Saturday, June 28, 2008

SeaWorld - Wednesday, June 25th

We were suppose to go to SeaWorld the last time Hannah was off track from school, but Steven was unable to take time off from work due to deadlines. So this summer break is filled with extra adventures. The girls had never been to SeaWord and as it was, it's been almost twelve years since Steven and I have been. Not only were the girls excited and looking forward to our trip, but so was I!We arrived just as the park was opening and hit a few exhibits before the first show of the day.There's been the addition of a few rides since our last trip to SeaWorld. Journey to Atlantis is one of them. The line was short and we figured we'd best ride it before the park got too busy. I rode the ride first, while Steven sat out with the girls. It wasn't until after I got off the ride and told her it was fun and okay that Hannah decided she'd give it a try. So she and Daddy rode the ride together, while Rachel and I sat on the sidelines, Rachel sad that she couldn't go on it. When Hannah got off the ride, she said she'd loved it!!After the ride, we hit some shows. First, we went to the Shamu show, followed by the Dolphin show, which Hannah absolutely loved!!! The first several rows of seats were marked "splash zone". I thought to myself how wet could you get with dolphins?? Hannah wanted to sit in the splash zone, and thankfully we found seats in the last of the rows designated 'splash zone'. Later in the show, I found out just how wet you can get at this show when they bring out a whale! Another show that Hannah really enjoyed was the Sea Lion show. Not only did we catch the daytime version, but we also caught the night time version as well, which was hilarious!!The rest of the day, we spent going from exhibit to exhibit admiring all the sea life and visiting the tide pools, where Hannah was brave enough to touch a starfish.Sometime in the mid afternoon, we made our way to the Sesame Street Bay of Play, where it was obvious a lot of parents were using this time to take a load off their feet and let their kids run free and play about the rope bridges, the bouncing areas, as well as the area of water ssplishing and splashing. Someone had warned me of this area ahead of time, so I came prepared with their crocs and a change of clothes. And boy was I glad I did, Hannah and Rachel were soaked!!!! After some fun in the water, we made our way to the restrooms and changed into drier attire! They had sooo much fun and I'm so glad I came prepared.All day long we would peek into the gift shops. Some exhibits actually exited you through a gift store. The backpack we were carrying was already too heavy, so we waited until the end of our day to let the girls pick something out. For those of you who know me well, know of my strong dislike for stuffed animals, and you'll be happy to know that I put aside my dislike and let each of the girls get a stuffed animal as a souvenir of our time at SeaWorld. We had seen these little purses that had stuffed animals in them, and Hannah was determined to find one with a dolphin, but when we did, she changed her mind and went for the polar bear. Rachel picked Shamu of course.After walking for two days straight, miles and miles I'm sure, we were all pretty tired. I managed to capture just how Hannah was feeling as we made our way to the car.We had such a great day! The weather was beautiful, we saw everything we wanted to see and then some. With the ticket we got, we can actually go back to SeaWorld once more before the year is over. It was no surprise when Hannah started asking when we'd be back, before our day was even over. LOL.

Check out more of our SeaWorld Pictures.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Staying in a Hotel - Tuesday, June 24th

Hannah was excited to be spending the night in a hotel, she was even more excited when she found out her and Rachel had their own 'room'. We got a small suite with a sofa bed in the living room and a king size bed in the bedroom. At any rate, she thought it was pretty cool.

Not having a pool ourselves, it's always fun to go play in the pool, especially at night. It wasn't long after returning back from dinner that the girls had their suits on and they were ready to go for a swim!The girls woke up before we did, but they stayed in their bed and whispered amongst themselves for a bit. Which was surprising because at home, they have no problem coming in to our room and waking us up. LOL.We packed up. Got the backpack ready for SeaWorld and made our way down to breakfast, after that, we were on our way to SeaWorld!!

San Diego Zoo - Tuesday, June 24th

I must admit I was surprised that not once did Hannah sing her "I'm going to the zoo" class performance song on the way to the zoo. It's a song that the whole family has been singing and humming for months and I guess it finally made it's way out of everyones heads. LOL. We arrived to the zoo about mid morning and purchased our tickets for the zoo bus that takes you on a tour of the most popular animal exhibits of the zoo. The route was a little different this time as they are doing some major construction and making room for a new exhibit in 2009. Steven and I both think it'll be a good thing, they've taken out or combined the exhibit after exhibit of antelope and antelope-like animals as well as all the different types of gazelles. They're cute animals, but you can only take seeing so many of them. LOL. With it's new route, the bus takes you right past the panda exhibit and we got to see that the baby panda that was born last August was out on exhibit, so after our bus tour was over, we made our way back to see the baby panda before her time on exhibit was over.None of us really know this park like the back of our hand, therefore, we sometimes have to refer to the handy dandy map. We had to refer to the map constantly when we were at SeaWorld. Throughout the rest of the day, we made our way to favorite exhibits, as well as exploring an area of the zoo we've never gone to before. The area of the big turtles, a lizard exhibit, and indoor exhibits of frogs, lots of frogs. When we visited the elephants, the zookeepers had just finished placing their food throughout their exhibit. This elephant was fun to watch as he got trunk fulls of hay out of the barrel. At times he would spin it one way, and then another. It was pretty funny when an another elephant came over and was scooping up off the ground that the other elephant was dropping.The other exhibit that was a fun one to stop at was the meerkats. We are currently watching the second season of Meerkat Manor, a soap opera-like reality television show of a meerkat family on the African plains. It was fun to see the little critters up close and personal.We enjoyed our time at the zoo and stayed until the grounds were officially closing, and then it was time to head for our next adventure, finding our hotel!

Mammoth Camping 2008

Our camping trip and trip to Sea World have been the two biggest things Hannah has looked forward to since getting out of school. And now, sadly both are over, with four and a half weeks left before school starts.

The drive to Mammoth takes five hours from our house and thankfully, Steven was able to get the portable DVD players to work, which works nicely when the girls asked how much longer and the reply is in how many more movies they'd have to watch. LOL. Hannah's ride was a lot more comfy this year as she is out of the booster seat and simply sitting in the seat. She was free to move about her seat without the restraints of the booster.Once arriving to camp and getting our tent and campsite all set up, Uncle Bart had constructed a tree swing by tossing a rope over a branch and tying about a piece of wood for the seat. All four of the girls loved it. Once they grew tired of the swing, Gramma brought out a horse for each of them along with a big box of good ole popsicle sticks, which the girls used to make fences. They had so much fun!Months and months ago when I told Hannah's teacher that we'd be going camping in Mammoth, Miss Barrett told me about a ghost town that has been preserved in the state of decay, called Bodie. It sounded interesting, so on Friday morning, part of our group loaded up into two cars and made the trip one hour north to the State Historic Park of Bodie. I was really surprised at how well Hannah did at looking in the windows of all these once lived in houses and buildings of a once well populated town. But she explored and didn't complain once, at least not to me. Friday and Saturday nights were especially exciting ones for both Hannah and Rachel, they both slept in the bunk beds of Gramma and Papa's trailer! Gramma and Papa actually paid the extra money to have the trailer with the bunk beds just in case it was cold in the tent. And while it wasn't totally unbearable in the tent, having the girls sleep inside the trailer meant not having to worry through the night about it they were staying covered and were warm enough.As Saturday afternoon approached and a lot of our family were packing some things up to make for an easier and early departure towards home, Hannah started to cry. She didn't want out camping trip to come to an end. She'd been having so much fun. But, all good things must come to an end, and just like the rest of the family, we packed up Sunday morning and made our way home. But not without a stop at the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery. We started stopping at fish hatcheries two years ago on our trip to Pismo, and since then we've made it a point to stop at fish hatcheries when we see them. This particular one was simply beautiful. There was a beautiful pond out front that was home to huge rainbow trout. The building itself was amazing and inside housed the baby fish and fish eggs, something you don't normally get to see at the hatcheries. But this time the hatchery worked invited us in and showed us around and even gave us a big bag of fish food to feed to the trout outside. It was a fun stop.Our route home is within ten miles of one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, and like last year, we planned to eat dinner there. This year we planned ahead and called Gramie the day before and she was able to meet us for dinner! After dinner, and a detour due to a major accident, we were home.

Check out the rest of our Mammoth Camping 2008 pictures.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We're Home. But Leaving Again...

Do you hear that??? It's the sound of my washing machine working overtime on the massive mountain of laundry. LOL.

We're home, safe and sound. We had a great time! And just like her mother at her age, Hannah broke down crying Saturday afternoon because she did not want to come home. At her age, and probably even a little older, I can remember crying, not wanting to leave and come home after having such a wonderful time on our family vacations. In a way, it makes me happy that Hannah was so upset, it means our time away provided her with great memories.

The funny thing, is our vacation really isn't over. The camping part is. But tomorrow we are heading to San Diego to go to the Zoo and then on Wednesday to Sea World, coming home late Wednesday night. Thursday afternoon, the girls will be heading to Gramie's for the weekend. So Hannah's 'vacation' is far from being over.

Seeing how the girls will be gone this weekend, I'll have more time then to share more of our camping trip and pictures, in addition to the adventures and pictures I take while in San Diego.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Going Camping

The girls are so excited for our trip.

Thankfully Steven got the portable DVD players working and that'll help on our five hour drive!

We've got lots to do today, and I'm hoping the girls are excited enough to help!

Be back in a few days with lots of pictures of cute girls out in the great outdoors!

Monday, June 16, 2008

She's a Red Belt!

Last Monday, Hannah had a belt test and passed. And tonight she was awarded her Red Belt! She finally also got her 2nd place trophy that she earned at the tournament in April.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Writer's Workshop #1

"Today I will go to my Grame's house. I will see my cusins. There names are Abigal and Ryan. Ryan is 5 yers old. And Aby is 4 yers old. I have not seen them in a long time. Rachel is coming to. It will be fun! They are nice."

September 7, 2007

Ryan, Abby, and Aunt Kim were here visiting
from Oregon and staying at Gramie's house.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Writer's Workshop

Throughout Hannah's 2nd grade school year, she kept two writing journals, one was her composition book, the other her writing journal.

The writing journal was a way for Miss Barrett to get to know her students, their interests, what was on their minds, etc. They would write what they wanted and every couple of days or so, she would write in their journal, asking a question or two about what they wrote and then they would answer it. It was a way of developing conversational writing.

The composition notebook was a way of practicing a more formal way of writing, as formal as it can get in 2nd grade. It was a way for the kids to develop a "story sense". While they were still able choose the subject they wanted, their story had to have a good lead into their story that caught the readers eye and made them want to continue reading. A few times during the year, a piece from the composition book would be edited, re-written and put into a more finished, or polished form.

Hannah loves to write, and I think both of these opportunities definitely allowed her to use her imagination and creativity. The difference between her beginning of the school year writing and the end of the school year writing is greatly improved.

I'd like to begin sharing some of Hannah's writing here on her blog. Some times I will share just her writing, other times I'll include the picture. At any rate, I intend to share exactly how Hannah wrote it, spelling errors and all, because after all, that's something that adds character to her writing, at this stage of the game. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed reading them!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lunch with a Friend

We had a new adventure today! We met Hannah's 2nd grade teacher for a picnic lunch at the most beautiful park with rolling green hills, large shade trees, and two ponds!

It was a great afternoon of catching up and getting ideas for Hannah's reading challenge this summer and just enjoying the beautiful day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Computer for Hannah

Right after school getting out, Steven moved our old iMac into Hannah's room so that she could do her educational games during the day and not interrupt Steven's work day with the noise.

We were giving it a trial run to see how much she'd actually use it and to make sure Rachel wouldn't cause problems with pushing the keys, etc. The trial run was a success and this past weekend we found a nice desk for it at Target! She loves it and has spent so much time doing her games and visiting the few sites she has access to. She's also been checking out her own blog and seeing what it is what Mommy writes about! LOL. Don't worry, Steven has the computer locked so tightly with parental controls, she'll be perfectly fine and safe on the computer.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Weekend In Review

The cousins came and spent the weekend with us so that Uncle Robbie could surprise Auntie and take her away for the weekend.

In order to keep it a surprise, I didn't tell the girls that their cousins would be coming for the weekend. They'd see the girls and Auntie at school and be so excited that they'd slip up and tell the secret. All I told them was a surprise was happening on Friday. So when McKenzie and Haylee showed up with their duffle bags mid Friday morning, the girls were beyond excited.

We had a fun weekend together...

We packed a lunch and went to the park...
We went for a walk/ride around the block...
We went to the movies to see Kung Fu Panda...
We went to a wedding reception, where they all behaved so well...
We watched a movie, and eventually fell to sleep...
We had happy times and times we got along...
And some times we weren't happy and didn't get along. LOL. But that's just something that comes along with having four girls all very close in age...DRAMA!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Disneyland with Uncle Bart

We went to Disneyland this afternoon after picking up Rachel from preschool. We met up with my Uncle Bart and had a great afternoon and evening. We did a lot of our the girls favorites, but still had a good time!