Monday, March 27, 2006

Up to the Challenge

So today on ScrapAddict someone posted a challenge - try to take a "glamorous" self-portrait. Well I am about the least glamorous person in the world. A lifetime of jeans and t-shirts does that to a girl. But I thought I'd give it a try anyways, so I set up a place in our newly painted bedroom before we moved in (which also means you can see the new color of our bedroom, an outdoorsy green called "rejuvenate". See the middle photo for the truest color).

The suggestion was made to use a fan for a "windblown" effect, but my tons and tons of thick hair didn't really respond to that. Nonetheless, I am pretty happy with what I was able to catch.
There were some serious ...
some not-so-serious ...
and even a few totally off the wall for me (go ahead, yuck it up).

Well, I think that's plenty of sharing for today. If you didn't spit coffee all over your monitor you can go back to work now. :)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Someone smack me with the idiot stick!

So I'm all happy and excited because I'm getting A's in all of my classes. I worked hard and got them done and was so happy about it ... until I looked at my grades online. I see a "C" and just about scream. What the heck?!? So I do a little more research only to realize that it was MY FAULT! I didn't turn in an assignment at all. Why, I have no idea. I just forgot to put it in the assignment dropbox. And that one little assignment drops my grade from an "A" to a "C". GRRRRR. This schoool thing is for the birds!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Things are changing ...

Things are changing in our lives and I have to say that I'm hating it. My house is just a MESS and I can't stand it anymore. Here's the scoop:
We moved into this house almost 2 years ago. One of the reasons we bought it was because it was a 4 bedroom, meaning that the kids could each have their own room. And that was great for a while, but about 2 months ago the boys decided that they had enough of their own rooms and wanted to share again. And they've been sharing for 2 months and have loved it. But the extra bedroom has just gone to waste ... it wasn't a very usable space for the treadmill and extra TV and such. So now we've decided to change around the house.
The boys are staying in their shared bedroom which will eventually be painted. They wanted red but I think we're going to end up going with a blue, as red is such a dark color.
Carissa is moving into what was Tristan's bedroom. She, of course, can't have a blue room so we painted it yesterday. Only when it was painted it was a ghastly peach/salmon color. It was called "cheery". Not cherry like the fruit, but cheery like happy ... but believe me I was anything but happy. Looked adorable on the little paint chip and looked horrible in her room. It looked like someone had puked Pepto Bismol all over. I tried to just let it be but I hated it so much that I just couldn't stand it, so last night we painted over it with white and are trying a different shade of pink today. This one is called Pretty in Pink and I'm hoping that it's a more decent tone.
Anyways, Brian and I are moving into Carissa's old room and will have to repaint it, as we don't want to live in a half pink, half white room. We'll probably go for an outdoorsy green color.
We are making the master suite into a family room. This will work well because it has the sliding door to the back yard, more room for the treadmill and TV as well as the boys desk and such. Should be a much more usable room.
So that's it for the changes around the house, but for now everything is moved to let us paint and I HATE seeing junk everywhere. Ugh!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It's official ...

I did not win HOF. Or an honorable mention for that matter. But here are some of my entries from the contest ... my favorite one of each of the kids. Thanks for your support and well wishes through this process. Annette


I have completed my first term of classes! I took my last final yesterday and I'm relieved to have it all over. I'm getting 3 A's though, which makes me feel good. But I'm looking forward to next term and only having 2 classes to take instead of 3.

Yesterday was Brian's birthday. His parents took us all to dinner at Tacho's, one of our favorite mexican food restaurants. They, of course, did the huge sombrero, song and dessert number which embarassed (and I think secretly delighted) him.

Brian turned 32 years old. It's hard to believe that we're getting this old. I still remember him when he was 19 our lives were wrapped us solely in each other. Not much has changed in that respect. Sure, we have kids that are wrapped up in our lives too, but we're still pretty wrapped up in each other. We're so blessed to have one another and as we get older I appreciate that more and more.

So happy belated birthday Brian. You are my everything and I love you.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Today was the scrap convention and I came home feeling so energized. It wasn't the convention itself, which was fairly disappointing in my opinion, it was the company. And it was the fact that I got to spend some time with only myself to think about. I have to remember to try to do that more often. It's good for me and the family when I feel happier and more relaxed.

So today I got to hang with Becky for 4 hours with *gasp* no kids! Just us girls enjoying some much deserve girl time perusing (OK, so we bought a little too) the scrapbook stuff.

Then Brian picked me up and we went to a lunch with *gasp* no kids. We did a few errands afterward then I headed back to the convention.

I shopped for a little longer and then waited to meet with one of the other ScrapAddict designers, Catherine. (See photo here --->
What, you don't see the photo?!? Oh, that would be because I was an IDIOT and forgot my camera in the van. I'll insert the photo when Catherine emails it me, as she remembered her camera.)

We jumped in the van and headed to a nearby Red Robin. After circling the block twice I realized the only place to park was to parrellel along the street, which was nearly a disaster. I am NOT a great parallel parker and we both got a bit of a chuckle when it took me 2 tries to get in enough to call it good.

Catherine is one of those genuinely warm and wonderful people and this was the 2nd year we met to have a meal and chat. It really was nice to be able to talk with her about our kids and families and such, as well as to commiserate about the lack of great product at the convention (our disappoint was attributed to Felicia, who spoils us with all the great, new stuff in our kits from, making this convention pale in comparison). We talked for nearly 1 1/2 hours before I dropped her off at her hotel and headed home for the day.

Now I'm writing here then heading to my desk to scrap and watch "Sweet Home Alabama" for the 50th time.

(P.S. Special thanks to Mom & Dad, who one again took the kids so I could enjoy my scrapook convention and have some much needed "me" time. Love you guys!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Well, I didn't win HOF. The calls were made today and I didn't get one. I'm still holding out hopes for an honorable mention, but we'll see...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I'm all psyched up!

I've never gotten so psyched up about a contest before, but right now I'm really on edge about Hall Of Fame. It's the big contest put on my Creaking Keepsakes magazine. Each year they choose 25 of the best entries and award them each with $500 and the honor of being a member of the Hall of Fame (HOF).

This is my first year entering this specific contest, but last year I entered similar contests for both Memory Makers Magazine and the now-defunct PaperKuts magazine, earning honorable mentions in both contests. I'm hoping for another honorable mention, or better yet being in the HOF.

The calls are supposed to go out this week and I'm jumpy about it. Everytime the phone rings I jump. I know it's probably rudiculous, but I can't help it.

I will say that I met a personal goal by entering this contest. I planned on entering each of the magazine's contests and I have done so (except for the new Scrapbook Answers magazine... I may have to try that one next year). I also have 10 very wonderful layouts that I am pretty pleased with. And I hope that if nothing else Creating Keepsakes will request one or more layouts for their magazine.

But I'd be thrilled if you could please keep your fingers crossed for me that I get a phone call for Creating Keepsakes sometime in the near future. Thanks!!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

2 weeks until this term of school ends and I'm feeling the crunch. I have 4 assignments, 4 quizzes and 3 finals to take. I have barely cracked a book since vacation and am just not in the mood to do so now. I HAVE to do some studying tomorrow night so that I can have 2 assignments done by midnight. Then I have a final to take on Monday or Tuesday and, to be perfect honest, I have't read most of the reading. It is open book thank goodness so I'm just going to wing it and hope that I can get through it. Then it's more reading for quizzes I have to take by Wed. evening.

Thankfully there is a bright light on the horizon - Friday is the Oregon scrapbook convention which means mucho shopping for me. I lucked out, as it's a day off from school for the kids so they are going to spend some time at Grandma & Grandpa's house. YEAH!!! I'm looking forward to a little "me" time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I apologize for my absence, but I think I needed a break from my blog after my marathon blogging session during vacation.

We are home now and things are somewhat back to normal. Brian returned to work today and the kids have been to school since Tuesday. I'm still drowning under piles of laundry (what else is new!) that I swear I'm going to fold tomorrow. And my house is still recovering from the oodles of stuff we brought home with us.

I've been looking at my Disney photos (all 1000 of them! LOL) and printed a few off today, but I'm *trying* to ban myself from all things scrapbook related until I finish these 2 quizzes that have to be done by 8am. (In other words, I'm going to wing it on the quizzes and go scrap! LOL) I have the awesome new kits from that I've been DYING to break into and I have the urge to scrapbook!

Only 2 more weeks of school and then I get a break. YEAH!!! I am only doing 2 classes next term so my workload should be much easier.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Yesterday & Today

Yesterday we were in California. We were basking in the cool winter sun and enjoying the freedom of our vacation. Today we are back in Oregon, basking in the comfort of our couch and wishing we were still in California.

First things first, here is the rundown for yesterday, our final day in California. We slept in a bit and then checked out of the hotel. Wow, did we have a lot of stuff! It didn't seem like we bought that much on vacation, but we sure had a hard time fitting everything in our suitcases, even after we had totally emptied one suitcase that was filled with cereal and snacks on our way there. Somehow we managed to fit it all in suitcases and then managed to fit all those suitcases (12 checked bags and 7 carry-ons in all) in the minivan filled with 7 people. It was a bit of a tight fit!

We headed to Downtown Disney to do some last minute shopping before leaving California. We stopped by World of Disney, a HUGE Disney store. I've been shopping there 5 or 6 times during our trip and I still haven't been able to see everything in the store. It's awesome!

After World of Disney we had to head to the Paradise Pier hotel for our character breakfast with Lilo & Stitch. Unlike our first character meal at Goofy's Kitchen (which was great!) this one was a great disappointment. The food wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either. The service was HORRIBLE and we felt totally ripped off by the price of the meal. The characters didn't take any time at our table, barely signing autographs and snapping a photo before moving in. Since the kids love Lilo & Stitch we thought this would be a wonderful time for them, but it just wasn't so. What a disappointment.

After breakfast we headed back to Downtown Disney in search of the elusive 50th anniversary coats. Brian's Dad really wanted to buy them for the kids but we couldn't find the girl version (apparently they are sold out). He did get the boys the boy version of the jacket and got Carissa a pink Disneyland coat.

We made a quick walk through a store called Libby Lu. I'd never seen this shop and just about went into sugar shock from all the pink, frilly, foo-foo things in it. The dusted Carissa was glitter when she walked in. There were parties of girls getting their hair done. You could make your own shampoos and glittery concotions and such. Not to mention all the glittery shoes, shirts, etc. The guys couldn't handle it all so we headed out of there after a quick walk-through. I can see this store in Carissa's future though, with all those pink and girly things.

I made a quick pitstop at Marcelline's Confectionary for some sweets that I had been eyeing all week in Disneyland. I didn't eat those until later when we were waiting at the airport and then I was wishing I had bought more. They had these divine treats that were marshmallows on a stick, covered in caramel, milk chocolate and cashews. SOOOO yummy! I wasn't sure I'd like them but I LOVED them. *drool*

Our last stop at Downtown Disney was Build-A-Bear. I have never seen a build-a-bear like this one. Two stories tall. Filled with people and, because it is in Downtown Disney, with exclusive Disney outfits for your stuffed friends. Each of the kids spent most of the remainder of their spending money on these. Chase made a wolf with a Buzz Lightyear Costume, Carissa made a soft white kitty with a Cinderella costume and Tristan made a shamrock bear with a karate costume. They are SO cute (and much loved I might add)!

That was the official end of our vacation. We headed to the airport, had some snacks, caught the plane and came home. We went to bed and tried to sleep in today (though the kids weren't exactly helpful with that). And now today we are looking at the overcast gray skies and wishing for just another couple days in Disney.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Savoring the Moments (Disney day 5)

Today was our 5th and final day at Disney. We had seen nearly everything at Disneyland and California Adventure so planned on making today a "best hits" day by visiting our favorite attractions at both parks.

We came armed with a list of the places we wanted to go and things we wanted to see. Our only mistake was in judging the number of people at the park today. WOW ... Saturdays are busy! And with Mom in a wheelchair it was sometimes hard to maneuver the park with all those people. But we made due.

Our first stop was Adventureland and the Indiana Jones ride. Tristan, who was too frightened to try it yesterday decided that he was brave enough today. He rode it and loved it, claiming he wasn't scared one bit (although he sure jumped at the giant snake, just like I did).

We headed towards Splash Mountain next but wisely thought it through and decided that being wet at 9:30am probably wasn't the best idea. Instead we jumped on the Disneyland railroad and rode it to Tomorrowland.

This is where the majority of our Disneyland favorites are. We rode Space Mountain (still awesome ... wish we could have rode this a few more times this trip), Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (officially I must tell you that Brian beat me in the point total, though he had extra practice, having played this earlier on our trip) and Star Tours (Brian, Carissa and I sat out ... that ride makes me want to hurl!).

Next we visited Innoventions, which was a great way to pass some time. They had all sorts of games, computers and interactive exhibits set up. It really was a fun area. The highlights here were seeing ASIMO, a robot that can walk up stairs, move forward, back and sideways and tons of other interesting things. I was really astounded at what he could do and how human-like he was. Amazing. The highlight for the kids was the short personal video call they got with Stitch. Carissa spoke first, telling him her name and introducing her brothers. Stitch was very interactive, asking who the person in the back with the fire on their head was (i.e. that's me ... he thought I should put it out! LOL), asking for the kids names, giving them answers to their questions (his favorite color is blue and he has lots of favorite foods) and looking directly at the kids when they talked. My kids are such Stitch freaks (especially Tristan!) that this was right up their alley. At the end of the video call Stitch took our photo, which I've attached right here. You can tell how thrilled the kids were to have had the chance to talk to their beloved Stitch.

Once we were done in Tomorrowland we headed to see if there were princesses near the castle, as Carissa had only met a few princesses. Alas, they were leaving as we arrived (again, the same thing happened yesterday) so we kept on towards Critter Country. First stop was lunch at the Hungry Bear then on to Splash Mountain. Thank goodness for having Mom in a wheelchair. We were able to bypass the 60 minute standby line and waited only 15-20 minutes in the handicap line. The whole time the kids were scheming for a way to get Mom wet. When we loaded the boat everyone else loaded first, leaving Grandma sitting in the only available seat - the front. Now for anyone who has ridden or seen Splash Mountain, when the ride comes down the huge hill the water splashed was up on the boat, drenching the person first in the boat. Usually the boys are there but they decided to give up their coveted spot in order to get Grandma wet. And boy, did it work. Hours later she was still complaining that she was wet! LOL Here's the photo of that ride.

By now it was early afternoon and time to head over to California Adventure. We headed straight for the favorite ride of both Brian and myself - Tower of Terror. The line was long and we didn't want to wait so we grabbed some Fast Passes and headed for Grizzly River Rapids (we caught Belle on the walk and Carissa was THRILLED!). Again, the lines were long and the ride had a glitch that shut it down while we were waiting so we exited and visited the newly reopened Redwood Creek Adventure Trail. This was a fun play area for the kids and they enjoyed walking the suspension bridges, rope nets and big slides.

We knew that most of the rides were pretty busy all day long so opted to just go stake out our spot for the Block Party Bash, a parade with performers from all of the Disney Pixar films. We grabbed a good spot and got Mom and the kids settled and then Brian, Dad and I proceeded to Tower of Terror to use our fastpasses. Again, the ride was awesome and Brian was able to videotape part of it. Part way through the ride however he apparently forgot that he had the video camera and let it go. Just as we were dropping I looked his way and saw the video camera hovering about head level, almost as if it were weightless and we were in space. I saw the whole thing in slow motion and it seemed so surreal ... until I remembered that we were on the ride. I grabbed the camera and tugged it down for Brian, who flipped it back on for a few more seconds of filming.

We hustled back to the parade site and waited for it to begin. It was a fun parade with music and dancing and such. It was a great parade and we were glad to be in the "party zone" when the parade stopped to do it's thing.

After the parade we transferred back over to Disneyland to stake out our spot for their parade, "Parade of Dreams". We left Mom holding our spot and went to our final ride of our Disney trip - A Small World. This was Carissa's only ride request for our final day and we thought it a fitting tribute to end our trip there.

We hustled back to our spot to watch the parade, which was fairly short but with several pretty floats. Carissa was thrilled just to see the princesses on their floats. After the parade we decided to just stick it out and wait there for the fireworks, "Remember ... Dreams Come True". We had dinner and then Brian and I went on a last-minute shopping expedition for t-shirts. We stopped for ice cream and hot chocolate (ice cream for us, hot chocolate for the kids) and sat down together and relaxed before the fireworks started. Carissa cuddled up in Grandma's lap and fell asleep. Chase laid down and caught a much-needed catnap too. Tristan was the only one awake when the fireworks started.

For those who haven't seen the fireworks show for Disneyland's 50th anniversary, you are missing out! Those fireworks were so awesome and were the best fireworks I have ever seen. Well worth the wait. And to see Tinkerbell flying over the castle was absolutely awesome.

After the fireworks we hung our for a few moments, sitting on the benches waiting for the crowd to disperse. It was then that it hit me - this is it. This is the end of this trip, the end of the magic for now, the end of the fun and magical time we had together. That saddened me so much that I started tearing up. It was such a great way and a wonderful last day spent together.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A drippy day at Sea World

Since rain was due in the area today we decided to head down to San Diego to visit Sea World. Again, I'll say that once you've experienced Disney you find everyone else lacking. I'm sure part of it was due to the rain also, but Sea World just wasn't what we had hoped for.

We started by leaving early in the morning and arrived at the park just prior to the 10am opening. Our first stop was to see the Budweiser Clydesdales grazing outside their paddock. We then visited the Dolphin Encounter. We purchased a tray of fish and let each of the kids feed the dolphins a fish. They got to pet them and really were quite thrilled with the interaction.

We then headed to find a seat for the Shamu Experience. There were 5 killer whales in the show, including one who was just 1 year old. They jumped, flipped, waved and splashed. This was the highlight of their animal experiences today.

After the Shamu show we stopped by the Forbidden Reef where the kids got to touch huge bat rays. These things were awesome! Most were very large, 24" or longer from wing tip to wing tip. They floated around the pool and even splashed at us a few times. A very neat and unique experience.

Next went to watch the sea lion comedy show, "Deep, Deep Trouble". It was funny and cute, perfect for the kids.

Next we visited the flamingos ... boy were they colorful. I always think that they will be a nice color of bubblegum pink, but they are really a very vibrant salmon color. The kids had never seen flamingos before so were temporarily excited, though once they realized that all the flamingos did was stand there they were ready to move on.

Next we went to the Shark Encounter, a cool exhibit with all sorts of sharks. We viewed them from above and then went and viewed some from a tube that extends through their tank. It was pretty neat.

We tried to find food after this, as it was lunch time and we were all hungry. But an order of icky nachos and 2 restaurant menus later we decided that Sea World didn't have much to offer in the way of food. And to top it all of the rain we had been trying to avoid somehow found us in San Diego. Once it started raining we decided to just rush through the remainder of the park and then leave to eat and return to the hotel. So we did just that.

The kids wanted to experience the rides (all 2 of them that they offered), so Brian, Dad and all 3 kids decided to ride Shipwreck rapids, a rafting ride of sorts. Unfortunately it was not an exciting ride and got them VERY wet. Carissa managed to get the brunt of it and walked bowlegged, like a cowboy who had been on his horse for too long. She was soaked from head to toe. We threw her in Grandma's lap, covered her with Daddy's jacket and left to finish up the park.

Next was the manatee tank. These animals are HUGE. They were so slow and graceful looking though, especially when one came up to the window we were viewing from and started twirling and twisting around in front of us. The kids got to see them eating lettuce and swimming round the tank.

We quickly toured the penguin encounter, which was filled with all sorts of neat penguines. We saw emperor penguins, king penguins and a variety of smaller penguine species.

By now Carissa was officially frozen and the rain wasn't letting up, so we decided to make our final stop the parks most exciting ride (and only ride besides the aforementioned boring raft ride). The "Journey to Atlantis" ride was one of the saving graces of this park. It was a mixture of a roller coaster and a water ride. Immediately you went up a steep hill then plummeted to the bottom. Around a few turns and bends and into an elevator .. yes, our entire boat went into an elevator. It raised us up to the top of the ride and we rode the fast twisty and turny track all the way to the bottom. We all got soaked but weren't so worried about it, as we knew we were leaving the park. And since Sea World was so dead and no one was waiting in line we decided to ride it a second time. Unfortunately, the rain hit us the second ride. Boy, does that sting when you are speeding down a roller coaster! We were all laughing and having fun though. Carissa was shaking with cold but kept asking if we could go on the ride again. She is crazy! Brian just kept saying "We are such retards!" I mean c'mon, who goes riding water roller coasters in the rain when it's cold outside? (The answer, WE DO! Might as well make the most of the vacation we have.)

We came off the ride and seperated for the very wet and cold run to the van. On my way out I saw the most awesome black and white dolphins. I didn't stop to grab a photo or watch them, as I was FREEZING and soaked, but they were awesome nonetheless.

Back at the van I had the kids strip their clothes and replace them with the extras we brought along (yeah for Mom, remembering to bring extra clothes and shoes for once! LOL).

We jumped in the van slightly drier but starving. We grabbed some fast food and headed our way back to Anaheim. The traffic in places was horrible and the drive that earlier took up less than 90 minutes stretched into longer than 2 hours. Ugh. California traffic stinks at times.

We did get back to the hotel by 5pm and went back to our rooms to relax and shower. Duly warmed and cleaned, we visited IHOP for their kids eat free dinner then came back to the hotel to play some Phase 10. While we were playing the fireworks at Disneyland started going off so we stepped outside to our deck to enjoy the view. It was awesome, even from outside the park! It made the extra charge of our Disney view rooms well worth it.

Now we have retreated to our rooms for some much needed rest. Tomorrow is our final day at Disneyland and we are all so bummed that it's almost over. We made a list of our favorite rides and will be visiting them all one more time before we leave. We also plan on catching the parades and fireworks tomorrow and just enjoying our final day filled with Disney magic.

Disney Day 4

Another perfect day at Disneyland. It was Brian’s Mom’s birthday today and everything seemed to cooperate. The weather was beautiful and she liked what the kids did for her birthday. We even got her a birthday sticker so Disney Cast Members kept wishing her a Happy Birthday all day long.

We had early entry into the park this morning so arrived nice and early. We rushed into the park and headed straight for Dumbo. Not only were we the first on the ride for today, the kids also got to ride in the golden Dumbo. As part of Disney’s 50th Birthday celebration they have outfitted some rides with golden one golden vehicle. The kids were lucky enough to get the golden Dumbo and were thrilled. (See photo.). I rode Dumbo also, but sat alone as Brian and his parents were apparently too cool to ride Dumbo (OK, to be honest no one was thrilled with going round and round and round and up and down … they have no sense of adventure! LOL).

Immediately after Dumbo we ran to Peter Pan’s flight, as the lines for this are usually very long.

After Peter Pan we went to the much-anticipated Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. For whatever reason, Chase was really looking forward to this ride. While it was good, one ride was enough so we headed to King Arthur’s Carrousel.

After the carousel we headed over for a quick ride on Space Mountain. I love the changes they recently made and the kids all enjoyed the ride. I think we’re turning them into roller coaster junkies, as they would have rode again.

After this we went to get a FastPass to Autopia, but realized that they forgot to scan one of our tickets in when we entered the park. Brian went to deal with that while I took the kids to Toontown.

What I didn’t know is that Toontown didn’t open until 11am, so we met with Mickey and Minnie (see photos) outside the gates to Toontown and rushed in right at the stroke of 11. We took a quick ride on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and then headed to Gadget’s Go-Coaster, a kid-friendly coaster. The kids and I were the only ones to ride this again (everyone else sat out), and I think it was a good thing as the seats were TINY.

After hitting a few shops and Chip –n- Dale’s treehouse we headed out of Toontown.

We grabbed a few churros to snack on then took a quick ride on the Matterhorn.

Next we trotted over to Tommorowland where he used our fastpasses for Autopia. Brian and Chase rode together, just as they had done at DisneyWorld 4 years before, only this time Chase was driving and Brian was riding shotgun instead of the other way around. Brian said Chase did great and was a pretty good driver. Dad and Tristan rode together and, like Chase, Tristan did a pretty good job. Now I think the guys were a bit smarter than me in choosing their driving partners, as I got to ride with Carissa. That girl can NOT drive! Good thing those things are on a track or we would have been all over the place. I ran the gas pedal so all she had to do was steer, but I nearly got whiplash from all the thumps and bumps along the way. Oh well, she had a great time and didn’t even seem phased from all the turbulence.

By now everyone was hungry so we stopped for lunch.

After lunch we head to Adventureland to check out Indiana Jones. Brian’s Mom sat out with Carissa, who was too small, and Tristan, who didn’t want to ride (the scary factor is big for him lately). Chase wasn’t too sure about the ride either but decided to go for it and he LOVED it. I must admit that it was pretty good. Not quite a roller coaster, but a fun adventure ride. It quickly topped Chase’s list of favorite rides, bumping back Tower or Terror, California Screamin’ and Splash Mountain.

After Indiana Jones we went for a ride on the much more subdued Jungle Cruise. Man, was that boring! Not for the little kids of course (especially since Tristan jumped 3 feet when the piranha’s came out of the water on the side of the boat) but it was boring for us adults. A good place to relax for a few minutes though.

A few more stores and then the kids go for a solo visit of Tarzan’s treehouse. The boys took charge of Carissa and helped her through the treehouse, no small feat because of her long Belle dress she wore today that makes it hard to climb and descend stairs.

Then everyone except Carissa and I went on another ride on Pirates of the Carribbean. Carissa had a snack and she and I perused a few shops while the rest rode. It was a good chance for us to take a break and just relax together for a while.

We then headed to Splash Mountain for another go-round there. Let me tell you, this is one of the times having a wheelchair is worthwhile. We were able to use the wheelchair entrance at Splash Mountain, avoiding the 40 minute line and boarding the ride within 5 minutes. Tristan sat up front this time and got DRENCHED! He was laughing hysterically though, as is his trademark when he’s on a fun ride. He makes me laugh just by listening to how much fun his having.

He has officially decided that his favorite ride at Disneyland is Splash Mountain and opted to buy a trading pin for his lanyard to celebrate that. In true Tristan fashion though he couldn’t buy the official Splash Mountain pin, he had to buy a pin of Stitch riding a wave. That kid is hilarious about Stitch stuff. We’ve been pin trading while in Disney and 90% of the time Tristan trades for a Stitch pin. He trades one Stitch pin for another. Then he finds a different one to trade for. And so on and so forth. He bought a Stitch jacket, a Stitch jersey and hat (which he promptly lost the first day we were there L) and another Stitch trading pin. I think he’d buy the hula dancing stuffed Stitch if I’d let him.

Carissa has been trading mainly for Tinkerbell pins, though she occasionally throws in a Mickey, Minnie or Princess pin. Chase trades for whatever he thinks is coolest. And he promptly trades that away for something else. He has no objective, just the fun of trading.

Anyhow, on with the day. After Splash Mountain we went to the candy store where the boys filled tubes with sour powder candy, Carissa got chocolate coins, Brian got a chocolate and almond covered caramel on a stick and I got a pretzel stick covered with caramel, cashews and chocolate. YUM. They have some of the best looking treats in their candy stores! *drool*

After leaving Critter Country we went to visit the princesses next to the castle, but they were all leaving. Carissa was bummed! We did manage to find Ariel and waited in a very long line to meet her. When it was Carissa’s turn Ariel called her “Princess Belle”. She signed Carissa’s autograph book and then I snapped some adorable photos. As she was leaving Ariel asked Carissa if she knew how to curtsey. Carissa curtsied to Ariel and told Ariel how she has “learned that in ballet”. Ariel asked her if she knew how to tondue, which was a word Carissa did not recognize. Ariel instructed her (since she couldn’t show her, as Ariel has fins instead of feet) on how to point her toe, return to her position, then point the other toe. Then Ariel told Carissa that she could go back to ballet and tell her teacher that Ariel had taught her how to tondue. This interaction between Carissa and Ariel was brief, lasting only 2 minutes or so, but was a highlight of her day. She couldn’t take her eyes off of Ariel and was so enthralled by her. It was such a wonderful moment.

While Carissa and I met Ariel, Brian, Dad and the kids decided to take another go at the Matterhorn. This time they waited in both the left and the ride lines, to determine which course was the quickest (the unanimous decision is that the left course is much quicker than the right).

We headed straight for the Tea Cups next. Again, it was just me and the kids. Everyone else was CHICKEN! LOL The kids did a pretty good job of spinning me around the entire time we were going. But I had a lot of fun. It’s sometimes these old rides that remind me of my childhood visits to Disney.

After teacups we went to the much dreaded “It’s a Small World”. Boy, 10 minutes of that song are enough for anyone. It’s a great ride, but that song gets stuck in your head!

We decided to make some stops on Main Street and see if we could find another Stitch jersey to replace the one Tristan had lost the first day. We also stopped at the Gibson Girl Ice Cream parlor for some fresh waffle cones and ice cream.

We didn’t find the jersey so headed out of the park and into Downtown Disney where we stopped at the biggest Disney store on the west coast, World of Disney. We found the jersey for Tristan but at the last moment decided to purchase him the Stitch jacket instead.

Once done with the shopping we headed to our final destination of the evening, Rainforest Café. It was a surprise for Mom for her birthday. They had never been to Rainforest Café and didn’t quite know what to expect. I think they liked the atmosphere and I know both Brian and Dad loved their food (what man doesn’t love ribs?!?). I had a scrumptious shredded BBQ chicken wrap that was so yummy, though so huge I couldn’t eat it all. The kids had (surprise!) pizza. Then the staff came up with this huge desert and sang Brian’s mom a birthday song. We divvied the rich treat (chocolate fudge cake, ice cream, hot fudge and whip cream) up amongst us all. No one else could eat the cake, as it was too rich, but I gobbled up a whole sliver of it (and I don’t even like chocolate cake … this stuff was more like a brownie or fudge or something … SO divine!).

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to relax and get the kids to bed (Carissa didn’t last until we got home, she fell asleep before we could get out of Downtown Disney! LOL). We played another round of Phase 10 (Brian’s Mom won … AGAIN. Good thing it’s her birthday!) and watched the weather to determine where we were headed tomorrow. Then we came back to our room for some much needed rest.

Tomorrow … Sea World here we come!!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Disney Day 3

We returned to Disney's California Adventure today and were so happy to be back in the magic.

Our first stop in the park was Paradise Pier. We returned to where we left off when the rain hit us on Monday.

We rode the Golden Zephyr, Jumpin' Jellyfish and then a twisty coaster called Mulholland Madness.

After those we headed to the Maliboomer, which bullets you 180 feet into the air. It rose so quickly it felt like the blood drained out of my legs. Brian, the boys and I rode together, then Brian's parents went with the boys. The boys loved it and would have ridden it again if we let them.

Carissa couldn't go, as she was too small (and again, she was so disappointed!) so she rode King Triton's carousel (again) and played a game in the midway, where she won a stuffed dolphin.

Another trip on California Screamin' for Dad, Brian, the boys and I (did I mention how awesome this rollercoaster is ... the biggest one I've ever seen and SOOOO much fun!) and then we decided to have lunch.

Some of us at pizza at Pizza Oom Mow Mow, which was not really that good. :( Brian opted for McDonalds, but was disappointed with spending $9 for a double cheeseburger meal(not quarter-pounder either, just regular cheeseburger). The good lunch deal for the day was found by Chase and Dad, who ate at Corndog Heaven. These corndogs were HUGE. They were footlong hotdogs covered in a super thick coating of golden, crispy batter. Even Brian's Dad couldn't eat more than one. I have a photo to upload on a later date to prove just how huge these things were.

After lunch we headed for another ride on Grizzly River Run (see photos from today... I couldn't take the camera on the ride so had to deal with photos from outside). It was a great time to do it, as the sun was shining and the line was short. And for one I didn't get totally soaked. We all rode once then sent Brian, Dad and the kids to ride again while Mom got help opening up the locker they rented to keep their items dry while riding Grizzly River Run (note to Dad: you can't lock the combination IN the locker if you expect to get it open again! LOL).

I had a bit of a sweet tooth so got a Mickey head ice cream bar then we walked to Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream for the fresh waffle cones and ice cream Brian and his Dad had been drooling over all week.

We headed to see the "Ugly Bug Ball" play in Bugs Land, after which Tristan fell and smacked his face on the fence. He now sports a beautiful black eye and bruised and scratched cheek.

We headed to the rides in Bugs Land, but most of them were too boring for our kids, who were now used to adrenaline packed roller coasters. Heimlich's Chew-Chew Train just didn't do it for them! We did hit "It's Tough To Be A Bug", but Tristan and Carissa both freaked out ... it was a little too real for their tastes.

By now we'd seen nearly all of California Adventure. Our last stop before exiting the park was "Turtle Talk with Crush", the totally cool turtle from Nemo. The show was awesome! He interacted with the crowd, asked questions, had us say "dude" and "Pshaaa" a lot and just had a nice 10 minute chat with the group in the theater. I still don't know how they do it, but it's really a well done and fun show.

On our way out we ditched Mom and Dad and headed to Baker's Field Bakery to buy Mom a wonderfully yummy looking chocolate cupcake to save for her birthday. Then we hightailed it down to Build-A-Bear in Downtown Disney so the kids could make her a bear. The kids chose to make a Shamrock green bear, which they named "Birthday Wishes". They personalized a message for her that says "Have a Magical Birthday Grandma. We love you" and each put their own special wished on and kissed heart inside the bear. They've done such a great job of not mentioning her birthday so I think she'll be surprised tomorrow.

We came back to the hotel and ordered Round Table pizza for dinner. We went swimming for a bit and then played cards before heading to bed. Tomorrow we are up early to enjoy our Early Entry day in Disneyland. We have a long day scheduled, but I'll check in tomorrow night with more photos and the rundown of our day.