Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mammoth Camping - Day 3

The day started out nicely with the girls enjoying hot cocoa in Auntie's kitchen away from home. After hot cocoa, the girls sat at the table and played with McKenzie and Haylee's dollhouse.After a yummy breakfast of Daddy's french toast, we cleaned up and headed out to do a little bit of sightseeing. Our first destination was to see about riding the gondolas up Mammoth Mountain. We were able to and whoa, what an awesome experience. Hannah enjoyed the ride up, but once we got off and went exploring about the top of the mountain, she got a little scared and stayed in the center of the mountain, away from any edges. If only Rachel was that cautious. LOL. Because of Hannah's fear, the girls and I went back inside the little interpretive center and cafe and had a snack while Daddy took the pictures to put together a 360 degree panoramic picture from atop Mammoth Mountain. The interpretive center was pretty cool. There were about 16 of these binocular-like things that each focused on a different mountain peak, and then just below it, gave the name of the mountain you were looking at, it's elevation and a little history of it. It was really cool. Heading back down the mountain, Hannah wanted to check out the rock climbing wall. For months, she's been practicing rock climbing (side to side, as opposed to up) at California Adventure. After sitting and watching other kids, Hannah said she wanted to do it. Steven and I were both very surprised and proud that she did it. She did a great job at getting going, and with a little pushing and encouragement from us and the guide, she made it just past the hard stuff before she begged to be let down. After rock climbing, we grabbed some lunch and then headed out for our next adventure. We boarded a shuttle bus that took us 13 miles down into a canyon. The first stop was The Devils Postpile National Monument. It was about a half mile hike in and then back out again. The trail was surrounded with beautiful trees and green meadows. Upon arriving at the Postpile, Hannah wasn't exactly too thrilled about having walked simply to see a pile a rocks. LOL. We walked back to board the shuttle to our next destination, a mile and a quarter hike to what we heard was a beautiful waterfall, Rainbow Falls. The hike was a tough one, and we were unprepared. We had no water with us and due to a forest fire 15 years ago, the trees all but stumps and provided no shade. So the hike was a hot one. Once to the waterfall, it was a beautiful site to see. But now we were faced with hiking back out. As we were hiking back out, Hannah was walking about 100 feet ahead of us, her head hanging low, dragging her walking stick she'd found, when all of a sudden this deer pranced onto the trail in front of her. The deer looked at her, Hannah looked at it, and they both took off running. LOL. The deer had come so close and was unexpected that it scared Hannah. But what a sight to see have seen that. There ended up being three deer right off to the path and they were beautiful. We finally made it back to the shuttle stop and took it back to our car. Everyone had kinda done their own thing this afternoon, grabbing late lunches along the way. So we didn't have dinner together. We on the other hand, went back to the condo where Gramma and Papa were 'camping' and took advantage of the showers. It was nice to get cleaned up and out of the dirt for a bit. We eventually headed back to our campsite and soon after it was bedtime for the girls, Hannah fell asleep before we were even done getting Rachel ready for bed. That hike really wore us out.

To see all the pictures from our Mammoth Camping trip, please go to Mammoth Camping Part 1 and Mammoth Camping Part 2.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mammoth Camping - Day 2

Hannah woke up at some point in the night crying her ankle or her foot hurt. She apparently got it twisted up in her sleeping bag. But besides that, she slept the night through and woke eager to start the day. Both my girls are early risers (by 6:30), so they had to wait a while for their cousins, who normally sleep past 8, to wake up. Eventually they got up and the girls shared breakfast together, knowing they needed food for energy and all the playing they had to do.Late morning, we all headed to one of the nearby lakes for the girls to go fishing. It was on our last camping trip two years ago that Hannah caught her very first fish. She'd been practicing with her little pole and was ready to try casting into some water. And man, did she do a great job at casting! Both the girls loved fishing that Steven and I said we should take them to Fairmont Park and let them fish in that lake just for fun. <After fishing and a picnic lunch at the lakeside, we headed back to camp. It was an afternoon of relaxation and game playing. Oh and for Hannah, being out in the middle of God's creation, she still managed to watch a video on Gramma's iPod, and some time for practicing her casting. Dinner came and went, with no visit from the bear. After dinner, I took the girls on a little walk around the outskirts of our campsite. We came across of pile of poop, which was just dog poop, but I told them it was bear poop. So for this picture, which I know is blurry, I made them say "Bear Poop!". LOL. Every Friday night at the campground, they have some sort of program around the campfire. Shortly before 8, we headed to the outdoor amphitheater and enjoyed the music and songs of Fiddlin Pete. Hannah got a little creeped out when he sang 'Ghost-Riders in the Sky'. LOL. Bedtime came and it didn't take long for Hannah to fall asleep. All that playing and clean air will do a person in.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mammoth Camping - Day 1

"Are we almost there yet?"

"How much longer?"

"When are we going to see Haylee and McKenzie?"

Those were the top three questions coming from Hannah's direction of the car today. The drive to Mammoth Lakes takes about 5 hours and most of it is through the desert, the ugly, brown, and dry desert. Not much to look out at. The DVD players we bought the girls for Christmas have most certainly been put to good use. I purchased two new movies for our trip, both in which Hannah sat glued to. We arrived at our campsite shortly before 1:00 and Hannah was off to play with McKenzie and Haylee. Shortly after Daddy had our tent up, Hannah was able to talk him into taking the four girls on a squirrel hunt. The campground, Pine Glen, has a ton of little chipmunks and baby squirrels roaming about. They are so much fun to watch.The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing by the adults, and playing by the kids. The most exciting thing to happen today was during dinner, we had just sat down and all this commotion started coming from the campsite next to us, there was a bear roaming the campground. The girls were already in the trailer with Auntie, and stayed there until the bear was deemed okay to take a look at, but Hannah wanted no part in that. She stayed with Auntie in the trailer. After dinner, Hannah was so excited to get into her jammies and settle into Auntie and Uncle Robbie's new trailer to watch a movie. The trailer is such a novelty and Hannah was excited to know a movie could be watched, however, once all the makings for smores were brought out, she was the first one out of that trailer to roast a marshmallow or two. Once completely dark, I gave the girls each a little lantern I had bought for them. We hung one from the center of the tent and they crawled into bed, ending the day with yet another question, "What are we doing tomorrow?".

To see all the pictures from our Mammoth Camping trip, please go to Mammoth Camping Part 1 and Mammoth Camping Part 2.

Monday, June 18, 2007

She's a Purple Belt!

Tonight was Hannah's belt ceremony for Karate. She was defiantly feeling up to going as she flitted and danced about the family room most of the day.

The belt ceremony went a little differently this time. All three of the karate classes that meet on Monday night combined into one huge belt ceremony, and then a pizza party followed afterwards. We originally had planned on staying for pizza, but there were just too many people and it was after 8:00, so we went elsewhere for dinner.

Having dropped her old belt, she waits patiently for her new belt.
Her new belt color and certificate.
Instructor Grant telling her how proud he was of all her accomplishments.
Happy to be a purple belt.
Apparently, there wasn't enough participation at this last tournament from our location, so Grant made the next tournament mandatory for belt advancement, which will be in about 2-2 1/2 months. Maybe with enough practice, Hannah will be able to place again!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sick Girl / Father's Day

The last couple of days Hannah often complained about being "so tired". Being off track and staying up longer, we chalked her being tired to that and perhaps a growth spurt. But when we were at a birthday party last night, we noticed she was burning up with a fever and her glands that were a little swollen the day before, were now even more so.

Unfortunately we had to cancel the Father's Day BBQ we were going to have in our backyard today with Gramma and Papa and Uncle Robbie and Auntie and the cousins. Since we're all going camping at the end of next week, we need to take caution not to spread the "love".

After talking to someone at church, Steven came home suggesting that she might have tonsillitis. So we researched it on the internet and sure enough, she has all the symptoms for tonsillitis. We're thinking that when Steven didn't feel good about 3 weeks ago, he too had tonsillitis because he also had all the symptoms. We're being very careful that Rachel doesn't drink out of Hannah's cups or use her utensils, in hopes she doesn't get it.

We spent Father's Day hanging out and Hannah resting. We grilled the chicken I had planned for the BBQ (which was sooo good!) and we ended the day with a trip to Dairy Queen because Hannah said it would make her throat feel good. But in fact it was so cold, it made her throat hurt. Hannah acts perfectly normal when she's got Motrin or Tylenol in her system. So we've been trying to stay on top of that. She has her Karate belt ceremony tomorrow night that we'll go to if her fever is gone and she's feeling up to it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Caterpillars in the Mail

For Christmas, Hannah got a butterfly garden from Gramie. Not knowing Gramie had already given us a butterfly garden Aunt Kim sent the girls a butterfly garden as a spring surprise. But it worked out great because now both girls have a butterfly garden of their very own!

I mailed away the certificates for the caterpillars just over a week ago, and everyday since then, Hannah has anxiously been going to the mailbox looking for our caterpillars to arrive. They finally came in today's mail and boy were the girls excited! Now comes the part of watching the caterpillars eat and get big and eventually making their chrysalis and then ultimately becoming Painted Lady Butterflies, we're just hoping that we don't miss all the action when we are camping the end of the month.


For months, Gramma and Papa have been setting a cat trap in their yard in hopes of catching the stinky skunk that terrorizes their neighborhood in the night. It's a mad dash several times a week to shut all the windows when the scent has entered the yard.

Hannah has been waiting for Gramma and Papa to catch something, she's even helped Papa set the trap a time or two. A few weeks ago, they caught a momma possum with two 2 day old babies in her pouch. Unfortunately we were already half way to Disneyland, so we were unable to go over and see the little critter. But this morning, we got the call...they had finally caught Pepe Le Peu. We were out the door within minutes and on our way over to see the little critter, it's one animal we didn't see at any of our recent zoo trips. LOL.

Being careful not to get too close...
thank goodness for a great zoom on the camera!
Animal Control covered the cage with a sheet to calm the skunk down to avoid upsetting him and having him spray.
Mr. Animal Control let us check out the skunk before he whisked him away to relocate him to the foothills of the nearby hill.A possum AND a skunk...I'd say that trap was well worth it's money. Heck, I might even offer to rent it in hopes of catching some of the wondering cats in the neighborhood. LOL.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Disneyland with Friends

We met a friend and her little boy at Disneyland today. One of the reasons for going today was to get on the new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Yesterday was the grand opening, and according to some of my message boards, the wait to get on the ride yesterday afternoon was between 4-6 hours!!!!!

Our goal this morning was to get to Disneyland as close to opening as possible. We left our house at 8, and Carolyn headed for Disneyland after dropping her daughter off at school. After battling the crowds to get into the gates, the girls and I went straight for the Nemo Submarines to find a line so long it wrapped into Fantasyland. We didn't get in line and here's why... translated: 3 1/2 hours!!! The park had only been open an hour and already the line was over 3 hours! We met up with Carolyn and Matthew and went to check out the submarine lagoon. We decided a trip on the monorail would be fun, and since they've painted a monorail to look like one of the submarines, we waited for that monorail. We were in the front of the line and got to ride up front with the driver for the round trip. After our ride aboard the monorail, we did a few more things in Disneyland and then went over to California Adventure. Disneyland was extremely crowded today. The past couple of times we've gone there have been quite a few school groups on their end of the year promotion trips, etc and today was no different, we followed ten school buses into the parking structure this morning. While California Adventure was busy, it's a lot more open and doesn't feel as crowded.

Now that Hannah is 7, she's at the magical age that lets her on rides all by herself at Disneyland. Today was the first time she got to use that new found privilege. She had her own bumper car, while myself and Carolyn rode with the younger kids. We finished out our trip today with letting the kids play in the leaky faucet in Bugs Land. Hannah got soaked. Times past I've brought a change of clothes, but I forgot this time. It was warm enough that she dried off fairly quickly.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Karate Belt Test

Hannah had a belt test for Karate tonight. As part of her belt test she had to break a board, something she was very nervous about. But she did it! And she passed her belt test. Next week at the belt ceremony, she will receive her PURPLE belt!!

Despite placing at the tournament on Saturday, she's ready to move on and do something new. She'd like to do dance. However, the dance place in which we would put her, takes a break through the summer. So Hannah will continue with Karate through the summer and then we'll re=evaluate at the end of summer. If she continues to do well in Karate and is doing well in the 2nd grade, we might consider letting her do Karate AND dance. :)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Karate Tournament

For weeks, we've known today was a Karate Tornament. This time Hannah said she wasn't up to going and competing. That was fine, she gets so anxious and nervous about performing, we didn't push the issue and it's not mandatory. So we didn't plan to go.

Me and the girls went to a city parade this morning, and one of the entries was the local martial arts class...doing all the kicks that Hannah knows. I asked her if that made her want to go to tournament today and she said "nah". So we went about our way and were strolling among the booths at the fair, and Hannah decides she might want to go to the karate tournament. So we hightailed it home, as her portion of the tournament was only about 2 hours away. She had just enough time to practice her form a few times and me to spiffy up her karate uniform and off we went.

Usually her cheering section is quite extensive with both sets of the grandparents and last tournament a girlfriend and her four kids. This time her cheering section consisted of Mommy, Daddy, and Rachel. LOL. She wasn't going to this tournament, so no one planned to go, her deciding only 2 hours prior to the event gave us no time to gather our normal cheering squad. LOL.

Warming up and reviewing stances, punches, and kicks.
Performing her 20 step form. Just like last tournament, she was called up to reperform her form. We had warned her ahead of time, that if she was called up a second time to not get nervous and do her best, and that they were trying to decide who got a trophy.
Hannah placed 3rd in all the seven year old yellow and orange belt girls and boys!!!! I overheard the instructor tell her she would have had 2nd place had she had been a little louder with her shouts.
Despite the look on her face, she really was excited. She was still pretty nervous about the whole thing.
"Guess what Gramma?!?!?"
Getting ready for her next competition, sparring.
Hannah is on the right side, orange belt with black stripe.
Hannah didn't place in sparring, but she got her competition trophy. We're so very proud of Hannah and her placing 3rd for her form. She's practiced a lot since last tournament, although not much this week because we weren't going to tournament. LOL. She has a belt test on Monday night and if she passes that, she'll be a purple belt.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Finding Nemo Voyage and Disneyland

A new ride is scheduled for grand opening on Monday at Disneyland. The submarines have had a total rehab and has taken on the Finding Nemo theme. Sometimes leading up to the opening of a new ride/attraction, there will be a preview of the ride. It's a way to work out the staging of the line, and geting all the cast members ready, kinks worked out, etc. When we went to Disneyland last week, we hoped of a preview of the ride, no such luck. But today, when we arrived at Disneyland we headed straight for Tomorrowland and were excited to see the Submarines up and running and open the to public. We wasted no time in ditching the stroller and getting in line. We waited in line for over an hour, and the girls did great waiting that long. The new ride was fun and the girls are already looking forward to riding it again when we meet a friend and her little boy on Tuesday. When we got off the Nemo ride, Uncle Bart had arrived and was waiting for us. From there, we had lunch and then headed over to the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island. Uncle Bart hadn't seen the new stuff yet and Hannah enjoyed showing him all the new stuff in the caves and the treasure, etc.We did a few more things in Disneyland and then went over to California Adventure where it always seems a little less crowded. Hannah and Uncle Bart went on Grizzly River Run. They got soaked!! But had a blast! The other thing that Hannah has come to really love doing is rock climbing in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area. They have an easy wall and a harder wall. Hannah can do both and gets better and better each time she does it (which has been everytime we've gone the last several trips).We stayed into the evening, checking back into Disneyland to see if the crowds had gotten any better and if the line for Nemo was perhaps shorter than earlier in the day, it wasn't, so we headed for home.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Santa Ana Zoo

Our friends and neighbors invited us to go with them to the Santa Ana Zoo today. It was a spontaneous invitation, so we were glad we were dressed and ready to go when they called. Having been to the San Diego Zoo last week, the Santa Ana Zoo doesn't even come close to comparing to what we saw last week. But it was a fun adventure. There really weren't a lot of animals to see. They had a lot of monkeys, and an aviary,a few wallabys and lamas, but that's about it. There were some cool cement animals, great for picture taking. One of the things they did have that was pretty cool was their Barn Yard animals. They had a huge barn and all the animals you would typically find on a farm...chickens, rabbits, turkeys, geese, pigs (HUGE!), cows, goats, and even a horse.
The other really neat thing was seeing the Bald Eagle's nest. The nest was huge. Unfortunately, the zoo's Bald Eagle died on May 27, so that exhibit was empty. But the nest was sure a cool sight! It was a short trip, and no where near the amount of walking we did last week. The girls had fun nonetheless and according to Hannah, it was better than running the errands I had intended to do.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Shrinky Dinks!

When I was about Hannah's age, maybe a year or two older, I remember doing Shrinky Dinks with my best friend, Linda. It was the current fad and cool thing to do. We had tons of Shrinky Dinks to choose from...Strawberry Shortcake, Smurfs, etc.

One day when I was scoping out the cleanrence racks at Target, I was plesantly surprised to find a package of Disney Princess Shrinky Dinks! They've been in my gift/craft closet the last year, just waiting for the perfect afternoon to do them with the was that day! The girls had a lot of fun!

Watching the magic happen before their very eyes.
"They're so small now".