Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Disneyland!!

We just got back from a great trip to Disneyland. We had free passes for three of us from Disney’s Give a Day, Get a Day promotion and we had to use them by December 15th. Since our last trip the week after Thanksgiving was such a success, we decided to try that strategy again this year. It worked out perfectly!

We went on the Monday after Thanksgiving, hoping to avoid the crowds since most people would be back to school and work. Most rides had wait times between 5-20 minutes and the longest line by far was the wait to see the Disney princesses. The weather was a little cold, but warmer than at home. This year Grandpa Mark joined us at the park and we had a lot of fun with him.
I was so excited to get reservations for the character breakfast at the Plaza Inn. However, we were faced with a conundrum—we paid a pretty penny for the all you can eat buffet but didn’t want to spend too much time eating when we could be enjoying the park. The kids both really enjoyed seeing the characters and taking pictures with them. Ava’s favorite was the Fairy Godmother and Drew’s favorite was Captain Hook.
Dan made a list of everything we wanted to see and do. First on our list was Space Mountain. I’m not sure if it was a good idea to take the kids on that first, but we did and they all survived it. Although for the rest of the day Ava’s rule was “no fast rides, no scary rides, no dark rides.” We did get her to go on Big Thunder Mountain railroad, but she was not so pleased with us. Her favorites were Dumbo, Peter Pan, Small World, the Christmas parade and Pirates of the Caribbean—not too scary or too fast. Drew’s favorites were Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and Jedi Training. Both kids did great walking around all day with little complaining.
I love going to Disneyland at Christmastime and seeing everything decorated for the season. It’s all so beautiful and magical! Another plus of going this time of year is that Santa Claus is there! We got to visit with Santa and his reindeer and have our Santa picture for the year.

With the lines so short we were able to do everything on our list. We still had some time before the park closed but the kids were pretty tired so we took a ride on the monorail before settling down to watch the fireworks show, which we all enjoyed. Back at the hotel Drew and Ava were pretty tired and went right to sleep in their bunk beds—another favorite part of our trip for them. This morning we had a leisurely breakfast at IHOP before hitting the road for the long drive home.

Riding the shuttle to Disneyland!

 The kids with Grandpa Mark

 All decorated for Christmas

 Our family ready for a day of fun

 With Minnie

 Ava and her fairy godmother

 Drew and Ava with Captain Hook

 Grandpa with Minnie Mouse

 Star Wars Jedi Training

 It's a Small World

 Riding with Grandpa Mark

 Ava got her face painted before we met the princesses

 With Princess Aurora

 And Belle...

 And Jasmine...

 Ava and Mickey

 Toon Town

 Riding the Tea Cups

 Dan and Grandpa

 Me and the kids

 Santa!

 Poor Ava--she didn't want to go on Thunder Mountain

 Grandpa Mark and Drew ready for Pirates of the Carribean

 On the Jungle Cruise

 Watching the Parade

 Cinderella and Prince Charming

 Ava and Daddy

 Santa

 the fireworks show

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving this year. It had all the elements of a great day of thanks. Dan’s mom and brother were staying with us for the holiday. Thursday morning Dan and I did the Run to Feed the Hungry. This is a 10k run that benefits the Sacramento Food Bank. It has become a family tradition if we are in town for Thanksgiving. There are 3 reasons I love doing this run on Thanksgiving morning. 1. It feels good to be doing something to help those who are less fortunate. 2. There is such a sense of community out there, and I really enjoy the spirit of the morning. 3. I feel so much better starting off the day with some good calorie burning before we indulge in our Thanksgiving feast later that day. This year was no different, although I did have a few moments of hesitation when we got up at 6:30 am and it was 29 degrees outside. Luckily Dan helped me get into the right frame of mind and we did our 6.2 miles together. It didn’t feel SO freezing after the first mile.

After our run, we headed over to my friend Kristina’s house to pack lunches and bags of toiletries for the homeless in downtown Sacramento. This is something Kristina and her family and friends do every Thanksgiving and we were happy to be able to help out this year. Kathy, Scott and the kids met us over there and we all made PB & J sandwiches, packed fruit, chips and snacks into the bags the kids had decorated and then headed downtown to pass out the lunches. I’m so glad that we are able to do things like this with our kids at an early age. It is so important to me to cultivate in them a spirit of serving others.

After passing out lunches to over 75 men and women we headed back home to prepare the turkey for our family gathering. We had ten people at our house for Thanksgiving Dinner and everyone helped out by providing a dish or two or three. The kids had a great time playing with everyone and we all had a good time just enjoying each others company. Every year we go around the table and share what we are thankful for and both kids said “my family and friends.” This year we also had a Thanksgiving trivia quiz with 20 questions and Aunt Marie was the winner with 14 correct answers.

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving celebration with your families.

Ready to Run to Feed the Hungry

One side of our Thanksgiving Table
 
The other side of our table
 
Ava
 
Drew
 
Grandma Honey

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chaos Team Party

After the game of mud ball, we headed over to Round Table for our team pizza party. The boys had a great time playing video games and eating pizza. They were all so excited to get their trophies! Our coaches, Wes and Eric presented each boy with their trophy, a medal and an award. This year Drew got the Gobstopper award because he did such a great job playing defense. He really improved his game this year and it was so fun to watch him play. He was way more aggressive this season and took his job of defending the goal very seriously. There was hardly a ball that got by him.  It was very special for me to watch him play. I love watching him run and truly recognize the blessing that it is. No one watching him play would ever guess that he is a heart patient who's undergone 3 open-heart surgeries. Anyway, it was a very fun season playing with lots of our friends from last year and our same coaches. Great season Chaos!

Coach Wes and Eric giving Drew his trophy
 
Drew with his trophy
 
Jacob and Drew--best buds and team mates


Caity, Keilani and Ava-They all played on the Fruit Loops together and their big brothers played together on Chaose. Coach gave them the 3 Musketeers award for always cheering on their brothers
 
The soccer cupcakes I made for the party

video
The team video that Coach Wes made for us

Mud Ball!

Drew's soccer team, Chaos, had their last game of the season on Saturday, November 20th. It had been raining for days before and was freezing cold! But the boys didn't seem to mind at all. They had a great time playing soccer on the saturated field, and didn't even mind running through the giant puddle right in the middle of the field. My cousin, Adam, came to the game and got some great pictures of Drew playing soccer. Chaos ended up winning the game and ended the season with a record of 7-3, first in their division!

Drew is ready
 
Almost scoring a goal
 
Mud Ball!
 
Right through the puddle!
 
Running at full speed
 
Tunnel!
 
My muddy boy

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Field Trip to Safeway

On Wednesday I was able to accompany Ava and some of her friends on a field trip to Safeway. It was a lot of fun! The kids got to visit each department and learn what they do. They started at the floral department and got a bag with a drink and a snack in it. They also were promised a balloon from the department at the end of the tour. Next we went to produce and they gave each child an apple. Mmmm. It was hard for them not to eat it right away. Then we went to the meat department and watched them put beef through the grinder...ew! We got to visit the freezer where they keep the ice cream and the dairy case. We could peek through and see people on the other side! We went to the bakery to see where they bake bread and pies and got a cookie for our bag. Next it was the Deli where the kids got to try chicken strips. Finally we got to go to Starbucks and get yummy hot chocolate. It was a fun field trip!

Molly, Keilani and Ava ready for the field trip
 
In the freezer section. Brr!
 
Ava and Keilani in the dairy case
 
The kids enjoying their apples and cookies
 
Landice and Ava enjoying their hot chocolates
 
Keilani and Molly drinking their hot chocolates