  so we packed up our beloved babysitter Taylor who agreed to come with us.
(Taylor and her sister Peyton are the BEST babysitters in the history of babysitters. But, I digress..)
Anyway, we ended up getting a 2 bedroom suite at the Howard Johnson Anaheim. Now, they aren’t paying me to say this, but this is the BEST hotel to stay in. It is right across the street from the main gates (about an 8 minute walk from your room) which gives you the convenience on being close without the price tag. Our suite had a kitchen, a living room, two balconies, two full bathrooms, and a separate bedroom with two queen beds. It also had a water park for the kids! We stayed there for 3 nights and paid $700. That left a lot more moo-la for churros!!! (For those of you who’ve had Disney churros, you KNOW what I’m talking about!)

If the normal suites aren’t up your alley, you can stay in their kid suites, which we will do next time since we won’t take a nanny. It is a suite with one room having bunk beds and a twin and full bathroom, and a second room with a king bed. Those suites go fast and need to be booked at least six months out, and most likely that is what we will do next time.

Isn’t she a DARLING princess?! She was so much fun to take! She hopped and skipped and twirled and danced at every oppurtunity…until she got sick.
Disney vacationers worst nightmare, right? Sure enough, at about 1 pm, she decided that a 102 fever was just what Mickey ordered. The staff at Disney is fantastic, though, and when we took her to the first aid station they cared for “the little princess” and gave her motrin with orders to go home and nap. Taylor was a gift from God at this point because she was able to stay with London while we took Jackson back to the park. Don’t worry, by the next morning she was just fine and ready to experience the magic once again!

Buzz Lightyear!


The Wishing Well

The Carousel

In front of the castle

 Two days was just enough for the pipsqueaks (and us). Lessons we learned from this trip:
1. Do not go in October. The Halloween stuff is ridiculous. Plus, on Fridays they close the park at 7. So, now we know not to go in October OR December. Check.
2. Always, always, always, bring Motrin for the kids. And Advil for you.
3. The Bengal BBQ outside the jungle cruise is fantastic.
4. Making reservations through Disney Dining ahead of time is the best idea ever.
5. Howard Anaheim=awesome.
6. Never plan your trip to fall on a Saturday. Like, ever.

We had a great time and can’t wait to go back!

The Big Move!


A Tale of Three Cities has a new home over here on WordPress! Perhaps you are wondering why I’ve moved websites. There are a couple of different reasons:

1. I wanted to add more content to my blog and make it easy for you to find it. That was pretty much impossible with my old blog, hence why I moved over to a different site. If you look above, in the toolbar you will find main tabs that will easily link you to specific categories I write about. Some have subcategories, like “The Kids” and “Recipes” to easily link you to whomever and whatever you’d like to read about. Pretty nifty, huh?

2. I was able to have a specific website name that didn’t include “”. So, my new address is I like it. 🙂

3. This server has better photo capabilities. It is easier to add and move photos around in my posts; this is probably the biggest reason why I made the switch!

So, I’m still a bit under construction as I move and tweek things around, but I’m SO BEHIND on posts that I had it get it started! 🙂 Look for family pictures, Disneyland trip, and Christmas coming soon! 🙂