Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The good & the bad ...

The good news today - the rain stopped! It was wet when we woke up but by 10am the rain had stopped and the blue sky peeked through. The bad news - we decided to head to Universal Studios today.

The day started out a little late, as everyone was still sleeping at 8am. But we headed to IHOP for a free short stack of pancakes (it was National Pancake Day! LOL).

After breakfast we hopped in the van for the 45 minute drive to Universal Studios. Halfway there Chase starts complaining that he has a headache. I give him some Advil and eventually that goes away. But about 20 minutes before we get to Universal, Tristan is complaining that his stomach hurts and he thinks he is going to puke. Great. We are NOT prepared for that. But we manage to find a grocery bag in time to catch most of it. He did manage to get it on his shirt though, making this day 2 that he goes through a park with just a jacket and no shirt. He did feel better after puking, but I wasn't thrilled with holding a bag of puke for the 15 minutes we had until we got to the park. ICK!!! But we arrrived at Universal Studios safe and sound and everyone eventually felt better.

But here's where the bad begins. Now call me spoiled, but after you've experienced the magic of Disney you just can't accept anything less. And that's exactly what Universal Studios was. The rides were boring, the workers weren't helpful or kind and they had people trying to get you to do surveys and sign up for credit cards in the park. Sheesh. It was an absolute disappointment.

There was some good news though - the park was dead (probably for the lack of magic mentioned above!) and the kids got to see quite a few characters.

The redeeming factor for today is that we got back early and Brian and I snuck away for some much appreciated quiet time. We went to Downtown Disney and perused the stores, just enjoying some alone time together. Brian found a nice Disneyland jacket and a Grumpy shirt, which were his first purchases for himself this trip. We bought the Stitch version of the board game "Trouble", since the boys adore Stitch. And we searched around for a gift for Brian's mom's birthday, which is Thursday. (I think the kids are going to make her a build-a-bear with a "Happy Birthday" sound in it).

Now we are all just looking forward to getting back to the magic tomorrow when we visit Disneyland again.

I leave you now with photos from Universal ... Brian and I as Fred and Wilma (we couldn't resist!) and the family in front of the Universal Studios globe. Remember, you can click on the photo to see them larger.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Disney Day 2 (Otherwise known as "It's Raining, It's Pouring ..."

Woke up this morning to overcast skies and knew that the weather forecast showed showers for today. But we weren't exactly prepared for the torrential downpour that happened.

We went to California Adventure today and the morning was great. Our first ride, Monsters, Inc., was sort of a bust. Not that exciting of a ride but it ended wonderfully. At the end of the ride Roz, the head of the CDA, said "Hey you, 2nd row (that would be the row Brian and I were sharing), is that your husband? I think you should know that he was winking at me. Sorry sir, but you're not my type." Sent all us adults into fits of laughter!

Next we went on Tower of Terror. That ride rocks! It was aweome and we all enjoyed it. Chase loved it so much that he bought the pin and t-shirt for Tower of Terror.

After Tower of Terror, we headed to Grizzly River Run. We rode it twice in a row. BIG mistake going on a water ride when it's morning and not sunny outside. We got SOAKED! Chase was the wettest of us all, though Tristan and I got hit pretty hard too. We all had to change afterwards, which wasn't great as we didn't carry extra clothes into the park with us. Thankfully I had a pair of shorts in our backpack to replace my soaked jeans (though I was soaked all the way through, including my underwear. I wasn't about to go commando so I ended up wearing my dry shorts with a wet butt until thet dried. That was so embarassing). The poor boys ran around the park the rest of the day in nothing but wet pants and their zippered hooded sweatshirts. Within an hour their pants were dry though ... just in time for the real rains to hit... but those will come later.

After drying off we went to Soarin', a wonderful ride that we all loved. A neat feeling to think that you are floting over California in a hanglider. Very fun.

Next we visited Paradise Pier, grabbed lunch at Chips, Dips & Strips and rode on King Triton's Carousel before heading over to the big attraction - California Screamin. Carissa couldn't ride because of her height so she sat out with Grandma (and cried so much about it ... she was so disappointed!). This ride is a huge roller coaster - the old style outdoor coaster on a track. It was wonderful! The kids loved it so they immediately asked to ride again. They grabbed Grandma while Brian sat out with Carissa. Again, the boys loved it and asked to ride it again. This time Mom and I sat out with her while the guys went. They got in the front car and had a blast! The boys wanted to go again (I think they could do this all day if we let them, although going on a rollercoaster multiple times right after lunch isn't that great of an idea to me) but we decided to move on.

The next ride was the huge sunwheel. It's similar to a ferris wheel but the cars all slide up and down on a track while rotating around. Brian and I sat out for that, though what that really meant is that we waited outdoors and got caught in a torrential downpour. But from our (wet) spot on the pier we could hear Brian's mom yelling everytime the car moved.

When they got off the ride we decided to hightail it to the other end of the park to see the Aladdin show at the Hyperion theater. I could have lived without standing in line in the rain for 30 minutes, but I must say that the show was awesome. The closest thing to a real play or musical that I've ever seen. Neat costumes, a familiar storyline, a hilarious genie and wonderful sets. Couldn't ask for more.

After Aladdin we decided to head for another ride on the Tower of Terror, though at this point Tristan decided he didn't want to ride. We convinced him to go on and took another fun ride in the elevators. But in the end Tristan decided he doesn't ever want to go on Tower of Terror again. Carissa loved it though. Go figure.

By now it was nearly 6pm and the park would be closing soon. We hit a few shops on the way out then came back to the hotel to warm up and take some nice hot baths.

We ordered in pizza (which took 1 1/2 hours to get here ... sheesh!) then got the kids to bed. Again, they were asleep within minutes. It was a wonderful (but soggy) day at Disney's California Adventure!

Our first Disney Day

Our first day of Disney was long, but great.

We were up at 3am so that we could dress and get to the airport in plenty of time for our 6:30am flight. There was a lot of turbulence during the flight, which didn't seem to phase the kids but made me feel a little green around the gills.

We arrived LAX just before 9am and quickly got the baggage and bus to the rental car. We drive away by 9:45am, jump on the freeway and immediately get pulled over by a cop. We crossed into the carpool lane, crossing the double yellow lines to get into it. We'd never seen double yellow lines and thought they were just the divider between standard and carpool lanes. Unfortunately, that wasn't true. The good news is that the kind officer let us off without giving us the ticket (which was a $350 fine by the way ... OUCH!).

We made it to Disneyland with no further difficulties but giving Brian a hard time the whole way. We had lunch at McDonalds outside the park and were inside Disneyland by 12:30pm.

Right inside the park we saw our first charachter, Brer Bear, and got our first autograph.

Then we headed for our first ride of Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean. I forgot that the boat dips and falls, so Brian and, who were sitting in front, got wet. But it was fun.

Afterwards we hit Thunder Mountain Railroad ... but halfway up the first climb the ride stopped. We sat there for 10 minutes until they came and unloaded us and we had to walk out of the ride. Bummer.

Next we headed to use our Fastpass for Splash Mountain, but since we had a few minutes until time we ended up going on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Not our favorite ride, but not too bad either.

Then we headed for Splash Mountain ... the most fun ride to date. The kids really enjoyed it, as did us adults. Brian's mom wasn't so sure about the ride though and kept yelling "Oh, shit!". Not exactly the best phrase for the happiest place on eather! LOL Chase was in the front of our log and got SOAKED!!! When we got off the ride we told Chase that he was very wet, to which he would say "Why, thank you!". They wanted to go on this again and again, but the line was long and we decided we'd hit it again another day.

We walked through Fantasyland and did a bit of shopping on Main Street before heading to our character meal at Goofy's kitchen. The kids had a blast! The food was pretty good, considering that it was a buffet. They enjoyed seeing Goofy, Snow White, Aurora, Pluto, Chip & Dale. Carissa spent most of the dinner holding her autograph book and waiting for the characters to come visit our table. She wore her Cinderella dress and loved the attention of getting fawned over by the other princesses. The girl was absolutely in heaven.

After dinner we took the monorail to Tomorrowland, where we rode Star Tours (another green at the gills ride for me ... ugh!) and got Fast Passes for Buzz Lightyear. We headed over to watch Fantasmic, which was pretty good.

We couldn't see the fireworks well from the Fantasmic spot, so decided to head over to use our Buzz Lightyear fastpasses. That was our last ride of the day, as it was 1opm and we had been up for 19 hours.

We walked back to the hotel and the kids were asleep within minutes of lying down. They were up bright and early this morning at 7am, ready to go again!

I'll leave you with a photo ... what could be a better place than to have your photo taken in front of the castle at Disneyland.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


So, we're off. The plane flys away in just under 10 hours. We're getting up at 3am (YAWN!) to get to the airport and have extra time before our 6:30am flight. Can I just say YAWN again. Hopefully we will all be hopped up on the excitement of the day and will be able to stay up for the 9:00 Fantasmic and 9:30 fireworks shows. I'll try to post photos a few times while we are away, pending the state of the internet service at our hotel. If not, you'll see a post from me on the 6th with some of the best shots from our trip. Take care all!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

If it's not one thing ...

So first Carissa gets an ear infection. We find out on Friday, which means we have plenty of time for her to take her antibiotics and to feel better before our vacation.

Then this weekend Brian's mom trips over a their brick fireplace and strains her ankle. Add this to her already busted up knees and it means that she's definitely going to need a wheelchair for Disneyland. Again, we can deal with this.

Then this morning Tristan falls at school. He slips on his own shoelace (untied, of course!) and lands on the hard school floor hitting his head and twisting his neck. The school calls to let me know it happened but I decide to let him be and see how he does. The teacher calls after lunch to tell me that he's complaining, crying when he moves his neck and holding on to the back of his neck. So I go pick him up and take him to Urgent Care. 3 1/2 hours and several x-rays later we find out he has whip lash. The Dr. says it's very uncommon to have whiplash at 7 years old, but our extraordinary son has it nonetheless. What this means is that he may have to miss some of the crazier rides, like Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad, at least at the beginning of our trip. Hopefully he'll feel better by the middle of the trip and can ride those rides then.

I think from this point on I am going to quarantine my family in the house, because I don't think I can handle any more of these scares!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Growing up ...

I just realized today exactly how much Chase is changing. He comes home from school with his best friend, Brenden, and they decide they want to listen to music in the front room. Then they decide to dance in their crazy like-a-chicken way (stepping forward then backward, moving their necks in and out). Only they don't know they look like chickens ... and I think they are slightly offended when I can't hold back the giggles. So they ask me the "cool" way to dance (by the way, "cool" is the word for everything these days!) and I show them a more relaxed, side-to-side, no-chicken neck way. They're thrilled with that and request new songs ... Black Eyed Peas, Nickelback, Staind, Jack Johnson and James Blunt pass their "cool" song inspection and are instantly turned into dance tunes. They request one of their old favorites, "Summer of 69" before retreating to Chase's room.

Once in Chase's room they decide to make up their own song. Brenden sings and Chase plays the guitar (which he doesn't know how to play, however he strums with no apparent rhythm and both boys deem that "cool"). They sing "It's a UFO" (the other chimes in with "UFO"), "it's a UFO (UFO)", over and over again. They come to play for me (this time I'm able to stifle the giggles) then head to the bedroom to play more (and more loudly I must note).

Then it dawns on me. There's no more Bionicles, no making up characters for imaginary, now it's things that are "cool", listening to music and making their own songs. My, how they are growing up.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Only 6 days left until we leave and I've officially hit panic mode. Thankfully we visited Bek and Brandon yesterday and borrowed some suitcases from them, so I can pack now. I have piles of stuff that I plan on taking just filling up my front room.

I think even Brian has hit the panic mode, as he suggested I make a list of things to do. A list. This from the man who has the absolute take-it-as-it-comes attitude toward our vacation!

He even agreed to it was a good idea to pack the kids clothes and label them for each day (which is what I was going to do anyways ... they need to have coordinating clothes for all the photos I'm going to take! LOL). (Bek- He couldn't say it in front of you, of course, but he thought it was a good idea.)

Carissa has an ear infection. ICK! But at least we found out a few days ago and she has been on antibiotics for it. She'll be nearly done with them by the time we leave for Disney.

Brian's mother sprained her ankle yesterday though. Ugh. That means we're going to have to find a wheelchair for her to rent while we are there. Hopefully we can arrange that today.

Beyond that things are moving along. No school today means a little rest and relaxation. I'm going to walk on the treadmill then spend the rest of the day doing schoolwork and packing.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stole this from Felicia's blog. This is a little chart of some of the most used words on my blog. The bigger the word, the more often it's used. Interesting ...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I haven't scrapped in 10 days or so, which is absolutely PATHETIC for me. So I thought I would leave you with a few LO's that were released publically today. They are from one of the awesome new kits from www.scrapaddict.com. Of course, pink, grey and black are PERFECT for my favorite kind of pages ... girly ones! Here they are:

Happy Valentines Day!

OK, so I know it's a day late, but what do you expect? Just trying to keep my head above water here! LOL

So yesterday was Valentines Day and it was fairly pleasant. A little lonley, as Brian had to work his normal 12 hour shift yesterday.

The good news is that I totally got out of helping in all the classroom parties. Usually I love helping out in the parties, but I am so busy right now that I didn't offer... I figured the teacher would call me if she needs help, since I've previously always been there. I did my normal 1 1/2 hours volunteering in Tristan's classroom in the morning but that's it. After helping in Tristan's class I picked up Carissa from preschool and headed to grab some lunch. We took it to Brian and got to sit and eat together for a whole 8 minutes (which is pretty long for his work to allow... he's supposed to stay inside to help in case of an emergency situation). I came home to a sweet email from Brian and got tons of hugs, kisses and "I Love You"'s from the kids. All in all a pretty nice day.

Weight loss has been going OK. Brian is just rocking it and I'm so proud of him. It's a slow road for me but I'm still working on it (and still working out on that evil treadmill for 50 minutes each morning). The weight loss is up and down at times but we're trying to eek out a few more pounds before we are on vacation. The good news about vacation is that we will be walking all day long. The bad news is that we're not going to be watching what we eat as closely (it is vacation after all!!!). We're just hoping to come home somewhere near the weight we were when we left.

Trying to plan for Disney is on the forefront of my mind. I have such a hard time sleeping sometimes because of it. Things just keep rolling around in my head and I can't shut it down long enough to sleep. *sigh* The night before we leave is going to be the worst, I know.

Well, that's all the news for now. HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to all of our friends and family. We love you!!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

So I know I've been negligent in posting here lately. It seems as if I've been negligent in all of my life. My laundry is piled high, my kitchen is a mess, my blog hasn't been updated and *gasp* I haven't scrapped in over a week! I think coming down off of the HOF scrapping binge and into the vacation-ready mode has been soaking up all my time. Lately I've been trying to get all my school work done for vacation. I have something like 12 chapters to read, one midterm to take and 4 weeks of Microsoft Word to do before we leave for vacation. I spent ALL DAY yesterday doing that and completed 3 chapters and 2 weeks of Word homework, so I'm getting there. Beyond that, nothing new is going on here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bad Mommy

I think we all have days that we feel like we aren't doing our best as parents. Yesterday was one of those days for me.

A recent dentist visit showed that Carissa had 2 small cavaties and yesterday she had to go have them filled. She was scared leading up to the appointment and even had a stomachache, a sure sign of nerves for my kids. They used laughing gas, which I think helped her remain calmer than she normally would have been. And she saw a wonderful pediatric dentist who talked to her every step of the way and explained to her what was going on.

But she was scared. She cried ... tiny tears streaming out of her eyes that just broke my heart. I just felt like such a horrible Mom for allowing her to get cavaties in the first place. I know I could have done better. I know I should have been a bit more vigilant about brushing. I just felt like such a horrible mommy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

They've returned !!!

The UPS man dropped at my door a wonderful surprise - the layouts that PaperKuts had when it shut it's doors. They were returned to me safe and sound and I am THRILLED. I'm just glad they are back in the albums where they belong.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's gone ...

My Hall of Fame entry has been mailed and I'm thrilled about it. I feel really good about what I created and think it's a good entry for my first try. So wish me luck!!!

Here are the final few pages that didn't make the entry.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My son, the chick magnet

3rd grade and already breaking hearts! Chase came home a few days ago and told me that Tiffany had kissed him on the cheek. I played it smooth and asked him what he thought about that, to which he answered that it "embarassed him" because she kissed him in front of his friends AND she told him she loved him. I honestly thought it would be a one-time incident, but today he came home and said she had done it again. Now Chase just wants to be her friend. He doesn't want to hurt her feelings, but he's not exactly thrilled with her kissing him either. And Mommy's not exactly thrilled that her little 9 year old is already attracting the girls.

Flying the friendly skies

YEAH! We purchased airline tickets. We were planning on driving to Disneyland, but we got a bit more back in tax return than we expected so opted to fly instead. I am thrilled! 2 hours in an airplane sure beats 16 hours in a minivan! It also means that we have another entire day to spend somewhere ... maybe relaxing, maybe hitting the beach, maybe another day at Universal Studios. Who knows.

I took my first college test yesterday for my business class and got a 90% on it. Not too bad, if I do say so myself. I'm doing well in my MS Word class also, though to be honest it's because I already knew 90% of what they were teaching so far. Now my Management Fundamentals class ... let's just say I'm not doing so well. I have yet to do the required reading for it even. UGH!

Beyond that things are good here. Wet but good. I think it could be even better if the sun came out and the rain left us for a while!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tagged again

I was tagged eons ago but never filled it out. So here it is, late as usual.

Four jobs you've had in your life: (I haven't worked in lots of years, so these are jobs I held before I was 20.)
1. Wrote obituaries for a religious newspaper (officially, I was the receptionist)
2. Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable for the food service office at OSU
3. Sold kites
4. Worked in the gift shop of Ripley's Believe It or Not and the Wax Works

Four movies you would watch over and over again:
1. Sweet Home Alabama
2. Dirty Dancing (the original AND Havana Nights ... love them both)
3. Footloose
4. Beaches (and yes, I still cry every time)

Four places you have lived:
1. Coos Bay, OR (born there)
2. Newport, OR (grew up there)
3. Oregon City, OR
4. Scappoose, OR (home)

Four tv shows you love to watch:
1. Grey's Anatomy - this is my absolute favorite show!
2. Amazing Race
3. Survivor
4. Alias - I'm sad it's going/gone :(

Four places I've been to on vacation:
1. DisneyWorld
2. Disneyland
3. Seattle
4. The Bahamas

Four websites you visit daily:
1. ww.ScrapAddict.com
2. Rocky Mountain Hobbies
3. 2peas
4. Online banking

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Pizza
2. Chocolate
3. Garlic Parmesan French Fries
4. Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. Disneyland
2. Disney World
3. Hawaii
4. Italy