Friday, October 31, 2008

Gabby's Birthday

Here we are at one of Gabby's favorite restaurants for her birthday dinner - Red Robin. They sang to her and as you can see, she didn't mind the attention.

This next picture is out of order, but I'm not good enough at this blogging thing to figure out how to move it - anyone that can clue me in, please do. But I wanted to throw in this picture where as you can see, Claire who was especially thrilled with the prizes from the party and has been wearing several piggy tails each day for the past few weeks. We try to limit it to four if we're going out in public.

Gabs decided she wanted to have a "princess birthday party" this year. Here are a few pictures from the party...


And here are the Halloween festivities...

Gabby's preschool Halloween party.

Our little ninja - costume is compliments of Auntie Katie. So cute!

Playing some Halloween games with Dad. Your guess is as good as mine.
All I know is I kept hearing Tim shout, "Fetch!"

Ready to trick-or-treat! As you may have noticed, Gabby utilized her dress-ups so she didn't have to wear the same costume to more than one event. I didn't get a picture of the cowgirl. Claire fortunately only wanted to be a fairy, which made it easy since that was her costume last year.

Enjoying a Halloween Dinner of bat wings, goblin guts, spooky trees, and witches broomsticks. In other words, stuff dipped in cheese fondue and spaghetti sauce.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

California Trip

Well, it looks like we have started making an October trip to California a tradition - and the California wildfires seem to always correspond with our trips. (Fortunately this time they didn't mess up our agenda at all.) My cousin and her family decided to do the big Southern California family vacation this year and came through to visit us on the way. We decided, hey, we like them, why not go along? So we met them there a couple of days later and had a wonderful time. This is our first and last complete group picture at the Hoover Dam. What a fun crowd, eh? Sadly, my poor desert family was not prepared for the unusually cold day and had to borrow jackets from the Coloradans. How embarrassing.

Now to Disneyland. Disneyland. There's a story behind that. We actually weren't planning to go to Disneyland. We were just going to meet Cousin's fam at Sea World and call it good. But then Tim scored tickets to the playoff games for the Dodgers in L.A. the week of our trip. So, naturally, seeing Cousin's hubby is a Dodgers fan as well, Tim added a few days in Los Angeles so the two guys could sneak off for a night at Dodgers stadium. As far as I know, there were no pictures taken, but I think they enjoyed their hot dog dinners at the ball park. Don't know if they enjoyed the game so much - the tickets were for the night the Dodgers lost their 3rd game of the series. But they'd never admit it if they didn't have a good time I'm sure. If Poppy was willing to add Disneyland on to our trip then, by gum, he was going to have a great time! Here's some pic's of our first night at the California Adventure Park.

Tim, Gabby and Claire on the Ladybug ride.

Lisa and Claire on the Caterpillar ride.

Lisa and the kids on a quick train ride around Disneyland. We were actually surprised to see such big smiles so late at night after a long day of travel. Disneyland really must be the happiest place on earth. That's what we thought until we left each night and watched all the people quickly trying to escape from the park with kids who were absolutely worn out (and I'm sure pumped full of junk food) having COMPLETE melt-downs on their way out of the park. I must admit, mixed with my sympathy as mortified parents tried to escape the park as quickly as they could, I felt a bit of satisfaction also. It was just kind of reassuring to know that my kids are not the only ones who throw tantrums.

Some favorite pics from Disneyland

The girls in front of the Fairyland castle.

Tim and the girls riding the teacups. We spent quite a bit of time at this ride since the lines were always shorter. A word of advice to anyone planning a Disneyland vacation with small children. Spend most of your time at the California Adventure park. The lines are SO much shorter and it's much less crowded. Standing for a half hour (or much more) in line for a ride that lasts only a few minutes doesn't work so well with the little ones. We also like the factory tours. Fresh Mission tortillas and sour dough bread make a great lunch - Mmmm!

Look at that smile! Calvin was a trooper through the whole trip. What a great baby!

Future Princesses waiting for their etiquette lesson.

All the parks were decked out for Halloween, which we mostly avoided since our girls don't exactly win medals of bravery even in day-to-day life, let alone when monsters are involved. But the decorations were pretty fun.

Sea World

Here we are at the new Sesame Street play kiddieland at Sea World.

And enjoying a nice swim. They really make sure you get wet on this ride.

Claire wasn't too sure about this one. Lisa wasn't either.
If you noticed, I do not appear in anything that spins.

Ok, Calvin was a bit sleepy at this point of our trip.

Rides are fun, but nothing beats feeding the dolphins.

Disneyland was a lot of fun. But Tim and I still like Sea World the best.
If we lived closer, we'd be regulars. Look at that! Pure bliss!

A Day at the Beach

I love going to the beach with my kids. It's always reassuring to me that no matter what happens with the economy, or what crisis we might face in our personal lives, our family vacations can still be a blast even if they don't cost a thing. My kids, like most kids, are happiest when they are outside rolling in the sand or dirt, both of which are free.

Hours of fun. How I wish we were a little bit closer to the ocean.

It was a nice change of pace after all the excitement of Disneyland. The beach, a movie, and some Indian food from a local restaurant. That's the good life.

Wild Animal Park

We decided to go try out the Wild Animal Park this time instead of the San Diego Zoo. We liked it better than the zoo. Here is the first shot I took as we began our little "African Tour."
I took this picture and then Gabby took over the camera from that point on. I managed to get it back long enough to take some pictures here and there when the fence was too high for her to see over. But for the most part, she was the camera girl. Not too shabby for a kid.

Future photographer, wouldn't you say?

I don't remember the name of these birds, all I remember is that they are eating rhino poo.

Aw, our little family.

The girls with the cousins.

Cinderella hatching from a giant egg.

This was the last stop on our California adventure. Look at that happy kid. He managed to make it through the whole trip in a pleasant mood until we were about an hour away from home. We stopped for a while at an outlet mall to walk around hoping the kids just needed to get out of the car, but it didn't help much. It's like they have some sort of internal alarm that goes off when we have approximately 1 or 2% of the total trip time left. If we go to the grocery store (a close trip) then it goes off two blocks away. If we go to the other side of town, then it's 5 minutes from home. I swear, this happens more often than you'd believe.

A gorilla.

Belle compared to a gorilla.

Cinderella compared to a gorilla.

Don't mess with the Big Poppy. That gorilla's goin' down!