Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Day with Uncle Disneyland

Only 5 days left of being off track, and what better way to spend a beautiful day then going to Disneyland with Uncle Bart.

Last week when we came with Amy and the kids, Hannah rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, providing she had the seat in the middle. Today she tried the ride again with just Uncle Bart and her in the seat. I think we might have found a new favorite ride for her. If you click on the picture to enlarge, you'll see the girlie with a smile on her face. I think I've spent more time on Tom Sawyers Island, aka The Pirates Liar, in the last year than in my entire life. LOL. The girls absolutely love going to the island and exploring the caves and the bridges. Doing something totally new to Hannah, the shooting gallery in Frontierland. Watch out boys, it looks as though she might be able to hold her own!This is something I've not seen in a very long time, Main Street not crowded with people. Disneyland used to be like this all the time, especially following 9/11, but in recent years the tourists started coming back and the street never looks like this. I guess it was our lucky day. The last several times, it's been too cold and chilly for Hannah to ride one of her favorite rides, Grizzly River Rapids. But with it being 85 today, I figured if she came off soaked, she'd dry.Another of Hannah's favorite rides, Mullholland Madness. Thankfully Uncle Bart doesn't mind this ride and took her on it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wild Animal Park

This is the last week of Hannah being off track. When she returns to school next Monday, she'll go 12 weeks without a single holiday or break and that will take her to the end of her second grade school year. And then because the school schedule is changing, her track is the lucky one that will have the entire months of June and July off! But for now, we're trying to make the best of this week, so today we headed to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. We were hoping to go as a family at the end of the week, but time off wasn't possible for Steven right now due to some deadlines, so we'll go back as a family in June.

We left the house shortly before eight and were blessed with a beautiful morning and clear roadways and made it to the park in just over an hour. Our portable DVD players weren't working and the girls both sat well for the long car ride and we enjoyed all the green hills and colorful wildflowers growing along the freeway thanks to all the rain we've had. We arrived to the Park just after it opened.Having read on their website in recent months of the lion cubs that had been born in November, we made our way to the Lion Camp exhibit first. This exhibit is fairly new and it was amazing! We loved it so much that we came back a couple of times to see the lion and lioness and of course the seven new lion cubs. One of the times in which we came back to the exhibit, the male lion was participating in an act with one of the lionesses that could no way be mistaken for what he was doing. :X Hannah asked what he was doing, and in the next breath, she asked if he was tickling her. LOL. As I motioned for us move away from the masses of people, so that I could briefly explain to her what was happening, she became distracted and ran to see the lion cubs. :::Whew::: She usually doesn't forget anything so I'm surprised she hasn't asked again what he was doing. However, she did comment at dinner about how it sounded as though the mama lion was laughing when the daddy lion was tickling her. LOL.Last year, when we briefly visited the Wild Animal Park, a new attraction was the Journey to Africa tour. This tour loads you onto trams that takes you out into the "African plains" to observe all the animals on their level. We did this shortly after arriving to the park, and in the coolness of the morning, a lot of the animals were really active, obviously as previously seen with the lions. Something that recently opened was this huge deck, high above the grounds of the park, whereas you could look out and see a panoramic view of the plains. It provided a magnificent view not only of the animal grounds below, but of the green hills that encompass the park property. And on such a beautiful morning as today, it made for a pretty picture. Making our way through some of the smaller exhibits, we headed in the direction of the gorillas. And upon arriving at the gorilla exhibit, I again was faced with the possibility of a 'birds and the bees' discussion with my oldest daughter, as two gorillas were sitting right smack dab in front and center of the exhibit, whereas one gorilla was being all touchy, feely with another gorilla. Ah yes, spring is in the air at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Thankfully Hannah was oblivious to the obvious and was more focused on the big gorilla in the back that was deemed Kerchak, from Disney's Tarzan.One of the last things we did while on our way out was stop and meet this little animal, this is Ruby the Kangaroo. The handlers talked about her and had her perform a few things that kangaroos do, etc. Hannah really enjoyed this.With one stop at the snack stand for a hot pretzel for the long ride home, it was off to the car to settle in for our long drive home. Again, we hit the traffic just right and really didn't hit any in our direction worth mentioning, as we made it home in just under an hour and a half. Once home the girls told Daddy all about our day, and talked about it all evening long.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Party @ Pump It Up!

This afternoon we went to a party at Pump It Up for a friend's little boy who was turning four. After hours of jumping on the inflatables, we went back to the birthday boys house for more fun. Hannah had a lot of fun hanging out with Katie and her cousin, Samantha.

This picture is blurry, but it shows how much fun Hannah was having. LOL.

Taking a rest, but not for long.

Hannah was having so much fun her head was soaking wet with sweat and had to be pulled into a pony.

Having fun with Katie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Cousins Come to Play

We woke up to rain today in Southern California and for some reason, there were two girlies suffering from cabin fever and nothing to do, yadda, yadda, yadda. However, that problem was solved when Auntie called and asked if her two rambunctious girls could come over and play. So Haylee and McKenzie came and spent the afternoon with us and these are just a few things the girls did....

They built stuff.

They beat each other up with Valentine balloons.

They had lunch.

We made cookies. Starting out making dinosaur shaped cookies for the entire preschool as that is this weeks theme. But when I sat and calculated that would be over 100 cookies, we settled for making cookies for just the three preschool classes represented this afternoon. McKenzie said they weren't doing dinosaurs this week, so we made Sunflowers for McKenzie and her Sunny Sunflower friends, and dinosaurs for Rachel and Haylee for their dinosaur theme this week. They are all packaged and ready to take to school tomorrow.
They watched a movie and had popcorn.

Some dressed up.

They played the Wii.

And they ended the full afternoon by eating dinner.
It was a fun afternoon and as always, the girls are wondering when they can see their cousins again! :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day

Today's holiday meant Amy was off from work, so we planned to head to Disneyland. Because Amy works weekdays, it's always a treat getting to go with her and her kids during the week! Because of the holiday, we knew the parks would probably be busy as the day went on. So we planned to get there as close to opening as possible, which was 8:00. We arrived shortly thereafter and made our way to the gates. We were excited to see no lines to get into Disneyland and we just walked up to the gates. Once inside the gates, we had a plan to make the most of the early hours before the crowds hit. So we got Fastpasses for Space Mountain and then planned to get in line for the Finding Nemo ride because that ride doesn't have Fastpasses. However, once there, the line was already well over an hour wait, so we opted to skip that ride for today. We headed over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, where there were hardly any people in this area of the park yet and the ride was a walk on. Amy and her kids went on the ride first, while I sat out with my two. And then the plan was for me to go with Amy's kids while she sat out with mine, but much to my surprise, Hannah said she'd give it a try if we could work it out for her to sit in the middle. It worked out and she sat between Bethany and me and once the ride started, I told her it helps if you scream and hollar. She saw how much fun Bethany was having with her hands up, and she did the same thing! We weren't even off the ride yet and she was saying she wanted to go again! Steven and I both knew she'd love this ride if she just gave it another try! The line for this ride was getting longer, so we opted to head over to Tom Sawyer's Island for a bit. The walkways along The Rivers of America still not busy and crowded with people allowed the kids to walk hand in hand which made for a perfect picture opportunity.While on the island we stopped for a snack, fed ducks some cracker crumbs, and ultimately had a run in with Captain Jack Sparrow. Who apparently either had too much Rum too early, or hadn't had his morning coffee yet, because he simply wasn't in character. After our time on the Island, we headed back over to Tomorrowland to use our Fastpasses for Space Mountain. Hannah wasn't up to trying this again just yet, so I sat out with my girls and allowed Amy and her kids to use the Fastpasses and go twice! From there, we meandered down Main Street, stopping off in a few of the shops and then headed over to California Adventure. Although it was obvious that the park was becoming crowded, which is why we decided to head across the way, coming out of the gates of Disneyland, we couldn't believe the lines to get in, especially when it was a walk in just three hours before. Once inside California Adventure we found a table and sat and ate our packed lunches. Usually, this park is much less crowded than Disneyland, but today it was crowded! Due to the waits for the rides and the masses of people, we decided we'd gotten to do enough for today and decided we'd leave the parks and head to the Disney Outlet on our way home. It was 1:00 when we got outside the gates of California Adventure and the lines to get in both the theme parks were unbelievable and now stretched out into the middle of the esplanade. The lines to get into the security check points were the worst I'd ever seen them! Yes, indeed we were doing a good thing to be heading for home! Between today being a holiday and the beautiful, beautiful day, in addition to the 2fer special going on right now for Southern Californians, people simply wanted to be outside, having fun. And we did just that! We just got an earlier start!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Girlies are Home...

The girls arrived home from their weekend with Gramie late this evening. They had a great time together, going to three movies, to the park, helping Gramie in the yard and with her recycling, as well as lots of movie watching at home! And as always, Hannah, aka Miss Planner, is always trying to figure out when they can go to Gramie's house next.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Silence is Golden!

This is what lined the dinning room wall just a short time ago, not one suitcase, but two suitcases. Which means not one, but both girls are heading out for the weekend! And to say they were looking forward to it is an understatement!Grandpa Steve picked the girls up shortly before 11:00 and are taking them to Gramie's for the weekend. In the short time they've been gone, I've picked up and vacuumed, and it will stay that way for at least 48 hours.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our Valentine's Day

Having set the table the night before, the girls woke up to the kitchen table being decked out for Valentine's Day. On the table was my cake stand filled with individual chocolate cakes, and balloons, and Valentine cards, and a little box for each of the girls with a couple special candies and a princess tiara. The rest of the day included going back to Rachel's preschool for her party, where her teacher so graciously made Hannah a plate of the goodies and welcomed her to sit amongst the preschoolers. I know she was loving it. She misses that place and all the fun that preschool had to offer. After preschool, we came home and Mommy started preparing for our special dinner, as well as a dinner we were taking to friends. The dinner table was beautifully set and dinner went with minimal complaining...oh wait, that's because I had warned them, negative words get you sitting in their room and not a the pretty table. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gramma's Valentine Lunch

Gramma had all the girls in the family over today for a lovely Valentine's lunch. Hannah has been a big help the last couple of days helping Gramma set the table and put finishing touches on things. The table was absolutely beautiful and all the little touches didn't go unnoticed. Everything was absolutely wonderful and it was a very nice way to spend the morning as the 'women in the family'.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

1st Trip to Disneyland...

...this time off track! :)

Today's trip was an extra special one because Gramma was coming and buying an annual pass!! It's been a few years since Gramma has had a pass and the girls were especially excited to have Gramma coming and knowing she can come with us again. After picking up Rachel from preschool, we were on our way. Not only was Gramma coming, but we were also meeting Uncle Bart.

"Ahhh, this kid drives like her mother!"
When Hannah was about Rachel's age, Gramma had a pass and came a lot to Disneyland with us. Hannah was really excited that Gramma was getting a new pass today. Perhaps she knows Gramma will protect her and allow her from being persuaded to ride the 'good rides'. :)We had a fun afternoon and stayed into the evening. It was a beautiful day weather wise and it really wasn't all that crowded. Of course we're looking forward to the next time that Gramma will join us, and we're really looking forward to our trip on Friday.